This time last year I was really hurting. As you can see here on Oct. 30th I reported that I had pneumonia and my readers should not expect to hear from me for awhile. That while turned into a very long time.

At the time the doctor I saw at urgent care said I should be better in 5-10 days. Well… that wasn’t quite the truth. Here is a summary of what the last year has been like. This is not so much to whine about my situation, but to put thing into perspective of where I am at on November 1, 2008.

  • October 29ish- Went to urgent care for chest x-rays and an EKG, because my body didn’t feel right. Diagnosed with Pneumonia, given anti-biotics, and told to take Mucinex. Went home and went to bed.
  • October 30-Nov. 2ish- Spent entire time in bed, alternating between sleeping, coughing, chills, fevers, and call for Ryan to help me to the bathroom.
  • First 3 weeks of November- Continued to feel like I was hit by a truck, visited doctor frequently. Got the first shot in the butt that I was old enough to remember, antibiotics helped little. Continued to sweat, freeze, cough, and my breathing became worse.
  • Week before Thanksgiving- Went to doctor, she looked at me…. not even examining, just looked, and said she think I needed to be admitted to the hospital. My oxpulsometer read low levels, I started a breathing treatment immediately and took my first wheel chair ride to my first ever hospital room.

Here I immediately set up camp, calling for my Woobie, and crochet items. Over the next 6 days I was poked, prodded, x-rayed, cat scanned, and had my vital signs taken an uncountable number of times. During this time, I also had some wonderful visitors who included Pastor Jason, Jana Hansen, Jeremy, Dustyn, Robin, Hanna, Moncia and Lee, not to include the visitors I had in my dreams like the Wallace family. Apparently they were on my mind. My hospital room quickly filled with flowers from all over the country and I felt loved. Ryan stayed by my side as much as he could while he was attending to his schooling. I finished many crocheted hats and watch a lot of TV Land. I watched the Michigan game from my tiny hospital TV with Ryan and Jeremy, and it was as enjoyable as can be.

I took many breaks to take drugs, have anti-biotics inserted through my IV, and the nurses tended to my pain and coughs as much as possible. A diagnosis of pertussis, or whooping cough was also confirmed, which explained the horrible coughing until I would throw up.

My most important visitor was my grad school advisor who visited me in my hospital room and told me that even though the trip was less than 8 weeks away, I was going to India.
I got out of the hospital the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, had wonderful  meals delivered to me from all the wonderful members of Terra Nova (thanks Jen for arranging this).  Mom visited the day after Thanksgiving, she brought my a wonderful prayer scarf from the Center Moreland United Methodist Church, which I wore the rest of the winter, and continue to refer to even now.
The rest of the next few months is kind of a blur.  My body hurt, I was tired all the time, I had a hard time breathing, and I seriously just wanted to get better.  The doctor said 6 weeks, I’d be back to normal, then 10 weeks, by the time it was all over it sounded more like 6 months to a year before I was completely recovered from pneumonia.
After a short trip home for Christmas I boarded a plane to India.  I was crying as I stood in line in the Newark airport thinking that it was not in my best judgement to be getting on a plane to another part of the world.  But I did it anyways.  I had a lot of wonderful experience, many which I don’t remember.  I remember the people who took care of us, the people who I met briefly, the kids who wanted to have their pictures taken, and the life that I could see in the Indian people.  To experience just a little of this visit my pictures here: CJB’s India Album.
I got a stomach virus while in India (no big surprise there) but there was a time, again as I was getting on a plane to come home, I didn’t know how I was going to make it.  The 13 other people that I was on that trip with made it possible.
My return from India resulted in more blood tests, more fatigue, more pain, more stomach issues, and more diagnosis.  I learned the thyroid condition I’d been treating since I was 12 is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis .  I eventually got a diagnosis of adult onset asthma, which explained my horrible chest pains and breathing problems.  And finally I saw a headache specialist who diagnosed me with chronic tension headaches as well as migraines.  I was put on the appropriate medications for each of these conditions, and I seem to be handling them mostly well.  Oh I didn’t mention my high blood pressure, but that’s a given, my whole family deals with that.
Now the not so easy things that I’ve had to deal with: In May I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia while it is a common condition, it is not understood well, and treatments aren’t really universal.  But this was explaining my body pains, my fatigue, my general over all crapiness.  And then the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  This I have not nailed down yet, I’ve cut most gluten and dairy from my diet, take supplement, and have good days and bad days.  It is an ongoing struggle.
Throughout all this I have been at constant battle with my mental status.  With my anxiety and depression constantly telling me I was worthless, or that I couldn’t deal with the pain anymore, and that no one was every going to figure out how to make me feel better.  I put my education on hold, I stopped working, and essentially I had to put my life on hold for all of this.  Last week found me in the emergency room, expressing thoughts of wanting to kill myself, or at least harm myself.  I can’t tell you have good it felt to get those things out.
I spent 6 days as in inpatient in the Neuropsych Unit here at the OSU Harding Hospital.  Medications have been added, removed, adjusted, and monitored.  I’ve done group therapy, recreational therapy, and most importantly met people who could really help me with my struggle.  The last week I’ve been participating in a structured day program to further my process, and while on some days it’s exhausting things can be looking up.
It’s hard and I’m struggling.  I can’t say things are rainbows and butterflies, because they are not.  But I’ve had an amazing support system that include my church here, my home church, life long friends, new friends since moving to Ohio, and most importantly my family.  So I find myself on a sunny Saturday getting ready to put some shoes on, grab my cane and go for a walk with my wonderful husband.
Thanks for listening if you got this far.  I really appreciate every one of you.  Let’s hope the next year brings better things.  Peace.
(Editor’s note: I wanted to add that there are still some diagnosis flying around out there, and the next few weeks could bring big changes.  I have a very important appointment on Monday that I hope to bring some clarity to all I’ve been experiencing.  I will update you as I know.)