In a few of my past posts I have been vague regarding a few of my medical problems and have done so on purpose. I now feel it’s time to disclose details of the mystery, my journey and hope it will possibly help others.
In 2005, when I left the hospital in Pennsylvania with a spinal cord injury and began the battle to uncover what was wrong, I didn’t know I was also leaving the hospital with another problem that would be as difficult to diagnosis and treat as my spinal cord injury. The problem: Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or more widely known as MRSA. As you may know, MRSA is a staph germ that doesn’t respond to most antibiotics and is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous infections to the general public since there is no cure.
Doctors believe while I was in the Operating Room I was infected with MRSA and it settled in my sinuses — a weak area in my body since I broke my nose when I was young and have had several sinus surgeries due to complications. Left untreated since my spinal cord injury, the MRSA invaded my body and continued to advance and ultimately moved into my left frontal sinus (the sinus cavity closest to the eyes, brain and forehead).
I was having constant sinus infections, but would take a two- or three-week course of antibiotics and would feel better and thought it was under control. I am also a big believer in using a Neti Pot to flush out the sinuses, so I was continuing to do this regularly. Dr. Liar was pumping me full of steroids, which also kept down the inflammation and kept me from feeling the full MRSA side effects. I began seeing a new Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor in New Jersey since my current one was retiring and he was perplexed as to why I was continuing to get reoccurring sinus infections despite antibiotics, steroids, etc. He sent me for CT scans, x-ray’s, did nasal swabs to test for fungus and other infections and all tests came back normal.
During the next few years I would see numerous sinus experts at Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania and a host of other top-notch hospitals. I had so many physicians, students, residents and others look into my nose and sinus cavities and say such odd statements that if I had a dime for each one I would be a rich woman. Many wanted to operate, some sent me to other specialists, and many said there was nothing they could do.
And then I met ‘Rock Star’ Dr. P. at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. My husband nicknamed him since he has groups of students following him and feed off his every word. The day we met him we understood why. He is brilliant. He took one look at my left sinus and said “you have MRSA somewhere in your sinuses. Classic case. Let’s do a CT scan and a swab (like none I had ever had done before) while you are here, start rinsing with this ‘recipe’ and I will call you with the results within a few days.”
A few days later, Dr. P. confirmed I did indeed have MRSA and began a treatment of antibiotics. The swab results indicated that there were two antibiotics that would ‘kill’ the MRSA and along with it, yes, you guessed it, he prescribed steroids.
I could go into pages of details regarding this three-year battle. How I ended up being allergic to many of the antibiotics they prescribed, how the MRSA-resistant antibiotics didn’t work, EVER. I could write about the office visits with the Infectious Disease doctor to consider having I.V. antibiotics, but it was decided I wouldn’t be a good candidate due to my past A-fib and flutter problems. I could also go into detail about the course of antibiotics costing $6,000 and how I didn’t leave the house for three weeks due to stomach problems and had to take two other medications so I could take the antibiotic. I could also discuss the abundance of yeast throughout my body from all the medications. Or, I could simply explain how my body began to shut down…partly from the MRSA, and from too much medication. I blew up from all the steroids, yeast, antibiotics and when I looked in the mirror I had no idea who I was. And, along with a spinal cord injury, MRSA, I now had Cushing’s Disease, was diabetic and didn’t know it. I was a time bomb and if certain things didn’t happen the way they did I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today.
Following our move to Virginia in 2010, two very important doctors entered my life — I have written about both in previous posts. God sent me to these two special people since these two doctors would end up saving my life. Remarkably, one cured me of MRSA; however, that information will be in part two of this post. Stay tuned.
©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com 2012.