Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beautiful and Comforting Words.

Today I got a really great Facebook message from one of my friends that I grew up with. Our dads are the best of friends and have worked together for years. Jessica is older than me and I just looked up to her so much and thought she was way cool...even if we didn't see each other very much.

I realized today how much more "cool" of a girl she has become. She is an amazing woman of courage. What a great example of an incredible mother of faith who has a child that has been dealt a difficult hand. I am so impressed with her and her husband's attitude and strength through a very hard time.

I know that my health has not been a walk in the park throughout my life and it has been really hard and challenging. But I can barely imagine watching my child go through it. It gives me so much respect for parents like her, my parents included.

This is her baby Aili:

Poor little thing has been through so much with her heart and open heart surgery. I was in tears as I caught up and read her entire blog today about her experiences.

After my post yesterday explaining how nervous I was for recovery and how much I didn't want a big scar afterwards, Jessica sent me this message and I just bawled. It made me feel a lot of comfort and peace and meant so much to me. Sheesh, I am crying so hard right now just thinking about it. Her message said:

Hey Chelsea,

I am so sorry to hear that you will most likely be having open heart surgery. As much as that sucks, it will be great to have your heart fixed! You mentioned that you aren't too thrilled about having a massive scar down your chest...seriously who would be? No one wants that! I just wanted to share a blog post I did a little while back about my baby's scar from open heart surgery. Hopefully the quote I share in it will give you strength and peace like it did for me.

Good luck with everything! We will be praying for you! 

Then to quote her blog:

"My birthday was just a couple days before we left to go to California, I asked for a Kindle, so I could read while we were there in the hospital. I got my Kindle. The first book I bought was "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson from the blog Nie Nie Dialogues. Most of you are probably familiar with her and her blog. She was in a plane crash and was burned severely. This book is about her story of getting through that experience. It's amazing, I highly recommend it. I read it within the first couple days of being in California, before Aili had her surgery.

There was one passage in the book that really stood out to me. It's exactly what I needed to hear/read. Stephanie met with Elder Holland (a general authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). She wrote about a conversation they had:

"As we talked he told me to be proud of my scars. 'We look for Christ's scars because they are evidence of what He did for us. They'll be the first things He shows us when we see Him again. Your scars tell a story too. Although they may not make you feel attractive, they are a witness of a miracle, that God blessed you to live, and that you have accomplished very difficult things.'"

How true is that for Stephanie, but also for everyone who has scars, like my sweet, beautiful baby. That quote brought me such peace, because that is exactly what that her scar is, witness of a miracle, an AMAZING miracle, and it totally shows the really hard things she has/will accomplish at such a young age. God blessed her to live! What a wonderful blessing!

My baby is amazing, when she is old enough I will share that quote with her, and I will always teach her to be proud of her scar, and I hope she is. She is truly the most beautiful baby girl in the whole world, and because of her I'm becoming a stronger, and better person."

I just loved this so much. It gave me so much hope and strength because sometimes I felt less-than because of all of the surgeries and problems I have had to face. If I am going to be honest, I have even wondered how even just in dating and meeting people how someone will be able to see past my medical history. It has been lengthy and this will be my 10th surgery and one of many hospital stays. I have been embarrassed and sometimes self-conscious about what kinds of problems I have had. Now that one of my scars will be so visible I felt like, "oh great, now this will always be a topic of conversation." 

But this quote helps me to remember that many people have things much worse than I can even imagine. That I have been able to overcome many of the issues I have personally been dealt. To not dwell on the past. That more importantly, our Savior has overcome everything, including the pain and emotional roller coaster I have been through. The miracle of modern medicine. That I have an amazing mother and father who have been through so much right along with me to help me get better.

Thank you Jessica for reminding me of this.

Her blog is found HERE if you want to read more...it really is amazing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What the future looks like for the ticker.

Well, we got my test results back and talked with the doctor today.

It is looking like open heart surgery is in the future. In fact, I am meeting with the cardio-thoracic surgeon on wednesday where we will discuss all of the options and hopefully get this thing taken care of quickly. If I had my rathers it would be the end of this week or beginning of next.

I am a little nervous because last time was no where NEAR open heart surgery. I mean, I have the smallest of scars on my leg. The biggest issue with this is the recovery time and that big giant scar...it is not going to be fun. 1-2 days in ICU, a week in the hospital, and 4-6 weeks before I can lift anything over 5 lbs or drive. Overall, about a 2 month recovery.

What a mess.

However, I m definitely not scared of dying or having major complications. They do these all the time and have been doing them successfully for 50 years. So, not worried about that. I just am mostly worried about how un-fun my recovery is going to be. I also feel so good about doing this over the other procedures because I think it will be much better and more effective in the long run. Less of a stroke risk and open heart would be 100% guaranteed to close that darn hole.

It looks like for now I am going to be having to take an incomplete in school for the time being, but that is ok considering I only have about a week and a half left and so I will just have 2 finals to make up. And have year to do it.

However, I signed a contract for housing and would really like to go to school in the fall. I am thinking this will be a possibly because I will have my brain back at least...I will just be really sore. And maybe have to have someone carry my books (a cute brown man? :) ha! jk, but seriously.) And maybe be driven to school....

But hey, I am getting ahead of myself and will find out more on wednesday. Looks like another trip to St. Mark's! I really should have a frequent buyer punch card. Definitely.

Well, I will be giving updates soon. Sorry I am rambling and getting all of my thoughts and feelings out. Thanks again for so many caring enough to call or text or write me kind notes. It means so incredibly much.

More later!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Now that I am back in the dark abyss of the basement again with these dumb, swear word, migraines again....I have been on Pinterest like a mad woman.

I seriously, love Pinterest.

So, here are some things I have been really loving these days....

If we are not Pinterest friends, we really should be. Follow me on Pinterest HERE.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Heart Update

Well, sometimes I have to wonder if someone is playing a sick joke on me somewhere up there! It sure is funny...and well, not funny.

Today I met with the doctor here:

and had to have more tests done. This was the third trip to St. Mark's this week....so ya. It is becoming all too familiar up there. Please no more visits!

As for an update, we looked at the official results of my bubble test and well, the hole is pretty big. In fact, we saw about the same amount of bubbles passing through the hole as we did before the surgery.


The reason this was a little strange is because at my 6 month check-up, the hole was totally closed and we saw almost no bubbles and I was feeling incredible. So something has changed, obviously because of the hole, but also because I feel just like I did before surgery...the migraines everyday, the nausea, the muscle aches, the confusion, and being so tired and fatigued I fee like a limp noodle. It makes me so sad to be back in my dark hole in the basement again.

Definitely just so frustrated, I am not going to lie. Reliving this nightmare especially while working full time and going to school full time is just not fun. However, I am so grateful that we at least know what is going on and we have a direction to go.

After visiting with the doctor he told us that we have a few options.

1. There is a possibility that in 6 months the hole will be able to heal on its own. This would obviously be the ultimate! The only problem with this is if I continue to be completely useless during these 6 months having migraines every day. This would definitely not be the ultimate solution and I just can't function and live life like this.

2. They did a trans-doppler test that shows how many of those bubbles are going to my brain. If there are a lot of them that show up in my brain this means I am a pretty big stroke risk and we don't have 6 months to wait for it to close on its own. This leaves us a couple of other options...

- We can do open heart surgery, take out the device, and stitch up the hole. This is risky because, well, it is open heart surgery. This is a big deal and I would have a long recovery and one really big scar that I really don't want. However, it would guarantee it to be completely closed and have no risk of stroke in the long run.

- We can go through my leg and put in a second device underneath and next to the other device. This is really difficult to do and can put you at a risk of a stroke down the road.

- We can go through my leg and insert a sponge underneath the device that will expand and hopefully fill in the hole. This can be risky too because it might not seal it right and then we are left with the same problem again.

So what to do?? I don't know. I will hopefully know a little bit more on monday or tuesday when we get the results of the trans-doppler. No matter how much I do not want surgery, I would be so happy if we could just fix it and move on. Wouldn't that be nice?? Ha!

It is quite the emotional process and I just think the most difficult part is the feeling that I am going backwards after doing so well! Definitely no fun, but I know I will be fine and we will get it fixed one way or the other.

And finally, thank you for all the sweet texts, words of encouragement, prayers, and the Relief Society who made me feel so much better after a few rough days. I have the most wonderful friends and support and it means so much to me and really helps to get through this set back.

More later!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My heart = bummer deal.

Well, I got a little bit of crappy news today.

To make a long story short, after having my heart surgery a year ago in April I was feeling awesome! Hardly any migraines, lots of energy, and just feeling good in general.

These last few months however, have not been as great. I have been exhausted all the time...like lethargic tired. And bummer of bummers my migraines have been a lot worse, sometimes two a week. The other issue is every time I tried to exercise I would get lightheaded, tightness in my chest, short of breath, and chest pains. And actually, it wasn't just when I exercised, but every time my heart rate went up.

This went on for a while and I kept putting off calling the doctor because I thought it would just go away and I was just being wimpy. Monday, I parked pretty far away because I had extra time before class and thought I would just get some extra exercise in. If you know the stairs at BYU just down from Brick Oven, you know there are a lot, but do-able. When I got to the top of those stairs I could not catch my breath and felt like for sure I would pass out. Dumb, dumb.

The rest of the night I felt like I was out of my own body with a very intense migraine and started acting pretty weird like I would get when I was having TIA's (mini-stroke) before. I guess it was time to call the doc.

Today I went here:

And had to have a lot of tests done. Mainly a stress test and a bubble echo.
They put you on a treadmill with all of these leads on you and get your heart really pumping. Looks like this...with maybe not such a cool office :).

Also, side note...you have to wear no top with just a taped hospital gown. Kind of embarrassing and pretty funny. I got a few good jokes in about that one...running as a female is not a pretty site in a hospital gown.

Since the cardiologist that was there is not my doctor we couldn't get a complete diagnosis and plan of action. But I did find out that bubbles are showing up where they are not supposed to be which means the hole did not seal. Also, when I exercise my heart beats weird. Instead of lub dub - lub dub - lub dub, it goes lub dub dub - lub dub dub...haha make sense? I am not really sure what that means, but I know it feels weird.

What a bummer.

I guess the good news is I do have a reason for feeling so crappy and an explanation.

Hopefully we can get it fixed soon because I just really want to feel the way I did again. It is tough to be disappointed again and to have to re-live what I thought was in my past.

So! Updates soon. Hopefully it will be a happy ones!

If you just feel like you want to send a few extra prayers my way, I totally wouldn't object.
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sometimes crazy things happen to me....

I kind of posted about this on Facebook, but I could not pass up writing the whole story down because it was so funny. It easily has to be in my top ten best moments of all time.

The story goes like this...

I was driving the Alzheimer's bus on friday the 13th and so naturally, I should have expected something even more crazy than normal happening. And really, for the most part, something exciting happens just about every time we go. However, this day was extra special.

I wanted to drive them down to Utah Lake and thought it would be really pretty to go through Saratoga Springs. I got the directions a little confused so I took a right when I should have gone left. After getting to about draper I realized I was going the opposite direction of the lake and needed to find a place to turn around. Ha.

The bus can be quite the beast to flip a U turn, not to mention worrying about the 3 wheel chairs plus the 10 sitting in seats without seat belts. Needless to say, I am about 50 times more careful when driving the thing than I am in real life (and I am still a very cautious driver in real life).

So I am looking and looking for a place to turn around and I see Camp Williams (a military base) to my right and a construction site to my left. The construction site does not look different than your average construction site at first glance and I see a perfectly great place to turn around.

I pull in and am behind a semi watching a security guard/construction worker taking information down from the truck in front and then let him in after a while. I don't think much of it and pull up and ask, "Is it ok if I just flip around right here? I just need a place to turn around and it is hard to do in this thing."

Well....he did not look happy. He said, "Do you have any idea where you are? You passed three huge signs that say this is a government construction site and you can't come in here. You would have to be blind to miss them."

I am seriously confused at this point because I am 99.9% sure that I did not see a sign and neither did the aide that was with me in the back...not to mention three signs. He then asks me for my driver's license and I am kind of starting to panic at this point. Meanwhile, my residents in the back are very confused....and they are ALREADY confused. The guy comes back and says, "Miss Gould, I am going to need you to pull to the side here, we'll have to detain the vehicle for a time."

Now, I am really worried. What is the big deal? I really just need to turn around. Also, can this guy read the side of our bus? You would have to be blind not to see it :). It says, "Bel Aire Senior Living and Alzheimer's Care". We are not a huge threat here.

I look in my mirror as this guard is taking pictures of me, the bus, writing down all of this information and doing a full on background check. I am now freaking out here. At this point I don't know what is going on and how I am going to get all of these people home if I am in some huge trouble. It could sound like I am overreacting here, but as you watch a big, scary, black Suburban with tinted windows with government plates pull up behind you to talk to the guard...I think you would sweat too. Like I said in normal life I would freak out, but when you're responsible for 15 confused elderly people as well...it is hard to describe the anxiety. Finally, 20 minutes later he comes back and says that I can pull around. As well as telling my how much trouble I was in and making me feel like the dumbest person to walk the planet. I told him how I was going to pull into Camp Williams but that seemed a lot more difficult to turn around and then told me that I would be in just as much trouble if I was to pull in there.


Well, sorry I am a dumb civilian and don't know about all of these top secret government and army protocol! Sheesh.

Granted, I am glad they take security so seriously for the sake of our country. I just wish he would have explained it to me and done it a little nicer because of the situation I was in. It really was an innocent mistake and I just really didn't know that THIS project is going on...a giant NSA spy center database. It is going to look like this I guess.

Big deal alert.

And I just drove up to it in an old folk's bus like I owned the place.

I should have told them that they should be so lucky it was us and not someone else. After all, half can't see, the other can't hear, and none of them will remember.

So if you live in Utah, just go ahead and avoid that place. Like the plague. Because if not, they will be mad. Real, real mad. And you will probably be breaching National Security.

But nothing is like breaching national security with a bunch of old folks in a bus...nothing.

It definitely called for a Diet Coke after I caught my breath and had a good laugh.

In the end, however, I got those sweet people home safe and sound, blissfully unaware.

Thank freakin' goodness.

PS. When I finally turned around we searched behind us to find the signs. I didn't not see a one. Not one that said "authorized personnel", or "do not enter" or "this is top secret and you better not even think of turning in here" or anything else. Just one big sign with and arrow that said "parking".

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(Insert title here)

Well, I am not feeling super creative tonight (hence the lack of a title) due to one massive migraine I have been sporting all day.

I seriously hate those things! I honestly cannot believe I lived with these pretty much every day for 6 months...actually, it blows my mind. Because when I do get one, it just lays me out. Now I know why I spent those months doing a lot of TV watching and laying very still. However, I am SO grateful for how good I am doing and will happily take one a month over one every day.

So just a quick post of what has been going on this past week....

With permission from her family, me and my friend Brooke took this darling lady to the Lehi Round-up Rodeo! She was so sweet and I just had a blast watching her enjoy it so much and spending time with her. She is always talking about the cows and the chickens and the pigs she has to feed, and it was no different at the rodeo. First, we took her to dinner ane asked her, "if you could eat anything in the whole world what would you have?" She replied, "Ohhhhh...just commonary food!" I don't even know if that is a word or what exactly she meant by it...but eventually we got out that she just wanted a big cheeseburger. That is what she got and she sure was happy about it! We only had a few mis-haps...the people selling me back row tickets, having trouble parking the giant bus, and people being super inconsiderate while we pushed a wheel chair through gravel. Ha! Other than that we had such a blast and I am so happy we were able to do it :).

We got some other exciting news today! This girl:

is going to be the assistant activities director at my job! How fun to get to work with my very own sister every day. She is so good with the elderly and I know she will do an incredible job.

Speaking of my sis, her and her friend found this crazy bird that had fallen from a tree, broken out of its shell, and hatched from its egg prematurely on the sidewalk. So naturally, she brought it home to raise it and nurse back to health. It is definitely not very cute yet, but it has grown on me and has become our challenge to make sure we get this thing to live and set it free.

We called the wildlife people and have researched on the internet on how to help it live and everyone said it would never make it past a day. Well, guess what? Not at the Gould house! We are at day 5 and he is getting so strong, his little feathers are growing in, and can now lift his head. Pretty cool to watch.

Here is day two...so alien like.

Here is a picture of day 5.
I don't know if you can tell, but he has grown a ton.
Look at those crazy little feathers!
Poor thing, still isn't very cute.

And this is a picture of good ol' mom who set up our "neonatal unit". 
It is made of a heating pad, lamp, and tissues to lay in.
We have to feed him mashed soggy dog food about every 20 mins with tweezers (nasty right?) and in order to get him to open his beak to feed you actually have to whistle....really, you do. 
It is just the craziest experience.

And one other little funny story...

This is Evelyn:

She is from Uganda and is here going to BYU.

I seriouslyLOVE her. She is just experiencing so much of America, trying new things, and loving it! One of the things she wanted to try while here was sushi. So, we went with a group to an all you can eat and figured she could try all kinds of rolls without spending too much. Well....she loved it. However, for the first time I don't know if I loved it. I was with a bunch of sushi lovers who got a little overly excited about the all you can eat and ordered about 16 rolls for FIVE of us. They just didn't understand that you actually get charged for what you don't eat. If you go, please remember that because I have never been so sick and was in a sushi coma afterwards. Never again....never, ever again!

Finally, here are a couple of things I got a kick out of this week:

This was sitting in front of me at the Real Salt Lake game. No joke...and not photo shopped. 
Bless her heart.
 Yes you read right, it was a she. 

Hahaha...hope at least one of these made your day.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July. Ignite responsibly. Please, no more fires!