Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fix You

I received some good news from my doctor today. My numbers are looking good and she said I will only need 2 more plasma treatments and I will be "fixed". It's been a long road. All the Glory goes to God for "fixing" me. I've always loved Coldplay's "Fix You". However, this song has a bit more meaning to me now. I plan to write more later on my reflections on what I've learned throughout this journey, but for now, I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Will the Real W.M.D's Please Stand Up?

I did it. I did what all the top government officials were unable to do. I found the weapons of mass destruction. Or at least one of them. Escherichia coli O157:H7. This is one of the hundreds of strains of E. Coli that the Department of Homeland Security has listed on its list of bioterrorism agent list, and the culprit that was hidden in my bowels for 24-72 hours waiting to wreak havoc on my body. I knew that it was E. Coli that caused my bodily destruction, but bioterrorism agent? That’s impressive. Let me backtrack a bit. As you all know, I’ve recently been sick to the point of hospitalization, but what you may not know, is that it all started with an intestinal infection. Now, this wasn’t just any intestinal infection. This was the Hiroshima of intestinal infections. You see, E. Coli O157:H7 causes Shiga toxins to be released into the system of the person infected. Sounds fun right? They have those little pain scales in doctor’s offices with the faces ranking your pain level from a 1-10. I consider myself to have a high pain tolerance, but the pain that came with those “Shiga toxins” had me praying for mercy like I’ve never prayed before.

Another interesting fact? Laboratories do not specifically test for E. Coli O157:H7 unless the doctor requests it. Did mine? No. Now, my doctor was a good doctor. I went to see him thinking I had a virus, a stomach bug, something quickly curable with some heavy-duty antibiotics. He thought the same thing, so he prescribed me two antibiotics, some anti-cramping medicine, ordered the humiliating stool samples and sent me on my way. A few days later I went back to see him, not feeling much better, with no positive results… the stool samples all came back negative. His response? “Most of the time we never know what causes these things”. Well…all right. I went home to wait it out and a pray that that antibiotics would knock this mysterious illness out quickly. I find out (the hard way) that a person infected with E. Coli O157:H7 should not be prescribed antibiotics because it will not cure the problem and it could cause things to progress to a deadly complication: Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

On Friday November 12, I woke up after 10 days of suffering through what I now know is a bioterrorist agent, 10 pounds lighter, and jaundice, and feeling worse than I have ever felt in my life and I told my husband I thought I might need to go to the hospital. After about 2 hours at the ER, a few blood tests, and one of those talks with the doctor that you see on TV that you never want to have, I was on my way to the ICU with the diagnosis of, yep, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. I went from what I thought was a simple stomach bug to a life threatening disease that destroys your red blood cells and my organs were beginning to shut down, enter kidney failure stage left --all because of a little hidden bioterrorism agent known as Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Not too many people can say they were harboring anything that is listed on the Centers for Disease Control list. Sure, my doctor could have tested for it, but it’s rare. If he had, he wouldn’t have prescribed me antibiotics and I may not have ended up with HUS. I’m thinking I may have another career in my future. Send me to the Middle East Mr. President, you won’t have to worry about finding the W.M.D’s, they will come find me.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I underwent my 16th treatment today, and I am a little bit weary. My treatments take a total of about 6 hours, and it makes for a long day. While I am slowly getting better, the doctors cannot tell me how many more treatments I am going to need to beat this. I started feeling a bit of guilt today because of the weariness I was feeling. Did my weariness mean that my faith was waning? As I sat in the treatment room today, I watched an older man receive dialysis for about 4 hours, another woman a blood transfusion, and yet another woman her daily blood draw to test her platelet levels for the cancer she is battling. Yet, I sat there, weary knowing that each one of those people must be feeling the very same thing. I know my weariness has a resting place. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) However, some days the unknown, and doctors telling you “I don’t know how much longer” is burdensome. It seems simple to say to lay your burden down, which I have been able to do graciously until today. Frustration is setting in. Today, it was hard to fight back the tears, so what better place to go than the handy Bible app on my phone while I was waiting in the hospital lobby. For no particular reason, I decided on 2 Thessalonians. Random book, but God has His divine reasons and His divine ways of speaking to us. The first thing I read was this, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4) The heading was “Thanksgiving and Prayer”. Under normal circumstances, I would most likely read this scripture for what it is: Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian church. However, it struck me that God meant this passage for me today. Through this trial I am enduring, the love I have for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ has increased exponentially. The love and appreciation I have for my family has grown more than I thought possible. My faith is what is carrying me through each day. Although I am weary, I am beginning to realize that weariness is drawing me nearer to Christ, and I must continue to persevere. I do still believe that He is the True Physician and will heal me in His own time. I know I will still have days of frustration, but I will continue to be thankful for the progress I have made and for the Savior who gives me rest.

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31