The saga continues….I wish it were a Netflix saga instead of my own life. For those of you just checking into my blog—it is episodic--so if you are confused, read a few previous blog posts to catch up. I wish I could say it was riveting and exciting, but it is not. This post will be mainly informational since so many of you have been reaching out to me and I want to be able to share the info without repeating myself over and over which is emotionally exhausting for me.
If you didn’t already find out via FB, I was in the hospital from Saturday until Tuesday of this week. I will save you the long version and try to give an abbreviated one. (Note: I just re-read my post and it is not as abbreviated as I had hoped….maybe grab a glass of wine or a cup of coffee…)
*Last Thursday I had a drain pulled from all the issues I have been having with fluid build up from a June surgery. I was not pleased with the doctor who put the drain in, nor his nursing staff. My repeated phone calls with concerns about the drain were unanswered or swept aside.
*Last Friday Greg began the two day drive to take Noah’s car to him in Colorado. Micah and I had flights scheduled for early Sunday morning to meet them there. Micah and I went to lunch and school clothes shopping. During that time I began to feel sick and feverish, to the point that I told Micah he needed to drive my car home. My stomach became distended and I had flu like symptoms and chills throughout my body.
*On Saturday it seemed the fever broke, but I was still distended. I was doing errands and last minute things to get ready for our trip. Around 3:00 I spoke with my friend Steve who is a doctor and he suggested get to a facility as it sounded like an infection.
Thus began my wild adventure…..I went to three urgent care facilities—all of which said they were open on Google, but were not. I ended up at one only to find out they did not take my insurance. At this point Micah had met up with me and we drove to the ER in Poway. Now for all of you who have commented that I have handled my trials with strength and grace, this would not be an example of that. The entire drive I was bawling my eyes out, screaming at God, wondering why He was allowing this--pleading with Him to help me. I felt like I couldn’t handle another moment of life, but I kept going, because I don’t really know how to give up.
Saturday night I admitted myself to the ER with Micah by my side and when I knew it would be a long night, I told him to go home and finish packing and that I would meet him home later (yes, I know I am a positive thinker). When they gave me an IV pain drip and told me I needed a CT scan, I started realizing that maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be getting on a plane in the morning. I texted a few close friends to ask them to help Micah and that was the first time I told anyone except Greg where I was. Within twenty minutes my friends Jessica and Angela were by my side. At 12:20 am I was admitted to the hospital—diagnosis—outer skin infection across my whole abdomen (most likely caused from the previous drain), and fluid the size of a brick inside my abdominal wall. I had told my doctor I felt like I was five months pregnant, and he said, “No, more like seven months!” I began an IV drip of major antibiotics…..flight was cancelled, rental car cancelled, and I sat up all night thinking things really could not get any worse. I must have slept slightly because when I opened my eyes next my friend Danielle was sitting by my bedside and freaked me out!
I will spare you all the details of the next few days, but I was in the hospital until Tuesday afternoon with antibiotics 24/7, needing three different IV’s because my veins were blowing and couldn’t handle the powerful medicine. I had a procedure Monday to remove the fluid and place a new drain and then I had to wait for the cultures from the fluid. All the time, my dear sweet friends were sitting by my bedside, taking shifts to bring me food and cheer me up. I began to feel better and was itching to get out, but the Infectious Disease doctors didn’t want to release me. I finally convinced them to let me go home to recover and wait for the cultures and they released me with reservation and made me call my primary care and my surgeon to follow up. They were convinced I would end up in the ER again.
Well I didn’t. I slept in my own bed and my friends brought me and Micah food, and sweet surprises started showing up on my door step and I felt loved immensely. (For those of you wondering where Greg was—I told him he had to stay in Colorado and help move Noah in. I had Micah and a huge circle of friends caring for me. That is the beauty of Christ’s community—we bear and share each other’s burdens and are there for each other in times of trouble). It was great to be home, to get out for a short walk, to rest and renew. This saga is not finished. I still have the drain in and need to get to the source of all the fluid my body is producing. For those of you interested, look up “seroma” on Web MD and that will explain better what is probably going on.
Saga Part Two….I still have to deal with the tumor found on my lung in the last scan. So today I had my appointment with the lung surgeon and we reviewed the scan. The tumor is the size of a grape in my lower right lung—the same lung she did a wedge resection on when she did my last surgery in September, 2014. Bottom line—the tumor needs to come out; it is near a blood vessel near my heart and can’t grow into those margins. I will be having surgery NUMBER NINE within the next three weeks. She will take out my whole lower lobe. She is very thorough and drew pictures for me and explained everything. It is the unknown that is so unnerving, so I really appreciate doctors who take the time to explain everything so clearly. Though I dread the thought of another hospital stay and my veins blowing with IV’s and the metallic tastes of saline and drugs dripping through me, and all the beeps and noises in the room, I just want to get this done. I want to be strong and healthy and able to hike and do all the things I love. (She did tell me that I have great, healthy, clear lungs).
Many people have been asking me—what do you need, how can I help? This is how I really want to answer:
I need to be running on the beach. I need to not have a drain sticking out of my lower abdomen. (So I can have better fashion choices). I need to be in Colorado with my son, moving him into his second year of college. I need to be hiking Lake Poway and back at spin class and sleeping through the night. I need to be in Puerto Vallarta eating lobster on the beach with a mango margarita in hand. I need to have a schedule that doesn’t include two hour phone calls to insurance and twenty minute holds to schedule an appointment. I need to win the Lotto so I can pay the medical bills for having cancer. I need to have the time and energy to write my book, do the job that I love, and plan my next trip to Uganda. I need to feel the freedom of being strong and healthy. I need to watch more sunsets. And maybe more sunrises.
But this will do: I need your prayers. I need you to believe that the God of the universe is bigger than my health issues. I need your encouragement because I really do get down. I need your text messages and sweet notes and comments on FB because even if I don’t respond, they mean so much. I need your love, in whatever way you express it. I need my boys and husband to be loved and supported just as much, if not more than me. This is their battle too. I need you all to remember that I am not strong on my own, but only because of Jesus. I need you to know that even though you think I am handling this well, there are deep, dark moments where I don’t know if I can go another day. I need you to know that when I write, I have had time to process and reflect and that these posts might convey strength, but at the core I am weak and scared.
I need you to know that even though I am weak and scared, I go on only because I have hope in Jesus (and because I still plan to dance at my boys’ weddings).