November 12, 2011

My Wake Up Call

Have you ever had one of these? Where you come through w/flying colors and have that Oprah 'ah-ha' moment? I'm sure they come in all different shapes and sizes but for me, it was a physical one that I never thought I would get past to see my girls, husband... basically my old life.

I will start at the beginning and try to shorten up the past 2.5 months of absolute hell. It started in August with a headache on each side of my head. This lasted a week. The pain moved into my back. Headaches gone, now all in my back... I went to a chiropractor to get 2-3 massages a week for an hour each to get this pain taken care of. The problem was when each visit was complete, I felt great until I got in the car and my back would feel all tight again. During all this, I ended up w/blurry vision that lasted 2.5 weeks. After the first 3 days of it, I saw my ophthalmologist and he ordered a brain MRI right away. I went the next morning and the results came back negative. This is when the praying began. Little did I know what was in store for me...

The tightness in my back lasted approx 3-4 weeks and then turned into heavy duty, very painful with the endless squeezing: spasms. THIS pain, I would never wish upon my worst enemy (if I had one!). The spasms were in my back, to the sides & front of my ribs to the center of my chest. From this point on, the only things I can remember are: the countless doctor visits w/the pain specialists, neuro drs, etc. I know I was given 20 plus different narcotic meds w/my husband finally bringing it down to two w/our local pharmacist. Every doctor visit I cried in pain and every doctor just threw new meds at me or said I cannot help you until your stomach gets better. At the time, I didn't know you HAD to take stool softeners w/all the narcotics. Not one dr told us this. My stomach blew up and the pain was unbearable, along w/my ribs felt like they were being pushed outward. I know I ended up in the hospital for 5 days from this and was out of it until the last 2 days. And still, all types of tests happening and all came back negative. Except, I needed to have a colonoscopy and down the throat to my stomach at the same time, they found a polyp that was taken care of and w/my pelvic ultrasound, a tiny cyst. Wonderful.

In the end, my husband found two doctors: a neurologist at Barrows Neuro Institute and a family/internal medicine doctor (that is our new pcp!) that he met via hospital visits that actually really honestly from the heart... cared. Through all my doctor appts, physical therapy, too many tests, bloodwork, etc. Everything came back negative. I just had a dr appt this past week and found out I had another hospital stay! I was that surprised too. This is how 'out of it' I was. I feel like I was in a coma for those months. I cannot remember anything, didn't know what was happening around me either. We have three girls still at home. All I can remember of them is that the two younger ones (ages 10 & 7) always came around me. I would feel little hands on my arms or whispers of 'I love you mommy'. I know of a few times where they wanted to sleep on either side of me. They would rub my back too or try to help me to my hot shower to try and get some relief from the back pain. You may ask what happened to my 13 y/o? I think because she knew what was happening, she didn't know how to deal w/it all. Seeing me in this much pain and not being able to do anything. I know I cried because I wanted her to come to me like her two younger sisters. She did occasionally but not when I was aware of her absence. I would tell my husband to please tell her to come to me. It broke my heart. I never cried so much in my life from all the constant earth shattering pain.

In fact, in addition to all the crying for all those weeks, I lost 20 lbs. I got down to 121. ??? I haven't weighed that since right out of high school! I was weak, super skinny & had no appetite. My husband remained in charge of my meds until just recently. With all the excruciating pain lasting the entire day, came all of my constant screaming. I screamed as though someone was stabbing me. I was hyperventilating & each breath out was a scream. I would scream into my pillow at times when I knew the girls could hear me. Through all of this, my two younger girls still always came around me for hugs, to see if they could help, to sleep next to... their little hearts are bigger than this entire world plus a few planets thrown in there! I can remember telling my husband to please get the girls and pray for me. He printed out prayers for each one of them and himself, knelt beside the bed and they read all their prayers to me. I was in and out of it then. I know many times leaving my house on the stretcher w/the paramedics, I would tell my husband to call Ana (a good friend) and tell her to pray for me. After all came to an end (2 hospital stays & 8 ER visits), Ana did tell me she had her church, her in-laws and her family praying for me. Yes I love that girl.

It'll be 4 weeks this Sunday that I've been spasm-free and 3 weeks w/zero meds w/the exception of my Butrans patch. I've tried to go without but my back will tighten up throughout the day. Any type of stress  will go straight to my ribs or back. The pain however is very little these days. Also before I constantly had to stretch my back and now, I only do a few times a day. This is good.

My Miracle

Let me go back 4 weeks to that Sunday. I told my husband to take our 13 y/o to her soccer game because since her season has started, she has gone to practice & games w/friends who were willing to take her. My husband, Carlos had to shuffle all my duties each day, plus his, take care of our 3 girls, drive them back & forth to school each day, homework, laundry, he didn't' work for 2 months because he took care of me the entire time. He also is the VP of our soccer academy, a club soccer coach, he was volunteering in our daughter's class. The list goes on. All of this stopped on a dime to take care of me.

That late afternoon, Carlos sat w/me in bed & listened to me cry and scream in pain as he held my hand. I have been enduring all this pain, all this time and that day I just couldn't take any more. I told him as much and I didn't want to be there when he and the girls returned home. I never in my life had such dark thoughts. What was I thinking? And why? Well, if you could hear the screams, crying and felt the pain, you would understand why. I always thought I was strong enough, and I could take pain. It always took a lot for me to take any types of meds. My husband can vouch for that! But this day, that minute, the constant spasms and pain stripped me down to nothing. I couldn't take it anymore. No one would ever understand that type of pain and for as long as it lasted.

The minutes ticked away and Carlos had to leave for the game. I wanted him to see her. I wanted Graciella to know one of us was watching her every awesome move on the field. He told me he'd call my mom to come sit w/me. I said no because I didn't want her to see me in this much pain. Although she's 81 and she sat w/me a few times during all this, today was different. I was at the end my rope and I couldn't stand for her to see it all. He offered to call a close family friend. No. I told him to call Ana. The very same one I mentioned earlier. He left the keys for her and she arrived w/in 30 minutes I'm thinking.

She was never to my house. Today is Sunday I thought. How will she come? She has her church that is run by her family and today is Sunday! She threw on clothes and came right over. My two Shelties always bark when they hear keys in the lock or you open the door. They didn't bark, run to the door or anything when she came in. ???  She came and sat w/me in my bed and we just talked about all what going on. I was finally able to breathe w/out screaming for once. She asked me if I'd want to her to pray over me. I said yes. At that very moment, I was so desperate and all my praying did nothing for me, I could only pray again that HER prayers can be heard. She pulled out her Bible out of her purse, prayed and held my hand through it all. I'm not sure how long it lasted but she then asked if she could rub my back. As she did, she hummed and then sang softly like an angel. I was still out of sorts but I can remember feeling at peace and being relaxed. I actually feel asleep too. I woke up thinking she had left. She then walked in, I told her this much and she said to me, "Julie, I'll never leave you."

This is where My Miracle comes into play. From that night forward, I never again had one single spasm of any sort. No joke. No lie. I went from almost giving into the devil to having a restful night w/good thoughts and waking up w/plans that I had in mind for home & myself. So I do believe in the power of prayer. I'm living proof. I always believed or 'hoped' my prayers would be heard and answered. Now I truly 100 percent believe. I will always be thankful & grateful to Ana but she always tells me, it wasn't me. It was Jesus and he worked through her to get to me. If you ever have the chance to meet my good friend Ana, I know you'd fall in love. She just makes you feel like you want to be a better person all around. I did attend her church a few Sundays after that day. I walked in and everyone knew who I was and came up to me and shook my hand. I spoke to Ana's mom and told her what her daughter had done for me, she was in tears. Any time I speak about Ana to someone, the tears start rolling. That girl has touched my heart forever and I will never be able repay for what she has done for me. Do you know soon after all this, she came to my house and cleaned for 4 hours to help me out? She's truly a gem. 

I've been Blessed

This is true with my husband Carlos. He took care of me in every way for all those weeks. He took care of Gramma (my mom) too. He also took care of our girls. He took care of our boys (two Shelties) too. Friends who we've met via soccer over the years, Shelly & Mark. They've helped Carlos tremendously. They took our girls for nights on end, even though they have 4 young kids of their own. Shelly would take Carlos' phone call and listen as he was upset, she could also hear me screaming in pain in the background. This broke my heart to hear this. It would drive a person crazy to hear screaming & crying each day for weeks at a time. I know my girls love those two though! Another person is Troy. He has been there for Carlos. Carlos wrote a letter for his soccer parents when his team of 7-9 yr olds won First place in a soccer tournament recently and called Troy his rock. His asst coach Scott helped tremendously w/his team too. Moms from his team fixed dinners I didn't know of because I was so out of it. Moms I met via Twitter that I never met in person brought dinner. Women I met via Instagram, scrap world via internet & Twitter were sending prayers every day and continued to ask how I was. It's really amazing. They always say, when going through rough times, you find out who your real friends are. Sad but true. I can never thank Carlos enough for being there and never giving up all this time. My girls too, they made me so many pictures/cards during this time and my hospital stays.

Wake Up Call

This brings me to today. I still don't have my energy 100 percent back yet. My appetite is back and this is good. I'm able to drive again. I can see my girls play soccer. I have missed so much while I was sick. Thankful for Carlos... he took pictures! I believe things happen for a reason. I was a super busy mom that went from 250 mph each day to zero just like that. Boom! That quick. I joke and say, I would of gladly taken a clue that didn't require all the pain I went through along w/my family. You know what though? A friend just told me that I wouldn't of recognized it and I would of kept on living. She said I needed this big bump in the road to honestly realize and see how all has been going. And now see what needs to change in my life. Hence my wake up call. This was a huge one for me. I don't want to waste it one bit.

I know this post is a long one, but I wanted to share. Maybe one of you has experienced the same or may be at the beginning of it all? There's hope. Keep praying. I can be here for you just as many were there for me. I won't judge. No need for it. =)

God Bless Always.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Wow Julie, I knew things were bad but I had no clue how intense they really were! So sorry you had to go through that hell, but how wonderful it must be to know how blessed you are by so many. Glad to hear that things are finally getting better!