Sal with friends giving out Autumn March Scholarships
Good morning students! The sun is shining; it is going to be a beautiful day. Believe it or not we Catholics are still celebrating Easter. This is our fourth week of celebrating. Today I read in the Gospel of John when Jesus told the disciples, "I have called you friends." Friends are such a vital part of a happy life. They are the people that cry with you in sad times, pray with you in bad times, and celebrate with you in the best times. Friends are truly gifts from above.
The latest medical event in Sal the ALS Gal's life has been a roller coaster. Being stuck in a scoot and never standing makes discomfort a part of my life. It is just everyday ALS. Yes, back row that means diapers or Dipes as we call them at the Alley casa are a part of my daily life. It is common to get UTIs and have pain in your abdomen and back. A few months ago I went to the ER with severe pain. I just thought to myself I was having another severe UTI. I would get my antibiotics by IV and go home. Because I was having so much abnormal "female" bleeding the doctor wanted a CT scan. I did have a UTI but the scans showed significant liver damage. This began the whole gastro-intestinal and gynocological investigation. I got a DNC and after having lots of blood work it showed my liver enzymes are elevated. The gastrointestinal doctor suggested I have an echo scan. He said if the scan shows a level 1 or 2 for hardness of the liver we will just deal with it possibly with medication. If the liver hardness was a level three or four then I would have to have a biopsy to determine what was going on with my liver. You guessed it. I was a level four end stage cirrhosis of the liver. My doctor wanted the biopsy immediately. Two days later I am getting a biopsy. Six days after the biopsy I was hurting severely in my abdomen again. I went to the ER and they did another CT scan. This time it showed my liver was bleeding and I had lost eight units of blood. The blood had gathered in my abdomen. The technician and my doctor told me it was a possible one percent chance that I would bleed after the biopsy. Well it seems like I am always the one percent. After the hospital scare and many prayers from family and friends, I was able to go home. I can't tell you how many people started praying when they figured out I was bleeding internally.
Yesterday I went for the biopsy results. The doctor came into the room and he said in 15 years of working in the gastrointestinal field he had never seen someone bleed after a liver biopsy like I did. He said it just rarely ever happens. He told me that the echo scans showed end stage cirrhosis. He said but the biopsy shows stage one fibrosis which is not life-threatening. My mouth almost hit the floor. Was I hearing this right? In the back of my mind I kept hearing the word miracle. I kept thinking of all prayers. I keep asking myself was this a miracle? Was it just a technical error? Throughout Easter you read about the miracles. I kept thinking about Tabitha and Lazarus. I thought about the widow and her son. Miracles. During this whole ordeal I was in such excruciating pain I just wanted to be done. I wanted to start a new adventure. Each day after the prayers began I got a little stronger. My old personality was coming back along with my joy. Thanks be to God I am back for a little longer. Everyday will be a blessing rain or shine. Students each day you get should be if you have a terminal illness or not. Spread joy.
Today's lesson is treasure your friends because they are some of the best treasures in this earthly journey. Pray for your friends everyday. Lift them up with acts of kindness and words of encouragement. Make as many friends as you can. There is no limit! If you get a chance to just sit on a hillside and watch birds and the wind trickle through the trees with a friend, do it. Time with friends is never regretted no matter if the chores get accomplished or not. Pray for miracles for your family and friends. Miracles come in all ways, shapes, and forms. Have trust in the love of your friends. It can move mountains.
Sal the Friend-loving Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley