'Melanie Harris was kind enough to share her journey with us. Thank you, Melanie, for allowing us to walk with you and for opening up your beautiful heart. We appreciate you, your artistry in jewelry and your compassion for our community.
This is Melanie's story:
One month to the day of moving to Florida for a life of happiness, warm weather, beaches and opening up my business here, I was sick. Very sick. I went into the hospital for the very first time. I was admitted. I had lots of pain. After a million tests and six (6) days later it was determined my gallbladder was less than 5% working correctly and had to go. So, they did the surgery and said you're going to feel great after it's out. There is only a 1% chance you will have the pain you had with your bad gallbladder. Ok, take it out, the pain was unbelievable. I had the surgery Laparoscopic. I came home the same day of surgery to recover at home. Three (3) weeks later I'm still feeling bad. Well, maybe you're a slow healer, ok. Two (2) months I'm still feeling bad and I've got new symptoms and I feel worse. Give it another month he says because I had to peel your gallbladder off of your liver.
A month goes by and the pain is unreal, my hair even hurts. I'm frustrated. So, he sends me for a colonoscopy, an endoscope, and a stomach emptying test. I come out with two pre-cancerous polyps and Gastroparesis (GP). What? How did that happen? Also, remember that 1% who will never get rid of the chronic pain? Yep, I'm it. I'm living day to day and many days cannot make it out of bed. Life is hard. It shouldn't be so hard for a 'used to be healthy', 42 year old, bead store owner. So, fast forward two years later and now I've noticed other symptoms, I'm getting scared. I've lost a ton of weight, I don't want to leave my house, my anxiety levels are sky high and the daily pain from GP and the pain in my side where my gallbladder used to be depresses me.
Why? Why me? The doctors around here look at me like I'm crazy and just pass me off to another doctor who thinks he has the magic to make me well again. The last doctor made me so sick I flat lined in the ER this past New Year's Eve in terrible pain. I now get "contractions" in my stomach, my hair is falling out and I've broken a couple of teeth. I'm depressed. I used to work very hard, was a happy person with lots of love to give to my friends. Now I live far away from them all and I know no one except my husband. He is good to me. He is frustrated, he wants to help me. He doesn't know how. I feel guilt. Really big guilt because when I got sick and had to make so many changes, he basically did too. We moved to such a beautiful city and live five miles from a beautiful beach. My dream came true but it's really hard to love it and enjoy my new life because my life has changed so dramatically.
Every day when I wake up, I thank the Lord that I woke up today. I move an inch and want to cry with all the pain I have. About a year ago I started searching online for some support for myself. Maybe someone who feels like I do, has some of the problems I do. I joined a couple of the best GP groups. I'm so happy to be able to ask questions and also have somewhere to go where someone can understand what I'm going through. Recently I met April of Glitter Queens Global. I cannot tell you the help that this community has shown me. I look forward to the daily posts of encouragement and strength, not to mention all the work that the ladies do to get more awareness out there for our community. They work so hard! I don't know how you do it! You guys are awesome!
Thank you all for your friendships, concern, advice and compassion. I appreciate it more than you all know. I may not post a lot but I do read as many posts from the community as I can and give encouragement to those suffering and heartbreak when someone passes. So, today as I write this, I'm really saying thank you, thank you for encouragement, understanding, fighting for our cause and most of all, thank you for the friendships! I hope that someday there may be a cure for us all so we can have our lives back. But in the meantime, I'm just grateful to be breathing on this earth with these great friends!