Shannon Wagstaff

 

Hello to everybody. My name is Shannon. I am 27. I have been married to Dan for 10 years in may. We have three children Ivan age 7, Nikki age 5, and Laura age 3. We have had very happy life until August 7, 1999 when mommy got sick.

 

I had just started back to work after many years of being a stay at home mom. I was very happy to go to work and the kids seemed to be having an ok time with the changes. One morning I woke up and felt like I had the flu. Aches and pains all over but not to bad. After a few days of this my throat started to hurt. It wasn't until I got the rash and my pain started to get worse that I started to worry. I went into the doctor and they did all kinds of blood work and found I was running a fever. They gave me antibiotics, steriods, and a cream for scabies. I used the cream and the rash went away. The steriods even made me feel better.

 

A few days later the pain came back, an almost unbearible pain all over my body. I could not even take myself to the restroom. My husband had to help me off the couch. After a week of this I went back into the doctors. More blood test. No idea why I was still having the fevers and no idea why I was still in so much pain. They gave me Lodine XL to help with the pain. Two days later my pain got bad again and just being plan scared to death of what was happening, I went into a Quick Care Clinic. The doctor looked at me and said I had the flu but she wanted some blood work done first before she sent me home. After the blood work came back she came into the room and said, " You are one sick girl!!" Oh what a relief to hear someone finally believe me. I was sick!! My white blood count was way too high and she thought I might have Cat Scratch Fever. After more blood work and still no real answers she got me an appointment the next day with a doctor in the clinic.

 

The next day I went into the clinic and started down a road of many blood test and no answers. They test me for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, lupas, Lyme Disease, anything and everything. Finally four weeks after all of this started at an appointment with an Internal Specialist, he told me that I need to go into the hospital so that they could just test me for everything. I had already had a Echocardiogram, CT of my abdomen to check out my liver. After I got into the hospital I had a Colonoscopy and chest X-Rays. Plus many blood test, they were coming into my room and taking 7 vials of blood at a time. At one point my fever had gotten so high they had to put me on a cooling blanket to make it come down. It was 105.5!!

 

After a week of three different IV antiobiotics and still no idea what was happening they sent me home. I had a doctors appointment with my Rheumatologist 8 days later and he told me I had Still's Disease. After eliminating everything else that is all they had left. The next thing to do was to leave me on Prednisone and start checking my Sed Rate regularly. He also pu me on a multivitamin and an Iron pill, I had become very anemic in the hospital. The next six weeks are just a blur of pain and doctors visits.

 

He stated me on MTX on November 11. I am up to 17.5mg. I have been trying to decrease my Prednisone from 60mg, I am now down to 40mg. I feel ok. I have bad days were I have a hard time doing anything without taking a nap. The pain is bad put bearible. The stiffness is worse. I have a fog in my head that makes me not think right. My good days are good. I can move without to much pain and the fog is gone. I can do housework with resting spells but no nap. I have a hard time with my monthly cycles and the doctor is talking about a Hysterectomy. I will gladly do that is the pain will stop.

 

I have been through so many different emotions. Most of them caused by two things. The medicaitons and the understanding that comes with a chronic illness. The knowing that I have now lost the me I was and trying to come to grips with the me I am now. I will never be the same. I know that I just can't jump up and run out the door with three kids to run down to the store for a gallon of milk. I am learning to deal with life in the slow, slow lane. I hope that I will find the right mix of medicaition that will return me to as close to normal as I can be. But for now I will take one day at a time and love my family because I am still here.

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