Reading my last blog entry makes me realize just how much my life has changed since then. To recap quickly (who am I kidding? I’m never quick!). After my blog I ended up in emergency instead of the Dr’s appointment. I ended up there a lot. I had more tests done. I had two hyperventilating experiences where my body seized up. More ultrasounds, CT scans etc. Everyone admitted I was in pain but no real answers. On my second trip to the hospital via ambulance my mom demanded that they ‘fix me’. She told every nurse, doctor and anyone that would listen (or not listen) that we wern’t leaving until I was better. I got admitted June 17th, 2013. I got sicker, had more tests and bloated up like a balloon. (I got bigger in my tummy than I ever did when pregnant… talk about stretch marks!). At this time my dad came down with phemonia (sp?), he was also bright yellow! He got admitted as well. My mom was able to get us moved onto the same floor/wing so at least it was easier on her for visiting. My dad had a rough go, but got better and went home. The doctors thought they had a diagnosis… They figured I had Crohn’s disease. But they weren’t sure so didn’t want to do a surgery incase it could be fixed other ways. One Doctor figured I was just having abdominal migraines….. I watched the Canada Day fireworks from the 5th floor of the hospital. I was doing ‘better’ on the strong meds and steroids. July 4th I was scheduled for a Colonostopy (sp? I’m on Orlund’s laptop and spell check is off, sorry). I don’t remember July 4th other than texting my mom and best friend, they’d both asked how I was ~ to mom I just wrote ‘hell’, and to Leah I wrote ‘terrible’…
I don’t remember the rest, it’s been told to me. I wasn’t doing good, they thought perhaps I had a blood clot in my lungs as I was having a hard time breathing. They took an X-ray (at my bed) and started to take me down to ICU. One Doctor then grabbed my mom and Orlund (and Leah) to ride in the elevator and informed them that no I wasn’t going to ICU, but into emergency surgery!
My bowl had ‘erupted’, I was septic! (My mom later heard there is only a 20% survival rate). They went in and tried to ‘clean’ me up, they discovered a huge mass in my large intestine, the surgeons thought it might be cancer so followed proceedure and removed it all. They removed approx 1/3 of my Colon, and had to remove some of my stomach as the mass was attached. I might be stating some of this in the wrong order, however at some point they had to do a tracheotomy (thing in your throat to help you breathe – also prevents you from talking). They told my family I would wake up the next day. July 5th, my mom’s birthday. But I didn’t wake up, instead I was put in an induced coma ~ for 2 weeks. There were many issues due to the infection from going septic, my blood pressure, body temperature etc were hard for them to maintain. While my fa.mily was going through the scare of their lives I was having the most horrific hallucinations. The nurses were trying to kill me, so I thought, thank goodness they weren’t actually! My mom had her Ipod playing Christian worship music 24/7 for me. During one hallucination a worship song broke through and I could feel God saying “come on Jenn, it’s time to pick yourself up. I’m here to help. Now go help others”. I was able to get up and fight out of it. I had one more full hallucination, it wasn’t scary like the rest. I still saw odd things after for a few days but no more full hallucinations. Praise God. The Doctors told my family many people hallucinate for weeks or months after the strong drugs I was on.
When I came to it was scary. I couldn’t speak, and I was strapped down with lots of machines attached to me. I couldn’t sleep at night. It was horrible trying to communicate. luckily one nurse finally decided to unstrap my arms, he made me promise not to pull the tube out of my nose (so tempting). I promised. Everytime I went to reach for the tube I’d remember my promise and left it alone. I tried to write notes to everyone so they could know what I wanted etc… I couldn’t write! I just scribbled like my 3 year old. It was frustrating but my family got pretty good at reading my hand/eye gestures. writing came first, what a relief when it did. I could communicate!
I don’t know how long I was in ICU before I got moved to Step-down (a part of ICU but not one-on-one care). In Step-down I got to watch free TV on a giant flat screen TV! (could have in ICU but wasn’t facing the TV). First news I watched? Train crash. Prince George was born. And then I switched to watching HGTV. I noticed my body was different. I was skinny, really skinny (lost over 35lbs). I had a large incision down my abdomen (had a special machine/bandage called a VAC dressing ~ amazing invention). Had a Cathetor (not fun), an illiostomy, PICC lines, Trach…. slowly I got the Trach removed and was able to talk!! HOW WONDERFUL! I also had to start physio it was scary trying to learn to walk again, luckily my physiotherapist was amazing and really worked with me.
I finally got moved to ‘the ward’… I was on the post-surgical ward… basically where all the abdominal patients are ~ who were mostly over 70years old… and smelly…. Oh the stories I could tell, and probably will. just not right now.
Oh I forgot to mention my diagnosis. While in ICU the doctor and a bunch of nurses, social workers etc came in to explain it all to my family and I. It was Colon Cancer. Stage 3. Sounds scarier than it is. They removed ALL of the cancer! They tested 37 lymph nodes, only one (that was against the cancer) showed a little cancer in it. The only reason it’s stage 3 is because it had attached to my stomach. They want me to do Chemo as a precaution. This also increases the risk for my kids to get it, they will have to be tested when older, but I believe they will never have to deal with this.
My infection took a long time to clear. August 24th I finally got to come home. That following week I was at the Dr’s almost every day, or at the Nursing clinic to change bandages. I now have no bandages on me :). Tomorrow I go for yet another CT scan, I had one small sign of infection left, I’m believing it’s gone now so we can get going on Chemo. Then on the 10th of Sept I have day surgery to put a port-a-cath in (it’s like a PICC line but under my skin so I can have showers etc with no issues). Then Sept 11th, Orlund and my 9 year anniversary, I will be starting Chemo. I will have treatments every 2 weeks for 12 rounds (approx 6months). After Chemo is done, in a couple months after (provided everything is clear – which it will be) then I get my intestines re-attached (that’ll be nice).
It is so wonderful to be home. I was honestly scared to come home as I thought it might set me back, but the Doctor was right and it’s made me stronger (and the fact that I can stand our food helps!). My mom has moved in with us to help me out with day to day living. taking care of the kids, house and me. It’s wonderfu to have her here! Orlund has been amazing!!! He’s still working on his courses, and working full time (this week he’s been off), helping with the kids, house and me as well.
Even though I’ve been through a lot these past few months I feel blessed beyond measure! So many people prayed for me, and blessed us with meals, gifts etc. God is SO good!! My cousin gave me a ‘plack’ (for lack of a better word) that inspired me along the way and helped me stay strong it reads “Believe with God all things are possible”.