A PERSONAL UPDATE | Unrequited Rest
Here I am looking at the calender, realizing that I've been sick for half of the month of May, really wanting to cry about my discouragement, loneliness, and the waste of a beautiful time of year and life. It all started on Phil's birthday, unfortunately. I woke up, stumbled out of bed, and realized that I felt really weird. No matter, I thought. I would just go about my day and feel better. That's how I ended up standing in a sea of swaying and shaking people in the church sanctuary. They weren't moving, but something in my head was. After hunching awkwardly in a restroom stall, we decided maybe I should go home and try to sleep it off. Two nights later, I had been discharged from the hospital twice, though still unable to stand on my own, look at my surroundings, or even keep down food or water. If I had been physically capable, I would have screamed at all of the medical professionals who were telling me that I was suffering from pregnancy nausea. After almost a week of this, I despaired that nobody would listen to me, and that I would die of whatever was wrong with me. Dramatic? Probably. But if any of you have ever dealt with severe vertigo, you understand how I felt. On the edge of death and in the pit of despair.
Finally, my ENT specialist who had done the biopsy on my supposed swollen lymph nodes on my neck was called into the scene, and they started doing ultrasounds, MRIs, and complicated urinalysis to figure out what was wrong with me. He said the lump on my neck wouldn't be causing my symptoms, well, unless it was a carotid body tumor, but those are super rare. Well, the next morning, he stood there holding my MRI results and said he was shocked to find that I DO have a carotid body tumor on my neck, which is a benign (thankfully) mass that is growing between my inner and outer carotid artery on my neck. He said that there was a chance the tumor was secreting hormones that was causing my vertigo, and that if that was the case, I would be sent to the Cleveland Clinic to undergo a high risk surgery to remove the tumor. He said that if my endocrinology reports came back positive, most likely the future doctors of America would be studying my case report.
Well, nobody wants to be told that they're the rare case to bring all of the specialists out to the hospital on the weekend- much less hear all of the jokes about bringing in Doctor House to figure me out. But in a weird way, though it is a somewhat serious problem, I was relieved that they had finally found out what was wrong with my neck, and that they were actually figuring out what is wrong with me. All of my fears about having to have this complex surgery done while pregnant have subsided, because guess what? It turns out all that was wrong with me was an inner ear infection, and that catching the tumor on my neck was "a lucky coincidence." So, they sent me home, put me on steroids, anti-vertigo meds, and anti-nausea medicine. It took another week and a half of laying in a dark, quiet room before the infected fluid in my head began going back to normal. Who knew an inner ear infection could cause such havoc? Today I'm still feeling quite dizzy, but good gracious I feel like I just walked out of the valley of the shadow of death. And now I couldn't appreciate my health more. So thankful.
So what about my tumor? Well, they can't really remove it during pregnancy, because a women's body is pumping so much extra blood through her arteries during pregnancy, therefore cutting around the major artery of the body during pregnancy is extra risky- not to mention the effects anesthesia has on the fetus. So, I have that surgery to look forward to after delivery. But I am relieved to have a great team of doctors and know that the team of surgeons who will be cutting me at the Cleveland Clinic are the best in the world. I am trying not to worry, and just focusing on getting healthier and growing this baby! I am now seeing a high risk OB, but really the baby is fine, they just want to keep an eye on my vertigo and the growth of my tumor. I appreciate the level of care I am receiving with the high risk team, though! What a relief.
Today begins my first day back to getting work done- for clients and around the house. I think it will be a slow ease back into my routines of life. But I am incredibly thankful to be a little productive again. Although I am still too scared of my e-mail inbox to tackle that just yet. Soon. Thanks for waiting on me, and thanks so much to those on Twitter who said they have been praying for me!