Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Where My Life Is: Part 3

Saturday morning I trekked upstairs, gathered up my Bible, my laptop, a couple of notebooks, some Starbuck’s via, candy and chocolate I had saved back, (essential to living on the couch. Can’t survive without candy or chocolate!) books that I hadn’t read yet, letters that I needed to reply to, and my pillows and blankets. I was moving into the living room.
One week turned into two. I was still living on the couch. I physically couldn’t do things. I went to church, but all I did was sit, that was the extent of my activities. I went to my appointment with a cardiologist on the 22nd of November. After telling him what was going on and such he said that the list of what it could be was too long. So we would narrow that down with three tests to start with. And if we couldn’t get any good answers from that we would, as he puts it, ‘Do some more investigation.” Love this guy’s vocabulary!
I would have my chest X-Ray, Echo-cardiogram, (heart ultrasound) done on December 2nd, as well as have my 24 hour EKG halter monitor put on.
So what did I do while waiting? Well November is National Novel Writing Month. I was doing the contest of writing 50,000 words in month, but had gotten set back due to the circumstances. So I pulled my story out and finished that baby. I wrote letters, read the Bible, and since I couldn’t get out that much I spent a lot of time conversing over the Internet. I will admit to you here that my attitude has seen some definite changes. In the beginning I was scared about it all. I mean that’s really understandable considering. I had no idea what was going on! But I also wasn’t completely trusting in the Lord. I was grouchy, still am from time to time. I didn’t want to live on the couch. I hate being confined. I love moving around and doing things. I love being busy! To me, I’m being lazy. That’s my mindset. But….through different conversations with my brother Josh he finally convinced me that I can’t really help it. It’s not my fault if I’m being lazy. It’s still frustrating to me when I see something that needs to be done, but I know that I can’t do it.

Well five days into this thing I found out that I couldn’t laugh anymore. Well, at least without consequences. Laughing makes it a whole lot worse. The first time this happened, I went to lay down to go to sleep and I had to sleep sitting up. Whenever I laid down it was as though there was a heavy vise clamping and compressing my chest. My chest pain and heart rate increased too. I ended up throwing myself into a panic attack the first night. The second night I laughed the same thing happened, except I didn’t have a panic attack. So no laughing. Which is completely foreign to me. I am known for giggling. I handle life with laughter! I love to laugh. I love to make other people laugh. But now I can’t.

Thanksgiving rolled around, and on the way to my older sister’s house I laughed some, and sang. Bad idea. When I tried to get out of the van a sharp pain stabbed me in the chest. I couldn’t hardly breathe it was so bad. I made it in the house, and into a chair. I started shaking violently and I couldn’t get the pain to go away in my chest. After family pictures, I stayed snuggled up with soft blankets, in a most comfortable chair the entire day.
That night I had a bad attack..
After that we determined that I would not sing anymore. I’ve done some a little bit, and I’ve always felt horrible afterwards. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where My Life Is: Part 2

To pick up where I left off in part one…

At the doctor’s appointment on Wednesday Nov. 13, we discussed with the doctor our suspicions about me having Lyme’s disease. She agreed to give me the test along with a bunch of other blood tests. Such as my vitamin D levels, a thyroid check, things like that. The next day, she called saying that she had gotten one of the test results back. Mom and I were on our way into town so we couldn’t call her back.
  Whenever I get test results I’m always nervous. No matter what kind of test it was, it makes me nervous. When we got to a friend’s house mom called the doctor. A few minutes later she announced that my vitamin D level was critically low. It was a level nine. I was immediately put on 50,000 IUs of vitamin D per week. I’ve been on that for about five weeks now.

The next week all of my test results came back negative. No Lyme, which I am grateful, deeply grateful for, and my Thyroid was fine. They did find that at one point I had had Mono. I find that funny and horrible at the same time. I never knew I had it. Hopefully I didn’t give it to anyone else.
So…back to square one. By this time I was getting progressively worse. Even more worse than before. I had passed out on the tenth of November after performing dinner music with my sisters. Thankfully I was home when it happened.
My episodes seemed to be getting closer together. More frequent. And we had no clue what was going on. Talk about scary! The week of the Long Sister’s Student’s Recital I taught piano lessons while relaxed on a couch. I teach at my student’s home so that was awesome how the Lord provided a way for me to comfortably teach. But I was only allowed to sit. I could walk, but only when necessary. The only thing that the girls would let me carry was my bag. I admit I got irritated with this over protection. It was needed, but I felt…restricted. 
At each of my student’s lessons I told them that this might be the last lesson for a while. We might have to stop after the recital and pick up in January. I felt like breaking down. OK, I did on Sunday night when my mom told me that I needed to tell my students that. I’ve come to love all of my students. They are like, I don’t know, best friends. The more you invest in someone’s life the more you grow to love them.
Friday rolled around, and I actually felt really good. I had taken my second vitamin D pill the day before and I felt almost somewhat normal. I taught four of my students in the morning, then came home and readied myself for the night.
While trying to seat my students I kept getting their names mixed up on the paper. Whenever I get close to passing out my vision feels funny. I had already begun to feel nauseous, yet another symptom of passing out. Flustered, I handed the paper to my older sister, Emily, and explained to her what was going on. The recital began, and so did my shaking. I continued to shake throughout the whole thing. Nobody except Emily knew because I did my best to hide it. Emily sat beside me, with her arm around me just in case I did pass out. She didn’t want me falling on the floor. Halfway through she whispered to me and said, “You are not getting up to give your speech.” I nodded and told her it was best if I didn’t get up. I didn’t have notes so I gave her a brief run down on what I had planned to say.
After the recital, and during the reception I continued to stay seated. I knew that if I got up I would more than likely pass out. One of my student’s came up to me and asked if we were still on for lessons the next week. Ever the stubborn one, I pluckily replied, “Of course we are! I plan on being there Tuesday!”
A little bit afterward I went to the restroom with the aid of Emily. When I returned to my seat, I laid my head on her shoulder, and went limp. I didn’t completely pass out, but I had no strength left whatsoever. I kept my eyes closed throughout this time. It’s too much of an effort to lift them, that and talking. I heard them get a wheelchair, and then my older brother Josh, and possibly someone else put me in it. During the process I kept slipping in and out of consciousness. Movement seriously aggravates it. Don’t ask me why. It’s the weirdest feeling though. At the time I wasn’t sure what they were trying to get on the wheelchair. Turns out it was a leg rest or something. Mrs. Beck, the lady who had helped us organize our recital, and one of the mothers of four of my students, ended up wheeling me out. She used to be a nurse, so that was a great asset. I remember hearing her take my pulse saying it was at 120. I left the recital in quite the melodramatic way. Not the way I would have preferred in a million years, but did I really have a choice? I was put in the front seat of my dad’s car by dad and Josh. I’m not quite sure what they were doing, but Josh was in the car talking to me. That really helped me calm down. 
 A lot. I won’t go into all of the details of what happened in the ER. It would bore you, but they did not find anything new. They told us that it was pointless to keep bringing me back in there because they would do the same thing over and over: Suck my blood, do an EKG, and hook me up to a heart monitor.
That was one of my worst episodes ever. On the car ride home mom informed me that I was going to cancel life for a week, and do nothing but lay on the couch. And she meant that to the ‘T’.

Where  My Life Is Part 1
Where My Life Is Part 3

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where My Life Is: Part 1

Life is crazy. That's just the simple truth. Twists and turns arriving that are so unexpected. It's scary sometimes. Never knowing what exactly is around the bend. But at other times that's what makes life exciting. Very exciting. Sometimes. It's fun to read about it in novels; "Oh, wow, that's so amazing! Her life just got turned upside down." Does anyone ever wish that it would happen to them? I did, I admit, once or twice. And well, I got my wish. I've always been told to be careful what I wished or prayed for. Lesson learned.

My life was running good for a couple of months. I settled into being a piano teacher to sixteen students. Absolutely loved it. Was planning a recital with my two older sisters and their students. And then my health started to go downhill. Funny how that happens to me a lot. I get a good start running and then crash! There goes my life for a couple of months. This is the third  year in a row that this has happened to me. I have no idea why. So don't ask me.
Over the summer I had been having bad wrist pain, and getting random fevers that would run for two days. No one else would get them. Weird, right? In September my heart started doing strange things. It would randomly speed up for about an hour or so, then it would go back to normal. Over the next month my joints began hurting. One day it would be this, the next day it would be that joint. I would get horrid leg pains frequently. In October, my sister MacKenzie came to mom and told her that she had been having some of these same symptoms. All except the heart issues. We honestly thought we had Lyme disease. Mom put us on supplements that would fight infection, and also help us with our joint pain. I didn't get better. I got worse. I was still teaching, but it got harder to hide my pain. I'm not one to show weakness. I like to think of myself as invincible....boy did that idea go out the window!
  As the month of November approached my symptoms kept getting worse. I couldn't walk up a set of stairs without feeling seriously winded. Not normal for me. I got weak easily, and required a ton of sleep. Again, not normal for me. I love seeing how little sleep I can get by on. It's a challenge.
 Wednesday, November the sixth my heart rate went way up after I had been doing applesauce. I couldn't do anything. I felt totally out of breath, and I shook horribly. I sort of freaked out, but didn't really say much about it, besides that I couldn't do much.
The next day, while at a Bright Light's meeting I felt weird again. I told mom that I was going to go out and get in the van. When I arrived there, I had no strength to actually step up into the van. I felt weird, like never before. I asked MacKenzie for help, and asked her to get Emily. She could immediately tell that something was wrong with me. Usually when I'm in pain I tend to not want to be around people. Emily put her arms around me and went to lift me into the van. I told her, "Emily I feel like I'm going to faint. I'm go-" And I slipped to the ground in a faint, in her arms. She freaked out and yelled for mom. Stephen, a friend who was still there with us along with his brother, picked me up and put me in the front seat. I kept slipping in and out of consciousness.
When I pass out I can still hear what's going on around me, for the most part, but I go totally limp, and it's too much for me to open my eyes, or speak.
Mom called dad and they agreed that she should take me to the ER. We dropped the kids off at the house, and dad put me in the car. I kept passing out in his arms and freaked him out too. My poor dad...
The only thing that could be found out at the ER was that I had Tachycardia. They told mom that she should call and get an appointment scheduled with my doctor. Which is exactly what she did.

More to come in Part 2