It’s truly been so long since I last blogged. I think almost 7 whole months?! It’s hard to believe, but 2021 was even worse than 2020 which is why the updates were rare. I just didn’t feel well physically and was exhausted mentally. 😔 My word of the year was “trust,” and I really did have to completely trust the Lord—as everything was out of my control.
Some of the most difficult challenges of 2021:
- In February, I was taken by ambulance to Legacy Meridian Park hospital’s ED and was admitted for 8 days due to intractable vomiting and dry heaving. Despite not eating or drinking, I retched and retched day and night. 😔 The doctors found out I had gallbladder sludge and stones.
- In April and May, I had left and right wrist surgery due to something called De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis which meant I couldn’t do any hand lettering for the majority of the year. I missed it soo much! I’m slowly easing back into it, but my hands are still pretty weak from all that has happened.
- I tore my right hip labrum again due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (it was last surgically repaired in August 2018), and I started experiencing more mitochondrial disease symptoms. 1) Namely, losing subtle muscle control in my arms/hands called “negative myoclonus.” 2) And, something called PEE (punctate epithelial erosions) which is essentially dryness on the corneas in my eyes. The ophthalmologist thinks my eyelids are weak from mito, and thus, I’m not blinking enough. 3) My tongue has also become weaker, so when I swallow, my tongue pushes into my bottom teeth (I will most likely need to start swallowing therapy and Invisalign treatment in 2022..).
- At the beginning of September, I once again had to go to the ED for severe right upper quadrant abdominal pain. The doctors found out that I had a gallstone stuck in the neck of the gallbladder, so they wanted to transfer me to OHSU which is a more equipped hospital than Hillsboro. I had to be NPO (no eating or drinking at all) for 4 days while I waited for a room at OHSU to open up which was incredibly difficult, especially since my mitochondria need food to make energy. My mouth was also like sandpaper from not drinking. Once I did get moved, my team of doctors did emergency surgery because I had early acute cholecystitis and biliary colic from that stone being stuck. I was in the hospital for 9 days because the anesthesiologist used a medication to paralyze me during surgery—the doctor said that’s necessary whenever doing any GI procedure. That paralytic didn’t mix well with my mitochondrial disease, so I was extremely weak and needed help for every single thing those following days.
- About a week after my surgery in September, I started experiencing left upper quadrant abdominal pain which has become more disabling over time—I don’t sleep much at all during the night due to the pain, and then when I do finally fall asleep, sometimes the pain gets even more excruciating and wakes me up at 6:30 AM, 8 AM, etc. 😢 It’s much different than the gallbladder pain and feels like a hot coal/knife stabbing. 😔 I saw my general surgeon for her wisdom/input recently, and she recommended that my GI dr. perform an endoscopy to check if I have an ulcer. An ulcer (or something like that) now makes sense, based on my symptoms. Sadly, the scope is not until February 14th as my GI dr. is booked out (and that was a cancellation). :’(
As you can see, the pain throughout this past year has been extremely hard. Not just the hip pain, abdominal pain, acute post-op pain from the 3 surgeries, the gallbladder pain when the stone was stuck, but also my daily pain from the mitochondrial disease: migraines/headaches, deep, aching bone pain in my legs, and the small fiber neuropathy in my hands and feet.
It’s so encouraging that Jesus knows what I’m going through and is there for me every step of the way. Yes, 2021 was very rough, and I think I cried more tears than the previous few years combined. But, just like this past year, I know without a doubt that God will be with me in 2022—He promised to never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I love the comfort that Jesus gives in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Each new year, I pick a word/phrase to focus on, so for 2022, I want to remember Jesus’ exact words: Take Heart. In other words, no matter what happens this year, I pray that I will have peace in the midst of suffering and not lose hope. ❤️