Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post-Hospital Report

Sometimes I think God puts us through hard things just to show us His love. Okay, I don't just "sometimes think" it...I firmly believe it with all my heart.  I've been overwhelmed by His love through my family and friends the past couple days.  To those who prayed, called, texted, visited, facebooked, bought me teddy bears & Scripture verse plaques - thank you.

I got home from the hospital about half an hour ago.  I have to say I miss my detached body part on wheels dripping into my hand, aka, my IV.  Not really.  It's just weird to not be pulling it around with me. More on the IV in a minute.

Me with my detached body part on wheels and my companion Mac
(And in a super cool "dress" - you have no idea the guts it took for me to make this picture public.)

Many of you have asked for more details of what's going on and how I'm doing.  Those are two very hard questions to answer because I don't have many answers yet. But here's some of what I know.  It's some pretty darn honest writing, just to warn you.

Due to my Crohn's disease, my body isn't absorbing nutrients and fluids.  This is a struggle with Crohn's, I just didn't know mine was so bad.  I've also been bleeding internally more than usual.  Thus, I was very dehydrated, which was causing other problems.  Also, my heart has been racing since Monday afternoon and it was really starting to concern me.  It also really concerned my doctor.  If you want to get into the doctor's office fast with no appointment?  Mention your heart is racing.  It works wonders.  They'll make time for you ASAP.  They'll also call to make sure you're still alive if you don't show up as soon as they expected.  Just for anyone who may be wondering.

Okay, anyway. A little more back story.  I've been very sick for about three months, steadily getting worse.  I have no idea why. I haven't changed my supplements or diet or anything.  So this "crisis" was not entirely out of the blue.  But I wasn't prepared for it, largely because two of my greatest goals for my battle with Crohn's were these: no hospitalizations, and no steroids.  That all went out the window within two minutes of my doctor laying his eyes on me and listening to my heart.  I didn't realize just how awful I looked until he pointed it out.  (Picture pale skin, huge dark circles under eyes, and cracked lips.  Attractive, yes?  I wanted to say, "you should see me with OUT makeup on!"  But I didn't.)

Back to yesterday.  I was admitted to the hospital for an IV, steroids, blood tests, x-rays, and monitoring.  Thankfully it was only two small doses of a steroid, one yesterday and one today.  I still wanted to cry when they shot it into the IV though.  It felt like I had lost.  God reminded me this is HIS battle (not mine) and this is part of HIS plan (even though it's not part of mine).  Still learning to trust Him on that one.

The biggest reason for the hospital stay, was to pump IV bags full of fluids into my system to replenish my dehydrated body.  I have to say that amidst all the pain and weirdness I'm still feeling, being hydrated definitely takes some of the awfulness out of the picture!  Praise God.

Another monkey wrench thrown into all of this is breathing problems.  My dr. thinks I have asthma on top of all of this.  He said it's not directly related to Crohn's, but it indirectly is, because my body is so weakened from the Crohn's that it's making anything and everything weaker.  (At least that's how it feels.)  He gave me an inhaler and I'm trying to not freak out when I can't breathe deeply or when I'm gasping for air from walking from my bed to the bathroom.  (Emphasis on trying.) 

So there's a large part of what's been going on.  Believe it or not, I've saved you from quite a few "fun" details.  In closing I'll try to answer the most frequent questions: what now, how long until recovery,  will I keep getting worse, when will I be better, what's the plan.

Here's the answer: I. Don't. Know.  Here's my other answer: God. Does.  He's got it all figured out.  It may mean loads more of pain and suffering.  It may mean some respite from the misery.  Either way, He's got my back (or my gut - whatever :)).  He amazes me continually.  I spent my hospital stay laughing and joking with my visitors, my mom, my nurse, my facebook friends, my cousin on the phone, everyone.  It still blows my mind. God did that.  Not me.  I was feeling terrible. And I'll be honest: there were probably at least two dozen times I almost totally broke down in tears.  And I'm sure those tears will flow at some point (soon).  I'm human and I'm female, so I'm not gonna lie.  But I'm just amazed by God's grace and love and joy.

And here's my second answer: I'm going to a gastroenterologist to figure out where to go from here.  I'd be so blessed to have that appointment covered in prayer.  Wisdom and answers are both desperately needed.  I'm in so much pain it makes it hard to always think clearly.  Thank you so much.  (I don't know exactly when it will be because we're canceling my appointment with the doctor it was made with after reading more about him.)  I'm also taking a five day dosage of steroids to try and calm things down in there. Tough decision but I hope it's the best (insert lots of second thoughts and questions here).

To sum this up, I just want to say this: Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever and His love just BLOWS me away.  Also, 2 Corinthians 12:9 keeps on becoming dearer and closer to me continually.  God is good.

From the hospital room at midnight...

I've been planning to write a blog post all week. It was going to be filled with Christmas joys & family funness. I was going to upload pictures and share recipes.

But, here I am, sitting in a hospital bed, with an IV in my hand and a band on my wrist and a red spot from where blood was drawn.  I have a HUGE stuffed teddy bear sitting next to me, thanks to one of my best friends.  On my meal tray there's a plaque that has Philippians 4:13 on it from my amazing sister-in-love.  And I have my beloved Macbook Pro to play music on and write and browse and facebook.

The reason I'm here is due to Crohn's complications.  Dehydration, rapid heart rate, anemia, etc. I won't bore you all with details.  I went to see my doctor this afternoon and within a minute or two of entering the room he told me I was headed to the hospital.  Not the funnest moment of my year.

I'm trying not to worry too much.  Trying to trust God.  Trying to stay calm to avoid yet another panic attack. Praying my doula client who is due any day doesn't go into labor until I'm better.  She also happens to be my best friend and I desperately do NOT want to miss the birth.

So happy Thursday morning at midnight from my little hospital room.  My huge "Barney" bear says hello.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


So I haven't talked food on this here blog for so long it's hard to believe.  Considering how much I love, talk about, eat, make, think about, plan, and eat food, it's rather shocking. (I know I said eat twice.  Trust me, it was on purpose.)

Anyway, here are some yummo things I've been cookin' up or am planning to cook up during this holiday season.  Enjoy!

(Be prepared for drool now.  I don't want to be responsible for a drowned keyboard because I didn't warn you.  That would be tragic.)

(I made up that name. I don't know what they're really called. But who wouldn't want to be kissed by a chocolatey pretzel?)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011



I'm thinking a lot right now about simple, daily LIFE.  

My thoughts mostly include all the random, miscellaneous, varied, weird, mundane, routine things that LIFE includes. 

One of the first things that pops into my head when I think of my current daily life is pain.  It's a fact I can't pretend doesn't exist.  It's with me almost every waking moment.  It wakes me up at night. Sometimes it's worse than other times.  There are the nights it's so severe I can't breathe.  There are the handful of nights I'm hyperventilating, shaking from head to toe, and crying harder than I thought possible.

I'm so blessed that those worst of nights come very infrequently.  I am so, so thankful for that.

I'm also more thankful than I could ever express for my family during nights like that.  I can't imagine being alone when I can barely breathe.

I experience so much love through the pain.  

The prayers of my dad.  

The arms of my mom.  

The sweet ten-year-old baby sister who holds my hand.  

The sixteen-year-old sister running for a medical book when I'm trying to figure what the HECK could be causing such-and-such pain.  

The seventeen-year-old brother doing so many strenuous jobs for me when I just physically can. not. do. it. 

My family is so precious to me.

I'm also incredibly thankful that God hasn't allowed the pain to suck the LIFE part of life out of me.  I still LOVE to have FUN.  I'm the craziest member of my family.  I love to laugh.  I love to hang out with friends.  He's given me a love for helping people.  He's given me a love to bake, play with my golden retriever, play sports when I'm physically able, work super hard and get super dirty, travel, work as a doula, cruise in my car, dance to music, throw on some heels and clomp around the city, throw on old cruddy clothes and paint rooms...I could go on and on.  God is so very gracious and so very good.

Okay. Where was I.  Oh yes...daily life.

This December's days are filled with... 

...going to work

...going to physical therapy

...going to Christmas carol sings and concerts

...preparing for two upcoming births that I'll be doula-ing

...wrapping Christmas gifts

...searching for truth regarding some circumstances and relationships

...shipping presents to those I love who live out of state

...listening to Christmas music

...looking at all the twinkling lights (I. love. Christmas. lights. so. much.)

...and really just a lot of trying to slow down and enjoy this holiday season and keep perspective on WHY we celebrate this Christmas season.  

Of course there is the cooking and the cleaning and the dog feeding and the exercising and the daily supplement taking and email writing and facebook checking and twitter tweeting and pinterest pinning and TV show watching and Bible reading and journal writing and board/card game playing and friend texting and book reading and on and on and on.

I have yet to live a day where "bored" even enters my mind.  And I'm so thankful for that.

Sometimes it feels like life will never change.  That relationships will never improve.  That hurts will never heal.  That the daily mundane task will never end.  That pain will never go away.

But a look at the Scriptures and a few minutes of writing in my gratitude journal puts life in perspective.  God's got a perfect plan that only He can work out in His time.  My "job" is to trust, persevere, choose joy, lean on Him, and enjoy the ride.  It's been one heck of a roller coaster but I'm so glad He's at the controls.

Here's to LIFE...and life abundant!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December First

Today is the first of December.

December is here.

It's December.

Okay, now that I've settled that in my mind, I'm still wondering where January and February and March and April and May and June and July and August and September and October and November went.

One look at my calendar and a quick peek into my gratitude journal shows me where it went.  It's been an interesting year.

And now it's Christmas time, which just so happens to be one of my favoritest times ever.

Somehow, amid the pain, there is happiness among twinkling white Christmas lights and Christmas music playing on the radio or off of Itunes. 

No matter the disagreements throughout the year, there is family time that is sweet and peaceful.  There are cookies and stockings and pretty rolls of wrapping paper and memory-filled ornaments on the tree.

And there is much to be thankful for.  So very, very much.