Home away from home.

“Let me know if you feel any sharp pains.” The doctor began to cut into the skin behind my ear and my biopsy began. I had waited 3 weeks for this appointment and had many nerves from a CT Scan that showed MANY swollen nodes in my neck. I didn’t feel anything, but I did hear odd noises, similar to what wet steel wool sounds like when it is crunching between your fingers. I sat in the chair while my mom looked on and said how interesting the procedure was. When the lymph node was removed, I asked to see it and the doctor did not hesistate to show us all. It was about the size of a marble and  was a perfect pink color of healthy flesh.

I was relieved. The doctor began to say that if it was black or darker, then that’s when we would worry, but he expected everything to come back benign. I left with 3 stitches and antibiotics.

Flash forward 5 days and Ricardo and I were getting ready to be in bed by 10pm. We planned on getting as much sleep as we could so we could wake up at 3am with the energy to drive to Dallas for my much anticipated appointment at UT Southwestern. To ease our nerves, I started talking about all the car dealerships I wanted to visit out there, hoping that we would be able to find exactly what I was looking for.  We fell asleep in each others arms, I think we both prayed that we would finally have a solid answer and action plan.

We left on time for once and my strong Ricardo got me there in one piece. I felt nauseous the entire drive up there and had bags ready just in case something came up and out. I thought it was just motion sickness from the car, even thought I was pretty comfortable. We arrived at the hospital at around 8:30 am and used the valet to park the car. I didn’t notice how sick I was until I got off the elevator and began to feel like I was floating. I walked straight to the receptionists desk and thought that standing would help with the feeling.. it didn’t. To give you an idea of how I felt, the closest description I have is when the elevator stops, and sort of “bounces” while it locks in place and the floor feels like it is moving beneath you.. I felt that “Bouncing floor” floating feeling for the next 15 minutes.. much longer than I usually have to deal with it. I notified the receptionist while I signed my new patient paperwork and I sat down in the chair as quickly as I could. Sitting down relieved everything.. almost like my body needed to know I was still grounded and attached to earth. The part of my brain that was affected by my stroke/AVM is also the part that tells your body where you are in space.. so if its having trouble, then I feel like I am floating or will fly off of my feet. I got up to get some coffee, hoping it would somehow help with my nausea, and before I could add another sugar to my cup, the nurse opened the door and I was called in to begin my appointment, at 9am.

We were really happy to see that they were actually bringing me into the office early. We are so used to being called in later than when I am scheduled. It was a nice surprise. I met with the nurse who took my vitals and a minute later was greeted by my specialists “right hand” doctor. She took the time to ask me questions, also taking the time to ask Ricardo and my dad how I am progressing.  She also wanted to understand my story and understand what happened that night and how much feeling I lost that night vs how much feeling I have been able to regain. The deep understanding that she was seeking to hear and know from me, Ricardo, AND my dad made me feel like I was in the right place. This is the hospital that is going to treat me and this is the team that is going to have the best plan for me. This is the hospital where I would receive the treatment I need to improve my health even more. I felt so comfortable already and I still hadn’t met the doctor yet. We performed a strength test and before she left the room she let me know that the doctors would be in soon.

I drank my bitter coffee and began to feel hyper.. it was mostly my anxiety. I was more than ready to meet the team and what they had to discuss with me. A long 5 minutes later, a knock on the door was heard and my new doctor came in..

“Welcome to UT Southwestern Brittany”


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