Saturday, August 29, 2009


I've never been a girly-girl. I've never felt the need to spend an hour in the morning getting all prettied up with makeup and whatnot. In general, I really couldn't care less about that kind of stuff. I basically never wear makeup unless it's a special occasion. (Maybe that's why the boys don't pay attention to me! Yeah, right.) Until now...

Last night, I decided I wanted to look at the back of my head, just to see the damage I was working with. I honestly didn't think it would bother me. I just wanted to see it. But as I angled the handheld mirror to look back into my bathroom mirror, I saw just how much hair I had lost, and it hit me. Everything that I've been through in the past two and a half weeks hit me. Then, my mom took the bandages off because they were peeling up anyway, and it hit me even harder. It's hard to explain, but it didn't seem quite so real until then.

Suddenly, I became superficial. All I could think about was the fact that my cute hair is gone. Why something that's never mattered to me mattered a lot all of a sudden, I don't know, but it did and does. My mom and I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to rectify the shave job Dr. F did on my hair, and we can't come up with any style that's remotely close to what a normal 17-year-old girl would want to have. And it sucks.

I know I shouldn't care. I should just be grateful that I'm alive right now, and I am, but I'm still a teenage girl. I'm leaving for college in just over a week, and when I walk on that campus, I don't want my scars to be screaming "look at the freak!" But when the back of my head is completely shaved, like we've decided I'll have to do, it'll be like a giant red arrow following right behind me. Trust me - you can't miss the incisions on the back of my head. And there's not a hat on this planet that will fit my head, either.

This seems so stupid. I should just be thankful that I still get to go to college this semester. I am. But I'm still 17 years old and I still just want to fit in and blend in. My entire life, I've tried really hard to avoid any attention that wasn't academics-related. I want to go to school and have people want to get to know me, not either ask six billion questions about my head or be so freaked out they won't want to come near me.

You don't need to tell me "It's just hair. It'll grow back." Please don't tell me that. I know that. I know it's just hair. But it means a lot when you're a teenage girl. Especially one who's facing an entirely new world at the same time she's trying to deal with recovering from something like this.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How dare I!

How dare I leave you sweet friends hanging for three whole days!

I have no idea what's gotten into me.

Oh wait, could it have to do with just getting out of the hospital after having three brain surgeries?!

Yeah, that sounds about right.

But really, there's just no excuse for not posting to you guys when you were so sweet to pray for me for two whole weeks.

Frankly, I haven't done anything blog-worthy since getting home on Tuesday. It's been a lot of laying in my recliner, watching TV and eating popsicles.

The pain is being managed fairly well, but last night I had a really bad night and went to bed at 8:30. Apparently, I really needed the sleep since I didn't wake up till 7. I have a stabbing pain in my head at the incision site at the moment, so I'm thinking I'll go take another 5 mg of Oxycodone. That's the only painkiller I'm on at the moment.

As long as everything goes well, I'll be moving up to Campbell Labor Day weekend. I'll get the sutures out on the 8th (and finally be able to shower!), and start classes on the 9th. (My cut schedule has no classes on Tuesday, so it's no big deal.)

That's really about it. Now, I get to go give myself a sponge bath. Yippee.

Did I mention I really can't wait till the 8th?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guess what.

The surgery was successful. I have my internal shunt.

Guess what else.

I'm getting out of here today.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Quick update.

I feel nauseous from eating too much before my "no food or drink after midnight" pre-surgery rule.

IV #5 blew early this morning.

Dude who came to put IV #6 in took three tries. (long story) He was cocky. I cried. I nearly slapped him.

As previously stated, surgery tomorrow.

Hopefully finally getting an internal shunt put in.

Very tired.

And that's all I've got because I want to get medicine for this nausea and go to sleep.

Bye for now!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tonight's update...

Will be rather boring.

Because I'm tired. Because I didn't sleep last night.

And because I'm recovering from the worst headache I've had since surgery. See, my EBD has this clamp to keep me from draining fluid whenever the nurses is emptying the tube the fluid goes into or I'm moving to keep it from draining too much. My nurse emptied my tube and forgot to unclamp me afterwards, and so I was clamped for like 20 minutes with the fluid building up in my head. Twenty minutes doesn't sound like much, but when you're dealing with brain pressure, it's forever.

I'm surprised it took me that long to realize it was clamped. Usually I can feel the pressure building within 5-10 minutes, and I can stop it before it gets to the excruciating point I was at tonight. But I didn't feel this at all until it was like BAM! and my pain number went from a 6 to a 9.

OW. I called my mom and cried for like 15 minutes because I was in that much pain and she tends to make me feel better and talk me through it. The good news is after I unclamped it and the fluid drained, the pressure got a little better, and the pain went down to an 8, but they're still ordering me a one-time dose of something IV to get relief. The docs recently cancelled my IV pain meds, and I was actually doing pretty well today with just the oral Oxycodone and Tylenol....until this, of course.

So yeah, it's been a long day. My great-aunt came last night around 8 and left today at like 1:30, but I've been by myself since then. Holly promised she'd come as soon as she got off work, and she called and said she was leaving at 10:30ish, but she had a bit of a way to travel and security and such to get through, so hopefully she'll be here any minute.

Now, I'm going to try to rest till whenever this IV med dose gets here.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I want my mommy!

Yes, I am seventeen years old, and I will admit that I want my mommy. :( She left today to go home because she has to go and get work done because her school's classes start on Tuesday. (She's a high school English teacher.) So she's working tomorrow and Saturday.

I know it can't be helped, and she had to do it, but it still sucks. She won't come back till Sunday. Three days is a long time when you're in the hospital.

My great-aunt is here tonight and Saturday night, and Holly is supposed to be staying tomorrow, but it's just not the same. My mom knows me better than anyone, and she can pretty much tell everything I need before I ask for it. Kind of like, she knows me better than I know myself. You know?

So needless to say, I'm in a bit of a blah mood. In other news...A dermatologist here at the hospital came by my room and is going to give me a different steroid to hopefully help with the rash that is now all over my chest. So that's good. The bad is that Dr. F says this rash could delay my surgery. And he's cut down on my pain meds despite me needing them which is incredibly annoying, but there's nothing I can do.

Mom called Campbell today and got my schedule straightened out. We cut it down to 12.5 hours because this semester is going to be hard enough on me since I'll have been in the hospital for two weeks when I'm done and I won't be on campus till at least Labor Day weekend. And this way I'm still considered full time, so my scholarship is safe. She also went to Campbell on her way home and picked up my books according to my fixed schedule, and got all of them except for the French ones, and they're overnight shipping those next week because they were out today. At least I don't have to worry about anything there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How odd.

I think that statement goes with a few different hospital-related matters.

How odd that I've had to have 4 different IVs in this stay, when I've never had IV problems before.

How odd that IV #4 is already bugging me.

How odd that a few hours after surgery yesterday, I was eating a freeze pop and talking like nothing had happened.

How odd that lots of different nurses have forgotten to unclamp my ventricle drain, which causes severe pain, and then gotten mad when I got frustrated about it.

How odd that one tiny little piece of blood clot is all that's keeping me from getting an internalized shunt.

Get the picture?

This is all just odd.

I feel okay, overall, despite the pain being hard to manage tonight. I had another CT scan tonight to check on that one piece of clot that's left. If it's gone, I will have the next surgery to put in the internal shunt on Friday, and I'll be out on Saturday. If not, we'll wait till Monday, and I'll be out on Tuesday.

It still seems like an eternity away.

The good news is that I got a bath and my hair handwashed and my legs shaved today. My mom rocks.

But still...I want to go home, I want to rest up, and I want to get on with my life. I want to go to college. I've never been stuck in a hospital for this long. I've never had emergency surgery. I've never had multiple surgeries for one problem so close together. This is all uncharted territory. And I'm losing energy. But I'm fighting to hang in there because, frankly, I don't have any other choice.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Surgery tomorrow.

Yep. The dreaded words. This one will be #12.

Dr. F is going to go back in and try to flush and clean out the blood clot. If he is successful, he'll put in an internal shunt and I'll be out on Wednesday. If he's not, he'll put in another external shunt and I'm stuck here for God knows how long. (And really, only He does.)

It's not hard to figure out which one I want, huh?

I want to get out of this place. Plain and simple.

I've been overheated and nauseous a lot today. Which sucks.

My hair is disgusting like you wouldn't believe. Which also sucks.

Please pray for:
- my comfort before and after the surgery.
- success for Dr. F in removing the blood clot so I can get an internal shunt
- peace for my mom and I as we deal with whatever the outcome is.

My mom will have to go back to work on Friday, and I'm terrified about being in the hospital alone, so I really need peace about that if I don't get out of here on Wednesday.

Thanks and love to all of you for supporting me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Three words pretty much sum it up.

And so have parts of today.

I was having severe pain that couldn't be managed with medicine.
I couldn't sleep, even when I was maxed out on pain killers.
I was nauseous.
I discovered a nasty rash all over my back and under my boobs that burns and feels like I have ants crawling all over me.
My second IV blew.
My blood clot hasn't changed.

Sound depressing enough yet? So the deal is that I'm going back into surgery on Tuesday and Dr. F is going to try to flush and clean out the blood clot. If he can get it to go away, then they'll put in the new shunt, and I'll be out on Wednesday. If not, they'll put in a new EBD (external brain drain) and I'm stuck here.

Prayers are so desperately needed. I so need and want to get out of this hospital. I just keep getting blindsided, like with these stupid IVs. I've been in the hospital a gazillion times before, and I've always had really good veins. It's never been hard to get an IV in, and I've certainly never needed more than one. The fact that I've needed three and this is only day six is just weird. Please pray the clot goes away at least during surgery Tuesday. I need to get on with my life. My mom is about to have to go back to work and I hate being stuck in the hospital without her. I'm tired. I'm emotionally drained. And I want to go to college before it gets so late that I have to lose this whole semester. Is that so much to ask?

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Quick post tonight. A) because there's really nothing to say. B) because I don't really feel like writing.

To put it simply, I'm bummed. I get on Facebook, and all I see is a bunch of "moving to Campbell today!" statuses that remind me how unfair life is for me at the moment and just how much I don't want to be here. I want to be friendly and talk to all my new friends, but all I can think is I'm supposed to be there.

So basically, this sucks. I'll have another CT scan tomorrow night to check on the clot, but if it still hasn't changed, they'll have to delay the surgery. Please please please pray that this clot is going away. I want to move into my dorm. I want to go to classes. I just want to get the heck out of this hospital.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Talk about being blindsided.

It's Friday, August 14th, and the past four days have been an absolute whirlwind. Most of the time, I don't know what day or even what hour it is. But frankly, I don't care.

Monday, my mom and I headed to Raleigh, expecting to have two normal checkups with my neurosurgeon and neurologist. In 2002, my neurosurgeon, Dr. F, put a shunt in that goes from my brain to my stomach to release the extra fluid being held up there. We brought along the CT scan and report we had from May to show him just because the Duke people had all told us there was no reason to mail it up - that we could just bring it with us. Why? Because the report said that the ventricles (the pockets in your brain that hold spinal fluid) and shunt were normal and there was excessive sinus disease. So we figured my daily headaches were from the sinuses, not problems in my brain.

Well, Dr. F looked at the CT results, but he was able to compare them to past MRI and CT scans I had had done here at Duke. He realized that my right ventricle, the ventricle that my shunt had been placed in, had dramatically increased in size. He immediately brought up the word "surgery," which I will admit threw me into a state of shock. His colleague told me that they had an opening the next day, and he said that as long as everything went normally, I'd be out on Wednesday. No big deal, right? That meant I'd still be able to move to Campbell on Saturday, so that did make me feel better.

So after meeting with him, we went to pre-op to get the usual bloodwork done, and to get something to eat. Here's the slight problem with having a 24-hour notice about surgery: we had absolutely nothing with us. The Duke pharmacy gave us enough medicine for me to get through Tuesday morning, so that was a help, but we still had no clothes or a place to stay or anything. Thank God I had a load of cash in my wallet.

We headed to JC Penney and bought clothes and underwear off the cheapest racks we could find. Then, at the recommendation of the cashier, we headed to a nearby sports bar so I could get a steak. Might as well enjoy my last meal, right? Then, we went to Target to buy toiletries and whatnot. My back was killing me, though, so I rode around in one of those motorized chairs that usually only really old people use. (People give really mean looks to handicapped people. Did you know that? But that's a whole 'nother post.) Throughout all this, my mom was on the phone repeatedly with the Ronald McDonald House begging them to give us a room, but it took a long time because they were waiting to hear if this family was going to show up. So I really can't get mad at them for taking so long, especially since at about 9, the manager agreed to give us a room. (Hallelujah!) Of course, we got lost trying to get there, but that was the manager's fault.

We got there, and I took a shower. Praise Jesus that for the first time in 11 surgeries, I didn't lay awake all night. By like 1, I crashed. And I didn't have to get up till 10, so I felt as fantastic as I could ever imagine. Mom took a shower and got ready and bought her cigarettes, and we got lost again, so we got there just in time for my 11:30 pre-op time. Well, just my luck, it took them an hour to call my name. When you're anxious and hungry and have nothing to do, this is the last thing you need. And then it took them a long time to give me the happy medicine, but the good news is that when they did, it kicked in real fast. My anesthesiologist, Dr. A, was so cute! Hehehe. And he had a sexy British accent, and was, strangely enough, born in Southport, a town right near Liverpool that I visited last summer. Apparently, once they gave me the drugs, I just kept telling him he was pretty. (He was, but that's so beside the point.)

My mom says that the drugs I was on make me very flirtatious. Dr. A wasn't the only guy I hit on while I was high on whatever it was they were giving me. Dr. J, the PICU resident, came in while I was in recovery, I asked him what I should call him, and he said I could call him anything I want, so I said "How about Prince Charming?" My mom says he turned bright red. I called him that every single time I saw him.

This is the deal with the brain bleed that Jess mentioned. When Dr. F went to check the shunt in my brain during surgery, he realized it was clogged. When he went to go pull it out, it was a bit stuck in the brain matter, and as he pulled it out, my brain started bleeding. He worked to stop the bleeding, flushing and cleaning it, for almost an hour. He wasn't entirely successful, and there's now a blood clot in my brain where the shunt was. Because of that clot, they can't put a new shunt in, and I definitely need one. So I have to wait for the clot to break up and dissolve before I can get a new shunt in and leave.

Tuesday and Wednesday I pretty much did nothing but sleep and puke. And I'm on my period, too. What great timing! (please note intended sarcasm) By Thursday, I stopped puking, and by that night, the nausea was gone, so my mom got me a turkey sandwich and I scarfed it down, even though I started out intending to take a break between the two halves.

Today, my stomach feels just fine, except for cramps, and my pain is pretty under control. The worst part of today was when my IV blew. My arm swelled up and couldn't be touched, but it's better now. My grandma and Chelsea came up today and brought my mom more necessities and my computer (which is how I'm writing this) and more snack food, so I'm pretty set.

I had another CT yesterday, and the clot hadn't changed at all, so that sucks. Of course, this means I can't move to Campbell tomorrow, which also sucks. But I'm trying to remember that there's a reason this is happening, and there's a reason it's happening right now. Even if I don't get those reasons yet. God does, and that's all that's important.


Aside about Chelsea: She's not quite as far along as we thought. 9 weeks 4 days instead of 12 weeks and 3 days. Good. We need every day we can get to get ready for this. But she's doing really well with my grandma who's keeping an eye on her while my mom's up here. So yay for that.

And many thanks to Jess for the updates she posted!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update on Mallory

Hey everyone, this is Jess again. I'm sorry that I haven't been over here to post. Actually, today was the first that I heard from Mallory, which is what she suspected would be the case when I talked with her on Monday. So, I apologize for causing worry.

There were complications when removing the shunt. She had a brain bleed and they were unable to put a new shunt in. Therefore, they will have to operate, once again, and she will not be able to leave for college (as originally planned) on Saturday. They are thinking she will have to be in the hospital until the middle of next week. At least that is the plan as of now. However, we all know who has the ULTIMATE plan, right?!? :)

Anyway, please continue praying for Mallory. She is in A LOT of pain right now and is very nauseous. And on top of it all, she is not happy with the fact that she can't leave for school on Saturday. Please just pray that she feel some peace and comfort knowing that she is being taken care by the best of hands ~ our Lord and Savior's.

Thank you all for your love, well wishes, and prayers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Please PRAY!!

This is Mallory's friend, Jess. I just got a call from her and she is having emergency brain surgery tomorrow at 1:30 EST.
Please be in PRAYER for her during this time. Also, please pray for wisdom for the doctor and nurses who will be performing, assisting with, the operation.
Right now, Mallory is doing fine. She is a little scared, but is doing her very best to continue trusting in the Lord. She will let me/us know something when she is able.
Thank you for your prayers.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lazy days are wonderful.

Like today.

I have no idea if it's sheer exhaustion from yesterday, but I went to bed at 1 am, woke up at 9:30 to take my morning medicine, and went back to bed till 2:30.


I love to sleep, but that's a lot, even for me.


Tomorrow, Mom and I have to leave bright and early to go to Raleigh for appointments with my neurologist and my neurosurgeon. Nothing special or majorly important, really. They're just the last of my pre-college checkups. We're just lucky we managed to get both of them scheduled for the same day.


The closer I get to this coming Saturday, the more scared I get.

But the way I see it - if both Holly and my cousin Dustin, both of whom COULD NOT WAIT to leave, were terrified at this point, it has to be normal.

Part of me is comforted by that.

The other part, not so much.

Oh well. I'll deal.

The cool thing is that last night I found two other freshmen girls on Facebook who are staying in my dorm. My dorm is technically not a freshmen dorm, and we're all in agreement that we gotta stick together. :) Sweet.


Um, that's about it. Like I said, today I'm having a lazy day, so there's really nothing fascinating to report.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shop till you drop, baby!

That's certainly what today felt like.

My grandma was already planning to take Chelsea shopping for some clothes today. But I gave her a ton of shirts last night (seriously, it was like an entire new wardrobe worth of tops) so she really only needed maternity pants and shoes. She decided that since the temperatures are only getting higher the next few days, she wanted to go ahead and get the shopping she was going to do for me out of the way, too.

Well, I only got like 4 hours of sleep last night, so I wasn't too thrilled. But then again, who am I to complain when someone else is spending money on me?

First, we went to the bank to deposit money for Holly and cash a check my grandma wrote me that came from my inheritance and a savings bond from 10th grade I found.

Then, we went to Shoe Carnival and I sat around while Mom helped Chelsea get three pairs of nice shoes on sale. (Don't you love those words?)

Then, we went to Olive Garden for lunch. Who knew a meal as simple as Chicken Gnocchi Soup and breadsticks could taste so good? And if you've never had that soup at Olive Garden, you should totally try it!

Then, we went to Sam's Club. We got a ton of food stuff for me. Plus some stuff for the house and stuff my grandma wanted.

Then, we went to WalMart. School supplies, more food, more random stuff I need.

Then to JCPenney's. Chelsea needed more pants. At least I got to sit in the air-conditioned car for this stop.

All in 90 degree weather, mind you. I don't handle heat well, if you hadn't figured that out already. I nearly passed out in the middle of WalMart, but thankfully didn't.

6 hours has never exhausted me more.

And then we had to unload all the stuff.

Did I mention it was 90 degrees?

And I was running on very little sleep?


It was a long day.

The good news?

I have almost everything I need for college. All that's left is garbage bags and cleaning supplies because we were so tired we forgot those two. Oh well. Only forgetting two things is pretty good for us. :)

1 week!


Side note: I just realized this is my 88th post on 8/8. Hah. Cooooool.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Definitely sick.

I thought it was just allergies yesterday, but nope.

I'm definitely sick.

Can't stop sneezing.

Fever. (something I never get)




Slept all day and now can't get back to sleep.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scared, worried, frustrated.

All words that could describe my current feelings.

Not only am I scared about the fact that I'm really leaving home next Saturday (10 days!), I got some crappy news today at lunch. My mom told me that my ENT's nurse called and said that the colleague she talked to told her not to put me on longterm steroids.

Ugh. Do these people not understand what being off steroids does? Within four days, I can't breathe. Like, at all! And being two and a half hours away from home when I finish this round of steroids is not going to be pretty! All they can say is "well, maybe the new environment will be better for you." And I say, "Well, what if it isn't?!" They're not giving me any alternatives. They're not giving me any help. Dr. G knows how sick I get every single time I go off steroids. The stupid little minor longterm side effects are worth it to keep me out of the hospital! Wouldn't you think?

All I know is this - I have an appointment with Dr. G next Wednesday. I need answers.


My mom's best friend Rachel came into town today with her 6 month old Abby Grace. :) Rachel's due with baby #2 less than two weeks before Chelsea. (She wasn't planning this one, either.) It seems the only person who isn't scared about Chelsea becoming a mother is Chelsea. Oh Lord, help us.

I love my sister, and I love that baby, but I must say I am glad I'm not going to be here to get woken up at 3 in the morning by a newborn. :)

It was super cute, though. I got to feed Abby both a bottle and some baby food. I was kind of messy with the baby food, haha. But I figure, that's what the bib is for, right? My mom kept joking that maybe Chelsea's baby will be a good source of birth control for me for the next ten or so years. I quickly replied she has nothing to worry about for at least eight years. Trust me. No way that's gonna happen!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I love orange.

In case you weren't aware of that already.

But when I decided I was going to get a second pair of glasses for school, I thought the chances of me getting a pair of orange frames were slim to none.

Well, thanks to the sweet lady at the eye care center, I got some!

Wanna see?

They're actually a lot more metallic than they appear in these pictures. Sorry. My mom and I couldn't quite get the camera to capture it the way we wanted.

I got my hair trimmed today, too, to clean up my haircut. And I plucked my eyebrows just because I wanted to take these pictures to show you guys!
So. What do you think? I, for one, love them.
(Forgive the off-kilter shirt. I didn't realize it till I uploaded these.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I have another one of those weird topics on my mind. After talking to a new friend for almost an hour tonight, I started thinking a lot about people. People in general, mind you. Nobody specific.

I'm generally good at reading people. Don't try to lie to me because 98% of the time, I'll know. Those close to me know that I can usually read them like a book. If you're my friend, I'll be the first person to ask you if you're okay if I think you look upset. I simply care about people. (Whether that's a curse or a blessing has yet to be decided.)

See, here's the tricky thing. I don't trust people easily. Ever. Especially not anyone in my town. I have little to no faith in people because in the end, they're going to let you down. They're going to lie to you, and they're going to hurt you. I've been stabbed in the back more than anyone I know. I don't open up to people unless I truly believe in my gut that they won't hurt me.

People as a whole disappoint me. They make it their mission in life to berate, humiliate, and upset people, most of the time for no reason. They misread you, and when you try to set them straight, they won't listen. The people I went to school with stereotyped me from the age of 5 as the quiet, freakish nerd who cares about nothing but school. For years, I tried so hard to show them they were wrong. Then, a month before graduation, I realized they'll never listen. People will continue to harass you and insult you because it makes them feel good.

So it kind of makes me wonder why people depend on others so much. Well, I know why. People need the emotional comfort from others when times are tough, and no matter how many times they get hurt, they're always willing to try to make a new friend because they want to know someone cares. At least, that's how it is for me.

But here's my point. Shouldn't God be enough? Shouldn't He be enough so that we don't have to care what people think or what lies are being told about us? I know a lot of people say they don't care what anyone thinks about them, but I'll be the first to tell you that's a load of bull. Everyone cares, whether or not they're willing to admit it. Meanwhile, God is sitting there waiting for us to realize that people don't matter. He is the One who will keep us going as long as we truly trust Him.

I's easier said than done. But when we die, the people who harassed us won't matter anymore. Only God and whether or not we chose to live our lives the way He asks us to will make any difference.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ta da! notice anything different? =D

Welcome to my new blog. Well, the content's not new, and what I write about from here on out will still be the same, but I do have a new title and a freakin amazing blog design made by the wonderful Mandy. Over at Blogs by Mandy, you can see some of her awesome work and email her to get your own blog design if you want! What makes her special, though, is that she donates a portion of each profit she makes to a great cause. This month, it's the Ronald McDonald House.

Thank you so much, Mandy! I LOVE IT!