Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tribute to a Wonderful Friend Lost too Soon!

This blog is dedicated to a high school buddy that I stayed in touch with through the next 25 years until his passing June 17, 2016. His name was Ron "Ronnie" Lester.

What all but a few very close people knew was his organs were failing him for the last 4 months of his life due to complications from his gastric bypass surgery which enabled him to go from 508 lbs to 160 lbs losing an astounding 348 lbs. He had complications through the surgery as he flatlined the first time so they had to stop and go back 6 months later to complete it. He had 18 surgeries to take care of the excess skin that came as he lost the weight.

What the majority of us closest to him did know was he loved drinking and couldn't give it up for anything even when his organs were failing. He was drinking and partying as far back as high school. He drank and talked about drinking and partying all the 25 years I knew him. We tried to help him, but as is well known, they have to want to change for it to work.

The public saw Ron Lester as the lovable fat guy "Billy Bob" in "Varsity Blues" alongside Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek. They saw him as "Spatch" in "Goodburger" alongside Keenan and Kel. He played a parody of his "Varsity Blues" self in "Not Another Teen Movie", and as "Sug" on the 2 season show "Popular". He was even part of the show "Freak and Geeks".

What the public doesn't realize is he was also in an episode of "CSI" in his new skinny body. Unless you were friends with him or knew him, you wouldn't have recognized him. He did 2 other projects yet to be released that I hope will get the funding and be released because he worked very hard on them only to at one point get scammed.

I always kept in touch with Ron over the years even though we did one year of high school together because he and I were kindred spirits in wanting to help people and be kind etc. whether it was messages on Facebook, a phone call on his birthday into his radio show even though I was out on a date, we stayed in touch almost to the very end. Our last call was in November as he was getting released from the hospital he said he had to go because he was heading to Vegas. Just like Ron.

My fondest memory of Ron was his high school graduation because it was my sisters as well. He had a cap on with 4 tassels marking each year he was supposed to graduate but. Ow was because he was 21. So, when they called his name, we gave him a standing ovation....I think the teachers did it cuz he was finally outta their hair ;)

Myself and others tried over the years to help him with his drinking, but I. The end, it was his choice. It was also HIS choice to discontinue being on life support. See, while his organs were failing, he was not in a coma, he was lucid enough to convey that request to the nurses and his fiancee Jennifer Worland who'd been by his side throughout it all.

In the 25 years I knew Ron, he also struggled with love. I was there for him each time another girl hurt him telling him the right one was out there just hold on. He had to lean on his friends because he told us he had no family, they were all dead. He told us this many times over the years including on his radio show. So when Jennifer came along, I saw a change in Ron. A beautiful change. A change for the better! He proposed to her and they were to be married on his birthday AUGUST 4, 2016.  Instead, we were celebrating the life he had as a memorial. I was so sad he never got to have the wedding I'd had and the happily ever after with Jennifer because she's a wonderful girl who would have been an amazing wife for him.

So for now, I do this blog to memorialize him since no one that really knew him was allowed to speak at the service. Ron, you were loved by many and will be missed so much! I hope you are up there having fun with Paul Walker and with Howie ;) give him a hug for me til I can hug both you again!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Two Years Today

Two years go today I walked into the lobby pictured in the picture below to get a chest x-ray. It says in the picture just how bad off I was. They told me both lungs were full of blood clots and to get back to my dr immediately. So I got my husband so he could drive (he works in the immediate area) and we went to the dr. I was on the phone with my dad explaining what was going on I heard hospital out of the corner of my ear and told my dad I had to go because I heard something I didn't like.
For those that don't know, I've had big issues with hospitals since my gall bladder removal in 2000. Anyway, the doctor said I had to go, as it was had I waited 3 more days I woulda been dead.
So, we drove across the parking lot to the hospital and started the week and a day stay in the cardiac unit at that hospital waiting for a bed at UNC because apparently I also had a clot in my right atrium and a 13cm long one in my lower vena cava vein which if it broke free would have killed me.
UNC used thrombaletics for 24 hours keeping me flat on my back which was excruciating with my lower back injury to break up the lower clot with a filter protecting my heart, lungs, and brain. The next morning they went in manually with a filter in my neck to break up the last 40% of the clot.
The picture with my sister was from my stay at the first hospital. She came up as my family all live in GA and were scared so if I didn't let her up they all woulda,come up wink emoticon but I was thankful she came!
The last Picture was me this last January as my lungs were still healing from all the damage from the clots.
I'm happy to say that today, the original diagnosis of right side heart failure is gone, all the oxygen equipment is gone, and I'm living my life to the fullest! I still get winded from time to time, but I'll take that over the way I was 2 years ago! OH! The best part is I lost 40 lbs and have kept it off!
I am 40 years old. These were not my first clots. Listen to your body for the warning signs. I was getting weaker, I was needing to sit more frequently when walking, if I did a flight of stairs I had to sit to recover. You aren't lazy, get it checked! I had pain in my chest but didn't realize it. It doesn't discriminate age, gender, race, etc. I lost a HS classmate right after my incident and recently another classmates brother had a huge clot in his lung cut out.
Listen to your body!!! Let my story be a lesson, let my friends stories be lessons. Don't ignore the signs.
I am happier and healthier today because I went to the doctor and continue to when something doesn't seem right. I live each day to the fullest and as if it's my last cause you never know....I was told had I waited 3 days I wouldn't be here today to help y'all.....don't put things off that you want to do! Live with no regrets....I now do!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Today was another day.....

So, I'm guessing y'all wanna know what happened this AM when I showed up at the Dr.'s office right? I got there and the usual receptionist wasn't there.  They told me she was out that day, I said ah ok. I asked for my doctors nurse so I could give her the bag of goodies I had for her then sat and waited for her.  She came out and we talked for a few minutes. I told her what happened and that she and the doctor she was the nurse for were the only reasons I was staying and I may not be after what had happened Friday. She went and got me a stool test kit and we were talking for a few more minutes and I got her to write her address down and slipped it in there as a very nosey nurse came over to butt in and see what we were up to.  So we broke it up and I left.

So then I went to the Pulmonary Dr. and they did indeed have more information than Western Wakemed did. Basically, they are going with Pulmonary Hypertension. Basically right side heart failure. The basic definition is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart. It begins when tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries are narrowed, blocked, or destroyed.  This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail.

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes progressively worse and is sometimes fatal. Although pulmonary hypertension isn't curable, treatments are available that can help lessen symptoms and improve quality of life.

My next test is a Right Heart Catheterization. I've had all the other tests thus far.  During this procedure, a cardiologist will place  a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a vein. The catheter is threaded into your right ventricle and pulmonary artery. Right heart catheterization allows your doctor to directly measure the pressure in the main pulmonary arteries and right ventricle.  It's also used to see what effect different medications may have on your pulmonary hypertension.

Right Heart Catheterization is usually performed during local anesthesia and sedation in a hospital setting. you often can go home soon after the procedure. You'll need someone to drive you home after the test.

So you will know more when I know more! The test has not been scheduled yet.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gotta Get It!

Hey!  If you own an ipad, check out that company Zoogue in the right sidebar! they have AWESOME cases and accessories! I have been with them since I got the original Ipad and I turned the original in last year to Best Buy so I could get the Ipad Air.  Zoogue did NOT disappoint on having just as cool a case for my new one! NOW, they have an even cooler one about to be released that I just have to have and I was told that my readers could use the code JT30 to get a 20% discount off theirs!  THAT is a deal!  GO FOR IT!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

4 hours wasted

spending 4 hours at western wake last night and getting put through a very painful iv situation for what turns out to be nothing I know, better to be safe than sorry still pisses me off. Why? Because my doctor is now denying he told me to go to the hospital. They paged him and talked to him and he told them he didn't tell me to go.

 So as I'm being discharged the nurse puts the blood pressure cuff up high on my right upper arm where my shoulder injury is and it started getting tighter and tighter. I start screaming bloody murder and moving so it gets tighter and tighter and she said I had to calm down or it would continue to do that. I said I can't help it so she angrily rips the cuff off and I ask her to have someone else come and do it. 

She asks how they will do it any differently and I am sitting there in tears covering my face for at least 10 minutes hoping Bill will speak up and ask for the other person to come in but no, he sits there and brings up the fact I have fibromyalgia so I'm more tender which had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with this and discredits me with them immediately when they hear I have it. 

I finally start breathing normally and look at Bill and the nurses asks if I'm ready to continue.. I had been trying to wait her out to get her to leave and let someone else finish. So she showed me the discharge papers and I said where do I sign, signed and she left me my copy apologizing several times for hurting me. I just kept my mouth shut until she left. 

Bill understands now and knows for the future. I was flashing back very badly to the nurse from UNC that was so bad to me on that same side. I mean, I had told the woman I need to have support under where you are going to attempt to do the iv or I will jump, move, yip, yell, etc. if it is a sensitive area. It is involuntary and I have no idea what will happen. Her superior was in the room at that point and got a sheet that was still all folded up out and put it by my foot for her to use and she didn't. 

She didn't listen to anything. 4 hours of crying, screaming, mental distress, tests, etc. I wouldn't volunteer to do since I was to see the pulmonologist on monday at UNC. I went to my GP to see if I could wait and they said no. I will be in his office first thing monday am to find out who the receptionist talked to and what they really said.

I wrote an e-mail to the Dr. at UNC I am to see on Monday to see if I need to keep the Appt. because the dr. in the ER didn't see since I was therapeutic what else there was THEY could do so was there something they knew that Western Wake didn't that would require me to still go on Monday.  They responded yes, there are things we need to discuss so please still come. At least they are forthright and honest.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

You Think You Know Me?

Throughout my lifetime I have been put through a lot of trials and tribulations when it comes to my health. People have told me that my body is so weird and the things that have happened could have only happened to me that I should write a book. I told them I didn't think anyone would read it.

The current thing I have been dealing with since December 30, 2013 is blood clots, lots of them, all over my abdominal area. I attribute them building up from the fall down our basement stairs the December 2012 wherein I sprained both ankles very badly and my tailbone (which we are just figuring out). I had to be in air boots on both legs and a wheelchair for about 3 months and we did several road trips while my legs were in them and didn't take enough breaks apparently. I had gone down to Atlanta at least 2 times which round trip was about 1000 miles before mid May.

In mid May, we sold our 4 door sedan on the way out of town and had a really cool rented Mercedes to drive up to my husbands family to celebrate his b-day etc. in Iowa. When we left them, we headed across to Queens, NYC where we picked up our new, used Lexus IS-C which Bill drove home while I drove the Mercedes home. The whole road trip was 3300 miles.

I was having problems breathing prior to this trip but we didn't think anything of it.  When I got back I checked in with the doctors and there was nothing on x-rays etc. So we move forward to August when I go down to GA for the court case of Andrea Sneiderman in Dunwoody, GA.I drove to the court daily and back to my folks. I was down there for about 2 weeks. so probably about 2500 for that trip.

We went down for my birthday to celebrate so that was 1000 round trip on mileage. We went down again for Thanksgiving and I was starting to have issues but not as obvious as later. so another probably 1500 given all the shopping I did.

By the time we head to Iowa for Xmas I can't move 5 feet without needing to sit.  I can't walk up a set of stairs without needing to sit to catch my breath etc. It was extremely bad. By the end of the trip my in laws were scared and my husband and I were as well.

I went a total of probably over 10,000 last year road tripping and it caused blood clots galore. I got an x ray and the x ray reader actually came in and said both lungs were full.  I went and picked my husband up at work on my way back to the Dr.'s office as they are all around the same area.

They told me flat out that had I not come in on December 30th, 3 days later I would have been dead. I apparently had clots in both lungs, one in the right atrium, and one in the lower abdomen in the vena cava vein that was 14cm long.  I had gone right from the dr.'s office to the hospital across the parking lot.  From there a week and a day later I was transferred by ambulance to UNC due to the 14cm one so they could do a procedure with what they call thrombeletics  to break up that one clot.

I was brought into the surgical area and the stuff was started and then I was to stay flat on my back and not to move for 24 hrs.  If you know me, you know I have a low back injury and can't lay flat on my back so I whined all night and drove my roommate batty! The nurse came in and scolded me for something I couldn't help.

When they came in to put a pillow under that side to try and make it better that same nurse grabbed my shoulder which had a torn ligament from another incident pre hospital and re aggravated it so I was then in tears and going into a panic attack.

Needless to say I was glad to get out of that hospital after 20 days total in the hospital. I had a job with the Census Bureau and went back to it 10 days after the hospital but ultimately was made to quit.  My lungs are very damaged from all of the clots I had and apparently are still having form so I'm not able to continue to the job I was doing with them.

I am currently on 3.0 liters/hr of oxygen and not sure if that isn't gonna go up. If I don't have it on, my memory goes kaput, forming sentences is harder, etc. I have finally gotten portable cans that are much easier to carry around to go out etc.  I am also on a travel ban by the doctors. I got one pass and that was to go down for my dad's 73rd b-day and to go be with Vinnie Politan for a day at CNN.

You can imagine how much cabin fever I have right now with all the travel I have done in the past :) but my health is more important. It did make me miss my husbands grandfathers funeral which I really wanted to be at and my uncles 50th anniversary of being a priest celebration.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

MasterChef Contestant Josh Marks Dead of Suicide

This hits really close to home actually. Earlier this year, Josh had been in a manic state in a confrontation with police. He later did a video for the "Make a Sound Project" an organization dedicated to helping people with suicidal thoughts.  In the video, he revealed he was bipolar.

It is so sad to see a public figure go through such a public fall from grace like this and I'm sure he won't be the last. I have been trying for years to help those with suicidal thoughts to change their way of thinking with my video on my youtube channel called Suicide.

I see that people are giving "Make a Sound Project" grief for the statement they posted after Josh's confrontation with police.  Shame on y'all. Read the statement that is up there today.  They are by no means at fault for Josh's choice.  Only Josh can make the choice to commit suicide. It is a selfish one and now comes the blow back from it so to speak.  He didn't see that in the wake of his death MASP would get blamed for his death. He didn't know that it's a selfish long term answer to short term issues.

If he was not on his medicine for his bipolar, that was on him.  That is the thing with bipolar. A lot of patients will feel fine and stop taking it. You can feel very suicidal if off your meds.  This is why Amanda Bynes is having such a hard time getting adjusted to her meds.  It is hard to get started on them, let alone get them adjusted from time to time as people like Catherine Zeta Jones has etc. You do from time to time need to possibly get admitted to check your levels and reevaluate them.

He was a great cook with such potential! Gone too soon.