Sunday, September 22, 2013

If it's not one thing, it's another...

Last week as I limped (yes, limped...I'll get to that in a minute) out of class, I was having a joking conversation with a classmate. He was trying to decide how many times things had "happened" to me in the year I had known him...i.e. been injured, passed out, etc. He claimed it was 5, but we could only recall 3, so I'm sticking with that =)

Anyway, I realized (not for the first time...) that things just always seem to happen to me! Even when I was younger I had a reputation for being accident prone. I even earned the nickname SVU in college...a reference to the Special Victims Unit from Law and Order. Between all my medical stuff and just being me, there never seems to be a dull moment. If it's not one thing, it's another...

The latest to report is my recent test of gravity...let's just say it's still there and functioning just fine =P I had taken Bonk for a walk to watch a friend play flag football and while we were hanging out, I found a tree that had *perfect* branches for climbing. I tried climbing it on my own, but the branches were too far off the ground. Soooo...not someone to give up easily, I got some help from to get into the tree.

It was everything I thought it would be! It was one of those trees that had nice thick branches on a bunch of different levels, would probably make a great tree for a tree house. Anyway, what goes up must come down...

From the ground looking up the lowest branches didn't look that high, but in the tree looking down...definitely was a bit farther. It was probably the height of a low ceiling, but I decided to try to jump. As I was getting in to position to jump I slipped and ended up half falling, half jumping out of the tree. I landed on my feet, but with a straight right leg. I felt it immediately and knew I had jammed it pretty good...

Initially I couldn't put any weight on my leg, but after a bit I was able to walk (limp) back to my apartment which was about a quarter mile away. It was pretty bad for a couple weeks...I considered getting x-rays because just light weight-bearing was very painful. But at this point, I feel like I'm finally healing! Friday was the first day I could seriously feel improvement in my knee and didn't have to limp around - yay! Just in time, too, since I'm running a half marathon next weeked...at least my stomach has been cooperating the past week!

If it's not one thing it's another!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2013

Yesterday started Invisible Illness Awareness Week!

I was going to post yesterday but was super busy and didn't get a chance. So I wanted to at least post something quick today even though I'm just about as busy.

This is the first year I had heard about this, and honestly this is probably the first year I would have said anything about it anyway. One thing I've been learning this year is that it's okay to not be normal (not that I was ever normal as I'm sure my brother can attest to...). I've always been in a bit of denial about what is going on in my body either because I didn't want to acknowledge that anything was wrong or I wanted to prove that I could overcome anything just by working hard enough. In some ways I think I was also a bit nervous or scared because I didn't always know what was going on and that was a bit unnerving.


Obviously I'd definitely rather not to have to think about what is going on in my body and not always have to plan ahead and be on top of things, but I'm learning. It doesn't bother me as much to admit that my body does not react normally. My dysautonomia, gastroparesis, mast cell issues, food allergies, etc. do not define who I am, but just play a role in how I do things. I'm getting better at being my own advocate, both with new doctors and going out to eat. I'm also a bit more comfortable admitting to my friends when I'm just not up to hanging out because I'm having a rough day. I definitely still have slip ups, but I'm learning.

Will I ever "grow out" of having these illnesses? ABSOLUTELY. Will it be in this life? I don't know. BUT I do know that God's promises are always true, and He is my Great Physician. So if I am healed here and never have to worry about high fluids and salt or reading ingredient labels - GREAT! And if not, that's okay - I still trust that God is in control and He will be my strength when my body feels weak.

I'm reading a book called Jesus Calling, which is written as letters from God to us. This is a passage I read the other day that is exactly what I have been learning:

"Grow strong in your weakness. Some of My children I've gifted with abundant strength and stamina. Others, like you, have received the humble gift of frailty. Your fragility is not a punishment, not does it indicate lack of faith. On the contrary, weak ones like you must live by faith, depending on Me to get you through the day. I am developing your ability to trust Me, to lean on Me, rather than on your understanding. Your natural preference is to plan out your day, knowing what will happen when. My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed. This is how you grow strong in your weakness."

If I had any say in the matter, I'd choose strength over weakness, but when God puts it like this...how can I argue?? Haha

I want to raise awareness for the rare conditions that are not well known so I, as a patient, do not have to educate the doctors that I'm going to see. I want there to be more research funding for this area of the medical field so better treatments, diagnostic criteria, and prevention/cures can be developed. So I want to support Invisible Illness Awareness Week this year because it's part of who I am and that's OKAY!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rough Week

Rough week...

I had an appointment with a specialist about possible mast cell activation issues that may explain the continued symptoms that I've been having. The appointment went well, but the fallout has been a challenge. I had to go off a bunch of my meds 3 days prior to the appointment...you do the math...

By the time Monday came, I was already feeling a bit rough. I was encouraged after talking with the doctor; he seemed pretty knowledgeable, listened well, and is ordering some tests. Unfortunately, one of the tests requires 2 blood samples - 1 as a baseline and the other when I'm really symptomatic...so I've had to be off my meds all week...again, easy math =P

Definitely more downs than ups this week, major return of some symptoms that had seemed to be more or less gone, but overall I was still able to go to school and work which was good since this week was the first week of classes. And then I got to Friday...

I've been training for a half marathon at the end of September, but hadn't done many long runs in the past few months, so I decided to try for 10-12 miles to see how I would feel. I was good until just before mile 10. Then I could tell things were rapidly going downhill, and I ended up throwing up in a Starbucks about a mile away from my apartment...

I threw up again about an hour later after trying to eat something and take some extra salt pills and water. I actually felt a bit better once I got in to school, so I was hoping that things would settle down or at least that I could ignore everything. No such luck... =P

I was taking a CPR re-certification course Friday morning and about 1/2 way through, things started feeling not quite right... I made it through the class, but as everyone was getting up to leave, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to walk out of there right then. By this point, I'm pretty dizzy, the room is spinning, I'm feeling lightheaded, shakey, and kinda disconnected with what was going on around me. I was able to lie down for a few minutes which helped. The CPR class was being taught by one of the Athletic Training professors and 2 of her graduate students. They were cool with me lying down for a few minutes and got me some water to see if that would help. One of the other GAs in my department hung back with me too.

After maybe 10 minutes or so I started feeling a bit better, so I decided to see how standing would go. I felt very dizzy initially and started shaking pretty hard right away, but it faded after a little bit, so I was hoping I'd be okay. I made it to the door of the classroom before I passed out.

It got pretty crazy after that I'm told. I was only unconscious maybe 15 seconds or so, but wasn't really aware of all that was going on for a while after. The EMTs were called, my friend had gotten one of our professors, there were people everywhere, I'm kinda glad I was out of it because I HATE being the center of attention and I'm SURE people were staring...

Shout out to my mom for encouraging me to make sure there were a few people who knew what was going on with me. She had wanted me to talk with at least one of the professors in my department so in case something ever happened (not that it ever would... =P) someone would know what was going on. Also, she wanted me to have a talk with a doctor at the health center so I could get some preventative care occasionally and in the case of an emergency someone would know me and my issues. That ended up definitely being good advice and an answer to prayer because I was able to just get taken over to the health center and get IV fluids instead of being taken by the ambulance to the hospital. Lesson learned...again, Mom is always right...and that it's always important for at least 1 person to know what is going on in case something does happen.

So long story short, I spent the rest of the afternoon at the health center getting fluids. That made a huge difference! I was still feeling a bit out of it/shakey/loopy/whatever you want to call it, but I know the fluids helped me recover much faster than I could have by just drinking. I've been taking it pretty easy all weekend, early night last night and just hanging around after church today and I'm feeling pretty good.

One other thing I learned was how important it is to have current medical information with me. I have updated medical alert cards in one bag, but that's not the one that I take to school...so the card that I had with me was not my current info...another lesson learned - make sure everything is up to date so there is no confusion.

Here's to hoping and praying that week 2 of classes is significantly less exciting and eventful!