Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bitter Sweet

I know, I'm the biggest slacker ever when it comes to this blog! I hope everyone has been doing well over the last year.  My year has been bitter sweet.  First, the sweet: The kids and I are still very happy in our new home. I've been seeing a wonderful man for over a year now, too.  I've lost a lot of weight- about 230 pounds total. Needless to say, the weight loss has been very dramatic.   People who haven't seen me over the last two years don't even recognize me. I'm told I look a lot younger.  It's still almost surreal for me. I catch my reflection in the mirror and do a double take because I can't believe it's really me.  Being as I had been in plus sized clothes since I was about 16 years old, to be able to shop in "normal" sized stores now is nothing less amazing(and addicting).  Who'd have ever thought the girl who started out in a 7X would now be trying on size Large shirts to find them too big and need to buy a size Medium?  Unreal.

The bitter?  It was a REALLY rough spring.  In April, I had to have my gallbladder removed.   No surprise there being as it's very common after massive weight loss. When at my post operative appointment, my surgeon commented that it was time to remove all the excess skin from weight loss and finally fix my hernias once and for all.  So we scheduled the surgery for three weeks later- and then my beloved grandma died the week before the surgery was scheduled. It was extremely hard but we knew it was coming.  Thankfully, my mom and I were able to be at her side as she took her last breath and comfort her as she passed.  A week after my grandma's funeral I had over twelve pounds of skin removed, my hernia fixed, and came home with about seventy staples from hip to hip and two drains.  The recovery was nothing less than brutal and resulted in a pretty severe MS exacerbation, too.

A couple weeks after surgery, I noticed my legs were swelling considerably.   At first everyone just thought it was from surgery but soon it became apparent it was something more.  While all this was going on, my uncle died unexpectedly from an embolism (blood clot) after abdominal surgery for Pancreatic Cancer. He died almost a month to the day after my grandma (his mom) died.   By the time of his funeral, the swelling and pain in my legs had become very bad.  A week later, I ended up in the ER because I couldn't even walk to the bathroom without tears.  Turns out I had bilateral DVT's- blood clots in both legs.  They were very severe, reaching from both my knees up into my abdomen.   Needless to say, considering we just buried my uncle the week before for an embolism everyone freaked out.

I was told there as a scarily high chance these blood clots could kill me because of their severity so I was immediately sent a hospital about 70 miles away via ambulance.  I spent eight days in the ICU receiving a treatment for life threatening blood clots called tPA- Tissue plasminogen activator.   I have to be honest, that was the scariest and most painful experience of my life, not to mention emotionally draining.  Being that far from home and unable to see my kids was awful but knowing there was a chance I would never make it home again to them was terrifying.  Thankfully, either my mom or boyfriend were there with me daily so I wouldn't have to go it alone.  The doctors essentially thread catheters in behind both my knees and immobilized me for almost five days while they pumped in the tPA to dissolve the blood clots.   During that time, I was bleeding out pretty much everywhere.   I had gigantic hematomas (massive bruising) all over my body and needed six blood transfusions.  I also had angioplasty to remove the small pieces of clot not dissolved and four stents put in to keep the veins wide and flowing.  But, it worked.  The clots were completely gone and I was released from the hospital the day of my daughter's graduation.  I looked like walking hell from a torture chamber but I was there and able to see my beautiful daughter graduate from high school.

Fast forward three months later to today- life is finally back to normal.   I still have to take blood thinners daily and will until at least Christmas but there are no signs of blood clots or narrowing of the veins.  My boyfriend and children are extremely relieved that whole ordeal is finally behind us.  I've spent the summer enjoying my family and being thankful that God allowed me to heal and remain on the Earth with my loved ones.  So, that is where I've been.  Hopefully I'll find more time to post again now that life is finally normalized and good again :)

Be well!