Tentative Good News

I think I know by know to never say I have good news, but let’s be real, this has potential to be fantastic news! After my last appointment to the infectious disease doctor my blood work came back and showed…. nothing. Before there were elevations consistent with the body fighting infection, and now everything looks perfect. There is no way to know for sure if I am infection free, but if the blood work looks good at the end of the month it is a pretty good possibility.

Only about a week ago I talked to my surgeon about my pelvis and he told me he doubted I could do any damage and just to go slow. I had stopped running in January due to the pain, but have been itching to go ever since. I went for one run, and then another and guess what? NO PAIN. My lungs, those are another story, but my pelvis and my hip feel brand spankin’ new! God is good and I am on cloud nine. Just trying not to think about grad school applications and the fact that if I don’t get an answer I will be homeless (aka moving back in with my parents) in 40 days.

ALMOST FORGOT!!!! Since I returned back to school for this semester I have lost 10 pounds, 2 inches around my bust, band, hips, and thighs, and 4 inches around my waist! Getting back into shape!

Do I ever get a break?

In the library and I should be studying, but I’ve been wanting to update for a few weeks on how things have been going and what better time than when I need to be learning about stem cells and brains? 

I am still a total failure at remember my antibiotics four times a day and even with the alarms set I have missed a few. Thankfully when I went to get my prescription refilled they gave me the name brand clindamycin. If anyone else has to be on these guys for any length of time and insurance will get it, TAKE THE NAME BRAND! For the 300 mg they are electric blue, not the pink and purple guys. Not only are the blue ones a little smaller, but the aftertaste I have been dealing with for a month is no longer an issue. I tried everything to get the taste out of my mouth from the generic. Also, one popped open in my throat and sent all that nasty bitter stuff right back in my mouth. So yeah, that’s that.

I was doing so well on my running everyday and have been walking all over town for class, but a few weeks ago my pelvis started bothering me again. Dating back to my first surgery (if you didn’t read or don’t remember) I fractured my inferior pubic ramus after clumsily trip/slip/landing down the stairs a few weeks before I was released to walk. Before this third surgery I was told that it had never healed all the way. Something that I kind of knew, but logic told me that you don’t bounce around feeling good with a fractured pelvis so I pretty much denied it. Also, just so you understand the major issue, based on all of the articles that I have read, pelvic fractures heal in 12 weeks maximum. Since it wasn’t bothering me, the ever lovely Dr. Z said not to worry about it. However, starting to run every day caused it to become a little more painful, which has made me worried. I called his nurse and she told me to stop exercising and take it easy and it would heal on its own. If this was 7 months ago I would totally agree, however I had 7 months of barely walking and that obviously did nothing. I am going to try to get into an orthopedic surgeon a little closer to home for a second opinion. It’s not that I can’t deal with the pain, it is actually nothing compared to the displasia. I would be happy with this level of pain for the rest of my life, but it concerns me that it won’t heal. In addition to that my scar tissue is still too sensitive to wear jeans over and there are some areas that I am concerned about. Based on past experience that makes me nervous, but since Zaltz is in Europe this week I will ask the other guy about this too. I want to make it really clear that I love my surgeon and he has changed my life in so many amazing ways that I will forever feel thankful for, but I do not think the severity of my hip problems should have ever led to 3+ surgeries.

So in addition to all of these hip related issues I am trying to get fixed, I have also decided to apply to public health schools for the upcoming fall. Yes I am waaay behind. It makes me super excited that I could actually see myself doing something other than becoming an MD, but that I will still have that option when I am done. I have a great mentor and friend helping me through all of this and I owe her everything. Some things are starting to fall into place for this to happen and I can’t help but believe that God is starting to reveal my path. But if my personal life is anything like my medical one (which it usually is), something big and obstructive will make its way into my path and I will end up living with my parents next year working in animal research. Is it too much to ask for a quiet little townhouse along the river for my cat, my new puppy and I to live and study in order to make the world a better place? Apparently. Who knows, maybe whoever reads my application will feel bad for me and let me in.

I’ll keep you up-to-date as always after I see this new doctor and after my trip to the infectious disease doctor this week.

Nails are the window to your health

So I am getting better at taking these god awful antibiotics every six hours. I sure hope I don’t have to be on them an entire year! Anyway, the last week or so I have not had time to paint over my nails and noticed they do not look normal. Somewhere between the time I have spent in hospitals and the time I have spent studying human health and biology, I know that changes in nail appearance can be indicators of other health issues. So being the not so intelligent person that I am I decided to forego the Google search; yep, you know the one that always says you have cancer. However, for me, I have never actually got the cancer diagnosis from good old Google and for the most part have had pretty spot on results. My family used to think I was a hypochondriac, but as most of you have figured out by now, my luck surrounding my own health is anything but good. Now I don’t think twice before a quick google search and so far it has either put my mind at ease or influenced me to mention it when I end up in one of many doctors’ offices.

Today the issue is prominent white lines running parallel to the base of my nail, with identical shape to that of my lunula. They appear on my three middlemost fingers of both hands. After a quick search and some photo comparison I found the name muehrcke’s lines. I figured it probably has something to do with my multiple surgeries, staph infection, or antibiotics. I couldn’t find any connections on the google or the more academic side (obviously it was a quick search so the possibilities are still open). The most common cause, besides chemotherapy, was kidney or liver problems associated with low albumin levels. Normally something I would laugh at, but with all the antibiotics I have been on I kind of took a second glance. Maybe it bothered me most because of that phone call I received meant for another patient about being in renal failure during my first round of antibiotics. Not that I am going to run to the nearest clinic, but I might stay away from the Google for a while. I should probably focus on things like my studies or my research…. Ooohh tangent time! Did I say that I got a position in a research lab for the semester? We are looking at effects of toxins on developing embryos and how they might influence neurological problems. It seems pretty great so far, plus I will be published, which is the really cool part. Maybe I won’t have to take a year off before grad school. But I definitely will if I keep up my pointless research on health ailments that probably aren’t even affecting me. Still I really like knowledge, but I’ll stick to the scientific papers for a while.

And Sometimes You Fall Flat on Your Butt

Everything has been going great since school started back up. I have walked to all of my classes and have been trying to make a habit of walking up the stairs to my 4th floor classes. I have went to the gym a few mornings and love my new running watch. I am setting my expectations low, but definitely seeing progress over the partially abled person of a few months ago who got winded and stiff walking a block. I am thankful for every moment and relishing in every ability I find within myself. I’m not a new years resolution kind of person, but I have placed a sort of “theme” to the lifestyle changes I am able to make at this point in my recovery. Running is a Privilege. If I have learned nothing else in the past year that is one thing that has rang true. Especially with all the ups and downs of multiple surgeries and injuries. My physical abilities and limitations will forever more be loudly apparent to me and I will never take advantage of them. On that note, I went for a run this morning. Specifically I went for a run outside, on like roads and stuff. The last run I took outside was September 11, 2012 in which I felt an all too familiar pain in my hip and knew it might be the last run I ever took. I figured since it was a balmy 34 degrees I should take advantage. What I failed to realize was that the previous day had been warmer than 34 and had contained a few downpours, so all that water was now a pretty sheet of ice. I started off pretty well, not able to get into the groove because I had to watch out for ice patches and quickly dodge them. I decided on a 1.5 mile loop through campus with wide uncracked sidewalks and minimum hills. About a mile in I was feeling pretty good about myself because I was still maintaining a pace under 10 minute miles when I fell. Now, when I say that I slipped and fell on the ice, it does not do justice to what happened. I will paint a picture, I was coasting downhill and saw the icy patch in front of me. Too late to avoid it I thought I might be able to clear it if I stretched out far enough, because really, what was my other option? If I slowed down or stopped I would for sure eat it. Well, I did not beat the all-time long jump record and I went down. My foot was out in front of my body (a running no no) and it caught on the thick slippery ice. The momentum caused me to go airborne parallel to the ground before crashing down on it. I fell on my left hip bone, lower back, and hands and the fall was so hard my head felt so shaken I had a momentary fear of a concussion. No one was around to ask if I was ok, so I slowly slipped down to dry ground and got off my butt. I was shocked and sat down for a few seconds on the stairs of a nearby building and realized a few things. 1) I was a good 1/2 mile from home 2) No one, buses or otherwise where nearby and could take me home 3) If I didn’t move it would get worse quick 4) And Oh my sweet Jesus I just fell HARD…. Wait, I fell, I fell and I was able to pick myself up and move. At that point I decided I was going to finish my run home and the rest of the way I was in awe. A year ago I was taking the handicap bus to class because the slightest falter in my step caused excruciating pain that left me limping for a week. Ice was my greatest fear. One wrong step and I knew my hip could easily snap. But here I was getting up and finishing my run. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sore and I will probably have a good bruise. But those are such normal things. I just faced last years greatest fear and laughed in its face. Yeah I fell, it was icy and I don’t think I will take on another run when it looks like an ice rink outside, but I got back up. It wasn’t the perfect returning outside run in many ways, but it was in all the ways I needed it to be. In the span of 15 minutes I went from excited and unsure to humbled and empowered. If that fall couldn’t take me down, I don’t see anything that can.

I’m going to double post this one in my Hip blog and my (brand new) running blog. I have reached the point that my Hip Hope has become a bit of a reality, so I will keep my running focused to the other blog and cut down on posts here. Obviously there are unresolved problems with my hip, infections and what-not and I will keep all updated as I progress and heal more. If you want to check out my running blog its just runlindseaj.wordpress.com. Lots of love to those of you that are following and know there can be a light at the end of the long struggle with hip displasia. A year ago I never could have imagined going through what happened today with a smile on my face. It will all work out in time. Just keep faith and hope. Oh, and I forgot to tell you, even more reflective of my entire hip experience… When I went to get in my car for church this morning I fell down again. Not as hard, but the more you fall the more it seems to hurt. So if you are feeling down on yourself because it seems like you are just getting on your feet before you go crashing down again, don’t worry because you are not alone.

The Stitches Are Out

The stitches are out and good news from both doctors. Since the infection was caused by the wire sutures going through the bone it is considered a deep bone infection, which traditionally calls for a year of antibiotics. But since the infection was caused by and located around a foreign body that has been removed it changes the situation. So I might need antibiotics for a year, but we are going to start in 3 month increments and go from there. Both think that by taking the metal out the infection should be completely gone and the antibiotics are just to be certain. Obviously there is no way to be sure, but the signs are pointing there. And Dr. Z said not to come back for 3 months, maybe the longest period of time I have went without seeing him. I know he will miss me, but he said to call if I missed him too much. Well the running (indoors) starts now and here is the new scar! And yes it is so cold in my apartment that I am wearing a sweatshirt, a robe, and almost sitting on top of a space heater to stay warm. Today’s windchill was -20 and tomorrow is supposed to be colder… Yay!

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My New Scar: Snowpocalypse Eddition

Back to my place after spending the holidays with my family. We got a good amount of snow today, but most people around here really overreact to a foot of snow. What is actually scary is the windchill… Brrr. Lucky me gets to go to the doctor tomorrow, so I guess I will leave super early since these eastsiders don’t know how to handle snow. First I get to see my infectious disease doctor to talk about antibiotics. I am hoping he was exaggerating when he said 4x/day for a year because I am doing a very poor job so far and I am not even a month in. Then off to Dr. Z to get the stitches out and (fingers crossed) he will say I am healed enough to not need any more surgeries. Since this is the last day of stitches I decided to take a picture to prove how weird they are. Also I think this scar looks much better than the last one. He took a lot of tissue out where the staph was mainly located, so I have a big indent. With the extra 20+ pounds I have gained this year I wouldn’t have been opposed to a little lipo with the surgery. Oh well, I will have to do it the hard way.

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Once this stitch thing is out I am starting to run with my new watch. Unfortunately it will have to be inside since windchill might be as low as 40 below. And that is Fahrenheit people, but, fun fact, 40 below Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same temperature. Well wish me luck tomorrow!

Feeling like someone had their hands in my abdomen a few days ago. . . Oh wait. . .

Cleaning out an old surgical site doesn’t sound like a big deal until a few days after it is done. Now I am sitting around honestly feeling like my torso was used as a punching bag. To make things better I have been extremely tired and extremely nauseous. I am just praying it is not the antibiotics causing the nausea because I can’t imagine feeling like this for a year. If anyone has any suggestions to battle this never-ending nausea, please let me know.