Ice Chips & Christmas

Dear Friends,

I finally had my ERCP last Thursday – the procedure I had to repeat (after an incomplete try in October), and then wait six weeks for. Anyway, it went smoothly this time. I had no moments of consciousness, knowing there was a tube down my throat causing panic. The Good news is the positive outcome….no auto-immune liver disease or cancer. The cause for my attack and hospital stay in September was another pesky gallstone in the bile duct. I’m SO grateful for this diagnosis.

ercp Nov 29 2018

I will say though, that if you’ve had your gallbladder out, know that gallstones can appear in the bile duct, which can be dangerous. If the bile duct becomes blocked then the bile stays in the liver making it sick. Not a good thing. I’ve learned a lot since my daughter’s auto-immune liver disease diagnosis six years ago. Things I never cared to know.

Anyway, they kept me overnight for monitoring, so I was home in the comfort of my own bed late Friday afternoon. Since then, I had some unpleasant after effects, but I’m feeling better now. To rest and eat lightly are doctor’s orders for a couple of weeks. I can do that. 🙂

Image result for chicken noodle soup

What remains surreal is that I’ve endured similar symptoms my daughter experiences with her disease. Maybe it’s the mom in me that has to truly feel the pain my daughter feels. I don’t know, but it’s very strange and coincidental. I have to add again that all of this is non-alcoholic related. Gallstones can cause havoc! 

Needless to say, I’ve lost momentum for blogging, and at this point, I’ve decided to take December off from WordPress to focus on a little “me time” and the Christmas season upon us. I will miss all of you, but I’ll look forward to returning in the new year refreshed and invigorated. Wow, 2019! Time, she is a flyin’!

So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year full of new adventures, possibilities, and lots of Love! Lauren ❤🎅🎁🌲

Xmas 2017

Photo #1 – my hospital stay
Photo #2 – Google
Photo #3 – Copper during Christmas 2017 (my dog) 

P.S. I also have to express how grateful we are for the outstanding team of doctors at Kaiser. 

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Most People

Dear Friends,

There’s been a lot going on, which has taken me away from blogging. So, I apologize for missing your wonderful posts, but I hope to start reading again soon. In the meantime, I’m sharing a song that struck a chord with me. Luke Bryan is one of our favorite country music singers, and if you like country music, then you’ll know who he is. If you’re not a fan of this genre, then I invite you to listen to the words because they truly say it all. With all the hate and violence, Luke sings, “Most people are good.” This song encourages us to still believe in humanity and not focus 100% on what the media shows us.

With continued heartbreak in the world and with our daily doses of stress of various types, I thought this song would be a soothing addition to your day. It might also change your outlook if you’re struggling to find the good. I hope you enjoy it! Lauren ❤🎵🎶

The Right Attitude

No-fear-Image

One of my new dear friends, Debby, from https://dgkayewriter.com/, wrote this to me regarding my last health update and it stuck…

“We get what we focus on, so don’t make it fear!”
~DG Kaye

This message isn’t new, but it’s so easy to allow fear to slip into our thoughts. It affects not only our reactions to stressful times, but it also affects us physically, causing anxiety and even some unwanted aches and pains. So, this was a timely reminder for me, even though I’m not truly living in fear. However, I am inviting Optimism for a long stay, and if you’re dealing with stress in any form, will you join me in this attitude adjustment? I hope you will, and Thanks, Debby! 💕

hope

And lastly, I’d like to wish you all a Fabulous Friday, and a Wonderful Weekend ahead. With love, Lauren ❤❤❤

Photos: Google

Fingers across the keyboard

Dear Friends,

This is a follow-up to my last post on Sept. 19th, and I’m typing as thoughts pour out, so this is more raw than edited. As you may remember, I’ve had a medical issue that landed me in the hospital over a month ago, and I’ve been anticipating a procedure that hopefully would’ve brought answers. Well, the procedure was last Thursday, an ERCP. It’s where a tube passes through the mouth, esophagus, and stomach into the first part of the small intestine. Then a catheter goes into the bile duct to detect causes for high liver enzymes (all non-alcoholic related), severe abdominal pain and jaundice. The doctor injects a dye so that x-rays can be taken of the biliary ducts. I’ve provided an image below if you’re interested. 

Image result for bile duct and liver anatomy

Surprisingly, the doctor (a bile duct expert) couldn’t get the instrument all the way down, in fact, barely down at all because my common bile duct is so scarred. I’ll spare the gory details, but long story short, it was incomplete. This means I have to repeat it next month. Honestly, when he spoke to my husband and I after I had been in recovery and I found this out, I felt depressed. I felt my shoulders drop, knowing, first of all, that I still have no answers, secondly, he still can’t rule out some scary diseases (one of which my daughter has), and thirdly, I have to do this procedure again. 

Everyone was so nice, though, and I’m grateful for an awesome team of doctors – doctors who we know because of our daughter’s experiences. And my doctor was genuinely disappointed with the turnout. But he’s also performed enough of these that he knew when to stop trying before causing complications. I thank him for that.

So, the symptoms I’ve had can be caused by gallstones in the bile duct (gallbladder is out), Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis (PSC, the auto immune disease my daughter has), or Bile Duct Cancer. I admit to being scared and have had some emotional moments. I hope it’s just stones, which are dangerous alone. Any of these causes affect the liver because if bile isn’t taken from the liver through the bile duct into the small intestine, the liver then becomes “sick” and begins to fail. Liver failure is fatal. For PSC, the only cure is a liver transplant, which is what we’re anticipating for our daughter in the future – a future that holds so many uncertainties. 

So why I am blogging about this? I don’t know. Maybe part is to bring awareness to the bile duct and how rare some medical issues can be involving it. Until our daughter was diagnosed, I didn’t give the bile duct a second thought. Nor my liver because I’ve never been a big drinker. This whole thing has been surreal – the fact that I’m experiencing everything similar to my daughter’s symptoms. She doesn’t drink alcohol at all, so it’s just an auto-immune disease that chose her. Ask anyone who knows me..I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinking. So, it’s all a case of being unlucky just like those who are diagnosed with cancer or some other horrible disease.

The upside to sharing what I’ve been undergoing is that in spite of the continued anticipation, the unpleasantries of another ERCP, or fear of the unknown and known, for that matter, life goes on. I feel better physically, although my throat still hurts, but it’s better than yesterday and the day before that. My mindset is healthier, and that doesn’t mean I’m not realistic either. The outcome will be good news or it will be daunting news. Regardless, I want answers. I want to know what’s going on inside me. However, I’m not trying to burden you by posting about this. Maybe what I’m going through will resonate with someone and be of some help even in a small way.

Selfishly, though, I ask for your ongoing positive thoughts and prayers. And I thank you for reading this longer-than-planned post. 🙂

Image result for moving forward

Moving forward with hope in my heart and love for my family and friends who have provided tremendous support. Lauren xoxo
p.s. The title of this post is credited to my son.
p.s.s. Both images are from Google.

Refresh Button

copper in the fall

As summer bids farewell for yet another year, Autumn prepares for her entrance, and doesn’t she look lovely! With season changes, I’m often compelled to reorganize and do some fall cleaning. So, to begin with, I rearranged the furniture in our living room, something that has become an annual tradition and a way of inviting new perspectives wherever we choose to sit…

Maybe now we have the chance to watch the sunrise out of the big window while sipping our cuppa tea or coffee. Or we have a better view of a roaring fire when winter drops in for an extended stay and hot chocolate is on its way. Or the opportunity is more fitting to sit closer to someone we love for a treasured, intimate conversation.

Whatever the benefit, there is something about this change that offers a newness, a revitalizing start as we near the ending of 2018. I also love the coziness of this season – the warm hues, and the spicy aromas in the kitchen. I’ve already bought ingredients to begin pumpkin bread baking – one of my holiday baking traditions that everyone loves. So you see, this simple switch is like clicking on the refresh button on life. Even a small change can add a pinch of extra spice to this time of year.

May this season of Autumn bring a refreshing newness to your life, as well.
P.S. Copper sends his autumn wishes, too, (with lots of kisses).
This photo was taken by my daughter. ❤🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁❤

Moving Forward

Dear Friends,

This is a follow-up to my last post…thank you for your love, prayers, positive thoughts, and support. I’m feeling much better, but healing on the inside is still needed. So, I’m in the process of scheduling a procedure that will provide answers.

In the meantime, it’s great to have my energy back; it’s no fun staying in bed not being able to contribute to the daily routine. My outlook is optimistic, but I’m also realistic. I don’t do well living in gray area, so we shall see…

On a lighter note, I love the cooler weather, and the season of Fall is one of my favorites…the colors, the smells, the foods, and the change of wardrobe. 🙂 And for the new season upon us, I’m including a fun haiku, and of course, Copper. My daughter took this photo a few years back, and it remains a favorite.

Copper in Autumn by Steph 2016

pumpkins on the porch
sandles in hybernation
hello socks and boots!

Wishing you all a Wonderful Wednesday. ❤❤❤

 

Journal Entry 9/10/18

September 10, Monday

(hospital stay 9/7-9/9 Fri-Sun)

It’s evening when I usually pick up a good book, but my eyes are just too tired and my mind is too preoccupied to concentrate on anything. My body is also fatigued as though every ounce of energy has been zapped. Then when my head meets the pillow, my mind begins to wander again. Some thoughts lead into great memories of present or past. This is when I breathe deeply and thank God. And some start to tumble into a darker place where I have no desire to be. Those thoughts provoke wild emotions, and the last thing I need is puffy eyes in my morning reflection.

So, it takes mustering up a lot of strength to bat those dark thoughts away as if they’re pesky, blood-sucking mosquitoes. This is when I also breathe deeply – slowly inhaling, slowly exhaling, hoping to relax and fall into a deep slumber where thinking is finished for the night. And I pray to God that I’ll be okay. One thing I’ve been reminded of is just how fragile life can be, and I didn’t need reminding.

With this being said, and even through an occasional two-minute-melt-down, I’ll keep the faith as the waiting and testing continues. I won’t let optimism out of my sight. Taking one day at a time still rings true. And I am beyond grateful for the love and support of my awesome family and friends.

(I hope to catch up on blog-reading real soon. Stay safe and well. Lauren ❤)