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!

PB164252photos by Phil on December 1, 2008

33 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    Definitely will say a prayer for you too Mandi. Wow, what an experience. I had a brief episode of vertigo years and years ago. And it is one of the most miserable experiences. I’m so glad they found the infection so they could treat it. Praise the Lord! :) He watches out for His.
    Have a good day sweetie

  2. kendra says:

    oh my gosh Mandy! That is crazy/amazing/encouraging!
    So glad you are coming out of the valley!
    Praying for you and petit b?b

  3. Emma says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling better! Praying for you still and hoping the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly.

  4. Krystle says:

    so crazy, i can’t even imagine how scary it all has been! glad to hear that you’re feeling a little better..keeping you in my thoughts!

  5. Courteney says:

    So glad you are feeling better and the baby is ok! Praying that the rest of your pregnancy is healthy.
    PS: I’ve totally missed your blogging over the last little while. I’m glad that you’re back at it!

  6. Amanda,
    I will be thinking and praying for you. Yikes. that sounds like the worst feeling ever!
    I am so glad that you are feeling better!
    and What an amazing thing that it caused the doctors to find the tumor!
    You are doing the right thing to Take it slow. Rest up. Enjoy your health!

  7. Oh sweetheart you must have been terrified! SO glad to hear it’s good news, and keeping my fingers crossed that it continues to improve x

  8. Oh, wow, I had been a bit concerned by how quiet your blog’s been, but I’m so glad to hear they’ve got to the bottom of it and have a plan of action. Sending good thoughts your way. x

  9. It must have been very scary! Happy you feel better and wish you a fast recovery. Get well soon and welcome back on line :)

  10. steffy says:

    i am so happy to hear youre doing better Steffys Pros and Cons

  11. Orchid Grey says:

    I’m thinking of you and sending positive thoughts your way. I’ve been keeping up on Twitter and can’t begin to imagine what a rollercoaster this has been for you, but I’m happy to hear things are looking up. xo

  12. Sunnie says:

    So glad you’re feeling better! Its not like you to be away for so long. Hopefully the rest is smooth sailing for you!

  13. Caitlin B says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your recent illness.
    My cousin is going through a similar thing right now – a month or two ago, she went to the emergency room with a severe pain in her side. The doctors didn’t find anything so did an MRI. Found something funny and did another MRI, with contrast, and found a Syrinx, which is (apparently) a fairly rare cyst of cerebral fluid forming on her spine. So she’s been to specialists and in and out of different hospitals in NJ and NY for the past two months, only to find out her rib IS broken, and it’s punctured her lung, which is where the pain came from in the first place.
    If they had found the punctured lung (how do you miss that?), she would have been done with the pain over a month ago. But then again, if they’d found it, they wouldn’t have found the syrinx.
    The syrinx is too small right now to operate on her spine, so they’re going to monitor it with an MRI every year. I’ll be keeping you and her in my prayers. Feel better!

  14. nellie says:

    I noticed your absence from my feed and started checking around yesterday because I didn’t have any recent posts from you on the blog roll. I was worried for you but I am glad you are going to be okay!! Scary Stuff!

  15. VanessaMeryl says:

    So happy you are feeling better! I love you dearly!

  16. Arianne says:

    I am really glad that you are going to be better. Take care!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I’m terribly sorry you’ve been so ill. It sounds terrible. I’m so glad you’re on the mend and feeling more like yourself. Hang in there – many prayers are coming your way.

  18. Robin says:

    Im so glad that you’re Ok,and getting the rest you need, I’m just happy for you that its not life threatening!

  19. liz says:

    Mandi, I can’t believe you have been going through all this!! I’m thinking and praying for you and I’m so glad there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Things will look up from here (minus that little surgery).
    Let me know when you’re ready to get together!
    Kinda weird, I had a similar case of vertigo and it was also an ear infection! I felt like I was walking on a boat and couldn’t even take care of the kids. The doctor couldn’t figure it out. Out of the blue he had me lay back very fast and he caught it (I guess there was a twitch in my eye and that’s how he knew)
    Thinking of you!

  20. Kate says:

    Oh you sweet girl. What a rough couple of months you’re having. I had mild vertigo but it was awful. I’m thinking of you.

  21. Sabine says:

    Dear Mandi, I’m with you in my thoughts and wish you all the luck in the world, that everything goes well and your pregnancy goes smoothly till your little one arrives.
    I really missed you and your posts over the last weeks! Thinking of you, xo

  22. bonita says:

    Sorry to hear that things have been crazy! I hope you are feeling better soon Mandi. :) Rest up and enjoy the chance to sleep lots with your first little one. :D

  23. Kamaile says:

    Glad to hear you are feeling some what better! My Dad had vertigo & I remember the frustration he felt at not being able to do anything but lay down when it was bad. Take all the time you need the Internet will be here. :)

  24. Lin says:

    I hope you will feel better soon! Glad to hear that your baby is okay! Sending you many, many positive thoughts!

  25. gabrielle says:

    Glad you are doing alright- how scary! Hope that the rest of your pregnancy is nice and uneventful, and that you get to enjoy this new phase of your life peacefully with your family. *hugs*

  26. Danielle says:

    Goodness so relieved you are doing ok… kept popping over to check on you & no posts. What a time you have had!!! You are such a trooper… really hoping you are completely yourself soon. Your baby bump is looking so wonderful!

  27. Robin says:

    I only just started to follow your blog recently, but was still a bit concerned at your lack of posts of the past couple weeks. I was beginning to worry it was related to your pregnancy. I am relieved to know that you are feeling better, and that you are in good hands!

  28. Catarina says:

    You have been through some hard time latelly… Glad that everything is getting well. Keep a positive attitude. You’ll be rewarded. I’m sure. One step at a time.

  29. Lisa R says:

    I have had a severe case of vertigo as well! It was the sickest I had ever been and my first time in the hospital ever! It was about 4 years ago and I felt like I was going to die as well. I couldn’t move my head an inch without being sick. It took a lot of convincing from my husband for me to get in the car and go to the hospital. I couldn’t bear to think of getting up, walking and riding in a car. What a nightmare. I’d never wish it on anyone. I’m so glad you are now better! Lets hope neither of us ever get that again!

  30. Lexi says:

    :( I feel your pain, vertigo is the absolute worst. I have something called meniere’s disease, which causes me to get several rotational vertigo several times a year and it’s just debilitating. Hope you’re feeling much better.

  31. That sounds like something dreadful to “look forward to” after your delivery. How long do you think it will take after you give birth that they will have to operate to remove it? I’m glad you are feeling a bit better since then. Are you still dizzy??

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  33. andrea says:

    Holy shit Mandi, I have been away from blogs for ages (in fact your old website was still the one on my feedly) and I find that you have a (not really) baby girl, which made me super happy for you, and then this. I am so shocked. You’re such a strong person! All my love from SPain