Thursday, April 24, 2008

I promise I don't make this stuff up.

When I was a kid I would listen to my mom tell us things from her life as a kid or about us when we were younger and sometimes it just seemed so outrageous that we would accuse her of 'making it up' or embellishing it. She always assured us that she was telling the truth and the fact is she really DID have alot of unusual things happen along the way. She still has crazy things happen from time to time. But now I know to just believe her.
In my own life it seems like things happen to me or in our family that are rare or 'non-occurances' in other peoples' lives. I don't know why that is, but this is one of those things I decided I had to blog about, because likely it will be something I look back on and laugh about. But at the time, it was no laughing matter.
Some of you know I have been a little more 'stressed' than usual the past month or so. Others I have emailed or talked to in person and asked for prayers as I waited for some test results to come back in regards to my pregnancy. Thank you for praying for me, by the way...you know who you are.
Well, after weeks of waiting I finally got my results and it has been really great news and a big relief too.
Big relief.

Here's a portion of the {true} story. The day after Teagan's birthday (which many of you understand is a bittersweet day for me each year) I was making sandwiches for lunch while my inlaws were putting bikes together for Wyndham and Ava and it happened to be my OB doctor. She asked if I had a few minutes and as I continued to make some ham and cheese sandwiches she told me that some of my labs had come back with 'abnormal/inconclusive results'. She told me I would have to repeat the tests in a month and she felt confident that everything would be fine at that point. It sounded like she was just 'being cautious'. After some explanations she finally said, "the tests I'm referring to are for the HIV".
You can imagine the surprise I had when she said that.
I had her repeat a few things and said, "Well, I'm sure it can't be positive... obviously it's just an error...no I don't have any other questions...yes, thanks for calling." I didn't really think much about it for a few hours after that- we ate our lunch and went about our day.
But when Chip came home and I talked with him about the concerns and told him I needed further tests, it then began to hit me what I was saying. It seemed so ridiculous to me...but at the same time I could feel myself growing concerned.
The next morning, Chip talked to the pathologist and an ER doctor friend of ours, who both reassured us that it would all be cleared up in a month and neither seemed worried about the inconclusive results I had received.
I, on the otherhand, had to get more information myself. So I started googling and searching all sorts of fun stuff related to HIV, testing, abnormal results...anything that came up in the search engine. {Big mistake!} I was clicking and reading and obsessed and getting more and more stressed for about a week. Let me tell you the truth about that week in my life. It was no fun. None. I would read stuff. And then freak out. Or call Chip and ask his opinions. Or wake up in the middle of the night and go back online from 3am until 6. And then I would think it was all crazy. And there's no way any of this should be happening in my life.
Because the fact is, I had NO WAY according to 'how you get HIV' that I could have possibly been infected.
But I've been around the medical realm enough to know that sometimes you need to be an advocate for yourself. You need 'knowledge' in order to know that the right thing is being done. Once I felt I had enough 'intelligible' questions and concerns, then I called pathology and wanted to be set straight on a few things.
Well, that didn't necessarily help at that point, because one of the things I found out was that at my hospital ("a low-risk institution") in each of the past two years, there have been 2 instances similar to mine, in which the labs had to be sent to Mayo for more specific testing. In each of those 2 instances, one result was a true positive and one was a false positive. Basically, out of the hundreds or thousands of HIV tests that are run each year, I happened to be one of two cases that was typical for them to see...and I had a 50/50 chance of having recently contracted HIV.
{This is the point in the story where it was helpful for me to tell myself to breathe...I'm just sayin'.}
SO... yes, it gets better.
Being the good 'person of faith' that I am, rather than look at this whole situation in medical terms, I began to look at this from a spiritual perspective. {I'm saying this to make fun of myself. Sort of like when I was growing up as a Pastor's kid and was told 'Oh, you can't do this or that...you're a pastor's kid.} Let me tell you, I was getting really radical at times.
There was the lightbulb moment, where I was reading one medical abstract or journal, I forget which one, and realized that there was nothing I could do about this situation when I thought, "Oh right. I have NO chance of having been recently infected, but in my life, stuff happens anyway. Like what are the odds that my healthy little girl sitting in a restaurant, eating chocolate chip pancakes will be killed doing so? The odds were astronomically against such a thing...but it happend." So I sat there telling myself, really, if God wants to allow me to have HIV, it will happen- no matter what I do or don't do. I told myself if He wants to let this happen, then I need to just accept it and see HOW He wants to bring me through it or use it for His glory.
Somehow.
This all happened in a matter of a week or so. The obsession was crazy. I got to the point where I convinced myself to not read another thing about HIV on the interent and instead, I decided I would only read my Bible and pray and just sit and 'listen' to what my heart needed to hear. I dug deep into Scripture and did lots of praying and questioning and finally felt a few things sort of 'point me' to the idea of complete surrender.
So that's what I finally did.
I realized that I wouldn't be thrilled with an HIV diagnosis, but heck...it seemed better to me than say a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Or other life-threatening illnesses. Many other diseases and viruses kill you in less than 10-20 years. I also reminded myself that I didn't know the number of my days anyway. None of us does. Something could happen tomorrow...so I began to have this peace about me, that it wasn't going to matter what the result would be...I would still be the same me. Life is what it is and to me it is ordained before I came into being- by God Himself.
So then I got 'really spiritual'...I thought maybe God was going to 'call' me to an AIDS orphanage in Africa or something and I just wanted to be ready for whatever I was in for.

Now I have to point out that this whole time- 6 weeks of waiting for an answer, that Chip was fully convinced I was HIV-negative and that I was totally overreacting. If you ever have a major worry in your life or you are campaigning for President or something, he is the guy you want at your side. He's convincing and supportive and even makes you laugh at yourself. I'm so glad he knows how to keep his cool and that it always seems to be enough for both of us.
I'm also very glad he turned out to be right this time around.
Not that God might not call me to work with orphans somewhere, someday...but I am glad that my life doesn't have to involve rounds of HIV anti-viral drugs and treatments.
I have found out that occasionally (and at my hospital- very rarely) in women with subsequent pregnancies, antibodies are detected which show intially as 'possible HIV infection' in lab results and thus the labs are sent for further testing. At this point the concern is that the individual may have early onset of HIV infection...thus the weeks of waiting before you can retest and get definitive results.
The waiting was hard.
The whole process made me mad at times- the helplessness, the stress, the sleeplessness, the total ridiculousness that began to make me wonder what I've done wrong in my life to deserve 'drama' like this. (Does it sound like I was overreacting to you?) =)

In the end, I dont' know what 'grand purpose' this incident is serving in my life, other than I could totally fly through a Jeopardy category if the topic was "HIV testing and inconclusive results" now. I'm sure that will happen soon. Ha!
I am feeling a weight off of my shoulders, so when I look at things like 4 loads of dirty laundry I'm really thinking, "Yay!! All I have is piles of laundry...at least I don't have HIV!"
I'm also thinking that as the pounds begin to pile on my waist I will just be "thrilled with them...because hey...they're just pounds...at least I don't have HIV!"
So that's my true-life story of what's been weighing on my mind for 6 weeks.
What? The price of gas is going up again????
Bring it on!!
At least I don't have HIV!

20 comments:

sarah, rsm said...

Blessings of sweet dreams to you this night ...

Hillary said...

I would have been doing the same thing that you were doing.....but I never would have thought to open the Bible. I don't know, it never comes to me to do that. But, it's what I needed to hear right now as I'm worrying about my own situation...I'm worrying before even seeing the doctor or anything. So, thanks for this post...I'm going to get out my Bible and read something to help me...And, maybe I can stop worrying for a bit.
In Christ,
Hillary.

.:sandra:. said...

you amaze me.

Anonymous said...

You completely, thoroughly and TOTALLY amaze me. I LOVE reading your blog. What an inspiration you are!

Brittany said...

You have a way of totally inspiring me and cracking me up at the same time. SO GLAD your results were good.

Laura said...

OMG jody, I was reading this not knowing whether to start freaking out or be releived!!!! i am SOOO relieved!!! I am so sorry you have had to carry that kind of weight around all these weeks!!!!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, breathing a BIG sigh of relief for you. Go make some buttercream girl!

Jenny~ said...

This made me giggle. I'm a bit of a panic stricken overreactor myself. So I would have done the same thing. Thank the sweet Lord that everything is OK. God Bless!

Tina Vega said...

Wow, talk about major relief!! It is kind of neat how something like this can help put things into proper perspective.

I am SO GLAD to hear you are A-OK!

Tiff said...

LOL!!! I am so happy you are blessed with your results!!! And I am right there with you and your mom and the "no way that could be true" stories!! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness.

Love,

Jane

Holly T. said...

It is not a mistake...all part of God's great plan. Your story spoke to someone...count on it.
I am sorry for your loss of sleep...and days and days of worry however.
God has a plan...every thing happens for a reason.
Blessings to you this day,
Holly t.

Anonymous said...

This happened to my best friend....right after she gave birth, her test showed she was positive. There was no way she would have been....this was her
4th delivery, and she had miscarried 2-3 times before. It was weeks later, when she found out it was a false positive, because of the same reasons. So....she missed out on breastfeeding and all of that. Just thought it was interesting, because we had never heard of that.

Jane-Jane said...

thank you for letting me know that I'm not in the waiting camp alone! Ours has been with testing on my husband because of some lab results that came back really high. So after more blood work, ultra sound, blood work, CT scan, we are waiting to have more blood work done in two weeks to confirm that it is only minor and can be treated with some life changes and maybe some drug therapy.

But the waiting KILLS me! Husband, he is like your husband, let's just see what the last test shows. All the while I'm in the worst case arena freaking out! I have found my solitude in Jesus and resting in His arms for my protection today and always. And planting my garden has helped a ton....got me away from my puter and g**gle!

still praying for your pregnancy!

Laurie said...

Blessings to you Jody! I would have been doing the exact same thing as you were doing. I'm figure that the rarest possible occurences will happen to me, but you are so right, to take it as it comes and we just learn to have faith and deal with it, because it is obviously part of a much bigger plan.

Lisa & Gerald said...

Hi Jody!
I found your blog thru Bring The Rain tears from her blog to your blog with more tears Im sorry to hear about your little angel in heaven.
love your blog thru tears and lots of smiles, love the pics of your little ones they are so cute! hope you are doing well!
you have a beautiful family
God bless your family
From The Demars Family

patterns of ink said...

It's been about a year since I said this so I'll say it again. You have a book or two or three in your head just waiting for a helpful editor and publisher, and POOF! your in print beyond this wonderful blog!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this out- even if it is just for you to look back upon someday. It has helped me put some concerns of mine into perspective. Maybe there is a purpose to this experience in your life afterall.

Red Door said...

Jody, I am so glad to hear that weight is off your shoulders. That is completely crazy! What a stressful six weeks.

You should celebrate tonight with some buttercream. =)

Anonymous said...

I agree with POI...you should have a book and a possible speaking tour with one of those women's conferences that goes around a couple of times each year. You bring me SO much inspiration and one day I'd LOVE to meet you! :-)
WSL (Wisconsin Sandwich Lady)

Debbie (kitleen) said...

Wow! You have the strangest stuff happen to you! I am so grateful that you indeed do not have HIV.

And you're right...the price of gas is insignificant to other possible problems in life.

Take care you.