My Story Part Eleven: The one where I go to California

Sorry for the delay in getting this post out!  I know some of you are following along day to day.  The last few parts to this story may come out with a couple days in between.  My husband, Anthony, and I are going to Sacramento to attend a seminar this weekend!  I will try to and write as much as I can while I am gone!

Everything I was trying to ignore during this scary time (I believed that everything was fine though, due to all of the “It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” talk) had me desperate to get away.  I decided to make the eight hour drive to Perryton, Texas, (the town I was born and initially raised in) to visit my great Aunt Lucy and several friends who lived in the area.  A couple of days after July 4, 2013, I did just that – I loaded up my tiny green Fiat and left for Perryton.

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There is a super cool dinosaur statue that I always love to stop and see on my way to Perryton!

When I got there, I had to explain to Aunt Lucy the crazy diet I was on several times.  She was well into her 90s at the time and still thrives on chocolate.  She knew a little but hadn’t really been told a lot about all of the “tummy troubles” so it was tricky for her to understand why in the world I wasn’t eating any fun sweets!  I stayed true to my diet and took my gross supplements and drink things but I was barely able to tolerate any of it.  I really don’t know how I was still able to function after that long car ride.

After a few days, I went home knowing I had a flight to southern California in a couple of weeks.  I was going to visit Lukaza (a friend from the pre-college program at California College of the Arts) and my Aunt Judy!  I was so excited about this trip.  I craved getting away.  I don’t know what it was – perhaps the desire to run away from what I knew was all bad news.

On July 22, 2013, my dad took me to Dallas Love Field to catch my flight to sunny California.  He asked me several times if I felt okay enough to make this trip.  My dad is cautious and asks questions and he knew that I was not doing well, but ultimately he supported my choices.  I was so weak I had to be pushed through the airport in a wheelchair, but I was adamant that yes, I was fine and wanted to get on the plane to go to California.

As we waited for loading, we sat and talked and laughed in the waiting area.  My dad recently told me that as the attendant wheeled me down the catwalk to the plane, a couple sitting near us in the waiting area had asked if I had just completed treatment for cancer.  I was so weak and looked so bad that my plight was obvious to everyone (even complete strangers).  Nevertheless, I flew out, with all my gross supplements and I was ready to enjoy some California sunshine.

I landed in Los Angeles where my friend, Lukaza, and her mom, Suchi, picked me up. I’m sure they were terrified just looking at me but they’re so sweet and didn’t say a thing.  We went to their house in Santa Monica and they listened to me tell them all about this diet and the hopes I had for my health.  Suchi took us to pick up a dinner that fit my guidelines.  They were so accommodating.

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Lukaza and I at her house!

In the middle of the night though, I started vomiting.  The next morning, I was so weak I couldn’t get out of bed.

Continue reading “My Story Part Eleven: The one where I go to California”

My Story Part Five: The one where I finally got a diagnosis

Are you guys ready for a diagnosis?  So was I!  I think you might get what you’re wishing for in today’s post!  Let’s get to it!

By the way, I unfortunately don’t have a ton of photos from this time in my life. I know that’s been really fun for some of you to see! My family was all about our camcorder, which I would totally love to put clips of home movies in, but I don’t know how! So for the next two posts, there will be significantly less photos, and mostly just me talking about what was going on.

The night that ended with me falling asleep in the recliner turned out to not be quite over.  I woke my mom and dad up around four o’clock in the morning with the beginnings of going alkaloid and I fainted while waking them up.  As you have likely caught on, fainting was something I had done a few times, but everyone always blamed it on overexertion or heat.  My parents called for an ambulance and I was taken Plano Medical Center’s emergency room.  We lived in a quiet neighborhood and the flashing lights from the ambulance and fire truck probably made for quite a sight!

Once there, the doctor decided to do an arterial blood draw.  This is where the blood sample is drawn from an artery rather than from a vein.  After some further research, all I can determine is that they were doing an arterial blood gas sampling.  I don’t really know why the doctor thought this might be helpful.  I do know that it hurt like heck and a half and that it took numerous tries to get it done.  I don’t know for sure if it took so many sticks because they were going through my wrist and my hands were in their crab claw formation, or if it is always this difficult to get this type of blood draw.  I just hope to never ever have to go through it again.

The test results of the terrible arterial blood draw came back normal, just like every other blood test.  Then, I was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Dallas, where I stayed for two days until my alkaloid symptoms subsided. The general pediatrician at Children’s sent me home with a prescription of amitriptyline because she was following through on that “this is all in her head” diagnosis.  I was on this medication for several months before someone switched me over to Zoloft for the same reason.  These medications made absolutely no difference in my symptoms.

This merry-go-round kept going and going.  There were more hospital visits, just like the four I’ve already described.  Every two or three months, I would end up at Children’s Hospital for a few days where I got fluids and was sent on my way.  My weight remained low during this entire time.  Doctors would simply say I wasn’t “prospering.”

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Now for a seemingly random side note – I had always thought I had a silly outie belly button.  It was really weird, I could push it in and it was this whole funny thing among my friends.  As it turns out, it was a hernia.  Whoops!  In the summer of 2005 I had it fixed and the doctor recommended that we have my gall bladder tested to see if it was causing me all of this grief.  Good thought, but nope, the results showed no signs of problems with my gall bladder.

Continue reading “My Story Part Five: The one where I finally got a diagnosis”