Monday, February 28, 2011

To win a Dream Home

This is the story I wrote to win a "dream home" on Regis and Kelly's TV Show. Pray that we win with this letter I wrote about Kevin and why we want a dream home. Hope you like it. Pray for favor for us to win!!!

I’ve dreamed for more than 11 years about a home that would be mine on the corner of Carol Lane in Texarkana, Texas. We’ve sketched out the plans, and we even have the land. The house is the part we’re missing! Being awarded a “dream home” would make all of the struggles we’ve faced seem far away!
My name is Ami McCarty, and I am a 34 year old woman who has been married to my wonderful husband Kevin for nearly 11 years. Our story is one of difficulty, but it’s a story about a man that has changed my life. Giving him the home of his dreams would grant me a new lease on life.
It all started when Kevin and I first met in 1999. I met him online at Back then, internet dating was brand new. I was interested in meeting someone and after I put in my desired criteria, Kevin was my only match! He emailed me the next day. He was from Texas and I was from Maryland. From the first moment we met on the computer, I fell head over heels for this man. Pretty soon we were calling and flying back and forth to see each other.
When I flew down to meet Kevin for the first time in Texas, he showed me this piece of property, which was a little bigger than an acre. His father had purchased it for us and was giving it to us as a wedding present! Originally we had plans to jump right in and build a house near his family on our land.
But life quickly took other turns, and the plans we made got pushed by the wayside.
At Christmas he came to visit me, and I got sick and had to be taken to the emergency room. The doctors weren’t sure what was wrong. Over the course of several months they found out that I have the connective tissue disease Lupus. It can affect a lot of things in your body. Little did we know what was to come.
My dad told Kevin that I was sick, and Kevin assured him that he would take care of me once we were married. I don’t think any of us realized how committed Kevin really was. We got married, and life happened.
During our first year of marriage, I gained 90 pounds because of steroid medications I was on for the disease. But Kevin didn’t care. He never left my side. He was there for every second. He always told me how beautiful I was, and he just put up with the side effects of the medications. He never made me feel like I was a burden. I couldn’t go places or do things because I was sick all of the time. The medication was taking a toll on me. I had to work, and on the weekends I had to take this awful medicine that would have me sick and in bed all weekend.
Kevin would take care of me. He would sit with me in the bedroom because I was too sick to come out to the living room. He would keep me company and do things for me that I couldn’t do myself. It seemed like we’d get through one thing, and I’d have a set back. We had preexisting conditions on my medical coverage, so we had so many medical bills. The dream of building a home was there, but we couldn’t make it a reality.
I had been teaching Spanish but finally the realization came that I was too sick to be able to teach anymore. I was missing so much work, and I was granted disability right away. It was hard to face the realization that I couldn’t work anymore. We also faced the grim realization that we would never be able to have kids either. We became foster parents, but my health was in such disrepair, even that wasn’t possible, so we have had to give up the dream of having children for now. I had to have a hysterectomy also due to complications from my disease.
Two years ago, I developed chronic pancreatitis and as a result, I became so ill that I have to have a feeding tube. I have had the feeding tube for a year now. I am not able to eat regular food because I can’t digest it. In addition, I have developed diabetes, and I may be facing another surgery to put an additional tube in my stomach. I am seeing a specialist next month at John’s Hopkins University to see if that’s what we’re going to do. We have a lot of tough decisions to face in our life, but I know that with God and with Kevin, I can face them all.
Kevin has been there for me the whole time. I can’t count how many times I’ve been sick in bed throwing up and he’s been there, stroking my head and telling me he loves me. He says I’m the strongest person he knows, but he doesn’t know that my strength lies in him. He is the reason I want to live. He makes each day worth facing. He could have walked away. That would have been so easy to do. But he did the hard thing. He stuck with me, and today our marriage and relationship is stronger than ever. We have weathered the storms, and we feel like we can face anything because of where we’ve been.
Because of this sickness, so many times I’ve felt like dreams were being taken away from me. We still dream, but because of my medical bills and financial situation, we can’t build now on this land that has been sitting there waiting for us for years.
We have house plans for the home that we’re dreaming about. It would mean so much if I could give the man of my dreams the house of his dreams for being there for me all of these years. It would be the best thing that’s ever happened to me!
Thank you for letting me share my story!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm struggling today...

Today is kindof a somber day for me. I am not trying to have a pity party. I guess I am just writing out of a sort of deep desire and struggle I am going through.
It has to do with me not eating.
Because I get so nauseated when I eat, I take a lot of anti-nausea medication, which in turn is affecting my liver a little bit. I just have to watch how much medication I am taking. The solution to the problem is basically not to eat much by mouth so I don't get sick and I don't have to take medicine.
That, my friends, is hard to do.
I am really struggling. Everywhere I look, there's food. I grew up loving food and looking forward to my next meal. Food is something that I cherish and so many memories I have are centered around fun times eating with my family.
So you can imagine how feeding on my feeding tube and only eating crackers and jello has been for me.
I can eat other things, the problem is that I have severe gastroparesis, which means my stomach just doesn't move to digest. Things just sit there and in turn make me sick. And I don't want to be sick.
It's been hard. I don't want to go places where food is around because it's literally like torturing me. I just am in a bad place mentally where everything smells good and my stomach growls and my mouth waters. I know what it will do to my stomach if I eat, but it's so hard denying yourself of something you need. It's been really tough. It's hard being around food.
Not to mention having a feeding tube. I dislike the looks of the tube. It inhibits me and makes me feel strange. I am a bit self conscious of it, so I don't really enjoy having to have it on much, except for in the comfort of my home where no one has to see me using it.
I hope this feeling will pass, and that maybe I will learn something important out of this trial. I already have learned to rely on God for strength. I just don't know how to get these cravings to go away. I just struggle so much with the desire to eat.
I know I will be okay. I am just a little bit down today...I will be back up and fighting soon. For today, I just want to rest and relax and not think about food!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day.
And I have the best valentine ever.
My husband Kevin is the light of my life and the best valentine a girl could have. Today proved that yet again. I had an impromptu doctor's appointment and my husband (thanks to his awesome boss) was willing and able to drop everything to take care of me and go to my appointment with me. He also was so thoughtful and got me a new computer because I broke my old one. Plus he got me a teddy bear and he even went and got me some things I needed from the grocery store.
But all those things are just normal for Kevin to do. He's so thoughtful and wonderful to me.
When I married him 10 and 1/2 years ago, I never knew the trials we would face. I never knew my health problems would be what they are today. Neither did Kevin. But he's stuck by me and he's been the constant in my life when I needed him. He's been there every step of the way. I have been blessed in love.
I have lots of people I love, but most of all, I love Kevin Bradley McCarty. The one love that forever changed my life.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An update on my life!

Again I am embarrassed at the length of time It's been since I've written, and truthfully I am going to be better at writing this time around. It helps me when I's therapeutic to write how I'm feeling.
It's been kind of a whirlwind week for me. I have so many emotions. Let me catch you up on the last few months if I may.
For many medical reasons I had a hysterectomy on Dec. 28th. I have had endometriosis, and a lot of female problems in the past. The doctors thought that a hysterectomy would be in my best interest. We were all nervous because my risk for infection is high because I have this connective tissue disease and a feeding tube and such. Many prayers were said, and this I know because my surgery was picture perfect. It was done laparoscopically and I didn't have to have a huge scar from surgery. That meant I had a better time healing, and things after surgery went wonderfully. I was at a hospital in Memphis, and when we got home, my mother flew in to be with me and help me. She stayed for several weeks and took wonderful care of me.
I was glad to have the hysterectomy, although truthfully, I was broken hearted at the same time. It just meant that I will never be a mother naturally. I have wanted children with Kevin for a long time, and although we knew it wasn't advisable due to my health, this just made it impossible and final. I am past the stage of feeling sorrowful about not having my own children, but I think I will always ache in my heart for a child. Mostly because I know that Kevin would be a wonderful dad.
Anyway, back to my update...
I was doing better with eating. I had my feeding tube inserted on Feb. 24th of last year with the hopes of doing better so I could get it out. The problem I have is called "Gastroparesis" which basically means that my stomach doesn't move properly so I can't digest food. So when I eat, the food just sits there at times without digesting and it makes me sick. Well, when I use my feeding tube, it basically pushes the food to my small intestine so it bypasses the stomach and I don't get sick. I say that to let you know that I had been doing better with introducing certain foods back into my diet. I was eating a few things that I could tolerate, but I was still getting very sick to my stomach again and I was taking too much anti-nausea medication, which has caused my liver enzymes to be elevated. So, the doctor has put me back to just feeding on the tube and not eating anything much by mouth. As you can imagine, this is tremendously hard for me. It's so difficult to deny yourself of something that you enjoy because it makes you sick. I struggle daily with this. I allow myself jello and crackers, but even that makes me feel bad sometimes. I just have to deal with this trial and I ask for your prayers because this is difficult. I am mulling over the idea of possibly getting a gastric pacemaker, but it's really a hard decision. What we had hoped was temporary (the feeding tube), is actually looking like a way of life that I just have to endure if I don't want to get sick all of the time. The Lord has been so good to me, and I will be okay!! I just need the prayers.
I have so much more to say, but I think I'll save it for the next post, which will be in the next day or so. I want to try to post something at least several times a week. I know I need to be writing and sharing things that the Lord lays on my heart. I want my friends and family to share with me in this journey. I want everyone to know my struggles, but my joys as well.
The greatest joy upcoming is the upcoming birth of my new nephew Benjamin who is due in March. I just can't wait to meet him.
I will talk the next time about some more of my internal struggles.
Much love to all who care enough about me to read this!!!
Love, Ami