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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Never Surrender


To celebrate the release of her new book, SURRENDER, Elana Johnson is hosting a blogfest asking people to write about a time when they didn't surrender. Head on over to her blog to enter and check out everybody participating.


I had several examples to choose from in my life but I decided to choose a challenge that was unique to me as an individual, not me as a wife or mom (although it was a challenge to my parents also). WARNING: This post is going to be very wordy.

When I was twelve years old I got mononucleosis. To add insult to injury I didn't even get it from kissing anybody, I just got it. And I got it bad. I had a severe case with a lot of side effects. I would be able to go to school for one week and then stay home for one week, repeat, for about two months. I had to go for several ultrasounds because of severe pain (i.e. inflamed spleen). Finally I was better and I was ready to move on with my life. However, I was never really the same.

I started getting sick all the time. I was exhausted with no real explanation. There were days when I struggled to even get out of bed. I started going to a lot of doctors to figure out what was happening to me. My primary care doctor told me that I was just depressed, it was all in my head, and put me on anti-depressants. Surprisingly enough, they did not work and I stopped taking them after a short time. For years I was told by that moron that it was all in my head (yeah, I'm bitter - I have a stronger word than moron in mind but I won't use it here). My parents began getting really worried when it got to a point where I couldn't even shower some days because I didn't have the strength to lift my arms over my head to shampoo my hair. During all this time though I kept playing high school volleyball, leading a social life, and getting good enough grades to get a scholarship to BYU.

Finally I went to college (so, at this point I had been told that I was crazy for over four years) and there was a doctor at the health clinic there who specialized in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I was diagnosed with that but I didn't fit all the symptoms of that either. A few months into college life I started fainting at random times and it got progressively worse. There were times when I was fainting more than five times a day. My parents used a lot of money taking me to doctor after doctor and homeopathic clinics trying to find anything that worked. At a homeopathic clinic in Las Vegas we discovered that chiropractic helped a lot. Eventually the doctor at BYU decided that my symptoms were not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and sent me to a neurologist.

The neurologist did some tests and decided to send me to a cardiologist. At first he told me I was just out of shape. Then he did a test where he discovered that I actually had something very wrong with the way my heart and brain communicate (or don't communicate). I eventually had to drop out of school because it is very hard to pass a class when you are passed out in a campus bathroom. I was told I would probably not be able to have children and I was scheduled to get a pacemaker.

And then something happened. I met this guy. He made me super happy and I fell madly in love. I didn't get better but I got better enough with medication (and love) that I did not end up getting the pacemaker. I married that guy and I was able, after extremely difficult pregnancies,  to have two beautiful, amazing children. I still have some really bad days. I can go years without fainting now but then I go through cycles where I am fainting daily again. I have had to learn not to do too much on the days when I wake up feeling good. I don't take a single day of feeling good for granted because I never know how long that will last. I always wanted a lot of kids but I decided that I would rather be a decent mom to two children than a sick, crappy mom to six kids. Someday, if they find something to make me totally better my husband and I would consider adopting more children.

When my kids are driving me insane I remind myself that I wasn't even supposed to be able to have them. They are such a blessing and I can't imagine what would have happened had I let my illness take over and not had them. I prayed a lot before having them and I KNEW I was supposed to have them. I did not surrender to doctors who told me I was crazy or that I couldn't have children (BTW, I love my cardiologist who told me that) or illness.

13 comments:

  1. Wow, what an inspiring post. Simply the fact that you get up and face each day, taking what it comes and ENJOYING it (or most of it -- ;)) is amazing. Way to never surrender!

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    1. Thank you Elana. Believe me, there are days when I don't want to get up and face the day but I usually do. :)I have an awesome husband who, when he is not deployed, knows when I need to be pushed and when I need to be nurtured and he brings balance to my life.

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  2. Good for you for never giving up. I hope you find your miracle cure!

    BTW, I really like the header (on your blog)!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Julie. I hope to find my miracle cure too but if I don't, at least I have learned how to live with it.

      Thank you about the blog header too!

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  3. Just stopping by from the blog hop. What a strong story of perseverance... and love, which I'm always a sucker for! I can't even imagine suffering from fainting spells, much less several in a day. So glad I got to read this!

    I also love your blog header!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for the comment, Kimberly! I questioned the header after I made it but I'm liking it more every day.

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  4. Wow. I have read so many people talking/writing about health issues in this blogfest. They all amaze me because I haven't ever been sick.

    You must have made a conscious decision at some point in time to be grateful for what you did have and to make the best of it.

    I could sit here all day and tell you how I would do the same, but I don't know that I would.

    Good for you and sweet as pie that you have a wonderful family.

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    1. Thank you, Jeremy. My husband has also never been sick - something I can't quite grasp.

      Nobody can know how they would handle a certain situation unless it happens to them. I am not always full of a positive outlook and some days suck but overall I have made the choice to be grateful.

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  5. So many stories of perseverance in this blogfest, it truly is inspirational! Kudo's to you for turning out the way you have! :)

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    1. It really has been inspirational reading everyone's stories. I don't know if you would give me kudos if you really knew me - I'm not as great as I make myself sound. :)

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  6. I really enjoy reading about your perseverance.

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