November 5, 2011

5 things that changed my life.

Day 5 of 30.  List 5 things that changed your life as a patient, caregiver, or Health Activist and how.

1.My Third Kidney
   One thing you dont want to hear during your prenatal ultrasound "Oh, you have a 3rd kidney?!?"  A what?  Yes you read that right!   In the middle of the excitement of seeing our first healthy baby, the tech drops that kind of bomb on us.  Turns out there is such thing as a pelvic kidney.  Who knew.  I went the next 3 years thinking one day I could donate it to someone.  Turns out I'm the one needing and transplant.  No extra liver in there.

2. My Second Fetal Scan.
    Another thing you don't wan to hear during another prenatal ultrasound (3 years later) "Ummm The doctor is going to come in and explain my findings to you"  Yes you read that right again.  Another baby another crazy ultrasound.  This time it was noted that my liver and spleen were severely enlarged.  Remember that 3rd kidney?  It was actually my spleen that had been pushed into my pelvis because my liver and growing baby had pushed it out of place.  So, I traded a spare spare kidney for a bum liver.

3. Finally a diagnosis.
     My first visit with the GI doctor, I was a nervous wreck.  He sent me straight down to get scans after my appointment and from there I went home to wait for a call.  As with most calls I was thinking he would call me back first thing in the morning the next day.  I remember answering the phone with a smile.  Trying to hang on to some hope.  I mean really, how bad could it be?  He described my liver as impressive.  And then told me that was not a good thing.  He told me that I had what is called Budd Chiari Syndrome or blood clots in the veins that carry blood out of my liver.  I know he said something about finding a doctor in Houston that was willing to do scans on me.  No one local would because I was already high risk pregnancy and they didn't want to risk it.  The rest of the conversation in fuzzy at the moment.  I know I have a photo of the page I wrote my notes on that day.  I went down stairs and tried to explain what I had just been told to David and his Mom but my lips were chattering so bad and the lump in my throat just kept growing.  I about passed out from fear.  I was sick, I was going to need a liver transplant, and the was told I would need to deliver my baby as early as possible to save my life.  Pretty life changing stuff If I do say so my self.

4. Unexpected Letter
    May 2010.  We started the month off so great.  We spent Anthonys 6th birthday at the beach.  All he wanted was to go to the beach and spend the night in a hotel.  It was our first family vacation/get away that it was just the 4 of us.  And it was wonderful.  The last few days of the month we spent with family in the Valley. Davids Grandfather had passed away.  It was a sad time.  And I was glad to see the month go.  It was a 5 hour drive home and we stopped to check the mail.  I saw a letter from the transplant clinic.  I sat in the car and read.  "Dear Mrs. Munoz.  The transplant team here at Methodist Specialty and Transplant just wanted to let you know that as of May 25th you have been listed with UNOS on the Liver List."  It was real.  I was really going to need a transplant.  That was one of the days I was reminded that it was all real.

5. Needles
    Anyone who has any kind of illness knows that you can not be afraid of needles.  I have always been.  I once passed out in front of the whole school getting a TB test.  The little 4 prong pokes.  And after that I got all shots and tests done in the hospital with nurses around.  Shortly after I was diagnosed with BCS, I was told it was caused by a blood disorder.  And that I was going to have to take blood thinners for the rest of my life.  Easy Peasy right?  Until I found out that while I was pregnant, those life saving blood thinners came in the form of twice daily self injections.  I went from being the girl who go queasy just thinking about shots to being the girl who sat in the bathroom and had to face that fear.  Sticking the needle in my leg took a while, but the pain was nothing compared to the burn that the Lovenox gives.  I'm telling you, its burns like hell.  I over came my fear of needles quickly.  And now tomorrow actually I have to start them again for a week.  Once again I'm freaking out.  David offered to do them for me.  And promised he would be nice.  I told him I'm more afraid of the Lovenox itself than the needle.  Id take 100 needles over 1 burning bruising shot of lovenox. I'm a wuss about it, but only that.  Blood draws, vaccines, anesthesia and even my epidural are nothing anymore! I am no longer afraid of needles.


This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts 30 days:  http://bit.ly/vU0g9J   

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