Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A long, long day!

Friday, October 14 meant it was time for us to travel back to Birmingham for a visit with Dr. V and his staff! Since my eyes were going to have to be dilated, I did not think it would be the best idea for me to travel alone and have to drive back by myself. James could not make the trip, so my mom was able to meet me in Calera and ride with me (thanks Mrs. Betty!) and then drive Evan and me back to their house. It was homecoming at Bibb County, so I was excited to go to the game and see old friends! The appointment started right on time and with some of the same stuff. I had to go over paperwork and do a pregnancy test (this has to be done each time to ensure that I am not since I CAN NOT be pregnant while on this medication). Once these things were done, it was time for the eye exams!

The eye exams were fine, not much had changed...not too much can change, I don't guess, when you already can't see! haha! From there, I went to do my field vision test. It was the strangest thing! She kept saying, "Only press the button if you are sure you are seeing the light." My response was, "I am only pressing the button when I see the light." Come to find out she could not find my blind spot. Now, we all know that everyone has a blind spot. I completed those tests knowing that I may have to redo them. What joy!

I moved from there to have images made of my eyes. This was pretty cool! They took me to a machine that got really close to my eyeball and had me hold my eyes open really wide. When she took the image, it was showing all of the veins and vessels in the eye. It was pretty cool to see, not to mention my eyelashes looked amazing (haha!). The tech was very sweet and very patient as she could see I was a bit anxious and tired. By this point, we had been there for a couple of hours and my eyes had been dilated 2 times.

From there, I repeated the field vision test. It was more of the same...see the flashing light, click the button and once again I was hearing, "Heather, only click if you see." By this point, my flesh was wanting to surface, so Jesus and I were having a little heart to heart! It is amazing how calming that can be! What if every time we felt our 'flesh' begin to surface we did that! How different would our responses be? What would others see in and through us? Hopefully the love of Jesus!

After the vision test, it was time for more pictures. By this point, I was DONE! Do you hear me? D.O.N.E!! It is 4:45pm and we have been at this since 12:50 pm. My sweet Evan has been so good, he has not complained and my poor mother has been dragged all over! The tech begins the test and the more she tells me to open my eyes and not blink, the more I want to blink! UGH! She kept asking if I wanted a break and I would simply answer with a "No, let's get this done!" I did not notice that she made a phone call in the middle of the test, but this will be important later in our day. This test seemed to go on forever! We finally wrapped up about 5:15 and the tech got a page. We thought we were on our way home when she looks and says, Dr. V needs to see you again.

When we got upstairs, I saw my case worker, Shareka and she had a very serious look on her face. Once in the exam room, I told my mom something was wrong. She provided comforting words, but for the first time since all of this came up, I was scared. There was Evan. My little man. My love- looking so much like his daddy, the man I had given my whole heart to. I didn't know what to do. I began to pray. Dr. V came in rather quickly and sat down in front of me, behind his equipment and told me that they had detected something in some pictures and he needed to take another look. I told him I was scared and he told me that he knew, but he needed for me to relax. For the 3rd time- my eyes were dilated! Whew! They needed a rest!

Once he finished he said that he had called in back-up from the hospital and he wanted Dr. Shaw to take a look. He came in, looked and said that he felt comfortable saying that whatever they saw in the images was not really there and that my eye (right) appeared to be ok. Dr. V said that it looked like the bottom half of my right eye was black and that would have been caused by head trauma/bleeding behind the eye. That would not have been a good thing! Since they both felt like I was ok, Dr. V told me he would keep a watch on it but I was free to go home. He did inform me that I had failed the field vision test really badly and that I needed to come back to re-take the test. So, I scheduled my appointment for the following Tuesday. I think I have learned every crack in I-65 by now!!

Once again, God shown His faithfulness to me. 1) He helped me to get through all of the testing even though I was so tired 2) He helped keep my little man peaceful and at ease while he waited 3) He made it possible for my mom to be there so I would not have to be alone 4) He sent wonderful people to work with me throughout the day to bring encouragement and 5) He was there holding my hand when possibly really bad news was to come. I felt the Lord there with me, with his arms wrapped so tightly around me. No words could ever explain how that feels. The power of God is amazing and I am so blessed to have been able to experience it firsthand! I pray that I am eager and open to share all He has done for me when He provides the opportunities!

Until next time...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back and Forth We Go!

On Tuesday, October 11, James and I traveled to see Dr. V to hopefully find out something about the LP that I had done the week before. I met with my sweet case workers, completed my eye exams, had a field vision test and then saw Dr. V. After this visit, we were to go to the Kirklin Clinic to visit with my neurologist for my 6 month visit. Whew! It was going to be a long day!!

My case workers, Shareka and Ashley were so sweet! They took the time to get to know James and me! It was such a blessing to know that we (or I) was much more than just a case number! They had to ask all sorts of medical history questions and even got some information on how sweet our Evan is (we didn't make them pay for that!). Frankie was the lady that would conduct my eye exams. She was very friendly and worked to make sure I was comfortable. The eye exams were a little frustrating because I could tell that I was not seeing what she was wanting me to see. My sight is just not what it used to be (and thats not saying much, cause it has never been good!). The field vision test was not one of my most favorite parts of the day. They stuck my head in a machine and asked to me click this button every time I saw a flashing light. Well, every time I saw the flashing light she would question me and that would make feel like I was really messing this one up! I continued on and then saw Dr. V. He was great- as usual! He conducted my exam and made sure all of our questions were answered. It is nice to have a physician that you feel truly has your best interest at heart!

All in all I would say that our visit to the Callahan Eye Foundation was a success...it was long, but I think it was a success. We did have to schedule a revisit for that Friday, but we knew to expect frequent visits in the beginning.

From there we went for my regular 6 month check up at the Kirklin Clinic. We were meeting with a lady who specializes in women with epilepsy. When we made this appointment six months ago, we felt like we may be ready to try for another little one and just wanted to hear from her about side effect on the fetus, statistics and all, and any other information she could give about my current medication. I felt the appointment with her put our minds and hearts at ease. Now, no, we are not ready to begin the process of having another baby. This new diagnosis has somewhat thrown a kink in that, but we are trusting that when God shows us that the time is right, that even though I have to be medicated and on this medication specifically, that all will be ok. Now, with that said, we will be calling on our prayer warriors! With any pregnancy comes the chance that something may go wrong or that birth defects could grow, but the medication simply increases those chances. I know and I trust that with God we can beat those odds. My God is bigger than any statistic or percentage!!

Once we left Birmingham, we met my parents for dinner and picked little man up after an extended stay in Centreville. Man was he rotten! I think he would have been ok having dinner with us and then going back with Nana and Big Daddy. You know he has figured out that he gets to do whatever he wants when he is there. I am so thankful that he was able to go and spend some time with them! I am sure it was just as good for them as it was for him!

God continues to answer prayers! How many times can I say how faithful my God is? He is always there and always comes through! He is able and oh how he loves me!!

Until next time...

With a Lumbar Puncture comes R.E.L.I.E.F!!!

On Monday, October 3, James and I made a trip to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for me to have my Lumbar Puncture (LP). It was difficult for me to leave town since when we woke up, Evan was running a temperature. It broke my heart to leave my sick baby, even though I knew it was something that had to be done. I knew his Papa would take good care of him, but there is nothing like having your mama when you don't feel good!

We made it there safely-which was answered prayer number 1! For those who may not know what an LP is, it is where they place a long, skinny needle into the spine, more specifically, the spinal fluid sac, to retrieve fluid. They will draw off what they need and then simply place a band-aid. Sounds easy enough...right? The pressure that comes with this can be painful. The pain is not always so much during the procedure, but afterwards. Previous to this one, I had had two before. The first was a terrible, I mean terrible, experience. The Dr. could not get the spinal in and was not very patient with me and my nerves. I was scared to death! Try knowing that you need to lie still, however knowing that there is a needle being injected...not too easy to be still! The second, on the other hand, was the complete opposite! The Dr. was patient and put me at ease. He told me "I need for you to lie on your back..." and I was like "Are you done?" It was the best experience! On a side note...the people at Brookwood, were so helpful and nice. From the sweet lady that checked me in, to the insurance filing lady, to the gentleman who took me to the waiting room, to the tech that assisted the Dr. to the Dr. They were so accommodating! This was answered prayer number 2! Thank you Lord for sending kind people to ease already anxious nerves!

At Brookwood, they use the X-Ray machine to find the tiny space where they need to enter. This was different, but I must say I think it helped! I only felt the numbing stick and then no more pain. The pressure was intense at times....even causing me tingle in certain places from time to time...but there was no pain! PRAISE THE LORD! This was answered prayer number 3 for the day! Our God is so good!

Once the LP was complete, they sent me on my way. I think this is where the end of the week troubles began! When James got me home, to bed I went and there I camped out until Wednesday. Some days were better than others, but that comes with having any procedure. God gave me the best husband. He took wonderful care of me while I was "bed-bound" for several hours!! God has blessed our family with a wonderful church family. They have rallied around James and me and poured out prayers on our behalf! They knew the that I would be unable to be up and about for several hours, so they made sure that we had meals! No questions asked! What an amazing group of people we have been blessed with! Some people take this for granted, but please trust me that I do not! I live in a town away from my parents, grandmother and aunt. It means SO much to have people surround you and truly love you for being you. They don't question you, don't talk about you, they just love you and take care of you. For that I am so thankful! My God is so good and once again he has proven oh how He loves me!

Wednesday, I noticed I was having a headache that made me feel as though I either wanted to throw up or pass out. After my lunchtime nap, it was gone, so I did not think much more about it. James and I talked it over and I decided to go back to work the next day.

Thursday, I got up and dressed, ready for my day! While putting my make-up on, I sat down on the toilet and noticed that made my head hurt really badly, so I stood up...and just like magic, the pain was gone! I got Evan in the car and we headed to Amy's!! The moment I sat down, the pain rushed to my head and caused me to shake! I called James immediately and told him something was wrong! He asked if I had called the Dr. Since I had not, I decided now may be a good time. I called and left a message, told them my symptoms and asked that they call back as soon as they could. Well, as it always is, when I stepped away from my phone, they called! The minute my feet hit the ground, the headache was gone. Once inside Amy's, I asked to lie on her couch and the pain was relieved even more being flat. This was the strangest thing I had ever endured (and the worst pain while sitting--and I have had labor contractions!).

I called Dr. Vaphiades back and told me to go straight to the ER to have a blood patch done. Dr. V was going to call ahead so they would be expecting me. I called James and he met me at church. We left from there and headed to Jackson, thinking a simple ER visit would be all it would take. Well, by the time I got there, the pain was so bad, I began to vomit. I must confess, I have never had pain be so bad that it made me do this. James looked as though he felt so bad for me, but he did look cute with his suit and my purse!! :)

After about 5 minutes, they tell us that they can't do the procedure in the ER, they are sending me to the OR! Well...that was not in the plans for the day!! Thank you Lord for a little Thursday morning surprise!! God's hand was in all of this from the beginning. He planted people throughout my day that provided such encouragement and were so kind! That is really something I am striving to be each and every day....more and more kind! Maybe this was a lesson for me!! Anyway, a blood patch is where they take blood from your arm and place it near or directly in the injection site from the LP and fill the space where the fluid is leaking. Sounds a little gross?! Sorry! Whatever it is called, or whatever it does, it is FABULOUS! It worked immediately!!! There was no pain...not even sitting up!! AMAZING! I am so thankful for the sweet people that took such wonderful care of me while in the holding area and then during the procedure. They were all so nice!

We were headed back home and I was headed back to bed and that is where I camped out for the next 2 1/2 days!!! Now, I have been in bed all week! Not as much fun as it may sound! My parents came for a visit, which was wonderful and decided to take Evan home with them so James and I could rest for a few days. Man was our house quiet. I don't think I liked it!! Four days is too long for me to go and not see my little man's face!

Some things I learned while being flat on my back...
1) My ceiling fans and walls really need to be dusted!! 2) God is so faithful to provide the things that we need, even when we don't think we really need them 3) God loves us so much that he makes sure that we have the right support system in place to help us through difficult times 4) God never leaves or forsakes us! He is always with us 5) God brings a sense of calm and peace! 6) God answers His children's prayers!!

Thank you for praying and thank you for loving me!

Until next time...