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Author Archives: Elysha Ludwig

Weight Blame

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It amazes me what doctors say when they give up on you. I was excited to get another opinion. A highly recommended GI doctor that my mom knows and works with. Things seemed to go well in the beginning. One of those who hates being stumped, figure it out no matter how hard or so I was told.

He started out with the routine looking at my records, asked me questions and did a normal exam. He took time, looked things up that he wasn’t sure about. It had been awhile since I had an endoscopy. He thought he’d go in, take a look and do some biopsies. I had the endoscopy not long ago. Some of you might remember my post about my endoscopy. Anyways…I had it done. Biopsies were mostly normal except the one for colitis  (which I knew about already) after he also did some blood work. With me I’ve had a lot of parasites so he wanted to make sure there wasn’t any left. It was one of those “thank God it’s not parasites!” “Oh, it’s not parasites” when you’re sick for so long sometimes you just want an answer, any answer.

Sadly nothing came up. I had my follow up. Same old pain, more nausea than usual and for the first time I was experiencing constant pain on the left side. I told him about the new pain and discomfort I was having. He asked some more questions and looked back at my history. Then it happened. The question nobody wants to hear (especially when you know and it’s a constant struggle) Do you think you have pain because you’re over weight? So I’m holding back the tears. He goes on to say we’ve tried everything in the past 3 years, test, procedures, meds and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. He asked if I would be up to seeing a bariatric doctor. I told him I’d love to but can’t because of insurance.

I’ve seen a dietitian and followed diets before. Weight has never been this hard to keep off. I admitted I don’t work out as much as I use to. I loved boxing and kickboxing but when I got sick the pain was too much. Now I walk and sometimes do yoga. I might be a fatty But I eat pretty healthy!! My friends mock my snacks sometimes. He asked if I’d be interested in a balloon or sleeve. I played along and said “I guess” First he’d like to see me lose weight on my own and then talk about it.

At this point I started crying. I had hope in this guy. He asked why I was crying. I explained I was frustrated. I hate my body. I’ve tried losing weight but living with chronic pain and working out is hard to push through at times. I miss being active and I miss being healthy even more. He told me not to cry and try to push through. That everything would be ok. I’m totally down for trying things on my own. If I can help myself I will. Do I believe my chronic/new pain is because I’m over weight?  Maybe. It might help. Thing is though I was 30lbs lighter when it all started. The pain was awful then. So ok, that’s why I hurt.

I’m over weight but why do I struggle with constant nausea and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea? How does that work?  Did I ask him that? No. I’m tired of explaining and asking questions. Dear doctors, I appreciate you so much! I’ve come a long ways because of some of you and it means so much to me but If you’re not sure what’s going on I rather you tell me that. If you’re stumped, that’s ok. Please just be honest. I rather have that then the guessing game. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’ll lose this weight and be cured. I don’t know.

Have you ever had a doctor guess or even pull the weight card? If you have, I’m sorry. It sucks. I’ve learned talking about it helps at times. You’re not alone.

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Packing for Comfort

Packing for Comfort

By Elysha

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I’m packing/preparing for a week trip to VA. I’m so excited for some sightseeing and even more excited to see one of my best friends! I travel a lot but I hate flying. Especially now with chronic pain I really don’t enjoy it. Sitting too long isn’t fun. I’m trying to find something comfortable and easy to wear/ travel in. I know packing shoes won’t be hard. I’m taking my good walking shoes with the gel inside. Comfortable and supportive sounds pretty good to me! I’m also packing to keep cool. I live in the desert and love the dry heat. Humidity isn’t my friend.

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When I’m in the humidity everything starts hurting and my knees and hands get swollen. I know for me I love dresses. They are cool and comfortable! I don’t like pants when it’s sticky and I’m swollen. Not a fun feeling. So dresses are perfect. I’m also packing some of my cute kimonos. Ladies, don’t you just love kimonos? They’re light, cool and can make a plain outfit super cute without being too warm or annoying. I have my swim suit packed as well! Hopefully our hotel has a nice Jacuzzi for my sore body. If not, at least I have the beach to look forward to.

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Today I’ve just been taking it easy. Went to work to get some things done but didn’t over do it. Then I came to rest a little before I did some more work and started packing. I know it will be a lot on my body this week between flying, driving, walking, different weather and just be doing more. Hopefully I chose well while packing and will be comfortable while traveling. No matter how well I packed or not it will be totally worth it! Thankful I’m well enough to travel and spend time doing things I love.

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Let’s talk about parasites!!

Let’s talk about parasites!!

By Elysha

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Let’s talk about parasites!!

Eww I know, but they’re real and I’ve had them not only once but twice!!

The first one was Strongyloides: 
“Strongyloidiasis is a human parasitic disease caused by the nematode (roundworm) called Strongyloides stercoralis. It belongs to a group of nematodes called roundworms.”

How do you get Strongyloides?
▪The worms penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream.

▪The worms then move through your bloodstream and pass through the right side of your heart and into the lungs.

▪The parasites travel from the lungs up the windpipe and into your mouth.

▪You unknowingly swallow the worms, and they travel into your stomach.

▪The worms move into your small intestine where they lay eggs that hatch and become larvae.

▪The larvae go from your body in your feces.

▪The larvae can infect your body by penetrating the skin around your anus, or they can develop into mature worms and infect someone else.

▪They can also live and reproduce in the soil without a host

Rarely, the worms can penetrate the intestine of the host as larvae rather than pass out of the body through the feces.

The crazy thing with Strongyloides is they can lay dormant for years and you have no idea! That’s unfortunately what happened with me.

I went to Haiti in 2010, lived there in 2012 , got sick in 2014 and was diagnosed/treated in 2015. So we really don’t know when I got them.

When I lived in Haiti I was always careful of what I ate and drank. I didn’t even think of what I was wearing (or not wearing) I walked barefoot everywhere. I lived there, I was trying to be comfortable.

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The other parasite I got was right here in my own state!!

What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.”

How do you get Crypto?
There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, some of which also infect humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.

While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the US.

This one I got from a pool!! A POOL! This time last year there was an outbreak of Crypto in the county I live in. I had to do surveys for the county and state to help narrow down where the outbreak started.

Because I’ve had one parasite I have a higher chance of getting more. Fighting the second one was hard. What should’ve been a two day treatment took me two weeks inpatient at the hospital. I was there a total of four weeks.

A year after being diagnosed/treated with  Cryptosporidium and two years after being diagnosed/treated with Strongyloides I am parasite free but now dealing with the aftermath.

Most of my doctors feel that my GI and other issues stem from having gone undiagnosed for so long. Who would’ve thought a little worm could do so much damage?

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My chronic life: filled with pain and never ending questions

My chronic life: filled with pain and never ending questions

By Elysha

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Oh my. What a week!! I had the endoscopy last week, it went ok, redness, irritation, and now just waiting on the biopsy results. Just doing more test and blood work.

I’ve felt completely awful this week. I think part of it is being so busy, not resting and stress. I did enjoy seeing the other Divas over the weekend!! It’s always a blast seeing Cynthia and Abigail. There’s just so much going on. Today was one of those days where I tried all the tricks to feel just a little bit comfortable. Of course it’s not just my normal pain. My side hurts more than usual, tightness, swelling, bone pain and just extra achy.

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I tried teas, heating pads, drinking extra water,  tumeric shots, essential oils, streching, took two showers (one just because it felt good) and sitting as much as possible. I just want a little bit of relief!!

I’ve been extra emotional too!! Everything is so draining and I want to being doing more but physically can’t. It’s not the greatest thing but lately I’ve been thinking of what life would be like if I never got sick. Where would I be? What would I be doing? It gets me down but I have to stay positive! Remember all of the good things.

I really miss doing certain things. I’m super thankful I’m able to a lot just not as much as I could before. Now there’s a lot more planning! Stuff I didn’t have to worry about before.

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Things I have to ask myself  “Is that food going to upset my stomach?” “Is there a bathroom around?” “Do I want to dress for cuteness or comfort?” “Am I going to regret this later?” So many things to consider before doing something or traveling somewhere. There are things I will give in to just to have fun or feel normal. Do you have those days you give in no matter how you will feel?

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Little by little Cynthia is getting her life back and she has Oska Pulse to thank for it. Find out how it has helped her with endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and psoriatic arthritis in her series at TheDisabledDiva.com. Ready to start your own journey? Click on the picture and use promo code DIVA to save $55

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The search for a diagnosis continues

The search for a diagnosis continues

By Elysha

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So I’ve dealt with chronic illness for over 3 years now. So it’s safe for you to assume that I’ve seen A LOT of different doctors!! I’m still going to doctors to try to figure things out. I thought for awhile I can just deal with the pain and stop seeing doctors. I was so discouraged that we couldn’t find anything or we would try a new med and it didn’t help. It wasn’t just the pain bothering me though. Because of the pain along came other things, like depression, giving up, and self hate. I realized that I don’t want to live like this so I need to keep searching. Keep testing. Keep faith that I wasn’t going to be like this forever.

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After another ugly flare up that sent me to the hospital my mom talked to her friend that’s a GI doc. He agreed to see me. My mom also works with this guy so she knows he hates to be stumped and will do anything to try to figure things out. So I was excited to see what he had to say.

My biggest problem with seeing new doctors is not knowing where to start!! I start listing a few things, which leads to other things and then the “oh did I mention I lived in Haiti?”, then we look stuff up in Haiti, then they want to know what I did there and it just keeps going.

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It can be emotionally draining!! You talk about all these things that never worked, your body isn’t the same, your social life is different, you can’t do as much as you did before, you’re tired, and it goes on. I love talking about Haiti but sometimes it’s sad. It’s the main reason I’m sick. Sorry guys, this is me venting. I really love this new doctor and we’re doing some more testing, but it’s hard sometimes. So hopefully we can find something and try to improve things. If not, I will continue seeking answers and try not to get discouraged. Through this venting I hope you can be encouraged some how. Don’t forget… Keep the faith!

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Little by little Cynthia is getting her life back and she has Oska Pulse to thank for it. Find out how it has helped her with endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and psoriatic arthritis in her series at TheDisabledDiva.com. Ready to start your own journey? Click on the picture and use promo code DIVA to save $55

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Help! I’m Overheating!

Help! I’m Overheating!

By: Elysha

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So I’ve dealt with chronic pain for a little over 3 years now. It’s crazy, I’m still finding out what triggers my pain. I thought knew them all but I guess not!! What’s the new trigger?? Oh heat….here I am in the Valley of the Sun trying to stay cool with record breaking heat.

Thankfully I have a house and car with great AC but it’s all the in between! Even coming inside from the heat it takes awhile to cool down. So I’m trying new things to stay cool! What are things you do to keep cool?

Hi! Cynthia here with some advice to help Elysha and you stay chronically cool this summer

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Get to know Elysha

Getting to know Elysha

Hey everyone! So excited to share my story, the good things and everyday struggles. I just wanted to give you a brief view on my illness.

In 2014 I got sick. I had extreme abdominal pain and nausea. I was in and out of the hospital. Within 5 months I had countless hospital stays, test, scans, switched diets, tried meds, had my appendix and gallbladder removed and went from no specialist to 5.
Because I was so sick and still didn’t know what was going on I ended up resigning from Fry’s where I was a department manager. It was a hard decision but felt that’s what was best.
I went from working 50-60 hours a week to could barely get out of bed. I was weak and tired not just physically but emotionally. I was drained.
After almost 2 years of test, still not working and feeling awful I was FINALLY diagnosed with Stronyloides. I had a parasite! I had asked a doctor to test me a year before but he wouldn’t. I had lived in Haiti in 2012 and nobody tested me. Thankfully my GI doctor tested me.
I did the treatment and I’m parasite free but because I went undiagnosed for SO LONG I now suffer from the after effects. I daily deal with chronic pain and discomfort. Most of the time deal with nausea too. I’ve been diagnosed with a lot all stemming from the parasite. Unfortunately I’m more susceptible to them and have had others since then!!
It’s been a hard road but I’m thankful to be in a better place now. I’ve made a decision to take the bad and use it for good. I’m a firm believer in sharing your testimony, it brings healing to share and you never know how how it will help someone else. In doing this I hope people can find comfort or relate.

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