From a Spouse’s Perspective

 

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Last night as I sat reading an article on The Mighty, about partners of those that are chronically ill, I was hit with curiosity.  We hear so much of how being chronically ill affects us, but how does it affect our partners? How do they feel? What is this like from their perspective??   I quickly sent a text to my boyfriend, I explained I wanted to write a piece, essentially from his perspective. He said he’d love to help me. So, I sat down, typed out some questions and emailed them to him late last night. By 7:30am I had his replies.

Let me preface with this, we met in September 2011. He was there from day 1 when all of this started.

Without Further Ado,

From a Souse/Partner’s Perspective:

1) When at first when my health deteriorated, how did you handle or adjust to that?
I handled it like every other day and I don’t feel like I had to make any adjustments that I didn’t want to make on my own.
2) Did/Do you ever feel overwhelmed? If so, how did you deal with it?  
I never feel overwhelmed personally, but I do feel bad that you get stuck, probed and prodded regularly by nurses, and doctors. You’re shuffled from specialist to specialist, all while hoping for answers. 
3) Have you ever felt helpless? Being my partner and unable to fight off this monster of a disease.
No I don’t feel helpless because you’re the strongest person I know and if anybody can get through this, you can. 
4) What is the hardest thing you’ve had to face in dealing with my health?
I would say the pacemaker scared the living hell out of me. That’s dealing with the heart, so many risks with that. It was kind of hard to handle but you amazed me with how you handled it like a champ.
5) Do you prefer when I shield you from the bad days, or disease progression? Or do you want the truth of how things are?
I want the truth about how things are, no matter what, your love and well being are my first priority.
6) What is your biggest frustration in dealing with my health?
My biggest frustration in dealing with your health is that sometimes your attitude on life gets to me. The eating/drinking issues, you won’t do it some days because you know how sick you’ll be after. So you don’t want to do it. That you won’t do the feeding tube, even though you need it. You let your family talk you out of doing what your doctors suggest. You also don’t see yourself as beautiful, you feel like the feeding tube, will make you less beautiful to me.  Scars, or a feeding tube won’t make me love you any less, or see you any less beautiful and amazing. That’s really frustrating for me. 
7) Being a caregiver to your girlfriend, have you ever resented the role?
I never resented the role. It’s a role that I choose to be in, because I love you. 
8) If you could tell me anything about how you’ve seen my struggle with my body, what would it be??
Nothing, your body is flawless. Scars tell stories and you have a lot of stories to be told. Your never ending strength is amazing to witness. 
9) What’s the most vivid memory you have of dealing with all this?What memory sticks out the most?
The day you got your walker. I felt you used it as an excuse to give up on physical therapy, of getting better, stronger.. You have problems walking yes, you tire easily, but I could see that you wanted to give up, instead of pushing through to overcome it. That was hard for me to see. 
10) What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to deal with in regards to watching me struggle with my health?
When your self esteem drops. You’ve grown stronger in who you are, you’ve found your inner strength, your voice. You inspire people with your words, and your realness.  However, Nothing about YOU has changed, you’re the same person you were when I met you. You don’t see the beauty I see when I look at you.  That’s hard for me, that you don’t see what I see, what others see. 
11) If there was anything you could change about my health or how I see things, what would it be?
Your health does not bother me, but how you see things does. Open your eyes, look around, you have a lot to live for. You have a lot to be happy about. 
12) Have you ever wanted to walk away, leave? 
I didn’t think that was an option. A real man or woman would stand next to their partner no matter what.  
13) If you could give spouses/partners new to this any advice, what would it be? 
Work hard with what you got, and above all find happiness and peace within yourself.
Reading his replies, it really put things into perspective. It made me see myself with different eyes. This man, he’s loved me unconditionally for 7 years. He’s held me as I cried, he’s calmed my fears. He was there through cardiac ablations, my passing out, losing strength to walk. He’s seen the good, the bad and the hell. He’s seen me angry, cry, and grieve over losing my healthy body. He’s talked to me as I had convulsion like episodes, he calmed me when I was upset. He reassured me when I was scared. He was my strength when I wasn’t strong.  Most of all though, he’s loved me when I couldn’t love myself.  He’s watched me as I slept to make sure I was still breathing. His never ending strength and love have really helped me grow as a person, it’s helped me grow into myself. He’s encouraged me, embraced me, challenged me, and loved me. He has pushed me to do things I love, to do things i’ve dreamt of. He’s my steadfast rock, my cheerleader and my biggest supporter.
It’s not easy being with someone that has many health issues, but as he said, nothing about that person has changed. Love is love. Love them wholeheartedly. Love them despite it all. Love them through the good and bad. When they feel like giving up, lend them your strength, cheer them on. I assure you, your love, strength and encouragement mean everything to us.
So to my amazing, loving boyfriend, from the bottom of my bionic heart. Thank you for all you’ve done for me, all you do for me, and all you will do in the future. Your encouragement and love mean the world to me.
Grá Go Deo,
A

My new reality…

 

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I’ve been dealing with health issues. My gastroparesis has flared to a hellish point. It’s become extremely problematic, to the point i’m hardly able to eat, and i’m living in constant severe nausea. I’ve lost weight, most haven’t noticed because i’m wearing baggy clothes to hide how much I’ve lost.

However, things have come to a head. My kidneys are struggling, my POTS is out of control, and i’m beyond exhausted. I’m malnourished and not absorbing what I need from the food I am eating. Last Monday I saw a specialist 3 hours away. My best friend Jen was with me. She held my hand, and rubbed my back as the doctor told me, I need to accept this particular procedure I need done..a feeding tube. A J-Tube to be exact. I cried, I immediately had a moment of panic.

The doctor said I’m basically starving…. Now you may ask, how did no one notice? How did no one close to me realize this?? Simple, I’ve kept just how bad things have gotten to myself. My family didn’t know, my best friends didn’t know. Only one person had an inkling, he knew something was wrong beginning of November, but I tried to seem fine, I tried to brush it off. Until I couldn’t. Now things have come to a head. Things are bad, but we can still salvage it. There’s hope, I just have to push like hell to turn it all around.

Today as I sat in my local gastro’s office, we made a plan. A new Gastric Emptying Study, another endoscopy, then we do the J-Tube. I need it done soon, before I land in the hospital. I’m scared, i’m angry, I feel so alone. My family hasn’t been very supportive the last few months. I’m basically coping with all of this and more on my own, and a few, select friends. I texted my best friend telling her this is why I walked away 5 years ago from a relationship. I didn’t want to be a burden, I didn’t want to drag him down this hell with me. 5 years ago I walked away from someone that loved me unconditionally because I didn’t feel worthy. Today, I had the momentary panic of doing it all over again. We came full circle 5 years later, and here i’m facing this hell. I’m facing my body failing me, but I can’t make that decision for him. Not this time.

Why did I panic? I felt unattractive. Realizing i’ll have this tube sticking out of my stomach, and an iv in my chest, it was too much. Why would someone want to deal with all this? Why would someone put up with all this? The answer is so simple..Love. However, I am still so scarred from  the abusive past I had, i’m still insecure in moments, I get stuck. Now though, i’m tired of it. I’m tired of letting my insecurities rule me. I’m fierce, i’m strong, i’m witty, I have amazing eyes. I’m beautiful. I’m me. No one can build me up, but me.

“You will be sexy and beautiful no matter what.”….. thats the text I got when I shared my concern with him. I’m so stuck on seeing it all as bad, he’s busy seeing me a a warrior, a fighter. He’s busy seeing PAST it all.
So, while I fear living with a feeding tube, i’m determined to own it. I’m determined to rock it like a damn pin up model. I’m determined to let go of my insecurities and live life, and love life. More importantly, to love myself and my body. I’m determined to find a photographer to work with me, and rock some pictures. Some might find it odd. Me? I find it empowering. This feeding tube is literally my lifeline right now. I need this, I need to let go of my fears, my insecurities and do what I need to feel confident. Having a feeding tube doesn’t make me unattractive. It doesn’t make me less of a person. I think as patients we can’t see the good, we can’t see our beauty. We’re too focused on the bad, too focused on what makes us feel bad, unattractive.  Let’s break the cycle. Let’s silence those thoughts. Let’s lift each other up, lets build ourselves up. We’re worthy, we’re beautiful and amazing. We’re so much more than our health. We’re warriors, we’re strong. We deserve all our hopes and dreams.

So dream, love and live!! Let’s work together to let go of the negative and embrace what we do love about ourselves… Lets create a community of being empowered.

Be+Empowered

What do I love about me??

  • Fierce
  • Strong
  • Independent
  • loyal
  • Caring
  • Supportive 
  • Witty
  • Funny
  • Inspiring 
  • Ambitious
  • Hopeful
  • I’m beautiful.
  • I’m me.

Be Fierce..Be Strong, Be YOU!!!

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From a child’s eyes…

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Hope you all are well!! I’ve been busy with summer break and had a few health issues. Hopefully we’re heading into right direction now!

This post I wanted to do something different. My son is super excited to be a part of this!  He has such a heart of gold. He’s so compassionate, understanding and just amazing. He is a big help. When we go out to eat, he asks the waiter about peanut oil, and such due to my severe peanut allergy. He makes sure it’s safe. He’s my little big helper. I see he gets upset sometimes when I can’t do things other moms can. I can’t walk through Disney, or go play soccer with him. I can’t go sit at the beach all day due to my heat intolerance.

As much as I know he’s a happy child, I really wanted to know his view on all this. How he sees it. So I sat him down and did an interview with him. He’s super excited to be apart of this. He’s also wanting to record a video, which we will be doing today or tomorrow and uploading. Without further ado, here’s his answers.. Here’s what it’s like from a child’s eyes..

From a child’s view..

1) When I first got sick, and had to adjust to doing things, how did you feel about that? I got sad, because you couldn’t do fun stuff with me anymore.

2) Have you often felt overwhelmed? If so, how do you deal with it? Sometimes. 

3) Do you ever feel angry? If so, why? Yes, Because you’re always tired, we can’t ride bikes or play soccer.

4) What is the hardest thing you’ve had to face in having a mom that is chronically ill? That you’re always tired. That we can’t go to Disney or the beach. That you can’t walk around fun places. Even if you use a wheelchair, I don’t care, I just want to go to fun places with you.

5) Do you prefer when I shield you from the bad days? Or do you want the truth of how things areSometimes I would prefer you to lie about the bad days, sometimes be honest. If you could give parents and kids new to this any advice, what would it be? For kids, Journal your feelings. Be honest about how you feel. Adjust to doing things at home. We play board games on bad days, we read together, watch. movies. We do what we can together.

For Parents: Your child will get angry, but understand their feelings, and talk them through it. Find things to do at home together that’s low energy. Make memories together. You don’t have to go somewhere to make good memeories.

6) If you could tell me anything about how you’ve seen me struggle with my body, what would it be?? You’re a good mom, you do everything you can for me. You make sure i’m happy. And You need to use your walker more, dad says so too.

7) Do you know how much I love you? Yes, I do.

 

Well, that was enlightening. He’s wise beyond his years. He’s honest, and understanding. We trying to hide things from our kids, to protect them, but maybe that’s leading to more anger, more resentment. We should open a dialogue with them about it. Explain what we can and can’t do. Most importantly, make memories together. He’s right, you don’t have to go places to make memories with them. We do movie days/nights. We play silly games on the iPad. We play board games. We find ways to create those memories that we will both cherish.

I know our health can take a lot from us, but it’s not just us that it’s affecting. Often times we push our bodies to exhaustion, pain and till we simply fall. We need to stop doing that. That does more harm than good. We need to listen to our bodies, we need to adjust what we do to be within our limitations. We need to adjust and adapt to what we do to have spoons to make these precious memories with our kids. I know it’s not easy, I know there will be trial and tribulations. There will also be laughter and joy. Our kids don’t need expensive things, or expensive trips. They need us, they need our attention, and time. Simple things can make great memories.

 

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Self Esteem Struggles

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  As I scroll through the many dysautonomia groups i’m in, I notice a recurring thing.. Quotes, concerns and just venting about relationships, self esteem, sex. So many of us go though relationship break ups, marriages, fertility issues, hard decisions regarding dating, or just to have children. We all look to each other for support and guidance. However, i’m noticing a distinct lack of community for these topics, and it’s disheartening.

Lets really delve into this. Being chronically ill, we deal may deal with fatigue, wheelchair use, mobility aids, allodynia, hair loss; many others things that affect our self esteem. We may have had horrible dates, or our partners leave us. Guess what? It’s their loss! You’re a warrior, you’re stronger than you think! Most importantly, you are NOT alone. We’ve all been there.

I’ve struggled with self esteem issues for years, i’m not ashamed to admit that. I struggle to like my body, weight or smile. I’ve struggled to see what others see. In the last year, through counseling and the amazing support of my family, I’m starting to see what others do. I used to worry I wasn’t skinny enough, or pretty enough for some. I always felt I had to overcompensate for it. I hated dating, and the inevitable questions like: “Do you work out?”; “Do You work?”, or my personal favorite “So you just read all the time?Like you sleep all day? That must be nice.”   No, no it’s not nice to be so bone tired all the time! It’s not nice to take a shower and then feel like you need to nap!

Dating was anxiety ridden hell at times. You know what though? I had faith that at some point, it’d be worth it. That there is someone out there that was willing to be my cheerleader, rock and partner through all this. It didn’t happen overnight for that realization to come to me, it took a while. That shift in outlook isn’t overnight. It takes time. Time to realize that you, my darling reader ARE worth it. You  deserve all the happiness. Your health doesn’t make you worth less!

Sex… yes sex.. We can all chuckle at that for a minute! With our lack of energy, self esteem, and health greatly affects our sex life. Let’s not hide, or not discuss it. We need to discuss it. We are all adults here (at least I hope everyone is). We want to feel that intimacy with our partners, the desire. Though, I can guarantee you, that there’s times you feel it’s a chore. No! Don’t think that. This is a way to increase intimacy snd strengthen your bond with your partner. It’s important to find ways to do this. Difference positions, are important. Communication is key. Communication is vital in a relationship. We’ve all felt less desirable at some point due to our health, don’t hide it. I’m a firm believer, though I know not everyone is, that sex is important in a relationship and maintaining intimacy. Communicate this with your partner, more importantly, listen to them. Adjustments, trial and error are vital in finding what works best for you as a couple!

 

Kids.. some want them, some don’t. I have a son. I’ve always wanted one more. Learning that your illness is so debilitating, that having a child would be difficult is heartbreaking. I’ve been there. Some choose not to have a child due to their health, some choose to try for one. Some experience heartbreaking fertility issues. It’s not easy. These aren’t easy decisions to make, easy things to experience. I’ve had 6 laparoscopies for endometriosis. One oophorectomy-right side. 4 cardiac ablations,. I have mobility issues, GP, POTS, OI, endo, IST/SVT, migraines, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, EDS and Nephrotic syndrome.  I’ve spent the last year with my doctors, discussing everything about a pregnancy, the what ifs, plans, good, bad and ugly. I’ve been told brutal truth, to where i cried. I was in therapy to help in the event I made the decision not to have another child. I was in therapy to process my emotions. To process feeling like a failure as both a woman, and future wife.

I’ve wondered, and cried thinking about my son having a disabled mom. There’s times i’m upset that I’m not a soccer mom, but honestly I still feel blessed and happy to have him. I know my limitations, and I do what I can. We have a very open communication with him about my health. He loves our movie days. He actually pushes me to use my walker or wheelchair more. Though I know some wouldn’t agree, but I think my son growing up as he is, is learning to be more compassionate, caring, empathetic and understanding. He has a heart of gold, and is such a helper. As much as I struggle, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I know i’ve made comments about feeling fat, or ugly. My family hates when I put myself down. The self deprecating comments, we’ve all said them. We’ve all dealt with all these issues at some point in time. We feel there’s no one to talk to about all this. That no one understands,. You’re wrong. There’s so many just waiting on a community to forge this support! There’s men, and women that struggle. This isn’t just a woman problem. We’ve all struggled. Living with an illness that affects us so much, that has us disabled, or not, we all experience these issues. It’s up to us to build that comity with each other. I see on facebook, people tearing each other down. That’s unacceptable. Be the light! We, as a community should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down.

Personally, I absolutely refuse to let dysautonomia destroy my goals, hopes and dreams. I won’t let it control me, I won’t let it rob me any more than it has.

 

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Life, Insecurities and Strength

Hello my beautiful and amazing lovelies!!! I know i’ve been missing in action, but now i’m focusing more on writing, with the support of my family and friends!!!

 

OK!! Lets get down to it! So, i’m not sure any of you know, last year I signed on to be a Community Leader with Dysautonomia Support Network . This was so important to me.  I want to connect other patients, other caregivers, I want to work together and get doctors involved in learning more about dysautonomia. This is a passion of mine. This I do, for all of us, for you, your wife, sister, mother, friend.. Anyone that suffers any chronic illness, we need to build that support system together! I’m working on projects, still learning the ins and outs of things. It’s been an amazing time learning and volunteering with so many amazing people. 🙂

 

Now I know i’ve touched on it in a few older posts. I walk with a limp, with an unsteady gait. I usually use a walker. Well, my rheumatologist is sending me for Aquatic Physical Therapy. I had my first consultation this past Tuesday. It was interesting, long and tiring. I have motor control and planning issues. My joint instability also lends to issues. I have major balance issues. My goal is to walk down the aisle at some point, and dance my first dance and dance with my Dad! She recommended a wheelchair for distances and anything that involves a lot of walking. This, unfortunately I know was coming. We’re now at a safety thing, a wheelchair will give me a bit more freedom, and allow me to do things with my son/family. When I got home, I was upset, I cried, and just didn’t want to acknowledge she was right about the wheelchair.Two amazing friends, whom I met through DSN, also were amazing at reassuring me of things, and how it does’t have to affect my life as a mom or wife negatively unless I let it. Between them, and my family, they really eased my mind. I know it’s not an easy thing to accept, but we need to acknowledge our body’s limitations, we need to listen to our body, not push it till we fall, or are utterly exhausted. We need to take care of ourselves too!

 

This brings me to my next topic.. Self Care! What do we do for ourselves? To relax, refresh our mind, and body? Self care is so so important. The below quote is all too true. We must take care of ourselves! 🙂 What’s your favorite thing to do?? Leave a comment, lets start a discussion (I may create a facebook page for my blog), and maybe give each other ideas!

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Alrighty, someone asked me how can I be disabled, sick, and date. I talked to my counselor, and she helped me to see myself for who I am. I’m strong, i’m independent, i’m compassionate, passionate, loving and caring. I’m a silly in the car singer, dancer, and goofy person, I love meme, and jokes. Why WOULDN’T anyone want me?? My physical limitations don’t have an impact on WHO I am. They DON’T define me. I think that’s what we in the chronically illness community deal with. It’s become a part of us, our life, and we’re so quick to just dismiss the chances of life, or really living life. I think we need to always remember, we’re people. We’re not our illness. We’re not our dysautonomia. We’re not our Ehlers Danlos, Our Lyme, or anything else. We’re ourselves. We are who we are. We’re people with dreams and goals. You deserve all the love and happiness. Don’t let your illness define you.

 

I can’t stress this enough, always be true to you. Always be a voice, always know you’re beautiful. you’re strong, you’re a warrior. Most importantly You’re not alone, there’s a community standing behind you. There’s always someone there to listen, just reach out. If you’re new to a diagnosis, reach out to a group. If you’re new to being a caregiver, reach out. I will be here to listen. For now my beauties, stay who you are. Continue being the warriors you are, be proud of who you are.

 

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-Much love to you all.

A.

 

I’m back… again!

Hello my dear readers and friends! I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve written, and I’m sorry. I was not well, and had to take time to at least wrap my head around things surrounding my health.

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On August 19, 2014 I sent my sweet baby boy to Kindergarten!!! He’s such a big boy now! He tells me that he is, and loves “big boy” school. He started school the day after I was released from the hospital for the picc line infection. I refused to miss his first day of school!! Yes, I’m a proud mama!!!

First Day of Kindergarten!
First Day of Kindergarten!
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My baby boy and I

In September my cardiologist in Virginia had another one placed, my doctor in Florida removed it feeling it was a serious risk. At that point I was so overwhelmed and angry that my neuro would no longer order the saline, that I was ok with it. I started physical therapy to help with my strength, it helped slightly, but mainly left me exhausted and in pain. I sprained my MCLs at the end of August, which required me to wear two knee braces, the sprains were so severe I have to wear these braces ALL THE TIME! I hated them, and didn’t really wear them. Bad girl, I know! this led to bursitis around my knee and required me to get the corticosteroids in my knees. Unfortunately I had to get it in my SI joint as well due to major issues there. Such is life! lol  I also had an Echo done, and it showed an enlarged heart, as well as mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic regurgitation. My cardio in Virginia is keeping it monitored very closely.

October brought it’s own set of issues, as well as fun Halloween time!! I didn’t do so well in school because I wasn’t feeling so well and couldn’t keep up with the course work. It’s awful, but it’s not exactly a shocking development! My son decided to be Flash for Halloween, which meant I had to be Batgirl…… Oh yes, I’m THAT mom! lol We went trick or treating with friends, and had an amazing time.  Which makes it all worth it!!

November brought some difficulties with me getting around and keeping my energy up, but I was ok. Thanksgiving sucked. I unfortunately had full body tremors and was passing out… again a wonderful holiday ruined by my health. I cried, and had to be carried to my couch, and to the bathroom. Dysautonomia, you suck! But dinner was yummy!! I also had the Mirena IUD placed.. boy was that painful!

December is when things fell apart. I started having major pre syncope, and passing out. I became unable to keep my blood pressure up. It crashed more often than not. Eating became a bigger challenge. My mom flew down and drove us to her house in Tennessee. I basically slept the entire way. I couldn’t rally do anything else.

January, my life crashed. I could no longer control my blood pressure, and was constantly dizzy. My energy was non existent. I slept nearly all the time. And I still wasn’t really eating. What I did eat, didn’t stay in me for long. My neuro here in Florida didn’t know what to do with me. She pretty much threw her hands up and told me that I DID NOT have dysautonomia. Which I found interesting because TWO other hospitals confirmed the diagnosis, and why didn’t she say anything in the last TWO year she was treating me for it?!  I found a neuro in Tampa that knows dysautonomia. I saw him at the end of January, and he ordered all new tests.  My sister drove me to my appointments, and for that i’m so grateful. My appointment for testing was last week. The tests confirmed that I do indeed have dysautonomia. He also said that my neuropathy is so severe in my legs that it’s affecting the blood flow to my feet, which is why they’re always freezing cold. He decided not to even try the Florinef or midodrine again as I had such bad reactions to them… He decided to go straight to IV saline… which means, another IV, which means a picc line or a port. I’m opting for the port. He has hope that this will help tremendously. I know it will help some.  This month has been incredibly difficult as I have no energy, and no appetite. I’m rarely hungry and when I am hungry I barely eat anything. My dizziness is so bad. My mirena has cause extreme pain. Today I learned that I have several ovarian cysts and pelvic fluid. The doctor ordered a CT scan, which is being done Friday. I’m hoping this is nothing major. I’m hoping it’s not Endometriosis rearing it’s ugly head again. I’m hoping for so many things.

I know at times we all feel helpless, angry, grieving, depressed. We must not let these feelings consume us. I know it’d be easy to let them, but we need to remember our fight, our inner strength. We’ve made it this far, we can make it even farther and face all  that comes toward us. Remember you are loved, you are worth it, and you are beautiful and amazing, but most of all remember you are not alone in this fight!! We’re all warriors, we’re all a family!

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Hospital, Smoshpital

Hello all!! It’s been a bumpy few weeks, but i’m still standing! (Barely). First things first… My little boy started kindergarten Monday!! Such a bittersweet moment!! He’s growing up so fast! I may have shed a few tears! He’s my baby boy! 🙂

Mathew's First Day of Kindergarten 8.18.14
Mathew’s First Day of Kindergarten 8.18.14

I’ve been trying to stay ahead of my fibro and POTS flares, but not fortunate enough to do it. On Saturday, I became very ill very quickly. Around 11am I had a small low grade fever, by 6 pm, I had started vomiting, at 9pm my temperate had reached 103.9, and I was still vomiting.. I headed to the hospital. My PICC line was removed, and heavy duty antibiotics, Zosyn and Vancomycin were started. I was admitted before I even walked into the ER, thanks to my wonderful primary care doctor.  I still had a fever at 4am! Luckily it broke, and between that and the antibiotics, I slowly became better. I was still nauseous, but ginger ale and crackers helped. My amazing friend Amanda brought me oatmeal for breakfast! It was so yummy and just what my tummy needed!! I was luckily released later Sunday night!

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What a weekend!! I’m so glad i’m alright, the doctors are still trying to figure out what caused the fever and such. It was so scary.

On a positive note, I started my fall semester today, and hopeful it’ll be the best one yet!!

Being chronically ill can lead to feeling lonely or depressed. Surround yourself with loving friends and family. Remember you are a wonderful person, and deserve to be happy! Just because we’re sick doesn’t mean we’re less deserving!!

Stay sweet my readers!! Until next time!!

Saline and me..we’re friends :-)

So a month has gone by without an update… Don’t be mad my loving followers!! I went to a conference in Washington DC hosted by Dysautonomia International. I met so many people, and learned a lot.

It seems the “experts” are against saline therapy, fearing addiction to it… Seriously?? My electrophysiologist laughed at this, as did many of us POTS patients at the conference. It was an informative conference, however they really only focused on one type of Dysautonomia. I was told by an “expert” that I needed to have my picc line removed as it’s offensive to people, and that I needed to cover it up for Lobby Day. I took an immediate offense to this. When morning dawned for Lobby Day, I was completely bedridden. The weekend of the conference was so full of informative sessions, it was hard on me to keep up, it was hard on a lot of us to keep up. I couldn’t attend Lobby Day because my body had had enough. I flew in on a Friday, and left on the following Tuesday. Two days of flights, and two action packed days of sessions. My body was exhausted. I ended up having to do a saline infusion just to get myself to the airport on Tuesday! lol

 

First night of Dysautonomia International Conference
First night of Dysautonomia International Conference
Day 2 of conference with custom cup by Jilly's Decals
Day 2 of conference with custom cup by Jilly’s Decals
Day 3 of Conference
Day 3 of Conference

 

Once I got home, it took almost two weeks to recover. When my neurologist decided to extend out my infusions over the next 6 months, things happened that should never have happened. My nurse was changed, so I was assigned to a new nurse. The new nurse, when meeting me for the first time, decided to make her thoughts known on my saline treatments. She stated that I need to force fluids down my throat and have my picc line removed. On top of that I was allergic to the bandage she was using. I told her as much. She used it anyway, this was on a Monday. By Wednesday the bandage was falling off. When she came to check it, she didn’t even change the bandage. I had to tape it to my arm for another 5 days!! She also didn’t use gloves when changing my bandage, this set me off. I called the office to complain. When I experienced pain over the weekend, I had to call the on call service. I was told my the on call nurse to deal with it or go to the ER.. Seriously? When I called Monday to file a complaint, the lady that answered the phone told me that the nurse I spoke to on Saturday evening would never tell me that. That’s how they handle the situation? The nurse came Monday, and proceeded to make snide remark after snide remark! Saying “Oh are you going to report me for that too?” Unacceptable!!! I didn’t even call the agency again, I called my insurance company and filed a complaint. Upon speaking with my insurance company, I was told the agency was sending a new nurse. She came on Friday evening. She asked personal questions that she had no business asking. She pushed the subject. Made comments about my having a son and not being married, saying I’m a single mom with a tone of disgust to her voice. She told me “You need to make better choices for yourself and your son young lady!”  WHO THE EFF does she think she is to speak to me that way?! To say this in front of my son?! Hell No!! My dad overheard this and said it’s time to leave. He was in shock!!  The agency will be fired in the morning!!

On a lighter note, I’ve been blessed with two amazing friends for the last few months. My friends Amanda and Maria, have become such amazing friends to me. They’re truly been there when I needed a swift kick, or when i’m just feeling down, or when I need girl time!! I’m so glad we met, and formed such a friendship.

Maria, Me and Amanda
Maria, Me and Amanda

 

My saline therapy has been helping, unfortunately having an allergic reaction to the bandages isn’t helping. My EP is going to consult with my Neuro to do a port. I’m scared, but this is my life. This is what I need to stay hydrated and have less palpitations! I’ll do it! I’ve been having presyncope more often, as well as horrible vertigo and getting car sick. I’m trying to find things to help combat them both. 🙂  I’ve also been diagnosed with arthritis. My scoliosis is also worsening. I’m pushing through to stay positive about life!

Love, isn’t that something we all want? Those that have it are truly blessed. Loving someone so completely and without judgment is a beautiful thing. You never know what tomorrow holds. You never know if you’ll hear their voice again, or see them again. Cherish them. Cherish every memory you make together, for that love is so precious, and so rare. Look back on the memories, not with sadness, but with joy, and love. Joy that you experienced that, love that you had for that person. Sorrow can also be present, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Don’t drown in the sorrow, and memories. Live, love and cherish your time together, for you never know when you could lose it.

cherish-every-moment-of

Summertime..

Hello all. I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. Things got busy and stressful. So much has happened in the last two months. The heat here is making things extremely difficult for me. I’m trying to stay cool, just not always easy!

My son graduated VPK!!!  I’m such a proud mommy! I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t tear up, because I did! It was such a special moment in my life. I rested for days, just so I could go. We had some rough moments during, but I made it through. He smiled so big when he saw me! He’s my biggest joy in life.

Mathew @ VPK Graduation 05/2014
Mathew @ VPK Graduation 05/2014

 

After school was out, we decided to spend some time with my mom in Tennessee. My mom drove the entire way in one day, 12 hours. It was so hard on me, and I ended up sleeping for nearly 2 days after to recover. It’s quiet and peaceful at my Mom’s. During that time we had an appointment with my Electrophysiologist in Virginia. I was diagnosed with POTS, and told that my HR is still out of control, and the my Atrial Tachycardia episodes are becoming more frequent. Yay! Though he did decide to start me on IV saline therapy to help.  After that we returned to my mom’s in Tennesse, to relax and just spend time together.  I ended up having to go to the doctor there for an emergency. My jaw had popped out of place, and the tendon was swollen and causing pain. The doctor expressed his concern over my TMJ, the severity of it. So I have to add another doctor to the ever growing team of doctors I see.

When we finally got back to Florida, I had a follow up with my neurologist. Yes, I went back to Cleveland Clinic. She agreed to do the infusions, and put the orders right in, even decided i’d get a picc line placed. Again.. Yay me… Not too long after that appointment I had to see my gastro. We had to change all my meds, and diet, again. My GERD is still uncontrolled, and i’m still getting sick when I eat. I’ve started the new medicine, but haven’t noticed any change. 😦 We are concerned I will have to eventually get TPN. I’m hoping to avoid that.

Finally the day came to get my picc line. Nervous doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I was terrified. I cried, was angry, and then resigned. I decided it’s just another thing i’ll have to adjust to in battling this illness. As long as I fight it, i’ll never give up.  The nurse that did the picc line was great. She really put me at ease with explaining everything. So without further ado… Here I am with the picc line! To say there was some pain and discomfort would be an understatement. It’s taken some time to get used to it. I’ve now had it for nearly 2 weeks, and sometimes I forget I even have it! lol We’ve decided to the the saline infusions at home. Which is comfortable to me. My nurse is amazing, the entire agency is amazing actually!! I’ve done one infusion already, and what a difference it made!! I’m hoping after the 4 week trial period we move to everyday, or a few times a week!! Unfortunately though, I’ll be getting a port.

Picc Line!!
Picc Line!!

 

We’ve had a few bumps in the last few months. I’m still trying to get answers on why all this happened. I know I may never get them, but i’m still going to try. I’m still working on being positive, and being the best mother I can be. I’m hoping to make a difference in the world. I want to inspire others. I want my son to know my love for him. I want my family to know how much their support means to me. How much my friends have helped me. I’m not losing focus on life, nor am I going to give up.

Stay fighting, and surround yourself with positives. 🙂proverbs 3125

Feeling anti-antibiotics!!

Hello all!!! So I had a few days of feeling great..Then BAM relapsed!! I feel so weak, nauseous and just in so much pain.  My friends are so understanding and I truly am blessed to have them in my life!

I’ve been on my antibiotics for the H. Pylori for about a week or more. I unfortunately had to stop them. I getting so sick from them, and It was too much. I’m calling my gastro to find out what to do in the mean time. I’m starting to wonder if I’m allergic to them, or just too sensitive for them!!

antibiotics-logo-final

I’m spending the summer in Tennessee with my mom and step dad. In the country, with so much less stress!! Mathew is so excited. I’m looking forward to it as well!

Smoky Mountains- Gatlinburg, TN
Smoky Mountains- Gatlinburg, TN

I’m also so tired of using hypoallergenic laundry detergent!! I miss the wonderful smell of freshly cleaned sheets!!! It’s silly, but its at times like that when I feel angry over my illness changing so much of my life. I’ve also had to decide to go back to my neurologist at Cleveland Clinic. It took serious discussions with my family, but we feel that maybe she’s the best to help with my migraine treatment. My internist is also concerned about my constant bronchitis. So I’m now on allergy medication, and flonase! Let’s hope I don’t have to go onto an inhaler, but he’s pretty sure i’ll end up on that too!! I have such a crap immune system!! The new neuro I saw also wants to do Mitochondrial Testing, but I’m going to see if I can get my neuro at Cleveland Clinic to do it. My internist says it would explain a lot if I do have Mito. So we’ll see!!!

Things have been good and bad, but through this journey i’ve learned who my true friends are, and made even more life long friends. I’m truly blessed to have the support system I have.  We coul be negative about being disabled, sick, and in hellish pain, but what does it solve??? Nothing!!! I chose to live the best I can, to be happy despite my illness. I choose LIFE!! Yes I’m disabled, chronically ill, walk funny, will end up in a wheelchair, but you know what?? It’s alright! I’ll still continue to fight to live. To be a mom to my amazing son. We should focus more on the positives than the negatives. When I start to worsen, I’ll know that no matter what, my family will be there to help me. I know now, that things are worsening, and not many people know. I put on a show, but now I no longer have the energy. I’m tired of hiding the true me. The pain, and the way I am.

Be proud of who you are, no matter what!! I am who I am, and I’m proud to be me!! Never let anyone take that from you!

proud