Friday, November 19, 2010

To Answer a Few Questions

  Hello again to the world of blogging! I know it's been a few months since I've posted, but there has been so much going on recently that I haven't even had the chance. But after being bombarded with questions from any number of places, I thought it was time I let everybody know what was going on.
  So, a few weeks ago, I injured my back. I found out that I have a bulging disc, but it should correct itself and there's not much to it. No big deal, right? Well, a couple of days later my back was doing pretty well, but I couldn't shake this awful tightness in my thigh muscles. I wondered if maybe the disc was pinching a nerve or something, but who knows. After a few days, though, the tightness and pain had spread throughout both of my legs to the point that I could barely walk. Jason and I headed to my doctor again, and he immediately sent us to the hospital for some tests. His exact words were: "These are blood clots until proven otherwise." That's not exactly what I was expecting to hear... We had a bunch of blood work done at the hospital and some ultrasounds, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. Well, you know how the ultrasound technician isn't allowed to tell you anything directly? She told me to get dressed and she'd be right back. She was back in less than 5 minutes with the doctor. I thought, "Oh, this can't be good." It turns out that I had 2 massive clots, one in each leg, that extended from my knee caps up to about my navel. (Crazy, I know.) The doctor then proceeds to explain to me how I'm heading up to ICU and some procedures I'm going to have done. At this point all I could do was look at Jason and try very hard to not burst into tears. I had an out-of-body experience of sorts where I understood what the doctor was saying, but it was really hard to digest the fact that he was talking about ME.
  Well, I ended up spending almost 4 days in ICU, and underwent many different "clot-busting" procedures. I lost track of how many different things they were doing. (You kind-of get to a point were you just let the doctors do what they have to.) I don't remember much about the experience itself, other than the absolutely fantastic family and friends I have. My mom and mother-in-law basically raised my kids (thank you, thank you, thank you!) so that Jason could stay with me at the hospital. My family had countless meals from sisters in the ward, while others helped with carpool and just playing with them. I had so many visitors that totally brightened my days, as well as countless phone calls from all sorts of places. I never had to doubt that I was loved, and constantly felt the love and support from numerous prayers and fasts on my behalf. The doctors were concerened because some of the clots were older and not responding to the treatments, but after just a few days we were blessed with a miracle when a scan revealed that the clots were gone. Not just broken up, but GONE. I can't even explain to you what that feels like. It's so amazing to know that you were so close to being in serious trouble, but the Lord saw fit to let you stay here with your family. I'll never forget the look of amazement on the faces of my nurses and doctors when the change was so drastic. It truly was a miracle.
  After spending a few more days in recovery, I was blessed to be able to come home. I remember walking up the stairs to my room and feeling like it had somehow been a surreal dream, but I only had to try and move more than a few inches to be reminded of what had happened. I've spent the last couple of weeks at home recovering and resting, and crying an awful lot. I don't think I've ever had such an understanding of gratitude before. I'm constantly just hugging my kids and letting the tears flow. (Luckily they're pretty used to seeing me cry by now.:) I am just so grateful that I've been given this chance to stay with my family here and raise my children with my husband. This Thanksgiving is definately going to be a very poignant one for me.
  So, what happened? My doctor thinks it was actually a few different things. First of all, I have a genetic abnormality that I didn't know about before that causes me to be 5 times more likely to develop clots in the first place. Secondly, a few months back I was diagnosed with pelvic congestions syndrome, which basically means I have vericose veins next to my uterus, and that can interfere with blood flow. And lastly, because of the pelvic congestion, I was taking birth control pills for the hormones to try and conteract some of the swelling in my veins. The problem is that blood clots are one of the main side effects of some forms of birth control. All together, my body had a losing battle on its hands. (One of my nurses called it the "blood clot trifecta.":) I'm now on a blood thinner and some pain medication, and being closely monitored by my doctor to make sure everything stays okay. I'll be kind-of out of it for a few weeks, but I'm getting a little better every day, and I'm so grateful for every little bit more that I can do.
  I hope that answers a lot of questions and gives everybody a brief rundown of what's been going on. I wanted to post this as well to send out an enormous thank you. Thanks to the doctors and nurses who fought so valiantly to save my life. Thanks to my wondeful parents who were contanly visiting, taking care of my kids, orgainizing prayers and fasting, and just being there on my behalf. Thanks to my great in-laws who did so much for my family during these last few weeks. Thanks to my siblings who never stopped lending help and support. Thanks to my absolutely fabulous husband who was constantly by my side while still making sure everything was all right at home and never stopping letting me know how much I'm loved. Thanks to so many wonderful friends and neighbors who have given so much in service to see to it that my family was cared for when I couldn't be there. And a very special thank you to my sweet sister who is still watching over me, even after this life. (For those of you who don't know, my sister passed away a few years ago from a blood clot in her lungs, and that was the main reason that my doctor even thought to look for a genetic abnormality.) I love you, Jen. Thanks for knowing that I still need a big sister to look out for me. And thank you most of all, Father in Heaven, for being by my side and lifting me up, and blessing me with the opportunity of seing just how precious life really is. I will never forget this lesson, ever.