A year ago, on the night of February 20, 2013, I was sitting right where I am currently, doing the exact same thing I’m doing now: studying for a Spanish exam. Unlike last year, however, I am in a more advanced Spanish course, I haven’t procrastinated my studying until the night before the test, and I am absolutely pain free as I type this.
If you are wondering why I was in pain last year, I recommend that you go read my very first post on my blog (it’s titled “The Beginning” and can be found here). When you are finished reading that post, go read my other posts as well. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to read everything before I writing here.
Okay, are you all caught up? Let’s continue…
Around one in the morning last year, I began having stomach pain. This was normal for me during the last 3 years and I knew how to eradicate the pain quickly. So, I wrapped up my Spanish and headed to bed as lying flat always helped. A couple hours later, though, the pain didn’t cease and my nausea was more intense.
I remember the drive to the ER. I remember it being the longest ride of my life. I remember checking in. It always seems to take a while. I don’t remember much after that: I’d assume they knocked me out with pain meds pretty quickly.
Anything after that moment feels like each scenario changed in the blink of the eye. One blink I’m in the emergency room telling my mom to call my friend Bianca and let her know that I won’t be at school for the day. Blink twice and I’m on the adult floor at the hospital with a loud roommate and the next I’m being put into an ambulance.
I don’t remember anything else. I’ve been told I went into shock after this. I’ve been told I didn’t know who my mom was at this point. I’ve been told that I was very close to dying. I’ve been told the surgeon saved my life.
The next thing I remember I woke up in a hospital room. I couldn’t speak so I tried to write my mom a message on a notepad. I recognized one of our friends from Minneapolis in the room first. Then I saw my mom. When I could speak, I said “Mom, am I late for school? I have a Spanish test today.”
When I was awake enough, the story of what happened to me was explained to my medicated self over and over until I understood it. I had been asleep for 8 days – my class had already taken the exam and started a new section in Spanish by now.
As I look back on the year, memories fly by. Surgeries, medical procedures, NG tubes, feeding tubes, countless doctor appointments, a year and counting of total parenteral nutrition, it’s a bit overwhelming.
365 days ago, my life changed forever. Despite everything, I went on to finish that semester of school in just a week and a half after being absent for six weeks. Despite everything, I still managed to start eating again after the doctors told me they didn’t know when I’d be able to. Despite everything, I survived and am here to tell my story with a positive attitude. Has it been a long, tough, and winding road? It sure as heck has been. But one has to play the cards they’ve been dealt and realize that whatever happens in life will happen. You can’t let something that knocks you down keep you down for the count. You get back up and make the best of what you have.
I am so thankful to all the doctors, nurses, and everyone who has been on this journey with me, from the beginning to now. I look forward to continue on this journey with all of you, as well as many more unique, exciting, scary, exhilarating, fun, happy, sad, and crazy journeys in the future.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year that I could leave here as advice, it’s this: You never knows what’s going to happen in the next moment, so make the most of the one you’re in now.
Oh, also, start studying for exams before the night before the exam.