Posted in Livin' la vida loca!

Dazed, Confused ,and Pleural Effused

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once”.

             – Paulo Coelho

I would say the last few months have been the latter, everything all at once. I shared the “bumps in the road” with everyone, but I still haven’t seemed to find the smooth path.

Before Christmas I started having some pain in my chest and back with trouble breathing. We were still commuting Mon-Fri to get Caden to school and working on the house daily. I never really got the opportunity to get that quality rest and re-cooperation the doctors were so big on. They make a big deal out of it for a reason. Not having my own house, space to relax, time to rest, maintaining a very POOR diet, and doing way too much physical labor too soon in a construction zone = more problems.

I tried to ignore the pain and attributed the shortness of breath to all of the dust I was breathing daily, but things just got worse. I made an appointment with a local doctor because after I consulted Dr. Google I was afraid I had a blood clot or a pleural effusion. I showed up to find out that BCBSTX was having widespread problems with their online benefit verification system. My insurance was showing inactive. I got on the phone and verified my benefits myself, but instead of calling to do the same or even letting me pay cash, I was told the office was canceling my appointment. So … yah … that was fun. Gotta love people sometimes. (insert eye roll) So, I left scared and in tears and I texted my surgeons NP. She is awesome like that and I knew she could help. We set up a time to chat on the phone and did a little consultation. She though that since it had been so many weeks since surgery my odds for the more serious things were low. We went over my symptoms and possible causes. (Side note: I had been lifting 5-gallon paint buckets full of paint and a lot of symptoms started shortly after.) Jessica really felt that a had a herniated disk. She said I should rest, stretch, rest some more, not lift heavy things, and if I didn’t see improvement with ibuprofen and time, see someone local.

I made it through Christmas and Caden’s Birthday trip, but the shortness of breath was getting worse and the pain with breathing was pretty intense at times. I finally threw in the towel and went to an urgent care in Abilene. (weird … they had no problem verifying benefits … bitter much) As soon as they got my vitals, symptoms, and medical history, they sent me to the ER side. They got me hooked up to an IV, drew blood, set me up with lots of monitors and started getting me ready for a chest CT with contrast. My doctor suspected a blood clot, but he ended up finding a pleural effusion. Huge praise for no clots! I was also extremely dehydrated (from all that rest I was getting and great life choices), had bronchitis, and started getting the talk about how important it is to take care of myself after all my body has been through. Its one of those things that I know, but I was in the worst situation possible to take care of myself. When you have a family to take care of and are staying with other people, there isn’t time to care for yourself. I still had to make sure kids were fed, bathed, school work was done, whatever mess & chaos we created was cleaned up, we were in bed in time to get up early for that drive & worked all day at the house in-between. The doctor wasn’t impressed with my excuses and he reiterated that I have to rest or I will stay sick. He got me started on breathing treatments and antibiotics and explained the effusion had probably been there since post-surgery and was clearing up on its own. I spent a bit longer in the ER and was released later that afternoon with home antibiotics and albuterol.

A week later I was still struggling with shortness of breath. My mom headed over for a program at Caden’s school and I had to be the bummer that headed back to the urgent care for a follow up. After a chest x-ray and a long visit with the doctor I learned that I still had a pleural effusion. Apparently, it didn’t just disappear overnight. Another round of antibiotics and another talk about rest and taking care of myself, making better lifestyle choices and putting myself first. It was smaller and I was improving! Whew … the first 15 minutes I was there I thought I was heading to regional to meet with interventional radiology to drain it.

Just shy of 3 months post-op and I feel almost like myself. I can finally say prayers with my kids without gasping for air! AWESOME! It doesn’t hurt to take deep breaths and the crackling is gone in my chest. Unfortunately, the health struggles of 2018 carried over in to 2019, but I am declaring them gone!! February was a fresh start and things are going to be good. We are finally in our house!!!!!!!! (It’s not done) hahahah! So many touch ups left, cabinet doors missing, hardware not installed yet, and some doors left to install, entire master bath … then the outside. It seems never-ending, but at least I have a home. I can’t believe this has been such a mess. I sure hope we are on the right path and where God wants us to be. Part of me feels like it shouldn’t be this hard, but I have no choice. Trusting in Him and lots of prayers.

I also need to say again that we are so thankful that Jason’s family opened their homes to us during this time of transition, sickness, and recovery. We never intended for this remodel to take this long, or to invade their space for so long, but everything else happened at once and we had no choice. I also have to say a huge thank you to Jason’s Mom, Ruth. She’s been here working right along side of us many weekends. Finishing this house has been a labor of love and her service has meant a ton to us! I’ve never seen windows this clean … seriously!

I have one more life post and then we should be getting to homestyle fun! I mean life is fun … but homestyle is what we are here for … right?

We really are making progress … I promise!

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