Well, 1 year ago... my life looked drastically different. In March of 2014, I found out I had a disease called MoyaMoya - which is a disease where the blood vessels in the brain are small, and some are blocked... leading to all sorts of problems. For me, it manifested in severe headaches, problems with controlling my limbs, and some mild mini strokes.
I was very lucky that I didn't have larger problems, but on May 1, 2014 - I had my first of two brain surgeries. I wasn't as clear of a case because my vessels were so small that I wasn't able to have the first plan of action - a direct bypass of two vessels - I ended up having to go with an indirect bypass which is effective as well, but takes up to a year for new healthy vessels to grow.
I remember being in the preop area the morning of my surgery and being a terrified mess. I didn't know what I had gotten myself into, but I knew that the first 6 hours after surgery were the most critical. That's when the patient has the most potential to have a major stroke if the body isn't properly hydrated. I was admitted 16 hours before the surgery to get IV fluids, but didn't get them until late in the evening -- so I was terrified I hadn't gotten enough.
I was silently crying in the preop area out of fear, and I remember the wonderful nurse singing worship songs to me to help me remember who was truly in control. It helped some, but due to our crazy circumstances - I was only able to see my mom before surgery -- and I truly believed that I might not every see any of my family again... or potentially be under the fog of a stroke. Sort of like an episode of ER that I remember clearly where a lady had a stroke, and the whole episode was her narrating from inside her head... but no one else could understand her.
In reality, I woke up just fine and the only troublesome issue was that they didn't have any beds in the Neuro ICU so I had to wait several hours before I was moved over there. I was uncomfortable because I had so many wires... a central line, and another major artery tapped to receive medicine along with a catheter, heart monitor, and many bandages. I was a mess but I was in and out of consciousness most of the afternoon... I really only remember John and my Mom visiting and feeding me from my tray of liquids... boullion, frozen ice, and jello was about it other than an iced tea.
This was what I looked like that afternoon, but I was moved to a regular room within 24 hours or so - likely a bit shorter. Then I was on my way home the next day - if you can believe that!
That's what I went home with... which is what my kids call my "biggest Bobo." I suppose it could have been much worse, but I certainly looked scary for a good while.
Looking back on that day, I have so much to be grateful for.... and the blessing of moving forward. I haven't had to change much about my life since then -- at least not things I didn't want to change. I hope to get my body even healthier as the days and years continue, but I still get the blessing of being home and able to teach my children... we start Kindergarten this fall and goodness... it's hard to believe that my boys are that old already.