Why We Exist
I had always been the healthiest of my siblings. A fact that I liked to toss around anytime we were together. After all, I didn’t have asthma as did two of my sisters, cancer Dad, a heart murmur like my other sister, or congenital heart failure like my Mom. I was only hospitalized once and that was a long time ago. Sure, I had all the childhood diseases when I was younger – measles, mumps, chicken pox, strep throat – but for the most part – I was HEALTHY.
Seven years ago I went for my yearly physical. That afternoon I got a call from the doctor’s office saying they needed another blood test, then another, then one more. I started to think they were really just vampires! Next was a call from the doctor – not the nurse, but the doctor – oh, this can’t be good. There was an abnormality in my blood, it might be leukemia but he needed me to go to an oncologist/hematologist for additional tests. What? No way! The next two weeks drug on really slowly as I waited for my appointment. He took more blood and reported that it was NOT leukemia but there was a problem. So, every 3 months I went back waiting for a diagnosis, they did a bone marrow biopsy and determined that my blood was being properly made, but something was wacky after it went into circulation.
I still have to have blood tests every 3-6 months because now there is a problem with my iron level. First, they had me take iron pills, but that made my iron count decrease so I had an intravenous infusion of iron that can last 3-6 months. I can tell when my iron is getting low because I am extremely, stupidly tired all the time.
Then at 3 a.m. July 11, 2014, I woke up to a pain in my back, I was sweating profusely and I had no idea why. I went outside to cool off (yeah right – it was July in Nebraska!) The only thing I could think was how am I going to go back to sleep with this pain! I looked at the sky and asked myself out loud – what is wrong with me. I recited the alphabet – no problem – I felt confident that I was not having a stroke. Then it came to me that MAYBE I was having a heart attack…
I went back inside and called 9-1-1, walked up the stairs to wake up my roommate and sat on the recliner waiting for the ambulance. To make a long story short – I coded on the way to the hospital (about 17 blocks) so I do not remember much of that ride. When I got to the hospital the emergency team did what they could to stabilize me and sent me on a helicopter to a bigger hospital in another town. The last thing I remember was thinking “if they bank really hard to the left or right I am gonna fall off this stretcher”. Then I coded two more times en route to that hospital. I remember briefly waking up as I was being wheeled down a hallway and pulling something out of my mouth because I couldn’t breathe (I’m told I was intubated). The next thing I knew I was in a room and a doctor was telling me that he had inserted two stents because I had 2 arteries that were 99% and 100% blocked. He said that 95% of the people who have the same heart attack do not live.
I was given a second chance at life and I was not going to waste it! After 2 weeks off work and 2 months of cardiac rehab, I was free to do what I wanted – for the most part. Juggling doctor appointments and blood tests was something I never even thought about nor was I used to taking multiple medications on a daily basis. I had only taken vitamins prior to this.
Then, as if I did not have enough on my plate, the very demanding and stressful job I had (I really thought I would be there until I retired) decided they did not need me anymore. So here I am, health issues and now I felt rejected by the people I considered my family. Needless to say, my self-confidence suffered, then my health got worse, and then my COBRA insurance ran out and to get an insurance policy with pre-existing conditions is a joke. They should really call it UNaffordable healthcare. Who has $1200/month for health insurance?!
Having all the time in the world, I started googling health and health-related issues, and how mental health and physical health are co-dependent. I have amassed a host of information on these subjects and I want to share it – so the next person has a place to go for reference without weeding through a ton of articles.
So, here I am hoping that I can make at least one person’s life better by sharing my knowledge and experience.
I am hoping that you will join me on a Journey To Better Health – Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Lifestyle.