A traumatic 3 year anniversary.

I never would have imagined that one day my body would change forever. But here I am and despite my complaints, I am always thankful to be alive.

On December 12, 2011 I had a final for one of my photography classes. I was in a period where I would say...stress was a mild word to describe it. I was downright miserable. I failed 2 classes the previous spring semester because of my previous lupus flareups and because I didn't know how to react to my dad's cancer diagnosis in April 2011. So I was on academic probation and I was struggling in my classes with the extreme worry that I would get kicked out of my university. Plus, I wasn't sure if I wanted to or if I was even good enough to pursue graphic design. I wasn't sure if I would be able to withstand the competition of the portfolio review. I hated that I was 22 and still in school with a not-so-clear direction in life whereas most of my peers and Cecilio's peers (especially his peers because they were born and raised in Davis so the idea of going to a prestigious university was ingrained into their minds since childhood) already graduated and landed jobs.

So after that final I drove over to Cecilio's house just plain miserable without a drop of hope. I just wanted to rest with him. I couldn't even eat the food his mom made. Then I went back home and I couldn't sleep whatsoever. I don't exactly remember what else but I remember tweeting about how I couldn't sleep and how Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" song was stuck in my head. I probably went downstairs to make chamomile tea because the next thing I remember was waking up in the ICU with my dad, Cecilio and pastor from church by my side. This was 3 days after I was admitted to the hospital. They all told me I had a mini-stroke which produced a seizure. It was diagnosed as Lupus Cerebritis, meaning I had a small hemorrhage in my brain. I remember the right side of my body being numb and my speech slurring. I couldn't move right and I was barely articulate. I also had a UTI. I hated being there. Everyone knew that, so instead of my doctors having me stay there longer, they decided to discharge me a week after I was admitted there as long as I was being treated with the PICC line and an IV at home for the next 2 weeks. My mom had to be the one to treat me with those infusions. We all decided that it was best that I take a semester off from Sac State. And it turns out, I ended up passing all of my classes.

I had to take speech therapy for the whole month of January because I lost some of it. I enjoyed my dad taking me because we were able to bond a lot with our usual jokes and going to Starbucks (he stopped drinking coffee after his cancer diagnosis, so his signature drink was the grande extra hot soy hot chocolate). Plus sometimes when I would have speech therapy my dad had an appointment. I never would have thought that would have been one of our last special moments together.

Slowly but surely my speech was getting better. Even though I took a semester off at Sac State, I decided to go back to my community college and take a class along with applying for Sac State's graphic design program. Long story short, I didn't get accepted. So I was going back and forth over the summer and fall of 2012 debating whether I should reapply or switch to a different major. In August 2012, I got my license reinstated and I went back to Sac State in the fall. So things were slowly getting better.

I had another seizure on May 1, 2013. It was my fault for not taking my meds regularly this time. I was insanely stressed too because I decided to reapply for the graphic design program, and the portfolio review was due in 2 weeks from that day. And of course I was still grieving from  my dad's death in February 2013. Thankfully I didn't have to stay overnight this time. But it sucked how my license suspended AGAIN, only for 6 and a half months (which was NOTHING compared to my time of not driving all of 2014). Despite all of that, I still pushed through with turning in my portfolio even though I didn't think it was good enough and my craft could've been better in some of my work. The professors always recommend you have a backup plan if you don't get accepted, so I was thinking of majoring in art or fashion merchandising if I didn't get in. Thankfully I did this time.

I did have another seizure on January 17, 2014 when I was vacationing in the Philippines and another one here on June 20. It is extremely humiliating because I never mean to cause a scene in front of everyone. I also get horrible headaches afterwards. It's demoralizing not being able to drive but I am thankful people have been able to drive me to school, Kinko's (to print projects), doctors appointments, etc. I actually saw my neurologist this Wednesday and she wanted to wait longer for me to drive so of course I showed my frustrations. I told her it's been already 6 months! (By California law if you have a seizure you have to wait 6 months before you could start driving. And I had 2 seizures this year.) She said she would sign the DMV medical information form but was extremely worried and said that if I would have to be on keppra for the rest of my life and if I wanted to taper it then I couldn't drive. She told me she would go talk to another neurologist if I should be able to drive. When I left the room, I started hyperventilating and crying. The nurses came in and asked if I was ok and if I needed water. I wasn't doing it to get them to feel bad for me and make them change their mind, I was just extremely frustrated as hell and wanted to let it out. So both of the neurologists came back and the one who I didn't talk to at first told me he was okay with me driving as long as I get my blood drawn for the to see my keppra levels. I was happy to hear that but still anxious and not trusting them.

I still get depressed about things but I am reminded about that very moment 3 years ago and look to where I am now. I see how much I have accomplished even if I don't feel like it a lot of the time especially when I have moments of comparing myself to my peers. I still hold on to hope that things will get better even though I don't feel or believe it. I'm not one to be extremely preachy about my beliefs or faith but I do believe God's love and grace carried through all of it, and He has given me the strength to push through even in my weakest moments. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Cecilio and I. You can see the PICC line on my arm. We had more pictures (this was on Christmas Eve) but they were on my mom's Facebook page and she deactivated it.

My sister Trixie and I, who has always been a friend to lean on especially with how much experience she's had with her lupus.

2 comments :

  1. Wow, you are a very strong lady that will overcome anything! You have angels by your side! You are younger than me but have provided so much inspiration through a dark time I allowed to creep in. Your faith is exactly what carries you through and I'm learning new things about that each day! *hugs and prayers*

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  2. I've just read this after your Thanksgiving post. Even if you didn't think so one year ago, things did get better :) We never must lose hope, even when it's really hard.

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