Wednesday, March 13, 2013

# 139 - Good News is Good!

Sometimes, you need some good news.

Backstory: This past summer I had cultures taken that revealed a very serious bacterial infection with "high" numbers of infection for Klebsiella Pneumoniae. At the time, I didn't realize how serious this infection actually was, but I knew I was feeling terrible.

The specialized laboratory that ran my cultures had also run a list of 17 antibiotics that were tested for effectiveness against my bacterial cultures, a bacteria that is known for being antibiotic resistant. This bacteria comes in a wide range of variations, which can make treating it more difficult. If you have a good immune system, you will likely not have to worry about such bacteria being able to "grow" in your body, but for those of us who have conditions that impact our immune systems or for those of us who are taking medications/treatments that might make the immune system compromised, you can be more at risk.

It appears that my immune system goes through tremendous ups and downs. When it is good, it's really good and that means, for example, this past Fall I had been surrounded by family members suffering with the Flu, respiratory illnesses, stomach bugs, etc., and I didn't catch one little buggie. But, last summer, I over-extended myself in many directions, and I paid a price. Additionally, I was living under tremendous daily stress which is a BIG no-no for those with Addison's disease and the combination took a toll...I picked up this bacteria, most likely in a medical setting, and it threatened to chew me up and spit me out.

A lesson I learned is that I must limit the stress I confront on a daily basis so that my system is not depleted of valuable "fight" that should be directed to my Addison's battles. Staying away from those who create battles serves me well.

Thankfully, my Internal Medicine physician carefully reviewed the list of antibiotics that would have a chance to fight the bacteria. He selected a medicine that appeared to have the strongest impact on the bacteria numbers (the report gives the numbers of bacteria to start with and then the numbers after the antibiotic has been introduced for a few days).

I went through three-rounds of antibiotics, then I kept delaying the appointment for us to take repeat cultures. My doctor wanted to check on the bacteria levels to make sure we were keeping the infection at bay, even if I wouldn't be able to eradicate it completely.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I had repeat cultures taken. My physician sent the cultures to a highly specialized laboratory in California. The nurses were laughing with me because part of me was getting to travel to California. I guess it seemed especially humorous to them because they'd never had to send cultures to this lab.

It took extra time to get these test results, but this morning the doctor's office told me that the cultures they obtained showed NO BACTERIA and they specifically tested for Klebsiella Pneumoniae.

With my notepad and pen ready to take down the bacterial infections numbers, knowing my physician was already poised to make the comparison, I tried to prepare myself for the onslaught of information.

I cannot begin to express my joy at hearing my favorite nurse tell me that the doctor thinks my medical situation always gives him unexpected shocks, but this one was positive! The cultures showed NO abnormalities whatsoever.

The result is...healthy, healthy, healthy.

Therefore, on the days I am feeling drained, it's probably related to Addison's. But, during the time of battling this bacterial infection, my doctor told me that it is important that a patient battling a serious chronic condition does not blame every ailment on their condition or something like this bacterial infection can be easily overlooked.

So...I've been very blessed. The odds were NOT in my favor, but I can't help but think that my hard-won battles are a testimony to something greater than medical statistics that would otherwise point to a negative outcome.

Most of all, I know that I savor the beauty and strength of life with loved ones and with fabulous friends who are truly caring and supportive during these challenging battles. As I celebrate this good news that has surprised me, I am feeling rejuvenated!

It's amazing how a little bit of news can be so powerful!

I guess the point today is that you can't always listen to people in your life who aren't supportive when you need it most. If someone is hurting with you and dealing with their own suffering because of the bad news, that's one thing, but if someone ever uses your health hurdle as a weapon to wound you deeper than the pain of the diagnosis already inflicts, then that person should probably not be trusted with much of anything regarding your health nor with much of your life, in general. To remain healthy, you must accept the reality of who is REALLY in your corner and who is not.

From the tall guy, who is my son-in-law, Henry, to my oldest
daughter, Heather, to my sister, Robin, to my youngest daughter,
Stefanie, to her sweetheart, Brice. A shot from this past weekend.

Let's face it, dealing with a difficult diagnosis is not so easy when the battle is within the body staring back at you in the mirror, so it is important to remember that fact as loved ones around you are dealing with their own health issues. And when those times come to celebrate good news, remember to do it with the people who most deserve your love, time and energy.

For me, I have a list of people to thank today --- people who knew the odds weren't in my favor with this bacteria, but who helped me in my lowest points. Those people, I will remember and those people I will honor to the core of my heart.