Friday, April 22, 2011

The Stong Can't Always be Strong

Here it is, a little after eleven...not too terribly late, but late enough that I should be in bed. Seems like there have been many nights when I just can't get to sleep and I spend awhile tossing and turning before I finally find myself sitting in the living room, in front of the computer. I spend my time either chatting with friends on facebook (thank you to the ladies who have been here for me lately! I can never show my appreciation enough!) or updating stories and articles with the an amazing non-profit organization I am now working with. I have to say, the ladies that I work with have been an amazing support system and I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful people lately! Off subject on where I was going with this, but check us out We are also on facebook,

Anyhow, it seems that lately life has thrown so many curve balls our way; more so than usual. I have always managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel and see the best in things. I have always managed to be the strong one, knowing that everything will always turn out just fine. After all, we are the ones that ultimately have the choice to make the best out of every situation and experience life throws out way, or we can be miserable and kill ourselves early. I think I will choose to make the best out of it all. That' is just me and I know my optimistic side can become somewhat annoying to certain individuals. I just get frustrated in hearing how hard someones life is or how nothing is going right, when they have so much to be thankful for and when they have never faced true, trying times. I know that every person has their own issues just as I know no one has it "easy". But what it boils down to, many people do have it "easier" than others and take straight advantage of life in place of cherishing it. I know there are people that have it harder than what I have had to face and accept, but I also know that life has been hard as hell at times and this strong girl just wants to step back and evaluate things. I just don't understand why so much has been thrown at me and my family over the years. It has been one obstacle after another, and at times, we can't even find the time to work through one thing before something else occurs.

For those of you who may not know, I have battled life threatening health problems for many years. When I was a young child I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland. May not seem like anything big to some, but the thyroid gland controls many aspects of the human body and to put it bluntly, without it functioning properly, you will not survive. In 2005 I was told that it had quit functioning and compound masses were found. There were so many that they could not even get the accurate diagnosis from the biopsy when looking for cancer. Turns out it was pre-cancerous, which we found out about after the thyroidectomy. I am 100% dependent on medication for the rest of my life since I no longer have a thyroid. Over the years, my body has gone through phases that makes it to where I won't accept the meds and more work has had to be done. I have spent time in the hospital just praying while hooked up to many machines and on too many medications to count... Since then there have been struggles with maintaining my levels that come back on my thyroid panels, which are done ever 8-12 weeks. For the past six months my levels have stayed in the normal range and I go next week for more lab work to be done. I am not sure how it will turn out since I have not felt the best lately. Guess we will find out more next week.

Past that, since I was 14 I have battled endometreosis and reoccurring ovarian cysts. The cysts have led to emergency surgeries in the past from the ruptures. I was told at a young age I would never conceive, so I find it a true blessing to have my three little ones. Breanna was my tiny preemie that to this day amazes me that she is even here. It was a true struggle throughout my pregnancy and her first year. I spent more time the last 15 weeks of my pregnancy in the hospital admitted than I did at home. She ended up being an emergency c-section right under 35 weeks gestation due to her heart stopping or slowing too many times with the inability to fall back into the rapid beats. Then her first year she was hooked up to an apnea monitor for the majority of it. In the end, all three turned into c-sections. After having Nicholas in 2007, my "female" problems turned more severe and left me in intense pain and unable to function on a day to day basis. In October of 2008 I ended up having to have a hysterectomy. This surgical procedure made it impossible for me to ever carry a baby again... Talk about a lot to take on at 25.

My health refused to remain stable and in 2010 it got to the point of leaving me in continuous pain and staying sick. After many doctor appointments, they finally decided to send me to gynecology. Long story short, gynecology decided to perform an oopherectomy. This time my ovaries were coming out because the endometreosis was getting worse. Endo grows as your ovaries produce hormones. There is no cure and the only way to get it under control is to remove the ovaries. This was done and it was not done properly. You can find the details to the surgical procedure here that left me on my death bed, fighting for my life, and with more health problems that I face today. Due to the doctor's incompetence that led me to kidney failure in August following the oopherectomy, I also went into kidney failure a second time on October 31. I had to spend Halloween in the hospital and ended up spending a week there, again, fighting for my life. Details on that visit, can be found here. Since then, I have not been able to get back to a normal life and everyday I pray for the strength I had before the surgery in August. The surgery also put me into menopause. Surgical menopause is a lot more intense that falling into it naturally. Naturally it comes on slowly, surgery brings it on immediately. And, let me just tell you...IT SUCKS!!! : )  I tire over the simplest tasks. I am not the same person I was a year ago. Yet, through it all, at the end of the day, regardless of how I feel...I am blessed to still be here and blessed for the husband, kids, family, and friends that I have in life. Without my family and friends, I am not sure where I would be today.

In November while in the hospital it was also discovered that I have a benign tumor in my colon. Today I found out that my symptoms are in fact getting worse and I now have to undergo another colonoscopy on May 11. The doctor is very concerned about what the tumor may be doing as well as what is going on with me. I haven't gained weight, yet my pants and shirts no longer fit because I am so bloated in the lower abdomen. The doctor picked up on this right away. Truthfully, I am quite scared....

I am also having surgery on my lower back, which I have already explained in a recent post, so there is no reason for me to go back into it again. I am currently waiting on my insurance to approve everything. The pain is still intense and I am trying my best to tolerate it to the best of my ability. At times I just have to take the pain meds that I have been given.

I haven't even listed all that I am going through with my health, because it is just too much to think through. If you know me, then you may know my battles...

Aside from what all I have going on, we also have a lot on our plate with all that Kev is facing and battling every day. Since returning from his deployment in 2007 (and second one in 2009), he has been a different man. He battles severe PTSD, TBI, permanent nerve damage in both arms (causing surgery in each arm), bone spurs in his back, degenerative disc disease, sleep apnea (which has him sleeping with a CPAP machine every night), arthritis in his back, crushed vertebra throughout his back, skin cancer, and more. All stemming from combat. He is being medically retired from the army and should be out no later than the end of this year. To read more about his conditions, click here. I go more into detail in this posting. I am so angry about what the war has done to my husband, but there is nothing I can do to change it. All I can do is continue cherishing the times we have and just be grateful that he is here with me today. I am one of the "lucky" spouses of the wars...

Through all of this, there are days that I don't want to be the strong one anymore. I just want to break and cry. I want to be like many others and scream, shout, and yell at the world. I want to shake people and just make them understand. I want to beat the people that cry and complain because of how "unfair" life is or how they are upset their spouse has to work a little later than normal or because things don't go as planned. What are plans? We don't even live by plans anymore because we can't. And you know what, that is okay. We have adapted to the changes that we are faced with and we have done it together. Life isn't easy, but it is what we make of it. I am told by some that it is okay to cry and to not always be strong, but I don't know how to do that. All I know is to keep pushing on. Yet, today I honestly couldn't help but to think...what happens when the strong one finally breaks? Not that I will, because that is not my style. I don't know though, right now I feel at a loss. I see others my age with no health problems and they are able to keep going. They can work and live life. Things I am limited to being able to do. I see my friends complain because their husband doesn't want to go out or just wants to relax and I can't help but to think of what war has done to mine. I am just feeling so many emotions right now. I don't want anyone to feel bad for me or us, I just want people to understand that life has been hard and it hasn't always dealt us the best hand when it comes to things, but we keep striving for more and we make the best out of it. Even when we think we can't keep going, we find a way.

I also came across some people today that were complaining about how much life sucks and I ask why. Their responses are always based around the material things in life... There is more to life that not being able to buy that car you want or the prices on things. People complain to much and forget all that they are blessed to have. They put too many pity parties on themselves and there is nothing attractive about that.

So, next time people want to complain about things that really won't matter ten minutes or a year from now, I pray they find it in themselves to think about what others are going through. It could always be worse. I know life has been difficult and that I have overcome many obstacles, but I also know that I have so much to be grateful for. I am not saying I don't complain, because I know I do over some things. Even when I hit close to bottom, I always find the bright side.

Right now I have the choice to play the pity card and I refuse to. Am I scared of the outcome on my colonoscopy? You bet your butt I am. But, I also know that whatever comes out of it, I have Kevin, my kids, family, and friends to help me through it. I know that I will get through it. I always do. Am I scared of my kidneys failing again because everyday I stand a high chance of it? Of course! But, what good would it do to live life based on the what ifs? Honestly, I would love nothing more than to not worry about any of it and to just live normal. Yet,  normal is out of the question with all that I have been through and all that Kevin faces.

At the end of the day, Kevin and I will be okay and we will get through whatever life throws. As always it is one day at a time and one foot in front of the other. It is all we can do. So, if I get down for a moment, please forgive me. Life isn't easy right now and I can't always be strong. Within time though, I will always pick myself and my family back up. I will continue putting the pieces back together and keep pushing forward. We have a long road ahead of us, but I am ready to face it head on with my family.

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