Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cancer Sucks!! Part II

April 4, 2003

So here I am setting in the passenger seat of the car staring out the window. We had just dropped Meghan off to my mom and we were now on our way to the hospital. I cannot remember what I was thinking about during this drive but, it sure did feel like it took forever to get there. We arrived at the hospital around 9:30pm and went to the emergency room front desk I told the receptionist that CareNow had called ahead to let them know I was on my way she looked at her records and asked me to have a seat in the waiting room. We waited for about an hour and they called me back in. Once I was in they asked me the normal battery of questions: Name, Date of Birth, Social Security number yada yada yada.... I gave her all the information and she said "Oh here you are in our records" Now mind you I was only there one other time 9 years ago to give birth to my daughter she did not ask for anything else. She took my Blood pressure, temperature, the X-rays I had in my hand and called over a Doctor to look at them who I believe was just an intern because he definitely had not learned "Bedside Manner". He looked at them films and said "Wow that is a large mass"! So here I sat not sure what is going on with me and this guy says something like that. Once the nurse is done inspecting me she sends me into a room to wait for another Doctor to come in. (thank goodness the one who looked at my x-rays was not the one who would be seeing me) I call my sister to let her know what is going on and she is already on her way up to the hospital and gets there to set with me while I start the long wait. Sometime around 11:00 the Dr. came into to see me and let me know he was sending me for a Cat Scan. I finally had a Dr in here so the questions came tumbling out of my mouth so fast I am not sure he heard them all.  I asked him if he had looked at the slides and he said yes. I then asked well what do you think it is? He told me "Well I am not sure I need the Cat scan to get a better detail but, it is a large mass (here we go again with that word mass like it was something I should have a clue about!) He then went on to say it was looking like three different things all which led to Cancer. Yes he said CANCER!!!! and to top it off one of the types he thought it was had no cure. I think at that point that was all I heard. Cancer, No Cure, CancerCancer, Huh?? What?? I'm only 28 how could that be right!?!?!? At that point I went into SHOCK. I remember having no feeling and then having this utter calmness sweep over me. They sent in someone to set me up with an IV so I could go for the Cat Scan he was horrible he poked and poked and poked until he found the vain blood was all over the place and running down my arm! My sister who is a nurse was getting ticked because he just kept trying and did not bother to get someone else to do it after the 5th stick! But hey that was the least of my worries at this point. They came to get me for the Cat Scan around 11:45 once this was completed they sent me back to the room.

April 5, 2003

Still waiting at 12:30am and finally the Dr came in to let me know it was indeed Cancer but, he still was not sure what kind. He was going to admit me into the hospital so I could see the On call Oncologist. I was wheeled up into a room round 12:45am, When I got into the room I noticed it was not a private room I figured they must be busy and this was all that was available and besides there was not anyone in the other bed so It was like being by myself. Once I got settled in Durwood left to get a bag packed for me at home. I was all alone in this room and it was so quiet I remember hearing the beeping and buzzing noises of all the machines I was hooked up to. I had a nurse come into check my blood pressure and oxygen level. I asked her when I would be seeing the Oncologist and she said  "He is making his rounds and should be in here soon". This was at 1:30am. I did not see anyone again until 10:00am and this was the nurse coming in again to check my blood pressure and oxygen level. I asked her when I would see the Oncologist and she said       "Did he not come see you last night"? I told her no, and as a matter of fact she was the first person I had seen since 1:30am. She said she would go check and see what was going on and would be right back. Shortly after the staff Doctor on duty was making his rounds and stopped by my room. He went over the same information I already had been told and asked if I had seen the On call Oncologist yet. I said no he was suppose to come last night but, he never made it to my room. With a puzzled looke he said he would check on it. This was becoming ever so frustrating. How do you tell someone you have Cancer we don't know what kind and then just shuffle different staff in and out of my room all saying the same thing.... "We'll Check on it".


One of the billing staff came into my room wheeling a computer. She asked me how my stay was and then went on to say ****Here it Comes**** "Ms. Manley we have ran your insurance information and it shows you do not have a policy with them. We would like to know how you will be paying for your stay so far"? O looked at her confused . I explained to her that I do have insurance and I am not sure what she is talking about. I pull out my insurance card and hand it to her. She looks at the card and states " Oh, I show you have Tricare." Wow!!! I have not had that insurance since uh let's see I have not had that insurance in YEARS! So we figured the problem out they shuffled me through the emergency check-in so quick that when the nurse earlier entered my name and date of birth into the system it popped up my information from 1994 the last time I was there giving birth to Meghan! The billing lady said "Ok we have got you all squared away now and left my room". By now my mom was there with us still waiting for that Oncologist to show up. As you can probably figure having us three set in a room with no answers kinda starts to make people crazy. We would latch onto every person that came into the room trying to get answers but, none were given because they all would say those dreadful 6 words "You need to ask the Oncologist".  WELL I WOULD IF THEY WOULD COME TO MY ROOM~~ this was always the response! After lunch (yes they did feed me ..lol..) around 1:00pm another Billing lady came in with her push computer in tow. **SIDE NOTE  this was a different lady tan the last**  She rolled that computer right on in and said "Ms. Manley we are making arrangements to release your from the hospital". " We can have all of your information submitted to JPS Hospital for you". Now at this point I am looking at her like she is crazy! JPS I am not going to JPS I am here why would I leave and go there. She said well since you are non-insured we will be releasing you and sending you there. This lady must have felt the heat from the wrath my mother was fixing to unleash. "My daughter has been here since last night has not seen the Oncologist is stressed beyond stressed and you people keep coming in here telling her she has no insurance! Look she has insurance, we gave the card to the last lady that wheeled that little computer in here! Who do I need to speak to so we can get this straightened out! I am over everyone coming in here we need to get this resolved now"!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cancer Sucks! Part 1

     When your young and just married you are so ready to start the new chapter in your life together as a couple. Your first year of marriage is suppose to be a constant honeymoon full of date nights, laughs, and bliss. This is how mine started out but soon changed into hospitals, Dr's, and tons of medicine.

November '02    
     How exciting we were going to our first Bed & Breakfast for the weekend. Dur & I both enjoy going to antique shops so we found a Bed & Breakfast that was surrounded by lots of of them. This was a great weekend that I still remember to this day. Coming back after that weekend I noticed I has developed a rash on my legs and arms not only was it a rash but it itched like crazy. I brushed this off as a being caused by the new bubble bath I had just purchased on the trip. This rash continued and the intensity of the itching was becoming almost unbearable.

December '02
     I had finally became use to the rash and itching, it did not seem to be going away so I just accepted it as dry skin from the cold winter weather. Little did I know the worst of these symptoms were on their way. I woke up one morning with a cough that stayed around and would not leave no matter how much cough medicine I would take. I broke down and went to my primary care Dr. He gave me the ususal cocktail of cough medicine and antibiotics. He thought the rash was nerve induced or even could be allergies but, he did not seem to think it was that big of a deal so he brushed it off. I took the medicine and decided to wait it out. After 2 weeks of no relief and now I was developing bruises under the skin from my nails constantly digging at it I went back into see him but, yet again the same diagnosis was given but he decided to change my medicine. Not a thought was given to the itching.

January '03 
     Still itching, still coughing and the rash was not going away now I also added on the constant bloody nose, cough so bad when I would bend over I would almost pass out and  the newest of the symptoms I could barely swallow anything without it getting stuck in my throat and causing me to choke. I decided I had enough symptoms now that I could get the Dr. to make some sort of diagnosis besides upper respiratory and allergies. I remember that appointment VERY vividly. I went in and explained to him what was going on and also the new symptoms that started to pop up. I asked him to send me to get a scan of my neck maybe they could see what was going on in there.  He looked at me and said "Shelly, I cannot find anything wrong with you. at this point I cannot help you any farther." Yes this is what was said! Now let me see here is the list of my symptoms at this point:
  • Rash that itched
  • Constant cough
  • Bloody nose
  • Problems swallowing
  • and the newest I felt like my internal body temperature was on "fry"
Really???  Nothing wrong with me. That weekend I became so hot I went and set outside in shorts and a tank top to cool off. Did I mention it was 37 degrees outside that evening! I set on my mothers front porch for over an hour and could not get my body to cool down. At this point my mom knew somethign was wrong and told me I needed to get a second opinion. These symptoms had become a constant in my life. I was starting to think I was making them up in my head. Did I really want to go see another Dr. so he could tell me this?

March '03 
     I decided to go to CareNow and see if they could figure something out or if they were going to tell me I was Crazy too! When I got there I went over my symptoms with the nurse and she called in the Dr. He said I needed to have a breathing treatment, cough medicine w/ codeine and yet again more antibiotics.(at this point there was no way any infection would be able to live in my body) I started to feel a little better after the steriods and breathing treatment were completed. So I took the medicine and went home excited that this could be all over with. That night I went to take my first pill and could not get it to go down. I tried several times and it was going nowhere. I called the Dr the next morning and explained to him the pill was to big and that I was unable to take it. He called me in a new antibiotic which I started taking that night. I took the medicine and was excited because I left the DR. feeling better. Could this be it? All this time I only needed Steroids and a breathing treatment. Relief was here but was met with the symptoms rushing back in 4 days later...

April 4, 2003 

     Not any better but WORSE! How could this be! I have taken everything on time and not missed one dose, but I was steadily getting sicker. That day at work I bent over to pick up a pen I had dropped and this caused me to go into a coughing spell that almost caused me to pass out because I could not get any oxygen into my lungs. This was it I was going back to CareNow and DEMANDING a chest X-Ray. I knew I had Pneumonia. I made it to the office at 8:00 pm Dur dropped me off and took Meghan over to Old Navy to shop while I was waiting to be seen. I was called back at 8:15pm, I demanded a chest X-Ray and was soon being shuffled to the room to get it. Once the X-Ray was taken I was left in the room and the tech said he would be back with the Dr who would read it as soon as it was developed. As I was setting in the room getting ready I could hear the tech and Dr talking to each other as they were looking at my films. "I don't know what this is do you?" "Nope I have never seen anything like it" Okay I was by myself in small room listening to this and just remembering my body going numb. The Dr came into room and said "Ms. Manley you have a LARGE mass in your chest and we have no clue what it is." "We have called ahead to the hospital and they are expecting you. You need to go now" He shoved the films into my hand and walked me to the door. Outside Dur was setting in the car with Meghan. I looked at Dur and motioned for him to get out of the car. I explained to him what had happened and told him we needed to go to the hospital and they were expecting me. I was having such a hard time telling him what was going on I just remember being so numb that I could not cry it was almost as if my body no longer had any feelings. I turned and got into the car and smiled at Meghan as she was showing me the new shoes she had just got. We took Meghan to moms that night and headed over to the hospital, the same one I had delivered her at years earlier.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Simple Things

Today I volunteered at the Children's Hospital in the Oncology playroom. This is very humbling. I met some really great kiddos who were so full of life and had such great little spirits. Jose was my talkative one he just wanted to tell me everything and loves to do craft projects. We made a Turkey and a Tree of Life it was really cute watching him get excited over putting it all together. And guess what.... He loves GLITTER! Really he would paint his hospital room in glitter if he could. After we put the glitter touch on everything we had sometime to just talk. I asked him if he was excited about Christmas and he said "no, because I will be here and Santa does not know I'm here". I let him know Santa ALWAYS knows where your at. So we decided to write a Christmas list for Santa.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quirky, Quacky, or just plain Crazy... OCD my personal battle

I like to think I am a very strong person but, one thing can take me down and down fast.....

 My name is Shelly and I have OCD.

Most of my friends & family know I have OCD but not to the extent it actually is and how much it ran my life for years. I am not sure really when it started but I will never forget when it became uncontrollable and over took my life. I grew up in a large family where everyone had some type of "quirk" as my family like to call it. I did not think it was abnormal to see family members wash their hands until they were dry and cracked, not wear a certain color because something bad would happen or even repeat certain phrases because if they didn't something bad would happen. This was all normal in my family. It was not until I turned 25 that my life took a weird twist. It was almost as if I woke up a different person scared of the simplest things I had been doing everyday for years. The "What ifs" had control and my mind was not my own.
Simple tasks would cause a flood of what ifs to flow in:

What if I drop my daughter off at school and someone takes her after I pull off?
What if I ran someone over while driving and did not know it?
What if I came into contact with someone who had germs?
What if I left the stove on?
What if I left the doors unlocked?
What if I hurt my child?

I would drive in circles checking and re-checking the areas I had just came from causing my 45 minute drive home to turn into 1 1/2 hours. The what ifs were in control and I felt like an empty shell of a person walking around just trying to get through the day. My palms would sweat when the clock would hit five because I knew it would be time for me to get into traffic and start that trek home! Many of a night I would call my husband to calm me down and get me through the terror just so I could finish that trip. I even had a friend who would come and follow me home on the nights I became so frozen with fear I would just give up an pull over.

What was wrong with me? Was I going crazy? Nope it was the OCD. It is like a switch is turned on in your brain and does not go off until your brain shuts down with exhaustion...Which usually takes days. I am lucky though I have a great family who understand what I was going through, they might have not had the same quirks but, could identify with the fears. Without them I would still be stuck in the never ending "What if" cycle my life had become.

I still have days where they thoughts try to sneak back in but, I have learned to realize it is just the OCD and not reality.

I have OCD it does not have me!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

World Of Blogging

"Blogging is therapeutic"! This is what I was told that made me think I definitely need to do this. Thanks Michele!

Where to begin well as you can tell from my blog name we are the Manley family and well were quirky. Not quirky in a "We hide out in the house and eat soap chips kinda way" but we do things differently or maybe I just do. I have 2 beautiful kids, I know everyone thinks there kids are beautiful but, really mine are. Meghan is my 16 year old and she is obsessed with clothes and her hair & Dade is 4 yes, 4 where does the time go I remember counting down the days until he was here and now he's 4! He is easy loves cars, trains, bugs, dirt, and anything sports! I am not the perfect parent and most of the time I learn as I go but, my kids are very "what you see is what you get"! This could be good and bad at times. I have been married for 8 years to Durwood. He is such an amazing father, step-father, & husband.. no really AMAZING! I am very lucky to have been blessed with the family I have. They make me crazy but I would not trade any of them for the world! 

So I started this by stating we were quirky well here are a few examples
*Note none of us are certifiably crazy!

1.) I am OBSESSED with Ladybugs and Daisy..
2.) I hate ANYTHING sticky If I see sticky things I feel like I cannot breathe. My kids ate suckers and Popsicles in the tub when they were little.
3.) My favorite number is FOUR. I look at the clock everyday at 4:44.
4.) I almost did not name my son Dade ( a name I have loved since '94) because I could not get his name to contain 18 letters like everyone else in the family. Finally changed my mind after I figured out his initials were DSM ) Durwood, Shelly, Meghan) Neat huh!!!
5.) I have always been known as the funny one. I will make a joke in the most inappropriate time then be like " eewww maybe I should not have said that"
6.) I Do not fly.
7.) When I was growing up all I wanted to do was marry a Mob Boss. Wow what a goal!
8.) I am infatuated with Henry the VII and and books about dysfunctional families. I somehow connect with them.

I guess some of these would not be considered quirks but believe me I have way more than these!

Here are those gorgeous kiddo's

and below is Durwood and his twin!