Thursday, March 10, 2011


If I could tell you just one thing about myself, it would be that I would do anything for my friends and family.  I'm often times loyal to a fault (read: I have a big mouth, and I'm not afraid to tell those who wrong them where they can go.  Oops). 

My friendships are not defined by the number of times I see someone in a day, a week, or even a month.  Some friends I see every day.  Some friends I see every week.  Some, I see when I vacation.  Others, I've never met in person.

I've never considered it odd to make friends online.  When I was in middle school and making websites on Geocities like a boss (RIP Geocities.  I miss you), I made some friends my age.  As an adult, I've met a multitude of wonderful women through various outlets, one of which being Weddingbee.  Of course, I've also made a bunch of friends through this blog, too.  Today, one of these friends needs some help.

Layla is a witty, kind, and overall awesome girl.  We "met" on Weddingbee, and have moved on to be Twitter/blog buddies.  She's going through a rough time right now, but the good news is - you can help!  Here's her story:

One month after her 30th birthday, Layla was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer (1A Adenocarcinoma). She was extraordinarily lucky that it was caught early, and had a simple surgery to remove the cancerous cells.

Three years later, Layla was in horrible pain that affected nearly every aspect of her life. Temporarily uninsured due to a job change, she paid out of pocket last October to go to the doctor and make sure the cancer had not returned. Thankfully, it had not. However, her doctor believes that she has pelvic adhesions and Endometriosis due to the previous surgery, but it can’t be diagnosed until an additional surgery (laparoscopy) is performed. The doctor also found out Layla has cervical stenosis, which basically means her cervix has completely shut down due to the scar tissue from the previous surgery. These issues make her miserable most of the time, making simple things like going to the bathroom and menstruation horribly painful, and sexual intercourse impossible. He stated that if she wanted to have children one day, even sperm could not pass through her cervix, and she would have to have intrauterine insemination.

The doctor wanted to schedule surgery as soon as the insurance at her new job went into effect. Her company fired her the day her insurance became valid, ten days before Christmas, plainly stating that it was because of her health issues.

Fortunately, she got on her husband’s insurance, which went into effect February 1st. As soon as she could, Layla scheduled surgery for March 22nd. Then her insurance company dropped a bomb: because she went to the doctor (even as a self-pay patient) within a three month period prior to her enrollment date, they were considering her health issues to be a pre-existing condition, and would not insure any doctor visits, medication, or surgery for 388 days.

When you are in near constant pain and can’t work, 388 days is a long time to wait. The sooner Layla can have this surgery, the sooner she can return to work (hopefully with a nicer company!) and start living her life again. Her doctor has been nice enough to work out a deal with her if she can pay as a cash patient: he decreased the amount of her surgery to $4,000, and the cost of the anesthesia to $500, with additional fees for biopsies of removed tissue to be determined.

The problem is, Layla is unemployed due to this, has used her savings to pay for living expenses and medical bills, and has been denied loans for the surgery because of her unemployment status. She does not have close family, so she can’t ask them for help. Surgery is scheduled for March 22nd, and Layla and her husband are unable to secure a loan due to her unemployment.  She needs some help, and she needs it in 2 weeks.

So, how can you help?
  • Donate!  Use the button at the top right of this page, or click here.  We're collecting money through PayPal, so it's totally secure.  Any little bit will help us reach her goal of $4,000. 
  • Bid on sweet eBay deals!  Several of us are putting up some items on eBay, with the proceeds going to Operation Layla.  Need a used iPod Touch or a pretty Coach purse?  Stop on by and check 'em out. Nobody is really bidding on them yet... so you could score some cool stuff on the cheap, AND help out someone in need!
  • Eat Carbs! No really, we're organizing an online bake sale (drool) to raise some money for Operation Layla!  More details on that to come.  Why did I give up cookies for Lent?!  *Shakes tiny fist*
  • Follow Us! Follow the hash tag #OperationLayla on Twitter.  Let us know if you want to get involved in any way!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Surrender.

Heeey guys.  I'm back!  It's been a long hiatus, but I promise I have an excuse.  No, I wasn't mourning the loss of the Steelers, nor did I go into hiding.

Ok,  maybe a little bit of hiding.  That game sucked.

Truth is... I've been sick.  At the risk of over sharing, I figured I'd tell you guys what happened.  

This post is pretty detailed and not sunshine and rainbows.  Just a warning.  If you're grossed out when people describe health related crap, skip this post and go here instead.  Also, I'm not in the health field.  I'm not a doctor, and any commentary I give on my experiences should not be taken as medical advice, blah blah blah.  So, here it goes.

It started with vertigo.  If you've never had vertigo, be thankful.  It's miserable, to say the least.  My vertigo was caused by an inner ear virus.  You know how after you've had a few too many beverages, and you stumble around your kitchen looking for some water at the end of the night (not that I've ever done that)?  That stumbling can't-get-your-balance sensation is what vertigo feels like.  Every time I would move my head EVERYTHING would spin.  Fortunately, I'm not prone to motion sickness.  I stomach spinning rides and balance issues pretty well, and I'm VERY thankful for that, because otherwise it would have been 398439 times worse.

The vertigo lasted 2 weeks, and ended shortly after I had my wisdom teeth removed.  That surgery was nothing.  However, after the surgery is where my problems started.

The staff at the surgeon's office recommended I take multiple doses of Motrin to relieve any pain, rather than relying on the narcotic pain pills they prescribed as a backup.  They told me to take 4 Motrin every 4-6 hours, depending on the pain.  Well, I did that for a few days and BAM.  Stomach ulcer.

My doctor put me on Prilosec.  A few pills later, and my ulcer was in check.  Ok, great.  I continued taking the antibiotic the surgeon's office had also prescribed as a preventative measure.  I mean, I had open wounds in my mouth.  Made sense to me.  

Well, it so happened the antibiotic they prescribed was Cylindamycin.  Ever heard of it?

A warning on Cylindamycin from the National Institute of Health:
"....may cause a life-threatening condition called colitis (inflammation of the large intestine). Clindamycin is more likely to cause this type of infection than many other antibiotics, so it should only be used to treat serious infections that cannot be treated by other antibiotics."
Hmm.  Erm, so what do you think happened?

Once the antibiotic killed off all of the "good" bacteria in my intestines, a bacterium called Clostridium Difficile took over.  I had developed a "C-diff" infection.  I'm not going to post about the specifics of what this infection causes, but you can read all about it here.  It obviously caused colitis, as well as all the horrible side effects that you'll read about if you Google "C-diff."

C-diff is becoming more and more prevalent.  It is typically known as a nosocomial infection, and often picked up by people (usually the elderly) from long stays in the hospital.  It's antibiotic resistant (yes, they treat an infection caused by antibiotics with more antibiotics. Whatever.), and hard to cure.  I managed to get it as a healthy 25 year old, as a result of taking an antibiotic.

Combine the (what I believe to be) unnecessary prescription of Clindamycin from the oral surgeon, AND the Prilosec (which is believed to also be linked to C-diff), and I was le screwed.

My doctor treated me for it.  It went away.

It came back a week after I finished my medicine. When it came back, it was three times worse.  I had a fever.  I was weak.  I missed work for 2 days.  They put me on a different antibiotic.

In the middle of my treatment, it came back.  This time, it put me in the hospital.

The colitis was causing severe pain.  My symptoms were back.  I was sick, sick, sick.   They had me on a clear liquid diet.  The picture above was my breakfast for the first day.  Clear broth, jello and apple juice.  Gross.

I went to the hospital late Tuesday night.  They released me on Friday.  I'm doing better, and glad to be away from my dancing partner, R2D2.

Dear God, do I hate these damn pumps.  I've never stayed in the hospital as a patient before.  I've never had the joy of having an IV, either.  But man, was this machine annoying!  Not only would it beep and scream for NO reason, it just made sleeping and moving pretty miserable.

I'm now on MORE medicine for a longer period of time, and I'm really hoping the third time is a charm.

I'm tired, to say the least.  I'm tired of being sick.  I very rarely get sick, so this string of bad luck has me pretty down in the dumps.  Suffice to say, it's also made me unwilling to post on here.  I'm hoping to get back to normal soon, and enjoy our upcoming trip to Florida!

Congrats to you for making it through this post!  I'll have some cheerful stuff coming in the next week, including good times at the Lady Gaga concert.  Side note: a special thanks to my Twitter pals for keeping me company at the hospital (through Twitter, of course), when K was at work.  You guys gave me something to do at the hospital other than watch countless hours of reality TV.  So, thanks!

Have a good weekend, all!