chronic illnessfaith

Life Changes: When A Trip To The Hospital Changes Your Life

Life With Chronic Illness: When A Trip To The Hospital Changes Your Life

As someone with chronic illness, I have been in the hospital more times than I can count on both of my hands but this last visit was life changing.

It was scary.

Life changing scary.

It all started very early on a Saturday morning. Like many other nights over the past year, I spent the night up sick and vomiting. I have continued to have issues sleeping (which only adds to the ever-present crushing fatigue of chronic illness), my GI system was definitely not a happy camper and I had one heck of a migraine. I was up for hours vomiting. Every time I would take a Zofran, it would immediately be back up along with anything else I tried to put in my body. John would come in routinely to check on me. I was growing weak and I knew I was becoming dehydrated.

I don’t remember anything else until the paramedics were trying to get me out of the bathroom floor.

Apparently, there was a point where I made it back to the bedroom and passed out. John was sleeping in the other room since I was sick so he could get some sleep and for some unknown reason to him at the time, he came into our room to check on me. He walked in to me projectile vomiting while passed out on my back in bed. He rolled me on my side and I continued to throw up but struggled to come to. He managed to get me to the bathroom and called 911. He worked on getting me cleaned up and somewhat alert while waiting on the EMTs to arrive.

The first thing I remember is being over the toilet crying and completely confused by what was happening. I struggled to comprehend the paramedics instructions and had no idea of what had just happened. The next thing I knew, I was in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and after what seemed like an eternity, they got an IV going and fluids and meds on board. It took John awhile to arrive as he had to get Abby situated and clean up the mess I had created. Most of that day was a haze with the exception of feeling like a pin cushion from what seemed like a constant stream of lab techs and nurses trying to draw blood (the initial IV would flush and give fluids but would not give blood). I have the crappiest veins on the planet on a normal day. Add in the dehydration and my veins are practically non-existent. Its not a great feature to have when you live with chronic illness. I would estimate that it took about ten tries before they were able to successfully draw initial labs.

In addition to the dehydration from the incessant vomiting, they were worried about my kidneys as my labs showed abnormalities so they were going to keep me at least overnight.

I was admitted on Saturday and was discharged on Monday (we spent Valentine’s Day in the hospital – how romantic). In that time, I blew through two IVs and became known throughout the hospital as the impossible stick. My arms were bruised badly from hands to shoulders. They were worried I may have aspirated vomit while I was passed out so I was on antibiotics the course of my stay and given nebulizer treatments (thankfully, my lungs stayed clear and there were no signs of infection). they were able to rule out a possible obstruction early on but wanted to do a CT Enterography to check for other issues.

When they sunk the last IV, it was a major struggle and the only way they were able to secure a line was by using a small gauge IV. I wasn’t on constant fluids at that point so it was able to get the job done until they decided to do the CT. They needed a larger gauge in the bend of my arm to run the IV contrast. This was the start of a quest and finding a vein proved as difficult a search as finding the holy grail. I saw I don’t know how many charge nurses followed by ICU nurses before the finally called in two anesthesiologists. Room 443 was hoppin’ place to be.

After the anesthesiologists couldn’t find a vein, it was decided that we needed to give my veins a break and we would just do the CT on an outpatient basis. It was very unlikely it would reveal anything that would need to lengthen my stay and at this point, I was completely on board. I was exhausted and ready to go home. They discharged me at the absolute worse time weather-wise as an ice storm was rolling in but after an icy and heart pounding drive home, I was so beyond glad to be back with my family. Chloe didn’t leave my side for hours. Just like Charlie would have done.

The hospital visit itself wasn’t anything extraordinary but it was what lead up to it that has left a heavy mark not only on my life but on John’s as well.

I think it was God that woke John up and had him check on me at just the right moment but we are both plagued with the thoughts of “what if?” What if he hadn’t walked in when he did? Would I have eventually woke myself up or would I have aspirated and choked and the outcome have gone another way? Would I still be here?

I cannot even begin to imagine what John had to see when he came in the room to find me passed out and vomiting. I cannot imagine the fear that had to be running rampant through his veins. Getting me to a safe place. The 911 call. The clean up. Trying to figure out what to tell Abby. I know that the fear and the nightmares are still there and probably will be for some time. I wish there was something I could say to make it all go away but I know there isn’t.

My fears rest in the unknown. All the things that happened that I have absolutely no memory of. How could I have been so sick but be too weak to know it? To know that there was a great possibility that had John not walked in when he did, he could have found me dead instead of throwing up. Or worse, Abby could have found me. Those are the thoughts that haunt me. I still hold my breath at the sound of a siren. My life is forever changed knowing how quickly things could have gone in a different direction.

Rising Above Adversity & Chronic Illness

As scary as this whole experience was and how much the thoughts still plague my mind, I cannot help but praise God. Praise God for waking John up in time. Praise God that I didn’t end up sicker than I did. Praise God for another day, another minute, another second of life. Praise God for the reminder that life is so, so precious and nothing, absolutely nothing, should be taken for granted. Praise God for another day to share my story and hope that it can touch someone else’s heart and help them know that they are not alone. And praise God that He can continue to make broken moments beautiful, the weak made strong, and scary situations an opportunity to share His grace, love, and mercy.

[bctt tweet=”Praise God that He can continue to make broken moments beautiful, the weak strong & scary situations an opportunity to share His grace”]

It has taken me so long to write this post for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t ready to relive it, and 2) how do you find the words? I wanted to share initially just as an update but it turned into something more. Something much deeper than I had anticipated. This was hard. Really hard. But it helped knowing that you guys are out there supporting me and praying for me. There are no words to describe my gratitude. My cup runneth over.

I want to find a way to mark this moment in my life for the good, not for the scary. I’ve thought that a new tattoo may be the way to go but I’m stuck on what to get. I’ve got so many ideas rolling around in my head. What would you suggest?

 

chronic illness

Game On: Taking Living Boldly to Heart

 

Living Boldly With Chronic Illness When The Going Gets Tough

If you don’t follow me on social media (which by the way – why aren’t you, hmmm?), I spent most of last night at the ER. I have been dealing with the “usual” – abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc. I had had an appointment at my endometriosis doctor, Dr H, and had felt so weak, nauseated, and in so much pain, she sent me straight to the ER. Of course, as you know, the doctor you get at the ER is the luck of the draw. You can get lucky (like I did at my last visit in November) but this time I wasn’t so lucky. I ended up with one of “those” doctors that automatically walked in with a chip on his shoulder. He was in the room no more than five minutes and never laying a hand on me and the only treatment I received was Benadryl (seriously?!). I did finally receive some Zofran after dry heaving for who knows how long and the fact that they could not get any blood from me because I was so dry until I had a liter of fluids in me. I have the massive bruises and poke marks to prove it. I know when your scans and your blood work comes back normal their hands are tied regardless of how hellish you feel so they have to send you on your way.

Needless to say, I was PISSED when I left. Not the most ladylike term but I was. Let’s not get into how angry my husband was.

There was good that came out of the whole ordeal.

I am tired of taking all of this laying down and waiting for some doctor to have a break through and find a way to not exact heal me, but find a way to at least make life more liveable.

Today, I am taking it into my own hands. I am taking my own advice to LIVE BOLDLY. For months it has sat as the tagline to my blog title. I am ready to make it more. I am ready to take the phrase: live boldly to heart. I am ready to grab the bull by the horns and get on this. I am FURIOUS in all sense of the word.

I was determined to get out of the house today. My husband and I finally bought a car (we have been a one car family for quite some time waiting on disability to finally roll through) and I am SO thrilled. Its not brand new or super fancy by the worlds standards but for me, it is absolutely perfect. Something I have always, always wanted was a moon roof and this has one! We were actually looking at other models on the lot and the salesman pointed out this one and after a false start on the test drive (we’ve never driven a car with a sports mode), we were sold and now its ours! YAY!

There is so much to be said for taking “Live Boldly” to heart. I am actually working with my favorite jewelry designer ever, Jenjer over at FJJ Creations, to come up with a necklace that says “Live Boldly” and I can’t wait to see what she has to come up with.

I am just so excited. I am full of energy (maybe not so good at almost 1am) but I am feel so revitalized, invigorated, and just ready to take on the world. There are some awesome things that can come out of being furious.

I hope you are are all ready to join me on this wild ride of living boldly with chronic illness that I am about to embark on! GAME ON!

 

 

chronic illnessfaith

My Word for 2016: Furious

MY-WORD-FOR-2016-FURIOUS

I am a little late getting my act together on what my hopes and dreams are for 2016. I was able to travel for Christmas which was a huge, huge blessing but ever since it has been one major crash after another. As some of you may know, last year I had to have my gallbladder removed (which was a soap opera in and of itself) and the surgeon who performed the procedure noticed that I was full of adhesions but chose to not take them down for some reason beyond my understanding (and several other doctors I have spoken with). Instead he predicted that I would have a major obstruction within a year. Two at most. That surgery was in July and I had an obstruction in November. Thankfully, I know exactly what it means to throw up “coffee grounds” so we were able to catch it early and we were able to avoid surgery with time in the hospital on NPO.

Unfortunately the problems have only continued to get worse. After the gallbladder fiasco, I am done dealing with the local surgeons and my gastroenterologist referred me to surgeon that he hand picked so we can get another opinion of what is really going on and have some sort of plan of action. My endo doctor is also on board with getting another option as with adhesions being the primary issue, she would rather have a skilled general surgeon take the helm but would like a gyn to be on hand to check for endometriosis while they are in there if surgery were to happen. I will also be doing the Clomid challenge soon to check FSH levels for the possible of ORS or endo.

I had my appointment last Monday at CMC for my first consult with the new surgeon. She was really nice, very thorough, and while she was very frank when we spoke (no sugar coating here), she had a great bedside manner. That quality is extremely important to me in learning to trust a doctor. I know things aren’t always going to be puppies and rainbows but delivery is key. Anyone else with me on this?

I appreciated this quality in her even more when she told me that she would be calling a hospital board meeting before making any decisions on what to do next. She would be calling together other surgeons, radiologists, gastroenterologists (including my own), and anesthesiologists to discuss my case and formulate a game plan (you know you are a spoonie when . . . ). The first step will most likely be some type of advanced imaging to get a better idea of what is going on in there. Surgery may be on the table at some point but we are currently between a rock and a hard place. Because of all of my prior surgeries and adhesions, the likelihood of being able to do anything laparoscopically would be next to none and there are obvious risks of doing any kind of full incision (especially when the focus would be in a small area overall). The initial surgical incision if done blindly (or even with scans) can be dangerous or even fatal depending on where things are adhered.

So now we are faced with two options: 1) do we go ahead and do the scans to have them for reference and then wait until I obstruct to go in to fix everything and I just have to suffer with the pain now; or 2) do we take the chance to move ahead with surgery to take down adhesions and hopefully help the pain while risking injury and knowing adhesions could return?

It is definitely a hard question that has been weighing on my mind. The board meeting will be in a couple weeks so hopefully we’ll have some sort of plan put together.

All of this rambling and updating does have a purpose and does tie into the title of this post. Obviously everything that has been going on has made me incredibly anxious and filling my mind with so many doubts and questions. At times I have just felt like my head was spinning but I am ready to get back up, put on my gloves, and start fighting.

So I chose my word for 2016:

Furious.

DEFINITION-OF-FURIOUS

 

Most of the time when people think about the word furious, they think of anger but that is not all of it. The other definition is “full of intensity, energetic, or fierce.”

I don’t want to live 2016 full of anger. I want to live 2016 full of intensity.

I want to live furiously.

I want to love furiously.

I want to work furiously to make a difference in the lives of others.

One song that has trying been a life changing song for me over the past few months is called “Furious Love” by Veridia. It immediately touched me to my core. It reminded me that we can try our butt off trying to please others by being something that we are not but God made each and every one of us perfect just the way we are. He loves us so much, so intensely, and so furiously that He sent us a Savior, a Hero. 

FURIOUS-LOVE-LYRICS-VERIDIA

 

In order to live the life of intensity that I want for myself this year, I need to set goals for myself. I always try to think of my health in a holistic sense so I want to set a goal to cover each area of my life including the physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, something that is just fun and something to get out of your comfort zone.

Here are my goals:

1- In order to help my body have more energy in 2016, I will strive exercise four days a week (with a minimum of a 10 minute walk). I would also like to look fierce in my bathing suit at Disney in September 🙂

2- In order to better focus my mind and emotions so that I can focus on enjoying the positive ones more fully in 2016, I will strive to find alternative ways to confront my anxiety, such as through writing, art, or possibly equine therapy.

3- In order to ignite a deeper and more furious love for Christ in 2016, I will strive to read at least one spiritual/discipleship book a month and start keeping a prayer journal again. Some of the books on my reading list are Dear Woman by Chavos Buycks, God is Able by Priscilla Shrirer,  and Chronic Resilience by Danea Horn.

4- In order to have some furious fun 2016, I will strive to expand my makeup skills by taking at least one in person makeup lesson/course and at least 2 online courses. I know there are places in the Charlotte area that offer classes (meet up anyone? LOL) and there are also websites where you can receive one-on-one instruction from a makeup artist or stylist via webcam. This goal has me really excited!

5- In order to have a life full of intensity and challenge myself to spread my wings in 2016, I will strive to write an ebook this year! It is something that I have always wanted to do but the thought honestly scares the crap out of me which is even more of a reason why I should strive to achieve it this year! Would anyone even want to read a book that I’ve written?! Ack! My stomach has butterflies just typing this! Can I do this?

I will be sharing more about my blogging goals for the year tomorrow but these are the five big ones I will focus on to make me a healthier person as a whole in 2016. I am so super excited and can’t wait to get started!

Did you select a word for 2016? What are some of your goals or hopes for the year?

 

P.S. Back in the day, A New Kind of Normal had a feature called “Sharing Our Spoons” where each of us would set goals for ourself and have monthly check ins on how we were doing to help support and encourage one another. It was also set up in a way to encourage us to take care of ourselves as a whole, not just the physical aspects of our health. I would love to do that again if anyone is interested! You don’t have to follow the same holistic model if you don’t want to but if you just have a couple goals for the year that you would like to receive some support and encouragement, that would work as well too! Just leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

P.S.S. If you would also like to live furiously in 2016 and would like a visual reminder for your blog, grab the banner in the sidebar!