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Tests and More Tests

So apparently ‘abnormal brain waves’ is a fancy term for “we see something that could lead to seizures but they aren’t actual seizures.” I also found out at that appointment that they had seen my heart (they did an EKG at the same time as an EEG) doing some funny pauses.

Right away, they put me on a seizure medicine and set up some appointments for some more testing to be done. Two days after being on the med, I passed out. Now, I have never passed out before and when it happened again two days later they quickly switched meds. But the passing out didn’t stop.

Hence we enter what I call the Test phase. This is the phase where doctors run all sorts of tests on your body to rule out different things.

-The first test was an MRI. That was one of the most the scary ones because they were checking for a tumor in my brain. My housemate, Natalie, and I affectionately called the tumor a ‘watermelon’ when we prayed against it. I’m thankful that I’m not a claustrophobic person because that would have made things much worse. Nope. No watermelons in my brain.

Then they started running tests on my heart to see if my heart was actually causing the issue. I have to say, the cardiologist was my favorite doctor and I should have taken him a plate of cookies. Finally someone who sat and listened and seemed to care! BUT the heart testing was the worst.

-First came the stress test. Basically, they put you on a treadmill while they monitor your heart to see if anything happens. They stress out your heart. Now, at this point, I was having issues with the passing out and I told the nurse that. She told me that if I started to pass out, she was probably going to try to bring me back using smelling salts and continue the test. Okay, I thought, that’s fine. HAVE YOU EVER USED SMELLING SALTS????! It’s not like in the movies, people, where they wave the bottle under the person’s nose and they gracefully wake back up. Oh no. Smelling salts come in this little tube that they snap open under your nose and they smell like ammonia. For some reason, I had it in my mind that they would smell good, like flowers or chocolate or something, but they smell like ammonia and they make you choke and gasp and your eyes burn and water. UGH. Sometimes I still get the memory of that and choke a little. They used smelling salts on me twice during that test because I passed out twice. After the second time, they stopped the test.

-The second test was an ultrasound on my heart. Which was actually super awesome! I got to see my heart moving and beating. God’s design is incredible and I was able to mention that to the nurse.

-The third test was a tilt table test. For this one, they strap you to a table and lay you flat for 15 minutes or so, monitoring your blood pressure and heart rate. Then they quickly tilt the table up to see if you pass out or not. In my case, that did not cause me to pass out, so they brought out some nitroglycerin and had me put a tablet under my tongue. Do you know what nitro does to you? It increases your heart rate incredibly. Within 15 seconds of that tablet dissolving I had passed out and she laid me back down.

These tests are hard. Although I had friends go with me to the hospital, no one can be in the room with you during the actual test. And it’s hard to be alone and at the mercy of others. I came out of most tests crying, feeling like I had just left a torture chamber, instead of a doctor’s office. I can’t imagine being one of those nurses and having to do that to people all the time.

Do you know what else is hard? It’s hard to be kind to some doctors. There is such a balance between “I know my body best and what’s going on” and “You are a doctor and know way more than I do.” Natalie went with me to all of my appointments and we learned a lot about tact. How to say things with tact. For instance, (yes I have her permission to post this) at one point, a doctor was telling me something and I knew it wasn’t going to work because I had already told him that I tried it and he wasn’t listening to me. Natalie looked him right in the face and said, “No, that’s garbage!” We had to have a discussion later about how it’s not really kind to tell people what they are saying is garbage and we talked about tact.

But if I think about my own life, how often do I say things without thinking them through? How often do I give the harsh answer that stirs up strife instead of the soft answer that turns away wrath?

How about in your life?

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in The2016Story

 

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The Waiting Game

I’ve learned a lot about doctor’s appointments in the last nine months. First off, did you know that many doctors (at least all the ones I saw) don’t actually check your height anymore?? They just ask how tall you are and write it down. Funny thing though, they DO still check your weight. Hmm. Like people aren’t honest or something. Secondly, doctors must not trust anybody. They send their nurse in to ask you a bazillion questions and then they come in and repeat the EXACT. SAME. QUESTIONS. Thirdly, I’m pretty sure neurologists must be the highest paid people on the planet. They basically spend 10 minutes in the room with you and BAM! there goes a few hundred dollars.

Those random thoughts aside, I’ll pick up TheStory now. We went to see my doctor the very next day. And you guys, this is just how awesome the Lord is. I didn’t actually have a family doctor until a few months before this when I decided it was time to adult and get a check-up. After doing a lot of looking I finally found one that I liked and she is wonderful. Isn’t God’s planning great? I’m so thankful that when all of this started I already had a doctor I could go to…and she has walk-in hours first thing almost every morning. 🙂

I had already guessed what she was going to tell me. You, see my brother has epilepsy, so I know the signs and symptoms of a seizure and I had a suspicion. I outright told her that’s what I thought it was that had occurred but I wanted to know WHAT IN THE WORLD AND WHY AND HOW AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. She agreed and ordered an EEG for later that week and made an appointment with a neurologist.

Have you ever had an EEG done? They make it sound very relaxing: “We are just going to hook all these wires to your head and maybe flash some lights at you and we may want you to try to take a nap.” Easy-peasy. Uh…no. They flash lights right in your eyes until you cry and your head is pounding and they make you hyperventilate to the point of almost passing out. Simply put, they are trying to induce you to have a seizure so that they can record it. Not a fun experience.

Later that week I got a call with the results from my test. They did not see any exact seizures, per se, however they did see some abnormal brain waves they would like to discuss. Ummm…can I have some more explanation, please? What exactly are “abnormal brain waves???”

Do you know what else I’ve learned about Doctors? They involve a lot of waiting. You sometimes have to wait weeks or months to even get an appointment. You have to wait to see the doctor and wait to get results. Even after you get a call with your results, you have to wait for the explanation. The receptionist was not able to give me any other information and I had to wait until my appointment with the neurologist.

Sigh. Waiting involves a lot of trust in the Lord, you know. Sometimes waiting can be the hardest part of difficult journeys. Whether it’s waiting for a job opportunity, or a prayer to be answered, or a brain issue to be explained, waiting tests our trust in God because we have no control. We have to trust that he knows best and we have to learn to be still before him. And boy, is it hard! And it’s something I had to learn.

So I waited.

 

(Disclaimer: Please don’t be offended if you are a doctor! I really do appreciate you all!)

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in The2016Story

 

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