10 August 2011


This is the story of my diagnosis. During my hospital stay, I told all my visitors some version of this story. It was quite cathartic to tell it over & over, in varying pieces and level of detail. My intent is for this blog post to be the master, every-super-gory-detail version. For posterity, I guess. It's hard to believe all this took place less than two months ago. I suppose in some ways it was also a lifetime ago.

Late in May 2011, I had a stomach ache. Can't say when it started exactly. Probably THE most common medical complaint, right? Everyone gets them. Though statistically I've probably had more than my fair share (see previous post).

The point is, this was not one of my normal stomach aches. Not the (rare for me, Mom & Dad!) "oh goddess if-I-could-puke-I'd-feel-better" hangover stomach ache. Not the "oh goddess why-can't-men-go-through-this-just-once" dull achy menstrual pains stomach ache. And not my nemesis, the "oh goddess outta-my-way" mad rush to the bathroom, diarrhea explosion, stomach ache.

No, this stomach ache was a sharp stab in the upper left of my abdomen that radiated out so that when it got bad my entire midsection was in agony. The pain was wave-like, cresting and waning, and yet never totally gone.

Thursday, 2nd June 2011. First time I sought medical attention for the problem. I'd had the pain fairly steady for a couple days at this point. I was sleeping with my trusty heating blanket every night, and I remember after three nights in a row saying to myself, this isn't normal, something's wrong. It was lunchtime & I was sitting at work, already having taken the maximum recommended dose of Tylenol for the day. (Normally, I'm one of those people who is stupid-resistant to taking over-the-counter painkillers... in absolute agony until some wiser head scolds me & says, just take something already!)

I thought about driving myself over to the emergency room, but when a wave of pain hit, I was gripping the edge of my desk in tears, and I couldn't bear the thought of waiting in emergency for hours alone, so I called my Sterling & asked him to come take me. While waiting, when the pain would fade, I would start to feel really silly, like I was wasting everyone's time & a spot in triage, because it wasn't really that bad. But then the pain would crest again, and I couldn't bear it, needed it to stop.

The wait ended up being not as bad as initially feared, maybe two hours. We got called back & I was put in a bed. The first guy to examine me (a nurse? med student? don't know) thought I might be FOS (Full Of Shit) - constipated. Told him I was a bit, but even when I went, it relieved a bit of the pain but definitely didn't get rid of it. Then a young female doctor came in... younger than my 32 years. She was absolutely convinced it was menstrual cramps (my period started the next day). The other reason for thinking this was that over the previous several months, since I'd made my major diet change, my menstrual cramps did seem to have been getting worse each month. Still, I told her I had never been someone who had bad menstrual cramps before. She said sometimes when we get older that changes. I got a lot of mileage out of that line over the next couple weeks!

The doctor talked about how Advil was a great drug, people just didn't take enough of it. She prescribed a whack of Navoproxen, which she described as "super Advils", each one worth 4-5 regular over-the-counter pills, and implied that if I had to go a little over the maximum dose, that was OK. Finally, the doctor closed by saying that even though she was sure it was menstrual cramps, she would refer me for an ultrasound just to be on the safe side.

We went to London Drugs, filled the prescription, and Sterling took me out for a late-late lunch, since the pills had to be taken with food (rough on the stomach). Then it was back to work for a couple hours, popping my new pills.

Earlier that same day, before the pain got so bad, I had called & made an appointment with a naturopath. As explained in my last post, back in December I made a major diet change, and now I was thinking that given the timing, these weird stomach pains were probably not a coincidence. The naturopath I'd seen in December was a man, but his wife is also a naturopath & they work in partnership, so I made this appointment with her. Normally gender is not a concern of mine when it comes to medical care, but if it was menstruation-related, I thought it'd be better to see a woman. The appointment was for the following Monday. I spent the weekend taking my pills, which helped a little, but even with them I was still in quite a bit of pain.

Monday, 6th June 2011. The naturopath listened to my story, including my visit to the emergency room & their diagnosis. First, given the location of the pain (upper left abdomen), she wanted a standard blood test to rule out problems with my pancreas. She could do it, but it would cost me money, so she recommended I go to my GP & get it done by him at no cost.

Assuming my pancreas wasn't the problem, she also went from the assumption that it was menstrual cramps. We went through what I ate (mostly crap in her opinion) and she prescribed a multivitamin, a cod liver oil pill, and a calcium/magnesium supplement (apparently deficiencies of these two minerals can cause inefficient shedding of the uterine lining & therefore very painful menstrual cramps... the more you know). She also asked that I track my waking temperature for a month, the pattern of which would allow her to eliminate thyroid problems as a cause. Last, she tried a magnesium push, an injection... if a lack of magnesium had been the sole cause of very painful menstrual cramps, this would have eliminated all of my pain instantly. The injection simulates a hot flash... an interesting experience, and one that gave me great sympathy for all the women I love who are going through menopause. But it didn't fix my pain.

Emotionally, I had very mixed feelings after my appointment with the naturopath. On the one hand, I felt better that (unlike the ER doctor) she was trying out ideas, looking for an actual cause, rather than prescribing pills to treat the symptoms only. But her reaction to my crappy diet & the idea that it was probably a vitamin/mineral deficiency of some kind meant that I'd probably done this to myself & had no one but myself to blame for the whole mess. There was more than a little calling myself a dumbass at this point.

I went back to work & made an appointment with my GP. Soonest I could get in was the following Monday. The rest of my week was eventful for non-illness reasons. My boss & I went for a long coffee the next day to conduct my annual performance review... I'm sure it doesn't surprise any of you that he thinks I do an awesome job, right?! ;) Ironically, we even discussed my health issues & all the work projects I'd be getting done once my health was better. Best laid plans.

I had the rest of the week (Wednesday to Friday) off work to study. I'm enrolled in the CGA program & had a finance exam Friday night I'd been trying to prepare for. My cat Bob was just recovering from being very sick himself (more irony: at one point we thought *he* had cancer). Point is between Bob being sick & then me, I didn't hold out much hope for the exam. I studied as much as I could through the pain & wrote the exam Friday at 6:30PM. Was just glad to be done with it, even though I was 70-30 I'd failed. (I found out recently that I managed to pull a rabbit out of my um, orifice, and actually passed! Yay me!)

Sterling picked me up after the exam at 9:30PM & we drove to Williams Lake for the night. We had long-standing plans to do a whirlwind trip to Kelowna that weeekend, as Sterling's extended family was having a big bash for his Uncle Rick's 50th birthday. We would have gone down earlier & spent more time if not for my exam. We spent Saturday night in a camper in Kelowna and after a quick lunch with Sterling's biological father, and an even quicker visit with his paternal grandmother, we were headed home again, as I had to work on Monday.

I felt bad, because I wasn't much fun the whole trip. In spite of the ER doctor's pills, which by the drive back were being interspersed with extra-strength Tylenol, I was in more and more pain. We got home to Prince George in the wee hours Monday morning... so grateful to see my own bed & my heating blanket. I couldn't wait for the doctor's appointment later that day.

Monday, 13th June 2011. My first appointment with my GP over this whole mess. In my head, I'd gone over & over exactly what I was going to say, explaining my symptoms rationally. Instead, the doctor walked in the room, asked how I was feeling, and I burst into tears. The constant pain had worn me down that much already. My GP was awkward, asked if I was worried that it was something serious. I nodded, not really able to speak. I had the impression he was humouring me, and/or just trying to get the crazy crying lady out of there ASAP. He ordered blood & urine tests, and an x-ray. I asked him about the ultrasound the emergency doctor had referred me for, and he said yes, go ahead and book that as well. When I mentioned that I was way over the recommended dose of the Navoproxen, and interspersing it with Tylenol, he prescribed me T3s. He told me to book an appointment within the next couple days to get the test results back, but when I went to do that, the soonest his staff was able to book me was the following Monday, which sucked.

I went downstairs to the lab to get the blood/urine tests done immediately before returning to work, but the lineup was ridiculous & not moving at all. Since it would be a week till I could get the results anyways, I decided to come back first thing the next morning & try to get it done before work. I was starting to stress a little about how much work I kept missing for all these doctor appointments (especially combined with the fact that even when I was there, I was less-than-optimally productive because of the pain). I did go across the hall & get the x-ray done though, since I was able to get in quickly for that. I had never had an x-ray before, other than dental ones, but it was quick & easy… I changed into a hospital gown, lay down on the table, snap, snap, done.

I then stopped to fill the T3 prescription on my way back to work. I'd only ever taken a T3 once before, more than a decade earlier after getting my wisdom teeth removed. I remember it knocking me on my ass, and was nervous about driving while under their influence, so waited until I got back to work to try them. They did make the pain more bearable, but didn’t seem to make me high. I remained cautious about taking them directly before driving for quite a while after that though.

Once back at work, I took my T3s and called to book the ultrasound. The ER referral hadn’t called me to book it until I was off studying for my exam, and since my appointment with my GP was pending so soon, I had decided to wait & see what he wanted me to do before booking. When I called them now, they chided me for not calling back sooner, as now the soonest they could get me in was early July.

Tuesday, 14th June 2011. As planned, stopped by on my way to work to get the blood & urine tests done, ended up being only a little late to work as a result.

Friday, 17th June 2011. This definitely falls under way Too Much Information (TMI) but I'm determined to be thorough here! The T3s (which I’d been taking two every 4 hours or so, so 8-10 a day) had me so constipated, and Ex-Lax wasn’t working, so on the way home from work I stopped to pick up a few groceries... and an enema. It's hard for me to believe even now that lying on a towel in the middle of the bathroom floor, giving myself my first enema, was no-where close to the worst part of my month. A few minutes later, when I could go, not a lot but a little, I was pathetically grateful for even that little bit of relief from the pain.

Sunday, 19th June 2011.Father’s Day. My Dad becomes the lucky first family member to find out what’s going on, when I call him to wish him Happy Father’s Day, and he’s not home, so I leave a message, and he calls back in a moment when my pain is quite extreme. I end up having a complete crying meltdown on the phone, and have to ask Sterling to call my Dad back to reassure him that I am in fact ok. I’m not really, but I don’t want to worry him (or anyone else).

Monday, 20th June 2011. It had been a long week. Given how angry & frustrated I already was, I knew I was far beyond being able to speak rationally about my pain, so I had Sterling come with me to my appointment. All my test results came back clean. I was a little anemic, but that wouldn’t cause the pain. The doctor asked if I was still experiencing the pain. YES!!! Oh, so we have a little bit of a mystery on our hands, he says. I could have killed him. The next step is the ultrasound. When I told him I had booked it & it was still weeks away, he was unmoved. Sterling asked him if there was anything he could do to move it up, and he said no, probably not. We then asked if there were any other tests that could be done. He said it was possible I would be able to get in for a CT scan faster, and he would refer me for one. The theory at this point is that it could be kidney stones, as some types wouldn’t show up on the x-ray. This made sense to me, given the excruciating pain, and the fact that my paternal grandfather had a history of kidney problems and my younger brother had previously had kidney stones. Painful but nothing really seriously wrong. At no point did the GP ask how I was doing on the T3s. When I went to book a follow-up appointment, again the soonest I could get in was the following Monday, a whole week away. I tell them no thanks, I will call later in the week for a same-day appointment instead. They tell me that’s fine.

Sterling & I drove home, and then I drove the car to work. I was very angry & frustrated with my GP, whom I had never gotten on with particularly well. In the past, when all I’d ever needed him for was my annual physical & birth-control prescription, dealing with him had been a minor frustration, but now I felt very much alone. When I got to work, I found that my Dad had called them & they were now very concerned. I had been keeping them all at least somewhat in the loop as to what was going on, given all the times I kept ducking out for doctor’s appointments. Later that afternoon, I called the hospital and they were able to get me in for a CT scan the next day. Finally, progress & good news! I just had to stop & pick up a bottle of contrast agent on my way home from work. Mixed it up with water that night & divided it up into the three doses: the first several hours before, the second a few hours later, then some to take to the exam and drink right before the scan.

Tuesday, 21st June 2011. Went to work, drank the fowl-tasting contrast precisely as scheduled, and then left to get the CT. For the CT scan they tell everyone that is getting a scan that hour to show up at the start of the hour, and then they call you in for the scan in some mysterious order. When it was my turn, I had to change into a hospital gown, lay down on the machine’s table, and they injected me with a second contrast material. Had a nice chat with the tech, snap, snap, snap, pictures taken, and done & back to work. I had made sure to ask the tech when the results would be ready; she said a couple days. The GP’s office started taking phone calls for a limited number of same-day appointments each morning at 7:30AM, and I decided it was past time to be pushy. I would give them Wednesday, then Thursday morning I would start calling, asking, are my results back? If so, can I have an appointment today to get them?

Thursday, 23rd June 2011. Called my GP’s office at 7:30AM as planned. Find out he is out of town until Monday! This was SO not mentioned to me when I was in their office earlier that week, telling them my intention to call for a same day appointment later in the week! To make matters even worse, I am about to run out of T3s (I didn’t realize until the last minute that my supply was so low, but then remember the doctor hadn’t asked either).

At this point I decide to go to the emergency room after work, with the knowledge that I will have to wait a long time to be seen, but worst case scenario I will get enough T3s to cover me until Monday, and best case scenario, they will have access to the CT results. I call Sterling to let him know not to expect me till late. Got to the hospital at 5:30PM, and settled in with my book. “Peak Performance Principles For High Achievers” by John R. Noe – a classic in the self-help field. Difficult to concentrate, but I get through most of the book before finally getting seen four hours later at 9:30PM.

But Dr. Spooner is well worth the wait. After examining me & using a small ultrasound machine to look at my stomach, he tells me has seen the CT scan, and there are abnormalities. I have fluid in my abdomen & inflammation of the omentum and connective tissues that hold the intestines in place. My what? A later doctor described the omentum as the abdomen’s shock absorber, it is a layer of fatty tissue that folds over your entire abdomen. I ask Dr. Spooner, how unusual is this? How concerned should I be? He says that it could be something minor, or it could be something quite serious, it’s difficult to tell from just this picture. He mentions cancer, asks if there is much family history. I mention that my grandmother died of a very rare cancer, I think it may have been of the connective tissues.

Because I had my blood work & urine tests done at Victoria Medical Building rather than at the hospital, Dr. Spooner doesn’t have access to the results, would I mind if he redid the tests? Not at all! Also, he orders a chest x-ray for reasons I still don’t understand. It is quite late at this point, and I am now going to have to wait around until they can perform all these tests, so I borrow their phone to call Sterling to let him know what’s going on. He comes down to meet me. I mention to Dr. Spooner that my GP has not up to this point seemed very concerned or in any great hurry; he says that’s because the GP hasn’t seen the CT results. Dr. Spooner promises to move up my ultrasound for me, refills my T3 prescription, and asks how I’m doing on them, and prescribes some laxatives to help with the side effects. All in all, as we leave that night, I am more than a little scared... cancer is a scary possibility. But I am also reassured, because at least progress is being made. Dr. Spooner's care and compassion has gone a long way to restore my faith in the system. Yes, it’s been sluggish in response up until now, but I feel that things will now move into high gear.

Friday, 24th June 2011. Same as for the last couple mornings, in spite of taking T3s right before going to sleep, I wake up in excruciating pain, barely able to get out of bed. At 6AM I manage to get up, throw back my last two T3s, and while sitting on the couch waiting for them to kick in, I call my mom to ask about what kind of cancer her mother died from. When my mom answers, she immediately asks what’s wrong. She just does not get phone calls from her kids at 6AM. I tell her my story, she says you must be scared shitless, and I cry and say I’m ok. I was wrong about the cancer that grandma died from, it was one that attacked various vital organs, not connective tissues, like what is inflamed for me. I am a little reassured by this. My mom is upset that I didn’t tell her sooner about what was going on, but I didn’t want to worry her. I promise to keep her posted from here on out.

The previous night after getting home, since I only had a few T3s left, I googled which pharmacy was open earliest. I stop at Shoppers Drug Mart and wait for them to open, fill my prescription for T3s and for the over-the-counter laxatives Dr. Spooner recommended, and then stop at the Ritz Bakery on my way to work. I buy a big box of pastries for my coworkers, hoping to bribe karma or something.

The ultrasound people call before 9AM and book me for that very afternoon. I love Dr. Spooner even more! They instruct me about how much water I have to drink starting pretty much right away in order to ensure I have the full bladder required for the ultrasound, and I start chugging it back. Shortly after speaking with them, low & behold my GPs office calls, the CT results are back and they want to book me for a follow-up appointment on Monday afternoon. I tell them about my emergency room visit & that I am also getting an ultrasound done that afternoon.

Ultrasound time. Between the pain & the full bladder, I’m in agony, but I managed to drive myself to the hospital, and check in at the correct place. Every second in the waiting room is awful, trying to hold it all in. The ultrasound technician is so nice, but can’t get a clear view of one of my ovaries. She says she wants to do an internal ultrasound, and the good news for that is I get to empty my bladder first! Hallelujah! I pee and then we do the internal ultrasound, which involves the camera wand in my vagina. Still much more comfortable than the regular ultrasound with the full bladder. Towards the end of the test the doctor comes in to take a look and speak with me, since this was a referral from emergency. I guess the most common cause of my symptoms would have been ovarian cancer, but there are no signs of any tumors or anything on any of my lady bits. They do see on the ultrasound the same inflammation and fluid that the CT scan picked up. She tells me the same thing Dr. Spooner did the night before, that the next logical step will likely be a surgical referral for some biopsies. Still, no sign of anything serious on the ultrasound is good news, and I'm so glad to be making progress towards finally finding out what's wrong with me.

I head back to work, and then on to the weekend. The weekend is long, and in spite of the T3s I am in a lot of pain. Several times Sterling asks me if I want to go back to the emergency room (Dr. Spooner told me to come back if anything changed) but I tough it out. I am sure that come Monday my GP will leap into action. I am determined to follow the proper process.

Monday, 27th June 2011. I call at 7:30AM and have my afternoon appointment moved to the morning. Again Sterling accompanies me. The doctor comes in and tells me the same things about the CT results that Dr. Spooner already covered. Then he brings out the form to move up the ultrasound. I tell him I had the ultrasound on Friday. What, really? He tries to look up the results online, but they’re not available yet. He leaves the room to call for an oral report. When he comes back, he confirms what everyone else has been saying, the next step is as surgical referral for biopsies. He has a great surgeon he usually works with. Sterling asks, this isn’t going to take weeks, right? She’s in so much pain. The doctor reassures us that no, if his preferred doctor can’t get me in right away, he will refer me to someone else instead. OK then. Sterling points out that the T3s are barely taking the edge off. The GP agrees to move me up to morphine. Although, he says, I can’t expect to get rid of all my pain. He can probably cut it down to 30%. He writes the prescription for morphine, we go to get it filled, and I intend to go from there into work. In spite of all the time off for doctor’s appointments, and definitely being less effective from the pain, I have been working though out this entire ordeal up until now. Sterling puts his foot down and says no, I’m not going in today. He says I have no idea how I’ll react to morphine. Fine, fair point. We do stop by the office to fill them in on what’s going on and that I won’t be in. As we’re about to leave my office, my phone rings. It is the surgical consult. They can book me for the consult only on Thursday afternoon. This is before Canada Day Friday long weekend. It’s going to be at least a week before any more progress is made! Numb, I agree to the appointment, and head home. Take the morphine through out the day as prescribed. It does nothing more for my pain than the T3s did, except I now have a splitting headache too. I call all my family to fill them in on what’s going on. They are all also outraged and disappointed at the long delay. Sterling is working that night and has an out-of-town call; I stay up until he gets home. It’s nearly midnight as we head to bed. He tells me afterwards that I looked like death. We’re lying in bed, me propped up with several pillows, in so much pain, and I very softly whisper, hon, I’m almost thinking…never mind. Sterling asks, no, what is it? I was just thinking maybe we should go to the emerg… I never even got to finish the thought, Sterling was out of bed, the light was on, and he was helping me into my clothes. That was all he'd been waiting for.

Tuesday, 28th June 2011. We arrive in the emergency room after midnight. At check-in I mention that I was there last Thursday night and saw Dr. Spooner, the nurse says on he’s on again tonight, and I instantly feel better. In spite of the hour we still have to wait a few hours before being seen. We got quite the show while waiting though. First an RCMP officer brings in a young kid, who keeps trying to run off. Then another guy comes in escorted by four RCMP officers. When we’re finally taking back and I’m put in a bed, we see Dr. Spooner again and I fill him in on everything. He tells me he’s going to keep me overnight, give me something for the pain, and I’ll see the surgeon first thing in the morning. Have I mentioned how much I love Dr. Spooner?! The nurse comes by, puts an IV in my right arm (difficult to do with my little veins that like to play hide-and-seek, but she manages on the first try) and through the IV they give me Gravol (which I had once before years before and it puts me out like a light) and something wonderful called Dilaudid. Shortly after they put this stuff in my IV, I’m holding Sterling’s hand looking at him grinning and saying “Wow. Oh, wow.” Over and over. It’s the first time in a month I’m not in pain.

Sterling wants to stay, but by now it’s 4AM and I tell him he’ll be better able to help me if he goes home and gets some sleep. Besides, I’m finally feeling no pain! Sterling reluctantly leaves and I manage to get several hours sleep.

The next morning I have to wait in the ER for quite a while. Sterling comes back, with his Timmy’s, to the envy of the staff. I can’t have anything to eat or drink at all, not even water, because they are going to get me into surgery as soon as possible. Two young interns come by who are going to be involved in the surgery and speak with me about it. Finally I meet the wonderful Dr. Wankling, my surgeon, and he explains that he is going to do a laparoscopic surgery to get the biopsies. Looking back on it now, I can't believe I wasn't more nervous about having surgery, but I was just so tired of the pain. Eventually I get wheeled upstairs for a short bit, where we wait for a bit. I say goodbye to Sterling as they wheeled me off to surgery, where I’m put under.

I wake in recovery, in so much pain. I later discover they have me back on morphine rather than the Dilaudid that actually worked the night before. Ice chips are heaven. Once I calm down a little, they wheel me upstairs, where I’m reunited with Sterling... and given a private room. Later, Sterling will tell me this is when he first figures it’s something serious, because most of the rooms in the post-surgery ward are doubles. I don’t think anything of it though, because I’m still in massive amounts of pain. They keep trying to control it with morphine, and it’s just not working. I end up rambling to Sterling, hon, I can’t do this, I can’t stand this, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I tell the nurses about how the morphine pills didn’t work and that the stuff they gave me in the ER did work (I couldn't remember the name Dilaudid). They switch me over to the Dilaudid, and the pain while not gone starts to become controlled. Now we’re just waiting for Dr. Wankling, who will come talk to us as soon as he gets a chance, he just had a lot of surgeries that day. So we wait. It’s getting close to 5PM so I call my work and let them know I won’t be in again tomorrow. (Sterling had called the previous night when he got home & left a message that I wouldn’t be in that day.) The CEO calls me back and tells me to call as soon as I get the results. We also call my mom & dad to update them on what’s happening, as the last they had heard I was going to have to wait at least a week before surgery. Since it’s Tuesday, Sterling’s work shift starts and he gets an in-town call-out. He puts it off as long as he can, but then has to leave. Of course, shortly after he’s gone is when the surgeon finally comes in.

Dr. Wankling fortunately has the best bedside manner. He doesn’t pull any punches though: they found cancer in my omentum. They took biopsies which are currently being analyzed, but he has seen one other virtually identical case years ago, and in that case it was stomach cancer that had spread to the omentum, and he suspects that’s what’s happened in my case too. He asks about calling Sterling, but I tell him Sterling will be back soon. He tells me to have the nurses page him to come talk to Sterling as soon as he gets back. He tells me he is going to call my parents, what’s their numbers? I hand him my little red book, point them out, and he leaves to make the calls.

I’m in shock, and for a good ten to fifteen minutes, absolutely terrified. Cancer! Oh god, I’m going to die. I don’t want to die! But soon a sense of absolute calm descends, and I just know: I’m not going to die. This is going to change everything, but I am going to survive, and thrive. This is going to suck, but it will be a massive learning & growth experience. I’m going to be OK.

I’m so glad this feeling arrived when it did, because it put me in the right place mentally to comfort Sterling & my family. As it turned out, after Dr. Wankling called my Dad, Dad immediately called Sterling, who was done his call and on his way back to the hospital. My Dad of course didn’t want to break the news to Sterling over the phone that way, but Sterling knew from the tone of my Dad’s voice that something was very wrong, and insisted. Of course, when Sterling had left they had been just starting to control my pain, and fresh in his mind is all my "I can’t live like this.: So of course he arrived in my hospital room very very upset, telling me that he needs me & I had to fight this, and I was able to reassure him and calm him down.

Then I started calling. I called my best friend Mandy, so she could let all our circle of friends know what was going on. Then I tried to call the CEO, and when she was out of cell phone range called her executive coordinator to make sure work knew. Then I started calling my family: my Mom, my Dad & Stepmom, my brother, and my sister. All so upset. I was able to reassure all of them a bit. Eventually, after all those phone calls, we were so lucky that my private room had a fold-down couch & Sterling was welcome to stay with me. We settled in for the night.

So there, that’s the story of how my life got turned upside down in one short month. I’ll continue on with the story of my hospital stay in my next post. This was a really tough post for me to write; not only is it long & I wanted to include all the details I could, but I haven’t been in the right head space to go back & relive this awful ordeal. But I wanted everyone to know where I’m coming from, and in order to do that you have to know what I went through to get here. Thank you for reading this whole ridiculously long thing - you really should get an endurance medal or something! ;)


  1. Holly, you deserve the medal! Yo brave, brave woman. I think you've got a book in you.

  2. Holly, you are such a strong woman. An inspiration!!!!