The following post is part of The Girl Behind The Blog series that will continue each week detailing my story of illness and recovery starting in March of 2007. I believe that God created me for a reason and each experience I have can draw me closer to HIM and be used to encourage others. This post and those that follow detail a pivotal moment in my life that changed me forever.
Nervous energy swirled around me as I sat on the exam room table in the doctors office. It was later in the afternoon and the sun was coming in through the windows creating rays of light throughout the space. March creates beautiful spring days in Arizona and I tried to let the outside view of the desert mountain range calm my nerves.
That was short lived because soon enough the thoughts from earlier in the day came screaming back into my head. Why couldn’t I feel my legs? Was I dying? Over and over I kept praying: God, please let everything be ok.
I really did not want to be sitting there. The crinkly paper rustling underneath me and my pink skirt fluttering from the air conditioner above me are images that are forever etched in my memory. It is funny the moments you remember. My legs dangled off the table as I glanced down at my feet as I heard the knock on the door.
In walked the physicians assistant Katherine Keating. I will forever be grateful for her and Dr. Timothy Baker. She instantly made me feel better and more at ease as she nodded her head in sympathetic concern while listening to me ramble on about how I could not feel my legs from the knee down. She poked, prodded, and also checked my patellar reflex (otherwise known as the knee-jerk test). I thought it was a little odd that my leg hardly moved when she tapped on my knee but quickly pushed that thought aside as we began to discuss possibly reasons for what was happening.
Feelings of relief flooded over me as she discussed running lab work for vitamin b12 deficiency, anemia, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. I had my blood drawn and walked out on unsteady legs feeling hopeful that the blood work would come back showing I would only need a simple b12 shot to return me to normal. I headed into work feeling better and even more at ease after calling my parents and Josh to let them know how my appointment went.
It took a few days to hear back about my results. On Tuesday I received a phone call at work that my blood tests had come back and that I needed to return to see Katherine to discuss the next step. I made arrangements with my boss and quickly drove to the doctors office.
The blood test results had come back negative except my liver enzymes were highly elevated. She was concerned that my legs were still not feeling better and asked me about my sore throat from a few weeks earlier. Looking at my chart she began to discuss my previously negative mono test. I was, yet again, going to be tested for mono, checked for hepatitis a, b, and c, and have more blood drawn for a complete blood count. This was starting to sound a bit more serious then a vitamin b12 deficiency to my 23 year old ears.
Let me pause for a moment and introduce to you my wonderful family.
I can’t really continue telling this story until you know the key players and give you a short Hallock history lesson. Pictured above: My dad, mom (she blogs over at Deliciously Inspired), brother Evan (sorry single ladies, he is taken), and of course my hubby Josh.
In my family it had long been talked about how sick my Dad was before he and my Mom were married. My Dad had mono two months before my parents wedding and they were unable to go on the honeymoon they were planning because he was still in recovery mode.
The dreaded mono illness story floated around our house waiting to be told each time one of us was sick. It became a running joke in our family comparing each others colds to that time my Dad had mono.
In the beginning of March 2007 when I had gone to the doctor for my sore throat he ran a mono and strep test. Both came back negative and I was thankful! After spending years growing up listening to how horrible my Dad felt, that was the last thing I had wanted to be diagnosed with. Especially with my upcoming November wedding to finish planning.
Two days after my last blood draw on March 22, 2007, I was getting dressed for work and needed to sit down in my closet to pick out my clothes. I was so weak. Standing up was taking so much effort and it was easier to sit down to put my pants on. My balance had been really off the last few days and as I tried to stand back up off the floor my legs gave out. I needed to use my arms to pick myself up. I knew something was not right and continued to push the worrying thoughts out of my head as I left for work.
A few hours into my work day I received a phone call at my desk updating me on the lab results. This time the blood work had come back positive for mono. Almost three weeks after the initial mono test, I finally had an answer. With all the weird symptoms and sensations my body was experiencing I was happy and relieved. My imagination had been starting to get out of control with all the thoughts of what could be wrong with me.
Over the phone I was told to leave work immediately and given strict orders to go home and rest. In a few weeks I would be retested to check my liver enzymes and if they were not elevated I would be cleared to return to work.
I again felt a sense of relief because like an umbrella this diagnosis covered all the crazy symptoms I had been having. From my sore throat, weakness and numbness in my legs, and to the overall fatigue I was experiencing mono covered it all. During this phone call I was referred to a neurologist to work with to manage the neurological symptoms I was experiencing from the mono.
Thinking how funny it was that like my Dad I would get diagnosed with mono 8 months before my wedding I began to pack up my things to go home. I said goodbye to my co-workers and was told to rest up and feel better.
As I drove home I can remember thinking that my Dad had always made mono sound so horrible. Sure my legs still felt really funny and I was having a harder time walking but I felt really different compared to what he had always described. I wasn’t suffering from a sore throat or fever any longer, and my appetite was completely normal. From my current list of symptoms I wouldn’t have thought I had mononucleosis.
I arrived home and made phone calls to my family, told Josh that we couldn’t kiss for a few weeks, and spoke with my grandparents who offered to bring me food to nourish me back to health. Grandma promised to bring over her famous Mac and Cheese later as well as anything else that sounded good. I sat back on my sofa, turned on the television, and flipped through channels. I had no idea as I fell asleep, listening to Judge Judy give her verdict in the background, that I would never be returning to my job I had left several hours earlier.
Thanks for reading and here is Part 4 to continue the story.