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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crazy ER trip

For a little over a week I've had a cough on and off. It's gotten pretty deep at times, but it hasn't been consistent enough to go to the doctor. We've just been doing a nice little homemade cough syrup which takes care of it. I just haven't been feeling great the past few weeks.

On Tuesday I woke up feeling weak and worn out. I took a shower and then went to lay on the couch. I continued to feel worse. It began getting harder and harder to walk because I was so weak. It kept getting worse and got to the point where I couldn't walk from the couch to the kitchen. My body felt limp and it was hard to control my body. My heart started pounding so I had my mom listen to it. My heart rate was 150-165bpm even when I was just resting.

My dad was running errands so he stopped by my primary care doctor because they weren't answering their phones. They didn't have any openings that day so they told me to go to the urgent care doctor. Both of my parents went with me. We got there around 4pm I think. I had a little fever and my heart rate and blood pressure were still high (and my blood pressure is usually low, not high). The doctor there told us to go to the hospital. She was worried about my heart rate and severe weakness with fever. So off we went.

We got to the hospital, got checked in, and went through triage. They actually accessed my port this time! I was so dehydrated and they couldn't find any veins. They made my mom help them since they don't access ports a lot. The nurse had to stick the needle in twice because he didn't get it in right. He was so nice and caring though. They drew blood, gave me nausea medicine, and sent me to the waiting room.

The waiting room was so crowded. Apparently Tuesday was their trauma day. The hospitals rotate trauma days, which means that all the trauma gets sent to that hospital. Someone said each hospital has trauma days every 4 days. There were 44 people waiting to be seen in the ER, and 16 rooms. Plus any emergencies that came in an ambulance or helicopter. One lady told us that 8 new ER rooms were opening up next week. Uh thanks for sharing that, but that does us no good right now.

After about 3 and a half hours of waiting in the waiting room, we decided to go to another hospital. We were told that there were still at least 5 people in front of me, plus any emergencies that came in. We called a new hospital that is closer to our house and there was no wait. We told the triage nurses that we were leaving. Then, all the sudden they had a bed open for me. Coincidence? No. They didn't want us to leave. Well, my bed was in the hall. There were a couple of beds in the hall. The doctor came over and talked to us very briefly and then put in the orders for the medicine and fluids. My nurse was taking care of the patient in the bed next to me who had a head injury. My nurse was very nice, but took a little too much time with them. She was looking up pizza places on her iPhone for them and talking about everything with them. I'm glad that she's so sweet and actually cares for her patients, but it was a little crazy and our patience had already worn out.

So another nurse stepped in and got my meds. The doctor ordered 2 bags (2 liters) of fluids, and Dilauded and Valium. We aren't really sure why he gave me all that medicine, but we didn't argue. I had been really upset and scared because of my symptoms and because we had been waiting so long with me feeling that bad. They started the fluids and ran the 2 bags at once. Then they gave me the Dilauded and Valium, and for the first time in a long time, I wasn't hurting and I was relaxed and calm. But it made me feel really weird. That's just a lot of medicine. My heart calmed down but then shot back up so I started worrying again. But the nurse said that is normal with narcotics and . Your body is kinda shocked for a while so your heart rate goes up, and then it calms back down.

My nurse got the discharge papers early so that we could leave as soon as the fluids were done.

Finally, 8 hours after we started the whole process, I got to go home. We got home a little after midnight. I was able to walk upstairs and go to bed.

I was so dehydrated that I didn't have to go to the bathroom all night even after the 2 liters of fluids.

The doctor sent me home with a prescription for a muscle relaxer that is also given to MS patients because it helps calm the central nervous system. It helps relax the muscles and nerves, plus a lot of other things. When I got really weak Tuesday, my whole body felt restless. I took the medicine last night around 8 and wow it is strong! My eyes got all blurry and I fell asleep on the couch. Around 9:30, I went to bed and slept until 10 this morning. Ever since I got the cough last week I have not been sleeping well. But I slept so well last night! I will definitely be taking that for a while. It says to take it 2 or 3 times a day for discomfort or pain.

The doctors said I have a virus that is causing all the symptoms. I'm doing better now, but I'm still just resting a lot. I think I'm just exhausted from all that I did for Christmas, plus the virus. I'm praying that my body gets over this virus soon and that I start to feel a lot better.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas!

How was your Christmas? We had a great Christmas!! Friday was my dad's birthday so we went out to eat and to see a movie. We saw We Bought a Zoo and it was so cute! 

On Saturday we had Christmas with my dad's side of the family! We went to my grandparents house with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. All of them live in our neighborhood or the neighborhood next to us so it is great! Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures there. We had a great day together.

Saturday night we had Christmas at my house with just my mom, dad, brother, and I. We had lots of appetizers and snacks, then opened presents. 

Our Christmas tree
 Sunday morning we woke up and went to church! I loved having Christmas on a Sunday. We just had one worship service Sunday morning which is always our favorite. Usually we have two services on Sundays, but on holidays we only have one. The auditorium is packed full and the singing is beautiful. We don't use instruments during worship, and the acapella singing is some of the prettiest singing you will ever hear. Two thousand plus people singing together will make you tear up. Everyone was so happy on Christmas and it was very joyful! 

After church we had Christmas with my mom's side of the family! We had our traditional Christmas lunch and then opened presents and played games!

Landon, Tucker, and I

My grandparents with Landon and I


After we left my grandparents house that night we drove by a house in Edmond that always has the most Christmas lights. 







Across the street from this house, there was this sign in their neighbors yard. 



I hope you had the best Christmas ever! I'm so thankful for the gift of Jesus. I hope that we will be thankful for Him everyday, and not just on Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All we want for Christmas....

For most people that are chronically sick, the holidays are the hardest times of the year physically, but most of all emotionally.

I've been talking to my friends with Lyme or other diseases and we all want the same thing for Christmas. We want to be healed. We want to wake up on Christmas morning and be able to run downstairs like we used to. We want to wake up on Christmas morning and not have to worry about our medicine schedules. We want to wake up on Christmas morning and for the first time since we got sick, not be in enough pain that requires pain medicine. We want to wake up on Christmas morning and know that we will actually have memories from that day. Because of the disease or medicines, there are a lot of days that we don't remember. We want to wake up on Christmas morning and have energy again to run around and play with our younger cousins like we used to. We want to wake up on Christmas morning and not have to worry about the fatigue that might make us cut family time short. We just want to not be in pain all the time. And we're not talking about relief that comes from pain medicine. We want to be pain free without medicine that makes us not ourselves.

When people ask us what we want for Christmas, we don't really know what to say. We want something that can't be bought. Nothing material that we can be given will truly make us happy.

My friend Allison says, "The hardest part is knowing that I'm probably NOT going to remember any of it (Christmas)".

My friend Rebecca says, "To me being sick around Christmas means that you can't really go anywhere cause you will never know how you will feel and what you would be able to do".

But when we really think about it, our view on Christmas has completely changed since we got sick. It has changed for the better. We are more thankful for what we do have. We realize that Christmas isn't about material things even if the world says it is.

"My view of Christmas is that I am grateful for what I have and I don't really care how much stuff I get it's just the thought that counts," Rebecca says.

Caity says, "I don't really want any gifts. I'd rather people give my gifts to people that are suffering."

Even though we want this so badly, we know that we were already given the best gift we could ask for. We have been given the gift of Christ. Through Him, we have been given hope. Through Him we have been given joy. Through Him we have been given peace. Through Him we have been given a promise. We have been promised that if we follow Him, we WILL be healed one day. Our one Christmas wish has already been granted, even though it might not happen in this lifetime.

I think sometimes we think that we should just trust God's plan and that is enough. That is true. But it's still okay to ask for a miracle and for God to heal us on earth. God wants us to ask Him.


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7


"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22
This year we will be more thankful for the gifts and thoughtfulness of people. We will be more thankful that we are here with family and friends. We will be more thankful for the gift of Jesus and what that means for us.

So really, this Christmas we have what we want plus much more. We just have to change our perspective. If we hadn't gotten sick, we might still be wrapped up in the earthly things around this time of year. We are so blessed to have this new perspective, even though we wish things were different.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Done with the semester!

I am officially done with school for the semester! I'm ready for a break. Yes, I know I've had way too many breaks this semester because of surgery, the flu, and just sickness. But that doesn't really count since I still had lots of school work to do because of all the missed school. I now have absolutely nothing to do! Except play Hanging with Friends, Words with Friends, all those addicting Iphone games, and watch tv. So actually I have a LOT to do. It IS the most stressful time of the year. Just kidding. It would be nice if life was that simple.

We've been looking at Christmas lights a lot! Here are some pictures from around Chesapeake in OKC. A lot of them are blurry because we were driving past really fast, but you get the idea. They are amazing! They all change colors too.











Hope you are having a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The book of Matthew

I had my Bible final today and studied so hard for it! I got a 98 plus 18 or so extra credit points!

Bible has been one of my favorite classes. Everyone has to take a Bible class each semester. Before school started we all thought it would be a blow off class because we've grown up in church. That is not how it has been, and I'm glad! The title of my class was The Life of Christ. We studied mostly the book of Matthew. My friend and I were talking today about this. We've heard the story of Jesus our whole lives. We've read passages in Matthew. We've had Bible studies about it. But we've never spend months studying one topic. I have learned SO much. We started at the beginning and ended with the crucifixion and resurrection. It all is so much clearer. Before this class, I knew the basics of Jesus' life. I've never payed much attention to the details or why specific things are recorded in the Bible.

These are all things from my notes and class discussions. My teacher did a great job with pointing out things to us!

One of the first things we talked about was the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew 1:1 starts with listing Jesus' family line starting back at Abraham. I don't know about you, but every single time there is a genealogy in any book of the Bible, I just skip over it. It's not the most entertaining thing ever. But now I understand why it's there. First of all it allowed Jews to keep the heritage alive. It was also for legal purposes and rights. The main reason that Matthew uses it is to show that Jesus has a legal claim to the throne. He shows that Jesus is qualified to be the son of God because of his heritage and that He is the hope of Israel. Matthew is doing something significant by showing the kingly linage.

We looked at the government at the time of Jesus and how Jesus came at just the right time for God's plan to be fulfilled.

The last thing we studied was the last week of Jesus' life. Well the week before he was crucified and resurrected. Also known as the Passion Week.

Again, I have known this story my whole life. But we studied in depth. We learned about what happened on each day leading up to that Friday. Fun fact: In Matthew, Jesus' earthly mission took 20 chapters. The Passion Week took 8. Here's a few things that took place that week.

  • Sunday- Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey. Crowds threw down their garments and palm leaves and shouted, "Hosanna". The garments signify their submission to Jesus as King, the palm leaves signify Jewish nationalism and victory. 
  • Monday-Jesus curses the fig tree. Jesus clears the temple because of moneychangers and vendors. 
  • Tuesday-The religious leaders question Jesus' authority. Jesus teaches in the temple and is later anointed. 
  • Wednesday- There are no records of this day, but many believe that Judas might have made the plans to betray Jesus that day.
  • Thursday- Passover meal with the disciples. The Last Supper. Jesus tells the disciples who will betray Him. Jesus prays at Gethsemane and is arrested sometime that night when Judas betrays Him with a kiss. Either late Thursday night, or early Friday morning Peter denies Jesus 3 times while Jesus is being questioned by Caiphas who is the High Priest.
  • Friday- Jesus has two trials. One before Herod Antipas and one before Pilate. Around 9am Jesus is nailed to the cross. Around 3pm Jesus dies. So that no one will break the law of the Sabbath, they bury Jesus before sundown on Friday. I think that's ironic. They don't want to break the Sabbath, but they kill Jesus. 
  • Saturday- Jesus' body lies in the tomb.
  • Sunday-Jesus' tomb is found empty. He has risen from the dead!
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the Temple to the Holy of Holies tore from top to bottom. The only person who could go in that room was the High Priest. BUT he could only go in there once a year on the day of Atonement. The veil represented the separation of God and man because of sin. Anyone entering the room was in the presence of God. Anyone besides the High Priest (who could only go in the room once a year) would die if they went into the room because God is too pure to be in the presence of sin. So when the veil was torn, God's presence was now assessable to all. "“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body …let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

Also when Jesus died, the earth shook and the rocks split. We learned that the rocks were about half the size of our classroom which was huge. No one could just move rocks that big. Also, the tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised. 

After these things happened, how could anyone not believe that He was the son of God? In class we talked about how we wish there were more details about the holy people being raised to life..how long did they live after that?? 

On Sunday, just like he said Jesus rose from the dead! He beat death! In 1 Corinthians, we see what the resurrection means for us today. Our faith stands on the risen Jesus. It shows that we have forgiveness. It gives us hope, and it shows that death is conquered! 

“'Where, O death, is your victory?
   Where, O death, is your sting?'
 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

If you have a chance, go read 1 Corinthians 15. 

These are just a few of the things that we studied! I can't wait for my Bible class next semester! I have the same teacher which will be great! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

When you don't have an IV pole anymore...

you can just hang your IV on the wall with a hanger!




Update coming soon!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

3 Years

This is probably the longest post I've ever written. Sorry it's so long.

3 years ago today I was diagnosed with Late Stage (or Stage 3, or Chronic) Lyme Disease in Reno, Nevada. I began treatments and since then have been fighting this disease.

Since December 3rd, 2008, I have spent a total 6 months in Reno, Nevada while receiving treatments. The longest consecutive time that I have spent there is 2 months, the shortest time is 2 weeks.
    Last year and the year before on this day I made videos showing what each year had been like. This year I am just going to tell about it instead of making a video. If you haven't seen the videos, they are posted at the top of my blog under the header.

    My video last year talked about everything up to December 3rd, 2010.

    On December 4th of last year, I was admitted to Mercy Hospital because of severe abdominal pain. The pain started in November and I had made several ER trips since then. I was told that I had an ovarian cyst, but that my appendix was fine. I had just had my gallbladder out 3 months before.

    So I spent Saturday Dec. 4th through Monday in Mercy Hospital for pain control while awaiting exploratory surgery.
    My room in Mercy Hospital

    I was discharged Monday afternoon and went to the surgeon (obgyn) first thing Tuesday morning. The doctor came in and said surgery will be at 5pm that day.

    So on December 7th, we headed to another hospital for surgery.

    My brother, nurse, and I before surgery(this nurse was actually my nurse again for my most recent abdominal surgery! She was great!)

    On the way to the OR. Cute outfit huh? Probably the one of the most expensive outfits ever!

    Surgery started at 5pm and lasted a little over an hour. My surgeon went to talk to my parents afterwards and was shocked with what he found. I had a cyst the size of an orange, my abdomen was filled with blood because of another cyst that had ruptured, my appendix was huge and infected even though tests said it was normal, and I had a ton of endometriosis. The surgeon said that we are very lucky that we did surgery then, because my appendix was going to rupture at anytime. I was able to go home a few hours after surgery.

    A couple weeks after surgery I got a respiratory virus and went to the ER because the pain got so much worse, probably from all the coughing.

    A few days later my youth group surprised me and came carolling at my house! It made me feel so special. I'm so blessed.

    Recovery from surgery took about 5 weeks but was easier than my gallbladder surgery which was just 3 months earlier. I had 7 incisions on my abdomen from both surgeries.

    I was doing great until I got another big cyst at the end of January. I was in the ER twice in one week.




    I went to the ER again on February 10th for abdominal pain from another cyst.

    My youth group had a prayer lock-in on February 25-26. Our church was doing 24 hours of prayer and the youth group took the middle of the night shifts. For 24 hours, at least 1 person from our church was praying! I turned 18 at midnight, and they threw me a surprise party! My family was there too!

    This was after all the streamers and balloons were taken down.

    I also got to go out to eat with lots of my friends for my birthday!


    On March 8th, my mom and I flew to Reno, Nevada to the clinic. We only bought one way tickets since we didn't know how long I would have to be there. 

    The first day of treatments

    Grayson and I. Grayson and his mom were at the clinic the whole time we were. Both of us had to stay at the clinic until late at night because we needed to be monitored or given more medicine to counteract reactions.

    We were in Reno from March 8th to May 7th. Two months. During that time I went to the ER twice. I was not myself most of the time we were at the clinic because of all the pain medicine that I was having to be on. Those 2 months were some of the hardest times. We couldn't treat the Lyme because anything we did would cause the abdominal pain to get worse. Even with the IV and oral pain medicine I was still in a lot of pain from the cysts and trauma my abdomen had gone through. With 2 abdominal surgeries just 3 months apart, plus all of the cysts that had grown and ruptured, my abdomen was so inflamed and messed up. 

    After being in Reno for 2 months, my doctor said I needed rest. I got to go home but was on strict bed rest. A few days later the abdominal pain got so bad that I had to go to ER again. That was on Wednesday, May 11th. On Friday, all my muscles locked up and I was disfigured. It was so scary. We rushed to my primary care doctor but they immediately sent me to the ER. In the ER they immediately knew what was wrong. It was a severe allergic reaction to a muscle relaxer that they gave me in the ER on Wednesday. They started an IV and gave me Benedryl and Ativan while I was in the waiting room. I actually never went to a room. We couldn't believe how fast the medicine stopped the reaction. After 2 doses I was able to go home. The allergic reaction was called Dystonia. Here is what Wikipedia says about it. "Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder, in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures". It was very scary and painful.

    At home I was on Benedryl around the clock, but the reaction kept coming back. I was in the ER Saturday and Sunday. So I had gone to the ER Wednesday for the pain, then the allergic reaction caused me to be in the ER Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The hospital didn't know what to do since the reaction wouldn't stay away. So they put me on a Parkinson's medicine..along with the around the clock Benedryl, Ativan, and my normal medicines which include a medicine used for sleep and pain that actually an old anti-depressant. I'm pretty sure the ER was tired of us coming back and they didn't know why the reaction was not staying away. So they pretty much overdosed me on all of the medicines to try and get the reaction to stop. I guess usually the reactions don't last that long...but you know how I love to be different and go to the hospital! Just kidding. 


    I think we got home from the ER late Sunday night. I don't remember Saturday through Monday because of all the medicine. On Tuesday, I started having what looked like seizures. My dad ran and got a nurse that lives across the street from us. She told us to go to the hospital immediately. After going to the ER on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we really didn't want to go again. But we knew this was more serious. I do remember when the nurse came over on Tuesday and I remember getting in the car and going to the hospital while I was shaking, but I don't remember much after that. 


    I'm told that when we got to the hospital I was very, very sick. I was still having seizure like activity, my heart rate was 140-160, my eyes were dilated and weren't responding to light, I had a high fever, my body stopped producing fluids (as in, I couldn't cry or sweat which caused my fever to be high). I would try to cry because I was hurting so much but tears wouldn't come out. I know I had a brain MRI in the ER to rule out anything there. They called in a neurologist to look at me. They finally figured out it was an anticholinergic toxicity or shock. Aka, I was over dosed and all the medicines interacted badly. And yes, the ER should have looked at all my medicines before putting me on so much. 


    I was then taken to the ICU. It took 6 hours for the doctors to stop the seizures. In the ICU I was given a lot of IV fluid to try and flush everything out. I was on Valium and Dilauded too. The Valium was to help stop the shaking and the Dilauded was to help my pain, and relax me too. It helped until it started to wear off and then it would come back but was pretty easily controlled. I was very confused the whole time in the ICU. I would ask where I was and why I was in the ICU every few minutes. I would cry but no tears would come. I was also very funny apparently. These are a few things that happened. I hope I remember them correctly. I only know what people have told me.
    • My parents would take my phone away because I would be texting seriously everyone in my phone. But somehow when they left the room I would get it back. I sent some weird things...how embarrassing. But everyone I texted knew I was in the ICU and a little drugged...
    • I thought I was in Disney World and that the bathroom was the Rainforest Cafe. How that happens I really don't know! 
    • I was like a 2 year old. I would go from laughing and thinking I was in Disney World to a very confused and angry person. I had to be talked to as if I was 2 because I was just so crazy from all the medicines. 
    • In the ICU when the nurses change shifts, they kick all the visitors out. That means that I was alone. On Valium and Dilauded. All the other patients in the ICU were intubated and sedated. I guess I didn't want to be there anymore so I decided to leave. I took off all my monitors which was a lot. I had heart monitors, blood pressure monitors, and oxygen monitors and IVs. I then walked out of my room. I don't think I got far, but yes, I tried to run out of the ICU. 
    • I would be talking and then just fall asleep. Then when I would wake up I would sit up real fast and act like I hadn't been asleep. Apparently I just talked and talked and didn't make sense. 
    • The ICU doctors and nurses didn't want me out of bed because of all the medicine I was on. That meant they wanted me to use a bed pan. I was having none of that. They didn't believe my parents that I can walk just fine even with all that medicine. The nurses and doctors were SHOCKED when they saw that I could walk with no problems even with all that medicine. 
    I was in the ICU from Tuesday until Thursday afternoon, and then I got moved to step down unit. I was there until Friday and then I got to go home. The neurologist was monitoring me the whole time I was in the hospital. The interesting thing is, we never got a bill from the ICU. I think the ER doctors realized it was their fault that I had the reaction so they were probably scared that we would sue them.


    That next Sunday was Senior night at church. The senior guys that are graduating from high school lead worship, the elders give each of us a Bible, and we get to set up tables with things about us for a reception after church. I got to go! I was just in the ICU and released from the hospital Friday, and I got to go to church Sunday night! I was very weak, but I made it. I'm so glad I got to go. 

    My youth ministers

    The next few weeks were great! I finished high school (online), enrolled in college, did a news interview about Lyme Disease, and took the ACT. I went to church camp with the youth group for a couple days. 


    Some of our good friends were visiting and came over to house in July. 


    Me, Landon, and Izabela



    Bart was our adopted college student when he was in college and Landon and I were in he and Tamika's wedding. They have two beautiful kids and at the time had one on the way. When they came over, they wanted to tell us the baby's name. They wanted to name her Victoria Hope after me. I never thought that someone would ever be named after me! It's such a privilege. Baby V was born this fall. She is beautiful just like her family. 




    The next day, July 10th, my brother wanted to be baptized! He had been thinking about it for a while and was ready to give his life to Christ. 
    Taking his confession
    My grandpa leading a prayer before the baptism
    My dad baptized him


    After the baptism




    That same afternoon was my graduation reception at church. It was a perfect day! I'm so blessed to have so many people who love me and support me.
    At my reception
    My family and I went to Disney World at the beginning of August! We had a great time. 
    The view outside of our hotel room


    After we got back from our trip I started physical therapy. However, I had to stop that because of more cyst problems. 


    On Saturday, August 13th I had to go to ER. It was another cyst. I had so much to do that week! I was moving to the dorms a week from then. Well just 3 days after the first ER trip, I went again that Wednesday. My cyst had ruptured. 


    I was still able to move into the dorms at Oklahoma Christian University on Saturday August 20th! I didn't plan to go to the ER twice the week that I moved in, but it all ended okay. 

    My dorm room
    I'm only taking one class a day this semester. Going to school wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I was already missing classes because of my health. The abdominal pain was so bad. We decided to do another exploratory surgery. 


    On Monday, September 19th, I was wheeled into the OR for my 3rd abdominal surgery in a year. This time my surgeon found more endometriosis and took it out. 
    I was at home recovering for 3 weeks. Catching up from missing that much school was challenging. 


    On October 6th I celebrated the 2 year anniversary with my port! My port has been great and has allowed us to do IVs at home!


    We had trick or treating in the dorms on Halloween! We decorated our doors and the faculty, staff, and alumni brought their kids to trick or treat! 
    Rock paper scissors




    On November 2nd I went to my primary care doctor because I was feeling terrible. My parents and brother were out of the country. My doctor said I had a virus like the flu and needed fluids. My grandparents took me to 2 after hours clinics to see if they could do fluids. They couldn't, and I was feeling worse so we went to the ER. I got 2 liters of fluid and lots of nausea and pain medicine. I was out of school for 2 weeks. 
    The view from my room in the ER

    During that ER trip I received the worst IV I have ever had. How impressive is that bruise?! It was all colors of the rainbow at one point.


    In the past couple weeks I have had 2 allergic reactions. One was from an anti-inflamatory and the other was from MSG in some food. The MSG reaction happened on Thanksgiving and took a few days to calm down. 


    Unfortunately I have missed 5 or so weeks of school this semester. I have had to stay at home for a total of 5 or 6 weeks. School has been great for me, but also a huge challenge. Trying to go to class and all the social activities is hard when you don't feel well. But I am so thankful to be able to go to school again, even if it is only one class a day. Missing almost 3 years of school is a lot. It's taken a while to adjust to going to school again while battling health challenges. 


    This past year has been hard. Honestly, the word that comes to mind when I think about the past year is pain. I don't remember a lot of the year because of all the pain medicine I have had to be on. So many days were spent just trying to get through the day without going to the ER because of all the pain. I was in the hospital when I should have been walking with my class at graduation. And even today I am in a lot of joint pain. Today I have a lot of questions about symptoms I'm having. 


    But this year has had so many blessings. I graduated high school after not physically going to school for almost 3 years. I started college. Earlier this year we didn't know if that would even happen. I have met some wonderful people! The article about me in the paper this summer put us in contact with so many people who have Lyme or know someone who does. Just in the past couple of months I got to meet 2 girls that are my age who have Lyme. We have the same problems from Lyme. It's almost creepy how similar we are. It's been great to have them to talk to. 


    So yes, I still have days when I question every thing that is happening. But I know God has plan. 


    "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11


    Sometimes I just don't understand. But I'm not supposed to understand everything. I'm supposed to trust.


    "Trust in the LORD with all your heart
       and lean not on your own understanding;
     in all your ways acknowledge him,
       and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6



    Some days I feel like I can't go on. But God is faithful.



    "I remember my affliction and my wandering,
       the bitterness and the gall.
    20 I well remember them,
       and my soul is downcast within me.
    21 Yet this I call to mind
       and therefore I have hope:

     22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.
    23 They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness. 

    24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
       therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:19-24




    "Though the fig tree does not bud
       and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
       and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
       and no cattle in the stalls,
    18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
       I will be joyful in God my Savior.
     19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
       he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
       he enables me to go on the heights." Habakkuk 3:17-19

    "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10


    I want to thank you all for the comments and support. It means so much to me. Some days I just get on here and read previous comments and it cheers me up! 


    These are a couple of songs that I love. I know I've shared them before but they are so good. 


    Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns
    "I was sure by now
    God You would have reached down
    And wiped our tears away
    Stepped in and saved the day
    But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

    As the thunder rolls
    I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
    "I'm with you"
    And as Your mercy falls
    I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
    And takes away

    And I'll praise You in this storm
    And I will lift my hands
    For You are who You are
    No matter where I am
    And every tear I've cried
    You hold in Your hand
    You never left my side
    And though my heart is torn
    I will praise You in this storm"



    Carry Me by Audrey Assad
    "Pain is a forest we all get lost in
    Between the branches hope can be so hard to see
    And in the darkness we've all got questions
    We're all just trying to make sense out of suffering but

    You say I am blessed because of this
    So, I choose to believe
    As I carry this cross, You'll carry me

    You get glory in the midst of this
    And You're walking with me
    And you say I am blessed because of this
    So, I choose to believe
    As I carry this cross, You'll carry me"



    So, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Christmas Lights

    Last weekend my brother and dad spent almost all day putting up Christmas lights at our house. They look amazing!! My brother planned it all out and he did a great job!



    Last night at school we had the Lighting of the Commons. I think there were around 500 alumni, faculty and staff, and students. There was hot chocolate, Christmas music performed by different singing groups on campus, pictures with Santa, and real carrage rides! 

    We all gathered outside and counted down to when they turned on all the Christmas Lights. Then we sang Christmas Carols! I really didn't get any good pictures of all the lights. But here is one...it doesn't show much.
    The tall tower in the middle is the clock tower. It changes colors at night!

    Alex and I 
    I love this time of year!

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Thanksgiving

    I know this is almost a week late, but it's been a little crazy. We had a great Thanksgiving. I got home last Monday so I had a week off. I did have a class that day but I didn't go since I still wasn't feeling well. Both of my parents had most of Wednesday off of work so we were all at home. It was like 70 degrees that day! We went to church Wednesday night. My brother read a scripture and my dad said a prayer during the service. On Thanksgiving we went to my aunt and uncles house (dad's side) and on Friday we went to my grandparents on my mom's side. Thursday night I decided that I wanted some Roman Noodles...I know that it was thanksgiving and that there were a million other delicious foods. But that whole day I really didn't feel like eating much. I had bites of stuff and it was great, but food just didn't sound good. So later that night I decided that I wanted Roman Noodles. Crazy, I know. Well and hour later we were watching tv and I got so sick. My heart rate shot up to 130, my face was so red and itchy and burning, I was dizzy, my chest hurt, my eyes were swollen, and I was so scared. It hit so fast. I thought I was going to pass out. My parents took turns listening to my heart with a stethiscope while running to the gas station to get benadryll. The benadryll really didn't do much. It might have slowed my heart a little. We didn't know what else to try and by this time I was freaking out. We tried hydrocodone and that finally relaxed me enough to calm the symptoms down. My parents think it was the MSG in the Roman Noodles. How wonderful. That teaches you that you should really eat good thanksgiving food and not go for the nasty, packaged stuff.

    I slept in my parents room with my mom. My dad got to sleep on the couch (happy thanksgiving dad!). Thanks to the benadryll and hydrocodone, I thought there were earthquakes all night whenever the bed would move. Gotta love what medicine will do to you!

    I woke up Friday morning and my eyes were still swollen. I actually felt pretty good. As we were getting ready to leave to go to my grandparents, I started not feeling well again. I took more benadryll and it helped. The symptoms returned that afternoon and finally calmed down later that after evening after more medicine.

    Saturday night the symptoms came back with a couple more symptoms. After a couple hours they calmed down too. Sunday was better. I came back to the dorms yesterday and only have 2 weeks of school left.

    Lesson learned: Don't ever eat Roman Noodles on thanksgiving....


    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Update

    It feels like this has been the slowest week ever. I finally moved back on campus last Friday after being at home for almost 2 weeks with the flu. This past week I had 2 papers due and a test, which is a little crazy since I'm only taking 3 classes. By Thursday I was done with everything!

    This week has been a hard week because of pain issues. Monday I was working on one of my papers and had to stop because my hands were hurting too much to use them. The body and joint pain all over has been bad. I'm hoping that it's from either the weather changes or my body still getting rid of the flu because that's when I started hurting more. Thursday night I decided to take an anti-inflammatory instead of just pain medicine to see if that would help more. An hour or so after I took it, I broke out with a red rash all over me. My skin burned and itched so much and I was very nauseous. I took a prescription medicine like benedryll since I was out of benedryll. It stopped the rash and most of the burning and itching. However, my body was still not happy. I was up almost ALL night because I just felt weird. I finally fell asleep around 6am for a couple of hours and woke up at 8am or so. I decided to try and get up and get dressed for class. I then realized that that wouldn't be happening. I couldn't move. At all. My body hurt so much that I couldn't bear to move. I also had temperature problems. It's hard to explain, but I'm hot and cold kind of like when you have a fever. You're cold, but sweating. There's no way to get comfortable. I didn't really know what to do since everyone was in class and I couldn't get up. I laid there for a couple of hours while waiting for the medicine to kick in. After a couple of hours I was finally able to get up. I went to the bathroom and then got back in bed. I was still hurting too much to do anything.

    I asked one of my friends to get me lunch because I knew I had to eat. For the rest of the afternoon all I could do was lay in bed. I had to pick up a prescription so I made it to the pharmacy and back. Obviously I didn't go to class yesterday which was okay since we had just turned in our paper.

    I actually slept last night and slept until 11 this morning. Once again, I woke up feeling like I got into a fight in my sleep. Thankfully I was able to shower and get lunch, but that has been the extent of my activities today. Today has been better than yesterday, but is still very rough.

    Tomorrow will be better.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    On Saturday I finally got to meet Caity, aka my twin! She has Lyme and we have had almost all of the same problems. Some of her family lives here and saw my story in the newspaper. They told Caity and her family about me because it was like they were reading Caity's story because we are so similar. Caity and her mom then found me on facebook! Caity had abdominal surgery 2 days after I did in September so that's when we started texting back and forth. We text almost everyday and it's so wonderful to have her to talk to! 



    It was wonderful to be able to meet them in person! So blessed to know her and her family. 

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Warning:these pictures will make you not want to go to the ER...

     Wait. When does anyone actually want to the go to the ER? (There have been times where I have begged to go to the ER because I was hurting so much, but I didn't want to go there)

    Once upon a time there was a nurse. This nurse was supposed to learn how do IVs while she was in school. She was supposed to learn when IVs are okay, and when they are not. Unfortunately, this nurse did not learn how to tell the difference between a good IV and a bad IV. Therefore, this happened.


    At my last ER trip, I was very dehydrated. The nurse couldn't find any veins and couldn't use my port, so she put the IV in the worst place possible. In a tiny vein on my thumb on my right hand. Usually needles don't bother me. This one did! Wow. Most painful IV ever. After she drew blood and put the IV in, I was sent out to the waiting room. They usually do that to save time. They put the IV in and just don't hook it up to anything yet. I had had enough of the pain from it in the waiting room so I finally told someone to look at it. She said, "Oh sweetie that looks terrible. I'll be right back." Then she came back and said they would be taking me back soon and they'll start another IV. I was relieved. Well soon actually meant another hour. I was not very happy. I was about to pull the IV out myself. 

    Once in my room several people looked at it and agreed it looked terrible. So they looked at my veins and tried once. Here's what happened then.


    So I decided to just deal with the first IV since they couldn't get another one in. When my nurse pushed the Dilauded (pain medicine) through the IV, the veins turned bright red and you could see the medicine going through them because the veins were so small and the medicine was so strong. It was weird! It also burned so bad when it was going in. After the medicine kicked in I forgot all about it. It never hurt after that unless she was putting nausea or pain medicine into it. 

    The next day I couldn't even use my right hand because it was so swollen and painful from the IV disaster. Since then it's turned every shade of the rainbow and is almost normal again! 

    This wouldn't have happened if they would have used my port, since that is the purpose of a port you know. Writing out the story makes it sound like a big deal but it really wasn't. It was just frustrating. But it could have been worse! I just got a pretty impressive bruise! If that's the worst that happens at the hospital, I'll take it!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    You know you go to Walgreens too much when.....

    I go to Walgreens multiple times a week to get medicine. I usually go through the drive through when I drop off and pick up prescriptions. I'm there all the time. I often wonder if they think that I have a drug store or something since I'm there so much. A couple weeks ago, I pulled up to the window to wait for them to ask me my name so they could go get my medicine. Instead, the little box opens and there is my medicine! They knew who I was and I didn't have to tell them...how lovely. I'm known by name at my primary care doctor, the gynecologist, an after hours place, a couple ERs, and now the pharmacy. You should definitely be jealous that I'm so popular.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Never boring!

    This week I am not lacking in things to post! Wow. It's been a week that I won't ever forget. Let's review.

    A week and a half ago, my parents left for Costa Rica for a missions conference. While they were gone, I helped take care of my brother. A week ago today, my brother flew down to Guatemala with a group from church. My dad met them at the airport in Guatemala while my mom stayed in Costa Rica for the rest of the conference. My dad, brother, and the rest of the group were on a medical mission trip.

    So last Tuesday I dropped my brother off with the group and all the sudden I was so sick. I hadn't been feeling well since Sunday but all the sudden I got sicker. I went to my primary care by myself. Found out I have the flu. Fever of 101, fast heart rate, chills, body pain, headache, nauseous and very dehydrated. As soon as I left I dropped my prescriptions off and went to my grandparents. Told them I needed fluids so off we went. Went to one after hours clinic and they didn't do fluids. Went to another one and they did do fluids, but the doctor was stupid so we left with no fluids. So we went to the hospital. I got 2 liters of fluid, nausea and pain meds, and benedryll. Had the best doctor and nurse. Felt wonderful after I had a little fluid and meds! Finally after 6 hours I got to go home.

    Spent the rest of the week resting at home with lots of meds. Friday night my aunt stayed with me. Around 2:30 am Saturday, I was peacefully sleeping in my room upstairs. Then, the house started shaking! I wasn't sure if it was an earthquake OR me hallucinating from pain meds. That has happened before. In Nevada this spring, we were staying at Lake Tahoe for the weekend and there was a blizzard. The heater in our hotel was so loud. The whole night I was convinced that there was an avalanche thanks to the morphine. Our hotel was at the bottom of the mountains so it made perfect sense. It's so funny to think about now but I was TERRIFIED the whole night.

    Back to Saturday morning. I finally realized that it was an actual earthquake so I flew down the stairs. My aunt was awake waiting for me to come down. We watched the tv and got on facebook since every one was on there. The earthquake was a magnitude 4.7. We finally calmed down enough to go back to sleep. There were a dozen small earthquakes all day that we didn't feel.

    Saturday night, my mom called to say that her plane had landed and she would be home soon. Around 11pm, just a few minutes after she called, we had the biggest earthquake in the history of Oklahoma. My aunt and I were in my living room which has 2 walls of windows. When it started, we jumped up and ran out of the room. I thought the windows were going to break. The shaking went on for what seemed like forever. All the phone lines weren't working cause so many people were trying to call people. The earthquake was a 5.8.

    Before the Haiti earthquake, we never felt earthquakes here. We had small ones, but never felt them. We started feeling them after the Haiti one and they started getting bigger. There's a fault several miles east of us.

    Sunday we had lots of earthquakes but I didn't feel any of them.

    My dad and brother got home yesterday afternoon from Guatemala. It was raining all day. Last night the storms got really bad. There was flooding, tornados, lightening, and thundering. Then, we had another 4.7 earthquake. All at the same time!

    Today there are several schools closed because of flooding or earthquake damage. I got an email that my Bible class room at school is flooded.

    We are all fine. My brother is home with nausea, probably something he got in Guatemala. So we are having quite a party today with me still recovering from the flu. It's been a very crazy week.

    Several people posted this picture on facebook. It is perfect!


    So the earthquakes really have caused that much damage. But with all the facebook posts and everyone getting excited, you would think that it is the worst thing ever. We just aren't used to earthquakes so it's a big deal!

    That's all the excitement I have to share at the moment!

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    At this moment in Oklahoma, we are having tornados, flooding, lightening, thundering, and earthquakes. ALL happening right now. Over the weekend we had the biggest earthquake in our history. It was a 5.6. We've had at least 8 a day this weekend. It's crazy. We hadn't had earthquakes here until the Haiti earthquake. There has to be some connection.
    The earthquake just now was a 4.7. I'll post more later

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Who needs trauma and ER shows when you can witness it in person?!

    This post was actually supposed to be short and have one point, but as I was writing it, it got a little crazy and random. But that's how I'm feeling now. A little crazy and random! So here you go..

    As I posted in my last post, I had the privilege of spending another night in the ER. As I'm sure you know by now, this is not uncommon. In the past 3 years I've been to the ER over 50 times. No, that is not an exaggeration. I could whip out all my hospital bracelets and show you if you really want to see proof. My current record for the longest I've gone without going to the ER, since I got sick 3 years ago, is 2 and a half months! It's a big accomplishment.

    So, Tuesday night to Wednesday morning my grandparents and I were just hanging out in the ER (my parents were out of town, actually out the country doing mission work, so my grandparents got to go with me). I don't prefer to go to the hospital without my parents, but I think I did well. I didn't get in any fights with the doctors, so it was a success! You see, when you have Lyme disease, it is almost always a game when talking to a doctor. I told my grandparents not to say a WORD and to let me do the talking. I walk a fine line of what to say and what not to say. One wrong word, and the fight with the doctor begins. However, the hospital that I now go to has never really been a problem! The doctors there don't question that I have Lyme Disease. The other hospitals in this area do.

    The fights almost always starts like this.
       "Um ma'am why do you have a port?"
       "I have Lyme Disease, but it's more under control now". Sometimes I actually lie about that. If I leave out the "it's under control" part, there will always be a fight.
       "Ma'am you cannot have Lyme Disease. We don't have that here."
    I come up with smartalic things to say like,
       "then please tell me why you have your dog take medicine to protect them from ticks". Or, "I didn't even tell you where I was from! I could be from New York and just in Edmond visiting. I could have gotten Lyme Disease there." Or, "then how is it that Lyme is one of the most common infections seen in dogs here in Oklahoma? Do ticks that have Lyme JUST like dogs and not people? That makes a LOT of sense."

    It makes me feel so good when they get this stupid look on their faces and either change the subject, or just walk out. But a lot of times they get so defensive and start saying very unkind things to me. Sometimes security has almost been called because it gets so bad. It's one of the worst things to deal with. Sometimes I'm so sick but am terrified to go to the doctor because I don't know what will happen. I should have my own tv show. My life is a lot more interesting than some of those reality shows.

    I'm done with that tangent now. Thankfully that hasn't happened at the hospital I go to now! They are wonderful!

    Moving on. I've always been fascinated with trauma and ER shows. I really don't know why. It's always so entertaining! One of the best parts about going to the ER is getting to be live in the action. This past trip to the ER was not lacking in excitement! A lady in labor came through through the doors yelling,
       "it's coming! Hurry! I can't stop it, it's coming!"
    That was entertaining to watch her try to fill out paperwork while making sure everyone knew the baby was coming. There was a guy who needed stitches around his mouth. There were a couple people whose loved one was in critical condition, and they were not allowed to see them yet. There were several very hard phone calls. I spent a lot of time praying for those families. There was an older lady in a wheelchair in her robe and nothing but her robe. She was waiting for someone to pick her up and asked everyone who walked by her to call "them" to see when "they" would be there. I still don't know who "them" is. The 2 ladies who direct people when they come in the door are so sweet. One of them recognized me since I've been there so much. I thought they were going to strangle that lady. It was hilarious to watch. She was convinced that "they" were never coming to pick her up. Ten minutes seemed like an hour to her. There was ANOTHER lady in her robe and nothing but her robe. Apparently it was robe night. That was all in the ER waiting room!

    This was the view from my room. It's one of my favorite rooms in that ER. Yes, I've been in all of them multiple times.
    I like it because it's right by the nurses station and across the way from the trauma rooms. There's always lots going on in that area. You can't see it in this picture but to the left of the curtain is one of the trauma rooms. If the curtain was pulled to the right you could see right in the room. A couple hours after I had been in my room, EMSA was bringing in a guy on a stretcher. There were at least 5 EMSA guys with him. At this time, my curtain wasn't closed very much, so I had a perfect view into his room. Is that against the privacy policy to watch other patients and listen in? Why yes it is. But I couldn't help it. I was not allowed to get up because of my drugged state and all my monitors and IVs, and I didn't want to ask my grandparents to get up and close the curtain. So that means that I HAD to watch what was going on. The guy had on a neck brace and was immediately surrounded by nurses and doctors. They were talking to him and hooking him up to monitors. After they got him settled, he was in his room alone and was holding his cell phone up in the air above him. It looked like he was taking pictures of himself. Maybe he was texting, but it sure looked like he was taking pictures!

    That was all that I remember about him because the nurse came in and gave me a hefty dose of IV Benedryll. Two doses of Dilauded (a form of morphine that is 10 times stronger than morphine) doesn't knock me out, but then bam Benedryll hits and I get so sleepy! I never fell asleep but I was very out of it.

    It may sound like I enjoy people watching at the ER too much. I feel the need to say that I in no way wish for people to be hurt or sick and have to come to the ER. While it is entertaining, I wish that they wouldn't have to be there and be hurting.

    But who needs Trauma and ER shows when you can witness it in person?!