Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't Let Them Create Their End...

I came across a doozy of a story this evening while I was surfing the web. I hadn't heard about it before; it's pretty new.

Ever hear of Ashley Billasano? She was a high school student in Texas. Very, very pretty girl in the few pictures associated with the story. Looking at her smiling face you would hardly believe that anything is wrong whatsoever.

Well, we will never see that smile in person again.

I never knew her. Never knew about the situation. Texas is quite far away from my own meager state. But what blows me away about the situation is that she sent 144 twitter messages to her 500+ followers in the six hours before her death. They all described her life; her abuse, her suffering, and her journey to those who abused her put away. Apparently nobody really thought anything serious of it, because she killed herself. Even after saying that her first attempt failed.

I can say I have been in her shoes. I have had similar abuse and a similar journey. I too have that 'pretty smile' and most people would never guess the type of past I've had to struggle with. Most people would classify me as happy-go-lucky, bubbly, and friendly. Only a handful of people know the real truth. I was broken, too; suicidal at one point. I know God was always close in those moments of deep despair, as for some reason I could never actually go forward with the end. Something inside kept me moving forward, allowing me to recognize the finality of death and the good things I would ultimately miss. The people I would hurt... even when it felt like everybody stood miles away.

Sexual abuse is a big deal. It takes a great deal of courage to get help; to call the police and get them involved. To track down the abuser and see if they can develop a case against them. I've been told not once, not twice, but three times in my life... from the age of 5 through 21... that they could not gather enough evidence to present a case against a jury. It was amazing how little they offered for me; resources to find counseling, support groups, absolutely nothing. I felt fortunate that something led me to go to therapy. I've had other rough difficulties in my life and I didn't want to hurt. I didn't want to die. Through God, hard work, and a wonderful therapist I can fully say that part is behind me. I know things won't be perfect, but ultimately I will be ok.

It hurts to know Ashley didn't have that. That she hurt. That she cried out... and apparently nobody came to give her solace; a way to help her grieve properly and overcome her trials.

This is what I want to advocate against. I know sexual abuse runs rampant throughout the world. Many cases never even reach a judge and many abusers are allowed freedom to continue to hurt others. The sex offenders that continue to offend in our own communities are offered third, fourth, fifth chances... something I find absolutely disgusting and horrid. I'm all for allowing second chances and having the benefit of the doubt, but when I see news articles describing 'high-risk' offenders being placed back miles from my own residence... that scares me. Not just for me, but for people who may be hurt because of it. I know many people are too afraid to even discuss their abuse as they are afraid they will be punished or ignored...

I can't stand for that! I have to find a way to help people like Ashley. If justice cannot be given, then we need to find ways to reach out and help heal. Nobody deserves to feeling like nothing; like nobody cares. Nobody deserves death when they are hurt. Please... if you see somebody hurting... do something. Don't allow them to create their end.

1-800-273-8255 is a United States suicide hotline. If you know of anybody wanting to end their life because of abuse, this hotline can provide you significant information to help.

Friday, November 4, 2011

1 Week Post Op from Periacetabular Osteotomy

I don't know how some bloggers who have gone through this procedure actually can write anywhere near or on surgery date. I was so fried!!! Today is the first day that I can think to describe what actually happened. It's not perfect but I will try to give you my best recall of the last week:

October 28- Surgery Day!!: I was sooo nervous... since I had not eaten, my stomach was gurgling a lot and I had.... erm... lots of gas pre-surgery (my poor pre-op guest!). I got to admissions at 7am and into the pre-operation area relatively quickly. Got into my surgery garb and a nurse asked some basic questions prior to my exam. I also found out that I would get to take my iPod touch down into the waiting area before surgery. Two family members and my boyfriend accompanied me here. Probably around 9 or so they wheeled me down into pre-op waiting area where I chatted on my iPod touch with my boyfriend. I wasn't really watching the time too carefully but I think around 10 they sent me to get my epidural. Once they threw in the first sedative everything was fuzzy until I was out for good. I barely remember the epidural. I do remember them wheeling me to the operating room, but once they got a mask on me I WAS OUT COLD!!!

I remember waking up in the recovery area probably around 2:30 (I think they knocked me out around 11... the procedure didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would have. I asked for my iPod to talk to my boyfriend and they fed me ice chips. I was in a bit of pain as my initial pain meds from surgery were wearing off and I was a bit annoyed it took them so long to respond (I don't know if they had expected me to be awake so soon!). My throat hurt from the ventilator (ick ick ick >_<). I remember just chatting with my medical personal until they wheeled me up to my room. After that the rest of the evening was pretty much a blur. Not much excitement. I did manage to eat a little toast in the evening so my nurses were happy about that.

Saturday October 29 +1: I remember sleeping the evening before did not happen very successfully. Between all the machines and the nurses bugging me, I was annoyed and anxious. The pain was relatively well managed but I detested feeling as drugged as I did. I had some visitors throughout the day but mainly it was another blur for me. PT came in and did some simple exercises with me but I did not have the energy to get out of bed. Drain tube went out.

Sunday October 30: +2 This is the day that I remember not enjoying PT as much. They tried for 20 minutes to get me out of bed in the morning but I was still on my epidural and could not feel my good leg. Once they took it out after my morning session I regained feeling and managed to sit in a chair for a few minutes. I think this was the day I also learned I hate the smell of baby powder. I magically grew out of my aversion for bed pans too! Catheter went out and an IV blew out in the early morning.

Monday October 31 +3: This was probably one of my tougher days. I did manage to get a shower and man, that was exhausting!! They took out my remaining IVs, tubes, and removed the staples from my wound. Round one PT they tried to get me to walk and use crutches instead of the walker, but my nerve pain was horrid and I'm praying I never meet any of those people from that therapy group AGAIN. I feel so bad about the things I said to them >_> I rarely rage like that (in fact, I don't think I ever rage like that....). Had some visitors and told I would go home the next day most likely. Round two PT was much more successful but only on the walker.

Tuesday November 1 +4: HOME DAY!!!! My only PT session was successful and I was honestly wondering where I magically learned to use the crutches and move farther overnight... it was a completely different feeling from the other day. I made it out of the room and up/down a small set of stairs. I got discharged in the late afternoon and made it home. Crawled into bed. My sweet boyfriend got Noodles and that was the first thing I desired to eat in days!!

Wednesday and Thursday weren't super exciting, but today (+7, Friday November 4) I managed to play a little World of Warcraft sitting up, got showered and cleaned almost by myself (I'd say 80% was my own effort), ate lunch and breakfast, and mastered sleeping more on my side. My leg has felt a smidge clunky today which feels awkward, but not bad.

So yeah, :) that's the update!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Getting close

Hello to everybody alive out there!!!

Do apologize for my quietness... I intended to write more, but between finishing up my psychology degree and actually processing how the next few months are going to pan out... I've been stressed. I've started to have a lot of dreams about surgery, about my future, about what the heck is going to happen in the last year. I really have been keeping most of my thoughts in my head, but I figure since my surgery date is getting closer, I should be a little better with updating for the next few weeks.

I've started to check out some Social Work programs for my graduate degree. I'm going to visit some schools next Thursday and Saturday; already visited one a little over a week ago. I'm glad to get away for a few days before surgery. Also get to see Evanescence with the boyfriend :) wee, very excited about that!

I've been continuing to develop my relationship with God. Right now I'm learning to build confidence in my faith. My pastor said something to the extent in his sermon about how God fearfully and wonderfully made us for who we are. I should not doubt my abilities or my personality traits; God can use me in any way possible. So, I have to keep my confidence up, especially with the upcoming surgery.

I have also been learning about the book of Job. I find it interesting that his character is what God found favor in, yet I don't really see the definition of integrity as an important trait for Christians to have these days. I mean, Job feared God, he prayed for others, had integrity, and loved his family and friends. I definitely think I could take some lessons from him!! I'll have to write more about that in the next few days so I can collect my thoughts a little better.

Hope you all are doing well, and thanks for the comments. I really do appreciate them :).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

October 28th

October 28th is my surgery date!

To be honest, I'm really not that frustrated; yes, it is 6 weeks out, but considering there are only 7 days in that time where the surgeon performs this particular surgery (on Fridays), I will have to say it could be MUCH worse. On October 26 I will undergo a lot of pre-op appointments to prepare for the surgery and learning everything I need to know for my hospital stay and probably some afterward. 

In the mean time, I'm chilling out. I got a cortisone shot last week to help with the pain. It has been touch and go, but overall I am having more significant pain relief. I also got a pathology report yesterday saying that my current meds are safe for any pre-op or post-op medications to help alleviate the pain.

I apologize I did not post sooner. I've just been aggravated about the surgery and really don't want to think about it. I'm so scared and want it to go smoothly. I've been praying for patience and calm, cause I know panic will be relatively useless. Also have been crazy busy with school! TWO CLASSES LEFT!! I'm waiting to hear if I can my appeal approved to start my last class early, so I don't have to deal with it in the middle of surgery. I really don't want to do a capstone in the middle of surgery/pain/hospitalization. I'm sure my writings would sound DRUGGED!!!!!

I'll try to update with something more fun tomorrow :).... like about getting my first information packet from a graduate program and a letter from my Compassion child!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today is the Day

Today is the day
The Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Pslam 118:24

Well, I'm at September 6; the BIG day... to find out when my surgery is, I hope. I have been waiting for two and a half months in pain, out of work for almost two, and stuck at home for the better part of the summer. As difficult as this particular journey has been, I know God won't let this opportunity go to waste and I have to do what I can in the mean time. My friend reminded me that no matter what, God won't abandon me and is with me.

If you can pray, pray that they can get the process moving along quickly. I feel like I've missed out on too much of my life and want to get back into it happy and willing to live my life. Pray that the pain is minimal, and pray that my anxiety will be manageable.

45 minutes to go....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blessings and Prayers

I'm sorry I haven't updated a lot. I really haven't done much in the last few weeks outside of being in the house, and I'm relatively sure you don't want to hear about my continuous pain! (To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sick of it myself). I've found that finding happiness in the small things really is my best medicine. The more I focus on the pain, the more (as my boyfriend says) 'owly' I get. Factor in additional female problems and I feel like a monster!

Here are my blessings from the last week:
-I GOT MY TOENAILS PAINTED (yes, that really makes me that happy)
-Had lunch at my voice teachers house, had two little kids love on me, and watched Tangled
-Got to see a friend from out of town
-Got to chat with an old church friend about her hip surgery and what she went through
-My boyfriend is coming over to watch the Twilight Saga (per HIS suggestion <3)
-Got a new flexible ice pack

Right now it seems like my friends are few, but I'm at a rough age where many of us are really busy. People have been helping when they can and it sounds like many will try to visit me when I'm in the hospital. That will be very pleasant, as social interaction probably helps/relieves the pain more than any methods I can try for myself. 

My appointment with my new surgeon is on Tuesday. My dad and my boyfriend will accompany me, as they will likely be my primary caretakers in the weeks following surgery for recovery. Dad doesn't think it's quite as necessary for the boyfriend to follow, but I'd rather try not to third party any information that my boyfriend needs to know for the time being. Plus, it's additional comfort as I'm terrified about what information the appointment will bring (can't really snuggle my dad, haha!).

If you can send prayers, these are my current requests:
-Short wait for surgery (preferably before October)
-Minimal pain until surgery
-Approval of short term disability pay through work
-A good attitude no matter what happens

I hope that everything works out ok. Tuesday will be a crazy day; start of a new class, must contact work, call friends and family with more information, and work out any preparation details prior to surgery. And of course, I'll make sure I put additional updates on here :).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Running 3.5 Miles Wherever I go

I'm glad my doctor, especially my Physical Therapist, has encouraged me to get out of the house. It really isn't healthy to sit in my desk chair all day, as then I'm either doing school, playing World of Warcraft, or reading the million webpages I follow on a regular basis. 

It still isn't entirely comfortable getting around out of the house yet, but I'm getting a bit better with the crutches. It's actually very tiring and I can't move as much as I'd prefer to admit without running out of breath. Supporting so much weight with your hands and crutches is HARD... but I'm loving the upper body workout somewhat. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WORK OUT SINCE JUNE!!! That really sucks :( so for now I'm just trying to watch what I eat. Haven't gone up in weight, so I will say that's a relative success so far. CHECK OUT THESE BAD BOYS! (And don't judge my WoW calendar that has the wrong month...)

Around the house I usually don't use my crutches. I know my limits, I know what will hurt me, and I know not to move too fast. I managed to bake a cake about two weeks ago without my crutches, with some sitting or balancing on my left leg and my hands on the counters. I find the more I keep my mind busy, the less I think about the pain. I can still do some simple chores (although this picture indicates my room looks like crap... it really does hurt to bend down and pick stuff up). 

I know once I actually get the surgery I will be non-weight bearing for at least 8 weeks, though it could be as long as 12. I'm fortunate I've got very strong leg muscles so I'm sure getting my leg strength up won't be too awful in the long run. So even though it hurts, I still try to use my right leg some. May as well use it while I've got it, right?

Boyfriend took me on a date last night! Well, kinda... he got a new phone so I think it ended up being more fun for him! He got a Motorola Photon and it's pretty neat (I have to wait another year before I am eligible for upgrade... CRY). I was playing with it this morning a bit and it's nice, moves quickly, and does not appear to suck too much. Oh, he just called too and it sounds nice also! I've still got my clunky Samsung Moment (aka first gen android GARBAGE), but in retrospect I really don't use it that much. I end up using my iPod touch for most of those functions needing Wifi. 

Although he was semi-engrossed with his new toy, I was relatively impressed (and still am) with his ability to talk about methods in which we can improve our relationship. I'm glad to be in a relationship with somebody who cares, recognizing the future will be difficult, and addressing what we can now. We've been reading "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts", a book that addresses 7 primary concerns in which many couples struggle. I suppose we've seen enough bad relationships with horrible communication that we really don't want to go down that same road. I know that getting married isn't going to be a peachy road, but it does feel nice that I will be a lot more prepared going into it.

Yes, I need to get back to my biology paper now. Less than three months til graduation :).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Updating what you've missed so far...

So, even though my hip has pretty much messed up most of my summer, I've still had many good moments that I'm definitely grateful for! So far...

-I've gone to a wedding with boyfriend's family

-Helped out with a graduation party

-Participated in Field Day for Amateur Radio

-Finally got to get in the storm chasing action

-Singer in a real band gig

-Continued relationship counseling with our boyfriend to improve things

So, summer-wise, it may not have been the most exciting... but I'll take what I've got. I don't really have any recent pictures as the pain expresses very well on my face, so I haven't really used the new camera I got for my birthday back in May. Here's some of what I do have from June...

Since I'm not at work, I have lots of time to work on school. So far I've been getting relatively good grades and have a current 3.6 GPA. I've had a lot of time to think about my future and I have decided to apply for Masters of Social Work degree programs at a few different schools in the Midwest. I also landed an internship for social services in my town, which was supposed to have started last week but is on hold until I can walk and move around better.

I've been spending a lot of time with the boyfriend lately. He's been incredibly patient with my health situation and most of my social interaction since I'm not at work anymore. We've been working very hard at trying to strengthen our relationship and learn more about each other. We celebrated our one year anniversary in April and we had quite a bit of fun wandering around MOA and then going to an awesome Japanese restaurant :). So far there seems to be a positive outlook in the future, but nothing official yet. I will make sure to review the book we've been reading that our pastor suggested to us. I'm hoping we can get some professional pictures taken before I get my surgery next month. 

If you know me personally, please leave a comment or message me on FB (or anyway you can reach me personally). I would absolutely love to meet somebody for lunch/dinner or hang out at my house. It's been really rough having a diminished social life and I would like to see people. I have all the free time in the world right now... so just let me know!

To make up for my lack of social life I have been playing a lot of World of Warcraft. I recently joined a new server and guild a few months ago and many members already seem like family in a way! It keeps my mind off the pain and lack of ability to do things. It is definitely a time waster... but a lot of fun! If any of you want to try it out, give me your email and I can send you a referral (you get WAY more perks that way!). 

I think that's it for now. Thanks for reading :).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hip hip boo!!!!!!!

I've put aside blogging for a while. I had no idea what to write about!

Well, now I do! A lovely two month ago, I started experiencing extremely terrible pain in my right hip after working a couple of hours. I've had similar types of pain before, generally after working a long shift at work. I always pegged it as typical long day, legs/feet hurt, no big deal. After getting myself on a chair or bed for a few hours it always went away. Well, mid-June the pain started eating at me while at work. It gnawed around my groin and almost felt like I would have to pop my hip area. After dealing with multiple shifts with this groin-wrenching agony, I decided to see a chiropractor.

So, I finally get in with one, and have an upper and lower back adjustment. Upper back = felt heavenly for weeks! Lower back/hip= felt good for about three hours. That was on a Friday. I still had a ton of pain over the weekend. The next Monday, I finally call my primary and set an appointment. When I went to the appointment a few days later, the doctors were concerned with the pain caused by their movements. They set me up for a bunch of x-rays after the appointment, which were weird and uncomfortable. Get a call back the next morning saying that the x-rays were clear and they wanted to do an MRI. So, I go in for an MRI. I felt somewhat good that my hip was throbbing while I was in the long, skinny machine because there was no way it was nothing.
The next few days, I was starting to feel better. I had been resting a lot, not overdoing it on my feet, and being careful while moving around. I thought maybe it was getting better. I heard back from my primary saying that I had a labral tear and he asked how it was feeling. I was feeling much better, so we both assumed I was getting better. It was around the fourth of July, was working a lot of hours and enjoying time with my boyfriend and family. Life was good.
Until a few days later, the pain popped up at work again. It was excruciating and I could barely hold back my tears as I worked. Luckily my manager was super nice and found me a tall chair to sit on to check out customers, but the pain was not manageable. I was sucking down pain relievers like candy and those barely helped. After a few more days, I finally call the doctor again who refers me to orthopedics. I had to wait another week and a half to see a professional, which seemed like torture. I had to get a work release starting July 15th. I kept it easy around the house and tried not to do anything to trigger the pain in my groin. At this point it was worst when I just stood and often cracked when I walked (not a comfortable feeling). 

When I saw the orthopedist in sports medicine in mid-late July, she said she needed another MRI with dye in the hip joint and she wanted me to start physical therapy. She said she was pretty sure I had a tear with my previous MRI, but since there was no dye she could not see as clearly as she would like. So I went in for the new MRI. First they had to take me to a side room and inject a lovely needle with anesthetic and dye into my right hip. Thank goodness for numbing spray, but it felt SO WEIRD. The anesthetic felt so wonderful for a few hours and I had almost no pain. I was hoping it would last, but by the end of the day the pain was excruciating. I had to wait until August 4th to see the same orthopedist again.

Physical therapy didn't last too long. He gave me a few exercises to keep up at home and we tried some electrostimulation therapy on the joint, and the pain relief was short lived (less than an hour).

So, August 4 rolls around and I see the orthopedist. She provides new information which I have not been told. She said that my hip socket did not match the ball of my femur from the x-rays taken in JUNE (and they said they were fine :-\) and that the MRI indicated a labral tear. She referred me to an arthroscopic surgeon to review my case... more waiting. Next appointment was August 16th. I was going nuts with all the waiting. I had been out of work for a month, I lost an internship opportunity, I could barely get out of the house, I couldn't exercise, and getting terribly depressed.

New appointment brought some more shockers. Found out my labrum was about 3-4 time bigger than an average person's (the doc kept referring to it as a MONSTER >>;;). He explained the angle of my femur was not in enough, so that was creating such a large area in my hip socket. He said he could fix the tear, but since the tear was not related to trauma or injury he was afraid that it would just re-tear. So, then he told me he was talking to another surgeon to see whether an open-hip surgery would be a better option.

WHAT?!?!? Open... hip... surgery... WHAT?????

Ushered into another set of more awkward x-rays. These were so particular that I had to stand in all sorts of funky ways. It was odd and unusual; my x-ray tech obviously did not do a lot of that type of x-ray. She would do one, then have to call and check for approval or suggestions for a better x-ray, then shoot some more. 

Last Friday, I got a call right before the offices closed. Two surgeons collaborated and decided that the open-hip surgeon wanted to see my case. Arthroscopic surgeon is convinced this is a better option for me. I got an appointment set up with the new surgeon on September 6, though I will continue to call to see if I can get in a cancellation slot. I also learned today that the procedure in question is called a Periacetabular Osteotomy. 

This... has not been my year health wise. I figure right now I'll use my blog as a type of therapy while I'm going through my hip issues. I know I will be going through a lot more pain and hard work for many months to come. So, come here for all the latest updates! I will also start posting some other stuff; I think other kinds of writing and whatnot will be good for me as well.

On a lighter note, I graduate with my undergrad in November!! Yay!