Friday, March 23, 2018

I’m Still Alive

I am supposed to be dead. That is according to multiple doctors, nurses, & hematology/pulmonary specialists. Several of them stressed that to me many different times. I’m sure most of you know the story, but let me explain for those who may not:

On this day last year, I had the biggest scare of my life. I had been taking a bc pill to help regulate my cycles for the past 3 months or so, & turns out that it almost killed me. All day, I had the strangest feelings in my left side. It started out in my back; it felt like I had pulled a muscle or needed to stretch or something. As the day went on, it moved to my side & became more severe. I couldn’t bend or move in certain ways because the pain was just too much. It felt like there was a huge air bubble in my side, which is why I never went to the doctor about it. The chest pain was unlike anything I had ever felt, & it extended into the lt side of my back, my lt shoulder, & up my neck. Tyler was at my house, & I decided to attempt sleep, thinking that the bubble would move or go away altogether. I woke up an hour later & couldn’t move. I remember trying to move, & I just couldn’t because of the pain. I couldn’t breathe except in tiny gasps. Somehow I made it to a computer & looked up the signs of a heart attack, which it seriously felt like I was having. I had EVERY SINGLE symptom except dizziness, so of course I started to freak out a little bit.

Tyler took me to the ER. They ran a bunch of lab work, a chest xray, & a CT scan. Turns out I had *7* blood clots from the bc that had passed through my heart & moved into both lungs. I had 3 in one lung, 4 in the other. One specific clot was so huge, it gave me a pulmonary infarction in my lt lung. That means that part of my lt lung is dead from where the clot passed.

I was in the ICU for 2 days, & spent 8 days total in the hospital. The ER doctor who admitted me told me that I was the luckiest girl he had seen in a long, long time, but that I wasn’t completely off the hook just yet. The ICU doctor said someone must have really been watching over me. The pulmonary specialist told me that I should’ve died earlier that day before I even got to the hospital, but that even then, I shouldn’t have survived ALL of the clots (esp the big one) moving. He said he couldn’t figure out why I was still alive. I didn’t know if I was going to die.

Even being in the hospital was scary. In the ICU & during the first couple days I was in a regular room, the nurses kept coming in acting like I was going to drop dead @ any second. I had heart monitors on the entire time, & had to take a ton of medicine. I had both a leg & heart sonogram done, & luckily there were no signs of any clots or parts of clots left behind anywhere.

I have to be on blood thinners for the next 6 years-life because of this. Because of this episode, my pregnancy now (& all future pregnancies) will be extremely high risk. I’ll have to be induced early for all of them because I could develop clots in the placenta if I were to go full term. The blood thinner I’m usually on could give them severe birth defects or kill them if I don’t catch the pregnancy early enough to change meds before it affects them. I can never take any form of hormonal bc ever again. My kids could be at risk for developing clots easier. I could have severe problems with my infarction when I get older. It was so severe that my lt lung will probably never be able to heal itself completely. But despite all of this, I am so thankful to be alive.

I look back & can clearly see all of the things that went wrong, but also how many more things could have. The biggest: If my infarction had been on my rt lung, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the ER, at least not for a while. Instead, it was in my lt lung, I was convinced it was a heart attack, & that’s what gave me the push to go. None of the clots moved past my lungs into my brain. Even in the hospital, the clots were stabilized quickly in my lungs. My heart wasn’t damaged (or affected at all, really) from pumping all those clots thru, which is amazing. And there were no pieces left behind to cause problems (or repeat this) later.

I don’t know why this happened, but that’s ok. I don’t know why God decided to spare my life, but I’m so thankful that He did. I definitely take life much more seriously now. To have so many people tell you that you should be dead at 19 is a huge thing. I see how bad it was, but also how much worse it could have been. I know this was all just a part of His master plan. I may never see the reasoning for it, but that’s fine with me because I trust Him. I can’t believe everything that has happened this past year that I would have missed. Life is such a beautiful thing, & it is not guaranteed. I understand that more than ever now. Things happen that we have no control of, but there is a reason for it, even if we are never able to see it for ourselves. I am in such a good place in my life now: I have an amazing marriage to the best friend I’ve ever had, & now we are 5 months pregnant with our first little wonder. I would’ve never thought during my hospital stay that things would be like this a year later. I have my whole life ahead of me, & I am so thankful for it every second. God took such care of me & continues to every single day. Everyday I wake up so ecstatic about being alive, & it’s an amazing thing. ♥

*Almost 5 years later, I am OFF of Coumadin and have had no further problems. My 3 year old is just perfect despite my being on Coumadin when he was conceived. I had an amazing pregnancy with no clotting issues despite the fact that I was still considered to be high risk (lots of estrogen is produced during pregnancy!) God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. 🙂 Always!

**Editor note.  Amanda and Tyler are doing well.  Xavier is now 4.  🙂  Thank You, Lord!

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