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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Surgery and recovery

I apologize if some of this doesn't make sense. I'm just a little out of it.

On Monday morning we headed to the hospital around 5:15. When we got to the hospital, we were the only patients there! We filled out paperwork in the waiting room while laughing with the staff that was there. The hospital is arranged strange. The ORs are in the middle of the building. So to get from the waiting room to pre-op and recovery, you have to go up to the second floor to the back and then down to the first floor.

Once in pre-op my nurses came in and one of them was my nurse for my last surgery in December! It was really funny because she came in and said, "you all look familiar".

Then I said as I was laughing, "actually I have a picture of you from my last surgery...". We all started laughing so much! My grandparents knew the other nurse which was crazy!

Once they started my IV they gave me Tylenol through it. We didn't know that they could do that! It was just a bottle of Tylenol. They started me on IV antibiotics too.

The anesthesiologist came to talk to us and was very nice. He answered our questions and was great! I got 5 out of the 8 nausea medicines that I could get. They also gave me Benedryll during surgery to help counteract the reaction to the cleaning things they have to use before surgery.

A PA from my surgeons office was there too which was great! I've seen her a lot at the office if the main doctor is busy. She was in my last surgery too. The surgeon came in and everything was ready to go.

They didn't give me any kinda of relaxation drugs before they took me to the OR so I really remember it. I crawled onto the operating table while the nurses got everything ready. They put monitors all over me while we were talking. It seemed like I was awake forever! Then my hand started to burn where the IV was and I started getting sleeping. That's all I remember!

The surgery was a little over an hour. I woke up in recovery hurting so much. Usually my parents are allowed to come back when I'm awake, but they wouldn't let them this time. I kept asking where my parents were and why I couldn't see them. The anesthesiologist came back in to adjust some meds because I was hurting a lot.

I started feeling better and asked for a coke. The nurse brought me one and I started to drink it. She left the room again real quick and I decided I needed more to drink, so I started to pour the coke from the can into the cup. The problem was that there was a lid on the cup and I didn't realize that...so she comes back in to me pouring the coke everywhere...I think I started crying and apologizing. She was laughing and now I laugh at it! I can just see myself doing that.

I got dressed and then was taken out to meet my parents at the car. We got home sometime mid morning I think. I slept a lot on Monday when I got home.

I'm doing well right now. I'm still swollen and have little rashes from where they had to use cleaning things that I'm allergic to. Yesterday and today I walked a little. I'm still having pain, but it's only been 6 days since surgery so it will take time. I can mostly get up on my own now, but sometimes still need help. It's a workout just to get up!

In the surgery, they found endometriosis and took all that out. I have 3 incisions from this surgery. We could not be happier with the nurses at that hospital and my surgeon! They are wonderful.

I'm so thankful for all your prayers. Please keep praying that I will continue to get stronger and pain free.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Update coming soon

I'm still here! I'll post either tonight or tomorrow

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quick update. Surgery is over and went well. Please continue to pray for pain and nausea relief. Hurting a lot

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Surgery Tomorrow

My surgery is tomorrow morning at 7:30. We have to be there bright and early at 5:30. Except it won't be bright because the sun won't even have come up yet...whoever made up that phrase needs to recheck the sunrise time. It will be early though! I'm ready to go and will update as soon as I can. Thank you for all the prayers!

Here are a couple of verses that I'm taking comfort in.


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

Isaiah 43: 2 
"When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up- The flames will not consume you."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting closer

We are getting closer to surgery. I've been trying to go to class and the rest of the time I've been resting in my dorm room. I had a Bible test yesterday and got 67 out of 75, which is great considering I've missed 2 of the classes already and I don't feel good.

This weekend I am going to get everything ready for surgery. I need to pack things from my dorm room and take them home since I'll be staying there while I'm recovering. I'll post again before surgery and then hopefully my parents can update my blog when I'm out of surgery and everything.

I hope you have a relaxing weekend!

Monday, September 12, 2011

National Invisible Illness Awareness Week

Last year I wrote a post about National Invisible Illness Awareness Week. I got a lot of comments with how helpful the post was, so I'm going to post it again! This week is National Invisible Illness Awareness Week. There are so many people who have invisible illnesses. What does having an invisible illness mean? It means that you get told...
"you look great!"
"I can tell you feel better because you look good!"
"I'm so glad you could be here. I'm glad you are finally getting some relief".
While we appreciate that we look good, it's so hard to get people to understand how much we are suffering because we look "normal". Of course I want to look great and love when people tell me I do! But sometimes I wish my illness was visible because maybe people would be more understanding. There are times when my illness is visible because I'm pale, have gray skin, have a PICC line in my arm, or have to use a wheelchair. But most of the time I look normal.
People don't understand how you can look normal but claim to be so sick. Many times you will lose friends because they think you are faking it. Doctors will send you away because you look "okay".
When you finally get up the strength to leave the house because you feel like you've been hit by a truck, the last thing you want to hear is how good you look. We just want someone to validate how bad we feel and how hard we worked just to leave the house. When you look good all the time, people assume you are better and feeling okay. That's not how it works with invisible illnesses and it's so hard to get people to understand how hard it is.
That is what living with an invisible illness means. What is horrible is that there are so many people who suffer silently because people don't believe that they can be so sick and still look "normal". The theme this year is meant to get people to just help one person who suffers. One of the best things you can do for a chronic illness is leave random notes for the person suffering that will make them laugh or tell them that you are behind them 100%.
This questioner came from the invisible illness website.
30 Things You Might Not Know About My Invisible Illness

1. The illness I live with is: Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Babesiosis, Bartonella, Ehrlichiosis, and other infections
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2008
3. But I had symptoms since: 2006
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: being taken out of the fun teenage world and thrown into the adult medical world.
5. Most people assume: that if I'm out of the house I feel good. And if I'm having a good day, that means I'm completely better and can do everything again. That's not how it works though.. One step forward, three steps back. When I'm having a "good" day it still means that I might not feel good. A good day for me could be equivalent to a bad day for a normal person.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: waiting for the strong sleep medicine to wear off and dealing with being sick all through the night.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: Iphone and computer. When you're homebound, that's the only way to talk to people sometimes.
9. The hardest part about nights are: being so exhausted and still not being able to sleep from the pain.
10. Each day I take over 20 pills, 2 or more shots, IVs, tons of liquid medicines.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: completely believe in them. I am on alternative treatment because I can't handle regular treatments.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Anything besides Lyme that is so politically split and has no recognition.
13. Regarding working and career: I do school from home. I haven't been to school since November 2008.
14. People would be surprised to know: I secretly laugh when people tell me how strong I am. So you're telling me I'm strong for fighting for my life? I'm just trying live, not be strong. It's something that has to be done and there's no way around it. I also laugh because I'm not strong. My God is strong and through Him I am strong. Only through Him. I do appreciate being told I'm strong, but it's not me, It's Him.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: the unknown and controversy about my disease. We have to make medical decisions because most doctors won't treat me. It's so hard to have a disease that the government says doesn't exist, therefore we have to stay under the radar with it. But that doesn't mean we don't spread awareness. Also, the fact that I spend the majority of my time hooked up to IVs, taking medicine, spending all day at the doctor in the in the hospital.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: help give others hope.
17. The commercials about my illness: I haven't seen any.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Going to school and being a teenager
19. It was really hard to have to give up: Everything. My independence. So much has been taken away.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Trying to spread awareness about this disease. Talking to people and actually listening.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Do normal teenage things with my friends, not worrying about medicine schedules.
22. My illness has taught me: to cherish the small things like being able to get out of bed and walk.
23. Want to know a secret? Even though I hate this disease I wouldn't change anything. I'm so much more aware of my blessings and helping others.
24. I love it when people: visit me or send me a text or message saying they support me.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Do research for yourself and trust God. If you trust Him and His plan you can get through anything.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How many things we take for granted.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: actually tell me how sick I look. Thank you for validating how horrible I feel.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I don't want anyone to have to go through what I've gone through.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: very very blessed. I hope you understand how many people are silently hurting. We really can change the world one person at a time.
Thank you for reading and for your support and prayers.
Check out the invisible illness website to see how you can help.
http://invisibleillnessweek.com/

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Surgery

I'm sorry that I haven't updated in a while. I've been a little out of it. We made the decision and I'm having another abdominal surgery. We had 3 choices and surgery is the best. My doctor/surgeon completely agrees. The only reason we had other choices was because I'm in school and he didn't want surgery to mess that up. But I'm missing classes because I hurt too much, so surgery would be the fastest thing to do. I had my pre-op appointment this morning, and everything is ready to go.

The surgery is Monday, September 19th (a week from Monday). I have to be there at 5:30am so I will be the first surgery of the day. It's an exploratory laparoscopy surgery, but my surgeon is pretty sure he knows what the problem is. I am also on the cancelation list, so if someone has to cancel their surgery, I will get their slot and have it sooner.

The surgery is the same as the one I had in December. I'm really ready to have it and get some pain relief. Until then, I'm trying to go to my classes and do all my homework. It's a little hard because of the pain medicine I'm on, but I'm doing okay.

This will be my 3rd abdominal surgery in a year. I'm going for a record! Just kidding.

I hope you all are having a great day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The first week of classes

My first week of classes has been good! I have one class a day, except for Wednesdays where I have two. I go to chapel everyday at 11am and then my class for the day is either at 11:30 or 12:30. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I have Comm 1. Bible is on Tuesday and Thursday, and Intro to Nursing is on Wednesday. It's working out well so far. I've had homework everyday, and it's been a little difficult getting back into the swing of things. I'm slowly getting the hang of it. I know it's no one where near the amount of work that others have, but for me it's a lot. There's a lot of different things to balance!

Last night we had a fire drill at 11:30pm. That was fun! Usually they don't tell you about fire drills and they are in the middle of the night, but they told us last night before it happened so it wouldn't freak us out with all the fires around here lately. There are still fires all over the state. You can see the smoke from miles and miles away. I'm not sure if they know what keeps starting the fires.

Some of the hardest things for me this week are from not being in school in 3 years. And actually I missed a lot of my freshman year too. We are expected to take notes, know where to find the homework assignments even when the teacher doesn't say anything about it in class, and just be more independent. Most people learned all of that in high school. I pretty much went from 8th grade to college, and it's been very difficult! I'm sure it will get easier, but it will take a while. I've never had to take notes, so I'm learning how to do that.

One of the best things about being at a Christian school is all the help you get. The teachers aren't just there for you in the classroom, but they are there for you in life and they want you to grow spiritually. They encourage you in ways that they might not be able to in a public school. It's nice to actually have teachers who want to know you and encourage you. So yes, I'm so lost in a lot of things in the classroom, but my teachers are great. They have been very understanding and want to help make this transition easier for me. I'm so thankful for that!

The best things about this week have been being able to be "normal". I get to see my friends everyday. I also get to go to school which I have missed so much! We watch a movie or tv shows together and hang out in each others rooms. My roommate and I have been going to bed at 10:30 most nights because we get so tired from everything! Lots of people are going to bed early right now! Curfew is at 12am. My roommate and I have known each other our whole lives! Our moms have been best friends their whole lives, and our grandparents have been too. It's working out very well and we are having a lot of fun! We have room check on Tuesdays where we have to clean and do specific things to our rooms. I love college and dorm life!

I also have so many great people working with me and informing my teachers of my situation. It's comforting to know that there are so many people here who have said that if I need anything at all, I can go to them!

I did have to miss chapel and Bible today because of a doctors appointment that couldn't be moved. The doctor gave me 3 options of what we can do next, so I'm thinking about it and discussing it with my parents. I will update whenever I have any new information about what we decide to do about the persistent abdominal pain.

Thank you for the prayers for all the people being affected by the fires! Please pray for direction for us as we decide what the next step will be as far as taking care of the abdominal pain. I'm not feeling very well, and have mostly been laying in my room except for going to class. I lost five pounds in two weeks which is not good, even though I've been eating normally. I think it's from all the pain and feeling sick. We are trying to decide what to do fast!


"Show me your ways, O LORD, 
   teach me your paths; 
 guide me in your truth and teach me, 
   for you are God my Savior, 
   and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5