Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Story

I had known since I was in my twenties that I had fibroids but in 2003 I found out I had ovarian cysts and stage 4 (out of 4 stages) endometriosis. The doctors wanted to see what was going on and extract as much of the “bad stuff” as possible so I had a myectomy. The treatment that followed was with a drug called Lupron which stopped my menstrual cycle for six months. This allowed my body to heal from the surgery and without my menses I was not producing the endometrial tissue that was running rampant in my body. I was then told I had one year to get pregnant. This was difficult considering I was not in a relationship. I dated and I even asked a few friends if they would consider “being my baby daddy”…to no avail. I decided if I wanted to have a biological child it was now or never. I did not make this decision easily. I also received many opinions on what they thought about my choice to be a single parent… I didn’t care. Okay that is not true, I did care. I spent many nights, weeks and even months crying and trying to figure out what I did to end up this situation. What had I done in my life to warrant not finding a mate (I was 33) and infertile. I cried because this was not the life I had planned for myself. I had to give up the old dream and I had to create a new dream. A dream that I could still have the life that I wanted but I had to be flexible about it. I realized that life was simply a happy financially stable family which I knew I could create for myself. I finally gave myself permission to create that life and not be ashamed of how I decide to create it.

I researched my options. I chose to use Shady Grove Fertility because they were large and seemed to have a good reputation. I began my treatments. Although I was considered infertile, the insurance company had protocol I had to follow: insemination prior to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was required. I went through 3 Intrauterine Inseminations (IUIs) prior to my IVFs. My nightmares began with the IVFs. On approximately September 13, 2005 after my first IVF; I began to have stomach cramps. I notified Shady Grove and spoke with my nurse. I was told it was part of the process. Unfortunately the IVF did not work and I did not conceive. The pain I was having subsided temporarily while I was on suppressive medication (birth control) in preparation of my second IVF. However, I began experiencing night sweats in October. On November 8 I began my second round of IVF treatment. Within one week of embryo transfer (November 26) I began having extreme stomach pains. I contacted Shady Grove a couple of times during the month of December before they finally told me to come in. When I finally went in one of the doctor’s told me “you look fine, I’m not going to request a blood work-up”. I went home and continued to have night sweats and cramping. I contacted Shady Grove a few more times and was told “if I am still having pains I should see my gynecologist.” Now, this was a little odd to me because I had been under Shady Grove’s care for a year not my gynecologist.

On Dec. 27th I woke up at 4:00 a.m. screaming at the top of my lungs in excruciating pain. (I have a pretty high threshold for pain so when I tell you it felt like my insides were being torn out I am telling you the truth). I called my friend Ariana to take me to the hospital (I guess I could have called an ambulance but that would have been so sterile, who would have held my hand during the whole ordeal?). I went to the emergency room where I waited over two hours before a doctor saw me despite my obvious pelvic pain. After spending almost twelve hours in the emergency room I was released with only a prescription for pain medication and the advice to see my doctor the next day.

Following Shady Grove’s advice, I went to see my gynecologist. Within the first 30 seconds she had me on the table she said, “I don’t know what is wrong with you but I know you need to be admitted into the hospital immediately.” Once at the hospital, blood was taken for a comprehensive blood evaluation--which immediately showed signs of an infection. A comment was made by a doctor that the emergency room did not do a comprehensive blood evaluation on me and he was not sure why. Had they done so, I would have been admitted to hospital on the 27th instead of the 28th. Although there is no way to tell, I wonder what an earlier admittance of 24 to 36 hours would have prevented. Because of the infection I was being treated with antibiotics; they still did not know where the infection was or how severe it was. Let’s see if I can make this clearer. When the doctor’s entered my room it was like an episode of the television drama House. They came in a pack. They said they expected me to be in a coma. When you are healthy your white blood cells number between 7-9,000; mine numbered over 18,000. They said if I had waited another day I would have been dead or in a coma. The infectious disease specialist kept asking me "didn't your doctor's know you were sick?" I kept responding that I was telling them but they were not listening to me. The whole time I was in the hospital the infectious disease specialist could not get over how sick I was and that Shady Grove did nothing about it.

I was taken in for surgery in hopes the doctors could locate the troubled area. When they opened me up, the infection was so bad they could not see any of my organs. They had to close me up. My mother was then told that I would be put on the maximum antibiotics that my body would tolerate to see if they could get the infection under control. After 33 hours passed, I became septic (my blood stream became toxic) and emergency surgery was required including two blood transfusions (one prior to surgery and one during surgery). My GYN was also in the surgery and said it was the worse surgery she had ever been in. They had to remove almost a liter of fluid and pus before they could even get to my organs. What this means is that my organs were deteriorating inside of me, they were liquefying. When they finally got to my organs nothing could be saved. The end result was I had a total hysterectomy and an appendectomy. After the surgery the doctors were happy it was over but all they said to my mother was "we are not out of the woods, all we can do now is wait." They thought I was going to die…plain and simple. This was on day four. I was in the hospital for 15 days. I was on disability for 12 weeks. My first day back to work, I was told I was being downsized…lack of work. Could my year have gotten any worse!?

This was April 2006. I spent the next few months of my “summer vacation” depressed then I decided I had to move on and figure out what to do with my life. It was either go back and work for someone else again or start my own business. I was tired of giving everyone else control so it was the latter. I decided it was time for me to live my ultimate life…I started a company that would allow me and others to live their ultimate life. I cannot change what happened to me but, I can change my perspective on it…I have chosen not to wallow in it and be sad. I have decided to use my pain for good. Just as in the story of Joseph in the bible his dilemma turned out to be a blessing--so shall mine. My blessing is my adoption. I also pray that a blessing may come to others through this story.

13 comments:

Hi! I'm Laura. Welcome to my blog. said...

As horrific as your experience was, it is a blessing that you are alive. God has a plan for all of us and that was part of yours. The beautiful outcome though is that because of it you are being led to your daughter in Ethiopia.

Tami said...

Laura- thank you. In my haste to try to make this story as short as possible I forgot to add that important piece. If for not God's Grace and Mercy I would not be here and I know that! I am so thankful to be given a second chance and I do not want to blow it this time around.

I could go on and on in the blog about how good God has been to me but as the song goes "I'm Still Standing..." so that is enough for me...everything doesn't always work out the way that you want it to but it certainly works out the way that he intended it to.

The Breedlove family said...

What an unbelievable journey you have come through. You really seem to have handled it with such grace. It will be wonderful to see you with your child in your arms...after such a hard road. Amy

Rebecca said...

I have just read your entire blog! You are so funny!

I have to say my heart breaks for you - all of the things you had to endure medically. It is amazing that God has brought you through that and given you the blessing of adoption! And, it looks like we're both using Gladney and in about the same stage, so maybe we'll travel together to get our sweet little babies! Our hearts are consumed with Ethiopia! (I love how you "fasted" from talking about adoption. I don't know how you did it! I am constantly looking at pictures of children from Ethiopia and finding out everything else I can! :) )

And, thanks for the tip on the "Expecting from Ethiopia" shirt. I am going to try to find it on that blog and order one. I'm so excited to have "paper pregnancy" clothes!!

Tami said...

Ok Rebecca you read my entire blog? We really need to give you more to do! LOL I really have you fooled don't I? LOL

Tami said...

Amy which blog is yours? I'm confused and that isn't very hard to do these days!!!!!!!!!!

Tami said...

Amy which blog is yours? I'm confused and that isn't very hard to do these days!!!!!!!!!!

Amy said...

Hey Tami...different Amy here, Amy from Ethiopia or Bust. I too, just read your blog and am AMAZED by your story. I CAN'T WAIT to watch your journey and I CAN'T WAIT to see you with your little Ethiopian baby!

I can answer the above questions for you
The Breedlove Family that left you a comments blog is
www.ourjourneytoethiopia.blogspot.
com/
The Rebecca that left you a comments blog is
www.winterinethiopia.blogspot.com

Can't wait to read more of your story!

Sharla said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with such honesty. Something beautiful is going to come out of someting that could have been a tragedy. I'm impressed with how you picked yourself up afterwards and chose life, real life. Because you made that choice, God will be glorified, a baby in a far-away country will have a chance at life and will have a mother and a family, and you will have the amazing, indescribable priviledge to be a mom.

haze said...

Hi Tami,

I just found your blog from your comment on Sprout and I had to have a boo because I am excited to have found another single, black woman adopting an Ethiopian child!

But I must tell you how sorry I am to hear of the pain you went through 2 years ago. I am so glad to hear you are now healthy and you have a healthy attitude about it all.

I'm looking forward to catching up on your other posts and reading more as you walk this path.

Hazel

Katy said...

Tami-
I too have now read your whole blog. I'm so sorry to hear of all you went through. And the "I would die for that" video made me cry my eyes out. I had major surgery in April of 2005, related to having lost a baby at 4&1/2 months in February 2005. I know how long and frustrating my recovery was and I can't even begin to imagine what you went through. I don't know about you, but sometimes April of 2005 seems like just yesterday to me. Thanks for sharing your story.
-Katy

kristine said...

I don't know how I got to this post from my blog but I had not read this before and I'm so glad that I have now. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for your medical trials but I'm happy it put you on the road you are on now. There is a saying "you cannot stir a grain of sand on the beach without changing the direction of the stars." Your story illustrates more than any other I've heard.

Tamstyles said...

Oh my God..your story..the doctors..it really pisses me the hell off just reading that...I almost wish I hadnt it pisses me of so...I wish you the best in this journey and cant to see the end result.