The Girl Behind The Blog: Part 4

The following post is part of The Girl Behind The Blog series that details 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 in the series detail a pivotal moment in my life that changed me forever.

Need to catch up in the story? Read Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3.

Being off work for weeks at time would normally be awesome but when you are sick those weeks feel like an eternity. My days were all starting to blend together as I settled into my new routine.  With a mono diagnosis the prescribed treatment is rest. So that is what I did. I rested. I couldn’t participate in any of my regular activities. Not that I actually felt well enough to do them, but to go from as active as I was to sleeping on the couch all day was as mentally tasking to my system as any workout ever was. No gym, hiking, running, mountain biking, or lifting weights. Instead I decided to make good use of my sick time by planning my upcoming wedding. In between wedding planning I watched tv and of course took several naps during the day.

Over the next two weeks I didn’t notice any significant change in how I was feeling physically. My legs were still bothering me and it seemed to be getting harder to walk. I had a feeling deep down that something else going on besides the mono. Have you ever had a feeling like that? It was like my body was sending me all these clues to solve a mystery but I just couldn’t put my finger on the culprit. I decided to make an appointment with a neurologist to see if they could pinpoint the cause of the weakness and tingling sensations in my legs. I was starting to feel like a prisoner in my own body and I was determined to figure out the cause as soon as possible so I could return to my life that had been put on hold.

Each day brought several calls from friends and family checking in to see how I was doing. Most of time I had nothing new to report. It can get a little monotonous at times answering the same questions over, and over again. While I was very appreciative of everyones love and concern for me, each phone call only reiterated that I wasn’t feeling any better. My overall mood was starting to sour. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better. I was praying, resting, drinking fluids, and following every other order I had received from the doctor.

I met with my first neurologist at the very end of March. My emotions were mixed. I was scared, anxious, and hopeful all at the same time that nothing or something would be discovered lurking within my body. After a very detailed exam it was determined that all of my symptoms were a direct result from a rare interaction between the antibiotic I had been prescribed and the mono. This again was encouraging! I left that appointment feeling like if I could just go home and rest for a few more days all would be well.

My loving fiancé, now hubby, Josh made it a point to come and see me on his lunch breaks when he could. He was in the process of testing for the City of Mesa’s Fire Department and currently worked for the Aquatic Department. With my time off from work I was helping him study for his upcoming test by making him flashcards out of his testing packet and book. Each day I would have a new stack of cards waiting for him to take home and add to his ever growing pile.


1 Month Before Our Engagement (November 2006)

In mid April during one of Josh’s lunch time visits I was in mid walk down the hallway to go to the bathroom. I was getting ready to take a step forward when my legs unexpectedly and suddenly gave out from underneath me. Trying to regain balance was useless. I had absolutely no say in what my legs were doing. My arms also seemed to be disconnected from my body because I was telling them to move to help break my fall and they did nothing. I came crashing to the floor, falling on my face.

Uncontrollable sobs escaped my lips as Josh rushed over and picked me up off the floor. Never in my life had I felt so helpless. With tears pouring down my cheeks, I cried as Josh held me. Within the hour I had another appointment scheduled with the neurologist.

There is so much I want to share with you. So many things I could tell you about what it is like to not be able to trust your own body. It is the ultimate betrayal. My body that I had known for over 23 years of life was suddenly unfamiliar to me. I could not count on my arms to be steady enough to use a knife or my legs to carry me as I walked and driving was definitely out of the question. Simple everyday tasks that I had taken for granted were now out of my control because I had no control over my body.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I headed back into the neurologists office. Waiting for the physicians assistant to come in was leaving my stomach in knots. The PA knocked twice on the door, entered the room and greeted me with a kind smile and warm handshake. I was asked to perform various tasks like standing calf raises (I was only able to muster up 5 hanging on to the wall for support) and walking down the hallway in straight-line as though I was on a balance beam (had I actually been on a balance beam I would have fallen straight to the floor). I felt nothing as a dull needle was used to poke the bottom of feet and had a non existent reaction to having my knee tapped. Obviously, at this point it was clear, I was not just dealing with mononucleosis.

Towards the end of the appointment I was given a brief breakdown on what might be causing my symptoms. The list ranged from Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic or Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, HIV, Sexually Transmitted Disease, or an Autoimmune Disorder. I was shocked at what I could possibly be dealing with. The lab request for my blood draw was impressive looking and I was going to be scheduled for a nerve conductivity test. I wasn’t worried about getting diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease or HIV because I was not sexually active and had never had any blood transfusions. On the other hand, the remaining possibilities seemed to be looming over my head like a dark cloud.

By this time it was starting to look like I was going to be out of work a little longer than initially anticipated. At 23 years old I filed FMLA paperwork with the City of Chandler for a medical leave. I was draining my vacation and sick leave time and was starting to freak out about future mortgage payments, medical bills, and car payments. Each day during my quiet time I would pray and pray asking God to make me better.

A week later, after my blood work had come back negative for every test that was run, I returned to my neurologist for a nerve conductivity test. Nerve conduction studies are used mainly to evaluate the function of the motor and sensory nerves in the body. In my case this test would help reveal the extent of the weakness in my legs. I had several pairs of metal disc electrodes attached to my skin from my knees down to my feet. I looked like a science experiment. After I was hooked up, quick electrical pulses were given to each nerve and the results showed the time it took for my muscles to contract in response to the shocks.


The test was uncomfortable but not unbearable. It was an odd sensation to know the shock had been delivered but not see any reaction from my muscles until moments later. I was finally going to know what was happening with my body. I sat on the edge of my chair as the neurologist started to go over the results of my test.

Thanks for reading and here is Part 5 to continue the story.


The Girl Behind The Blog: Part 3

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.

Need to catch up in the story? Read Part 1 and Part 2.

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.