Looking back on the last year I'd say this all really started to rear it's ugly head during Lincoln's birth. I was on the table numbed up and it took the doctors so long to get him out. He was big and low and it felt like they were pushing my insides up into my neck. I kept feeling like I was going to die. I remember looking at the monitor to check my heart to make sure I was ok. I could feel my heart leaping around like crazy and then out of nowhere it would drop real low and then spike real high. I was scared to death and then he was born. He wasn't breathing and the NICU team ran in. It was like the girls birth all over again. I started crying and asking what was going on, but no one would answer. After what felt like a million years (but was really just a few a minutes) the team said he was fine and that they were just getting ready to intubate him, but then he started breathing and crying. As soon as I knew he was ok, I gave the ok for Matt to go out to recovery with Lincoln. I was scared, alone, and had never felt so close to death as I did in that very moment. I remembered that they still had to put me back together and sew me up before I could be out in recovery with my baby. It seemed like it took sooooo long and my numbers were all over the place.
My recovery wasn't too bad and the placenta capsules helped tremendously. I felt amazing for the first few weeks. Then we all got the norovirus in mid to late February and my immune system was completely depleted. It was terrible and it took everything within me to somehow be there for the needs of each one of my kids. To top it off we had just decided to homeschool Emma through the remainder of the school year. I was certain I would bounce back and take it all on like every other challenge I've ever faced. But by mid March I found myself still struggling. I was okay at home, but every time I would drive I would get dizzy, and when I was sitting I had a feeling that I was about to have to run to the bathroom. It was odd and I had no idea what to think. To begin with I didn't have a primary care physician. My life revolved around the 18 different specialists that follow Abby. I have in the past tried to make appointments for myself. I even made an appointment with a doctor in the midst of my bulimia and the doctor wanted to prescribe anti depressants. WHAT THE CRAP!!!! I wasn't depressed, but I can tell you that not being offered any helpful options was depressing! I used to have a Dr./PA when I was in the Army, but after my 8 week postpartum appointment with the girls I only saw a doctor once for my yearly check up. I always had the need to be followed by a PCP looming in the back of my mind, but as the years went by and surgeries, diagnosis, therapies, and deployments took their tool...I began to forget that human side of me. In 2010 I had proudly overcome bulimia and was back to a healthy weight, but I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to see a dentist. I made an appointment and was excited to go. I hadn't been to a dentist since I was in the Army and they had done some root canals and other work. I had a MAJOR fear of the dentist for some reason, but was ready to face whatever damage I had done to my mouth. The morning of my appointment my nanny/respite provider that had been with us for a year came to work to basically tell me she was quitting. I was floored and so disappointed that I forgot about my appointment. You have no idea how many times over this last year that I've wished I would have remembered and gone to my appointment with the girls in tow anyway. But you can't change the past, just learn from it.
Over the last few years I have often thought to myself that I should make an appointment, but the longer I waited the more embarrassed of my mouth I became. I did finally make another appointment, but something with Matt or the girls ALWAYS came up and I'd have to reschedule. I never got to go and then I found out I was pregnant with Lincoln. Fast forward to March 2014 and I'm driving down the road alone heading home from a consignment sale. I was excited to be out alone, but something just wasn't right. My right arm suddenly went completely numb and my heart started jumping. I quickly pulled off the busy road I was on and turned into a neighborhood. I called Matt and told him what had happened. I told him that I would just eat a protein bar that I had in the glove compartment and maybe I'd be okay to make it home. I ate the bar and headed out of the neighborhood. I made it about 5 miles down the road when my right arm and right leg went numb again. I couldn't feel the steering wheel or gas pedal and I felt dizzy, light headed, and thought I was going to go the bathroom in my pants. I pulled off the road again into a Firestone parking lot. I called Matt again and was trying desperately to explain to him what was happening. My speech was slurring, I couldn't stand up, and I was scared to death. I didn't know what to do so I forced myself to walk into the Firestone. I called 911 because I wasn't sure if I was having a stroke, a heart attack, or if maybe my c section incision was infected. I told the staff so that they wouldn't be alarmed, but of course everyone in the store was suddenly freaking out. I tried to sit and wait patiently for the ambulance to arrive, but things got so bad that I could no longer sit or stand and I had to lay on the floor. The room was spinning and when the paramedics got there I thought for sure I was going to throw up and go to the bathroom at the same time. My heart was racing, I could hardly breath and I was sooooo scared! The put me on the stretcher and took me into the ambulance. They did an EKG, ran several other tests, gave me oxygen, and I had stickers and leads everywhere. They checked my incision and everything looked beautiful Nothing appeared to be wrong. How in the world was all the happening, but nothing was wrong with me? I was told that I was having an anxiety attack from the demands of my life and that I needed to take some time for me. That's what I was trying to do while I was shopping by myself!!!!
*The Ambulance Day*
In June I started getting REALLY TIRED!!!! Tired to the point where I couldn't wake up in the mornings to feed the kids. Matt was having to call in to work to help me more than he should have, and I could not longer get up with Lincoln in the middle of the night. I would regularly wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was going to throw up and I couldn't go to sleep without first feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I started trying to figure out what type of doctor I needed to see, but my symptoms were all over the board and I didn't know where to start.
I will NEVER forget the night I woke up in a panic because I couldn't stop shivering, I had gripping stomach pains, and I could barely breath. I could hardly get my shoes on and walk to the car I was so dizzy and weak. Matt was taking me to the ER and my mom was coming over to watch the kids. Luckily the ER was right outside our neighborhood, but the drive there felt like a cross country trip with miles and miles of car sickness. Long story short, the ER doctor did an x ray of my stomach and told me that I have gastritis. He sent me home with anti nausea meds, and proton pump inhibitors. The next day I pushed myself to go shopping at Costco and the mall. At one point I must have had a fever because I became delusional in Costco and couldn't remember why I was there. Later at the mall I was losing my ability to walk and kept having to brace myself on walls and railings. On our way home my right arm went completely numb and the right bottom side of my skull started shooting pains through to the top of my head. Matt called our chiropractor and he met us at his office on a Sunday. He adjusted my atlas and said that it was off. If you've ever had your atlas adjusted then you know it aint no joke!!!! It's a crazy feeling, but I did feel better after he did it.
*The day at the mall*
*The day I blacked out driving through an intersection*
Once we realized the first antibiotic wasn't working I forced my dentist to call in a stronger one. He put me on clindamycin and that started to work. I didn't feel better until a few days after having the 8 teeth taken out. It was traumatic and my dentist flat out sucked!! He was horrible at extractions and by that point my anxiety was beyond control. After he took the teeth he had to give me oxygen and was prepped to give me blood pressure meds. It took me over an hour to relax enough to get up and walk out. I could hardly walk because the pain, nausea, and anxiety was so bad.
*The day I had 8 teeth extracted*
Ok, so you would think this would be the end of the story and everything would get better from here on out. Yeah...me too!!! BUT it didn't...it got better and then it got scary again. In September I ended up with candida throughout my body, oral thrush, yeast infection, and I was severely dehydrated. Like iv upon iv dehydrated.
*The day I found out I had candida, thrush, yeast infection, and was severely dehydrated*
Let me just pause in this terrible mood killer of a story and ask...are you even still reading? If you are, bless you!!!
Okay so in November on my second day at my new job I started to feel feverish and totally out of it. I lost feeling on the right side of my face around my sinuses. My ear was aching like crazy and it kept turning bright red and burning. I made it to the end of the day and when I got in my car to drive home I was scared to death. I was so dizzy that I had a really hard time driving the very busy highway. Later that night I went to the ER. Again they told me I didn't have an infection and that it was possible I may have MS. By this point I'd had several doctors tell me it sounds like I have MS and refer me to a neurologist for an MRI. The next day I went to my family doctor and she thought it was pretty clear that I had an infection above the last tooth I'd had extracted. I went on another round of antibiotic and this time it was Bactrim. Bactrim is my enemy!!! It works, but it kills my liver and gallbladder. While I was fighting that infection my right eye starting twitching constantly and my ear pain never went away. After the course of antibiotics I saw an ENT and he diagnosed me with arthritis in my jaw joint and a deviated septum. Ok well, nothing seems to helps to treat those and my symptoms just continue to get worse, however I'd been reassured by several doctors that I didn't have any infections. What a relief right? NOT!
Of course I started to feel sick again in all the ways that had become normal by now. It was 2 weeks before Christmas and I went in to see the dentist only to find out that I had another infected tooth that needed a root canal. By this point I had used all of my dental coverage for the year and had to pay the insane amount out of pocket if I wanted to get through yet another infection. I was so mad and asked the dentist if this one was new. Apparently in the beginning of all of this I had A LOT of teeth that were infected, but they wanted to save most of them via root canal. Had I known this in the very beginning I would have opted to have every single one taken out. I don't like root canals and don't trust them, especially with my dental history, but I went ahead because I trust my dentist. After the root canal a week before Christmas I was still having weird neurological pain and piercing ear pain. I sat down with my dentist and looked at the ct of my mouth. We didn't see a clear view of an infection in my gums that were causing pain down my neck, but together we decided that we would do exploratory surgery in the gums that once housed an abscess and the infected root tip. Well, true to form my body didn't cooperate and out of nowhere my lymph nodes started to swell all over my body. My neck was so swollen it ached and hurt to breath. I went into the dentist on January 8th and informed him that he would be taking my two molars on the bottom row of my teeth that day. I had a hard time coming to this decision because I lovingly referred to those teeth as my chewing teeth. They worked together well with my top molars and allowed me to eat a wider variety of food. Unfortunately I've become quite the pro at spotting infections and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my bottom molars were indeed infected. The dentist successfully extracted my right molar and when he did he discovered the severity of the situation that's been keeping me in this terrible nightmare. I noticed that things quickly became emergent between he and the hygienist. He sliced my gum next to it (the one that had been abscessed and had the root tip left in it and extracted) and low and behold there was my jaw bone...infected and gummy. It's no wonder my ear ached and my neck and shoulder hurt constantly. That little stupid piece of crap was literally the pain in my neck...and everywhere else. All I heard was scraping on both side of my bone. It hurt even though I was numb. It took at the very least 20 shots to somewhat numb me. I never got fully numb due to the infection changing the ph balance. I had to suck it up because I knew it had to be done or else I would eventually lose my life due to this life sucking turd stuck in my jaw. As I laid in the chair listening to the scraping, flashes of the past year flooded my memory. I started crying and although the physical pain wasn't my favorite feeling, the emotional pain of what I've been through was just too much anymore. I've been scared I was going to die every single day for nearly a year. The hygienist held my head, rubbed my shoulder, and told me that it was finally going to be ok. For the first time in a long time I had hope and I believed her. Keri if you're reading this, thank you sooooooo much for being there for me. You truly made Better Dental live up to its name that day. I've never had a hygienist care one bit if I felt anything physically, let alone emotionally.
*The weekend after my jaw bone was scraped and 2 teeth extracted*
*Today! Yes I look terrible, but honestly I'm EXHAUSTED beyond belief*
So I'm healing well now and my extraction sites are closing nicely. My ear pain has gone down A LOT, however it's still there to a degree. I still have pain in my sinuses and I discovered last Thursday that I have 3 more teeth that need root canals. Essentially they are infected and I saw it again while viewing my ct. WHY was I not made aware that these were problem teeth all along? I have to make this statement because I'm sure you're thinking how in the world can someone get that many infections? Well ladies and gentleman it may come as a surprise but I do in fact brush my teeth, floss, and gargle with mouth wash (I've recently been gargling with essential oils it's WAY BETTER). The problem is that the years of bulimia decayed my teeth to the point of no return. Top that with a vegan diet and I was all kinds of nutrient deficient. I may have won the bulimia battle, but I unknowingly continued to do harm to my teeth as the years went on. I'll touch on oral health and nutrition in another blog because this one's quickly becoming a book and aint nobody got time for that.
Due to this new root canal information, after much prayer and research I have come to the decision to have the last 3 teeth extracted. I've chosen to have a partial denture made and I have to tell you I AM ECSTATIC about it!!! I know most people are probably embarrassed, but not me! After all I've been through I deserve to wear a beautiful smile. At the end of this (which is right over the horizon) I may have lost 14 teeth, but I'm gaining my life back...and a beautiful healthy smile that will never cause the problems I've been through. Slowly but surely I will eat real food again, I will leave the antibiotics behind, I will smile with the teeth I always dreamed of, and I don't care who knows they're fake. You know why? Because if by telling my terrible story I can help someone, then it's worth it.
Moral of the story:
Don't throw up your food...it's gross, causes terrible health problems in the long run, and if you decide to...you may want to make sure you have enough money set aside to save your life at any given moment.
Second piece of advice:
PLEASE teach your kids how important oral health is. How it really is easier than we think to get an abscess, it's not all that rare for it to spread to the heart and or brain (look it up), and that it's just as easy to take care of your pearly whites as it is to destroy them.
If you are here...congratulations! I can't believe you stuck with the post this long, but I'm honored that you did =)