Unexpected Visit

In my last post I talked about this crazy mystery sickness I was having.. Nausea, vomiting, and basically coughing up my lungs was the big issue. Well the coughing part ended up being RSV and I finally got rid of it but the stomach issues are still haunting me.  UGH. I had been throwing up maybe once every day or every other day but was constantly nauseous.  Every week I would go to the doctor they would either give me a new medication for nausea or change up the way I was taking it… NOTHING helped. With all the medications I’m on already, this had to be one of the most frustrating things for me…  I just wanted to find something that helped.

Well this past Sunday I had hit rock bottom. I had been throwing up all day long (food, liquid, medicine). My body hadn’t had a break in days.  My body ached with absolutely no energy. Anything and everything would trigger it. My mom would offer me water and just thinking about drinking water would make me gag. Like what in the world? Let me tell you… It was AWFUL. If you know me, it takes a lot for anyone to get me to the ER because I never leave happy. I somehow talked myself into it Sunday because I was desperate for help. So thats were my mom and I ended up.

We pull up and every single seat in the ER waiting room is full. Y’all, people were even laying on the floor! WTH!?!? All I could think about was how long of a night it was going to be.  With my immune system being so weak, I stayed in the car while my mom went and checked me in (You weren’t going to catch me sitting on the ground for nothin). She comes right back out and said they were cleaning my room now and I should be called back soon. WAHOO!  (Sometimes being a transplant patient works in your favor….. sometimes…) I got called right back but was put in isolation.  Nurses come right in and draw blood and help get me situated.  Nausea medicine and Morphine were given to me through the IV while we waited for results to come back. Oh my goodness. The Morphine I think is was saved me.  My body was finally given a break after a month of constant vomiting and belly aches… I finally was able to relax and just rest.

After about an hour or so the blood results finally had come back. My hemoglobin was down to 4.4. Just 5 days prior it was up to 9! This was very concerning to the doctor so being admitted was the only option (That is when I reminded myself of why I hated going to the ER ). At this point I was still feeling great from the morphine and was so frustrated that I had to stay but I thought for sure they were going to fix me and it would all be worth it in the end.  The transporters finally came in and said they were taking me to a room on the 12th floor.  That put a huge smile on my face and took a huge weight off my shoulders. That is were all my favorite nurses worked so I knew I would be taken care of.  We get up to the room and it happens to be the same exact room I was first admitted to last May when this whole journey started. HOW CRAZY!?  Also, it was the last room open in the WHOLE hospital. Even more crazy.

Its about 3am by the time I get into my room and situated.  They take my vitals and my blood pressure is extremely low. That never happens to me! So they have to closely monitor it all night (in other words I was not going to be sleeping that night. ugh).  I finally began my blood transfusion and started feeling a bit better. By morning I had way more energy and my hemoglobin was back up to 9.9! That was very exiting. The doctor was still really confused and wanted to run a few test on my numbers to see why it had dropped so much so I wouldn’t be going home until the next day. I was able to eat two meals without throwing up which was great for me. By Monday night the nausea had come back. I tried different medications which didn’t work for me but was able to sleep through it.

Tuesday morning a lot of my numbers had dropped but my hemoglobin had stayed the same so the doctor was happy with that. I was able to go home Tuesday but my stomach issue was never solved. I ended up throwing up that night. Ugh. I’m Just glad to be out of the hospital. Thursday, I go back to the doctor and am going to get this stomach issue solved!

During my hospital stay I lost a sweet friend to cancer.  She was such a happy little girl to be around. It made me reflect on my life this past year and remind me of how blessed I am to be where I’m at today.  She fought her hardest and so will I.  Gods plan is the best plan, you just have to believe!

-XO Kara

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I’m back……

I know so many of you have been waiting so patiently for my next blog post.. I’m sorry it has taken so long but to be honest I felt like whatever I posted would just be a whole rant of me complaining about stupid things going on.  But then I was like okay no that is so far from true because there are so many amazing things that this past month has me grateful for… So here is a little bit of both.

I had been so excited for this Christmas break because all my friends I’ve been dying to see would finally be home and my life wouldn’t be so dang boring.. Well literally the day everyone got home things went down hill (duh because it’s my life and thats just the way it works).  I had a doctor appointment that day and my numbers ended up being a little low so to be safe a shot was required to help my body recover those numbers quickly. Also, they FINALLY took me off the awful steroid that made me look like a literal ballon that was about to pop and my virus medicine because it was gone for good! Two medicines less a day, Praise God!  Little did I know all that would make things get a little crazy… Just that next day my body aches where awful, I had no appetite (SO not like me lol), no energy and honestly just felt awful. By the end of the week everything had gotten worse. I wasn’t eating and was completely nauseous. Something had to be done.  I ended up spending the next two days at the hospital receiving blood transfusions so I would hopefully be able to enjoy my Christmas with the family. And I did! I was feeling good a few days after and then things just got rough again. I caught an awful something that they can’t figure out.  I’m still trying to it fight off.. I sound like a dying horse even with the 8 new medicines and breathing treatments they have me on. I’ve had multiple test done, X-rays, nose swabs and its still a mystery. Thankfully, my appetite is finally slowly coming back and the vomiting is down to a minimum.  I have never been very picky with food, but this past month has been such a challenge for me. If I even smelt something that didn’t sound good to me at the moment, I was running to the bathroom. Could of been my favorite food, just not right then. I will have to say, I haven’t worked my stomach muscles this much in a LONG time (it’s all about finding the good in the bad y’all)!  Right now my bed is my worst enemy because we have gotten way to close this past month… Im at the point where I want to be anywhere but my bed (a year ago I would of never imagined myself saying that lol). Anyways, as many challenges as I’ve had this past month and as hard as it is so accept this setback, I still am fighting my hardest to get better.  Things are finally looking up again!

So heres all the amazing things that have happened this past month! As sick as I have felt, I have had my amazing family by my side to take care of me AT HOME. Gosh, I don’t think anyone understands how thankful I am to be able to spend my days in my home and not in the hospital. The few days I did have to spend there, I was gifted units of blood from someone who had donated. Such a simple act of kindness, and saves peoples lives like mine! I had an amazing Christmas with my family as always.. My sisters came to visit and I actually got to go visit them (secrets kept from the Dr. since I’m not suppose to travel further than 50 miles from the hospital…. oh well). We always have so much fun together no matter how I’m feeling, which makes its definitely worth breaking the rules to see them.  I just recently got approved to take an online class this Spring Semester!  WAHOOO. Even though its only one class, I’m so excited to be a student again.  One step closer to being ‘Me’.  Although I didn’t get to see/do everything I wished to do with my friends this break, I’m so thankful for the time I did get to spend with them. Thank you for always encouraging me and supporting me no matter what!

There is so much I’m missing I’m sure because its been so long.. I promise I will be better about keeping y’all updated! Good news or bad, there is always something to be grateful for and I need to continue to remind myself of that. God is so good to me and has a perfect future planned ahead!

-XO Kara

 

Beauty comes from the inside

How am I feeling? I know everyone is dying to know because its been so long.. I would probably tell you I’m feeling good. If my doctor asked it would be a whole different story..

This past month, I’m going to be honest, I have struggled a lot and it has been something I haven’t been sure I wanted to share with everyone but here I am.  As a 22 year old girl, my physically image is naturally important to me.  After receiving my transplant and with all the medicines (steroids) I’m on my body has completely changed and accepting it has been something I’m working my best at. My skin is extremely thin and sensitive to where wearing certain clothes just hurts.. The GVHD has caused an awful rash that covers my body shoulders to toes that itches like crazy and looks just… so ugly. My face is as round/big as a watermelon and feels like its about to bust. My stomach looks like a pregnant women halfway through her pregnancy and has caused stretch marks that feel like they are bleeding half the time because they are constantly getting worse.  When I wake up I dread having to go brush my teeth because I don’t want to have to look in the mirror to see what has gotten worse.  That is the truth… Then I try to remind myself this is all apart of the beautiful journey God is putting me through and how much worse it could be. It is temporary and all of these scars will only help show my strength.  True beauty comes from the inside and all this crap I am complaining about shouldn’t matter.  Its definatly easier said then done, but I am working on accepting it all!

Well that is really how I’m feeling, but there is so much more.. My virus is gone, wahoo! Im still on medication for it but not for much longer. The steroids (from hell that make me a massive watermelon) I hope to be off of soon also… I have graduated to going to the doctor now only once a week which is super exciting for me. Im still having to get fluids and magnesium each time but hopefully not for much longer. I feel myself getting stronger everyday which is such a blessing. My energy level changes day by day just because my body is trying to adjust to medication changes so often but I’m able to do so much more just in general. Its truly amazing how far I’ve come but will be more amazing to see how far I will get!

Thats all I have for Doctor updates! Now for the good stuff.

Thanksgiving was perfect! It was amazing to be able to spend it home with the family. While my sister was in town we went to Painting with a Twist and had a ton of fun/all got frustrated with things not being “perfect” lol.  Oh and we made it out without my mom having the artist doing the whole thing for her!

Here I am almost 3 months post transplant sitting with not a hair on my head… just a few what I call “little nubs”.. eyebrows halfway there but still ratchet.. eyelashes just suck always, not gunna talk about that and it’s December! As y’all know, I’ve hated anything on my head since the day I lost my hair… Hot and annoying and just not my thing. Yeah , well I went into Costco the other day and I think I changed my mind. They have this refrigerated section for produce and holy moly…… Any hair I had left on my body froze off in there and my poor head was probably purple along with my nose and ears! So yeah, I figure it’s time to figure this cold weather and bald thing out…. scarves. hats. wigs. (Just NONE of those cancer hat things.ever.)

Shopping has been my hobby.. and my exercise for the day! Also my place for tragic events like face planting in the parking lot to happen.. Heres the story. Im walking out of Old Navy, wallet in one hand  and shopping bags in the other. The parking lot is super busy because of the holidays so I’m waiting to cross. A lady slows down so I start crossing the street and literally trip over nothing and faceplate smack dab in the middle of the busy street. I can’t catch myself because my hands are full so I’m just laying in the middle of the street. The lady speeds up and parks to ask if I’m okay but I can’t respond because I had the wind nocked out of me.  All I could think about was how the hell I was going to get up and what the hell had just happened.  After about 5 seconds of just laying there I was up and made it to my car. Just a few holes in the clothes and scrapes, but the funniest memory after the fact!

This past weekend I was able to sneak down to Houston for a night to surprise my sister for  her engagement! No, my doctor doesn’t know but I made it there and back in one peice and thats all that matters.  It was such an exciting night for everyone. I now am going to have two of the best brother-in-laws anyone could ask for and most importantly two of the happiest sisters! So excited to start planning.

Now its time to thank everyone for all of the love and support you give me every single day. Over $500 was raised by everyone who bought bracelets or donated money to help my family through this time. Im so blessed to be so loved and prayed for, I wish there were words that could express how thankful I am for each and  everyone of yall!

-XO Kara

Like Mother like Daughter

Grab your popcorn, hot chocolate (to early? No.), and get cozy because it’s a long one! Maybe… My brain kinda is off lately. They call it “Chemo Brain”. (It’s real I swear). It’s hard for me to get my thoughts out and not sound completely like a kindergartener… So here we go!

Starting out with my most awesome news:

Yesterday I found out I’m 100% my mommy! Transplant was completely successful. Results took way longer than expected to come back because they didn’t get enough bone marrow during my biopsy the first time (of course, y’all). But they came back and they were more than perfect so no complaining, only praising the good Lord!

Next on the list: Last week I found out I have a blood virus. I know Ugh. Luckily my doctor caught it right away and I started getting treated right away. Yes, this has kinda been a set back for me because it means more medicine which means the more my body has to adjust.. and the more side effects.. like this awesome thing called “moon face” aka swollen pig face (This is real too, and I have it). It’s quite awful y’all. My face looks and feels like a stiff round ball that gets bigger every second I swear. You know it’s bad, when the doctors actually have a name for it. Like can’t y’all do something about this?  I’m sure there’s a meme of me out there with my face and the supermoon the other night.. Ugh oh well whatcha gunna do, it’s just temporary! Some other side effects I’ve been battling with is my Tremor. It causes my hands and jaw to shake and occasionally my legs. Nothing serious except annoying and occasionally painful with the shooting pain it causes. You should see me try to eat soup …… not happening unless I’ve got an hour to finish. I get like a drip cause it all shakes out lol. Y’all, other than that I have nothing to complain about and that’s all a blessing from the man upstairs. I still go twice a week for my fluids to keep this girl going her strongest, and because my doctors just miss seeing me I like to think.. lol.

As I thank the Lord everyday for everything during this journey of becoming cancer free, struggles and all I have to continue to remind myself of the future ahead. This journey is not over for me quite yet but He has everything planned out. I have to continue to be strong, patient and brave because I still have a long road ahead.  It’s not easy, and it’s not going to be but so worth it in the end. Giving up on hope and faith isn’t in me, and never will be. Everyday I’m stronger and a little bit closer to being the best Me there is!

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Wahoo, God is so good! I love him so.

Oh there is more!

Last week I was able to attend Light the Night sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with my parents. It was one of the most special nights I’ve ever experienced. It was a night to celebrate love and life and we did that! There were hundreds of people there. I got to see my nurses, doctors and friends from transplant! (Tell me if this isn’t weird. Me and the other patient I knew were the only two bald people we saw … at a CANCER event. Lol) Anyways, the walk was beautiful. Dallas TX was full of love and support that night. I didn’t get to finish the walk, but I enjoyed every second and will be back next year to cross the finish line stronger than ever!

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I’m Winning!

Got the big news today! Everything came back just how they wanted it.. NEGATIVE .. It has to be one of the best feelings in the world! So many emotions I just simply can’t explain. There have been many days I’ve asked why me, why was I chosen to go through this crazy battle… God is constantly reminding me why, and it’s because he knew I would be damn good at it. He made me everything that I am today, a fighter and a survivor. A believer and never a quitter.  Today is another day to celebrate in my book!

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My journey continues. I have my good days and bad, but mostly good which I’m so thankful for. I’m slowly gaining my strength back and it’s a pretty amazing experience. Everyday I notice something getting easier for me and I just think “Ahh, I’m one step closer to being me again!”. I got this super cute medicine ball and itty bitty weights… yes, it’s a HUGE workout for me. One day at a time! Oh and this week it’s finally going to feel like “fall” outside, so walking the neighborhood will definitely be a thing. Wahoo!

My days are still pretty boring since I’m still restricted to a lot… so my new hobby is Pinteresting recipes… to cook… Y’all, cooking is so hard but I’m learning! (If the prep time says 30 min, it’s going to take me an hour and a half. Ugh) Oh well, it’s fun and I’ve enjoyed it.

That’s all for now! Oh, and Happy Halloween.

Family Love

This weekend was beyond perfect. I’m so blessed with the most amazing family. They love me, encourage me, pray for me, and are my number one fans. This weekend was about celebrating life, and how amazing it is.

Yesterday, I got to snuggle with my favorite little boy while watching some football.. and of course my fur babies had to have a turn also. (Lexi is just about attached at my hip since I’ve been home and I love every thing about it. My “little” lap dog).

The weather was absolutely perfect.. can I get a wahoo for fall?! Perfect weather for my baldness, not to cold not to hot so yes we spent the evening on the patio. My favorite!

Last but not least.. S’MORES! S’mores around the fire with fun stories and a bunch of laughs. I also figured out my girl scout days are a little rusty… not so great at the s’mores thing but it’s not always about looks! Still tasted 100%.img_0095-1

Today, I celebrated a whole month since my transplant. How crazy is that! God has been so amazing to me and I’m so grateful all he has done and continues to do for me. I’m thankful for everyone who has been apart of my journey and all my prayer warriors out there. Y’all are amazing and I look forward to keeping y’all updated.img_0100

Tomorrow is my big day! I go in for fluids and magnesium at 9:30 and then to see my doctor. 2 is go time! (Whoever schedules surgeries at 2 obviously came from space because no food or water until after is just not OK. This girl is about to be…… grumpy). Oh well. I’m ready!

“I can do all things through Chris who gives me strength”  -Philippians 4:13

-XO Kara

Be Brave

Monday is a big day for me.. My first bone marrow biopsy after transplant! As you can imagine I have so many mixed emotions about this.. This will tell how much of my moms cells have engrafted in me and how much cancer is left. Ahhh! Kinda a big deal..

Im not good with this kind of stuff.. The biopsy is at 2 and results probably won’t come back for about 2 weeks… From the second I wake up until the second the doctor calls with results I’m going to be making myself crazy. Ugh

God has all of this in control, and whatever the outcome is I know is part of his plan. Monday, I pray he fills my heart with bravery and trust. All will go well.

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Until then, heres to a weekend full of fun with the fam!

-XO Kara

Love your Melon

During my last hospital stay I had a special friend who stayed a few doors down from me. We had a few things in common such as a bald head, a love for the color pink, and a fight that we weren’t going to give up on.. One thing that made us different was that she was only 3. This stay she was going on over 100 days..And it wasn’t the first time. A 3 year old stuck in a hospital for over 100 days. Can you even imagine?

Ellie and I loved to walk to halls together. What was so special was that no matter what she would always have a smile on her face.. This girl had gone through more than most people will ever go through and she still found something to smile about. That is what life is all about. Always keep smiling, even when things don’t seem to be going your way.

Getting to know Ellie was such a blessing. She was released 4 days before me, and I was just as excited for her as I was on my release date. She inspired me and encouraged me everyday to just keep smiling.

 Childhood cancer is something that affects way to many kids and families daily. In honor of Ellie and her family, this hat is worn because of y’all. Love your Melon is an organization that donates 50% of proceeds to childhood cancer research and has donated over 75,000 to kids battling cancer. There will be a cure one day!

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-XO Kara

God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers

Man it has been so good to be home.  I’ve enjoyed every second of it all. It also has given me a lot time to spend reflecting on this past month, well these past few months a matter of fact. Truthfully, I can’t believe where I am today.. God has given me the most amazing strength, hope, and faith to get me where I am and I believe he will continue to. I am able to say “I survived”. That is not something that comes easy.

fullsizerender Y’all, It has been such a tough ride, and no not all health related but somehow every night I always go to bed feeling stronger than the day before. And that is more than I could ever ask for. Keeping one foot in front of the other reminding myself this isn’t permeant, Gods has an amazing plan for me ahead.

Since I’ve been home free i’ve had to go in for fluids and magnesium quite often, but it makes me feel 100% after so there is no complaining there. When I’m home, I truly don’t even know what to do with myself. I don’t have enough energy/strength to really do what I want and it kind of drives me a little insane. So yesterday I decided to go on a drive to feel free again. I had my music on and was going at it, like this transplant gave me moves and a voice.. (I don’t think I was that lucky though) It was the best. Then I told my mom….. Don’t worry, dad always saves the day and calms her worried little heart. I didn’t get my keys taken away so it was a good day.

Today, I’m going to start working on gaining my strength back. I talked with a transplant survivor and she gave me some tips on how to get my strength back. It has to be the most frustrating thing for me having these noodle legs that are basically none existent. This should be interesting, but I’m more than ready!

This is a big weekend for me coming up. My whole family will be here in one house celebrating life together and how amazing we all are. Every single one of us has made this journey, the journey that it is and it wouldn’t of been this amazing without every single one of them. I am more than excited and its been to long!

*sorry about my creepy red eye. It is still healing from all the throwing up in the hospital*

-XO Kara

“I can’t wait for a year to come by and you feel like a queen again”- the best doctor in the world

So I’m here writing this post… in my big comfy bed.. AT HOME! Yes, I got released yesterday and it basically was the best day of my life. Yes, I got to love on my pups.. (they can’t get enough of me, it makes my heart so happy). 
Yesterday, I began my new life like a little baby.. literally a new born baby has more of an immune system than I do right now.. fun fact? Except not so fun. My body is so weak I’m about to have Louie trained to let me ride him around.. Sitting up, walking, getting dressed are all just normal day things that I now struggle with… it’s really hard for me to accept, but I try to remind myself… this isn’t permanent, everyday work to get stronger. That’s kind of where I’m at, just really weak and exhausted… oh and if sassy fits in that category then I’ll leave that there…(idk what has gotten into me but, I’m gunna say I got it from my momma because now that’s always a valid excuse).
So last night my mom and I sat down with my 1029847 pills I now have to take to get the week set up. Y’all I’m officially an old grandma. I have one of those fancy pill things with every compartment filled to the top with pills I have to take like 5 times a day. It only took about an hour… an hour… honestly I would hire someone to do it for me weekly, it made me want to lose my mind. I guess that was one good thing about being in the hospital? They did all this for you. 
Today, I had a doctor appointment. I couldn’t really say how it went. I was miserably tired going in. They call me back to get my vitals.. Of course they can’t get a read on my blood pressure. 8 times y’all. 8 times they tried to squeezed my arm off still nothing. They finally came in to do it manually and freaked out because my heart rate was 160. (Hmm I wonder why.. I only just lost all my circulation in my arm 8 times. Gosh). So they send me in for an EKG. It came back fine, I could of told them that it was going to but I keep quiet. Anyways after all that was settled, I had to receive some fluids. That was my cure today. After I was done, I felt so much better. Fever, heart rate, BP all normalized. I will be going back tomorrow to receive more. 
With all that being said, my doctor is happy with everything. Everything right now is all part of the norm. I will have good days and bad and a really long road ahead. Just to try and make every day better is my goal. 
Thank you everyone for all the prayers.. they are constantly being answered. It is the best gift to me. God is so good
-XO Kara