The Biopsy

 

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Yesterday I checked into the Metroplex Adventist Hospital for my bone marrow biopsy. I though I would share my experience for those of you that may have one coming up, need to inform a friend of family member, or are just curious as to how it went. Everyone is different when it comes to pain and healing, so please keep that in mind. To begin, a bone marrow biopsy is done to evaluate blood cell abnormalities and other diseases in the patient. I had mine, in particular, to test for mast cell disorders as I have struggled with unexplained allergic reactions with no triggers.

0800 – Caleb and I arrived at the inpatient surgery center and got checked in. I changed into a hospital gown and socks and prepared for the hours to come.

0830 – The nurse came in and attached me to the the monitors. I had an EKG done to evaluate my heart (due to past heart trouble – atrial fibrillation & tachycardia) and the dreaded IV was put in after one painful failure.

1030 – My mom arrived to the hospital to wish me well. I was supposed to have already been taken back, but the doctor had been working on the same patient since 0730, so apparently some complications arose. Waiting is the worst part; the nerves grow, my heart raced, and I kept playing over and over about what was ahead.

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1100 – I finally was taken back. I was explained everything that would happen. I would be sedated, but might feel some pressure and the pain of the numbing sting. I went in to the Cath Lab and the completely took off my gown (that was a surprise to me), but covered me with drapes. I had an oxygen tube in my nose and was hooked up to all the necessary machines. The anesthesiologist told me he would administer the medication. I didn’t feel it immediately and began to worry it wouldn’t make me go to sleep. I told the ladies that were prepping everything that I haven’t felt the medication, they assured me the doctor wouldn’t start the procedure until I was sedated. I was “blind” since my glasses were confiscated, but I could see the outline of the needle for the lidocaine. I was trying my best to stay calm. Then I went to sleep. After that I didn’t remember a thing. Whether I was sleeping or not, I don’t remember feeling a thing until after I was awake in the recovery room.

1215 – I awoke back in my recovery room alongside Caleb and my mom; the first thing I did when I got back to the room was pucker my lips for a kiss from my man. I was a little loopy coming off the sedation leading me to make silly little videos on snapchat and saying I wanted In-N-Out over and over again. I began to feel the pain in my hip. The nurses said I had to stay for 2 more hours and I had to eat before leaving.

1300 – I was give morphine for the pain. I told the nurse it was hurting and they made me lay on my back to compress it, instead of my side (which hurt even more).

1330 – I was given a veggie burger (I told them I didn’t eat meat and they happily got this burger!) and baked crisps for lunch. I really wanted In-N-Out, so I nibbled at it and split my meal with Caleb.

1400 – I was wheeled out to Caleb’s car and discharged!

After being discharged, I went to my much needed In-N-Out; I really wanted to just get it to go, but my mom was going to head out after that, so we just ate at the restaurant. On the way home we stopped by the primary exchange to pick up my headache medication as I left the hospital with throbbing in my temples. The day of the procedure it was very painful to walk and I needed assistance from Caleb to get from place to place. This morning I awoke with a little bit of pain and had sharp stings here and there, but overall the healing seems to be going well. I can’t lift anything for 48 hours after the procedure. I can finally shower tonight and take off the bandage. Some leakage is evident, but that’s normal unless it has a green hue or looks like pus. My results should be in next week, so now I have to make an appointment with my provider to go over them. I am eager to see what the bone marrow reveals. I’ll keep you updated!

Until then,

xo,

Cass

What’s In My Bag?

As promised to my instagram followers, here is my What’s In My Bag? Spoonie Edition! As a sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses, it is most important that when I venture from the comfort of my own home that I bring certain essentials to help me survive the cold, harsh world ( a little dramatic, I know). Above are just a few items that are my necessities for a successful outing; one that I can manage pain for the most part and have everything I could possibly need for a spoonie emergency.

My Bag: Mossimo Supply Co. miniature backpack from a while back

What’s In My Bag?

For pain:

  • Mylan Lidocaine Patch 5%: I use these pain patches for my lower back, where my nerve pain drives me crazy at times. Although, I don’t use these everyday, when I do they tend to numb the area slightly enough to provide a little relief from relentless nerve pain.
    • “Mylan Lidocaine Patch 5% is a prescription medicine used to relieve the pain of post-herpetic neuralgia, also referred to as after-shingles pain.”
  • Real Time Pain Relief© – Pain Relief Lotion: I discovered this analgesic for muscle pain and more in the exchange at a booth and I actually really like this formula in comparison with brands such as Icy Hot and BioFreeze because it has a low menthol percentage. Menthol seem to have a rough effect on my skin leading to a burning-like sensation, so I was happy to find a natural pain cream that smells good and doesn’t hurt!
    • “Real Time DAILY Relief Lotion offers hydrating moisture for your skin with Homeopathic benefits. Made with 15 of Nature’s Ingredients including Aloe Vera, Arnica, and Nutmeg, Real Time DAILY Relief nourishes the skin while relieving stiffness and pain. It supports the regenerative processes of your body and provides the relief you need on the daily. With a fast absorbing formula, invigorating light-menthol feel, and great smell, Real Time DAILY Relief is perfect for everyday use!”
  • Pain Management Medications: Dicyclomine used for IBS related symptoms such as severe stomach pain and diarrhea, Tramadol my prescribed pain medication, I’ve been taking since 2015 to help manage my chronic back and neck pain, Methocarbamol – to help with muscle spasms (back), & Zomig, my migraine medicine that I have found myself using weekly.
  • Advil: I try to limit the NSAIDS I take, but just in case the prescribed combination isn’t doing it

For Reactions:

  • Mylan Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EpiPen®): I have been administered epinephrine three times (one in hospital, two in clinic) due to anaphylaxis and near-anaphylaxis symptoms, so keeping these bad boys on me at all times can be a lifesaver for my reactions.
  • Allergy Relief – diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl): I never know when I am going to have a mast cell reaction. Since being diagnosed with MCAD (mast cell activation disorder), I have weekly reactions that results in severe hives, diarrhea and intentional upset, and can sometimes even lead to breathing difficulties.

For Beauty:

  • Go-To Skincare Very Useful Face Cream: I got this product in my Be Kind To One Another Box (BKTOAB) from Cass and I love how light and refreshing the formula is. It makes a perfect base before applying foundation and leaves my skin feeling gorgeous!
    • “This is face cream that is as much about anti-oxidants as it is moisturisation, because anti-oxidants are just as important. They stop free radicals (found in UV rays, smoking, environmental pollutants, toxins) attacking your skin, which is the main cause of ageing in the shape of wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and suppleness. And since we get 50-80% of our free radical damage before we turn 21, there’s good reason to be incorporating anti-oxidants into your skin care as early as possible, (and for as long as possible.)”
  • Wet n Wild CoverAll Créme Foundation: Finding the fight foundation has been a long time problem for women. What’s the right shade? How much coverage do you get? Does the foundation fade? Is it matte or sticky? So many questions and so many foundations tried and this one has been a favorite; It’s cruelty free, light on my face (not super heavy like Kat Von D’s Lock It Foundation), and covers/blends well. With it being super affordable, it’s definitely worth a try!
    • “Acne scars? Dark spots? Under eye circles? We’ve got you covered! Our cream foundation does it all. This cream makeup blends seamlessly for all-day wear, and its flawless, lightweight formula provides buildable, medium-to-full coverage that evens out skin tone and conceals imperfections. Absorbing powders rid excess oils on the skin’s surface, leaving behind a soft, satin-matte finish. Contains VisiBright™ Technology: a skin-perfecting complex that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots, while hydrating skin’s natural collagen for a rejuvenating lift.”
  • Oil & Wind Silicone Beauty Applicator: I previously was using a Beauty blender, but was annoyed at the time it took to clean, the breaking of the sponge, and the amount of product wasted. This Silicone applicator has completely fixed all those problems! It’s extremely easy to use and doesn’t absorb any of the product! This ultimately saves money and is less messy! (Also doesn’t irritate my skin like the BB has in the past)
  • e.l.f. Bronzer – I’m very much in to bronzy looks, so this palette was a steal at only $4! It has made its way into my everyday makeup look.
    • “This bronzer creates a healthy looking glow all year round! The sheer soft powders provide the perfect hue of color. Blend all 4 colors together to achieve a blend of perfection or choose your favorite color.”
  • BH Cosmetics – Flat Top Buffing Brush: I got this wonderful set for Christmas last year and I love these brushes, plus they are cruelty free, which is a must!
    • “Professional makeup artists and beauty mavens will appreciate our Sculpt and Blend 2 – 10 Piece Makeup Brush Set. With face and eye brushes, the versatile collection was designed for use with liquids, creams, and powders. The full range of dual-fiber cosmetics brushes tackles a wide variety of application needs, from applying blush, bronzer, and powder to lining, defining, blending, and smudging to achieve a flawless look. Cruelty Free Synthetic Duo Fiber Brushes”
  • Natural Mineral Blush by Dusty Girls: in Golden Delicious – This was a BKTOAB item from Australia that I absolutely fell in love with. It has been my favorite all time blush that I have ever tried. The blush is really pigmented and perfect for my olive skin tone!
    • “Softly contour your cheeks with this versatile shade for a flawless, matte finish. Pressed with a blend of gold and terracotta tones to brighten your smile and enhance your complexion.”
  • Brow Wiz® by Anastasia Beverly Hills: I have extremely thin brows, so filling them in is something I like to do for a confidence booster. This has been my favorite brow product thus far, although the wand broke over time, but at least the pencil still is perfect. I had to go to the website to learn how to properly apply the Brow Wiz to get the perfect brows.
    • An award-winning ultra-slim, retractable pencil that creates precise, hair-like strokes. Use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz®‘s fine tip to spot-fill areas where brow hair is sparse, and the custom spooley end to blend for a flawless finish.”
  • Better than Sex Waterproof Mascara: I discovered this mascara right before my engagement in October of last year and have loved it ever since. This mascara makes my lashes look so amazing and it truly is tear proof!
    • “Go ahead and cry happy tears, Better Than Sex Mascara is now WATERPROOF! Our iconic hourglass-shaped brush unlocks the volumizing formula that thickens, lengthens and curls for the most extreme, mind-blowing lashes. One coat and lashes are full, defined, and stretched to unbelievable lengths. Two coats and lashes look even more luscious, curled, and dramatic. Three coats and you’ve achieved the most intense, voluminous, waterproof lashes possible!”
  • Anderson Lilley Sicilian Tangerine Beach Butter Body Cream: I absolutely love this lotion! I got this wonderful body cream in my first FunFitFab box I ordered last year and this product has been one of my favorites, but being honest, everything in the box was pure gold!
    • “On a walk through the Sicilian countryside we came across a grove of tangerines that inspired us for this mouth watering fragrance.  Juicy citrus, fragrant blooms, Mt. Etna in the background and a warm summer breeze all around us. Tangerine, mandarin, peach, bergamot, jasmine, mango, black currant, musk, vanilla.”

Everyone Needs These:

  • Guess Sunnies: My dad bought me these on sale at the exchange and they’re perfect for protecting my baby blues.
  • Hurraw! Lip Balm in Vanilla Orange: Another BKTOAB perk! I love this lip balm because it is so smooth and smells wonderful.
  • Michael Kors Wallet: a tiny little wallet, but within lies my whole life in card forms.
  • Spare Change: for those 99 cent deals that charging the card is out of line.

Just in Case:

  • Everyday Good Emoji Bandage: I love these little bandages that Cass sent my in my Be Kind To One Another Box earlier this month. I have adhesive allergies, so these bandages are perfect for sensitive skin and their good for the environment too!
    •  “Just like the Nude range, our Emoji Biodegradable Bandages break down in 2 years and decompose completely in around 4. They’re made using 15% recycled materials and the packaging was carefully sourced to be 100% from recycled material. It’s end to end as sustainable as we could find!”
  • Fresh Nap Towlette: one word: germs.
  • Little Buddha: I bought this little guy back in 2012 on Spring Break in New York City (China Town) and since then he’s kind of my lucky little charm that I bring with me when I take my college tests a few years now. He’s even made it through being sucked up in the vacuum, so I’d say he’s pretty lucky.
  • Diet Coke: Although I am now limiting my addiction, I still indulge in a couple of precious fluid ounces of Diet Coke a day. No, Coke Zero is not the same nor better.
  • Extra Hair Ties: I never know when my hair will act up becoming unmanageable or I have had several ties actually break while in my hair (thick hair problems)

I hope everyone has a great final week in April! It’s definitely been a rough couple of days this past week, but I am trying to keep pushing forward. I am most eager to graduate on May 19th and to finally be rid of my undergraduate campus! So close, yet so far.

Xoxo,

Cass

Attack.

I had an extremely unpleasant Saturday night and early Sunday morning as I became awfully ill. It began around 10 pm. My fiancé and I just finished eating and were consuming ourselves in the disturbing, but enticing Black Mirror episodes when I began to have an allergic reaction. My reactions don’t really have a certain substance or food that causes me problems; instead it’s just when my mast cells decide to act up, often with foods I have eaten so many times before and have had no issues whatsoever. Mast Cell Activation Disorder causes my mast cells to react inappropriately including cardiovascular, dermatological, gastrointestinal, neurological, and respiratory problems when attacks occur. I unfortunately have had anaphylaxis to near-anaphylaxis attacks on several occasions and it’s terrifying.

This past Saturday I began feeling flushed and my heart rate began to increase. I went to the bathroom after feeling horrible stomach upset and began having what I call “allergy-related diarrhea.” I know this is probably too much information, but unfortunately that is one of the big symptoms of MCAD: severe diarrhea, intestinal cramping, vomiting, and nausea. I called my husband in to get me my Benadryl: my go-to drug when I begin having reactions. I was covered heavily in hives on my neck, chest, stomach, and back. I quickly took 50mg of antihistamine, but my pulse and heartrate were fast and I began to wheeze a little. I have had bad allergy attacks before and like to avoid using my Epipen unless necessary (as I must go to the emergency room), so I’d rather take 75mg of Benadryl than rush to the ER. I began to calm down and try to slow my breathing. I thought I was doing better. We finally headed upstairs around 12 am and something just didn’t feel right. My heart began to feel pained and heavy. I clutched my chest in pain and then I began to feel extremely sick. My whole body felt numb and felt like it was burning (kind of like how my lidocaine patches make my back feel – numb, but like a slight burning/tingling sensation); I became extremely nauseous and I got tunnel vision. I told my fiancé I need to go to the ER. My heart began feeling like it was going to explode and just sputter out. I became most confused kind of rambling and I told my husband I need an ambulance. I never felt like this before. I was on the verge of passing out and Caleb said my skin was very cold to the touch. I felt so sick and confused. We got up and made our way down stairs as I was mumbling that I had to have my glasses, I needed my glasses repeatedly. When we got down the stairs, Caleb couldn’t find his keys. I sat down on the bench and started taking deep breaths. When my fiancé finally got his keys, I decided I wanted to try to go to bed instead. My heart rate had slowed a little and it was nearly 1 am.

I had never felt like this. The only thing I could relate it to is my atrial fibrillation episode back in 2014- I stood up and became faint with my heart beating uncontrollably fast. I wondered if my heart again went in to a-fib. I emailed my doctor the next day explaining what had happened and he called me immediately that day. He was extremely concerned that my heart had gone into another atrial fibrillation episode. He has put in orders to see another allergist that can do more definitive testing and can hopefully test for reactions to spices. He also put in another order for a heart monitor (my fourth time wearing) to see if I have developed an arrhythmia or am in tachycardia often. Finally, he put in labs for bloodwork just to make sure everything looked okay.

I have known that there has been issues with my heart since sixteen when I went to the hospital for unexplained tachycardia. My meme (maternal grandmother) has a history of chronic tachycardia and she actually ended up having a heart attack recently. My mother also has some heart issues: a murmur and a possible infarction (mild heart attack). I am just praying that I end up making it okay. I want to have a future ahead of me and I would like to have children eventually, so I being healthy (and finding answers) is my number one priority.

Much Love,

Cass