Jan 19, 2013 life
At almost 3 weeks into 2013, I have to say this year is starting off better than last year, when I was so sick.
My first major outing of the year was to review a new show in Orlando called DRIP. It’s an artistic show that uses dance, paint, water and sand, to tell the story of love found and lost. The main twist is that the audience becomes part of the show, as the paint, water, and sand is flung around. By the end of the show, I was covered head to feet, but it was so much fun. Messy, but fun. You can read my full review of DRIP over at CitySurfing Orlando.
I also got to see the opening night in Orlando of Ringling Bros and Barunum & Bailey’s Built to Amaze! show. I hadn’t seen a circus since I was a kid, but this one was rather entertaining. You can also read my review of the show at CitySurfing Orlando.
Health-wise, I’m still plowing through all of the doctor appts I need to make. I have labs again next Tuesday. My rib pain has returned, but it’s not a constant pain. There’s a bit of swelling in the area, too. Hopefully the tests will reveal something.
I also got a new Yoga mat, and I’ve been trying to do a bit every day. I don’t know that my form is exactly yoga…more yoga-ish. But I’m sure I’ll get better the more I do it. That’s the goal, anyways.
On the downside, the niece of a close friend died unexpectedly of a drug overdose. She was only mid-20s – I only met her a few times, but she seemed like a nice person. Drugs just suck.
Also found out that Rhonda’s brother has cancer. They say that it’s treatable, but I know she’s really worried. Don’t blame her – my mom and dad both lost their lives to cancer.
So that’s my 2013, so far. How’s yours going?
Jan 1, 2013 life
Usually around my birthday, I wax all philosophical about where my life is and where I’d like it to go. Well, in September, I sat down to write my annual birthday post…and I realized how much I’d been through.
It was all a bit much, mentally, so I kept putting off writing about it. But I figure it’s the end of the year, I might as well do a retrospect type of post to sum up my year.
Today marks almost months since I got out of the hospital, and while I’m better, I’m still not at my best, health-wise.
- No visible fluid build-up around my heart and lungs anymore. Even when I got out of the hospital, I still had some fluid, but it appears to have all disappeared.
- My hypertension is under control and my blood pressure is the lowest it’s ever been in years.
- I no longer have to take insulin injections (yay! no 4 needles a day!)
- I no longer need a walker or a cane to get around. I may wobble a bit when I walk, but I’m doing it under my own steam.
- I’ve lost 80 lbs since getting out of the hospital. I still have a ways to go, but I’m on the right track.
- I may have kidney damage. I have to go to a specialist and have tests done to find out how bad it may be.
- I have referrals for seven other doctors, specializing in everything from my heart to my feet. Thank god for insurance. LOL
- I may have some kind of damage to my left ribs. Waiting on x-rays to find out for sure. All I know is it’s always sore.
But overall, the prognosis is good. Or at least better than it was at the beginning of the year.
In other news, still saving up for a car. Can’t afford to be too picky. Just want something that runs well, gets a decent gas mileage and is cheap to insure.
I’m getting back into my writing. I write daily (mostly) posts for my Orlando-centric website, CitySurfing Orlando. I have friends that help me out with reviews since I can’t get around much due to the car issue, but it’s about 95% written by me. I hope to get my travel blog back online by next month, and then I have a third website in the works that I hope to have up soon after that.
I’m also going to work harder on getting fit and healthy. I know a big part of that will be losing more weight, but I’m more concerned with just improving my health, stamina and fitness. I’m not aiming for a particular weight or clothing size.
So anyways, that’s pretty much where I’m at, as 2012 comes to a close. I’m hoping 2013 will bring about more positive changes and experiences, and I’m making goals and plans to help ensure that.
Thank you dear readers for sticking with me and this blog during the last tumultuous year. I hope the new year brings you all many blessings.
Jul 20, 2012 life
I’ve been a bit absent on this blog the last few months, but with good reason. Some of you readers who follow me on Facebook know I went into the hospital mid-May. I hadn’t been feeling good for several weeks and I was suddenly gaining a lot of weight. I finally went to the emergency room after not being able to get into my regular doctor, and it was a good thing I did.
Turns out my body was retaining so much fluid that my heart and lungs were starting to drown from it.
They sent me over to the main branch of the hospital system to have a pericardial window done. Basically what happened is they made an incision about 3-4 inches long just below my breasts, in the center of my chest. This gave them access to my heart. Then they made a secondary hole next to the incision, and threaded a drainage tube through it. With this, they drained out the excess fluid from my chest (just under 2 liters total). I’m told my heart did stop once, but thankfully, they were able to jumpstart it.
Unfortunately, it seemed my lungs were more damaged than thought and I ended up spending almost 2 weeks on the ventilator, with the machine breathing for me. For most of this time, I was in a coma-like state. I don’t really remember much from those weeks.
During this time period, I felt like I was going insane from the sounds of the oxygen being piped down the tube. That’s all I heard, though sometimes in my medicated state, it sounded like Banshees were screaming inside my head.
At one point, I remember screaming to God to either take me now or end this madness of the noise and let me breathe on my own. The next thing I remember was my gramma was there. She was holding me in her arms, stroking my hair and kissing my head, as if she was trying to soothe me. Then my mom appeared and cradled my face in her hands. She kissed me on the forehead, smiled at me and said, “Darling, it’s not your time, yet.” She then reached out and shoved me backwards really hard.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the room, fully alert for the first time since I went into the hospital.
The TV was on to the news channel and as I started paying attention to it, I realized they were saying it was May 26th. I had lost twelve days of my life.
Somehow, the next day, they determined my lungs had gotten strong enough to come off the ventilator. I was so happy to get that tube out of my throat – though I still had to wear an oxygen tube externally to help me learn to breathe on my own. The next two weeks I spent in the hospital relearning how to breathe, swallow, talk, and even walk. I also had to wear a “fall risk” bracelet at all times.
I’ve now been out for a month and I have to take 12 medications a day. Some for my heart and blood pressure, some for my thyroid condition. And a few others, like my water pill, to keep the fluid from building up until my thyroid can be controlled. The only problem is that my kidneys were slightly damaged trying to rid all that previous buildup, so I walk this fine line between keeping the fluid from my heart and not making my kidneys worse.
I also have to follow a extremely low salt diet to keep the fluid retention at bay. This means not adding salt to anything and limiting my intake of processed foods that already have salt in them. It also means I can’t eat fast food anymore. The funny thing is that since I rarely eat salt anymore, everything tastes like salt. Cheese, pizza, lunch meat — all I taste is salt.
But at least I’m alive. Any inconveniences I can deal with.
Mar 23, 2011 life
I had a heart catheter procedure done on my birthday last year, and it turned out I had an 80% blockage in my heart.
Six months later, I still am not up to my normal stamina, but every day I feel myself getting stronger. I almost never need my nitro spray anymore, and I walk faster than I did pre-surgery.
It’s amazing how much better I feel with the blood fully circulating through my heart. LOL
I still have to contend with the MS and all that, but as scary as it was to have it done, I’m glad that I took that leap of faith and did it.
I probably wouldn’t be here marking a six-month milestone if I hadn’t.
Now, I just need to build up my stamina so I can handle all the walking on my June trip to Canada for TBEX.
Sep 26, 2010 life
It all started Tuesday, September 21, 2010.
That was the day that we (my roommate & I) had set up the big move with the U-Haul truck. The first truck I picked up had mechanical issues. I didn’t even make it to the stoplight before the “check engine” light came on. Then the whole truck started shaking. We took the truck back and exchanged it for a different one. It was difficult for me to get into this truck because there were no handles. I had to pull up over my head by grabbing the steering wheel. It was a bit painful, but I didn’t think much about it. We got most of the stuff moved and called it a night.
Wednesday, I woke up not feeling very well. I felt woozy and nauseous. I ended up throwing up seven times. Then the pain started. The right side of my chest (front and back) felt like I had pulled something. Then the pain started spreading. My neck and right arm stiffened up and it occurred to me that it might be something worse than just pulled muscles.
By noon, the pain was so bad that I had Rhonda take me to the emergency room at Dr. Phillips hospital. They admitted me and gave me a nitro patch. By 4pm, I was in a room. My blood pressure had skyrocketed and throughout the night, my heart enzymes showed I had actually had a minor heart attack.
I saw a cardiologist, who recommended I have a procedure called a heart catheter. Basically they would insert a tiny scope up through an incision in my right groin. They would then guide it up my femoral artery to my heart. If there were any blockages, they could then do an angioplasty to open up the blocked coronary artery.
I was scared but I agreed to do it. So on Thursday afternoon (my 43rd birthday) I was wheeled into surgery.
I was lying on the table when I heard a whirring noise. “What’s that sound?” I inquired. “Oh, I have to shave you for the surgery,” says the nurse. “Shave me?” I thought as I felt the electric razor touch my pelvis. Yup, I got shaved all right. Then they rubbed the area with alcohol to disinfect – to say that it stung was an understatement!
The doctor then injected me with a local anesthetic to numb the area and I was given something in my IV to make me sleepy. I fell asleep a little bit after hearing the doctor mention he had made the first incision.
I woke up 4 hours later in a different hospital room. I wasn’t allowed to move for 3 more hours, so I didn’t bleed out of the femoral artery. They kept me in one more night, but late Friday, they let me go home. Well, me and my bag of prescriptions.
Yesterday I pretty much just napped on the couch. Brighthouse came by and hooked up everything so I just let my body decide when to sleep. Today, I feel better. I’ve been up for a few hours and so far, so good. Later, after Rhon gets home, I’m going to take my first shower since the whole thing started. This is when I get to first remove my surgery bandages, so just in case anything goes wrong, I’d rather have someone else in the apt.
I’d have to say this was probably one of the scariest weeks of my life. Being faced with your mortality isn’t an easy thing to deal with. I had been making small changes in my diet and lifestyle, but I guess I’m going to have to get a little more hard core. But I have faith in myself that I can do this.
I meant to photo-document the whole experience, but I was so out of it. Plus, my cell battery died. =(