“My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my savior has ransomed me, and like a flood his mercy reigns unending love, amazing grace.”
That song got me through many nights at the hospital this summer. It, along with Dr. Naguib, Dr. Rollhauser, Dr. Russ, My tireless parents and sister Tim Diane and Stacia who made sure I was never alone, my cousin Sharon who made sure I was checked on and had dinner every night, countless friends and visitors and co-workers, all the nurses of the 11th floor of UT Medical Center (shout out to Lisa, Andrea, and Jessie), the ambulance drivers who waited patiently with me for answers, the ER and Trauma doctors who gave me hope, the staff of UT Medical ICU, and countless other beautiful souls are all the reason I am here today. However, the most important reason i’m here is God’s grace. He saved me this summer. So here is my testimony, how I got through surgery, and how I’m doing now.
It all started on Memorial Day morning. A scary ambulance ride to UT medical that I didn’t think I would survive. My parents scared to death called 911 for a passed out daughter who was unresponsive on the kitchen floor. The paramedics couldn’t get a blood pressure reading or pulse and I was blacking out. I remember looking at Will who was anxiously trying to start an IV in the back of the ambulance and saying, “Am I going to make it, am I going to be okay?”…Then everything went black again. I couldn’t see I couldn’t move but I could hear Will’s words. He prayed over me the entire ride to Knoxville. As my dad and the ambulance driver made the decision to go straight to UT because life star was not available due to fog. Will prayed. Flying down Chapman highway I held on to Will’s words and I held on to God. I didn’t believe I would ever come home from that ambulance ride and that scared me. Next comes UT ER….
We made it to the hospital. The trauma team was waiting for me and i’m convinced God placed that doctor in path. They started IV fluids, blood transfusions, and I began to wake up and realize my surroundings in less than a half hour. I’ve never seen a team work that fast. the trauma doctor, not worried about the risks, pulled her medical gloves off grabbed my hand and held it as I cried. The nurse nervously asked why are you taking your gloves off why are you doing that? The doctor simply replied, “Right now holding her hand is more important”…and she held my hand as I received the fluids and blood and woke up. I’ll never forget that moment with that doctor.
I woke up to the UT ICU and a very scared mom, dad, and sister. I remained there for a few days, then I was moved to the 11th floor. This is where I met Dr. Naguib. It was a Tuesday morning. I had lost blood all through the night and passed out that morning. Dr. Naguib decided to send me back to the ICU. I called my parents who both raced to the hospital. All the while Naguib never left my bedside. Round two of the ICU. They send me for a ct scan and several xrays of my colon to find the source of bleeding. I received blood transfusions and fluids in the meantime and the nurses prayed with me and my mom by day and encouraged me and my dad through our sleepless worry filled nights. Then I met Dr. Russ….
Dr Russ was introduced to me by my gi physician Dr Rollhauser. My heart sank with his news. Surgery was now an option. Dr Rollhauser wanted him on my case in the event that my colon did not stop bleeding and I had to have it removed. He was the “we will contact you in the middle of the night if her colon rips open” guy. I was afraid of him. I turned pale white when he told me the things he may have to do. My mother looked as if she had seen a ghost and my sister cried. My dad came back down and I couldn’t even speak because I was in shock. It was a very silent night. We finally received the news that my colon had no tears or rips or anything, and with antibiotics and prednisone I was soon moved back to the 11th floor under my gi’s care. No surgeon in sight.
I spent my birthday at UT Medical, was taken off the antibiotics and sent home several weeks after all this first transpired. My mother nursed me back to health and we were on what we believed to be the road to recovery. However, I didn’t get better….. I got worse. The blood came back and an ambulance again drove me to UT ER. Its July 19th now and i’m very sick with a doctor who is on vacation to Argentina. I am sent for another ct scan, blood work, urine samples, and no answers for about 30 hours. Finally I am sent to a waiting room while waiting on a hospital room to come available. Me my mother, father, and sister all anxiously wait…and we wait…. and finally we are given the news “Amber is positive for c diff and has a UTI” or (c difficile colitis)…. C diff is evil…it is a bacteria that can get in your colon and cause nausea, pain, and diarrhea being the main symptom. It is caused by over exposure to antibiotics but yet it is treated with guess what? The strongest most awful antibiotic ever. Vancomycin. Oh and by the way its contagious through contact and the medicine used to treat UTI’s makes it worse…so now no one can touch me or anything I’ve touched and I have to go into isolation..
So here I am with blood coming from my colon through bowel movements that cant be stopped because I can’t get backed up with infection. I’m shortly moved to the 11th floor again and my parents once again never leave my side. Sanitizing and scrubbing everything in my path and watching me suffer through the vancomycin, pain medicine, antibiotics for my UTI that are making my c. diff worse, and frequent bowel movements every few moments filled with blood. All the while my doctor is in Argentina. Until his return I was placed under the care of his partner. This doctor said if I turn the corner over the weekend I should be well in a week and on my way home. WRONG… Dr Rollhauser returns on Monday from his vacation and says I have 48 hours. In walks Dr. Russ….
Dr. Russ meets with us and Dr Rollhauser late Monday evening. We made a game plan as i sat with my family and my best friend Katie, clinging to my hospital bed in pain, we made a plan. We said we would give my body 48 hours to fight this infection or we would remove my colon via surgery with Dr Russ. I then…very heavily medicated made all the doctors, family members, and Katie pray with me. Katie held my c diff infected hand and my mother wept on my father. My surgeon respectfully bowed his head and then the doctors left. I was left with my parents to try to fight this off and I only had 48 hours to do it. I tried to eat. I tried to be strong. I took everything that you could take….Yet, the blood and infection continued.
Then God stepped in. I gave all control to him. I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my life. I was praying for my life. I was loosing blood, I was showing no improvement and the infection had diseased my entire colon. I sat in the bathroom and God spoke to me right then and there as my head hung low from being in pain. He told me I had to have the surgery. I grabbed my mothers hand and I said mom call the surgeon. She looked at me and said “You don’t have to do this we can fight a little longer and ill be here the entire time.” I told her God was saving my life an that my colon needed to be removed. Dr. Naguib then came back, he consulted with colleagues, held my hand, consoled my parents and talked with Dr Russ. He again never left my bedside even though he wasn’t my assigned doctor. He said that he never had children and this summer I had become like a daughter to him and he would be there through it all…. and he was… we made a lifelong friend in Dr. Naguib that day… Its July 27th now and mom called Dr Russ. Dr Russ came in and said “I’ve been watching your case all week I’ll have you in surgery tomorrow. ” I was scared. I was scared of surgery. I was scared of everything. But then I remembered who was in charge…. I remembered who the real physician was and whose hands I was in. I remember who had got me to that day. It was God the whole time. He lead me to that very moment.
July 28th was surgery day. It was my last day with my diseased colon and the day I had a 4 hour long procedure to have it removed. My Crohn’s Disease and C diff had taken its tole on my body and I was ready to feel better. So Dr. Russ comes to get me, I make some Grey’s anatomy jokes and then its surgery time. I made it through with no complications! Praise God for a great surgeon who was there for me and my family during the entire process. Who prayed with us and made sure he did everything in his power to make me better.
The surgeon told us after the procedure my colon was a lot more inflamed, thin, and diseased than we had anticipated. The damage had started before the c diff came. Any moment my colon could have torn or burst and the bacteria would have spread through my entire body. I didn’t have 48 hours… and God knew that. He told me that. He saved my life again. He saved me from what could have been an awful situation. So now I begin my life with no colon.
I feel free. I feel healthy. I spend way less time in the bathroom you guys ;)…..I’m finding my new version of normal with as much family, friends, and Jesus as possible. So when I sing “My chains are gone I’ve been set free” It takes on an entire new meaning. I’m no longer waited down by diseased organs and Crohn’s disease. God has granted me his “Unending love and amazing grace”….grace to live my life as an example to live for him and be what I was always meant to be. To live healthy and disease free.
As for now. I’m recovering. I’m blessed, The surgeon said once I am healed he could do a reversal surgery and everything would go back to normal, a lot of people do not have this option so I am forever grateful God is giving it to me and that I will have “normal” bowel function as of next summer. Between now and then I will heal. I’ll take time to listen to God when he speaks. To reflect and remember where he has brought me from. Focus on the chains that are gone and the grace that has been granted. Praise God for leading. Leading the doctors, my family, my friends, nurses and countless others. Leading me here and to today.
I am so blessed and I will never forget what God has done for me. I know people say that God saves them daily, but I have now seen first hand God save me from an awful situation and made a way for me to live a normal and happy life with him walking by me and filling me with his peace everyday forever! God is so much more than someone we just go to with our burdens and temporary concerns he is truly the ultimate physician and our almighty savior and I am forever grateful that he has saved me and healed me. So for now I’m living my new life with the help of my family and so many others, and I feel as if i’m truly on the road to recovery. Until next time! 🙂
(Thank you to everyone who has visited, called, text, fb messaged, prayed etc. I’ll never be able to repay you all for the love and support)