When Illness Gets the Best of You

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I decided to share this because I haven’t really been online doing much with my knit and crochet business.  I haven’t been blogging much at all and haven’t been doing much with my Etsy shop.

I haven’t been feeling well for a long time.  I’m just now getting to the point where I feel well enough that I can do better for myself.

So let me tell you a little story…about 3 years ago, I had to rush my mom to the hospital.  She was not herself, talking funny, not eating and only drinking ginger ale and sometimes orange juice if I could get her to take a drink of that.  One afternoon I called her from work to see if she was up.  She wasn’t.  She was still in bed.  I told her she needed to get up and at least get some breakfast.  She assured me she would and I hung up.  All of the sudden I got this overwhelming feeling that something wasn’t right.  I went to talk to my manager at work and let her know what was going on because I might have to leave.  My manager said, if you feel like you need to leave and take care of your mom go now.  I am grateful to her for that! Later on the doctor told me that if I wouldn’t have taken her to the hospital when I did, I would have come home and found her dead.  [This blog wasn’t published originally when I typed it up and this still makes me cry. See update at the end of this post for time.]

I came home from work.  It is now 12:00 p.m.  I only worked about 20 to 30 minutes from where I live.  It took me 2 hours to get my mom out of bed and get her dressed and get her to the car.  I had to literally threaten to call EMS so she would get up by herself.  I finally got her into the car.  She kept asking me where we were going.  She probably asked me 50 times and it was a 7 minute car ride to the hospital.

By the time I got her to the hospital she could not walk at all by herself.  I had to rush her into the emergency room by parking right in front of the doors.  I had to run right back out and park my car.  Just in the 2 to 3 minutes I parked my vehicle and literally ran right back into the building they had taken my mom to the back.  She was that serious.  After hours of testing, they diagnosed her with Diabetic Ketoacidosis and admitted her into intensive care to monitor her for the next 24 hours and take her blood sugar levels every hour on the hour.

As I waited in the waiting room to speak to the doctor, the doctor finally came in to get me after my mom was all set up in her room.  The doctor was walking so fast that I almost could not keep up with her.  She was asking me questions as we walked and I almost could not answer her because I could not catch my breath.  At the time, I just thought I was out of shape but that was the instance when I should have known that something wasn’t right with my health.

My mom ended up in the hospital for a week.  I was able to take the first full day she was in the hospital off but had to go back to work.  I was going home to take care of my cat, Kaiyah, and then going straight to the hospital to sit with my mom until visiting hours were over.  I have never felt so exhausted in my life, emotionally and physically.

All through this time, I was having issues with my time of the month.  Having heavy periods, having pain so bad that I was in bed for sometimes days at a time.  Even taking Ibuprofen and putting heat on my abdomen wasn’t helping.  This went on throughout the year.  At the end of the year, I got this really bad rash on my abdomen that itched like a million mosquitoes had bitten me, and finally had to go to the doctor.

My primary care doctor originally diagnosed me with pre-diabetes and scared the crap out of me.  She said the rash was a yeast infection.  As it turns out, I did not have diabetes, when my blood was taken, I had not fasted in enough time for them to get an accurate reading.  Plus, for dinner the previous night, I had a fruit smoothie with added protein so I had more than a normal reading for sugar.  The yeast infection was not a yeast infection.  I went to a dermatologist that determined that it wasn’t a yeast infection but still didn’t know exactly what it was.  It went away on it’s own but came back several times for only a day or two.  It sometimes still itches in that area on my abdomen, but the rash has never reoccurred.

I went back to the doctor after a short while for my annual check up and found out that my uterus was enlarged.  My doctor said it was way too large for someone that has never given birth.  My belly (at the time) did look like I was pregnant.  My doctor ordered some tests.  I eventually found out that I had a fibroid cyst that is on the outside of my uterus poking in.  She said this can attribute for the pain and for the heaviness of my menstrual bleeding.  It can also attribute for my weight gain (a huge amount in a few years) and the medicine she was about to put me on might cause me to gain even more weight while I’m taking it.  Up to 5 lbs a year for as long as I’m on it.  I’m already 50 pounds overweight. [I have since lost approximately 35 lbs, but have also since gained 16 of that 35 lbs back. (2022)]

Because of my age, having a hysterectomy is the last resort.  Which, I am thankful for because I do not want to have any major surgery like that if I don’t need to have it.  But the shot is also not working like I thought it would.  I went through a lot of pain and bleeding after I had my first two shots.  5 weeks of bleeding and pain a month following each shot.  This past shot, which is my third shot has lasted the longest, 2 months before having a one week period.  The shot is supposed to stop my periods.  But if I can have only one period every three months for only a week, I guess it is worth taking it until I naturally enter menopause.

[The shot was a Depo shot and I was on it for 2 years.  Of the two years, it took about 1 and 1/3 year for it to fully stop my period.  I was taken off of it because if you are on it for more than 2 years at a time and have never been pregnant, it could cause you to get cancer.  My doctor, OBGYN, took me off of it stating that if needed, they could put me back on it again.]

Now I am in a situation where I have high blood pressure.  I am not sure what is causing it.  I was medicating myself when I came down with a sinus infection and double ear infection a month ago.  My doctor said this could have caused the huge spike, but I have to be super careful, because my weight may also be causing it.

[I do now know what caused it.  Taking ibuprofen together with allergy medicine was the cause.  I was taking more ibuprofen than recommended for my period cramps and headaches and also taking over the counter allergy medicine.  The combination of the two gave me super high blood pressure.  Once I stopped taking the ibuprofen my blood pressure decreased.  I still take ibuprofen during that time of the month, but only when needed, and half of the dosage I was taking.  I also make sure I drink lots of water with it.  I was not drinking enough water and when taking the medicine I was only drinking enough to swallow the pills.  It is recommended, even when taking vitamins and supplements to drink 4 to 8 ounces of water with each pill.  Yeah I know!  I’ve never been able to drink that amount of water in one sitting!]

I have to watch what I eat.  Not overeating, not eating a lot of junk food, not eating a lot of fast food, and not drinking a lot of pop (soda).  I have to watch my sodium intake and I can only take Coricidin HBP and Tylenol, but I can’t take the Tylenol if I’m taking the Coricidin.

[I have backslided on eating healthy.  I still try to eat healthy as much as I can, but I also drink pop here and there and eat junk food…probably more than what is recommended, but I do also limit my portions.  I also buy healthy snacks and force myself (LOL) to eat them when I have a taste for chocolate for example.]

What I want to share with you is not only my story, but to say if something is wrong with you and you know it is really wrong, go to the doctor.  Don’t wait until something else major comes up before you go.  Don’t wait if your intuition is telling you that something is wrong.

If you are in good health, stay in good health!  Take care of yourself.  Eat as healthy as you can.  Not everyone likes veggies, but there are different ways you can cook them to make them taste better than normal.  Have one less dinner a week that contains meat.  Drink lots of water and try to cut back or cut out Pop/Soda.  Exercise!!!!  If you cannot do anything else, walk.  Walk every day for at least 30 minutes.  No! strolling at a mall doesn’t count!  My mom and I have already had this discussion!

[I have consulted a nutritionist in the years since all of this happened.  I’m going to share a few things that was told to me.  Eat 3 Omelets a week as a meal.  Make sure that at least 2 of the omelets are vegetarian.  Eat three salads a week and make sure that at least 2 of those are vegetarian.  Have one to three protein shakes a week to replace breakfast or lunch.  If you are out running around doing things and get home late, you can also replace dinner with a protein shake.  Consult your doctor and/or nutritionist for vitamins and supplements you can take. I’ll be completely honest here……yeah, I know, I take supplements that were not necessarily recommended, but felt I needed them for the time that I felt the way that I did.  I don’t know if they helped me feel better or not but when I take them and I’m exercising and I’m eating right, and drinking enough water, I feel fabulous!]

Seriously, be aware of how you feel and take care of yourself.  Sometimes taking care of yourself does mean going to the doctor.  Don’t self-medicate, I learned this the hard way and make sure to Exercise!  If nothing else, exercise will give you more endorphins and you’ll feel better and be happier!

[Update – this all happened in 2014 thru 2018.  Since then I have been diagnosed with Diabetes.  I had a huge spike in my blood sugar due to being ill again with an unknown infection that I actually had to go the the ER for.  Since then my numbers have come down drastically, from a 13.5 to a 7 which is considered Pre-Diabetes, but because I went over they are treating me as if I am Diabetic.  I’ve been working from home since March of 2020 and do not get out and exercise like I was able to at work.  My exercise right now is cleaning my house (de-cluttering at the moment) and working on my yard.  I try to go up and down the stairs for exercise, and use a vibration platform machine, but I really still need to go out and walk and/or go to a gym.

My mom and I have gone through a lot with our health since 2014.  I felt my best in 2020 after coming home to work due to the Pandemic, but soon started feeling ill again but a different kind of illness.  Then after being treated for the infection and for diabetes, this, in 2022, is the best I have felt since becoming an older adult (over 40).  I think being able to go out during the day and enjoying the sunshine, opening windows to get fresh air and eating when I want to as opposed to eating when it is “time” to eat, has helped me a lot.  Enjoying spending time with Kaiyah, and doing something that I love instead of just working to pay the bills hasn’t hurt either.  So please, take my advice that I have given above but even more importantly, love your life, love what you are doing.  It all matters when it comes to your health and your happiness! Don’t let your health go because it is hard to get good health back!]

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