Livin' on a Prayer


Ok, so my last blog post was WAY overdue and this one is WAY, WAY, WAY overdue! Not that I think people are constantly refreshing my blog, anxiously awaiting my next post, but I'd hoped to keep a more regular "diary" of my journey.

Where do I even start? I think first, it's important to share that last Thursday, I had my second, and hopefully final surgery. My first set of surgeries was core decompression surgery to my right shoulder and left hip. My latest surgery was core decompression on my right hip. The point of these surgeries is to get my blood flowing back to my bones to heal them, since Avascular Necrosis caused them to deteriorate from a lack of blood supply.

Before surgery, I remember being purposefully more positive. I guess it was like a coach getting their team ready for the big game. I needed to pump myself up and believe that I could do this! And I do believe I can do this!

My surgery was scheduled on my 4th wedding anniversary. It surely wasn't our ideal anniversary. Six months earlier, we made plans to return to the mountain resort where we were married and have some professional photos taken of us. We really looked forward to that since our wedding photographer screwed up all of our photos from our big day. I could just picture us skiing and snowboarding down the mountain in our wedding clothes, holding hands. In my mind, it was perfection. But when my health and body took a turn for the worse, that was no longer an option. We were both happy to spend the day together. And I didn't have to stay overnight for this surgery. We actually had a good day, full of laughs. He's been so great for taking care of me and the children for this long. I couldn't imagine doing this without him. He's definitely in this for better or for worse.

After 6 weeks in a wheelchair and with my second surgery behind me, that means I'm halfway there! I can't tell you how good that feels. I'm more ready than ever to walk, run, drive, heck - I'll do jumping jacks regularly when given the opportunity. But more than anything - I can't wait to pick up my children and play with them. Oh, I have missed that so much. I've still found ways to play with them, but I'm certainly limited and it's just not the same.

Still, I'm just happy to be alive!

In the weeks leading up to my last surgery, I became frustrated with things -- the loss of my independence, doctors who didn't seem to care, or care enough, about what was happening to me and WHY it is was happening. But I'm happy to report that I met with a rheumatologist yesterday and he was a breath of fresh air! He seemed to think the same as me and he also seemed curiously stumped by my case. Curious is a good thing.

While examining me, he said, "You are a curious creature." That made me smile, because he was saying that I didn't make sense. And I don't. Me, having Avascular Necrosis at the age of 32 and with no history of causes or symptoms, makes no sense. He sent me to the nearest hospital, where they drew 17, yes 17, tubes of blood. I didn't care, because each test rules out possibilities or could possibly reveal something new.

What he didn't understand was, how I've managed to have three successful pregnancies, resulting in three healthy children. Several weeks ago, the possibility of having Lupus was brought up. But with Lupus, I likely would have suffered some miscarriages and revealed other symptoms that have never been the case with me.

I thought his eyes were going to bug out of his head when he asked, "When did your symptoms begin?" I replied, "September of 2011." "September of LAST YEAR?!" he asked/exclaimed.

Yes, my health had deteriorated THAT quickly and out of nowhere. And FINALLY someone seemed as alarmed by this as I was!!!

It's safe to say that his professionalism and concern put some wind back into my sails. I really believe that he is going to find out why this has happened to me.

I'm one week into recovery from Round 2 of surgery. When this all started, it was difficult to imagine ever getting this far. I wasn't sure how I would cope and I've had some rough days trying to piece it all together and to keep going at a pace that I am happy with.

After just two days (and a weekend) off, I'm back working. When I had a choice to take disability with my first and second surgeries, I ultimately decided not to. Just because my body isn't working, doesn't mean that my brain doesn't work. And if I couldn't exercise my body, I NEEDED to exercise my brain. I'm happy I made that decision. It's given me a reason to wake up and be productive and I'm content with what I've been able to accomplish.

After 5 more weeks, I should be back on my feet again. And though a FULL recovery will take 6 months, I look forward to getting out of my wheelchair and hopefully, by the grace of God, never getting back in it again.

I'm (a little over) halfway there. And I'm livin' on a lot of prayer!

Point A to Point Z


This post is WAY overdue. I've been back working for the past 3 weeks, from home and in the office. Since I write full-time for work, I guess I wasn't so quick to write my blog when the work day was done.

But honestly, I felt like I didn't have much to report.

If you are just tuning in, I was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis or AVN in my hips and shoulders. This means that my blood stopped circulating to those bones and they were deteriorating.

The reason I have nothing to report is because I still don't know why this happened. This is a condition mostly diagnosed in people in their 60s or older. But I'm 32.

Every doctor I have seen have said they've never seen someone with AVN in their shoulder, though they knew it was possible.

I had surgery on my right shoulder and left hip at the start of February. I've been in a wheelchair since. Getting around could easily be the most frustrating part of the recovery process. The best way I can describe it is that I feel 15-years-old again, but not in good way. I can't drive, I have to have my parents take me everywhere (since my husband works full-time and starts work very early). I feel like I'm always asking permission to do things and having to rely on others. It's hard since I've lived independently for more than a decade.

I miss my independence more than anything. I miss taking my children to and from school and going to the baseball field or the park. I dislike asking co-workers to roll me somewhere, then put my wheelchair in the car, drop me off and roll in me. Then, of course I have to get back to where I came from. I have to ask people to do so much for me.

It feels like so much trouble to get from one place to the next. And I feel like I'm constantly imposing on people, even though I don't think they mind helping me. I guess I'm just being stubborn.

My shoulder and hip are improving, slowly but surely. I can actually lift my right arm onto my keyboard to type without using my left arm to lift it there. And my left hip isn't in as much pain. It actually hurts less than my right hip, which hasn't been operated on yet.

I'll be having surgery on my right hip on March 15. And then I will have to start the recovery process all over for another six weeks.

I don't mean to complain. I certainly know it could be so much worse and I know I have PLENTY to be thankful for. God has helped me through it all and I have supportive family and friends and a beautiful family with the most amazing children. And best of all, I was able to wake up again today to experience all of that.

I desperately still want to know why. And still, after several doctors visit, x-rays, MRIs and blood tests no one seems to know.

For me, it seems like a no-brainer. I had Mirena (IUD) inserted in May of 2011 and by August I was limping due to pain in my left hip. By October, the pain spread to my right hip. In December, my right arm felt broken - unable to do much of anything.

It was then that I thought, "Maybe this could be because of my birth control." And I had it removed.

Though AVN, was detected in my left shoulder, it isn't bad enough to operate on. And I haven't had any pain in that shoulder - Thank God! That could change, but for now, it's doing well and is really the only limb that feels like is working. I can't help but wonder if I saved my left shoulder when I had the Mirena removed.

It just makes sense to me. And no one has given me a better explanation.

I wish I could find someone else in my age range who used Mirena and then developed AVN.

I know that God has a greater plan. I simply cannot question that ... ever. And answers may come with time or they might not. Either way, I might be frustrated, but I know I am blessed just being able to experience this place and the next with the people I love so dearly.


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