27 July 2009

sharky update:)

Well it has been 5 days since the attack and it feels like so much has happened!

While in NC my aunts got me some funny things to commemorate my trip this year;) Like i will need another reminder huh? They thought it would be funny---and it was:

My Aunt Fran got me a shark tooth in a bottle that says Holden Beach on it and a postcard with different shark teeth profiled:)

My Aunt Judy got me the t-shirt---make sure to look close at the logo

After returning from NC I stayed with my cousin at my aunts house--which was so nice to have to get used to hobbling around on crutches and my cousins were really sweet in getting me drinks, pills, food, etc. It's very humbling to have to be so dependant all the time. The sweet thing is that I taught Maddie (2 years old) that my foot was owwie and that it was because of a shark and then a chomping noise with the mouth. It was sooo cute because she repeats everything:)!

Here she is snuggling up to me trying to put her feet on the pillow too! lol

So then I headed to Morton to my parent's house. My room here has always been in the basement, but obviously I'm not going to climb up and down stairs if i don't have to:) so i moved into the guest room. Thankfully I was far ahead in my planning for moving to Mexico so most of my stuff had been moved and sorted already--and some already packed.

I didn't have the greatest first night--i have not been reacting to my pain meds very well. I woke up today with the feeling of a really tight chest and upper back and broke out into a cold sweat shortly after. Needless to say I'm glad we went to the doctor today so I can try something different.

Doctor News: We visited the orthopedic surgeon here in Illinois. We had to get more x-rays and he seemed really pleased with the healing I had and the condition of the stitches. I wasn't feeling to great the whole time there and eventually threw up---thankfully in the trash:) I'm becoming a pro at knowing it's coming!! haha...

Here are some pics of my foot now if you are curious: i promise even if they look worse they are really better!!

I have some swelling especially on my ankle and the top of my foot.

The doctor said as soon as I feel comfortable putting pressure on my heel and bottom of my foot to go ahead

They gave me an aircast---which is awesome because I can take a shower without covering it in a plastic bag, wash it, re-wrap and make sure to monitor it for infection. Plus the boot is cool:) haha....I'll try to put a pick of it up soon.

We will take the stitches out in about 10-12 more days---crazy! I'm thankful my parents will be around in Mexico still with me then to do that.

We've been busy calling the airline to change my seat on the planes next weekend so i have more room, hotels so i am near the elevator, and figuring out insurances since my Olathe ends the 31st!! ahh...I may have to do Cobra to "tie me over."
Mentally/Emotionally--- I am doing pretty well:) I'm still thankful it wasn't worse. I am sad that i won't be able to wander around exploring Tampico like I imagined and be able to do everything I want, but I'll be there long enough I can make up for it later I guess. I think I'm just hoping I wont miss out on fun things because of this stupid shark. Also it makes me a little nervous to meet my students and parents when I am not as mobile as I'd hope to be. I'm praying for miraculous healing so I can be putting a lot of weight on it by the time I teach.

Thanks again for the continued prayers--I still need them for a while so please remember me:)

24 July 2009

sharks are mean:(

Well I'm sure most of you have heard about my accident or should I say incident in the water.

Wednesday at about 3:00PM I was swimming and boogie-boarding with my mom and cousins in the Atlantic ocean in Holden Beach North Carolina. We were up to our waist/chest in water so it wasn't too deep. All of a sudden I felt something grab me and then chomp down on my left foot a 2nd time. It happened so fast!! All I thought was "What? Those were teeth! run away, get everyone away!" I just kicked at it and screamed to my mom and cousin that something bit me.

My mom thought it was a jellyfish or something, because all she saw was the bottom of my foot all bloody. I didn't know it was a shark, but I knew it wasn't a jelly fish. My mom and cousin Kelli were screaming too once they saw the blood as i was trying to run out of the water (which seemed to take forever!!:))

We got up to the beach where the sand was still wet but not in water and I laid down on a boogie board to get my foot up in the air. By that time someone had gotten a beach towel and a few people had come to see what happened and help out. One lady (Molly) was a huge help in getting everyone organized and keeping me safe. They had someone call 911 and others go get ice and clean towels. The were putting pressure on my foot through the towel.

All this time I was just laying there and all i could do was pray over and over, thanking Jesus that I was ok, I had people helping me, and that He was with me. I wasn't too panicky at that point and was "with it" and able to know what was going on. I didn't know the extent of my injuries because all I had seen was a quick glance down at the laceration on my ankle when walking in.

Eventually a volunteer fire fighter came and had gloves and gauze. They were able to stop the bleeding pretty quickly (thanks to my dehydration:) haha)) and so then Molly and others helping could then really assess my wounds and wrap them up after having gloves.

During this time the tide was starting to come in so they needed to move me further up the beach, so a bunch of men and Molly, her friend, and my aunt carried me a long ways up the beach to where the paramedics were going to be bringing a chair and stretcher. I think I said thank you to all of them helping me while I was up on the boogie board---that couldn't have been easy carrying dead weight through sand uphill!!!

Then the paramedics had a rolling chair thingy and they had to have me stand up and get in the chair. As soon as I was in the chair I told them I wasn't feeling good and was gonna pass out. Sure enough not 10 seconds later I fainted in the chair. From what they told me I went totally white and gray from the neck up and it looked pretty freaky. I woke up maybe a minute and a half later and immediately said "I feel so much better." It was like a little nap:)

They were carrying me on the chair up a short set of stairs and then down another set to get to the parking lot that the ambulance was in. I had never been in an ambulance before, nor had an IV or anything like that! It was all very surreal that this was happening.

In the ambulance they hooked me up to the heart monitoring machine, oxygen, and an IV of fluids. Then I arrived at the hospital and they were all so excited to see it.

The nurses had to wash out my cuts but I hadn't had any pain meds yet, so it hurt really bad just washing with water. I was sweating by the time they were initially done with that. Then after that they had me sit there for a while. During that time, at least 10 people came in to see my bites. I didn't care so they came in, I told the story and they looked at the wounds. Everyone was so excited to see a real shark bite. They all seemed really surprised I was so relaxed and calm about it all--That I wasn't upset.

After that they came to take x-rays for my foot and ankle. I was left alone for about 3-4 minutes after that and I just started thanking the Lord again that I could wiggle my toes and ankle some, that there were people to help me and that I was ok.

Finally the main doctor Dr. Bill Sherrod came in to start rinsing out my wounds and getting ready to stitch them up. He had me flex my foot to see how mobile I was. I could see the inside of my ankle and see the tendon itself moving!! crazy huh? It was like my left foot was detached from myself, so it was kind of cool. He thought maybe it was a little torn, but he's not an orthopedic doctor so he wanted another opinion.

Eventually he started numbing me (those shots hurt bad!!!) My mom and cousin Kelli and Aunt Pam were all at the hospital and took turns being in with me. It was nice to have others there along with me. He first stitched up the ankle wounds, then the top of my foot and then lastly the bottom. We think the shark's teeth must have drug along the bottom of my foot as I kicked away so the bite marks on the bottom were mostly punctures and then big gouges across my foot. The bottom hurt the most with the numbing shots---I had to do like labor breathing to handle it!:) haha

finally around a little before 10 it was done --Dr. Sharrod had put in 42 stitches on my foot and ankle--they were ready to put on the fiberglass cast/wrap. And finally I was able to put clothes on and try to brush some sand out of my hair:)

We stopped by McDonalds on the way home, but before we went too far I felt nauseous and had to stop on the side of the road quickly.

We got home around 11 and it felt good to sit down. People were already finding my name on websites like www.sharkattacksurvivors.com and other news stations. I was amazed that it was already that fast spread!

Turns out it was probably a 5-6 foot shark! but I never saw it which will help with not having such bad dreams i think. The shark bit me 2 times, a quick one and then the big chomp. If you look at the picture below of my whole foot/ankle after it was stitched you can see the width of his jaw. The ankle mark and the marks on top of my foot are the to sides of his mouth/teeth. He bit me from the side so his lower teeth hit my heel and bottom of my foot.

Here are some pictures---sorry if they are too gruesome.

On Thursday morning we had to go see the orthopedic surgeon to see what his opinion was about my mobility and the tendon issue. He looked at my stitches and said they looked good. He tested my sensation on the bottom of my foot and moved my toes. He had me move my ankle in all directions and move my toes as much as possible. He said I was very lucky and should have no problem recovering as long as I dont get an infection.

With 42 stitches an infection could happen, so I just have to be careful and keep it clean and dry. He didn't see any reason why I couldn't go to Mexico as planned, so that made me feel better too, because I am still excited although I know this is changing my plans some in terms of mobility. Hopefully I can be in a walking type cast in not too long and be stronger and better on crutches than I am now.

It is exhausting just going to the bathroom!:) I took my first shower Thursday night and i thought I would fall down so many times. I was really tired and my foot hurt by the time I was finished. I am already dreading taking another one!

So please keep me in your prayers--that I will be infection free, heal quickly, and that whatever happens with Mexico I will find contentment in that.

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord that no nerves or tendons were severed in that area where so many are present, that no others were hurt, and that He has protected me so greatly.

If you want you can google my name : Julia Mittelberg with July 22, or Holden BEach, NC, or Shark attack and see what comes up---it's kind of a fun game:)

Also my TV interview (where I look tired and awful---but isn't that what shark attack survivors are supposed to look like?) is on www.wwaytv3.com (search for Holden Beach)

I'll try to keep this updated as much as possible with my progress!:)

12 July 2009

miracles miracles

I have been reading through Matthew for the last few weeks. Although the parables and most of it is really familiar to me, there have been some things that either I’ve forgotten or just never “hit me” before. That’s what I love about the Bible---it truly is the LIVING word. It can be read hundreds of times, but be so true for the current moment. I just love it---anyways on to what I started with.

As I’ve been reading I’ve keep seeing a theme of Jesus saying that people have seen miraculous things, but still don’t believe. There seem two extremes---those who have great faith and just believe and those who have seen others be healed from disease, set free from demons, and given sight when blind and still don’t believe.

It makes me think---which am I? What kind of faith do I have? To have faith without seeing is so hard---I know sometimes when I hear stories of God’s miraculous provision of money or His healing power I feel a little jealous that they have had that tangible experience and encouragement, BUT then again I’m almost glad I haven’t had dramatic experiences like that---it’s hard to explain, but I would fear that I would grow into someone who’s faith is conditional on circumstances or something---like I would get wrongly angry when something doesn’t work out how I think or prayed it should.

I love my Jesus and am thankful for the provision and protection, guidance and assurance the Lord has blessed me with. I believe in His power and miracles even though I’ve never seen it with my own two eyes-other than my own salvation. May that miracle—that I have been saved and given LIFE be the miracle that I proclaim to the world.

As I have been reading I just keep praying for those I know that they will be people who hear and believe, or see and believe.

Not everything in life needs to be seen and proven-----have FAITH.

I guess to sum up—I don’t need to see healings and signs and wonders to believe, I just need to look at myself—I am a LIVING MIRACLE.

I encourage you to read the Word today (start with John or Matthew)---look for the miraculous in the miracles of Jesus, and also the miraculous in the faith of those who believe and follow.