Hope Gunter

First post: Feb 28, 2013 Latest post: Jun 2, 2017
Welcome to my CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated (since not everyone has Facebook). We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when we need it most.  We know we have a long battle ahead but we are focused and staying positive!

After months of fatigue, not feel well and numerous doctor visits, my body finally gave me symptoms that led to my diagnosis.  My blood pressure has been high since my mid twenties, but in December of 2012 became so high that I started my ongoing trips for medication adjustments. During the visits my doctor would ask what other symptoms I had and my fatigue and "just not feeling well" didn't point him to anything other than my blood pressure.  In the beginning of February, I went to the blood pressure clinic in Walnut Creek for a check and after a blood pressure of 225/112 two times, I was sent to the ER.  During this visit, while bringing my pressure down, they determined that I had not experience a heart attack but scheduled me for a cardiac stress test the next day. 

I arrived at the stress test and once again my blood pressure was still so high that the cardiologist refused to do the test.  They notified my doctor and he added a new medication (a type of nitroglycerin).   After the first dose I immediately got a headache and since I knew I had to get the blood pressure down, I continued to take the medication.  For five days the headache continued to the point that it was excruciating.  I started taking leftover Vicodin from a previous back injury just to be able to function.  During this time I started to throw up anything I ate or drank and had not been able to "go" in days.  I blamed it on the medication and large amount of Vicodin that I was taking. 

On February 16th, the girls and I had planned a surprise 50th birthday party for Ron.  During that day, I felt increasingly bad but knew that if I had to get Ron to the party.  Looking back, I realize that this was the best thing that could of happened.  The party was a complete success and although I cut my night short, getting out of the house made me realize that something was seriously wrong.  On Sunday morning, I decided not to take the new blood pressure medication and was shocked to realize that without the headache (and taking so much pain medication) I had a terrible stomach ache and the vomiting was continuing and I still couldn't "go".

I called the advice nurse who set me up with a phone appointment with a doctor who decided I needed to be seen and made an appointment with a clinic doctor.  I felt so bad and we were running a bit late so Ron dropped me off at the front door and went to park the car.  I checked in and was immediately called back to the room.  After a brief listen to my stomach, the doctor asked if anyone was with me and sent out for Ron to come in.  He told us that he heard no sounds in my stomach and could see the obvious bloating and felt I needed to go the ER.

Once in the ER, they started by giving me morphine and an anti-nausea medication, which helped immediately and then started with the X-ray, which led to a CT scan.  The ER doctor came in and said that they saw a blockage and would need to do a colonoscopy.  She gave me the choice of spending the night in the hospital and having it done the next day or going home and scheduling it for later in the week.  Although I hated to stay in the hospital, I knew that without the medication they were giving me, I would be right back to where I was so I decided to stay.

This began our nightmare journey.  Monday morning, they took me in for a sigmoidoscopy instead of the colonoscopy because of the vomiting (I wouldn't have been able to keep the contrast down).  I was given medication to help me relax which pretty much knocked me out.  During the test, they found my colon was completely blocked and took biopsies of the mass.  The doctor came out and told Ron that they didn't know what it was at this point and would send the biopsies out to the pathology department.

A surgeon came in and told us that I would need surgery to remove the blockage.  He would get it scheduled and I would have to stay in the hospital due to pain management and the NG tube they had placed (a tube that went in my nose down to my stomach to remove the fluid to help stop me from throwing up).   On Tuesday morning, the surgeon told me that the soonest he could schedule the surgery was Friday.  Needless to say, I was pretty upset and I didn't think I could take waiting that long (the NG tube was awful!)  He said he would do his best to work me in sooner.

(to continue reading my story, go to the journal)

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