Today makes a month since my entire life changed. So many of you have kept me in your prayers and showed amazing support to my family. You did all of this without knowing any of the details. Thank you for that.
My doctors have suggested that, when I’m ready, I talk about my experience to help me deal with it. To be honest, I don’t remember much about those 2 weeks. JoJo fills in the details for me when I ask him about specific events.
Over the next few months I plan to learn as much as I can about what happened to me but today I wanted to share with you what set this chain of events into motion. Partly because this is part of my testimony but also I want to bring awareness to this condition that no one knows anything about.
My doctor came by Wednesday morning with the intentions to send me home. She noticed that my blood pressure was a little high so she decided to keep me one more night. Later that evening my mom, dad, sister and niece were sitting in my room with me. JoJo had gone outside to see if he could sneak Aubrey in. I asked my mom several times if it was hot in the room. Then I felt a warm sensation all over my body and I started having trouble breathing. I paged my nurse and when she came in I told her I thought I was having a panic attack.
The following is a combination of my memory and details that the doctor and JoJo gave me.
The nurse also thought I was having a panic attack but she paged the doctor anyway. When Dr. Bass walked in he apparently took one look at me and then told the nurse to “call the team”. I remember him sitting on the couch with me and asking me why I thought this was a panic attack. I told him that I was having trouble breathing and people describe panic attacks like that. The next thing I remember was sitting on my bed thinking “I am going to die and my entire family is going to have to watch me”. I later learned that my family had left the room. JoJo said he came back into the hospital and my dad was waiting for him at the door. He told him he was going to take Aubrey to the lobby. JoJo said he was confused but when he walked in and saw my mom and sister standing in the hallway he knew something was terribly wrong.
While sitting on the bed with the doctor it became impossible for me to breathe. The last thing I remember is throwing up a pink, frothy substance. JoJo told me that right before I threw up I grabbed him by the arm and told him “I Love You”. He said that that it felt like I was telling him goodbye. In my mind this all happened in a matter of minutes. The doctor told me on Wednesday that it was actually a 15 minute time span. He told me that every single thing we needed to happen to save my life happened that night (that was God). My doctor not sending me home, my nurse calling him in despite her thoughts of an anxiety attack, the Duke Cardiologist who specializes in my condition just “happened” to be at Wake Med that night training them on how to handle these situations. He said that when they went to intubate he was worried that they would not be able to because I had already started frothing at the mouth and that usually makes it impossible to intubate.
That night my heart function (EF) fell to 3-5% (I have heard both numbers but I am not sure which one is the exact one). They had to stabilize me before they could even consider transferring me to Duke.
So what was wrong with me? Do you remember on November 1 when I posted an article on my page about PPCM and how I thought the internet was making me crazy (look at the pic). Peripartum cardiomyopathy or PPCM is pregnancy induced heart failure. The symptoms show up in the last month of pregnancy or up to 5 months after delivery. The symptoms also look like regular pregnancy symptoms and that is why the condition usually goes misdiagnosed.
That is just Day 1 of this journey. I am still piecing together the days and I will share more as I am ready to hear the details myself. I can promise you that those days are filled with even more miracles and even more doctors who are completely shocked by the results that they witnessed.
Thank you all again for the prayers. There is no doubt in my mind that this would be an obit you are reading instead of my story if God had not kept his hands on me.