Chronic Illness

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Living with a chronic illness is challenging to say the least.
Some days breeze by, while others drag, on as if tied to a lead weight.
Pain is tiring, and brings one down physically as well as emotionally.
We all have our crosses to bear, some are just a little heavier than others.

Here is my story:

At age 35, I gave birth to our 9th child.  She was a beautiful healthy baby girl, weighing in at 10lbs. 15 oz. and  was 23 3/4 ” long.  All of my babies were big, as a result of  my having gestational diabetes, but she was the biggest, and came after her due date. Seven of the nine came early and one arrived exactly “on time”. For the most part, although considered high risk, I had fairly easy pregnancies. Because of RH/ABO blood incompatibilities, pre-eclampsia with the first 2 or 3, and my having gestational diabetes, I was monitored very closely during my pregnancies, had additional testing, throughout, and worked with a nutritionist to help keep me from having to use insulin.

Unfortunately, after her birth (and my babies came FAST – several without doctors present – a few came so quickly, I never had time to get undressed and still had my shoes on), I had problems with hemorrhaging. I received blood transfusions, the day she was born, and again a week later, after we had come home from the hospital.  The second time was a very close call.

I was not expected to live, but through the Grace of God, go I.  The local paramedics just happened to be returning to the station, when they got our call, and were very nearby, so they arrived in record time.  I was placed in a pressure suit, put on oxygen, and IV’s were started in my wrist and neck.  In the emergency room, another IV was started, and I received plasma, along with other IV fluids.  I don’t really recall being in any severe pain from my condition, as I was unconscious for most of the time,  BUT, receiving the plasma was excruciating. It was frozen, so they had to hand pump it into me.  It burned like fire, through my veins.  They did try to thaw it somewhat, by running the lines through a tub of hot water, but it only succeeded in thawing it enough, to get it through the needle.

I had 2 emergency surgeries that night, and received a total of 19 units of whole blood and plasma. I was fortunate that they had the blood on hand, as I’m ONegative, which is always in demand.  You see, ONegative blood is universal, which means that anyone can receive it, no matter what blood type – BUT – those of us who are ONegative can only receive ONegative blood. When you consider that only 7% of the US population has ONegative blood, it’s a miracle that they had enough to keep me alive.

I suffered brain damage – memory loss,  some balance issues,  and a

Right Bundle Branch Block.

More to come…

In the years since, I’ve developed severe RLS, Insomnia, and Obstructive & Central Sleep Apnea.

 I also have Reynauds Disease, Hypo-Thyroidism, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, along with a few other medical issues.  I’ve had to have  most of my thyroid removed, due to a benign tumor which grew around my esophagus, both my ovaries removed (again – benign tumors), both knees rebuilt (screws in both legs),and severe food allergies, requiring me to have Epi Pens with me at all time.

Due to my balance, and a problem with my periphery vision, I trip over everything (including dust bunnies – which in our house, we name and dress in little custom made outfits), and I tend to run into doorways on a regular basis.  A couple of summers ago, I bashed my foot on a door jam, and broke the ball of my foot, along with 3 breaks in one of my toes…I also fell, and broke my tail bone.

More to come…

I’ve gained so much weight in the past 2 years, that I no longer recognize myself. This is an added strain on my emotional and physical health.  Numerous continued medication changes, keep me going, and when all is said and done…things could so much worse. I have a loving and supportive husband, a Service Dog, that helps with physical and psychological (oops, I guess that I forgot to mention that I have agoraphobia – that’s another story for another day) issues.  I have a fantastic medical team.  I have Family ~ Friends ~ Hobbies ~ A Roof Over My Head ~ Clothes on my Back ~ Food to Eat.  Life is Good.

 

 

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Comments

  1. I don’t know what to say other than you have an angel watching over you! Having one medical condition can take over your life and can become a whole career in itself but so many that affect your own entire being. Incredible.

  2. Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for sharing all of this!! You are so strong and courageous. I’m amazed by what you have overcome and thankful for you that you have a loving support system. I also suffer from hypothyroidism. I also have depression & anxiety. And I’m beginning to wonder if I have Fibromyalgia…. Thank you for having the courage to share your story with us! You’ve inspired me to do a bit more research and visit my doctor.
    Blessings!

  3. Libby, there is so much here to be awed by: your wonderful relationship with your husband, your large supportive family, your talented canine assistant, your close call and troubled but miraculous-none-the-less recovery, your many talents, your willingness to share your many struggles, but most awe inspiring of all to me is your indomitable spirit! I will be following along on Libby’s Library!

  4. Jacqueline Dunkin says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am so glad you made it and are here on this earth to share your beautious self with us each and every day! I don’t know how it is to be you specifically. I only have 2 kids (cant imagine having 9 – bless you – you must have the patience of a goddess!) I do struggle with chronic illness and issues myself. It sucks sometimes but thanks to wonderful things like the internet, friends and family, it makes life bearable and even amazing, doesn’t it? and about the weight, I am sure you are extraordinarily gorgeous, no matter what weight you are!!!!! Keep looking at the amazing person you are on the inside and see that beautiful you. The weight may come off, it may not. It’s just weight. it’s just looks. Superficial. It means absolutely nothing. You can have the greatest body in the world and be the ugliest person. No one wants to be friends with that person or even be around that person, unless they are ugly as well. I don’t know you but I bet that if you looked at your inner self in a non-judgemental way, you would truly see the divine being that you are! Thank you for this great website! Keep up the fabulous work! :)

  5. The bottom half of your post really hit home for me, it was like i was reading some of my posts. At 37 i was diagnosed with Lupus and then a month later i got the dx of UCTD…then it was fibro, cfs, rls & it seems like each time i go to any one of my doctors they add on more dx’s…although i haven’t had to have any surgeries, yet…i find out next month if i have to have surgery on my arm due to a blocked or pinched nerve that my neuro thinks is somewhere between my shoulder and my neck, and possible surgery on my back due to degenerative disk disease and spinal stenosis but i try not to think about it too much because it stresses me out too much…& the weight gain for me, oh my god, i’ve gained right around 100 pounds due to some of my meds….but, like you, i push through every day…i just take everything day by day…some are good…some are bad…& some i don’t even want to be around me…i was afraid my fiance would leave me when all the dx’s started piling up, but he didn’t & he really proved to me that there were “good guys” out there…I’m really glad i found your page =)

  6. I am so sorry for what you have had to go through. It is great to have a wonderful support system. I don’t have as many issues as you do, I also have fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, 7 knee surgeries on the left, including three knee replacements plus balance issues. It is a difficult thing to deal with pain on a daily basis. I wish you all the best.

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