My/His Anything Story
One of the most life changing events in my life was in 2011 when I was hospitalized in February with swine flu, ARDS, and double-bind pneumonia in both of my lungs. As a result, I was on a ventilator for two and a half weeks in a drug induced coma. The doctors told my family to come and say their good-byes. When my lungs had finally healed enough, they brought me out of the drug-induced coma and I could barely move my arms and legs. On top of that my right leg was in constant excruciating pain. Since I was unable to care for myself at all I then ended up in an in-hospital rehab in addition to being fired from my job (for being unable to come back to work unassisted).
Rehab was hard and intense. After the first week I was getting stronger, and we all thought I would be able to go home quickly. By the end of the second week the pain was significantly worse. The doctors ended up making multiple increases in my pain medications, which in turn, caused my oxygen level to drop and I had to be placed back on continuous oxygen. I was finally released from the hospital rehab on April 1st. I was sent home with a wheelchair, on oxygen, and still hardly able to use the bathroom for myself. My doctors wanted me to do physical therapy and so for four months I began attending physical therapy three to four times a week. I was pushed further than I ever thought I could endure and it was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. At this point I was having to stay with my family as there was no one at home to help me do the things I couldn’t do and I was determined to get back to my house and take care of myself. I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and this thing called RSD (Reflex Syndrome Dystrophy-basically an unexplained cause of pain and no real treatment). By the end of May, I was able to move back home, but had to share my best friends room since I still could not use the stairs (still not having my own space back). Finally by September, I was able to walk unassisted and breathe without oxygen.
Everything was going along a relative upslope. The next year, I was able to take a few online classes at Austin Community College (ACC), and then was able to transition into taking part-time and then full-time classes in the classroom setting. Even though my endurance and stamina were not what they used to be, I felt like I was able to finally do something with my life- in that I was finally pursuing a degree in something that I enjoyed. Then two-weeks before the end of the semester in the Fall of 2013 I woke up with intense abdominal pain. Through a series of multiple tests, exploratory surgeries, and even two hospitalizations (one of which I received four units of blood as my blood counts were low), no doctor was able to give me a diagnose and suggested first that I see a psychiatrist as they thought that the pain was in my head since they were unable to come up with an explanation. They also referred me to a pain specialist, who only prescribed me more pain medications, making me “foggy” and drowsy all the time. As a result of missing the last two weeks of the semester due to being in the hospital, I ended up failing all of my classes at ACC, as only one professor was willing to work with me to help me complete the work that I had missed- but due to the “fogginess” from all the medications I was unable to complete the course work on time.
I then began to withdraw into myself I had a really hard time coping with life. I had multiple ER visits due to continued abdominal pain (for which there was still no cause) and continuos nausea that made it impossible to take any of my normal medications, making the chronic pain even worse. I sunk into a deep depression and regularly had suicidal thoughts. Friends and family were very concerned, but at the time I did not see my own depression. I would deny that anything was wrong. I was in a spiral, not just from the events from 2010 forward, but also all of the pain and hurt from my childhood (physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse). My relationship with God had been dramatically affected and I was struggling. After almost four months of this deep depression, I was finally able to see that I needed help and so I moved back in with my family. I was finally able to move back home in September 2014, but still felt like I was not “doing” anything with my life. I realized that being an ASL interpreter (which is what I was pursuing at ACC) was not something that would be feasible at this time- not being able to depend on my body) I spent at lot of time thinking and praying about what direction I wanted to take in my schooling and learning to depend on God.
Now whenever my body/health fails me, I look back to this time and remember that God carried me thru the worst time in my life and He will carry me thru the future as well. I know that God allowed all of this for a reason, one of those reasons being sharing my story with others who have or are currently suffering with chronic pain and health problems. Because of my past I am also able to share my story of physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse. I have determined that through all of the pain and disappointment that I have walked, I want God to take the pain and heartbreak and use it for His good. I know that He has a plan and purpose for my life. He saved me when I was lying in the hospital bed five and a half years ago, giving me a choice to let go and go to Heaven, or to choose life. He encouraged me to choose life and to fight not only for this life immediately but also for my future. I really sense that God has called me to be a counselor to use the pain of my past to help other’s in their healing and to inspire them to believe in their futures. I know that the process of healing and fighting against the lies of abuse are some of the hardest things people can do, but I’ve also been able to experience firsthand how amazing my God is and how much He loves me. So, even though a large part of me is terrified that if I go back to school something else will happen to me, I have chosen to pursue the anything calling and go back to school. This August I am attending Colorado Christian University’s online program for my BA in Psychology and perhaps getting my Masters in Counseling. I am terrified and excited at the same time. Please join me in praying that He will give me the strength, endurance and courage to follow wherever He leads.