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Thursday, June 28, 2012

"There's no knowing what tomorrow brings. Life is too short to waste it, I say bring on anything." 


                                                -George Strait


I promised to never be sad again, as long as I was alive. I promised to never eat any bad food again, as long as I was alive. I promised to never let something foolish upset me again, as long as I was alive. I promised to be happy I was alive, as long as I was alive!!! YADA YADA. You get the point. Want to know how I am fairing up?

I made a MILLION promises before surgery, to God, to myself, to my family. I mean I over committed, but that's okay. I have started to "go" more and think less, even if I feel out of my element. Small things, but things nonetheless. I promised myself I would take chances, with all things, even if they didn't work out, and I have been living by that.

What's in this title? Yep, it has a purpose, just like all the rest of them:-) I have gone back to work, but that is not the 24-7 job. The full time position that I PROMISED myself I would have no problem accepting is in the form of diabetes. I remember reading blogs of people complaining about diabetes after the TP-AIT and thinking.... "what, get over it, you are alive".  So I promise to be happy to be alive, but I do want to honestly update for people going through this too. 

Diabetes, a full time job you can't take a day off from. Ever. Or else you could be sick or worse...  It is no secret that I had a pretty low islet cell yield. The majority of the insulin producing cells in my pancreas were already dead, meaning diabetes was on the horizon shortly regardless of the surgery. I got about 115,000 out of 1 million. Weak. But Rilo was confident that the little babies were thriving and would be good cells. And they have been! They are been working like champs. But there are nights they take vacation time, tonight happens to be one of them. I want to share those stories, the less than perfect stories.

I feel amazing! Every part of me, no complaints. Diabetes doesn't hurt, but it's a wild man. Yes, a man:-) This weekend I had my first ever 300 blood sugar! I had one previous high of 200, and then this. Tonight my blood sugar was 300 before dinner. Still high, actually waiting for it to go down as I write this so I can doze off. Sometimes I set my alarm in the middle of the night to check blood sugar levels when its high and I am ready for bed. Sometimes I set it if I take insulin too close to bed time, to make sure I don't have a low in my sleep. I give myself shots in my office, my car, bars, anywhere. My roommate wakes me to tell me to check it if it was crazy before bed...and she makes sure I am up in the morning or she worries. Ya see where this story is going? Full time, even when you are asleep. There is no "I forgot" or "I can't do that now". I do it anywhere, even at the dinner table. And I really don't mind:-) I am blessed that my diabetes is minor at the moment. I take a short acting insulin only, and take about 4 units a day, some days no units, depends on the day. Just something I thought others who are thinking of surgery should know. You can do this though, trust me, its small potatoes. 

With all this diabetes talk, and I am so chatty tonights, that brings me to my final update. I am going back to Gluten Free of sorts. Low carb, natural foods found here. Started tonight. I made the rooms and friends zucchini pizza. YUM! Zucchini cut long wise, topped with tomato sauce, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese all baked in the oven till tender and delicious. And carbless. Got the recipe from Aaron and Tammy, who have a blog (and I will post it soon)! More delicious and carbless fun to come! I will let you know how that helps the "situation". 

Cheers,
Whitney 
Test Strips...lame but it went with my "diabetes" theme!

New Sunglasses!
 From my family in Indiana and Chicago who gave me a Nordstrom Gift card. Thank you!

2-3 and STOPPING!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kristen and I at the Casino this past weekend...


What's in the name? 23 POUNDS, the number of pounds I have gained since recovery. I was a malnourished, 5'9" girl that was starving, literally! Not anymore, I have gained back the weight and am at my beginning weight before surgery. Between the throwing up and the constant pain, I thought weight gain was so difficult and not as much fun as "eating whatever you want" sounded. But, today I am delighted (I think) to report that Whitney is back. And now I am stopping!

Tonight I am praying for Courtney, a 16 year old girl, who is having her TP-AIT tomorrow in Cincinnati. I met her mom through email, and she had been a reader of my blog. Those types of stories make me so excited and make me want to keep writing to offer hope for families dealing with the disaster of the PRSS and SPINK1 mutations! I am praying that after this surgery Courtney will be able to live again, go back to high school (which she has missed for a year) and will just feel good again! What a blessing health is, and unfortunately we all take it for granted until it is taken from us. I can't wait for Courtney to get the monster out of her and to go on living her life. 

Update: I am proud to report that I WORKED OUT this morning at the gym! It felt so great to be able to actually break a sweat, not to mention I was wearing some pretty fabulous new running shoes. Yes, I have been very bad since being home...Nordstrom is just too close to my house. Whoops. Check them out below: 


Tomorrow I head to Chicago for an amazing time with family. Since I am a Zonie, I don't know my Midwest side of the family very well and I am so looking forward to spending a weekend with them! They prayed for me, supported me, and followed my blog as I went through a journey of a lifetime. 

Cheers to LIFE!
Whitney 

Busy Bee Buzzzz

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Does anyone know what Saturday marks???
The girls after brunch at Olive and Ivy. Who knew it was so good
for a breakfast spot?

Kristen and I at lunch! Opposite day apparently. 

Just my mama on the right and her bf, LouAnn!
I miss those two, living the life in San Diego!

FOUR MONTHS!


Four months ago at this time I was getting ready to head to Tucson, worried about living through the next week of my life. The night before I gave strict instructions to Katie, my best friend, on what to do in the event that I was not here on Earth anymore. She kept telling me to shut up, but we both knew I had to say it all. And today, today my alarm went off at 5:45 am this morning. I raced around looking for something to wear, fixing my hair and makeup, and making coffee. I drove to the other side of town to get to work and was a normal person! I never knew how happy this would make me or how good this would feel. Being normal is a beautiful thing. Life is a precious gift, and even I take it for granted sometimes.

I get mad at myself when I actually care about something silly these days. It's human, yet when I do it I always stop to think about it. If my prayers become meaningless or silly, I try to stop and thank God for what He has already given me and then I put a disclaimer on it. I tell Him the greatest prayer has been answered so if He can't get to the other ones, that's ok.

I always say this, but if you are thinking about going through with the TP-AIT and you need someone to talk to, message me! I am always here to talk and I would do this surgery over again 100 times! My blood sugar can freak me out sometimes, and it can make me feel anxious, but it doesn't hurt me. Diabetes is nothing compared to living with a failing pancreas, trust me, I know:-)
What 4 months looks like:

  • I am pain free and off most medications! Huge celebration, once it is ALL medications there really will be a party:-) 
  • I am back to work and living at my condo, enjoying every minute of both. 
  • My enzymes are working, all vitamin deficiencies are gone in the latest blood work (my hair can feel free to stop falling out now OMG).
  • A1C is 5.5 but I have a feeling that is changing :-/
  • Up until 2 days ago I was only needing a few units of Hummalog (short acting insulin) a day, but things have taken a turn! I have been required a TON of Hummalog, and am worried for my islets. Praying BIG TIME for those little love bugs to start feeling good and working in their new home. But if not, well then I will survive that too!
  • I am still stinking TIRED after a day of work, or a half day of work! Seriously, wiped. But I am working on that and I think my energy levels are pretty great considering I had a huge surgery. 
Ending this with something I read in an old blog from DAY ONE of surgery! Wow, time flies and I do look back with the happiest of tears on how I have my life back! Thanks Jen for keeping such good notes on all of those times I don't remember.  "Thought I would end this with a picture of Whitney at the end of the Purple Stride Walk!! At the end of the walk she was so happy and full of life. You can do this Whitney!! Like I have told you a million times I know you will get your life back and get to do all the things you have dreamed of! Day by day Whitney!!!" -Jenny
Cheers to life!
Whitney 

A Month Later

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Three months and a few weeks out (I finally stopped counting so perfectly) from the transplant and things are going AMAZING! What happened February 16th changed me forever. Actually, what began February 15th, 2009 changed me forever. I think that after you experience something life threatening you are never the same again.  Our new lingo at family dinners now include "whats your number", "did you check your blood sugar" and "where is your insulin" and I do admit that I still panic if I go low or too high and make late night phone calls to the most wonderful parents God could have ever given me. But, we work through each day and nothing seems too big to deal with now.

Generally, I am EXCELLENT! I feel better than I have felt in 3 years. I am still sore, I have no idea how that is possible, but I am. Seems like after 3 months your muscles would just get over it, but I do still feel like I had abdominal surgery. I get very tired after work (oh, I went back to work, and even took on a new job along with my old job), but naps do the trick. Nothing too crazy that I can't live with. Occasionally after I eat I still have nausea, but no more actual getting sick. Just popping Zofran and moving on with my day.

Life is amazing. No pain, no hospital trips, no worrying about eating, none of that! I have gained 20 pounds~ yes I know, seems like a lie considering I am still a stick girl. This is the truth. I think I weighed around 95 pounds during my recovery. That was scary for me, but life is good again. I am taking insulin, but in small amounts (very). I am not on any long acting Lantus, and take only fast acting Hummalog with cards/sugars. Sometimes I take no insulin and can go days without. Sometimes I need it with every meal, just depends, but the transplant of islet cells worked for sure. We are blessed, happy and just enjoying every minute of this beautiful life. I have moved back into my condo and have an amazingly helpful and supportive roommate (and her sister), who I am so thankful for. She reminds me about checking blood sugars and makes sure she knows where I am at just in case! I can't thank her enough.

If you are thinking of doing this surgery and you are nervous (you are a nut case if you aren't nervous) email me. Then, call me! Then, DO THE SURGERY. You will get your life back. You will finally remember what it is like to really smile. Your smile won't be one you slap on and convince yourself about. I promise and I want to talk to you about it, so email. Until then, enjoy looking at pictures of the life I am finally able to live.




Cheers,
Whitney
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