It was supposed to be the happiest moments of my life right? Well, that is exactly how it started.
It was August 2014, and I was a freshman in college in Greenville, SC. I was going to be roommates with one of my friends from back home. Our families helped us move in and then they left. Yes, I was sad, but I knew this is exactly where I was supposed to be so I wasn’t scared. There was four of us in the room that semester: Kaitlyn, Kayla, Bre, and myself. These three ladies turned out to be some of my best friends.
The semester went on with the normal ups and downs of college: papers, projects, bad ramen, and hanging out with friends. I was able to join a great society that I loved and met some awesome people. I got to play volleyball for my society. It was awesome! I was at school studying something I was passionate about, playing my favorite sport, and working in an aftercare program.
Life was great! I was surrounded by people who loved God and were pushing me out of my box to become more like Him everyday through everything we were doing. There are so many great things that I could say about those three months. I will probably write more on them later. But the semester ended, two of my roommates were not returning in the spring so the goodbyes were said, and we went home.
Christmas break was here, and I had just finished my first semester of college! Movies, food, and family are the main things that started that break off. And a great break it was. Christmas came and went, and I was still enjoying time with my family when some bad Chinese food and a stressful movie turned a beautiful Saturday into a not so fun day.
There was this excruciating pain in my abdomen that was radiating to my back. I thought that I had gotten food poisoning from the Chinese food and that I would feel better in a day or so. Unfortunately, the pain was only getting worse and I was feeling awful. So, within the next couple of days, my parents took me to the ER near our house. I was in there for a long time ( what ER visit doesn’t take forever.)
The doctors said I had pancreatitis. I thought this was weird. What would have caused this? Well, the doctors were certain that I was an alcoholic and that that was the cause of my pancreatitis. However, I do not drink and tried to tell them this, but there was no convincing them. So, they sent me home with some strong pain meds and told me to watch my diet. They said that I would feel better in the next week.
So, that is exactly what I did. I was knocked out for about a week on my pain meds and didn’t really eat. Don’t ask me about the first week of January 2015 because I don’t remember it.Unfortunately, I had another attack within the next week so we went back to the ER. Same diagnosis. More pain meds. This didn’t make any sense. By this time, the spring semester was getting ready to start, and I am feeling awful. My family decided that a late start to school would probably benefit me to make sure that we had gotten this bizarre situation under control.
Drive down, stay two days, and drive back. . .
We called my school and figured that I would start a week late but be there. So, I am still not completely better, but I wanted to try to go back to school because that is what I was supposed to do, right? No, I shouldn’t have to miss school just because I feel awful. So, my parents drove me down on a Saturday and helped me move back in. My roommates were awesome. They helped me get special food for my diet and rearrange the room. Saturday night was rough. I couldn’t sleep because the pain from these attacks was not going away, I had a fever, and just felt awful.
I went to church with my friends that next morning and just had this pit in my stomach that something was wrong. I went back to campus that afternoon trying to get caught up on all that I had missed from the first few day of classes. Unfortunately, I just was not feeling it. I had to call home and tell them to come pick me up. There are no words to describe when your world feels like it is falling apart and spiraling out of control.
Well, that is exactly what it felt like. I had to withdraw from school because of health reasons. This wasn’t a part of the plan. I had to get my degree. I can’t get sick. I don’t have time for this. These are all thoughts I had that afternoon. Sunday night my roommates pack up all of my belongings and put them in the hallway. My dad and grandpa came back on Monday morning to pick me up and take me home.
This was hard. Why was this happening to me? This didn’t make any sense. But with another hospital visit and more pain meds, the doctors couldn’t tell me why this was happening. They referred me to a Gastrointestinal clinic and my wait began. Don’t ask me about the month of January and February 2015. I have about three memories from those two months. First, I spent most of the time on the couch passed out from my meds so the days are foggy. Secondly, I remember going to a couple of my little brother’s basketball games. And thirdly, I remember being alone. More on that another time.
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. . .
I had to watch what I ate and be extremely careful about everything I did. In March, I met with my GI doctor, and he scheduled an Endoscopy to help figure out what was causing my pancreatitis. This showed only an extremely inflamed pancreas. No cause that anyone could find. So, the only thing to do was wait. Wait to get better. Wait for answers. Wait for results. This became my theme for most of those months.
A verse that really became an encouragement to me was Psalm 130: 5-6. I had written a Facebook post on this. I was waiting for answers, waiting for morning, and waiting on God. While this seems like a simple concept, it was so very hard.
The days turned into weeks. The weeks turned into months, and suddenly it was April and then May. I started feeling better. This was awesome! I also wanted to start school back again. I felt so behind compared to where I thought I should have been. Except, I was exactly where God wanted me. I did a lot of research and found the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division. I applied, got accepted, and started school in the middle of May.
I began this journey of detours, yet, I thought I was out of the clear. My summer was busy. I was going to school full-time, working part-time, and trying to still figure out what my body was going to do. The summer came and went and the new school year rolled on in. I got a job doing office work and loved it. I was volunteering to help teach art at a Christian school to help give me experience. And then it happened. Something that changed my life probably forever. But more on that later. . .