Hello to all of my followers!
All I can say is 2 (ish) months is way too long to not post! But I really honestly couldn’t, not with everything when it was happening. So let me start by backtracking all the way up to about 2 days before Halloween…
By this point we were given Halloween as my hospital admission day. Even though we’d started my bowel prep at home, the decision was made to admit me to the hospital ended up being 1 whole day early, because Dr. Kurzrock wanted my ins/outs monitored. The reason, as we would learn later, was that the goal was to induce diarrhea… Worst 24 hours of my life… or so I thought. Little did I know there was even more “worst day of my life” moments to come… And so just 12 hours before surgery I achieved my goal bowel prep torture ending. “Thank God!” I thought. I had achieved the goal with the doctor wanted given my history.
So I was happily sent to bed with complete and total renewed hope that my life would be better changed forever on at 10 o’clock a.m. November 2nd 2016. Because by this point I had no reason to believe that my outcome would be any different from my good friend who and had it done five years before me. Everybody lay down as happy as could be. Nobody got any sleep that night. Besides maybe my roommate.
Urgently at 4 am I called my sister Savannah (my twin). She an our auntie made provisions for the others and our baby brother and then began the journey to be with me that morning. They walked in just before the prep team came to get me and exactly 8:30 that morning. As I was being wheeled to surgical prep the entire floor of nurses had a grin a mile wide on their faces, because by now the rare surgery had become popular topic among the nurses on the floor….
Because normally a person my age does not know about nor goes in for this kind of surgery… And they turned the corner off the floor with me as I hear from about 10 mouths “Good luck!” Mid way to pre-op we catch up with Dr Kurzrock (aka “Red-headed Crazy Man”). His very words, “Hey sweetheart. “Are you ready?” Shaking my head, i said, “Yes. But last night was absolute torture I did not sleep.”
Finally we make it to the “Children’s Surgery” pre-op ward. And whereas the average person might think that my nerves were put at ease by the decorative walls…Wrong! All I could think was, “Game on!” And “Savannah & Auntie please don’t go Anywhere!” Even though I was transported in hospital bed that I’ve been in for at least 36 hours of this point I could not find a comfortable position to save my life. It wasn’t until my sister had asked a nurse if we could watch a DVD or play a board game or something that I was finally calming down… Because the movie Savannah picked was a child favorite to both of us. She picked “Remember the Titans”. But still my nerves were unsettled. The pre-op nurse said my surgery was to begin by 11 a.m. and that we would have to hang in there for about an hour in this little curtained off cubicle. Besides the movie that is what I remember of the entire hour we had to patiently wait for me to go back into surgery. The only other words I remember Dr. K saying before taking me back, was “If there’s a problem with her appendix I will just close her up.”
By this point my mom and dad were also by my side. The doctor said his piece, I signed papers, my mom, sister, auntie & dad prayed over me & for God to work through Dr. Kurzrock. And I was wheeled to the O.R. Finally, by the grace of God my nerves were put at ease. How I know this is true is, with my last surgery which was Orthopedic in nature, I could remember exactly how long it took me to be knocked out with the sleeping gas… but this time I have no memory of even that…
I knew I was in the more than capable hands of the best person in the state to do what I was asking him to do. But ultimately I knew that I was in the comforting Everlasting Arms of my Saviour and Father in Heaven Jesus Christ. And with that knowledge, I was much more than a little comforted laying to be operated on.
After several hours of surgery, I woke up to a team of several people transferring from the operating table back to a hospital gurney. All I remember from there is asking if my catheter had been placed and requesting to be in the immediate eyesight of my sister and my aunt. Reassured by the people transferring me that yes I had “a catheter” placed, we wheeled me from the O.R. to recovery. Unaware of what I was about here I was happy to hear that a catheter been placed. Once in recovery, my aunt and my sister were there both the smiles on their faces and on either side of the bed. I immediately saw a balloon that said “God is good all the time.” Confused by the happily relieved but concerned look on my sister’s face. I eagerly (but still groggy) I asked her,”Was surgery successful?” The million questions in my head came to a screeching halt, when she answered. “No. It didn’t work.” They tried everything but the procedure was unsuccessful. He even came out to us all surgery to get permission to try & use one of your fallopian tubes as the canal because your appendix was flipped on its head, losing blood flow and was dying.” …Not to mention he was concerned because my appendix was higher in my body then it was supposed to be. She continued, “we gave them permission to try and use your fallopian tube. He tried and tried to thread a catheter through it he even tried an infant or a preemie catheter, but it just would not go through no matter what he did. Your tube was beginning to close on one side. I’m sorry Sammers no matter what he tried… and he did try… the surgery failed. But the good news is he removed your failing appendix, and the closed ended fallopian tube.”
Hearing all this I couldn’t believe my ears. Something I had researched for over 10 years and done my research on doctors in state and out of state, all the countless amount of paperwork, and reading research I did went down the tubes. With what felt like one swift kick to the heart, my life changed, but not in the way I had hoped & dreamt it would. Beside the question of, “what do we do now?” my first, and most important question was, am I infertile?” Because as young lady in my early 20’s… the one thing I’ve always wanted besides my independence is to be a mom. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. I was always the one playing with baby dolls & insistent on getting real baby clothes to fit 20+ inch baby dolls. I would get outfits in the real baby section at Walmart complete with little socks and hair bows that matched the outfits. I even took a doll everywhere with me from family get-togethers to the hospital for every stay I had. And the wardrobe had more baby doll clothes in it then I brought with me to wear in the hospital. Because I was obsessed with playing doll dress-up on my down time in the hospital as a kid…. so in that moment silently I was worried about my dreams of becoming a mother being squashed forever…until thankfully the words, “Oh yes honey, you will still be able to have children.” Auntie said immediately when I asked about my fertility. But still, in the next breath I was heartbroken. Because I was unsure where to go from here. I always thought, that this would be my only catheterization option. I never knew of this option I always thought that catheterization for me would be a hopeless dream of someday achieving complete and total Independence in the area of using the restroom. But when the option of mitrofanoff presented itself onto the table of options, quite honestly I think my whole family breathed a sigh of relief. Because just the option meant the door was open for a less confusing less frustrating process of learning to catheterize myself. But when the surgery failed, I know my whole family was disheartened. But staying ever positive & filled with optimism, Auntie said, “Baby this is not the end of the road. When you get better we’re going to continue this journey. ” “So we’re back to square one…” I said. “No, we just need to rethink this path & make a plan. We’re gonna start by looking to God for His guidance & we’re going to pray.”
So at around 5pm they took me back to my room in the surgical intensive care unit or ‘SICU’. Honestly, I don’t remember much more than that initial from surgery day. The next few days after my failed mitrofanoff procedure, they were filled with me trying to climb uphill from what became a very complex appendectomy. Internists and interns had gone from being very interested in my case because of its rarity, to falling away.
But slowly, I pulled myself together & about one week later on Thursday I had gotten well enough to be discharged from the hospital. And aside from being told I contracted C-DIFF a common hospital-borne virus, whose bacteria is normally occurring in in the intestine as it is, I was ecstatic to be released from the hospital. In fact we were told that I was a carrier for the virus but not to worry about it. But we would stay in the city another 2 days just to be on the safe side. Two days later and I would slowly come out of the hospital aches and pains. This meant we were finally able to make the journey home after nearly two weeks away from the family. I was only home one week until everything flipped on its head. As I sit here typing, I am really struck by the struggle it’s been to retell this part of this past leg of my journey. It was certainly far from easy. I never imagined I would go through something quite so dramatic. Something that would take me on a roller coaster ride. One that would time and time again make me wonder if I would lose my life.
Everything started to go downhill days before Thanksgiving. Two days before Thanksgiving, I began to complain frequently of pain near my incision site. We knew I’d still be quite sore from the surgery that had just been done. And so nobody was really alarmed by the ongoing complaint of pain. That was until very late Thanksgiving night.
This is where the story takes a very hard time for me. This is also where I realized very early on my story takes a turn it’s similar to a scene from the movie Miracles From Heaven. Late Thanksgiving night after being laid down for bed, my stomach pain increased and I could not get comfortable to save my life. I had a fever that begin to rise and break rise and break at will. When it would rise I would sweat until the fever would break and then i would shake. As the night went on, my skin got paler & more clammy. Around 3 a.m. my stomach pain got unbearably worse. I thought over and over I would have diarrhea but I couldn’t go. That was until about 3 hours later around 6 a.m. when I could not be removed from the toilet because I could not stop going. In the midst of this I was losing consciousness and muscle tone will still lose that I was not able to even hold my head up. By 10 a.m. things were taking an even deeper turn for the worst. 10 a.m. my mom tried once again to medicate me with normal everyday pain medication. Of which I immediately threw up all over my bed. But unlike the rest of the night prior, this throw up was dark mud black in color. By 11:30 a.m. my dad and I were well on our way to or local ER. I barely remember the trip to the ER. Because the whole ride there I was going in and out of consciousness. There are very few things I remember my initial day in the ER, but the things I do remember or very big and significant moments from that night. The first thing I remember is being so dehydrated they couldn’t find a vein to stick an IV. But that would remain true throughout both up my hospital stays from the last weeks of November through January 1st. No matter how hydrated I would become they would have difficulty finding of a no matter what. The next thing I remember from that initial ER trip, is all of my test coming back positive for a very active C-DIFF infection and a very significant sepsis infection. The C-DIFF had gotten so bad, it had engulfed my entire colon, to the point where the hospital staff wanted to immediately remove my colon. To that, we very quickly exclaimed that no one had permission to remove my colon. By this point, Savannah had made her way to the hospital to be by side & be a stronger advocate while I found myself in a place and bodly state where I couldn’t be an advocate for myself. This was another one of those places in life where I did not have to say a word and she was right there to realize how badly I needed her support. After hearing everything I had been diagnosed with since minute one of being in the emergency room, Savannah immediately called her husband Robert, my brother-in-law. Because I had been asking for him all afternoon he left from work immediately and made his way to us in the hospital. after being caught up to speed himself, Robert and Savannah both decided they would say it by my side no matter what because with every person that came to run a test or give an update my situation look even more precarious by the minute. I would throw up all over my sister one more time before the doctors and nurses who were swing by my little cubicle would tell her that I was profusely throwing up blood because of the sepsis infection. That would also explain the back to back and random over and over blood test results and multiple viles. They were consistently every hour checking my blood count results. Surprisingly, despite the sepsis infection, my blood counts were within normal limits. With our denial of the colon removal surgery, they began slamming my system right then and there in the ER with antibiotics and antifungals an antivirals. The reason for this was because the ER that night was very busy and it would take 12 hours to get a bed in the Intensive Care Unit. Just before my admittance to the Intensive Care Unit Savannah and Robert would make their journey home for the night. So it was once again just my dad and myself braving the hospital together. It would come to be known that I was one of the sickest patients on the unit that night and through the majority of my ICU stay. Not only would I be one of the sickest only unit almost the entire month of the stay, my case would become one of the most challenging and complex on the unit.. During that time my needs would run the gamut. From constant heart monitoring to nasal gastric tube feeding. I would also have to endure 7 more surgeries during my hospital ICU stay. This would bring my simple 5 surgeries total in life up to a whopping 12 surgeries total in my lifetime to date. From my day of admittance to the hospital to my day of discharge was wondering if short of a month. I would go to the hospital on November 25th 2016 and released on December 24th 2016. And then again from about December 27, 2016 through January 1st 2017…I had another hospital stay. But that one was for pain associated with surgeries that you just had. This time had nowhere near the complexity of the first or the second hospital stay.
It was definitely a wild ride. And I don’t know yet why God had me go through something so dramatic, or even why He chose this time in my life to give me such a trial of life at this age. I may never know. But I do know one thing, I will find the blessings brought on by this trial and true test of my will to live, one day in tenfold. For I know He did not set me on this journey or give me this particular life for no reason at all. I know I was given this life for a purpose. And my challenges have a purpose as well. Now I’m even stronger and my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to pull me through anything. Because I know, more than once I was questioning during that time in the ICU, whether I would live or die. Since then I wake up every morning with a smile upon my face and a grateful heart. Simply because I am grateful to be alive, doing well now, and healthy. I will never again take for granted the health that I do have, for everyday is not promised.