To explain that, I think it’s important to talk about some of the other stuff I was going through in life back then. Unfortunately, my husband’s mother passed away from breast cancer. I was very close to her, and we were kind of like the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible. She taught me everything. That whole thing was really heartbreaking and hard to deal with. So the emotions of that and also having the disease took quite a toll on me. I ended up going from 150 to 110 pounds in 45 days.
It was super scary because before that, I was dealing with my image and feeling ugly because of how fat I was getting thanks to my meds, and then it was almost like I slept all my weight off – which sounds amazing at first, but it really wasn’t, because my stomach was hurting a lot. I couldn’t eat food anymore. It was literally like something just grabbed my stomach and crushed it. I had esophageal problems as well; it was just a really rough time.
Fast forward three months to January 2018. I came home from church one day, walked through my door, and everything went dark all of a sudden. I couldn’t see anything. I could see my husband from one side of my face, but not the other. I sat down, he got me some water, and slowly the vision started coming back. I went to work the next day not thinking anything of it, but then my eyes were hurting, so my boss sent me home.
I ended up going to this small town eye-care doctor, and he thought I had a mini stroke. He looked behind my eye and he said “Something’s happening. You need to go to the ER.”
I’ll be honest with you, I was done with being poked and prodded and drained of my blood all the time. I did not want to go back. I had to go though, because he was like, “If you have a stroke tonight, I don’t want to be responsible to your family.” So they rushed me into the back. Turns out, I did have a mini-stroke – a clot behind my right eye.
When the blackness came at first, it was terrifying. But thankfully, the blood flow returned, and I survived. However, during that ordeal, they discovered I was also suffering from gastroparesis. This diagnosis was verified during a visit. I also had a broken heart and a vein issue where the blood wasn’t flowing correctly, causing chaos in my body. In 2018, after experiencing the mini-stroke, I was given the option to have a filter placed in my heart to prevent future strokes. I was taking a total of 21 medicines, but the side effects were taking a toll on me. I was miserable, experiencing skin issues and even falling asleep while driving.