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that time i almost died

there is really no way to make this sound less dramatic than it is. the reason i stopped writing in july is because i started to feel very sick and then i almost died. that's not an exaggeration. sometimes i wish it were.

in early august i went to by lady doctor. i was having a lot of problems and she chalked it up to needing a stronger dosage of my no-baby meds. i wanted a second opinion and she suggested a general practitioner.

days went by and things got worse. i wasn't keeping any food down. i felt weak and tired all of the time. it took all the energy i had just to get out of bed and get to work each day. and, once there, i rarely left my desk. it took too much to move. that led me to work a lot of late nights because there was too much work and staying was easier than exerting myself to leave.

one particularly busy day i had an appointment scheduled with my new doctor. i wasn't going to go, a trip over the hill just seemed too hard. my new coworker, brandi, convinced me to go. "you feel miserable" she says, "and you don't look so great. get to the doctor, i'll cover for you."

so i go. and he asks me a ton of questions about my medical history and symptoms. he takes my blood and tells me he should have results in a week. this was a friday afternoon.

he called me at 7 am sunday morning. i missed his call because i was asleep. saturdays and sundays at this point, i rarely left my bed. he called me again around 10 and told me my blood work was back. and that i needed to go to the emergency room as soon as possible because i needed a blood transfusion within the next three days.

i couldn't believe what he was telling me. a blood transfusion? who does that happen to, really? i'm going to have someone else's blood? because my blood isn't any good? and who will take me? i have no family here. who will take care of me? i live alone. what am i going to do?

it's true that times like these you find out who your true friends are. first, brandi pushed me to go to the doctor in the first place. chris took me to the emergency room. we went to cedars sinai, the best hospital i've ever been to. we entered the emergency room full of people, but as soon as i explained to them my cell count levels and what i was suffering from, the made me sit in a wheelchair and took me straight in. poor chris sat with me all night. we got there at 6 and i didn't get my first bag-o-blood until midnight. he stayed until they started the second bag. the next morning kelli was there to pick me up, and i stayed at their apartment for two days to recover. the next week, sarahi and steven (and adan) came to check on me and make sure i was doing okay. they brought me food and drinks because i hadn't been able to do much.

like i said, i learned who my real friends were. jenna and kelli back in oklahoma sent me flowers and checked in constantly. mama was extremely upset she couldn't fly out - buying a ticket two days in advance was over $1000. in indiana my cousin julia, who is a nurse, walked me through everything and also helped calm my parents down long distance.

once the transfusion was over, i went through months of treatments (iron infusions and b12 shots daily and then weekly, a bone marrow biopsy that was SO PAINFUL, and then an endoscopy). finally, in december as i was boarding the plane home for the holidays, one of my now five doctors called me to tell me my diagnosis.

i have pernicious anemia. my body cannot absorb iron or b12. now i take iron and vitamin C daily. i'm supposed to take them three times a day. sometimes i'm lucky if i get one. but i'm working on it. i also get a b12 shot once a month. i have learned to give myself a shot, which is one of the trippiest things i've every had to do. it's like tricking your brain so that you can literally stab yourself. yikes.

but i'm still here! and i have a great support system! and i literally owe them my life. so now i'm working to do my best not to waste the second chance i've been given.



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