Friday, July 8, 2011

#83 - Medicine Lets Me Live

Taking medicine with chronic illness is a part of life. Before I was diagnosed with Addison's, I was medication free. Perhaps I would take a Tylenol, infrequently. Medicine just wasn't needed.

In fact, I gave birth to both of our daughters drug-free. I don't know how I did it; my stubbornness was indeed incomparable to many. I was determined to have natural deliveries, and I did not want to be overshadowed by a haze of drugs. Well, I got exactly what I asked for along with the good and the bad that came with that decision. Ouch!

The first picture of my daughters together at home.
But, today, I am a walking medication encyclopedia from all of the different medications I've had to take for my medical conditions over the years. Some medicines are here to stay for the remainder of my life and others are temporary on an as-needed basis, but still just as critical. Even with my health condition, I still find myself rather resentful that I need little pills to function. I can't help but miss the days when I didn't have to think about taking life-saving daily medications...I just woke up and bounced on with my days.

Me - still a kid, but also married and starting my life with David.
Then, on the other hand, I am deeply grateful that our medical field has come so far as to develop medicine for Addison's. I shudder to realize that such a relatively short time ago, there was not adequate treatment for this disease and death was imminent. I was undiagnosed for so long and near death when the "Addison's" answer finally appeared, but it took my body calling a Code Blue for the answer to occur. Therefore, I have unending compassion for those who have felt themselves disintegrate into a cloud of Addisonian / Complete Adrenal Failure mush before dying.

My girls - about the age when I began getting sick.
They gave me tremendous determination to pull through the worst.
The weakness that I endured from being so sick and living in a prolonged state of unknown Addisonian Crisis had been profound, and I don't think a person can imagine this kind of melting was exactly like being trapped in a body that is slowly becoming fully paralyzed to the point where you can barely hold your eyelids open.

In fact, my body had gone so deep into crisis that my cardio-functions were shutting down. Basically, I'd exhale a long breath out and my body was too worn out to automatically take the steps to draw in another lung-full of air and my heart could not keep up the pace needed to sustain life. Eventually, these basic bodily functions started puttering. God only knows how I made it through those times.

After I had the official Code Blue called while hospitalized, I was amazed because that EXACT sensation was familiar to me. Obviously, I had been coding off and on while at home, somehow pulling out of it, for weeks. The realization was terrifying. THIS is a code? I've ALREADY GONE THROUGH THIS several times. Often, it'd occur in my sleep; I'd awake without any air in my lungs, and I would go through horrifying moments of opening my mouth and doing all I could to pull in air. It almost would feel as if I were under water, unable to breath, very similar. Not pleasant.

My girls so bonded and this is the time in our lives when
I am trying to recover from being sick for so long.
I must say, the only part of my code in the hospital that was additionally terrifying was the soaring heart-rate as my blood pressure sunk so low that it could no longer be registered. My heart beat so hard and furiously in the attempt to get things going that it literally rocked my ragdoll body with involuntary movements. No, that was not too comforting. I felt like an alien invasion was taking place in my body as I lay helpless...How could this be happening?

My husband, best-friend and my personal hero.
Thank God my condition was diagnosed and the medication that was immediately started, upon disease confirmation, was no less than miraculous for me. My body that had grown so weak that it could not sustain life was suddenly surging with vibrancy again.

My girls - we made it through terrible times and came out stronger.
So, I still don't like taking medications. I really don't know anyone who "likes" it, but we know it's completely necessary and after you learn that your life depends on it, you take it seriously. But, I better not experience any more body break downs because my medication routine is already complex enough. And, I wish to have bought stock in pharmaceutical companies...maybe then I could one day recover my own personal investments that have been made into this field. I'd gladly take dividends along with my daily dose!

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