Taking you back to the start requires a bit of thinking and remembering, some of which might be hard to remember. But even with this I will try to tell you the whole story from start to finish.
I was born July 12, a month earlier than I was supposed to. My mother had gone into labor unknowingly and by the time she had realized it was too late. She was forced to deliver me without any medication to ease her pain, and worst of all I was stuck inside of her. My shoulder was stuck on her pelvis and I had to be delivered via forceps. The pain she went through was something unbelievable and something I will always appreciate. I was born a healthy weight with only a mild case of jaundice. My mother on the other hand was having complications. Although we both went home a few days later my mother had collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. She had a fever borderline brain damage levels and the doctors had no idea what was going on. Her kidneys were failing and all the antibiotics they could think of were doing nothing. She was deteriorating quickly, and only by a luck chance did a nurse whisper a doctor’s name she might try to ask for. In her delirious state she kept saying the doctors name until finally he came. He was a doctor of infectious disease and almost immediately he was able to treat her. The cause of the infection, contaminated environment.
So why am I telling you this? Why does this matter? Well for one my entire story revolves around my mother and everything she has done for me. Without her I would be nothing. She is my number one supporter and would do literally anything for me. As for why exactly this all matters, well later on this is the basis for a fair amount of my misdiagnosis.
Growing up I had a generally typical American household life. My parents were divorced so I was with my father every other weekend. The rest of the time I was with my mother and after a while my so called step-dad though they never were remarried. We lived in the suburbs and had a typical lower-middle class life. My mother worked a full time job and focused on her only child, me. Coming from her own abusive childhood her parenting techniques were a bit from the norm. She did everything the opposite of what her family did and in the end created a very independent little girl.
Things started to swing south when I was just starting 3rd grade, making me only 8 years old. I had caught the nastiest flu possible which I then passed on to my mother (which she says is the 2nd time in her life she thought she was going to die, the first being the after birth experience). Good to know I have constantly tried to off my mother. After everyone recovered I was left with a nasty stomach ache. I couldn’t eat, I was in constant pain, my bowels were all sorts of messed up, and the pain all along my throat would rage day in and day out. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. Soon the pediatrician recommended I go to the hospital, and off my mother and I went. It was a fun 16 hour trip filled with no answers, also my first hospital visit since I was born.
I don’t remember much about this visit but what I do remember is all the horrible things my 8 year old brain were thinking. The first task I was given was to drink two gallons of this chalk like substance to make my intestines glow in the dark. Fun right? I was young and I was not having it. I hardly drank any of it, in fact there was a sink in my room and my step-dad dumped most of it out when no one was looking. Then came the needles. As a young girl I was extremely needle-phobic. The mere utter of the word would throw me into a panic. And here I was about to get an IV (if you haven’t had an IV, it’s a needle like tube that stays in your arm so they can administer medication and fluids if needed). Next came the CAT scans and ultra sounds. Every test the ER could think to run, still coming up short with answers. After 16 hours and all the results coming up negative for life threatening conditions I was sent home.
The months following I was treated like a guinea pig, test after test, doctor after doctor. Until one day the 5 month waiting list was up and I could finally go to the children’s hospital. The first visit wasn’t exactly lovely. The nurse couldn’t find a vein to draw blood, and needle-phobic self was in full meltdown mode. It also wasn’t helping the nurse was giving me attitude to shut up. Then to the actual doctor, first step fingers up my rear apparently checking for damage. The amount of trauma my 8 year old self was going through today was enough to last a life time. Only two visits later was the minor tale of severe acid reflux diagnosed. Because it was left untreated for so long my esophagus was literally burning away. The doctor told us acid reflux is fairly common in children and slapped me on Prilosec which had me feeling better in a matter of weeks.
Then for the next two years my life was back to normal and I could go back to being a normal little kid.