Friday, March 2, 2012

My Story: Part 2

Sorry to keep you waiting with the next part of MY STORY! Click here for Part 1!  I  got a little caught up in getting nominated for the Top 25 Creative Mom Blog contest! Speaking of which...have you voted for me today? You guys put me from dead last yesterday to position 30 in just a few hours!! BUT, I need a good 30 more votes today to move up towards position 25! Please vote here! You guys amaze me!

So, we left off with me ready to tell my story, a time in my life when I got very sick. So, here goes...
 I was a freshman in college at USC when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine, or colon. At first it was manageable with medication. I had some times when I always knew where every bathroom was, but for the most part, it was okay and normal for me. Throughout the next year though, I got worse and worse and medication wasn't working anymore. I found myself going to the bathroom for hours a day and slowly each time I went I would lose blood in my bowel movements.

It was such a gradual thing that occurred over that time that I honestly didn't realize how sick I really was or how abnormal it was to lose blood in your stool. I had been to the doctor and honestly didn't feel very sick at all, so it wasn't THAT bad, right?

I remember driving to my final exams the end of the 1st semester of my sophomore year (Dec. 2005) and I got in a car accident! I was so sick that day traveling to my classes that I couldn't even coherently drive properly. Thankfully, it was really a minor accident and the person ahead of me didn't even care enough to trade insurance cards. 

My blood supply in my body when I first got rushed into the hospital was HALF of what was normal. I believe my Hemoglobin at that particular time was a 4 or a 5. I had 3 bags of blood added to my IV within the first few hours of being in the hospital that very first time. The first of many needed blood transfusions. A very reasonable explanation for why I could barely function, much less drive.

A few weeks before going into the hospital, Hart asked me officially to be his girlfriend! I kept telling him that we shouldn't date, because in a month I was leaving for Spain (still completely convinced of this at this point) and that I didn't want a serious relationship!
I hate this picture, because I look so sick here! But, since I"m sharing...thought you should see... 

He kept telling me that God had told him that I was going to be his wife and that meant he was supposed to pursue me. I gave up and said, okay! I figured we'd work out the details eventually. 

Spain did NOT happen. My best friend, at the time, Ashley (my would have been roomie en Espana) did go. I stayed home. In a hospital. 
  That was the first thing to be completely stripped away and it was hard. I loved Spanish and speaking it and my dream was to live in Spain and become fluent in that language. I saw that dream just get flushed right down the toilet along with a whole lot of other... okay... you get it.

I managed to scrape through my final exams and the next thing I knew I was lying on my mom's couch watching TV between runs to the bathroom. I was so sick. I was so weak. I could barely muster any kind of energy. I had done everything I knew to do prior to getting to this point. I juiced vegetables and drank the nasty concoctions. I drank aloe juice to try to heal my insides. I saw crazy chiropractic doctors that gave me lots of vitamins sure to cure me. I ate completely organic and avoided all "danger" foods that could trigger UC flare ups at any moment. And it was all out of my control. No matter what I did I did NOT get better, but worse every waking minute.

All of a sudden, my mom screamed at me, startling me to a sitting position on the couch, "We are GOING TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!" Apparently, from her view from the kitchen I looked dead. Literally. She wasn't going to let that happen to me.

Right before this, I had actually met Hart's parents for the very first time. He had told them how amazing I was and they invited me over for dinner. Halfway through our meal, I laid my fork down. I HAD to go lie down right then! I felt like I was going to die. How's that for a first impression!

Hart's mom tucked me into HER bed and put the heating blanket on me. She was a nurse and I was freezing cold. She sat on the bed next to me and asked me what was wrong. Apparently all Hart knew at this point was that I had told him, "I have a bleeding problem." He assumed that meant of the female type and wasn't sure what that meant.

I laughed out loud when she told me that... "Oh, I guess he would assume that!" I told her I actually had Ulcerative Colitis and I had been bleeding and not sure what to do about it.

As a nurse, she knew I needed to be in the ER, so that paired with calling my mom and my mom thinking I looked dead on the  couch was how I actually ended up in the ER later that night!

I was admitted right away into a hospital room. Blood transfusions began. And then the doctors in and out so much it made me dizzy. 

Then, it slowed again. I was still in the hospital, but nothing the doctors tried made my body respond.
I got more blood transfusions. More pain medications. I felt so hopeless. If God loved me so much, why was this happening in my life? I felt like Job in the Bible. The man that got everything taken away one thing after another. My health. My dreams. My School. My Favorite Summer Job as a camp counselor!
Working at Pine Cove Christian Camps as a Camp Counselor

And then there was Hart. He would come and visit me day after day. He would sit by my bed and not really say much. I had no idea what to do with this guy! Sometimes he would read the Bible to me and we would talk, but to be quite honest I did not know him very well and it was exhausting trying to keep up a conversation. Now, knowing him well like I do, I know he's the strong silent type that is a man a few words, very content with long silences. But, me... now, I like to fill the air with words whenever possible!  Lots of talk makes me more comfortable.

It was depressing. I was in pain constantly and nothing they seemed to do worked. Day after day the doctor would come around at 5 am and I would be woken up to "this is today's change in course to try to help". A month or so later I was still in the hospital and there was pretty grim hope on the horizon.

Ah! I'm doing it to you again...but isn't that the key to good writing? Leaving you in suspense? The next part gets crazy, so stay tuned. It's also the hardest part of my story to tell, so get ready.