Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Real Scoop Behind Working

How Working Works:

Since surgery on the 14th I've been really concentrating on catching up in Real Estate. Since the chaos that happened (pre-surgery) I wasn't able to work. So I haven't worked since June. Its crazy. in 2013, I worked 2 jobs and was taking classes all year, but now I sit at home. That year was very tough on me medically. My lung function decreased and I spent over 1/3 of the year on anitbiotic pills and spent over 2 months in the hospital for infections, etc. Since my surgery is over, once I'm healed I can go back to work. Which got me thinking...

I have 51% lung function and Doc B said if it goes down to 49 next clinic (in two weeks) then we may discuss a hospitalization and IV antibiotics to bump up my numbers. In October of 2013 I went from 48 to 64% after a week on IVs in the hospital. Also, since I have stitches in my stomach organ and on the outside (on my skin too) I can't use my vest machine. So my lungs are getting even worse and more junky.

I really need to work on this and get my weight back up too. I lost around 8 lbs from my stomach problems. So with all that and classes Andrew thinks I should not go back to work yet. And to be honest I could use the time to study in order to Ace my Real Estate Class and Lincensing Test. If all goes as planned I will be licnesed this Dec or Jan!

So why am I going into Real Estate? To be honest if you know me you know I have struggled over the years to find my career path. For example: in college I did 3 years as an undergrad in Geology, but was unable medically to attend the field camp. I was told I should consider the teaching option. I didn't want to teach. And my Doc had always reccommended I not work in a school or daycare. Well, the DayCare rule I broke for 9 months because I enjoyed it and it was a small school. In college, I took 4 electives in Architecture for fun. I loved Architecture and studying Frank Lloyd Wright in my spare time. But, I knew it was a job with long hours and traveling. Neither fit into my needed life style. Which is when I decided to settle with Psychology and do Grad School for either Orgainzational Psych or Social Work. I had always been curious about the human mind and our thought process. I loved Psychology and I'm glad I got my degree in it. However, when it came time to do Grad School, I had to take a few years in between to get my lung function & weight back up. I needed to focus on me.

While at U of I, I fluctuated in weight between 90-101 lbs. By the time I graduated I was 92 lbs and only 38% lung function. Finally in 2013 I was ready to go back to college for Grad School. I started at Dominican University and ended up really sick again and in the hospital. I missed over a month and a half of classes. I had to withdraw and then I struggled the following semester and was unable to go back. I knew there was no way Grad School would be in my future. I can't really learn online very well, I'm more of a "in the classroom" learner. So I had to figure out a new plan.

Pics from 2013 - Hospitalizations and IVs.. Not want I want to keep happening.

I had taken Real Estates Classes & passed some courses a few years ago. But I didn't pursue the licensing at the time due to a virus that attacked my body landing me in the hospital. Time flew by and then it was too late. But I loved learning about it. I decided I needed to give it a second try.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons. First, being a Real Estate Broker means I make my own hours and its a little more flexible. I still work a lot of hours, but if I need to take time off for meds I can. The income is purely "commission based". I can do a lot of the work from home. Imagine me updating a MLS while doing therapies. How cool is that! But there is a bigger reason...

This may be weird, so if you don't believe me ask my mom. When I was around 8 year old mom and dad took my sister and I through a few open houses (just to look) and I loved it. I kept begging mom to go through open houses with me in the future for fun. And I still do this regularly. Also, shortly after the age of 8 I started buying magazines filled with floor plans. Every time I had clinic in Peoria we would go to Barnes & Nobles. Ada would get a novel and I got a magazines filled with blue prints. Then Mom bought me graphing paper and I started designing my own. I have a huge binder filled with houses I've designed from childhood to recent.
See pic to the left...

 I was more than obsessed. When my sister and the neighbors were drawing flowers or hearts on the driveway, I was drawing floor plans. I'd run inside: "Mom, come walk through my house" I'd then play pretend that I was an agent. Not kidding.

Here is the biggest (honest) reason I didn't go right into real estate. I wanted a bachelor's degree and also I know Real Estate is an independent field. So I wouldn't have a steady salary with any benefits. I was terrified by the idea of not having good medical benefits. It still scares me but I know that once Andrew is teaching he will have good benefits. So whew.. I'm going to give Real Estate a chance.

I really think it will be the perfect fit for me. I can work extra hard the months I'm healthy and step back a bit when I start feeling sick. I can arrange my schedule as needed and best of all... I will actually LOVE my career!!

My Cystic Fibrosis controls a large chunk of my day. I need:  9 breathing treatments (3 sets of 3 throughout the day), 1 hour of a vest treatment, to maintain 3,000 calories and get at least 8-9 hours of sleep. Having a career with CF (for me) needs a careful balance in order to pay the bills and keep my health up! It can be tough work, but eventually it all worked out for me! I hope... lol


Friday, October 17, 2014

168 Hours without Food

On a Liquid Diet, But Healing: 
(stomach pics below)

This week has been interesting and challenging. I had surgery on Tuesday to finally surgically fix my stomach tube hole. I updated everyone on Tuesday afternoon after I had woken up (that's when I wrote the last blog post which is below), but here is a better update. I haven't posted since then because " I went Silent for Cystic Fibrosis" and participated in a 65 hours challenge to stay unplugged from social media. It was sooo tough not logging onto facebook or tweeting anything in the last two days. I was healing and unable to do a lot, so going online would have helped time fly by, so it was bad timing. But now that the 65 hours is over I want to make sure to catch everyone up!

After surgery on Tuesday I was admitted overnight, just to make sure everything was going well. They started giving me Diluadid for the pain (it wasn't too bad if comparing to my triple hernia surgery), but they wanted me to not hold back my coughs and wanted me to be able to walk around, so they encouraged me to take the pain meds. I took a couple doses of the pain med but I was too extrememly itchy and knew I was allergic. They took me off the pain meds for the night and gave me benadryl instead. That cleared everything up. I was wondering why they tried a new pain med with me. I have a severe allergy to morphine (my organs shut down and I go into anaphylactic shock), but I'm just glad it was a mild allergy like the antibiotics I'm allergic to instead.  The next morning I was put on the pain med I normally take and told I needed to keep down the liquid diet in order to go home.

I ate some broth and jello for breakfast and lunch and was glad I was told I could go home by 4pm on Wednesday. The surgeon came in and explained that overall everything went really well. They had cut out some of the scar tissue, in order to make sure it could be surgically closed. Scar tissue had formed around the hole, which is why it was leaking and wasn't ever going to heal. They had originally planned on a 2 inch vertical scar, but once in the Operation Room, they realized my stomach was too close to my ribcage. The incision had to be slanted instead, but it looks good. I've been keeping an eye on it since Wednesday and I'm very pleased how well it is healing. Sorry if you are squeamish, but I've had other people ask for pictures.

 So here is what the hole actually looked like (yep, like a bullet hole) and then here it is now with the incision.
And you can see some of my scars from other surgeries too!




So far healing wise it all is going very well. The surgeon/ docs want me to take the pain meds as long as my cough is causing my ribcage to bump into my stomach. It is important for me not to hold back my coughs in fear of it hurting. This would only cause my lungs to get junky and there would be whole lot of other problems.

So I'm taking the pain meds after nebulizers, when I'm coughing more, or if I am walking/moving around a lot. Obviously, since I have severe allergies I'm not the biggest fan of staying on pain meds more than 1 day. But I'm also not a big fan of No Food either. 

Since my actual stomach organ was stitched up and is a little delicate, I've been instructed to only be on a liquid diet through Saturday. Today is friday, I've had nothing but juice, water, broth, and jello since monday evening. I'm VERY excited for Sunday, where I get to add some mashed potatoes, cream based soups, and other soft foods. I've been without food for medical reasons for longer than a week when I was younger, but it doesn't mean I deal with it any better. I've been cranky today, luckily Andrew has been working all day, so he doesn't have to deal with me. Haha, although he's just so sweet all the time, its hard to be cranky towards him. He's already planning what meals to make... Can't wait til I cant EAT!

So other than my incision changing direction, being on liquids still, and my minor snag with the pain med allergy, I can't beleive how well this is going! Fastest healing from surgery Ever! Tomorrow, I'm even going to sit with mom at her craft show all day. :-)

I'm looking forward to a future without a stomach hole leaking, laying on my stomach again, and getting back to working out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Surgery

My "Bullet Hole" Fixed:


Everything went smoothly and this morning went really fast. Check out my style : lol the new fashion. Pic: Taken pre-surgery

I'm very excited to say my surgery is over and I'm doing quite well. I'm so excited, I've been on a liquid diet all this afternoon/evening and GUESS WHAT? No leaking, none because it's sewn shut. My surgeon did a great job and I can't wait to be done healing. Sorry if this seems a little more scattered and oddly written. I'm still on a small dose of pain meds. I'm not a big fan of pain meds considering my severe allergy to morphine. But, by feeling the pain I can gauge how fast I healing, but for today (the day of my surgery) I was told to stay on them, because of the pain coughing causes. I can cough more freely and try to clear my lungs if I take the pain medication. However, tomorrow I'm not asking for any pain meds though, since I want to be free to go home as soon as posssible.

If you're not sure what the surgery was or how it was done please click to read my post about it! It's important to understand why I had the complications and needed the surgery, I don't want anyone to use this as a reason not to get a tube.

It went very smooth, the IV was successfully put in on the first try, my surgery only took 2 hours and I was taken up to my room to be admitted by 1pm. Doc C (my surgeon) said he was admitting me as a precaution for my Cystic Fibrosis. I did have my stomach ripped off my abdomen wall and stitched up, so okay I guess I'll agree. The incision is only 2 inches long and it's my first vertical surgical scar, so I'm little curious to see how it looks healed.

I will be going home tomorrow (barring any major problems or set backs). I just gotta keep down my liquid diet tonight and my soft diet in the morning, the  real food at lunch and home I go!! Yep. So that is exciting
and Andrew has tomorrow off, so he can help out. Tomorrow I will be off all pain meds though, so I'll be glad to have him home to keep me company.  Doc says no lifting anything for a few weeks, but otherwise when I get home, it's activity as tolerated.  So I should be able to attend and sit at mom's craft show Saturday. whew!

Also I wanted to let everyone know that I'm participating in a global challenege called "Silent for Cystic Fibrosis" It's where we unplug from social media for 65 hours and donate $6.50 to the CF Foundation.

I donated to Andrrew's CF Climb he is doing on Nov. 9th. He will be competitively climbing 58 flights of stairs to raise money for CF research. Please consider donating to his challenge as well. If we raise our goal of $900 that means that we (Team CF2), my family, friends, and community will have raised $15,000 for CF this year!!!!! I know we can, please help us reach this goal.  Please click here to go to the donation page! Last year he did it in just over 17 minutes, so let's support him and watch him beat his time from last year. Next year I will be doing the climb too, but since I just had surgery... not gonna happen this year! I will be  there to support him though!

And if you need to get ahold of me please text, since I won't be online for 65 hours.

Wondering why 65 hours, $6.50 donations? Well, Cystic Fibrosis is easily pronounced by saying sixty-fives roses. Which is how they taught children to pronounce it. Today, the phrase has become a sort of symbol. Lots of CF patients love roses, get 65 roses tatoos (the phrase or roses), and lots of charities have been named after it!

I wanted to thank everyone for the texts, messages, and love shown on facebook during my surgery! I will be posting this weekend too about how I healed. Can't wait to be rid of this hole!

After a week of healing I'll post pre & post surgery pics for the CF folk to see (and I'll put a warning in the title for those who don't want to see it). No worries. I feel it important to share our experiences with other CF for those who have similar experiences & some have already contacted me asking for me to post them. So thank you for undersyandung and thank you for the support everyone. It means the world to me!