After miserably failing that exam, I hurried myself over to the Brigham for an appointment with my GI doctor, Dr. K. A late cab and then stopped traffic on Huntington caused me to be a half hour late, but he was still able to see me for 15 minutes before he went to a meeting. He brought up 6MP again, as well as antibiotics, which I tend to respond well to. No decision was made on the spot – I said I’d get back to him – and I got bloodwork done.
Later that night, Dr. K called me to let me know that some of the results came back, and my hematocrit was 21, which is extremely low, and a big drop from just 10 days before when I was at the ER. I knew I had been bleeding more than usual since the day I had pain and went to the ER, but I was surprised it had gotten this low. This did explain why I had been so tired in the past week, though. I now have a blood transfusion scheduled for tomorrow (meaning I’ve been waiting over a week!). I wasn’t feeling any shortness of breath or a rapid heart beat (which is why I didn’t suspect a low hematocrit level) but I did start to feel these in the past several days, in addition to the tiredness.
Additionally, my colon-specific symptoms got a lot worse since the day before the exam – more blood, diarrhea, and discomfort.
No better phrase describes how I felt Monday night than “completely wiped out.” Despite this, I had a hard time falling asleep, and I woke up several times needing to use the bathroom. I then needed to wake up early the next day so my dad could pick me up and take me to my appointment with my functional medicine doctor.
My dad came in with me for my appointment with Dr. B. Yes, I’m 22, but I’m also really sick and have been dealing with this illness for awhile and have a ways to go. During this struggle, my parents have been supporting me in every meaning of the word, and I tell them pretty much everything about my health, so it makes more sense to have one of them there for appointments with Dr. B, which are an hour long and filled to the brim with information and discussion.
This was my third appointment with Dr. B, the first being in July and the second in October. In our last appointment, we went over the results of the stool/blood/urine tests and he started me on compounded vitamin and amino acid supplements to address nutritional deficiencies. There were other issues he wanted to address (including leaky gut and bacterial/yeast overgrowth) but he had me start with these. The appointment would have just been to figure out how to address the other issues, but I told him about my recent ER trip and subsequent backsliding, so there was more to discuss in terms of next steps.
Here is my treatment plan:
This doctor, by the way, is incredible. Our appointments are learning opportunities for me, and they are also very discussion-based, since I’m so involved with my own health. I feel really lucky that he is part of my “triumvirate” of doctors: functional, GI, and herbal.
Because my symptoms continued to be at the worst they have been in awhile, I started the Cipro earlier than Dr. B originally suggested (with his approval). I noticed a difference within 48 hours. Like magic, Cipro is turning around my symptoms. This is wonderful news, except that Cipro is an antibiotic, so it’s probably not a long term solution. Once I’m off it, maybe my symptoms will stay at bay, or maybe not. But I’m so happy to be feeling better for now at least.
As for school, I am going to take an Incomplete in my Sustainable Energy class, which means that I’ll have a year to complete the work I haven’t done. Probably, I will have a chance to earn back some points for that exam, too. I’ll be meeting with that class’s professors sometime next week to map out a plan. As for my other classes, I may be fine with the work that’s left, but the option to take an Incomplete is available for them too.