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My Testimony

Change. This one word makes an incredible difference in the lives of so many people, including mine. My whole life has been made up of different challenges I must overcome to survive. Ever since I was a baby, something was wrong with me, but no one knew exactly what it was, despite the many signs we were given. I grew up with a constant cough, and hundreds of times, woke up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because I was coughing so hard. Triaminic (a cough medicine that helps you go to sleep) was my best friend. I couldn’t laugh for long periods of time without going into a coughing spell. Repeatedly, I saw an allergist who put me on medicines that didn’t seem to do anything. One day, they asked permission for me to get a chest x-ray and what they saw confused them. I was forced to take two sweat tests (because CF patients sweat so much that this measures the amount) both of which were very uncomfortable. When we got the results back, it was official. I was diagnosed with a very life-threatening condition: Cystic Fibrosis.
My whole life turned around in just that small moment. I had to go in the hospital for three weeks, where I got my first PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line. The stay wasn’t too bad, and after that, I was feeling and looking healthier than I had in a very long time. It was short-lived.
The following summer, I faced a very scary situation that I look back on and a chill runs up and down my spine, just thinking of what almost happened. My doctor told me it was time to go in the hospital yet again. I wasn’t too worried, but I was upset that I’d miss a lot of things in the summer. My nonchalant-ness disappeared around the fourth week I was there. I started to develop side pains, stomach pains, and 105º fevers that produced horrible nightmares. It’s very terrifying to hear and say that I was hanging onto only one very small, thin thread for my life. All of the other threads had slowly slipped out of my grasp, and very slowly, I could feel this one starting to pry itself from my hand. However, God gave me new strength and helped me grab onto more threads. My fevers died down and my aches and pains went away. He truly saved my life that summer. I believe that He said it wasn’t my time and let me live. I stayed in that hospital for seven weeks and five days. And it was all during the summer. Great way to spend the summer, huh?
When I got out, my family and I went to Disney World, but I was still so weak, I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. It wasn’t all that bad, but I still had my PICC line in and when you have a PICC line in you can’t get wet. It was the middle of August and I couldn’t get wet. Isn’t that lovely? I had a really good time at Disney World, though, even in the scorching heat. One good thing comes from this. In really bad heat, it’s hard for me to breathe, so when I go to amusement parks, I get a FastPass which allows me to just go ahead without waiting in line.
I went in the hospital a few more times that year and my last visit occurred in April of 2007, making it my eighth hospital trip. This was not a life-threatening visit, but it still marks a very painful step in my Cystic Fibrosis life. I had been fighting constant nausea for at least 2 months before this visit. I was required to take more pills and a few other very, very painful things that are a little too personal to even talk about. I spent most of my time leaning over the toilet expecting something to come up, but nothing ever did. That was when the doctors decided I should go in the hospital. This was only a week-long visit, but here, I spent every hour in bed with a heating pack over my stomach fighting back the urge to throw up. Sometimes I held it back, other times it came up. It was during this stay after I started recovering that I was watching TV and I couldn’t hear a girl screaming. The medicines they put me on had made me lose half of my hearing.
Immediately following this visit, I went to a family weekend camp called Victory Junction Gang Camp. This place was NASCAR themed, founded by Kyle Petty after his son, Adam Petty, tragically died in a racing accident. I wasn’t as nauseous as I had been those last few months, but in all the pictures, I’m not smiling in any of them. That weekend, the color returned to my face for the first time in at least two months. I started healing up after that weekend greatly and I’m proud to say that that visit in 2007 was the last time I was in the hospital. (The year is currently November 2011)! However, that doesn’t mean the years in between have been easy.
Like I said before I lost half of my hearing, so I had to have closed captions on my movies and my television. I lived for more than two years without all of my hearing. I was forced to always be the one to miss out on the funny part of the conversation or the big thing everyone knew. It annoyed everyone that there were captions on the screen, especially at school, but I wanted to know what was going on. In 7th grade, I received a pair of hearing aids. At first, they hurt my ears. Not them physically, but after living for two years in the quiet, this loudness was new! I slowly adjusted to this change and they helped me so much. I still need captions but now I can hear a conversation fully. Then there were the surgeries…
I’ve really only had three real surgeries, but I can’t tell you how many procedures I’ve had. I’ve had four PICC lines and numerous bronchoscopies. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve had, but I’ll assume that it’s about ten. Lastly, I’ve been operated on three times on my chest. The first time, I was getting a port-a-cath in. The PICC lines just weren’t working so I needed something more permanent. Over the three years I had that in, a big, red scar had formed over top of it. It didn’t really bother me until the last few months. I started to notice everyone I passed staring at it and I felt really self-conscious about my body. The second surgery was to get it taken out. However, the scar came back bigger and redder in the following months. I went to a plastic surgeon and we discussed taking the scar off again. She told me that I would have to wear a special bandage on the new scar for a year to help the scar from raising up again. I agreed immediately and went back into surgery. I couldn’t wear the patch until it healed a little so I waited a couple weeks then started wearing it. This occurred around the beginning of June 2011. I went to summer camp the last week in June and found out beforehand that I couldn’t go swimming until the very last day. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, something like that happened in August of 2006, didn’t it? I went to see the surgeon again after I got back and everything was going fine. The scar was good-looking and nothing major needed to happen. If you want to read about the amazing thing that happened to me in the second week of July, you can read the other article I posted all about it (or will post: depends on when you read this). I went to a doctor’s appointment following that trip, and found out that my lungs are doing better than they ever have in my whole entire life. Needless to say, we all went insane over this! Nothing really big happened until October of 2011. I went back to the surgeon and she noticed my scar starting to raise again. So now, I must massage it deeply twice a day which is very uncomfortable and put medicine on it that burns slightly. But if this will make my scar less noticeable, I’m all for it.
God has worked, and continues to work wonders in my life. I’ve been through a lot of struggles and pains and frustrations and reading this is nothing compared to actually being there. To understand, you really have to have felt the pain and anger I’ve felt. But I’m so thankful I’ve been raised into a strong Christian family who has taught me everything. I love God so much even though I face a lot of pain—emotionally and physically! Despite the bad things, there are always good things involved and times when I can praise God. Reading this, I’m sure you see that I have a great testimony that I can share with other and help bring others closer to Christ. Do I wish I didn’t have this? Sometimes, yes. But I will praise God no matter what and thank Him for it. At school, it’s hard to be around so many people who don’t love God like I do, but they are God’s children and He loves them, so I should too. God will help me through my difficult times, and when it time for me to live with Him, I will go after I have made my mark on this Earth.



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