Friday, November 28, 2014

In The Middle of My Little Mess, I Forget How Big I'm Blessed.

What a day! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their family and friends and a safe Black Friday!

It's been an eventful few weeks for me. First off, my knee is doing AMAZING. I'll officially be 6 months post-op on Tuesday, and my recovery couldn't be going better. No pain whatsoever, even after I skated for the first time a few weeks ago. I have some soreness here and there, but it's nothing that a low-dose of pain meds and ice can't fix. I also purchased a TENS therapy machine for my home, so that has been very therapeutic as well. My goal (no pun intended) is to be back on the ice fully and playing hockey my April-May. I don't want to push myself too much, but I also am so eager to get back into playing again. March will mark one year since my injury took place. It's a little bit crazy how fast time actually flies.

I recently saw my gastroenterologist. I have been really sick since I was released from the hospital a few weeks ago. My gastroparesis has seemed to be getting worse over time, and I am running out of treatment options. I'm on the highest dose of Reglan, which can be very risky because of the side effects. I have tried altering my diet, which has helped, but I still haven't been able to eat much. My doctor understands that I'm getting worse and that there aren't many treatment options left, so he put me on an antibiotic that actually speeds up stomach motility. It's caused a lot of abdominal pain, but I have been able to eat a little bit more since I've been on it. It's only a 10 day, short-term treatment, but I am thankful that I have had a little bit of relief for this small amount of time. We will see what happens after I finish this course of antibiotics. My chronic gastritis, IBS and GI pain have been under control thanks to my usual medications. So while my gastroparesis and nausea have been a major problem lately, I am thankful that my other symptoms have been under control for the most part.

I also was finally able to see my pain doctor this week. I always get nervous for these appointments, because I don't always know what exactly is going to happen. She was extremely helpful and got me squared away with some strong probiotics that should help me a lot. She was concerned about the health of my gut even more than usual because of the antibiotics that I have been on. The nerve pain on my side has been intense lately, so we discussed different treatment and management options. She prescribed a muscle relaxer that should help any spasms in my side, which I'm okay with. I was a little bit hesitant at first, because I'm on over a dozen medications already, but she thinks that this could help. I'm still being thrown between my neurologist and general surgeon about the cause of the pain on my side. It's extremely frustrating, because all I want is a definite answer. I have to remember to keep an open mind.. I refuse to quit and I refuse to give up. I won't stop until i find answers.

When I registered for college classes at the end of this summer, I was so excited to finally start college. I don't regret starting school this year, but it has been an extreme challenge with my health. I missed quite a few classes for obvious reasons. My doctors, academic counselors and I agreed that taking online classes would be my best option. Sometimes I'm just too sick to go to class, or I have to take medications that impair my ability to drive. I'm so so so thankful that online classes are an option, and this is truly the best option for me this semester. 

It's been a really rough past few weeks health-wise, I can't lie. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel, but I know that I can't. This is all part of my testimony. This is all part of my story. This is all shaping me into the person that God created me to be. One day, all of this will make sense. Until then, I will take what is handed to me and make the best of it.

I truly am blessed. While it's a struggle to make it through some days, I can't help but be grateful for so much. 

I don't know where I would be without my family. We have our "off" days, but at the end of the day, they have been my biggest support system through this all. There wasn't one hospital visit where my parents weren't by my side the entire time. There wasn't one sick day I had where they didn't help take care of me. There wasn't one prescription where they didn't pick it up at the pharmacy for me. There wasn't one doctor's appointment where they weren't by my side. I truly wouldn't be able to make it through this without them. 

I am thankful for each and every friend that has been there for me. I've had a lot of people leave my life, but I have had a lot of people STAY. Even when I wasn't able to be a great friend, I've had amazing people who were still there for me. My friends here at home, my friends that I've met through social media, my "spoonie" friends and my church family have been there through it all. I love each and every one of you.

Although it's never easy, I try to take the good from situations. In a way, being sick has been a blessing. It has made my passion for medicine and the medical field so deep that I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. It is an honor to have the opportunity to see medicine from a patient's point of view. When I become a physician, I will be able to relate to my patients in a way that will help me become the best doctor that I can be. I never knew that I could be this passionate about something and I truly cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. I can't thank God enough for the opportunity to pursue this.

I'm thankful for the little things in life. Sometimes we get so caught up in this world, in this life.. that we forget to breathe. We forget to enjoy the simple pleasures that truly make us happy. Whether it's getting lost in my favorite band's music, digging into a good book, drinking a perfectly made cup of coffee, smiling at a stranger, meditating, a good night's sleep or a walk with my dog... It's all precious. There's so much to be thankful for, even then times are tough.

I want to encourage anyone who may be going through a difficult situation. Don't give up, please. No matter what you're going through, it is only preparing you for an amazing comeback. I know it's easier said than done, but one day you will look back and realize how strong you really were through all of this. Keeping your faith will get you through EVERYTHING. Trust God. Life can be hard sometimes, I get it.. but we also need to remember that God will help us if we keep leaning on Him. Don't ever give up, because no matter what is going on in our lives.. the victory is in refusing to quit. When we are struggling the most is usually when God is really really working in us.. Building our faith... making us stronger... helping us learn so that we can help others. He's not just in our lives for good times only, but for the difficult times as well! Remember that. During good times.. He is there. During bad times.. He is even closer. Never think you're alone, because you're not!! When things seem to be going slowly, that's when God could be doing some of His greatest work. It's not about you or I.. it's about learning, growing, and persevering. Galatians 6:9 tells us to never give up. So why would you want to?

Be strong. Be encouraged. Never give up.

God bless <3

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