I had my follow up pulmonary appointment in Iowa City last week. All in all it went pretty well! I did the fun pulmonary functioning breathing tests…no pictures of me in the booth this time!
My results were consistent with what they were six months ago so no major changes there!
I do, however, still continue to battle that horrid brain fog later in the evening and especially in the morning. And while I don’t sleep the best, I do usually fall asleep extremely fast and then I wake up very confused throughout the night and in the morning.
Tim continues to joke about how super sweet he was the night before and it’s too bad I never remember but it only takes about five minutes for my brain to clear before I can assure him that was not the case haha. We are still finding ways to make light of my struggles and the way he has always been able to make me laugh is one of the many qualities I love about him!
Anyway, since I have had this morning brain fog for quite some time, my doctor questioned if I am getting enough oxygen during the night. He decided to order another oximetry test for me to do overnight and thankfully I was able to do this at home! I had this test done maybe three years ago so it’s not a big deal. I just wear it like a watch and clip the monitor on to my finger then it will record my oxygen levels while I am sleeping! The purple one is mine that I use to keep track of my oxygen during exercise or any other daily activities and right away I started the night out lower at 93.
Earlier in the day it had really dropped while I was cleaning house…I always tell Tim laundry is going to be the death of me!!😜
I was a little concerned about what my levels would do overnight! I obviously wasn’t too concerned though because I could not resist whispering in the dark with my raspy voice and glowing red finger… “ET phone home”!!
I still laugh thinking about it but Tim just shakes his head at me haha!!
I completed the test then took the meter back the next morning and went about my day!
And of course my day was filled with yet another doctor appointment. I had my follow up diabetic appointment which required more lab work…
…but thankfully all of those tests came back fine too!
And then Friday I got the call on my oximetry test!
Apparently I kind of “failed” the test! My oxygen had indeed dropped significantly over night, to the point where I qualify to wear oxygen at home. HOWEVER, I apparently was just over the qualifying mark by like one minute so now we needed to make a decision. The whole point of using oxygen is to help my body do something it can’t do so once I begin wearing oxygen at home my body will not have to work as hard which could then eventually make me more weak in the long run! And the fact that my levels only dropped one minute longer than needed for me to qualify isn’t that terrible considering I only have one really good working lung! I live every day with symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath that “normal” people would be encouraged to seek immediate medical attention for so why should this be different? If I start oxygen now because I skimmed past the qualifying point…will I ever be able to go back to not needing it or will I just start to gradually decline from that point on?
After more discussion with my doctor, we decided that while yes, the brain fog is annoying and I continue to struggle with fatigue, the oxygen most likely would really not benefit me much at this time.
So while my first initial reaction tends to be discouragement because I feel stuck in between too sick to be healthy and too healthy to be sick, the last thing I ever want to come off as is ungrateful! I am able to see how good the results really are! I also thought back to my initial diagnosis when I was searching for a doctor who could help me. When stents became a possibility I didn’t think twice about getting them because I felt like I had no other choice due to such severe symptoms. Right now I don’t feel that strong about needing oxygen.
Like one of my friends pointed out…my body is still functioning!!! It may have to work a little harder or it might be a little slower but my body is still trying to do what it needs to be doing! And I am extremely thankful my levels were not dangerously low to the point where it wouldn’t even be questioned as to if I needed oxygen.
I am also grateful that God has lined me up with such knowledgeable doctors who don’t ignore me or just push meds down my throat but instead encourage, support and challenge me!! My doctors genuinely care about my overall health and see me as someone’s wife, mom and daughter…not just as a patient so I know they will truly do what they feel is best for me!
After all of my doctor appointments and tests and labs were done for the week, I spent one afternoon observing as our older two kids helped Tim out on the farm!
Skyler had stopped home to visit…well to do laundry but I’ll take what I can get! She jumped right in to help Tim…
…and to play catch with her baby brother!
A simple every day moment…just watching my family do their ordinary daily chores and the fact that I was walking around outside breathing in the fresh air gave me an overwhelming sense of God’s presence. I don’t know how to really describe it but I had such a strong appreciation for the health that I have and I am so extremely thankful for all of the days God continues to give me on this side of heaven with my family! I mean…how can you look at this kid and not praise God for these precious little moments?! Nothing better than flip flops, football and a telescope out on the farm!
Next week I am back in Iowa City for a follow up on my heart stents. I will do another ct scan to make sure all of my stents stayed open from my last couple of angioplasties and I am praying there is no progression. But regardless of the results, I know Jesus has already gone before me and I have nothing to fear because in Him, I am already healed!