UNLIKELY BUT SEVERE AND POTENTIALLY FATAL....the latest health misadventure and a toothpaste moment

I'm not sure what it is about me and potentially fatal stuff.

Back when I had my first big round in the hospital, I remember having 4 potentially fatal issues. This wasn't funny in real life, but it was funny in theory, since I grew up watching this movie called, "Meet Me In St. Louis," and the little girl was playing with her dolls and told the ice delivery man about one doll, "Poor thing, she has four fatal diseases." The man looked baffled and mumbled, "And it only takes one."

Then there was the potentially fatal birth of my son experience, then the even more potentially fatal (can you get even more potentially fatal?) birth of my little girl . . . I need some theme music here.

Me right before having baby Hope. The magnesium IV I was on was what made my cheeks so red. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years, you'll find magnesium in the makeup section!
Not fun--I'm very glad they didn't send me to the ER yesterday. I don't like getting poked!

I have Addison's Disease, which is rare, affecting 1-4 out of every 100,000 people. Slim chances. Add to that hypoglycemia, asthma, scoliosis and a cyst on my brain, and you really narrow the odds, I'd say down to about 1 in over 6 billion. In other words, I'm unique.

You are, too; my unique just tends to show up in sometimes unpleasant ways (sometimes I get tired of doctors telling me I'm so interesting-code word for confusing and frustrated and they wish I'd found a different doctor to bother).

So it shouldn't have been all that surprising when I tried to take a new medication and ended up getting one of the unlikely but severe side effects.

Here's that story . . .

My pituitary specialist at Emory told me I should try tapering down on the corticosteroids (hydrocortisone) I live on for my Addison's. Right now I take 30 mg per day, and she wanted to see if I could function on 25. So I tried to find a couple of weeks where not too much was going on, because tapering down means having drug withdrawal symptoms, which isn't too fun. It also compromising my immune system, so I have to be careful.

Well, guess careful didn't cut it. Three days after I started tapering, I got a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection if you're curious, and sorry if you're grossed out). Unfortunately, infection is one of those times when I have to go way up on my hydrocortisone, to help my immune system adapt and deal with the new stress on my body. So instead of going down 2.5, I am now up 40, taking 70 per day.

I don't like doing that, because the longer I'm on a high dose like that, the harder it is to taper back down to normal once my body is better.

So when the doctor mentioned a whopper antibiotic that always wiped out UTIs, that's the one I voted for. But taking new medication when you're already taking 6 prescriptions and have several conditions is always a gamble. With my track record, let's just say I shouldn't take up gambling!  Sure enough, I start getting numbness and tingling in my legs and feet, then my hands, then my heart speeds up and I get dizzy, etc.

I go look at the paper and there those symptoms are under the all caps heading: UNLIKELY BUT SEVERE AND POTENTIALLY FATAL NERVE DAMAGE. Oh brother.

Fortunately, the doctor switched me to another med (good idea), so the side effects are subsiding. Unfortunately, Cipro isn't whacking this UTI as well as the other stuff, so I'm going to have to stay on my high dose of hydrocortisone to help it along.

I don't feel too good at the moment, I must admit, but that may be because I had to switch all my regular meds around because I couldn't take anything that had magnesium in it 6 hours before or 2 hours after the antibiotic (and 4 things I take daily have magnesium in them, so...).

You can see why I really try to avoid getting sick in the first place! =)

What's the life lesson in all of this? Well, have you ever seen someone squeeze a tube of toothpaste? What comes out?

Whatever's inside, right? Life is like that, too, and I've found that when I get squeezed (stressful situations, crisis, sickness, basically whenever things don't go my way), I find out what's really deep inside of me. You know, the kind of stuff it's easy to keep down in there until the pressure comes and it comes squishing out.

What comes squishing out of me is a tendency to fear, to get frustrated at not being in control, to try to figure it out and work it out rather than relying on God.

How about you? What comes squishing out of you when the pressure hits?

That being said, it's good that life squeezes us sometimes. Reminds us that we're just dust and very, very human. God knows that all the time; it's us who tend to forget it. These times remind me that my life is not in my control and I need the Lord--not just in the crisis times but all the time. That's a good thing.

That whole toothpaste thing reminds me of something I learned about a silver refiner, but we'll talk about that next time . . .


  1. Bless your heart (and not in the sarcastic way). Praying for God to heal your UTI quickly and just thankful that you have the great Healer to go to! At least you won't ever have anything to run out of writing about lol! Take care of yourself and if you ever need any help let me know!
    Mary Coffey

  2. Thanks, Mary, for the encouragement and your prayers. It's so nice to have friends like you!


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