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Reid's health

This post has nothing to do with infertility or pregnancy loss, other than the fact that we won’t be getting pregnant this month.

I’ve alluded to the fact that Reid has some chronic health issues. 3 years ago in June he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). Ulcerative Colitis you’ve probably heard of, it’s a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, which cases him some discomfort and pain. PSC is a chronic, long term disease that slowly damages the bile ducts in the liver. According to the American Liver Foundation, PSC “causes bile to accumulate in the liver, where it gradually damages liver cells and causes cirrhosis, or fibrosis of the liver. As cirrhosis progresses and the amount of scar tissue in the liver increases, the liver slowly loses its ability to function. The scar tissue may block drainage of the bile ducts leading to infection of the bile.” So that one is a little scary. Since his diagnosis, we have learned so much more, as he has frequent doctor’s visits and tests to monitor the condition. He has had several “Spyglass” procedures to take biopsies, get a closer look at the bile ducts, and stretch the ducts back to a more “normal” size. He has regular blood work, colonoscopies, and endoscopies. He runs a very high risk of developing cancer in the bile ducts or colon, so they keep a close eye on him.

We’ve known that at some point he would start having even more issues due to this illness, but hoped they’d be further down the road. We’ve had a couple of scary moments with test results over the last couple of years, but the worst came early Saturday morning as he woke me to tell me he needed to go to the ER. He awoke late Friday night with an excruciating pain in his upper abdomen, and he was violently shaking. He has “flare ups” from time to time with his UC, but nothing like this. But he still thought it might be something that would pass. After 3 hours, he realized the pain wasn’t passing, and he was still shaking. So he woke me to take him to the ER. After a couple hours and several tests, the ER doctor determined that he may have “cholangitis”, which is an infection in the bile ducts. Which can be fatal if not treated in time. He was then admitted into the hospital.

The first day he was in the hospital, his pain was so bad that they had him on 8 mg of morphine every 3 hours. Normally, they give you a 3 mg dosage. And his pain level was still at a 5 (it was an 8 or 9 when we first came in, and he has a very high tolerance for pain). Fortunately, over the last couple of days, they’ve gotten his pain level way down, and he’s feeling better. But we’ve learned a lot about his condition and the cholangitis. Apparently cholangitis is not uncommon for people with PSC, and is likely to occur again. We also learned that Reid has bacteria in his blood stream, which is quite dangerous. So he now has an infectious disease doctor treating that. He is feeling much better now, his liver counts are back to normal (for him anyways, his are always high), and he no longer has a fever. They have had him on antibiotics that have really seemed to help. Unfortunately due to the bacteria in his blood, it looks like he’ll be here a few more days. They have to see that the bacteria is no longer growing before they’ll release him, and then once they do release him he’ll have a “PICC line” inserted from his arm to his heart and we’ll have to administer antibiotics into the line from home for a couple of weeks.  

So the outlook is better, but this definitely brings up some concerns for the future. The doctors can’t go in to see how his liver is handling this, and what kind of damage this has done, until his infection is gone. If they were to do any sort of procedures or surgery at this point, it could spread the infection. So in a month or two we’ll go in for another Spyglass procedure so we can find out what this has done to his liver, and hopefully have some answers for the future. This disease doesn’t present itself the same throughout different patients, so it’s hard for a doctor to look at his liver and say what’s normal. So answers will come over time.

If you’re the praying type, please just say an extra prayer for Reid that his condition continues to improve and that this hasn’t done any major damage to his liver.

I said this doesn’t relate to infertility, but I have to admit it does a bit. As we were sitting in the ER on Saturday morning, I had an intrusive thought. And I feel so guilty for it. I was sitting there worrying about my husband and praying that he’d be okay, and then I thought “I ovulate next week. Dammit, I bet we can’t get pregnant this month.” How terrible is that?! I say that I’m going to “relax” and try not to stress over getting pregnant again, but if that doesn’t indicate that it’s always in the back of my mind, I don’t know what does. I want more than anything for him to get better, but that doesn’t make me want a baby any less. 

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