Friday, August 26, 2005

Part VIII

Rick and I are leaving in the morning (bright and early! Our flight leaves at 6:15) for our much needed cruise to Mexico. I'll be back Thursday evening, and hopefully will be able to post again that Friday. I'm posting this one late on Friday so that maybe this will give you guys something to read next week.
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My mom and sister got in a few hours later. They had called a million people on the way down to let them know what was going on. My dad didn't want them calling anyone until we knew for sure what it was, but my mom knew that prayer for the unknown is better than no prayer at all.

The next morning we got up early and headed to the hospital. I had never had a CT scan before, so I had no idea what to expect. I learned pretty instantly to hate them. The chalky stuff I had to drink was bad enough, and my stomach didn't appreciate what I was doing to it. It was mad at me, and it let me know by giving me that "I'm going to vomit any second" feeling. The nurses kept trying to talk me out of it because if I did happen to vomit, I would have to start all over again. It took me close to an hour just to drink the nasty mess.

Finally, they called me back to the CT room. At the time, I was scared to death of needles, and the CT-runner person wasn't smart enough to put the line into the bend of my arm.....no, she put it into the top of my hand. I thought that there was nothing that would hurt worse than that. I was wrong. Pouring molten hot lava into the vein in the back of your hand is worse. Much worse. (Okay, so it wasn't molten hot lava, but the Xray dye sure feels like it when it's pulsing through the vein the in the back of your hand). I instantly curled up into a little ball on the table to screams of, "No! No!" by the staff. I guess that ruins the pictures they're trying to take of your abdomen. It would have helped if she had at least warned me that the xray dye could be so painful. The remainder of the CT went smoothly. I was so glad to be out of there.

That afternoon, we headed back to my general doctor's office, hoping he had the results of my CT. They were supposed to be faxed to him by that afternoon, but they weren't there. We waited around the office for at least an hour when my stomach started yelling at me again. It was the gallbladder-like pains that I had previously. Luckily, I was at the doc's office and he was able to give me some phenergan right then and there. Later, he called us back with the news that the results had arrived. He kept talking about all of these "-noma" words. I didn't know what those words meant, except that usually words that end in those letters mean cancer. I feared the worse. He said that he was going to have to refer me to someone else--that he had done all he had the power to do, so I gave him The Family's dad's phone number. I knew he would take care of me, and he did. Within just a few minutes, I was set up to have a visit with a woman at Vanderbilt who specialized in what they thought I had.

The remainder of the health story flies by pretty quickly with no extravagant detail needed. I met this woman doctor, liked her a lot, and she set me up to have another CT scan and a biopsy to find out exactly what I had. It was not cancerous, but I did learn that it could become that way one day. That's when I found out about the "no kids" rule. These tumors were growing off of my hormones. Because the hormone levels in a woman's body increases so much during her third trimester, it would be just plain stupid of me to try to have kids. Not that I was in any huge hurry at the time, anyway. But it is pretty sad to find out at the age of 18 that you may never be able to have children. Who is going to want to marry me now? That is also when I found out what was really wrong with my stomach and all of my stomach problems. The tumors I had did not have any symptoms. I couldn't understand it. I asked my new doctor if she had any idea what was causing my other problems and the she said: I have no idea. It could be a fiber deficency. Try some Metamucil for a while and see if that helps. I went home, bought some Metamucil, and my other problems instantly disappeared. Once everything was under control, I stopped the Metamucil completely and have not had any in about 5 years. Tell me that wasn't a God Thing. I cannot believe that something so simple caused me so much pain and suffering over and over and over again until He lead me to the right people and the right doctors to find out that I had these tumors on my liver that could have killed me if they had not been found so early on.

From this point on, I was scheduled to have CT scans every 3 months to make sure that the tumors weren't growing. That was eventually decreased to every 6 months, and then once a year. During that first year, my doctor left and I got a new doctor, the one that I still have this day that monitors me through my entire transplant experience, and the doctor that I hope I have until the day he retires (many, many, many, many years from now, I hope!). He is the one I wrote about a while back, whom I believe is what it looks like to be such a man of God.

This really nears the end of my faith walk when it comes to my health. You all know the rest of the story. It was in September of 2003, just 3 months after Rick and I married, that I found out by Dr. Raiford that my tumors were growing. He did not call me on the phone or have his nurse make me a follow-up appointment, he tracked me down to my lab, sat down with me, and talked with me for 30 minutes about what was going on. He was genuinely concerned for me. It was in November of 2003 that I had another biopsy, a much more in-depth one, to make sure none of the tumors were cancerous. In February of 2004 I went through my pre-transplant evaluation (all 3 days of it!) and in April of 2004 I was officially placed on the UNOS list for people needing liver transplants. The transplant occured only 3 months later, in June of 2004.

This is not, however, the end of my faith walk. My junior year of college was so significant in the way I relate to God that I must tell it. Nothing health-related happened, but I was again able to see God work in ways that I had never imagined He would.

But that, my friends, will have to wait. *wink*

God Thing #7: All of those stomach problems that I had for so long was a simple fiber deficency. And no one even thought about it until I had this doctor that The Dad found for me.

4 Comments:

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Thanks for sharing this Amanda. As your friend and brother in Christ, I find it helpful to know more about your life.

Tony

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I think all of us reading this should take your lead and stop to think about all the ways God has impacted our lives. Through enormous and miniscule ways He directs our paths. In some cases, even when we aren't asking for Him too.

Thanks once again for sharing your story, Amanda. While I've known about your transplant since long before it happened, hearing the details that led up to it fills in the gaps. You an inspriation to me, dear girl.

I hope you and Rick have a wonderful escape on your cruise. It sounds wonderful. I can't wait to hear all about it when you get home.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Natalie Brooke said...

A cruise? That sounds fun! Hope you have a good time! What am I saying? Of course you will...you're relaxing, cruising...vacationing! It's gonna be great!

Thanks for sharing more of your story. That's so weird that nobody even thought of fiber deficiency...but it's good that they finally did, so you feel better.

I didn't realize you had your transplant so soon after you got married. You know, for a guy from starbucks (haha) he's not bad! I'm so happy for you that God has blessed your life with Rick, sounds like he loves you so much girl.

From personal experience, when people get sick (unless they just absolutely love them) it's hard for people to stand by your side. Some people get scared and run. (not everybody of course)

anyways...oh...haha...

Tell him this "cute" single girl is looking for someone so if he has any single friends in nashville...(wink, wink) haha...j/k...kind of...haha!

bye girl...have a great day!

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Boy, can I relate with the CT scans; they are a way of life for me. I hope the vacation goes well. You deserve a good one.

Peace,
Matt

 

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