After the treatment was over the Dr. came into my room, saw me crying and said, "we found spots on your lungs and want you to see a Pulmonologist soon." I had been to the doctor with both my parents who had Emphysema, but never remember one called a Pulmonologist.
She said she would make the arrangements and they would call me for an appointment.
I don't remember walking down the hall and through the lobby to my car. I do remember getting into my car and taking my cigarettes out of my purse and throwing them away along with my lighter. I sat there for what seemed like forever. I remember people walking by and looking at me crying. I knew what they had just told me. It was a death sentence. I had lived through it with both parents.
I can't remember driving home, or getting out of the car and walking in the house. I do remember Bill asking me what drugs they gave me this time?
I told him it was serious, that the doctors found spots on my lungs and had told me they would set me up an appointment with a Pulmonologist. What was so devastating to me, so frightening... to Bill was just another chance to condemn me for smoking all these years.
He exact words were "I told you those things would kill you, but you never listen to me". So much for sympathy.
Pretty much as far as Bill was concerned the next 3 years were just an opportunity to remind me I did this to myself... or to go to my doctor appointments and try and look like a big shot because he had been a paramedic. Several times the doctors just told him they needed to concentrate on what was going on with me... so after a few months he quit going to my appointments with me. If I knew I had a big or scary appointment coming up, Brittney would go with me and always ask a lot of questions on how I could be more comfortable, or if this drug would be better than this one. I could always count on her to take care of me.
Shortly after my first visit to my Pulmonologist Dr. P, and after all the testing was done... the MRI's, The CT scans, the blood work, the blood gas test, the stress test, ALL the breathing tests.... The results were in. I had Severe End Stage Emphysema, and with good care I could live 3-5 years. I was put on Oxygen for use just around the house within a month. By Christmas that year I was on O2 24 hours a day.
I began having these pains in my chest that came on like a heart attack. I still have them to this day. The first few I went to the Emergency room where they ran all the heart tests.. EKG, ECHO, hooked me up to the blood pressure machine and the pulse-ometer. They would give me shots or sometimes pills of pain medication, and then usually about 4 hours later send me home telling me it was an Anxiety attack.
The first few of these Bill took pretty seriously, from then on,, most of the time he told me I was faking it to get attention. He used to tell me that about my dizzy spells and forgetfulness too.
I could probably tell you more about Copd/End Stage Emphysema than most doctors. I know I could tell you more from a patience point of view.
The more your disease progresses (and Copd is a progressive disease) it begins to affect your heart because the heart needs O2 to function. Without the O2 your blood pressure can get higher or lower, your pulse just doing the simplest of tasks can jump into the mid to high 100's. Also without enough oxygen it begins to affect your brain and memory, and cognitive function. It can make you stagger due to dizziness, sleepy all the time because without enough O2 your body has no energy to work off of.
Some time around 2011 they had told me I needed a double lung transplant, only I needed to lose 70 pounds before I would qualify. They began sending my files to Standford Medical Center. And in July I received word I would go there in August for a exam and interview. Not just anyone who needs it gets a transplant qualifies for one. There is quite a bit of criteria you need to meet. They told me that we would need to be there about a week maybe longer if I needed therapy prior to surgery. That they had housing right on the grounds for patients and their families but dogs were not allowed. This through Bill into a frenzy..... We can't take the Dogs??!! What will become of them. I suggested we find someone to stay at our house. He decided he would just stay there 3 or 4 days, then come home to the dogs for 3 or 4 days. So, I was going to be undergoing a DBL lung transplant and my caregiver only could do it part time because of our dogs. I needed someone with me there 24 hours. I am not sure how they would have worked it out?
It is an ugly disease that begins to take your life and dignity away at about the same rate.
I was getting my affairs in order. Making funeral arrangements, buying a plot or trying to decide if I wanted cremation. Writing out my Will. Filling out an Advanced Directive. I was calling friends to say goodbye, and calling those who I had had issues with over the years to try and make amends. I wanted to go peacefully and not with a life full of hatred and regret. I wanted everyone to know what they meant to me.
I had a best friend who I had not spoken to in 14 years. It was over a silly business thing that later we found out was instigated my our secretary. Anyway... I had seen her around town over the years. She had even said hi to me on several occasions and I would look away. It had bothered me so much that we were apart. I loved her, and always had. So, in about June of 2011 I began to drive by her house. Which is not easy to do, it is at the end of the road at the back of a culdesac, so at any time she could have been outside or something. I drove by at lease once or twice a month until September. Finally I worked up enough courage to pull into her driveway and walk up to the door. I knocked and she came out and looked at me like I was a stranger. She didn't know me!! I had oxygen on and had gained around 130 pounds since she saw me last. My skin was grey... I was not the Kellie she knew. Finally a glint in her eye and she just wrapped her arms around me and we began to cry. I told her I had come to make things right, and she told me.... they always had been.
We began to walk our dogs together every day at the park. Bill hated it... Hated her... Still does.
I saw a big difference in her. She seemed to be more at peace. Finally she began to tell me about getting born again, and all the wonderful changes in her life since then. I was skeptical. I had heard about all this God stuff and religion, and was just not sure about it. After we spent about 6 months together, I asked her if I could come to church with her.
She smiled like the Cheshire Cat! So, I began going. Sunday morning Bible School, Sunday Service, Wednesday Bible Study and Thursday Bible study. I began reading the Bible at home, which Bill scoffed at.
In May of 2011 we were told this man was coming to speak at our Church from Andrews Texas. That he was a mighty man of God. I was excited, because everyone else was exited! Me carrying my oxygen bottles around in large purses volunteered for anything. Be a greeter, sure... take the offering, sure!
The man's name was R.L. Oop Shrauner. The first night he was to arrive our little church was filled to the brim. We greeted and greeted and was many unfamiliar faces, who had heard about this man coming. So when this gentleman walked up to shake my hand, he said "This is about you!" "I saw your face as we drove across the desert, you are going to get healed tonight."
I can remember each word he said, but I cannot for the life of me remember if I answered him, or just stood there with my mouth hanging opened? I looked at Kathie, and she had that Cat smile again and said Praise the Lord!
That night at the beginning of the service he called me up front. He asked me my name and I told him Kellie. He said Kellie tonight is your night. He then took out some oil and put it on my forehead. Asked Pastor Ann and his wife Patsy to come lay hands on me, and he began to pray. Not like praying I had been used to, this sounded like it came directly from God. My body began to tingle, my lungs began to get warm, and I felt dizzy. It was over as soon as it started. He said... you are healed praise the lord. He told me to find a scripture to stand on, and to believe I am healed.
I went to all 3 of his meetings those next 3 days, and each day grew a little stronger in faith. It wasn't what the man was saying. It was how Jesus worked through him. How by him telling his story of struggling and wanting, but having the faith to always believe that God would provide for him. And, God ALWAYS provided for him. In supernatural ways.
God works wonders through this man. What a gift he has been giving. A simple farmer, who is more comfortable in over-alls than suits. Who loves his wife with everything he has. Who also has a love of Chevy Trucks. He is just a man who listens to God. Is quiet and listens, and then does what God has told him to do, even when it seems crazy!
So R.L. Oop Shrauner went back to Texas and through some odd occurrences with a few doctors I was sent to Portland for surgery, instead of Standford for a double lung transplant.
On August 23rd I had both upper lobes removed from my lungs. The doctors afterward said I was doing fine. My stay at the hospital was nothing but terror. Once taken out of ICU and put in my own room, I was pretty much just shut away. I was supposed to be gotten up once a day to walk the halls to help remove the fluid from my lungs and begin to get my strength back. I was not gotten up once. I did not receive one "sponge bath", or not once helped out of bed and to the toilet. They would bring me water but never clean out my cup, just go to the faucet and fill it up. I asked for ice, and it never came. I had dinner the first night and threw it up on my bed and gown and they came in and changed the bed, but just wiped my gown. I didn't eat anymore the entire time I was there. I was on such heavy medication and a epidural in my back to help with the pain from the 5 chest tubes they had in me t, and I also had a pain pump that I could push the button when I needed it. I am not sure which was the problem, but I was hallucinating terribly. Dark, Scary things of the devil.
On the night of the 4th day I called my daughter and asked her to come get me that I checked myself out. I was supposed to be there 3 to 6 weeks.
I came home, recovered. Did everything they told me to and more. I got back to church as fast as I could and life began to get normal again. It took quite some time for the places where the tubes were removed to heal and not be sore. But I was alive and well.
My first doctor appointment they told me I was doing well. That my O2 stats were holding their own and they wanted me to come off oxygen during the day and while I was out, only to use it at night... or if I needed it. They told me to not use my oxi-meter which shows what your O2 saturation levels are. That they wanted me to gauge that for myself. That took some time to get used it. A couple weeks for me not to slide in on my finger, only to find out I was good.
My exams just kept getting better. I began to come off of this medication, of this inhaler. I was told I was doing everything right. My blood pressure began to become normal, my O2 stats were staying at 97. That is what a healthy lung SAT is!!
I began to notice that I was losing weight... it seemed overnight. My doctors told me they were not concerned with it as long as I was eating healthy and drinking lots of water. To date I have lost 136 pounds and feel like I am in my 20's again.
Sometimes around January of 2013 my Primary Care Doctor told me that a year ago she was preparing me to die, to help me through that process. Today she said I am watching you live, and live life to it's fullest!!!!
Recently, I have had a injury to my rib and tissue around it. Because I had lung pain... burning and stabbing when I was breathing in and out, I saw my Pulmonologist who sent me for ex rays and told me to come back the next day. That same day I saw my Cardiologist... He told me I didn't have to come back anymore. That my heart is perfectly healthy, my blood pressure is that of a much younger person, and I looked great!!
The next day my Pulmonologist told me something similar.... Kellie, your lungs are healthy. You and I don't need to see each other for a year, unless something comes up and you need me!!
He had asked me if I would be interested in going to a seminar with him to talk about Lung Volume Surgery and how well it works. I told him I had no problem going and long as I could give glory to God for Divine healing. Needless to say... there was no seminar for me. lol
I can tell you the work of the Lord is Magnificent. I stood on Isaiah 53:4-5 .........................
Surely His has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken.
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions
He was bruised for our iniquities
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
For those who don't know this scripture is talking about Jesus on the Cross. Where He and His own Father agreed to sacrifice him so we could have life and life more abundantly. He took those lashes (stripes) and shed his blood for us. Then when near death he forgave those who harmed him.
So, that's why that scripture is so important to me. "By His Stripes we are healed". Praise His glorious name!
Now let's continue with Gods continued walk beside me..........................................
***The healing is over, a new life begins to shine***
So, as I mentioned above Bill and my marriage had been rocky for years. If truth be known it was over years before I got sick, I just didn't have the courage to leave.
I began to go to bed early (I had my own room for probably 7 or 8 years) and read the cd's of Oop Shrauner. Actually I forgot to mention that during those dark days before surgery, I watched those cd's every night. It kept me in the word, it reminded me nightly that I had been prayed for and healed, and it showed me how a true Christian should live and think and behave.
Those are mighty tapes. I also read the Bible. I thirsted for Gods word. Like the mulititudes I was in awe of a man so unselfish who wanted so much good for the people and they turned their backs on him.
The more I began to learn the Bible and expect things a certain way at home..... like no cussing, or using the Lord's name in vain, or telling dirty jokes, or watching murder on T.V. every night. I just wanted to try and live a happy, peaceful life. I had had so many years of darkness, of sickness, of disqust from people... I had one young man in the line at Safeway push his way in front of me (while I was sick) and the lady in front said " this woman was next".. he just said, she is damaged goods, she can wait. No one came to defend me. It made me not want to go into public anymore.
So... After living like that for so long I just wanted to live. To experience life, to live by God's word... and Bill WAS NOT having it. It started a terrible life that I was not ready for. He became very verbally abusive. He began drinking at 9:00 a.m. and would go until he fell into bed at night. He would say things to pick fights and quickly I learned not to fall for the trap. Then it just didn't matter, everything made him mad. My diet made him come after me with hateful words, the way I dressed annoyed him, my friends and my Church made him very hateful.
I got to where I was crying myself to sleep every night. I needed out of there.
A couple at our Church had bought a newer car and so one night after Bible Study I asked them if they were going to sell their old car? That I needed one to continue to come to Bible Study and that I couldn't pay much, but I could do payments. She told me to let her pray on it. The next Sunday she asked me to come into the Pastor's office. Her and her husband had a Bill of Sale for $1.00 and had the title transferred. I told her I only had a $5.00, she said nope just $1.00.
What a blessing they were to me, and continue to be. That car started out as my freedom from Bill. No longer did I need to ask or beg to have the car to go to Church or to go see my friend.
Not long after that I was still trying to figure out how or where I could move to get out and away from Bill. Kathie (my BFF) and I were driving down the road when she called a warehouse store to thank them for a great job on a carpet install she had. They asked her if she knew anyone who wanted a job? Kathie said YES, I had an appointment the next day. I walked in with confidence and told them I didn't have much to put on the application since I really haven't worked in many years. I explained about the lung surgery but assured them I was healed and healthy. They said they liked me but needed to see a few more and they would get back to me. As I left I said "Thank you for this opportunity and they wouldn't be sorry." I spoke as if I already had the job. I have never had that kind of confidence.
That afternoon Kathie and I were pulling out of a drive through coffee house when my phone rang, they wanted me to come in and get the paperwork to take over for a drug test and I had the job! The job paid enough wages for me to move out and after 3 months I would begin to earn a commission.
Within 2 months I had enough money to buy furniture and find an apartment. I moved out in July and have the cutest apartment ever.
Each time I have needed God he has seen me through. He walks with me everyday. I don't even question it anymore, I just know. I can tell you... my life with Jesus is so much sweeter than my life before.
I am no one special. If God can work these Miracles in my life he will do it for you too.