To everyone else this is just another cute sweater on the market. To me though, the cute little saying on this sweater means so much! Grab a cup of caffeine and let’s chat.
I want to take you back to this summer.
Like I said… you’re going to need caffeine!
So, this Summer I was laying out by our pool. I remember looking down at my leg and seeing a black dot, like it looked like I had dropped a Sharpie on my shin. I licked my hand (I know, gross) and tried to wipe this “dot” off. I was confused when it didn’t come off. I mean it didn’t even smudge. I remember telling Ricky about this new “black dot” I had developed on my leg.
Time came and went and I honestly just forgot about it. I mean how often are you checking out your shins.
This fall I began to just feel “off” something was not right. If you know me, I am a woman of MANY hats. I have tons of energy. I rarely sit still. And Spark is my best friend. For weeks straight my energy was just gone. There wasn’t enough caffeine in the world to keep me up. I was ready for bed everyday at about 3-4pm. I had horrible headaches. I was losing weight, not complaining, but it wasn’t healthy. I was experiencing lots of memory loss. I could not focus on anything. I was having tons of joint pain, especially in my wrist and knee. I kept chalking it up to the intense workouts I do. I even lost complete vision in one eye one night. Before getting pregnant with Rush I was diagnosed with EBV so, I thought I was just having a flare up. But, after a month or so rolled around, I was not feeling any better. I made a appointment with my general doctor just to see what he thought.
I went in to see him. We came to the conclusion I needed a full panel of bloodwork done. While I was in there though I remembered that “little black dot” He looked at it and immediately said, “We need to biopsy that now.” I mean he wanted to do it right then and there. Did he not know I had 3 kids to pick up from school in 10 minutes and did not want me leg cut open? I was a bit dramatic. As usual.
I went in the next day and had the biopsy on my leg done. He checked my full body and had other spots he was concerned about but, we decided to wait and see what this one said first before getting “biopsy happy”
Within the next week my labs came back, along with my biopsy results. My biopsy had shown the spot on my leg was “borderline melanoma” and my bloodwork showed a positve on the “ANA”
“A positive ANA test means autoantibodies are present. By itself, a positive ANA test does not indicate the presence of an autoimmune disease or the need for therapy. Some medications cause a positive ANA. … This typically signals the presence of antinuclear antibodies in a healthy individual” -sited Google.
With all of these positives a few things needed to happen. First, with the biopsy results we decided to biopsy another he was very concerned with on my shoulder and that I would be referred to a plastic surgeon to have further margins removed on my leg. Second, I needed to see a specialist on my autoimmune test.
I hope you have your caffeine…
(PS I’m pretty sure I have spelt “caffeine” wrong my whole life! What happened to the “i before e, except after c?” Thank you auto-correct)
Ok back to the story….
So, I first went to see the autoimmune doctor. I was able to get in quick. After consulting with him for awhile of all my symptoms and everything that was going on he decided to run a very extensive blood panel. I mean E-X-T-E-N-S-I-V-E & EXPENSIVE! He also wanted X-rays of my main organs to make sure they weren’t being attacked. A few X-rays and 21… YES you read that right, TWENTY ONE viles of blood work later I would begin the waiting game.
While waiting on my bloodwork to return I had a CT of my head done and praised God that was clear. That was ordered due to all of the vision and headaches I was experiencing. I also got the biopsy results back for my shoulder and it also showed early stages of pre-melanoma.
Now, here’s where I throw you a huge curve ball and you begin to read everything I am going to say from here and think… “WOW! Didn’t see that coming!”
When all of my symptoms first started occurring I was so exhausted I began to develop serious wrinkles and very dark circles under my eyes. Not knowing there was a bigger issue going on than just a Mom of four not sleeping… I had made a appointment with Dr. Clark Mooty to get some botox, fillers, or whatever he could inject to help my eyes. Again, I had no idea when I made the appointment there was anything going on!
My botox appointment was the following week I received my biopsy results. My doctor was referring me to a plastic surgeon to have larger margins removed around my leg and shoulder. Plus, because of my biopsy results I had two other spots on my stomach he felt needed to be removed as well. So, praise God, what I thought would be appointment for some botox was actually going to be much more than that,
Before going to see Dr. Mooty all of my blood-work had come back in so, I went to visit with the autoimmune doctor. My bloodwork had showed there was definitely something going on with my immune system and I also tested positive for “APS”
“Antiphospholipid (AN-te-fos-fo-LIP-id) syndrome occurs when your immune system attacks some of the normal proteins in your blood. It can cause blood clots in your arteries or veins. And it can cause pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage and stillbirth.
Blood clots in your leg veins cause a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Damage from blood clots in your organs, such as your kidneys, lungs or brain, depends on the extent and location of the clot. For instance, a clot in your brain can cause a stroke.
There’s no cure for antiphospholipid syndrome, but medications can reduce your risk of blood clots.”
By the end of my visit I was told my body was in the early stages of Lupus.
I left feeling beyond defeated. Of course coming home to “Google” everything I just gave you. I wondered if I would even see my kids live after all the news I was handed. I went into a slight depression. I was terrified. I cried. I think I told my homegroup I was scared I was dying. All the reading I came across absolutely terrified me. I am a 32 year old woman! I am SUPER active, healthy and fit. I have four babies to watch grow up. I have a husband I want to travel the world with when I’m old. Like, all of this just hit on a whole other level.
The ONE thing I did find so, beautiful in the midst of all this darkness, was the APS diagnosis. Before having Rush I had experienced two back to back miscarriages (you can read all about them on my blog) I never understood why or how. I had prayed for a answer but, I was also at peace of knowing I may not get that answer this side of heaven. So, for God to give me that, He knew I would need a little something to remember He’s with me in this all. I love that He truly knows each of us SO well. When I got that diagnosis I bawled. Not even because I was scared, that would kick in later, but because I looked over at Rush and thought “WOW! You made it!” With odds against him and my body doing crazy things God delivered me my sweet Rush. I cry just typing that. My sweet Rush is a warrior!
I received so much at once I think I went numb to it all. I tried to just turn it off. My appointment with Mooty was coming up but, the Sunday before God did something.
I hope you’re still with me. The curve ball is coming.
When I was 19yrs old I worked as a waitress that emphasized your chest. You can put the pieces together. I was a young girl. So lost. I didn’t feel loved by anyone most days, I did not know Jesus at the time and the love He had for me. I remember being at work one day and looking at another girls large chest, looking down at my not so large chest, and thinking “If I had that, someone would love me” Goodness that makes me cry typing that too! Dear Lord I pray with all my heart my daughter NEVER feels the way I did in that moment.
I called a plastic surgeons office that day. Left work early that day for a consult. Had my surgery two weeks later. This 5’2, 100lb, 19yr old lost girl, was now the proud owner of a HUGE 34DD (if not bigger) chest. I looked like I might tip over if you pushed me just right. I looked ridiculous. And ladies let me just tell you, these did not get me love. If anything they got me a lot of heartache. But, this message has ZERO to do with if I think implants are “right or wrong” this has to do with the ROOT of why I ever got them. I didn’t get them because I had just fought breast cancer. I didn’t even get them because I was a Mom and needed a pick me up. I got them completely out of insecurity and so much more.
I became a Mom at 22. After I had my first two babies I had surgery again. I reduced the size of my chest, but I still came out bigger than I desired, it wasn’t as ridiculous as before but, still not where I wanted to be. For the last few years now I wanted and voiced to my husband and a few close friends that I wanted them gone all together. I think knowing the root of why I ever got them in the first place has just not set well as my walk with the Lord has grown.
The Sunday before seeing Mooty I woke up and my implants were the first thing I thought of. Weird. I know. Especially because I hadn’t really thought much of them at that time. I felt as though God was telling me, “Check your implants”
I went to church. Served at my guest services desk. A friend comes strolling in. Hadn’t seen her lately. She wasn’t regularly attending our church. She came up to the desk and said,
“You’ll never guess what I am doing Monday?”
I said, “What?”
She said, “I’m having my implants removed!”
She had had hers redone within the last year and since that surgery she had not been feeling well at all. Some physical health things and a lot of spiritual health things as well.
I then of course had to tell her everything going on in my life! She had no idea of the diagnosis I had just received. After telling her of all my recent news she informed me to start researching how many women have developed autoimmune disorders after having implants. So, I came home and started googling! Story after story, I read so many! I had wanted mine out for so long and now maybe this was a big reason of why God had placed those feelings so strong on my heart.
I went to see Dr. Mooty and told him everything. He assured me that he couldn’t tell me my implants did cause my body to start attacking itself but, he also told me he couldn’t say they didn’t either. So, after prayer and discussing with Ricky we decided it was time to take them out and pray for some relief. I had the surgery to remove my implants completely in October. I also had the spot on my leg, back and the two on my stomach removed. It was a lot to handle at once! Praise God all of my margins came back clear from the surgery!
I prayed I would be miraculously healed after the surgery. And here’s the thing.
Are all my symptoms gone? Nope.
I am still experiencing fatigue, not as bad as before but, some.
My wrist are KILLING me! Like the pain is so bad sometimes I feel like they could seriously break!
My skin is flaking like that of a snake on most days.
And I am still experiencing loss of appetite/weightloss
“I am FREE as a Bird and Flat as a Board” as another blogger would say.
The spiritual burden I was carrying from the root of it all has been lifted and that is the best healing I could have asked for.
I am SO happy in my own skin now! I LOVE my body for how it is now… tons of scars and all. I am BEYOND grateful for a God given husband that was so supportive of all of this. That loves me for me. And one that could careless about the size of my chest. How sweet for God to bring me a guy like that after what I thought would get me one, has now been removed and he loves me the same. God just blows me away!
I told you I would throw you for a curve and I hope your caffeine kicked in sometime before now.
To wrap this up though. I am still in the process of really figuring out what is going on with my body. I have read mixed reviews as to what your immune system can do. Some say once it begins to attack itself, it can not be reversed but, that the goal is to put it in remission. Others say it can be reversed. All I know is my goal is to find the root, and attack that. I am looking to see a more natural doctor here in town that does just that. I will update you as the journey progresses.
Since having the surgery my headaches are gone! I no longer live with a constant headache. My fatigue is SO much better. I feel now I experience tiredness but not pure exhaustion as before. My vision seems to be much better now. The biggest healing though for me has just been the weight that was lifted of the burden I was carrying through insecurity.
I would love to hear back from anyone that has experienced this!
I have shared this story on a few of my social media channels worried women would think I am shaming them for having implants. Let me assure you, I AM NOT. I could truly careless! This is MY story, MY journey, MY conviction. You do whatever God lays on your heart. Whatever He tells you to do, you should do that and know only He can judge. Not me, nor anyone else. I will say though it has been so sweet how every time I have shared this at least one woman has messaged me saying she has wanted to get her implants removed for numerous reasons. I felt so weird and so alone for so long because of what I was wanting to do. Just know, you’re never alone! Plenty of women want them in and plenty of women want them out and I am not here to say either is right or wrong!
If you are carrying a burden though that you are tired of carrying I pray you can release it. Whatever it may be. Turn it over to Him. Break off the chains. Walk in the Freedom you were destined to walk in.
You are FREE AS A BIRD.
**Please get yearly skin checks to look for abnormalities. This could have been a different story if I would have waited longer.
**Due to some messages I have received let me add somethings…
My implants were not ruptured or leaking. I requested to take them home if you would like to see them! They make a great paper weight 🙂
NO Doctor told me to do this. This was 100% MY conviction, MY choice. Based off my heart.
I do not look like a little boy now. Praise God for that. I removed my implants and had a lift done with what I have left.
I HIGHLY recommend Dr Clark Mooty if you are near Lubbock. He made me feel so at peace with my decision. At one point I even tried to talk myself out of the surgery and he helped confirm that it had been on my heart for years for a reason. Go see him, even if it’s just for a consult. Tell him I sent ya 🙂