"I believe in the love of God, it is an orphan's wildest dream, it is a Narrow Little Road, it is an ever widening desert stream" ~ Red Mountain hymn

"This narrow little road may be filled with both abundant joy and humiliating sorrow; surely, even its promised Divine acceptance cannot assure it's travelers absense of profound rejection. Indeed, this narrow road may be filled with a great many things, but the one thing it truly lacks is regret!" ~Debbie Sue

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Malaria is real

I know it's been a while, but a lot has happened since I left the land of Liberia.

On April 5th, I flew into Washington DC where I had the most amazing week with a very dear friend of mine. It was total culture shock when I barely wanted to leave the house in April because it felt like winter; what am I saying, it was winter! 2 days after I arrived, I didn't realize that I was flying way under the radar until a police officer showed up at my friend's door begging me to call my mother... true!

On April 15th, I wrote an update email saying that I felt really strange Tuesday night the 12th after I slept at my grandparents and that I got a little fever, and thought it was an airplane bug. Well, for the rest of that week, I continued to have fevers at night and feel normal during the day. I was achy and tired, and had a bad headache on and off (not uncommon for me normally so didn't think much about it.) A few days in, I had a passing thought, "I hope this couldn't be malaria," sure seems similar to what I saw in Liberia.

Well it turns out that most strands of Malaria have a two week incubation period where the parasites can be attacking until you notice any symptoms; they are fairly easy to treat and yet they remain in your system like a virus and come back throughout your life. The most serious strands- like the one I had- can be dormant in your system for months, attacking your liver and your blood cells until your body literally shuts down.

By tuesday 19th of April, my fever had been 103-104, and then I had two seizures and was taken to the Emergency room. When I got there, I was delerious and incoherent for pretty much the next 48 hours. My liver was failing, my blood was toxic, and my vision and hearing were extremely impaired. Everything hit so hard and fast out of nowhere. My mother was called and told I was in ICU in critical condition and she dropped everything and flew in to MA and came to the hospital to stay with me around the clock in the ICU.

Because I was very confused and continued to have a high fever, I was incontinent and had a "poop pouch" and a catheter (sorry for the graphic details). At one point, two nurses tried to pull me up in bed and forgot about my catheter and ripped it which led to a lot bleeding, a tear in my bladdar, and a urinary tract infection.

Malaria attacks your liver and your blood, and so I was not having my blood filter correctly and was very jaundiced. All my blood counts were fatally low so they had to keep giving me more blood transfusions. Just an example, my plateletts were 18,000 when I came in, they are currently more like 300,000 now.

My hemoglobin was around 2 and is supposed to be between 12-17. You get the picture, right? My blood was 11% parasites which is so toxic that they had to give me mega doses of a cemo-like drug which killed much of my other cells (which led to 4 blood transfusions). When they gave me the drug through an IV in my right hand it infiltrated which means it stopped going into the vein and went into my tissues instead which damaged nerves, tissues and tendons in my right hand and arm (still my biggest prayer request as my right hand is still usably impaired at the moment.)

I'm sorry it's been so long since I have written, but now you know why. The Lord is sustaining me and will continue to heal my body each day. I truly look forward to seeing many of you in the upcoming months, and I thank each of you for your prayers and support through this season. I am healing up amazingly well, but I still have quite the healing process ahead of me.

More words, stories, and lessons to come...

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