• R.N.

Know your body, fight for your health. Scares to fight for.

So I have been dealing with my health journey since I was 16 years old. Before that, I don't remember too much illness. A touch of asthma, broken arm, minor cuts, it was never really too big. But then I turned 16, and things took a turn.

I would pass out randomly, and I mean randomly while standing at my locker and walking home from school. Walking up the stairs and one time while performing with the band at an away game. It was embarrassing, falling down the bleachers while playing the flute, but it happened. Every time my mom would take me to the ER, we would get the same doctor, and he told her I just wanted attention. There really wasn't anything wrong with me.

They couldn't see anything wrong, so they assumed there was nothing there. And so things kept going, and anytime I felt sick, I just kept it to myself. Then Jan. 2001 came; I was newly 17 and still having symptoms. I used to train with the wrestling team, and on that day in Jan, I was doing stairs with them and passed out at the bottom. It was terrifying, and in truth, I felt like I was floating above all of it, watching it happen.

When I got to the hospital, the same doctor came to my bedside, and he said once again I was faking, just wanting attention, and my mom fought for me. Told him she wanted a second opinion. Enter Dr. Clark. He ran a battery of tests, including an EKG, and we found out I had WPW, aka Wolfe Parkinson White. Basically, it's when you have an extra passage in your heart, and your beats get stuck. I have had a sudden death condition since I was born, and no one caught it.

Went into surgery the next day for them to burn that passage. My life changed from that moment because I realized no one is gonna fight for you like your family, and I realized we need to learn to fight for ourselves. Even if someone is telling us that we are wrong.

Another example is when my oldest was 3. my husband was deployed, and I was in Ohio with both of our family for the duration of his time away. My son had been feeling really sick, and every time I took him to the doctors and the Emergency room, Doctors told me he was OK, just a cold or hay fever he would be fine. He wasn't fine. It scared me, and I knew that he needed more tests, so after the third visit to the ER, I begged and fought for him, telling them that they needed to figure it out. Turns out I was right.

My son had Kwasaki Diease. Kawasaki, yes, it sounds like the bike lol is a condition that causes inflammation in the walls of some of the body's blood vessels. Very treatable but also very hard to diagnose.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, I was bleeding and went to the ER. The doctor heard bleeding and told me that I was having a miscarriage. He told me to wait it out, and yet I knew something wasn't right here. So I asked for a second opinion, and when I did, they told me I had placenta previa, but it was manageable, and my son was born at 35 weeks. Never let someone try to tell you that something isn't wrong when you know it is.

My final story, not the last in my life but the final one here is recent. For the last few years, I haven't really felt as I was able to breathe. It's been hard. I mean, I walk short distances and feel like I am about to die. I thought it was normal. I thought that this was how I was supposed to be feeling because of my weight and asthma. But then I went to the doctor and weighed myself. I had put back the 20lbs I spent from Jan to October, losing. I was devastated and confused. I had weighed myself two weeks before, and I was 20lbs lighter.

That's when my doctor noticed my swollen ankles, clear airways, asked about lightheadedness, about everything I have felt recently, and said two words I have been afraid of with all my heart issues. There was a fair few; he said 'heart failure.' Scared the hell out of me.

So I got the kids squared away, went to the ER, and sat there for three days to learn I was indeed in heart failure. That is when I learned there were a few different kinds. Mine is the Pulmonary edema kind where fluid fills my lungs. The best way I can explain it is you are drinking from a cup, and water dribbles down your lip; you get tiny drops onto your shirt. Now you notice the dribble, and you wipe your chin.

Soon when it goes unnoticed for a long while, your shirt gets soaked. Now, what if you don't notice that you are dribbling. So what they do is give your a diuretic, and it helps you lose all the fluid in your body.

I went years not knowing, years not realizing something was wrong because I let doctors tell me I was OK. I cried when I took a few steps and started walking, and I could breathe. The best way I could explain it is if someone has spent their whole life not being able to see and just figured that is how it was supposed to be, them not being able to see. And then one day they got glasses, and they were able to see the world.

Sometimes, it is easy to give up and let others dictate what is going on with your life, but fight for yourself, your family, and your kids. It's worth it in the end. And as they say, it's better safe than sorry.

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