Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm back from the dead.

Truly I don't have a ton to blog about or update because I have been extremely sick with pneumonia. I know, I know, it is so embarrassing that my health is that crazy and it just goes from one thing to the next. But, it is what it is and now I am trying slowly but surely to get over the effects from it. I coughed my guts out and nothing is less fun than having all these surgeries on your chest, and then coughing on top of it all day every day. It has been so miserable.

Pneumonia leaves you so weak for so long, and one of these days I will get my body out of bed for more than a few hours. Really I have not left my it, except for doctor's appointments, since my surgery December 7th. You can imagine what Christmas goodies/dinner and laying in bed for three weeks does to a body....not pretty.

However I had an incredible Christmas despite it all! My mom tried really hard to bring the Christmas spirit to me because I didn't get to do one ounce of Christmas outings and shopping and festivities. It truly was me and Scuddles and this ridiculous show:

Yep, I really did it. Once again, embarrassing I know, that I watched all 6 seasons in these three weeks. I did nothing but fill my mind with Manhattan's elite and scandalous lives. It is pretty ridiculous, but what else did I have the energy to do? Zero. Zilch. Not even the energy to read or have visitors.

I didn't expect or ask for anything for Christmas because I have been quite the expensive child with all of these surgeries and prescriptions and tests. Really, I don't need a thing! But my parents always throw in surprises and in the bottom of my stocking I found this:

They couldn't buy one in the state because they were so back ordered so it is coming monday! I was so shocked and so excited. Once again, the parents outdid themselves. 

My other exciting present was this:

4.0!! Yay!! I truly never (and don't think I have ever) posted about grades, but this semester was just too exciting! I worked so hard and was so blessed because of how much I was dealing with, surgeries and hospital visits and all, and can't believe I finished off this well. I wanted to quit so many times and withdraw and I am so glad I toughed it out. Another example that proves you can definitely do whatever you put your mind to.

And that about wraps up my excitement for now. I am going to attempt to go out in public to go see the incredible (from what I hear) Les Miserables with my family tonight. I have been dying to see it and my family has been so sweet to wait and see it with me when I felt well enough...I just love them so much.

More later.

And since it is all I have been watching I feel like I have to end with this...

You know you love me...

Gossip Girl


Sunday, December 16, 2012
I'm a very sick girly right now.
I kind of sound like a man a horse and a frog all in one.
We are keeping our fingers crossed the upper respiratory has not, and will not turn into pneumonia.
My body is so weak and my immune system is pretty compromised.

In the mean time besides sleeping I have been pinning, playing all kinds of ridiculously difficult versions of solitaire, and finding funny videos on the inter-galactic web.

My personal favorites, SNL of course:

With all of this political stuff and many opinions floating around Facebook because of the election and now gun control, sometimes I feel like this is about how educated people are on a lot of issues.
Just kind of know it's true. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Childhood Christmas

With all this sadness and devastation surrounding the shooting, I just wanted to blog about something happy. I cry every time I watch the news and it breaks my heart. I already had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit with being sick and all, and this definitely isn't helping. 

So to get myself into a little more cheerful mood, I was thinking back on how much my parents did to make Christmas so special. It was just magical and so I just wanted to write some of what they did to create such fun memories!

1. On Christmas Eve after we fell asleep, my mom would always sneak in and put some black make-up  on our cheek to make it look like Santa had come in and given us a kiss and left some coal dust behind.

I always tried so hard to stay up and catch Santa giving me a smooch, but I never could! As we got older one Christmas we woke up without our yearly smooch....and we all were so sad. My mom thought we were too old for it and didn't think it mattered anymore. She definitely thought wrong! After we were all so devastated, my mom has still tried to do it every Christmas anyway. Never too old for Santa!

2. We always get new jamies every year on Christmas Eve....a lot of people have this tradition. But the thing that made this so fun for us was that the elves brought them to us! We would always wait for the doorbell to ring and every year, there would be our matching jamies on the front porch. We tried so hard to catch them, but I still to this day cannot figure out who would leave them there! This was so exciting for us to run upstairs with such excitement and was always our favorite part of the night. Don't forget about the fun of modeling them for everyone after, naturally ;).

3. On Christmas morning we always had to wait at the top of the stairs in the kitchen while my dad held up the blanket so we couldn't see how magically Santa had left all of our gifts. My mom waited at the bottom with the camera so she could capture our excited and surprised faces as my dad dropped the blanket. The excitement was almost too much! Those few minutes were seriously agonizing, and I know my dad made us wait longer than necessary because it was so fun to make us wait. The best was when I got older and understood how Christmas a little more to watch my younger siblings get so excited. I loved it. And we have a lot of hilarious videos of the shrieks and screams and gasps of excitement as we discovered what Santa had left us!

4. My mom always buys an ornament for each family member that best represents us for that year and then will write us a note about how much she loves us. When we are all married and have our own families, then we can take all the ornaments we have been given with us to decorate our own trees. They come with so many memories and I can look back and see all of the stages of life we were in. So fun to decorate the tree every year! So now we have our nice tree upstairs, and downstairs we have all of our personal and funny ornaments where we open our presents. One of my favorite traditions. She also get's the family a book that we read on Christmas Eve all together before we go to bed. She writes the year and some of the big events in the front of the book so we can remember the great times we had. 

5. On Christmas Eve we have all of the family over at our house for dinner with lot's of delicious foods! We play games and do a lot of laughing and talking, but my personal favorite....we always do karaoke. It is hilarious, and I don't know how this tradition started, but we do it every year. Wish everyone could hear my dad sing Hearts of Fire by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It's so classic, and a must.

6. Christmas is such a time of giving and service. Every year we find some way to give like feeding the homeless, picking a family to surprise, angel tree, visiting the elderly, or giving in our ward. My favorite year I can ever remember was feeding the homeless at Magleby's. Nothing like helping others to bring the Christmas spirit and remind us of the ultimate example of charity, Jesus Christ.

7. Christmas movies. Enough said. 

I can literally quote The Grinch from beginning to end, word for word. It is my favorite movie of all time! I just also love Elf so much as well. They never ever get old to me.

8. Boyfriends and crushes at Christmas are the best. I remember my first experience with Christmas "love" was when me and a kid named Marcus were "going out" in 5th grade and he brought me Bath and Body Works lotion for my present. It was so cute. Of course as I got older, it became more romantic and I have some really great memories at Christmastime. I can't wait til' I find my one true love and get to share Christmas with him because I know it will just become more and more magical. 

There are many more wonderful memories that made my childhood incredible, but this post would go on forever if I wrote them all down. For now, these are some of the things that I will always cherish and traditions I will keep with my kiddies one day. I'm so grateful for parents who rock and who tried so hard to make every year so special and amazing! 

Thanks to them, I still believe in Santa :).

Merry Christmas everyone!

And prayers to all those families whose Christmas is going to be difficult this year because of their loss.
I hope that somehow, some way, they can find some peace during this season.

More later...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Surgery 10

 It has taken me a while until I have felt well enough to even think of this blog. However, it is therapeutic for me to write it all, as well as informs everyone who has been kind enough to keep tabs on me and how everything went.

Last week I was super anxiety ridden and terrified for the procedure, as well as the stress of having a ton of papers and final exams to finish. If I'm being honest I haven't felt that much anxiety in years, but we got through it.

I spent the day before surgery trying to finish 3 finals, one 10 page research paper, film a group project, get everything in order, and keep my mind off the day ahead. These kids tried to keep my busy and entertained on top of all of it by going with me to go get delish food:

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That night I was super emotional. I just really had no idea what to expect the next day. I truly knew I was not going to die, but was I going to be subjected to another surgery without being put under? Would I have open heart again?? I mean the list goes on and on. I was dreading the whole process and I think part of the problem and the reason for much of my anxiety is I really knew what I was in for.

5:15 AM the next morning came awful early and very quickly. I woke up like a slug, and hopped in the shower. You always know: a) everyone is going to see you naked, so extra long showers are in order as to make sure every nook and cranny is good and clean (haha, but seriously), and b) that it will probably be the last one for a little while... so enjoy it while you can.

My poor parents looked like they had been hit by a bus. It has been a very large roller coaster and their anxiety was easy to see as well.

We checked in while it was still dark and I had big butterflies in my tummy. We waited a while and then I was finally called for registration. I always get the same conversation:

I pull out my license and insurance card as I watch the lady's face be surprised that she didn't have to ask for it. She looks over my paper work, get's a concerned look on her face when she sees my medical history, asks all the usual questions and then says, "wow....heart surgery huh? You are much too young to have heart problems". I answer, "ya, I know. No fun." I continue to sign in all the places without her telling me whereand she says, "you must come here a lot. You definitely know what to do". "Yup...." and she puts the wrist band on me. Then finally, I always get the, "good luck sweetie!" with a worried look. I feel grateful for the kindness, but it reminds me that I am going in for something scary. I don't like it.

They call my name, I go back to the cath lab, they hand me a gown.

We can definitely all agree that this is one of the world's worst photos of me, but it is what it is. 
Who looks good in a hospital gown??
Obviously not me. 

Then the nurse comes in, asks me where I prefer to be poked (I appreciated that, the answer is nowhere....) takes my blood and starts my IV. She tells me she will be my cocktail waitress during surgery and that I will be sedated. That was not a good sign because the sedation simply does not work on me! I kind of started to panic.

She leaves and 5 minutes later she comes back and tells us that Dr. Tate insisted that I be under general anesthesia rather than sedation because of my prior experience. Not to mention the length of the procedure and what could happen during surgery that would be uncomfortable. I LOVE HIM! That was the first miracle.

My dad had given me a priesthood blessing earlier that week and had promised me some very specific things. Some are too sacred to share, but everything that he said and everything the Lord promised me happened. I can just promise you that. A few that I can share were:

1. My experience would not be like my previous one, I would not be awake for the procedure, and my body would react to the anesthesia.

2. The doctor's hands would be guided by many forces, seen and unseen. That they would be able to fix the problem.

3. I would have countless angels of those I had cared for, their families, as well as my own family members and friends from the other side to take care of me.

It was pretty awesome to say the least.

My mom happened to see this painting the day before that pretty much illustrates how I felt...angels all around me. I really could feel the hundreds of prayers that had been offered on my behalf and the comfort received from many guardian angels.

I don't really know how to describe the feeling, except for strength and peace and love. But it is so real and tangible! I am so grateful because I did not feel so alone.

The doctor came in and explained in a lot of detail what he was going to do. He answered all of our concerns and questions so that it was easy to understand and made us feel validated. I just really like him so much and knew I was in great hands. We waited for the anesthesiologist because he was not scheduled, and I was more than willing to wait. My mom knitted nervously and my dad played on his iPad and I just laid there...trying to prepare myself.

Finally they came to take me. I just hate those last hugs and smooches from the parents before I go back because it feels so scary and so final, in some weird way. I am sure it is worse for fact I know it is so I shouldn't complain.

 They take me back and I lay on the cold hard slab with the music blasting...once again. It is like the never ending nightmare I keep reliving! They start sticking stuff all over me, strapping me down, and I start to feel a little drowsy. I start saying funny things, because I am great on drugs, and they put the mask over me and tell me to breathe deeply. Just before I go out he says, "OK, here we go, I'm going to put you under." I blurt out through the mask, "THANK YOU KINDLY!" and....I was gone.

What a relief. 

I woke up 6 hours later in quite a bit of pain and the horrible chills from anesthesia. My recovery nurse was awesome and got me to feel much better. 

I truly don't know anything that happened because the doctor came in while I was sleeping to give updates to my parents. Apparently it was a pretty rough 6 hours. 

I guess what happened is at first they saw a very clear pattern of where the tachycardia was happening and it was in a completely different place that they thought and was much less complicated to fix. Seriously an incredible miracle. In order to see where the problem is happening they pump you full of adrenaline and put your heart through quite a bit. They were able to go in and fix it however with a small ablation to the area to get to it to stop. It was great news!

The doctor came in to tell them it all went great, left the room, and not two minutes later did the nurse come in and tell them there was a problem and I went back in to arrhythmia in a different place as well. That was stressful. Another few hours went by with them trying to recreate what they had just seen and could not get me to do it again. They are hoping that it was just caused from everything they were putting my heart through, and not a problem with my heart itself. In the end they cut through both my legs and put enough adrenaline in me that it was equivalent to running 3 marathons.

Recovery is never fun after these because you can't lift your head or move your legs for 4 and half hours. Shoot me. They also pump you full of fluids so you have to pee more than you ever have in your life, but can't get up to go...this means bed pan, and bed pans mean misery. My chest also felt like someone had stomped on it, my throat killed me because of the intubation tube, sore legs and pelvic area from the catheter, and massive headache from the adrenaline. I could not wait to get home!

Gratefully everything went better than expected so I did not have to stay in the hospital. I was so happy and could not wait to get into my own little bed!

So I have done a lot of this...

Ramen, slushies, TV, pills, hanging out with Scuddles, "get well" cards and love, swollen feet, legs and pelvis, and waiting for something exciting to happen on social media. Oh yeah, and playing a lot of solitaire.


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People always ask me how I can stand staying in bed for so long. My answer is: I have no idea.

It has been years of this I guess, so I try to stay busy and pass the time. It get's lonely, but my family and Sonny is there and I don't really have energy to be around it is a vicious cycle.

So I'm gonna keep on keeping' on!

I don't feel awesome. In fact I still feel like a bus hit me, and am coming down with a bug on top of the surgery...but nothing that isn't expected.

So that's my story and I'm sticking' to it.

All I can say is I am a miracle child. There is a God and He loves me very much and knows every ache and pain and mental anguish and frustration and misery I have gone through. He knows this is the only way for me to be sanctified through difficult become a better person after I have struggled my way through. So in a weird way, I'm so grateful for all of it.

That being said, I sincerely hope it is over! And that now it can be on to healing and recovery. I am so humbled by all of the love and support given to me. I have the best and most incredibly family and friends in the world! I just wish I could thank everyone individually and not collectively, but it is so difficult because of the overwhelmingly large number of support I have been given. So THANK YOU and I just love you so much.

More later.