So much has gone one since you last heard from me….I know I say this every time, but I think it is more true today than it ever has been before. It’s nearing three months since I last wrote…and they have been three of the most eventful, challenging, stretching, yet God-filled and God-centered months of my life!  As the Christmas season drew to a close, I wasn’t quite sure what the year 2010 would bring. This new year was ushering in a new decade…something that I haven’t remembered happening – nor been a part of – very often in my life…as I’m just 20! Yet there was something of significance with this new year. I wasn’t sure what it was…but it was here none the less.  January brought a whole new realm of things to Teen Mania as the new January 2010 intern class arrived. With the arrival of this intern class returned for a visit one of my brothers from my intern year – Brandon. He was visiting campus and his many friends as he accompanies his best friend Micah who was just starting at the Honor Academy. What a time it was visiting with Brandon, and Alyssa, who was in my core and now lives in the Dallas area, and the rest of my family core that was on campus at the time – Margaret, Curran and Arielle are on the Ministry Team and hadn’t left on tour yet – as well as Chase, who works locally. Kameron, though not “officially” part of our family core, was adopted into it right at the beginning so he counts too, joined us as well. Casey, my housemate and former core-mate was the only one missing, as she stayed after Christmas vacation to have her wisdom teeth removed. It was such a wonderful time of reunion and memories! Definitely one of those times in which you get a taste of heaven that just makes you long for it in reality! All too soon it had to end, as Brandon hat to fly on home…he and Alyssa are lucky we love them so much to let them leave…as Curran, Margaret and I kept hugging them and would hardly let go! But we did…and we moved on to the rest of the very busy month of January.
It flew by…as I was doing the job of two people, or at least attempting too, as I waited until my department, Finance, got a few of the new January interns to replace those who had just graduated in December, and began the process of inducting them into our financial realm of numbers, account codes and processes. It seemed like it would take forever just to figure out who we were getting…when in reality it only too about a week…yet a week when you never seem to have enough time to do everything can seem to crawl by! We finally received our two new Januaries, Tracie and Sarah! Though we didn’t exactly know where they were going to be placed – job wise – we had a pretty good idea…so they didn’t receive the typical week of introduction to the entire department before beginning to work on their own job-specific tasks. Sarah is “my intern” as she works with me in accounting. She has become, as it were, my apprentice, as I am in the process of teaching her everything I know about accounting…and then some…so that she is fully equip to do everything I do, as she will need to be capable of doing so in August, as she will likely be helping train her new supervisor (who will become a GI like myself but is currently an August intern and doesn’t yet know they will work in Finance this next year), as well as potentially a new August accounting intern. It’s funny how things often seem to happen backwards at Teen Mania…most supervisors/managers are trained by someone underneath their position for that manager/supervisor position…rather than a manager/supervisor train everyone underneath them…but when has Teen Mania ever done something in a typical manner? Almost never… Anyhow, once Sarah finally had gotten all of the permissions she needed to work,  I had just started showing her some basic tasks that she picked up pretty quickly. She is very similar to myself and will do well, has done very well, in this position. I had one major advantage over her when I moved over to accounting that has made the largest difference in how quickly we learn things – I had already worked within Finance for about a year, so I was already familiar with how Finance worked, which helped out a lot for my job in general. That aside, she was doing great – she just needed to become more familiar with what she would do regularly before I would say she has mastered it.
Then…came a very unexpected set of circumstances…that have had a major impact on my life since they happened… Since Christmas, I had noticed that some strange things were going on in my body. Nothing very serious in and of itself, but now looking back, put together it almost seems like my body was trying to tell me that all was not well for a long time, but I didn’t get the message until it was almost too late…This was the coldest winter Texas has seen in about five years or so…causing a good amount of discomfort when required to exercise outside! My body seemed more sensitive to the cold than I have remembered it being before, though this was the first time I had ever really been so active outside while it was so cold. With that, running was more difficult than it had been before Christmas…but I just figured that was because I’d gotten out of shape and it was so cold. With that, I pulled/strained the tendon (hip-flexer) on the inside of my right thigh, somehow…I’m not really sure how. I’d pulled/strained it badly last May, and ever since it has been more tight than the other leg and more easily strained. Next came something very strange…on the left side of my groin (right on the underwear line) I started to notice a large bump/knot of some kind. I thought it was some sort of muscle knot as this was just after my hip-flexer had started to hurt…so I thought it was a knot that I’d triggered…though how I had no clue. It attempted to rub it out…but that was very unsuccessful, and just caused me more pain. About a week or so after I first noticed it, I noticed that there was another, smaller lump just below the first one. Now I was really beginning to get worried. I had been thinking about it most of January…but I decided I should probably do something about it. I had hoped to get a physical done over Christmas break, but that didn’t happen due to when I had to be back on campus. I had wanted to go to the doctor at home as they have all my records, and it is easier to go to the doctor at home than find time to go out here, especially as I don’t have a car. But, all things considered, especially how I had been feeling and the strange things going on with my body, I made an appointment for February 4th.  I decided to go to the doctor the last week in January, and between deciding to go and actually going, even more strange things kept happening. The weekend just previous I had gone home to surprise my family and have a bake sale with one of my housemates to raise money to keep us here. That was a fun surprise but it was very cold that day – not a good choice in which to be outside attempting to sell cookies. After being outside in 30-degree weather with a wind-chill of probably about 10 or so…we finally were able to come inside their foyer area, where we were out of the wind, and were getting some of the store heat. That helped tremendously…but I was already so cold by that time that I was still warming up/trying to keep warm when we left about three hours later. I was exhausted after that…as I had driven to Dallas that Saturday morning…and all I wanted to do was sleep. But my feet were so cold that I couldn’t fall asleep! I tried for about an hour…after eating just a bit of food…with no success. I decided I should take a bath to get warmed up since I was still quite cold and no amount of blankets was helping. [this was another, more serious sign that I had forgotten to mention…I’ll return to doctor part in a moment] The bath finally warmed me up, and helped me feel somewhat better…but I was still very tired. Food helped…but I wasn’t hungry for it…my hands and feet had also started to look funny that afternoon – rather mottled rather than just one color. I just thought it was because I had gotten so cold that day. Perhaps it was…but it didn’t go away…it stayed that way and kept getting worse – only seeming to disappear when in the shower and toasty warm – yet it would come back almost immediately after getting out.  So, back to right before going to the doctor. Not only was everything I’ve already mentioned going on, I didn’t have much of an appetite and therefore my energy level was severely lacking when I didn’t eat. Yet it is very difficult to make yourself eat when not hungry! My doctor’s appointment was on Thursday…and all that week I was feeling worse and worse. [Also, I’d been very tired for months, and no amount of rest seemed to make a dent…that, along with all these signs, was why I felt I needed to go so badly, as prolonged tiredness was a sign my blood count was lower than normal, as I’d learned three years ago.] Thursday morning was the last straw. I didn’t eat breakfast that morning as I knew it was usually best to do so when getting blood work done, as I knew I needed. However, for only not eating breakfast, I was very weak and about to pass out. My urine was also darker than normal that morning – also strange, as I don’t ever remember seeing it that dark before. I barely made it in to work before I would borrow a staff-member’s car to go to the doctor’s office…but I did…though I don’t really know how.  I go in and wait, hoping it won’t take too long. I’m finally seen and Mary Jo, the nurse practitioner, starts asking a lot of questions and then examining me. She pointed out a few things that I hadn’t yet noticed – such as my skin color was beginning to look rather yellow, and that the whites of my eyes were yellow as well. I knew what that meant – my blood count was much lower than I had thought…and this would probably mean a lot more medical attention than I had realized…she ordered the labs, along with the normal CBC for the blood count. She wouldn’t get the labs back until probably the next week, though she could see the CBC results within a few minutes of drawing the blood. She didn’t like what she saw the first time and drew more, with that draw resulting in a 7.7 blood count [it was 6.9 the first time]. Neither level is good, as normal is between 12.5-18.00. I know my normal level is about 12.5 at the highest…so I needed serious help fast, as I knew my body would not be able to go much longer without it. So. That was just the beginning of my second drastic medical adventure of my life….

…To be continued soon…