‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, February 02, 2009

What I'm Going Through Right Now

Sorry if you already read this on my facebook page. I just thought i should post it here while I'm up to it:

I hate having to explain things over and over again, which is what I'm finding myself doing lately. So I thought if I wrote a note on FB, I would be informing a very large percentage of people I know in one fell swoop. It will make things easier for me -- less explaining.

I'm not well, physically speaking. After a bout of salmonella poisoning in early January, I started having a series of really strange symptoms that were causing me alot of pain & discomfort. I couldn't turn my neck, couldn't bend, couldn't even dress myself, my eyes burned all the time, my knees and other joints were really swollen & red, and a few other symptoms that I'd rather not talk about here. I finally went to the doctor, and after a series of lab tests, I was diagnosed with Reiter's Syndrome, which is a rare auto immune disease that comes as a result of a salmonella infection.

I did everything the doctor said, and made an appointment with a specialist and took my meds. The pain came and went. Meantime, I did as much research online as I could, and found out this is a lifelong chronic illness that is not going anywhere. The usual way it manifests is 4-6 months of symptoms followed by 6 months to several years of remission, and then back again. Several people I've met online, however, never have remissions. Some are in wheelchairs, which scares the hell out of me. All of them deal with the pain every day.

If I'm honest, I'm pretty depressed about this turn of events. It's already caused me to miss several days of work, and for the past two days I have been stuck in bed, unable to even sit long enough to pee -- until tonight. My daughter even has to help me dress, because I can't bend my legs or back when it's really bad. I know, embarrassing, but I'd rather tell it like it is. Even turning over in bed caused excruciating pain. And then, around 6pm, the swelling started to dissipate and, right now, I just have swelling in my knees, lower back and fingers ( a bit.) It still hurts, but it is not unbearable.

I got this because of salmonella. The salmonella came from tainted peanut butter crackers ( you've seen it on the news.) The stupid factory in Georgia that sent out the tainted peanut butter KNEW it was tainted and SENT IT OUT ANYWAY. Damn them. Well, at least now the FDA is going after them.

Anyway, I found a great lawyer who is also representing lots of other people sickened by the PB salmonella outbreak. The law firm is currently paying for my blood work and further lab tests. I'm one of only a handful of people who contracted Reiter's Syndrome from the tainted peanut butter. We will have a lifetime of medical bills, cortisone shots, blood work, etc and, as most of you know, I am not insured. I need to go to court over this to pay for my future medical bills.

I'm sorry. I think I'm writing this mostly to vent my anger, but also to just explain my current situation, so friends and students will understand #1 my grumpy mood and #2 my likelihood of missing more work, etc. I HATE being incapacitated. It makes me feel OLD and unproductive, but right now I just have to live with it.

Please have patience and understanding. If I'm being less than nice when you speak with me, it is probably because I am dealing with alot of pain. I just don't want to have to talk about it all the time.

I appreciate prayers. I know they help. I just don't want my anger at the situation to be in charge. I want to find some understanding about it.

Well, thanks for listening. Sorry I won't be blogging as much as usual.


  1. Keri, I am so sorry this happened. Sending hugs, prayers and energy your way.

  2. I am praying for you! What a terrible thing! I hope that you are able to win your suit.

  3. I am so sorry. I know what you are talking about. I am currently in "remission" from an autoimune disease called sarcoidosis. It was a horrible affliction. I was on prednisone for 16 months. That drug both ruined and saved my life.
    I will be praying for you.

  4. I just stumbled across your blog and read right from the beginning. Thank you for sharing your stories.

    I do hope you feel well soon.


  5. I am so sorry this is happening to you. This totally sucks. I hope you are able to get your medical bills covered.

  6. More than prayers- Anything you need, even if it's just someone to talk to...

    Thinking of you, Faerie Mama....

  7. I am sorry that you are going through this and I hope the people in Georgia get what is coming to them for this carelessness. Just know that you will be in my prayers.

  8. Oh, Keri - I'm so sorry to hear this. I have Fibromyalgia that was brought on by a fall on some icy steps that weren't mine. Those auto-immune disorders are wicked! Unfortunately, I know all to well about pain and grumpiness and the grieving process you have to go through before you can really learn to live with it.

    One thing I can recommend, though, is see if there are any dietary changes you can make to decrease the symptoms. I know for me that aspartame will flare things faster and worse than anything. That stuff is pretty much rigermortis in a bottle!

    Blessings to you, my friend!

  9. sending prayers from my corner of the world and wishing you health and happiness. im so sorry this has happend to you
    xoxo karen

  10. Anonymous7:13 PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. My dad suffered from Reiter's Syndrome in his twenties, he spent over a year in bed and then another year learning to do basic things like walk again. He said the pain was still around in much lower proportions over the next few years and slowly disintegrated to nothing. He's now in his mid 50s and has never had trouble from it again! There is definitely hope :)
    I hope that you find some relief soon xx

  11. More prayers and hugs...

  12. So sorry to hear you are going through all of this. We'll be praying of ryou.

  13. I'm so bummed for you.. on top of having to deal with RAD issues too.. I will be praying. I'm sorry.

  14. Hi Faeriemama,
    very sorry to hear about this- from yourself, as we haven't had this story over here in England.
    I hope you are coping ok, and that you have plenty of support.
    Let's hope your law people come up trumps for you-i know it won't put things right, but it might make things a little more bearable.

  15. Thanks everyone SO much for your kind words and comments. This afternoon I'm feeling better, so it's a big relief. Still pain, but not unbearable like the past few days. Now I'm getting calls from local papers who want to interview me since this salmonella outbreak is such a big news story right now. Not sure if I want to be the local face for salmonella poisoning.. lol.

    I'm looking forward to trying acupuncture for it, and ANYTHING else that is recommended by people who have it. If you run into anyone with this syndrome, please have them stop by my blog and give me some advice. I'm so very grateful for all the offers of prayer, too. Huge Thanks to you all!

    And I should mention that my amazing daughter is being VERY understanding...but I'm getting ready for the eventual meltdown just in case :)

  16. You are in my prayers.

  17. You poor dear.... I am horrified! I'm also horrified that anyone could do that! First in China, where we think people are "different"...and now here in our own country. Well, it seems self-defeating if nothing else.

    I will be praying for you. God has some plan here. I know from personal experience (and particularly that of my husband, which I've never gone into much on the blog) that a lot of pain can result in blessings. But I can't imagine you wanting to hear that now! And, frankly - MY prayer is that you recover completely!

    You seem to me to be just the sort of person who will have COMPLETE REMISSION. That is what I will pray for!

  18. I will remember you in my prayers!

  19. Lord, have mercy!

    I got behind on your blog, so am just now catching up with you. I'm so sorry you're in so much pain, and will keep you and Anastasia in my prayers.


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