March 9, 2012


Praise be to the LORD, 
   for he has heard my cry for mercy. 
The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
   my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. 
My heart leaps for joy, 
   and with my song I praise him.
                            ~psalm 28:6,7
i am thrilled to (finally) have some SUPER awesome news to share with you! 

after 4 YEARS, yes, FOUR LONG YEARS of IV treatment, my docs gave me the go ahead to PULL my PICC LINE!! PRAISE GOD!

i saw DR D in seattle on february 27th, and after an exam, she felt we could move forward with removal albeit she deferred final decision to DR H
she faxed her recommendations to him
on wednesday, february 29, i was given the green light to pull my picc

yes, that's right, the go ahead for my line removal came on feb 29, leap day...a day that pretty much only comes around once every 4 years. it's like a bonus day the world gets every 4 years. 

how superbly awesome is that? i love the irony in that. i could not have scripted a better more symbolic day to learn my 4 year odyssey with IV treatment was finally over than to have it occur on a day that doesn't 'normally' exist.

after hearing the news, i pinched myself in disbelief that THIS was FINALLY going to happen and then ran around the house like a chicken with it's head cut off. i wept. i screamed. i laughed. i grinned from ear to ear and i shouted for joy at the work of my God!

the minute i could string enough words together to form an intelligible sentence, i was on the phone to my IV nurse so that my removal could be scheduled ASAP!

my iv nurses refer to my line as "The Antique". my IV treatment began in january 2008. i had my first PICC line for 3 months... then this PICC line was placed...and this one has been with me just shy of 4 straight years. apparently, "The Antique" holds the record as longest lasting PICC line in DR H's office and with my team of IV nurses. none of them have ever had a patient with a line in for this length of time. (an average PICC line lasts 6-12 months)

when my nurse arrived to remove my line, she said that news of my impending removal had spread through the nursing office like wild fire. everyone in the office was running around saying,
"did you hear? did you hear the news yet? shannon's getting her line removed!"

i don't think anyone thought they'd ever see this day come.

but here it is...after 4 long and grueling and pain-filled years of IV treatment, the day has finally come. this whole journey with lyme started when i fell ill way back in july 2006...i wasn't diagnosed until april 2007. i then spent 9 months on oral treatment before it was determined that the infection(s) were so entrenched in my brain and nervous system that IV treatment was needed. to put the length of time into perspective, here's a pic of my kids and i about 6 months into IV treatment. 

August 2008 - 6 months into IV treatment
after "The Antique" was safely out, my IV nurse told me how concerned the IV team had been. after all, the removal of "The Antique" was like rowing into uncharted waters. there is always a risk that a line can break off during removal. now, that is rare...chances of that happening is about 1 in 10,000...however, we're really, really, really good at being that "1" in our house. and given the age of "The Antique", no one really knew whether or not that closed the gap on the odds. should i be the 1 out of 10,000, then worst case scenario would mean an emergency surgery that would include cracking open my chest in order to fish out the broken off line. according to my nurse, it happens but it is a very, very rare occurence. good thing she told me all that AFTER the line was safely out.
as it was, the removal went incredibly smoothly. it was actually sort of weirdly anti-climactic. and believe it or not, it was over and done with in less than 10 minutes.

while the actual removal was simple and quick, the entire day felt sort of surreal. and i found myself grappling with a plethora of emotions in the days after "The Antique" was laid to rest on my dining room table.

"The Antique"
June 2008 - Mar 2012
of course, i am elated. overjoyed. jubilant. but letting go of it is scary too... even though it's not been used for abx (i've still not had any abx since august 2011) in a sense, it has been like a security blanket. should i take a turn for the worse and once again, descend into the pit, it was there - a ready defense literally at my finger tips. but more so than that, there has been an odd sense of grief and i have bawled my head off more than once since my PICC line was removed. the line is representative of two seemingly opposing realities: it is definable as both loss and recovery. it has been attached to me for 4 years and has greatly aided my recovery, yet that recovery has come at great cost and at great loss.

this monumental occassion has had me reflecting on how much time has passed and how much my kids have grown therapist framed it for me like this, 
July 2006 - the month i fell ill
"your children couldn't wait for you to get better in order to grow up."

November 2011 - healing is happening!

so much time has passed. and much of it is not easily recalled. either dimmed  by neurological impairment or marred by the agonizing and unrelenting pain that encapsulated my every day. my kids were 3, 6 and 13 when i got sick. they are now 8, 12 and 19. taylor isn't even a kid anymore, he's a man. he's even left the nest and is living on his own. i lost some very precious years with him and with my other two as well. i only have dim recollections of some of the biggest events in their lives. i can look at photos of myself and have no memory of the event...even tho' i was "well enough" to be there. i look at myself smiling, hair and make up done and no one would believe the level of pain i was in. the physical pain of this disease is unimaginable and indescribable. in order to survive it, i had to dissociate and dis-engage from life.

yes, those years are lost and those experiences can never be re-lived. it is true, my kids could not wait for me to get better in order to grow up. i can't hit the rewind button now, no more than i could hit the pause button back then... but in spite of all that we have been through, my kids love God. the shadow of His wing has covered them and He has been their shelter and refuge when all was falling apart around them. 

my line is gone and that is awesome and something to be celebrated. but it has left behind it's mark. healing is happening but we will never be the same. we are forever changed. to celebrate only the joy of this moment without acknowledgement of the sorrow would not do justice to the incredible faithfulness of God. this has been a long, dark, horrible road but He has carried us every step of the way. while it's not over yet, it is a far cry from where it's been and i praise God for His healing, His faithfulness, His mercy and His love. God is sovereign over the hurt and the pain and the loss. He is faithful to restore, to renew, to revive. He is trustworthy and He fulfills His promises in His time.

the day i got the green light for my picc removal was leap day and that was cool but far more significant than that, was the scripture passage in my devotions for that day...

it was proverbs 3:5-8...the verses & the promise God gave me at the start of this journey...

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; 
   don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; 
   he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all. 
   Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health, 
   your very bones will vibrate with life!
                                       ~proverbs 3:5-8

how divine! how majestic! how incredible! how awesome!
God is faithful to fulfill that which he has promised.

i've spent the past week putting together a slide show of my reflections on the past 4 years of IV's finally finished! so, without further ado, i share with you...LEAP FOR JOY


Travis W said...

Truly an amazing journey. I praise God for this day that you can leap for joy. That video is truly inspiring and a testament to the God we serve.

Love in the Lord

The Whims family

Karen said...

Shannon, I am sitting here in tears...I can't tell you how happy I am for you. I have only followed your blog for the last couple of months because we have only been dealing with lyme for a year...I have been waiting to hear what has been going on with you guys. What does this mean for treatment?? Is Taylor completely healed? Please update everyone's status. I love you guys...more than you will ever know. You give me hope. Love, Karen

s. said...

Thank you for dropping us a line, Whims family :) We are so super grateful for you and all your support!

much love

s. said...

Hi karen

we will be seeing dr h this month and i will give full medical updates on parker and i after we see him. i promise!

i posted an update on taylor this past's called Taylor's Push Story...
here's a link to it...

he is 100% recovered. he has been off all abx and treatment for 11 months now. he is moving forward with his life and pursuing his dreams. it is a miracle we praise God for.

keep fighting, karen! there is hope. there is ALWAYS hope


LymeZoner said...

Shannon, You are a wonder woman!
Wow, Wow and Wow.
Your leap for joy was certainly an inspiration! My heart leaps with you. One day I too will do a leap for joy. I have had baby leaps...
Your journey is that of a true warrior, a warrior of love.
Canada has such a long long way to go before they can even begin help us suffering from Lyme and co-infections. The docs made me suffer way more than the Lyme sometimes.
I live in Canada and have a Lyme Literate doc in NY State. She is amazing. I am so improved. I have been on antibiotic therapy for 2 years along with her bag of naturalpathic tricks.
I am going to go back and read all your blog...what a total treat!
Much Love