Ep. 7: Weak, May Die: How A Life Flight Changed My Path
Today I'm going to take you back with me to my senior year in high school. I was running varsity cross country, ready for my varsity basketball season to start in November. I had applied to Kansas State University and got accepted with a large scholarship and was going to go into ag education.
Starting in about September of my senior year, I started to feel sick. I was visiting doctors, chiropractors, and internal specialists to try to figure out what was going on. I was working harder, I was eating better, and I was running slower. Usually those things don't go together. It was so frustrating to feel unwell and have no answers.
As I was preparing for basketball season, my health status continued to worsen in ways I'd never experienced before. In welding class one day I completely lost control of my left hand and dropped the equipment multiple times. The left side of my body started to feel numb, but I still went to basketball practice. I called my father to come to practice because I was worried about my condition. As we practiced, I collapsed and was rushed to urgent care.
At urgent care they decided I needed to see a neurologist. But the Bozeman Hospital didn't have one. They thought I maybe had swelling in my brain so I was scheduled for an MRI the next day. After the MRI they called the same day saying they saw abnormal results and I needed another MRI with contrast.
We went back for another MRI and got a phone call before we even made it back home. They wanted me to see a specialist. Later that week my parents and I headed to another appointment and I ended up having a major stroke in the car before we'd even left my hometown of Three Forks, Montana. Again, I landed in the emergency room.
A doctor was touring the hospital from Seattle. After talking with my dad, he came to look at me and found splinter hemorrhages in my hands and feet, indicating a heart infection. He called a life flight and that night I was flown to Salt Lake City where they decided against open heart surgery, and instead installed a PICC line into my heart to administer antibiotics.
When we got back home I started feeling worse, not better. I got severe heart pain and my dad had to call 911 several times. Finally they discovered the antibiotics had hit my gallbladder and I needed it removed. On my way into the operating room I remember seeing, "Weak, May Die" written on a white board describing my condition.
After surgery, which I obviously survived, I still wasn't feeling better. We headed back to Salt Lake City on my 18th birthday and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, APS for short. I was put on blood thinning medication and finally began to feel better.
Listen in on the full episode for more details of my health journey and how it inspired me to start my own businesses in order to live a life by my design.
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