Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Happy Ending

Greg and I have been talking a lot this past month about Admiral James Stockdale.  He was the highest ranking Navy POW in Vietnam.  He was a POW for 7 years and his attitude had everything to do with why he survived.  Look him up, his story is super inspiring.  James Collins wrote a book called Good to Great (which is how we learned about him) and he interviewed Admiral Stockdale.  When asked how he was able to cope he said,
 "I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."[11]

When Collins asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:
"Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."[11]
Stockdale then added:
"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."[11]
Collins went on to describe this as the Stockdale Paradox.

Yes, we MUST have faith that we will prevail in the end.
And, we MUST confront the brutal facts of where we are at this very minute. 

At times, it seems that they are opposites!

The end of my story says that I will be healed, in my blessing it said that it will be imperative to remember those words.  At first I thought, "How could I ever forget? "What is this thing that is wrong with my body that would require such faith, and such a blessing?"

Now I am thinking, "Oh, I will need to 'remember' because it might take a while or maybe even a long time to be healed.  Even now.... even though it has been a little over a month, in the grand scheme of things, that really isn't a long time.  But I have to keep reminding myself that I have received a promise.  A beautiful blessing that I will be healed.  A Happy ending..... but the facts that I am confronting now need to be addressed and helped and if possible.....treated.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

What exactly do you mean....... normal?


As in, I am really tired all the time.


As in, I feel a lot of pressure in my torso area.


As in,  I cant feel the left side of my body!!

So with all of these tests that we have been having, 2 MRIs, 3 different sets of bloodwork, a fun spinal tap, etc... everything is coming back... normal.  But my symptoms are not normal.  So what is a girl to do? I talked to the assistant for the nuerologist (for the 3rd time) and she, somewhat begrudgingly, told me that all of the test results were normal.  I asked her what tests were next and what the new plan was and she said there were no more tests..... that I just need to wait for my next appointment (June 28th) and then maybe he can prescribe me something for my symptoms.

Um, No.

I do not wait.  I will not wait for another month to find out why my body is reacting the way it is.  Something must be the cause.  Another month without running or really feeling like myself?  No.

I am trying to remind myself that normal, is good!!  Bad news would be terrifying.  Not knowing the real reason why, just might make me go crazy.

......Blood patch...... fun?

I called the radiology department at St. Francis on Monday morning.  I figured that if my headache and backache were still this bad that they would probably like to know.  Right?  I thought that they probably got these kind of phone calls all the time though... whiny patients saying they just had a lumbar puncture and wanted relief?

As soon as I said what my issue was, the receptionist said, "uh oh, not good, I will page the radiologist and we will call you right back. Within 5 minutes he called back and walked me through where my pain was.  He said that he would check back in with me throughout the day.  And boy did he!  He called me 5 more times that day to check in and then at 4:00 he ordered a "blood patch" for Tuesday at 1:30 with the Intervention Radiologist.

A blood patch is where they run an iv in your arm and then they insert another needle into your spine and then draw the blood and insert it directly into your spine so that your own blood will clot, and close the hole in your spine that should have healed on its own. The severe headache is from the inbalance of not having enough fluid because it is leaking... to cushion your brain.... ouch. I didn't care what they had to do, I was just so happy that they knew how to fix how I felt.  It got a little tricky because when I was laying there he said that I was going to feel pressure from the blood going into my body, and that i needed to tell him when it felt like there was too much pressure and then he would need to stop. With the left side of my body being as numb as it has been since the spinal tap (an 8/9 out of 10), I had a hard time figuring that out but he was able to put in 8cc of blood.  They said that i should find relief within a few hours.  I was so excited for that!

They were right, by the time I went to bed on Tuesday night I was feeling a little better and by This morning (Wednesday) the headache was gone!  I was still nauseas and everything below my head felt like it had been hit by a truck but hey, I'll take it!! haha!!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spinal Tap Fun!

I went to Indianapolis yesterday and had that wonderful spinal tap (lumbar puncture) that everyone is always raving about! :) haha.  The actual procedure wasn't too bad at all!
My mom (more on their visit later! :) and I and the two littlest ones left our house at about 6:15am and drove over to St. Francis Hospital.  She dropped me off and then drove over to Bill and Debbie's (my in-laws) and took care of my little crazies over there. So awesome!  I walked in and they took me right back and had me change into those awesome hospital gowns that automatically make you uncomfortable and sit in a special waiting area.  My appointment was at 8:15am, at 8:30 a technician walked in and said that they were running behind and she asked when I would absolutely have to be out of there.  Now as all mommy's know, when our children are in any kind of activity/performance, no matter the size, it is imperative that we are there!! I told the radiology tech that I had an all important, 1 minute long talent show that I promised Taylor that I would attend that started at 1:00pm, so I had to leave Indy at 11am at the latest.  She promised me that would happen and left the room. Ten minutes later Kate was back with a big smile on her face and said she "got me in"!!
Before I knew it I was laying on my stomach and the radiologist and Kate said that I was all done.  Seriously, I was waiting for that long sting from the numbing medicine that I was familiar with from epidurals, but I just felt a tiny little sting and then it was over.  He said that it was because he uses a much smaller needle than epidurals and puts the medicine in slowly because they aren't in a hurry like in epidurals. Yay! I did feel a little pressure, and they did need to tilt the table up to get the fluid out because it wasn't coming on its own but then, it was done.  It was cool, they had an ex-ray machine above me and a computer screen that the Dr. (and I) could watch and it guided him the whole time in getting that needle into my spine. It really was neat to watch. Four viles later and they were rolling me into a recovery area where I had to lay completely flat and still for an entire hour.  Then I was dismissed to leave! Easy!
About 20 minutes later, my mom was driving us home on the interstate (I wasn't allowed) when I got a call from Kate at the hospital.  She said that the radiologist told her to call and tell me that some blood work had been ordered and that I needed to come back.  Boo!  We turned around and by the time we got back to the hospital it was 11:05.  Kate was yelling at people and they all started running and I got my blood work and was out of there in 10 minutes. Hahaha. She was awesome!
We made it back home with 3 minutes to spare and I got to see the coolest little 1 minute gymnastics/dance show ever! :)
And then the pain hit, yikes.  I now know what people are taking about when they say they got a "spinal headache".  Wow.  I had been in an upright position for way too long and I guess you are suppose to try and lay down flat on your back for 8-12 hours.  Its been almost 33 hours and I still cant be up too long or that piercing feeling comes back into my head and back.  Poor Greg, he has played the role of daddy/mommy way too many times. That makes me sad.
Now we just wait.  Kate said that we should know something by Monday or Tuesday... maybe Wednesday. Yay! I am glad that we don't have to wait too long! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Come what may and love it! ??

Today I went for a run.  Something I have done countless times, dare I say a gazillion times, since I was 13.  Something that quite frankly, I am obsessed with.  I was hoping that I would feel different.  I didn't.  The neurologist said I could run as long as I didn't start the run fatigued, and as long as I stopped running if I felt fatigued during the run.  I got a 1/2 mile in before I had to turn around, the numbness swept in and blanketed my left leg again, its too bad, because I really needed to be out there longer. Running clears my head, and helps me to drop all of those silly things I worry about.

Silly things to worry about.  I feel guilty.  There are worse things! I keep telling myself that, but I am having a hard time dropping the fact that I cant run the way I need to right now.  

2.5 weeks ago, on April 21st, I was doing my normal Saturday morning long run.  The Indy mini marathon was 2 weeks away, this would by my last long run before the race.  When I was 4 miles into my run the left side of my body went completely........numb.  

For the last month my toes had been feeling that pins and needles feeling when I went running, I thought my shoes were too tight or ....something, then the feeling stuck around even when i wasn't running.  I made an appointment with my doctor and the earliest I could see him was May 1st. 

I immediately started praying.  I felt like I should turn around and run, not walk, back.  Every time my foot hit the ground I had to look down to make sure it was still there, and still working.  It was, I just couldn't feel it. I called Greg when I had a mile left, he met me at the trail parking lot and we both tried to grasp what just happened. The severity of the numbness lessened slightly when I got home, but the feeling stuck around.

I got into the nurse practitioner the following Wednesday, April 25.  She did a couple of little tests in the office that I failed miserably, and so she scheduled 2 MRI, one of my brain, the other of my cranial neck area..... and told me ,"NO RUNNING!!"  Um.  I was able to make it to the van, load the 2 little ones, make it home, turn on Barney for Grant and put Mia down for a nap and then.... I let myself lose it.

On Friday, April 27, my MRI was scheduled at 3:20.  As the day went on I felt like I was getting worse.  At about 1:00, it felt like I couldn't breath, I felt weak and tired.  Greg came home, picked up the girls from school and we went to the ER, they checked all of my vitals and the ER doctor said that everything was working, my lungs, my heart... but that I probably just couldn't feel them working on my left side.  We went ahead with the scheduled MRI and my amazing mother-in-law drove over and took the kids home to give Greg and I some time.  After the MRI we drove over to Hays Arboretum. We talked about what this could be; tumor? MS? some weird fluke virus sent here to teach us something?  We talked about our future, and that our picture of it will probably need changing.  We talked about the fact that we have an all knowing, and loving Heavenly Father.  We read Elder Wirthlin's talk, "Come what may and love it", one of my all time favorites.  I will never forget that moment with Greg.  I have always said that I need running and Greg to survive.  So of the two, I am so glad it was running that got nixed and not my very best friend. 

Sunday, April 29th, started hard.  One of the worst.  I am sad to say I had lost hope, its amazing how an experience like this brings you to your knees.... and your breaking point.  I watched Elder Neil L. Anderson's talk called, "What thinks Christ of Me?".  Amazing!!!  And President Henry B. Eyring's talk, "Mountains to Climb".  Humbling!!!  Later in the day, Bishop Baker came over.  What followed was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.  I am so grateful that God's power can be here on the earth.  Because of this experience I can never doubt that my Savior is aware of me.  I am full of hope, everything will work out, and if my hope wanes, I know I will need to remember this experience and have greater faith.

Matt and Janet (My brother and his wife) and their kids got here sunday night to spend the week with us and run the mini marathon.  We quickly filled them in.  We were so very blessed to have them here for this past week.  They watched the kids while we got more MRI and test results and they lightened the mood around our home.  We all had so much fun with them!!!  Janet did way more than her fair share of chores around here.  

I have felt so blessed to have friends and family fasting for me!  I feel so humbled! I am so grateful for their love and support.

I met with a neurologist yesterday, which was a pure miracle in and of itself that I was able to get into one so quickly (thank you Leah!).  I had some blood work done and I will probably have a spinal tap sometime in the near future.  

I must end this ridiculously long post! Wow!  My stake president, who lives an hour away came over last monday and told me to journal all that I can about this experience and to share my testimony of my Savior with others.  I will work on that.  Until I can run for reals I will need to find other ways to drop those silly things I worry about and clear my head in other healthy ways.  I will work on that too!!