Gabby Lowe

It started in May 2018, i began having a benign pain that would come and go which manifested into something a lot bigger. I had taken a trip to my doctor by the beginning of June just because the pain felt so odd, and foreign to me..My Doctor had told me i caught something viral and that the pain i was experiencing was probably just the virus affecting my bowels. She prescribed me laxatives and sent me home.  One day at the beginning of July, i was out at the mall with my friend. Randomly this small small aching pain turned into severe pain. I soon became very irritated and couldn't walk or stand up, and found myself sitting down any chance i could get while she looked for clothes. 2 or 3 hours later i couldn't stand this little stabbing pain anymore and decided to go home. i disregarded the pain for a couple days thinking maybe i was just pushing myself too hard and that all i needed was a little more rest. But soon i started to hurt  everywhere, everyday. Pain I had never felt in my life and it wasn’t going away. Everyday I felt beyond sick and miserable. The feeling never went away but it would lessen then get worse...It is now mid-July and out of nowhere the pain is at its worst. I can’t walk, sit down, lay down, stand up, I’m just in all this severe pain and all I want is to sleep. i find myself profusely  sweating, throwing up, and blacking out while cutting hair at work. I went home that day, took a shower and decided to look at the area where my pain was coming from myself. My upper back thigh, and butt was swollen, red and purple, hot to touch, i could literally feel insane heat radiating off of me in that area. So I went back to my doctor, this time she diagnosed me with sciatica ( a nerve injury to the spine) without ever doing any type of testing to prove that’s what I had. I again, accepted what she said and took my muscle relaxers she prescribed me for a week and even made physical therapy appointments that I “needed”. Another week went by and at this point I can’t get out of bed at all, my medicine is not doing anything for me, I can’t get up to go to work, I feel like i'm always half conscious and can't stay awake, I'm in bed curled up under 6 blankets shivering yet sweating, and sleeping my life away in the middle of summer, because I just felt so freezing and tired. I couldn’t even physically sit down to go pee anymore and would have to use one of the showers in my apartment. I was in a constant state of misery and crying from being in so much pain. So I called my mom and she took me to St Mary’s ER. I got there and never even saw a hospital room. I once again was not given any type of screening, x-ray, scan or anything to prove I had sciatica. I was told to “bend over and touch my toes” and then they threw me more muscle relaxers and sent me home, meanwhile i was sweating through my clothes onto their waiting room chairs from a high fever and couldn't keep my head up and eyes open. At this point I could barely walk or do anything physically by myself.  My mom took me to her house to keep an eye on me and make sure I was getting my medicine...that again was not helping. The next day she got home from work and I’m curled up in her bed because I could no longer  get up and walk at all. i had slept for 10-11 hours straight and was barely conscious. I told her I knew my body and needed to go to the ER again, this time I went to Calverts ER and they were amazed that no one had done any type of tests on me. I demanded that someone do an exam of my upper back thigh and my butt area. The doctor immediately knew it was NOT sciatica when I was describing my pain and she had seen the area, she ordered a CT scan, urine tests and blood cultures. I spent 10 hours in the ER with a 103 fever and my white blood cell count at 23,000(your wbc should be 4,000-11,000 At the most)...indicating I Had some type of infection in my body. After my CT scan , they had found an Abscess that was growing in my body and admitted me into the hospital. I had emergency surgery the next morning to have it removed, where after , my surgeon, a grown man, said it was the size of his fist, if not a little bigger and that it had to have been there for well over a month.  I went into emergency surgery first thing the next morning to have it drained in removed otherwise i would have died. I spent the next week in the hospital being pumped with different Meds and antibiotics to get the infection under control and make sure my wound from the abscess was healing ok. The first antibiotic that was put through my Iv ended up putting me int anaphylactic shock, i stopped breathing and turned purple, it took a good hour to reverse and exit my body. My body was shaking like i was having a seizure and i had to be held down for a good 30 minutes, This ended up prolonging my stay in the hospital due to the fact that they now had to find another antibiotic to target my sepsis and two other infections.  By the time I made it to the ER, I was borderline septic meaning that sepsis had barley hit my blood stream, I was infected with ecoli and another bacterial infection. it was a long healing process, from packing my wound everyday(taking a dry a needle and packing a long dry string of gauze in my wound), kicking crying and screaming..not just physically but mentally as well.  Fast forward to October of 2018, i am healed but now always in a constant state of worrying over my health.. even over the smallest of things. Constantly going to the doctor and getting blood work done, check ups, being prescribed antibiotics just out of the fear something like this could happen to me again. multiple trips back to my surgeon telling him something was wrong again, just for him to tell me I was okay and to stop worrying.  Come February/ March of 2019, the same symptoms from the initial abscess have reoccured. I start bleeding and draining pus and infection from my incision site. I take a trip back to calverts ER twice where they finally refer me to a specialist at John Hopkins. I had another CT scan done which showed a fistula, which is what initially caused my abscess, that never got removed from the first surgery. By the end of April 2019, i am now admitted into another surgery. The plan was to perform a full fistulotomy. Lay the fistula flat and have it heal from the inside out.  Unfortunately,  My fistulotomy did not go as planned. My surgeon found  It to be a more complex case. i had multiple fistula tracts with only external openings and no internal openings, meaning they could not be dug into, cleaned out and laid flat.. The temporary alternative was to insert a draining tube into the fistula for the next month, until i accidentally ripped it out two weeks later. by that point my surgeon left the tube out and advised me to come back by the end of may if my draining never stopped.... which it unfortunately did not. i then was ordered a Full MRI of my abdomen in the beginning of June 2019.. By the end of June , i was at work and noticed i was bleeding and leaking infection very badly, randomly once again. I got in touch with my surgeon and he had summed it up as "your infection is back" and quickly sent me out 2 antibiotics. 2 days later, on Monday morning, July1st, i got a phone call saying i was being admitted into surgery tomorrow..Tuesday July 2nd.... So that leaves us here.. My rectal surgeon was able to locate the internal opening of the fistula tract thanks to the MRI..which was positioned above my sphincter muscle. A Fistulotomy was performed and a seton was inserted. The seton allows the fistula and any associated cavity to drain and to contract down. It also keeps the tract and external site open so that a new abscess is much less likely to develop. This type of fistulotomy is staged and will have to be completed in 2 stages because of the length of the tract and severity of the pain. The length of the fistula tract is about 4 inches long. The seton was placed into the top half of the tract and within the next few weeks the fistula should begin to heal from the inside out. In 4 weeks, i will have surgery yet again for the 5th time and have a seton placed into the bottom portion of the fistula tract. i have so many things I'm feeling, Mostly negative,  I can't even begin to describe. I had 3 people misdiagnose me which is completely unacceptable, If I didn’t know my body and had continued to walk around with this abscess inside of me , there is a high chance I could’ve went full septic and died. It’s hard to not be angry knowing if someone would have just done their job, listened to me and caught what was going on earlier, that this all could’ve been preventable. I'm angry but mostly sad that I have this continuously going on. My anxiety has been through the roof. This is something that has disrupted the quality of my life so tremendously in such a small amount of time. So what i will say is please, pay attention to your health. There’s nothing wrong with Getting a second opinion, or third, or fourth if you feel it’s needed.  I am here for anybody that is going through something where they feel they are  in need of a listening ear, a little more understanding, shoulder to cry on, or hand to hold. Thank you to everyone who has showed me unconditional love and support through this ongoing journey of mine. It is appreciated tremendously, God bless.