Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Wish

This is the last day of the WORST YEAR EVER!!! Hooray! One year ago, this very week (between Christmas and New Years), was when I first got sick. It would take me three months to find out it was life-threatening.

I have been sick more days this year than I have been well. I have been on steriods almost half of the year, and that has not been pretty. I went from having a pleasing and abundant social life to being consumed with trying to stabilize my life and recover from being sick all the time. No time for fun. 2006 has not been so hot for me, but at the same time it has been a blessing. I am really blessed to have wonderfully supportive family and friends. I am blessed to have lived without much damage. I have come a long way and am feeling pretty good now. There are always slight setbacks, but it is definitely a 3 steps forward, 1 step back type thing. The best part of all is that I have an awesome testimony for God. Isn't that our purpose anyway? We are supposed to be telling everyone about Jesus and how he saved us. I feel so lucky to have such an interesting story to tell. It couldn't be more dramatic if I planned it, and after all, isn't that what people love to hear about? Just escaping death and gore!

Overall, I am ready to start a new year as a healthy, always happy, person. There are definitely things I need to improve on, but I have been praying that there be a shower of blessings on my family. They have stayed close to God despite the troubles that have come upon us this year. There were at least four of us hospitalized this year. Each serious in it's own way. It felt like we were under attack, but God took us under His wing just like He promised. He always does. I hope and pray this year will be a blessing!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I just scrubbed in on my very first surgery. Naturally, I touched nothing, but it was still the coolest thing ever!!! I got to watch a live c-section! I got to see a new life begin and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

I shadowed my boss, a superb neonatologist, today. I got to see so many amazing and interesting things. Today really confirmed my desire to be a doctor. I want to be a part of that world. The people there are so smart and make such a huge difference. I shadowed in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). It was full of teeny, tiny, very sick premies. I also saw some babies who were recovering very nicely. I was really lucky though because I got to see so many really cool procedures done including a neonatal spinal tap and arterial line, an epidural, and the emergency admittance of a septic infant. I got to see all aspects of the doctor's life including the oncall room, emergencies, dealing with hurting families, and going on rounds. It was a absolutely amazing experience. I can't wait to become a doctor. Wish me luck on my MCATs!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


The weirdest stuff happens on public transportation. I love riding public tramsportation because you never know who you are going to meet. It's a perfect chance to brighten someones day by giving up your seat or just smiling at them. I like people watching too. Thinking about who they are and what they might be up to.

I was riding the MetroRail from my $3 parking garage to the medical center (where it normally costs $11 to park), when I met a random (old?) man holding a cooked turkey. He had barely stepped onto the train when I noticed him staring at me. This happens alot so I pretended not to notice, when all of a sudden he struck up a conversation:
-You are the sexiest 82 year old I have ever seen.
-What? (Trying not to burst out laughing.)
-Your hoodie says established 1924...that makes you 82...(my Harding hoodie)
-I guess I do age pretty well...haha.
-I bet your husband/boyfriend is 106. You married?
-You know girls should always marry older guys. Young guys nowadays are so immature.
And don't you worry, the right guy will come for you. You know in my day....[a 5 minute speech ensues about how boys in his day were respectful of women and they didn't take bazookas to school to shoot each other, they took footballs and an occasional book...and people didn't get knocked up at age 12, and I should just have fun, but be careful not the get knocked up.] And by the way, if I was looking to have a little fun, he is a fun guy, and could take me out for some drinks.

Despite myself, I am laughing out loud at this point. People on the train are smiling, I even hear some muffled chuckles. I politely smile at this guy, and say thanks for the offer, but this is my stop. As I get off the train, so does he. He continues talking: he has not stopped talking since the moment he got on the train and spotted me. He tells me that when I date the next guy or break up with the current guy for being a jerk...I should put an add in the Chronicle for: [his name here] inviting an older, more mature man for drinks and a "fun time." Then he tells me to have a blessed day, as I cross the street to work. Haha!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Leadership Retreat

I just came home from a leadership retreat regarding the Singles Ministry. I am excited to be a part of the team that is planning to jumpstart this ministry...and let me tell you there is a desperate need for it. I think I deserve a place to belong at church, as do all the other young people who are still trying to figure out their lives. We had a wonderful weekend of planning and motivating each other...and best of all tubing at the Lakehouse! My very first experience of being dragged in a tube by a boat was definitely a good one!

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I am excited to be going out of town this weekend! I am heading up to Dallas to see my Aunt Lucie, Uncle David, and adorable little cousins, then going on to Abilene to see Soneeg! Hooray!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Answered Prayer!

Medzmama is officially home from the hospital!!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New School

So far, so good! It really is exciting to be on such a huge campus, despite the fact that you have to park about a 10-mile hike away from the edge of campus. The parking is insane! By the time you make it to class you are drenched in your own sweat and dehydrated, but besides that I really like UH so far. The classes are huge and there are so many people everywhere. I love the diversity! I have already run into people I knew back in high school, so that has been fun. I was shocked today to hear the professor cursing while he lectured. All the things people say about the Harding bubble is true. It definitely isn't real life. But it was a nice bubble. I might miss it. Although, I must admit hearing that old man curse was hilarious. And there is an awesome student center area...with a starbucks and a smoothie king and a million other restaurants and cafes and such. jealous Harding... Another thing to be jealous of is that there is no attendance policy! Hooray for being in a "real college" not a boarding school pretending to be a college!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I have been trying to decide which Houston school I should transfer to, and after much deliberation, I have decided to transfer to UH. I start classes this Monday. I feel so rusty on the whole school thing. I hope I remember how to read and write and stuff. :) I will be here all year long. At first I was kind of bummed about it, but now I am kinda excited. There is a lot to do here in Houston and I am excited to be going to a "real life" college (just like the ones you see on T.V.). You know the type: 800 students per class, auditorium seating, no attendance, no classes on fridays, and you actually get national holidays off. It's great! I will be taking physics 2 even though I took physics 1 about a year ago! I pretty much forgot everything I learned, but hopefully it'll come back fast. I am excited/anxious for school to start. I feel like a freshman all over again. I hope I can find all my buildings...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Princess Imani

Camp Imani was AWESOME! It is always a great experience, but I particularly needed it this year. This would be the first thing that I have done that wasn't in a hospital or my house since March when I had my surgery. It was so great for me to be able to feel even semi-normal again. Although compared to last year, I could easily see that I am still very weakened and cannot do the things I once could. I already sound like a grandma reminiscing about the good old days, don't I? Haha. Well, that's my life and I'll deal with it.

It is soooo fun to be an intern at Camp. Some people have begun calling me Princess Imani because I was practically being pampered the entire time. I could basically do whatever I wanted to. I was ordered to take frequent naps, rest, and not do anything too strenuous. I did mostly everything the other interns did, except for moving some things, and I did skip one day of flagpole. They took extra good care of me. I literally got asked how I was doing about 20 times a day. I appreciated it though. :) Can't wait until next summer when I will be as good as new!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Camp Imani

As many of you know, there was a big chance that I would not get to attend camp this year. In fact, I was not planning on coming, but fortuntaly I do get to go! Hooray! I went to a few of my doctors this week for some testing and they think it would be all right as long as I promise to take it easy. I promise! I have never missed even one year since the beginning of Camp Imani, and I don't wanna start now! I can't wait, it's going to be a blast! I probably will leave early, just to make sure I don't make myself sick being there, but that's ok with me. As long as I get to go even for a little while!!! Yay!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Hooray for the Bible Study on Tuesday Nights at 7pm! I went last night for the first time, and I must say that it was fantastic! It was very encouraging and uplifting. I really needed this, especially at this point in my life.

I am in the middle of transferring Universities right now. I will have to stay here in Houston for longer than I thought because I am not quite well enough to live on my own again. I don't mind so much, though. I think that it could be a good thing. There are way more opportunities here in Houston than there ever would have been in Searcy. Although I am very grateful for my time at Harding, I realize that it is time to move on.....not like I had a choice or anything, but still...

I am also in the middle of changing majors and making some really important life decisions. Please pray for God to guide me and to help me maintain a good and positive attitude about it all. It's confusing and a little scary because the future is so unclear, but that is where faith and trust in God come in. I know He will be there, but I am just an imperfect human who needs reminding every now and then.

On a Praise God note, my grandmother has been moved out of ICU finally!!! Yay! She is now in a room recovering! Hooray!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Hey Everyone!

A lot has happened since the last time I updated. Life has been good though. How can it be otherwise when God is in control.
I had been off the steroids for a month and things were going extremely well, until about last week. I started having pretty severe chest pains again. I have been in and out of doctor's offices all week long and fortunately, they determined that there is NOT fluid rebuilding around my heart! Hooray! I did not want to go through that again. However, there is indication of inflammation or something like that. At first they thought it was post-traumatic stress from being in a hospital environment and watching my grandmother undergo heart surgery. I thought so too at first, but eventually they determined that something might be wrong and needed to be addressed. What that ultimately and irritatingly means is that I am going to be back on steroids for another 3 weeks or so, or at least until they figure out what the heck is wrong.....BOOOOOOOO! It's the price I have to pay to be "healthy" I guess. Sigh. They warned me that it would take a long time to ever diagnose me, but seriosly, this is getting ridiculous!
I have a very important prayer request though! Like I said before my grandmother (my sweet little medzmama!) had an aortic aneurysm and had to have open heart surgery to put a graft in. While they were in there, they went ahead and did a bypass as well. This was a major surgery, and before she went in the doctor's informed us that she had a 1 in 12 chance of making it. Naturally, as we have done a million times before, we all hit our knees and gave it to God. The surgery was successful, but afterwards there were complications with her gallbladder. Only three days after MAJOR open heart surgery, they decided to remove her gallbladder as well. That was her second surgery. A few days after that, they noticed that she had fluid accumulating around her heart...grandmother like granddaughter. She had to have her third surgery to drain the fluids...SAME AS ME! She is currently still in ICU and now there is talk of needing a pacemaker, which will be a fourth surgery. Luckily, they have decided that the pacemaker is not that urgent and will give her poor body a chance to heal a bit. The best part is that all this has been happening in the last 2 weeks. Please keep her in your prayers. She is in a lot of pain, but she is putting her faith and trust in God.

We know that prayer works. I don't know why my family seems to constantly under attack, but I do know that no matter what we already have victory through Christ. No matter what happens, no matter how hard Satan tries to bring us down, nothing will ever change our Love for God and our committment to Him.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

hello once again

Hey. How is everybody? Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been sick and in and out of doctor offices a lot lately. I think I have found an extremely promising opportunity though. I'll let ya know more about it later. So far life has been weird. It seems like everyday I discover that there are still so many things that I can't do anymore, that I used to be able to do with ease. It is soooo frustrating. I am definitely one of life's valleys. Just as soon as I start feeling better, I crash and burn again. But I suppose they weren't kidding when they said it would take a long, long time to fully recover. This whole process has been one extremely emotional rollercoaster. I just thank God everyday for His continued blessings and for giving me such a wonderfully supportive family. I know I will get through this.

On a lighter note...YAY FOR THE WORLDCUP!!! Seriously though, I am sooooo dissapointed with the USA team. Are you kidding me? What the heck? I know we can do better guys! Tommorrow afternoon USA vs. ITALY....BRING IT!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Yay for work!

Hey everybody! I started working again. I recently got another echocardiogram and they said that everything looks good! I got the O.K. to drive my car again and to have a low stress level job. It feels sooooo incredibly good to have something to do. I am working as one of the children's ministry interns at church again for the third summer in a row...they can't get rid of me...muah hahahaha! I actually was supposed to be working at a hospital this summer, but obviously my plans drastically changed due to some stuff that happened this last know, the almost dying stuff...oh well... :)

I discovered that I am not the kind of person who can sit around aimlessly and just watch TV all day. I have to have something to do,and not just stuff to keep me busy. I need goals in life. I have to be working towards something in order not to feel like a useless, good-for-nothing person. I found myself getting really depressed and just feeling all-around bad about myself and for myself. Some of that is obviously a side-effect of the medicines, but the other part was satan getting a hold of me and causing me to lose sight of all the blessings in my life. I started getting frustrated that my whole future was up in the air now...who knows what I will major in or how long it will take me to catch up or even where I should attend next semester? I was stuck at home with a pillbox and a walker while every other 21 year old was having the time of their life. One day, I just realized what I was doing. It was easy for me to trust God when my life was in danger, but when it was nothing except my own feelings of insignificance, I didn't want to bother God with those problems. I mean, why should He care about that? Besides what right did I have to bring up that stuff after all God had already done for me? Well, as soon as I realized that this is the faulty logic I was following, I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I wasn't going to worry about a thing because I knew that God would take care of everything. Not just the "big" things, but every minute detail as well. It was so silly of me to get caught up in feeling sorry for myself, but to make myself feel better I blame it on the meds...not my own obvious immaturity...hehe.

Anyways, it helps now that I am working again. I am really excited about my job. I absolutely looooovvveee working with the kids. They really do bring so much joy to everyone around them. I have a feeling that this is going to be a great summer after all.

Monday, May 01, 2006

2 Month Anniversary

Hooray! Two months ago today I was in the hospital undergoing heart surgery. Here I am two months later doing very well! My life is finally starting to get back to normal. The last two weeks have been a tad on the rough side. That is part of the reason that I haven't posted in forever...I didn't forget about you. I feel much better now! I was feeling pretty sick most of the time because of the side effects of the medicines I am on. There are some pretty nasty withdrawal symptoms, but it won't be too much longer before I will be done with the steroids. Yay!

I went up to Harding last weekend to pack up my dorm room and bring all my stuff back home. I didn't really get to see everyone that I wanted to, but I did get to see some of my favorite people! That means you roomie! Don't be sad...we are gonna party it up over the summer when you come to see me! Good luck on finals to everyone!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Shuhnorehavore Zadeek

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

Today is a day to celebrate! Jesus is risen from the dead! Of course as Christians we celebrate this each and every single day of our lives, but seeing as I am an Armenian…today is a day full of PARTIES!!! As a TRUE Armenian, we will use any excuse to party, especially something that is as great and worth partying about as Jesus’ Resurrection. I find it odd that Easter is not a bigger holiday than Christmas. To an Armenian it is just as big of a deal, if not even more important. Jesus’ birth is an amazing and wonderful thing, but the fact that He conquered death is where the real miracle is!!!

Here is an example of an awesome Armenian tradition on Easter:
When you see a fellow Armenian (or anyone for that matter) you exclaim with joy:
Heesoos haryav ee merelots! (Jesus is risen from the grave!)
Then, the person replies one of two ways:
Orhneyal eh harootyun uh Christos ee! (Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!)
Tsez oo mez medz avedees! (Great news for you and me!)

I think this is one of the most beautiful traditions EVER! We are told to proclaim the good news to others. What better way to do it than to literally say it to one another. I think this should be a tradition spread to all Christians on all days of the year. Let us proclaim the miracle of Jesus and the salvation He brings us. HOORAY!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Revenge of the Plaquenil!!!

I had my first experience with the adverse effects of the drugs. You know those little stickers on the medicine bottles that warn you about side effects...yea...those aren't just for fun. I have to take a lot of medicine during different times of the day. Most of them recommend that you eat food with the medicine, and normally I do. So far in the process I haven't experienced too many bad side effects, but I didn't eat with the meds two days ago. I spent the next 24 hours totally and completely SICK. I spent the entire night awake and bent over a toilet. Between bouts of vomiting, I was nauseous and trying not to pass out. My head was spinning and my stomach was cramping and I was so tired from the whole process that all I really wanted to do was sleep. Of course Mommy was up with me all night checking my heart rate and helping me clean up the vomit. It's funny how no matter how old you are, when you are throwing up, all you want is your Mommy to come and pat you on the back. Thanks Mommy for the incredible amounts of comfort you bring with just a single touch. I am much better now, although still tired from the whole ordeal. It was just a friendly reminder to not forget that I am on some serious medicine...and...Don't Mess With the Plaquenil!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Baking Bread

I am all alone again today. Seelva is feeling better and everyone is back at school and work. Here I am, incredibly BORED, so I had to start looking for something to do! I took Raki for a walk and came back and did some dishes, cleaned up around the house a bit, and then started rifling through the pantry. Way in the back I found a breadmaker that I didn't know we have. Naturally, I decided to make BREAD! It's not just any's Mediterranean Black Olive and Herb bread. I have a confession to make's out-of-a-box, just-add-water bread made specially for a breadmaker. Haha! I fooled you all! You thought I was becoming all domestic and making delicious bread from scratch. That takes actual talent, which I do not possess. But the kitchen does smell really good right now. :) Two hours to go in the breadmaker...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Last Will & Testament

At one point in ICU I had to sign a paper that was a sort of legal will thingy…I think that is what it was. Basically, they wanted to know who would be in charge of my possessions if “something were to happen.” They also wanted to know if I would consent to life support. Can you believe that? Isn’t that intense? At the time I was amused and actually was joking with the nurse about my last wishes, but the reality of it is the fact that they asked. God is so amazing. In times like that He gives you a sort of peace. I was calm and just knew deep down, that it wouldn’t come to that. Praise be to God, that it never did come to that.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My First Ambulance Ride

At the Sugar Land ER, I was in extreme amounts of pain, and as a result I had my first experience with Morphine. Let me just say…wow. :) They aren’t kidding when they say that it hits you right away. Anyways, I was supposed to be transferred from Sugar Land to Main Methodist Hospital by ambulance because that is protocol. My mom was to ride in the front of the ambulance with the driver and my dad was to follow behind in our car. They had to put me on a stretcher just like how they do it in the movies. They started rolling me out of the hospital, and then that’s when it all gets fuzzy. I remember trying to look around the ambulance and make memories of the ride, but my eyes wouldn’t even focus. It was like a strange dream. Next thing I know, I felt my head roll back and my arms fell off the stretcher. It was the weirdest feeling because I had no control over my body. I remember feeling really dizzy and hearing the paramedic get on the radio and say “Our transport is now an emergency! Give me a nice smooth, ride.” I saw the flashing lights come on and then felt the driver pick up speed, swerve around cars, and beep mercilessly. Apparently, my heart rate was up way too high and my blood pressure dropped far too low. He had to put in another IV, so I had IV’s in both arms to get lots of fluids in, and then he had to elevate my feet and lower my head, so that I was practically upside-down. Then he kept slapping me and trying to make me talk to him. I remember that part. I remember being annoyed…haha…I just wanted to drift away and fall asleep.

We finally got to Main Methodist and it was just like ER!!! That was pretty sweet. They went running in, rolling me along. The rest of what happened is kind of a blur. I do remember that they had to cut off my clothes with scissors (how dramatic!). I think maybe some people did some x-rays and another heart ultrasound. I’m not really sure. All I know is that by this point I needed to be stabilized. I think the rest of the night was spent trying to do that and to figure out what was wrong. Keep in mind, at this point, they still have no clue what is going on. They didn’t realize the extent of the heart condition.

It was February 23, 2006 that I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Main Methodist. I spent the next 4 days in ICU.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I went to church this morning and it was wonderful. The cool thing about today was that I didn't even need my walker. Hooray! It is always so encouraging to go to church. I always feel so loved and uplifted when I am there. Thanks to Robert for letting me borrow LOST: Season 1. Apparently I don't know what I am missing when it comes to this series. Don't worry though, the Allahverdian family will be introduced to this "amazing" series now and all will be well. :) After church we had Cajun BFG Sunday. I tried gumbo for the first time ever and it was delicious. Today ended up being a great day. I got to get out of the house and see lots of people and hold a baby! It was a good change. Hooray! Thanks to everyone who made today such fun! It was soooo good to see you all!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

1 Month Anniversary

Today is the one month anniversary of my heart surgery and I feel great! Hooray! In celebration, I have officially moved upstairs! I now have access to the entire house. I went up and down four or five times today without becoming completely fatigued! Yay!

Friday, March 31, 2006

So, Here's What Happened...Part 2

I finally got home to Houston and my mom and both took me to the doctor that the majority of my family uses. He used to be a family practitioner, but now is an OB-GYN. Of course, we still use him for everything. So we went to this doctor, and HE IS A GENUIS. One of the first things he did was get on his cell-phone and directly call a cardiologist friend of his on his personal cell. He arranged for me to drive directly over to his office for an immediate echocardiogram and an EKG. Keep in mind that up to this point, nobody had any kind of clue that my heart was even involved. At the cardiologist office, we discovered that I had pericardial effusion, which is when there is fluid built up in the sac around the heart. I was told that we would treat this through medicine and to go home while they processed some of the blood work they had done. So, I went home to rest. It was that very afternoon that I had the most unbearable chest pain. It was just like the kind you see on TV, where the 80 year old man clutches his left arm and falls on the floor in utter agony. Yup. It was just like that. I was laying there crying out loud and heaving. My dad was upstairs and says that he thought I was laughing or something. He came downstairs to check on me, and man, you should have seen the look on his face. I feel so bad for my parents. I scared the daylights out of them. Haven’t they been through enough? Really! My dad immediately called my mom and the next thing I know I am at the Sugar Land Methodist Emergency Room.

It was here that I met my Cardiologist. Here is another one of those things that shows just how much God is in control. My doctor just happened to be and the Sugar Land ER at that time. He does have a rotation there, but he primarily works at the Main Methodist Hospital at the medical center. . He is the son of one of the three top doctors associated with the DeBakey Heart Institute and is known for being just as smart, intuitive, and kind-hearted as his father. Everyone who heard who my admitting physician was, always would tell me how lucky I was to have gotten him. Of course, we all know that luck had nothing to do with it. It was definitely God’s favor. Dr. Raizner has done a fantastic job taking care of me, I am very pleased with the care I have received. He was the one who realized the extent of my condition, and recommended that I be admitted and transferred to Main Methodist Hospital, which one of the TOP hospitals in the nation.

You know what this means, don’t you? It means an AMBULANCE RIDE!!!
Keep checking posts for my First Ambulance Adventure!

My Own Bed

So, I have been sleeping upstairs the last few nights. I still camp out downstairs during the day, but I wanted to start sleeping in my own bed. It works out pretty well because by the time I get to the top of the stairs, I am exhausted and fall straight to sleep. Yay for my bed!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Best Weekend Ever!!!

This post is dedicated to Lauryn Pritchard!!! Thanks for the best weekend ever!!!

One of my best friends from Harding came down to visit me for the weekend. We met at the JFK Airport in New York, and ended up being potluck roommates for our semester abroad in Greece. Ever since then, we have been super close.

This weekend was awesome because I had a whole lot of fun and finally began to feel like a semi-normal person again. Well, as normal as one can feel riding around Target in an electric wheelchair that sounds like an 18-wheeler backing up. :) Yes, I went out in public this weekend!!! Hooray! It was physically tiring even though I didn’t do much, but emotionally it felt SOOOOO GOOOD!!! It’s funny how you take so many things for granted. Something as simple as going out in public is so exciting!!!

I am now resting at home from my busy weekend, but I am definitely feeling great! Thanks to a great friend who knows exactly how to cheer me up! Yay for ghetto nails, tenderloin, brown eyes, and loft apartments!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Shoutout to the Armenians

Parev tsez! Eench bes eck? Lav eck? Yes goozem eem hye paregam ner yev eenger nereen uhsem PAREV yev yes tsez shad guh seerem!

Ha! Don't you wish you knew what that said!?! It's secret! I'll never tell you, white people! Hee Hee! :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What's Wrong With Sevahn?

It just occurred to me that I never did say what they know that I do have for sure. I had severe PERICARDITIS. (Something they don’t see happen randomly to healthy 21-year-old girls too often, hence the bestowing of the title “medical anomaly.”)

Pericarditis is when too much fluid collects around the heart and causes severe inflammation and pain. Normal people have about 40 cc (1-2 oz.) in their pericardium…I managed to have about 400 cc (about ½ a liter) and then drain at least an additional 400 cc from the tubes they inserted in surgery. If Pericarditis goes untreated it can lead to heart failure, which is really close to where I was. It puts the heart under tremendous pressure. Mine was beating at around 140 bpm and not very efficiently. My blood pressure also kept dropping dangerously low. At first the doctors wanted to try and reduce the fluid through medicine, specifically steroids. After about a week in the hospital, they saw that the fluid was actually increasing rapidly and becoming fibrous, so the only option was…[cue dramatic music]…HEART SURGERY!!! The doctor literally walked in and said, “You have to have heart surgery tomorrow morning, we can’t wait.” Come to find out that if we had waited any longer to do the surgery, it may have been too late. But not to worry, because God is always looking out for me! He is so good! :) Despite the rumors, no, it was not open heart surgery. There was no bone broken at all. They did it through the cartilage below the sternum. The surgery they did is called a “Pericardial Centesis” and they inserted a “pericardial window” and took a biopsy of my pericardium. They make a 5 inch incision in your chest and insert a rubber tube that comes out below the incision. I literally have an exclamation mark scar on my chest now…it’s pretty sweet!
Anyways, I had a rubber tube coming out of my chest collecting my “heart juice” for about 8 days after surgery. The point is to create a drain to reduce the amount of fluid that is collecting around the heart. Now I am on some serious amounts of steroids, along with lot of other junk, for the next couple months which basically help control the fluid buildup. For anyone who has ever had to take steroids (legally, I mean) YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THEY SUCK! They really screw your body up. But it’s either feel crappy from the medicine or heart failure, I think I’ll take my chances with the meds.

So what do I do now? Well, according to the doctors, I was severely sick and my body had a lot of trauma, and it will take a long time for me to recover completely. But it is better to slowly and completely recover, than to try to do too much and relapse, so…I have been instructed to stay home the rest of the semester and devote myself to absolutely nothing but recovery. Yay! I am actually excited about this. A girl knows how much she can take, and let me tell you, there is no way I could go back to school. I am to cut all stress out of my life and just focus on controlling the side effects of the drugs and slowing gaining my strength back. I am thinking that pretty soon, I won’t even need a walker. I am giving myself about 1-2 weeks and then I really do think I will be walker free! Here’s hoping!

So, ultimately there are two options of what is really wrong with me:
Option 1: I have some kind of Auto-Immune Disease or Rhuematological disorder, which is the true cause of the Pericarditis and inflammation. The Pericarditis is just a reaction to that. If it is this option, I may have a disease that won’t go away, but not to worry because with the proper care, the symptoms are all controllable. People can live full and happy lives with these things. It just takes an entire lifetime devoted to taking care of your body.
Option 2: I had Severe Viral Pericarditis. This is the better of the two options, because if it really was some random virus that attacked my heart, it can heal and won’t necessarily recur. I will recover 100%.

Let us all be praying that I am dealing with Option 2! I have a great feeling that I am. God can heal anyone from anything. We all saw what happened with Anaheed. He can completely wipe away whatever I have. Who knows!

They have done tons of testing and will continue to do so, and so far I am coming up with mixed results. When they first started testing for the auto-immune disorders, I was coming up positive. As they continued with much more complex and specific tests, the results came out negative. I confused them yet again. The doctors kept saying that this was really odd. They don’t understand. But I know what happened. All this time that I am in the hospital, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PRAYING. If you don’t believe in the power of prayer…well, let me tell you something…IT WORKS! My entire family, entire church, entire Harding campus, all my friends, and all my friend’s friends, and all my parent’s friend’s friends were praying.
I mean, seriously, how do you explain that I started out testing positive, then all of a sudden the tests started coming out negative!?! GOD!!! Isn’t He amazing?!? Yes! Yes He is! And the truth is that even if it isn’t viral and it doesn’t go away. He is still amazing. No matter what happens. Even if it does end up being something much more serious, even if I have to deal with problems the rest of my life, God is still amazing. My family and I will always feel this way. Without a doubt. No matter what! :)

First Follow-Up

I just got back from my first follow-up doctor visit today. I went to my cardiologist and had more blood drawn and testing done. They did another EKG and a heart ultrasound. The truth is that there is really still no update. They are just monitoring me at this point. I have millions of more doctor appointments set up and tons of drugs to take, so right now we just have to see what happens. So far, things are on track...well, as on track as they can be considering that we still don't know what is going on. The good news is that I am feeling a little better and getting a little stronger everyday, Praise God!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Airline Testimony

I started feeling really bad, really fast. I called my parents and of course they insisted I come home right away. My dad immediately bought me a plane ticket for early the next morning with Continental Airlines. Houston is about an 8-9 hour drive from Harding. I couldn’t even sit up in a chair for 5 minutes much less sit in a car for that long, and I surely couldn’t drive. I generally fly Continental Airlines when I can because it is a non-stop, one hour flight. We made all the proper arrangements, and everything seemed to be in order. All I had to do was survive through the night.

I didn’t sleep at all that night because I was in intense pain. I just dealt with the pain instead of going to the ER, purely because I knew I would be home the next morning. I knew my parents could take me to some real doctors and I was pretty fed up with Arkansas docs at the time. Finally, it was morning, and the phone rang. My dad called to tell me that all flights to Houston Intercontinental had been canceled due to fog, but that he arranged another flight with another airline because we both knew there was no way I would last another day here and I was definitely too weak to try for stand-by. My dad found a flight with Southwest Airlines that had only one stop in Dallas and no plane change that left that very morning. It ended up being cheaper than the Continental flight, there was no assigned seating and I somehow ended up being the first person on the plane, I sat in a front seat with extra leg room, and fell directly asleep for the next 2 hours. All these things I totally attribute to God watching out for me. The most awesome part is that the Southwest flight took me to Hobby Airport. What difference does that make, you may be wondering…well, it made all the difference in the world.

The fog that I thought was a terrible inconvenience, forced us to find an alternate flight, that forced me into another airport. I don’t know if you remember but on February 22, 2006 there was a security breach at Houston Intercontinental and all of Terminal B, the terminal I was supposed to be arriving at, was evacuated and people were standing outside for hours that day. I know that I would not have had the strength make it.
Looking back, I can see that God was totally in control. A situation that started out being absolutely terrible, ending up helping me tremendously. Just think how easy it would have been to be angry and have the attitude of “Why is God doing this to me?…Why fog? Why now? Why today?” I think that sometimes, actually most of the time, we can’t see the bigger picture, and what we can see seems like it is random cruelty from God. But we must remember it never is. We have to remember that God has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. We must persevere as Job did. We must trust Him. If we do, he will go so far as to make even the littlest details work out.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Doctor Visit from Hell

I talked about how my roommate skipped her classes to take me to the doctor in an earlier post. This was the doctor visit from hell. The one where I blanked out for about 2 hours. I came to, in the middle of the nurse taking my blood pressure and saying it was too high. I came to, just in time for the doctor to come in with a prescription for anti-depressants. This MORON had the nerve to tell me that he thought I was depressed. So, naturally, I told him he was totally wrong and that he didn't know what he was talking about. Being that I am majoring in the medical field and minoring in psychology, I have taken enough classes to know that I was NOT depressed. I WAS SICK! I didn’t know what I was sick with, but I knew things were not well. And if I was bummed out, it would be because I had been feeling like crap for 2 months straight. Granted, I have no idea, what I said to him in my "unconscious" state, but still...I did tell him that I had been unconscious in his very office, but he didn't seem to think that this was relevant. You should have seen the look on his face. He looked shocked that a patient would defy him, and even more shocked that the patient knew the names and types of drugs he was recommending, the symptoms they were supposed to treat, and was in a bad enough mood, to point out to him that this was a ridiculous prescription. HAHA. Before you go feeling sorry for this should know something. When I rejected the antidepressants, he prescribed me sleeping pills. Harmless sleeping pills, right?

When I mentioned this to the doctors in ICU, they were furious. According to them, if I had taken even one of those sleeping pills that night, I would be dead. It is so weird to type those words. I would be dead. Praise be to God, though. He is my protector. I know He is the one who guided me, and gave me the insight to reject antidepressants and sleeping pills. Obviously, the Arkansas doctor didn't know about the massive amounts of fluids around my heart (or the fact that it was beating at about 140 beats per minute which is way above the average). He didn't realize that the pill would have put even more strain on my heart, and it would have probably stopped it in my sleep.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a word of caution to all: Be your own caretaker and take responsibility for yourself. Just because someone has an M.D. does not make them a smart person. There are so many talented and wonderful doctors out there, but there are just as many idiots out there too. Please do your own research! Check out WebMD. I did, and it helped me immensely. I almost self-diagnosed just from doing my own research online. It helps when you can go to the doctor and have ideas to bring to them. They are people too, and can just as easily make mistakes. Please, please, please take the initiative to teach yourself things. It will make such a difference in how you are treated by the doctors and nurses and also in the care you receive.

Another word of caution: Be careful with what drugs you take. Just because a doctor prescribes it, does not mean you need it. Some doctors will give you drugs just to keep you quiet. Some do it for promotional reasons and benefits for themselves. There are alot of drug companies out there just to make money. Don't get me wrong...I am NOT anti-drugs. I believe that God has blessed us with the knowledge and science and means of producing these things to help make lives better. However, like all things, drugs can be abused. Particularly things like anti-depressants and sleeping pills. I wonder what the world would be like if less people depended on pills and more people cast their worries and burdens and cares on Jesus. I personally think it would be a whole lot better.

So, Here's What Happened...

It was the week between Christmas and New Year's that I started feeling sick. I thought it was just a typical cold, you know, just the normal old sickness that goes away in a week or so. Except that it never did go away. I have been consistently ill since then...the entire year of 2006.

My symptoms presented as asthma/flu-like symptoms. Over the course of the next three months, my symptoms changed and progressed. I had difficulty lungs actually hurt. Then, I started getting muscle spasms and twitches. I started experiencing fatigue, shortness of breath, and couldn't do even the simplest things. Walking up the stairs absolutely wore me out. The weird thing was, that I had never in my life experienced anything like that. Throughout all this, I went to 5 different doctors. They did blood tests and chest x-rays. They told me that all the back pain was probably because I bruised a rib or pulled a muscle from all the coughing. They gave me painkillers and muscle relaxers and told me to wait it out. So I did. At one point, my parents even flew me down to Houston to see my own doctor, who said the same thing, so I went back to school. With the meds, I started to feel a little better, but I knew I still wasn't 100%. About one week after I came back to Harding, the muscle and back pain got unbearable. I couldn't go to class, I could barely make it from the living room to my bedroom. My wonderful roommate took such good care of me. [I love you Amber!]

That very day I started experiencing chest pain. Yes, chest pain. My right arm and leg went numb. My fingers developed splinter hemorrhages within a day, and became increasingly painful. That's when I knew that I did not have asthma or a bruised rib and that I couldn't wait another minute. Whatever it was, was serious. My roomate skipped her classes to take me to another doctor. It was at this doctor office that I blanked out, for the first time in my life. I cannot remember what happened in the next two hours. My roomate said that I became extremely incoherent and couldn't remember where I was or why I was there. I have NEVER in my life not had complete control of my mind. That alone was a scary experience. I called my parents, who insisted that I fly home right away. My dad bought me a flight for early the next morning. Keep reading the posts for the "Airline Testimony".

Finally I made it home...the rest of the story to be continued later...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I Have A Walker!

I have been home for a couple of days now...and I am feeling pretty good.

It's truly humbling to go from being an independent college student, who had the next 5 years planned out, to becoming someone who can't even sit up in bed alone and has no idea what the next week holds. I am totally dependent on my family for physical support. We are all totally dependent on God for emotional support. I have complete faith that He is in control. And that is what gives me strength and joy everyday. Our spirits are high because we have God in our lives and we know that everything is going to be perfect, because He is perfect. I don't know what will happen, but I pray that His Will be done. As long as it is in God's Will, things will be good! I truly believe that. That is why I can laugh and joke and truly be happy, throughout this whole ordeal. The joy that God gives you in hard times, when the world tells you that your situation sucks (which it does), and the peace that passes all understanding is amazing and truly miraculous. God is soooooo good!

- Phillipians 4:7 -
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I am happy to report, however, that I am getting stronger everyday!!! I am now strong enough to get up and walk around without help. By walk around I mean that I can move from the couch in the living room, where I now permanently reside because I have yet to master the stairs, to the guest bathroom...all on my own! Hooray! I can't go very far without becoming exhausted, but I still feel like I accomplish more everyday. Things are going well. Praise God!

Ooo! Guess what? I have my very own walker! How cool is that! I'm just like that old man on Family Guy. All I need are some tennis balls to put on it. That would be sweet. You know what else is sweet? I have a nurse that comes to MY house to check on me! I am kinda enjoying this being waited on hand and foot stuff. If you gotta be sick, might as well go all the way, right? [note sarcasm] Seriously though, I would give up all the attention and service in a heartbeat... [heartbeat? get it? because my heart is the thing that is messed up and i had heart surgery and stuff...hahahahaha...sigh] We can all blame the meds. Anyways...

A lot of people are still confused as to what is going on, and to tell you the truth, I'm not really sure either. I am still awaiting a diagnosis, and will still be getting more testing done. I have the first of a series of different doctor appointments on Tuesday, so hopefully that will prove informative. But seriously, don't hold your breath. Don't worry, though, I will be sure to update you when I learn more. I will also be posting the events that took place in the hospital. Apparently, people want to know all the awesome details. And as an added bonus I have some pretty awesome pictures!

Until then...Have a super day!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Hey Everybody, 4 days in ICU, one heart surgery, and a total of 15 days later...I am HOME from the hospital!!! Let me tell is sooooooooo good to be home! I was severly ill with some kind of mystery illness (and they still don't know what is wrong...I have been declared a medical anomaly...yes!) I am at home recovering and continuously seeing doctors and being tested. It's going to take a while to heal, but God is so good and He gives me strength every day! I trust Him completely and know that He has awesome plans for me (Jer. 29:11). He is healing me! I just want to thank everyone for the calls, emails, concern, and most importantly the PRAYERS. Keep em' coming! I love you all!

Since I will be home for the next couple of months recovering, I needed something to keep me occupied. Ron Clarkson geniusly recommended that I start a blog. Thanks Ron! God is working in my life in such a powerful way, and this is a perfect opportunity to share with the world what He is doing.