Monday, August 15, 2011

one long week

this past week has been a long one, for sure. i'm definitely not one to post pictures of my battle scars from an unfortunate fender bender or other such things with captions that might include "check out my stitches," but i will fill you in on what's been going on. i'll try to be brief. (just read over this. not so brief. sorry)

on friday the 5th, the last day of my (otherwise) relaxing vacation to the outerbanks, i started feeling this weird numb sensation on the skin of my stomach. i brushed it off at first as me wearing a wet bathing suit all day or something and went on about my business. on saturday, the feeling had crept into my back and again wrote it off as spending so much time in the car driving home from the beach. then on sunday, it was in some of my fingers. after taking an ibuprofen, a B12 vitamin, working out to try to circulate some feeling and really starting to freak out, i finally went to urgent care, where by the way, they just tell you everything you already searched on webmd. they ordered blood work and sent me home, which was ok, i just needed someone to tell me what to do next.

monday, i had the blood work done, went home for a nap because i was emotionally drained, and had planned to meet kjd at border's for clearance books, when a couple of people told me i should go to the ER, a fact i had already been denying myself. after a quick text to kyle to fill him in, i was on my way to the hospital. not exactly how i'd planned to spend my night/week.

after almost 12 hours in the ER, i finally was admitted to a room where kyle and i shared a sad little bed and tried to find a position to sleep so that my IV wouldn't be in the way.

the next day, tuesday, was the hardest, because they weren't really telling me anything. probably because they didn't know anything yet. it was mostly filled with different doctors coming by and nurses telling me to take this, eat this, blah blah blah. but they did an MRI, which was by far the scariest, longest two hours of my life. yeah. two hours. i almost squeezed that little panic button more than once, but i made it through somehow, through lots of praying and counting. small spaces. loud noises. really hard board, on which i had to lay completely still. horrible. after that, i waited a lot.

a neurologist told me there was a small spot on my spinal cord. a neurosurgeon told me it could be inflammation or a tumor, and they only way to tell for sure was to go in and get it, which is too dangerous to just go in and do for no good reason. so on wednesday, they started treating me for inflammation with steroids through my IV for three days. the drip took an hour each time and made my mouth taste exactly like pennies washed down with hairspray. yum. that's how you ruin a banana bread muffin, i'll tell you that.

on thursday morning, i had a spinal tap. they numbed me (thank god), which was the worst part. it feels like a swarm of bees. then they took out some fluid in my spine to check for viruses and other stuff, but i won't know the results of that for a while. but because my weird symptoms happened so quickly, and since i don't seem to have any other symptoms, they are sure it's some sort of inflammation for now. but the not knowing for sure part really messes with your mind. after the spinal tap, my back got really sore, which they say is normal. so they gave me a lortab. then i got some bad stomach pains and thought i was going to pass out, but it went away and i was ok (thank god, again).

the next day, friday, i continued my steroids and talked to doctors as they came in and out to ask my the same series of questions over and over, and answer my questions over and over. but they told me i would go home that day. peace out people! they told me to come back on the 25th for another MRI to follow up with the spot and see if there is any change, and i am on oral steroids, a heartburn pill, and a baby aspirin for the next couple of weeks to see what happens. so far, there isn't much change, but a little, which i guess is better than nothing. so we'll see.

they've told me to "take it easy" and not lift anything too heavy, work out, get too hot or overexert myself in any way. basically, this makes me feel like i have to be lazy. which sometimes is good, but right now is bad. i'm so restless and bored, but at the same time afraid to do too much. this whole thing really screws with your head. i woke up sweaty today and instantly thought i'd gotten too hot and would irritate my already irritated spinal cord. i know this sounds so ridiculous, but these are the types of things that run through my mind.

other than the whole being afraid thing, i feel like i've done pretty good. i mean, considering i've never been in the hospital for more than a few hours before for anything and that they took my blood 14 times while i was there. literally. (i'm wearing a sweater in august because my arms look like i shoot up.) i've tried to keep a positive attitude, because i know if i let myself start freaking out, it's all over. and honestly, i've had so much support and encouragement and love this past week through all of this, if i started feeling negatively about it, i felt straight guilt in return because of all the people around me helping me through this. so many people came by to see me. and i never had to ask for anything. they just offered. it puts everything in a new perspective when you're the one people are reaching out to. i mean, i never had to go more than an hour alone in that room. kyle stayed with me every night, even when he had to work. granted he enjoyed pushing the buttons on my bed a little too much, but nevertheless. ;) my family and friends were there constantly visiting and talking to me. people brought me food, magazines, snacks, sushi, chocolate, flowers, pens and paper, nail polish, books — everything i needed to feel more at home. really, it was just business as usual, except i was in st. mary's room 6123 instead of the little back bedroom of 2526 5th street road.

however, i was very stubborn about staying in that room. i refused to shower the first 36 hours even though i knew my hair desperately needed washing, and i never turned on the tv in that room. not once. i didn't want to make myself at home because it wasn't my home. i didn't belong there. but with the love around me, i at least felt a little better about the whole thing. you really don't know how scary a stay at the hospital can be until you have to do it yourself, even if you are able to sit and talk to your friends and paint your nails while you're there.

as my family would say, i'm "not out of the woods yet," but i have hope that things will get better soon. i'm still taking it easy and trying to recover and praying this all gets back to normal, but staying positive is more key than ever. i just want so badly to feel back to my normal self.

favorite beverage from christoper :)

trashy mags from sarina :)

kristin & chris keeping me company :)

nail polish from krisitn :)

taking it easy...aka...boring.

and to all of you who stopped by or texted or called or facebooked or just sent out some positive vibes — thank you. you'll never know how much you all mean to me.

here's to getting better.