Thursday, May 19, 2011
We have been in quite the whirl-wind around here the last couple weeks. It all started on Mothers day. I woke up feeling extremely sick, I was having a hard time breathing and I just knew something wasn't right. Cami was so upset because she had big plans for me on Mothers day, but we thought it was best I stay away from the kids so Cami wouldn't catch whatever I had. I came to the conclusion that I was coming down with pneumonia and needed to start on some antibiotics ASAP, so off I went to Instacare. When I got there, they said my heart rate was really high and my blood pressure was way too low. They did a chest x-ray and it came back that I had moderate pnemonia in my right lung and a little bit starting in my left lung. They sent me on my way with a perscription antibiotic and told me to get lots of sleep. The rest of the day things got worse and then unbearable. The Doctor at Instacare said I should start feeling better after being on the antibiotics for 24, well this was NOT happening. Things were definitely getting worse and we thought it was best I get checked again, I was really struggling to breathe and it was getting scary. When we got to the ER, they took one look at me and rushed me back. My lips were blue and I wasn't getting a lot of oxygen. My heart rate went up to 160 and my oxygen was way too low. They hooked me up to and IV immediately, gave me fluids, more antibiotics, they gave me an inhaler, a breathing treatment, they took blood to test for deeper infections, and did another x-ray. When my x-ray came back, they were able to compare it to the one I had gotten at Instacare. They were shocked at how severe the pneumonia had gotten in just 24 hours. They were also very concerned about my heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels.
They told me that they wanted to keep me at the hospital at least overnight, but with IV antibiotics they expected me to recover in a day or two. Here I am in the ER feeling totally crappy.
The next few days were a blur. The Doctors found fluid surrounding my lungs on both sides, so they had to remove it with a giant needle. They poked that thing into my back and sucked the fluid out multiple times. It was very painful, but it helped me to breathe a little easier. Even with the IV antibiotics the pneumonia continued to get worse. I had a team of Doctors trying to figure out why I wasn't getting better and they were starting to run out of ideas.
Here is the Doctor with the HUGE needle and then the vials of fluid they got out.
Here I am doing some of my breathing treatments. Fun stuff!
At one point I had 3 different IV's in and they took blood at least 3 different times each day. My veins are always really hard to find and they burst easily. I was so bruised and all my veins were mush. They started to run out of places to poke me.
After a few days with no improvement, they brought in a lung specialist. Dr. Pearl ran more tests on my blood. He found that one of the antibodies in my blood was low, this suggests that I have some sort of immune disorder that has never been diagnosed. He decided that I needed IVIG which is basically a replacement of those antibodies I was missing. The only problem is that IVIG can cause serious complications and they had no way of knowing how I would react to this intense drug, but without it, Dr. Peal felt that the pneumonia would just continue to get worse and worse.
We decided to go ahead and get the IVIG infusion. It was really our only choice at this point. Sure enough I had a reaction. I got the worst chills I've ever had and my oxygen levels dropped so low they about sent me to the ICU. Once they stopped the infusion, I felt better and my levels came back up...thank heavens! The next day my pneumonia had improved a little, proving that even the small amount of IVIG that made it into my body had started to work. Doctor Pearl wanted me to finish the infusion so that night they hooked me up, gave me lots of drugs to help with any reactions and we started the infusion again. It was pretty scary for the first hour, but they ran it slow and it went smoothly. I was able to go home 2 days later with an oxygen tank and strict orders to take it easy. I spent 6 days in the hospital and boy am I glad to be home.
This is where Pat sat 90% of the time. He just stared at my monitors especially after I was almost sent to the ICU. I am so grateful to have such a caring husband who stayed with me every second.
I was so excited when my kids got to come visit, I missed them so much and little Cami was particularly worried about me. We had to be very careful with her and I am still trying to stay away, but just to hold those kids felt so good, it was the best medicine.
I have such great family and friends who sent flowers, treats, blankets and who took care of my house and kids so Pat could be with me in the hospital. Thank you to all the many people who helped our family once again as we were once again thrust into a medical whirlwind.
We couldn't do it without all the amazing support!
I just have to add that most the time I spent in the hospital all I could do was think about the little cancer kids. It was very emotional for me to go through this as I thought of all these kids go through. I really think that I was put through this so I could feel just a fraction of what they deal with on a day to day basis. It was really hard on me to live in a hospital bed and I was only there for 6 days. We have friends who live in the hospital for MONTHS at a time. I just cant imagine being a restless kid stuck in one of those beds. It was so painful for me to have my IV's and get blood drawn all the time, but these kids are poked over and over for days at a time (and in their chest, which is MUCH worse than in an arm). I was complaining earlier in this post about getting the fluid removed from my back, but these children get back pokes all the time! By the time they are off treatment they will have gone through hundreds (if not, thousands of back pokes). I am starting to feel better and my lungs are healing slowly, but some of these kids never fully heal and live with side effects for the rest of their lives. After going through this in a small way myself, I just have so much more compassion and love for these kids. They go through so much and they do it all with a smile. I know I couldn't handle what these little kids were dealt. Im just not that strong. I cant ever describe how much I look up to these amazingly strong kids. Each one of them is a true hero and example of strength and endurance. I am so touched and honored to know these kids and I feel blessed that we have Cami's example of strength and courage in my home.
I am so proud of my little cancer cutie!