the full story
If I had to give it my best guess, since you stumbled across my beloved "about me" page, you probably want to know more about who I am, what I do, and why I'm here. Before we get too in depth though, I just wanted to take some time to personally thank you for taking the time to come across my site. Fifty Shades of Faith has became like my own little passion project, and if I can reach more people's hearts with the posts that I craft together, then I know I am doing the right thing.
To get along with this page though, I guess I should start by introducing myself. Below you will find more information about me and my website, as well as my mission and some background on my story.
My name is Taylor Vanatter, and I am currently 18 years old. I come from the small town of Iowa Falls, Iowa, and I grew up there with my mom and dad, my older brother, my younger sister, and our little pup named Koda. I was the middle child in the family, and more times than not, I suffered from the dreaded "middle child syndrome." I was always getting picked on by my older brother, Chaz, and always getting in cat fights with my younger sister, Kylie. We all had pretty close bonds with one another, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
As the years went on though, my family has changed drastically. Due to personal circumstances, during my junior year of high school, my parents divorced and my dad moved out. It was what was best for the family, but as you can probably imagine, that was a major adjustment for my siblings and I. Divorce is always a hard pill to swallow, but like most things, as time went on, things got easier.
During this time, new people were also introduced into my life! My dad fell in love with his beautiful girlfriend, Mindy, and soon enough, their future started to form together. By the summer of 2019, Mindy and my dad moved into a gorgeous house together in Eldora, Iowa, and their dream life started becoming reality. Mindy's kids also moved along with her, and through quality family time and bonding, I developed everlasting relationships with them. 3 more siblings were added to the family: Mason, Mead, and Molly.
On the contrary, my mom continued to reside in Iowa Falls, and worked on fixing up her grandmother's old house. She planned to move into the family home once our current house sold, and during this time, we also adopted 2 new members into the family. These members were full of sass, attitude, spunk, and energy, and they won our hearts over from the very beginning. Their high pitched meows, their scratchy licks, and their tiny paws have left prints all over our lives, and we were so happy to welcome our fur balls into the family: Twix and Oreo.
Even though the above summary of my background may seem pretty "normal," that doesn't even come close to painting the whole picture. My life has included a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns, and sudden drops and stops. You see, the whole reason why I have this platform, is because God placed an extremely devastating trial in my young life. He dropped it so suddenly and abruptly, that it brought me straight down to my knees.
I went from being an avid 4-sport athlete, to a girl who spent multiple months in the hospital.
I went from running and training every single day, to not being able to walk for over a year.
I went from never having any medical problems or injuries, to requiring over 20 surgeries in a 2 1/2 year span.
I went from being a normal teenage girl, to having to grow up faster than I ever thought possible.
Although the bullet points above portray a relatively broad spectrum, it uncovers the obvious idea that I have not had the easiest life. I have been dealt a pretty rough hand, but even though it has tested and challenged me, I have learned to find the silver lining in every circumstance.
To say the least, my story is a long and complicated one, but I will do my best to summarize it as short as possible. So here goes nothing...
All throughout my childhood, I liked to stay as active and busy as possible. I started competing in athletics at the mere age of 4, and as I got older and older, my love for sports grew. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was not only a 4-sport athlete, but I was a 4-sport varsity athlete. I worked hard in all I did, and as the seasons of athletics went on, my hard work started to pay off.
During my sophomore season of basketball, I performed very well, and was an All-Conference selection. I led my team in points, rebounds, and field-goal percentage, and I was 2nd in steals and blocks. Although I was a very successful player, all that mattered to me was having fun. I absolutely loved basketball.
Fast forward to soccer season though, I started out with a stellar performance as well. I ran the field like it was my job, I kicked the ball like it was one of my opponent's face, and I passed the ball like a well-oiled machine. As my coach always stated, "I was every coach's dream."
The month of May rolled around, and little did I know, this month was about to change my life forever... On May 11th, 2017, during a soccer match against Clear Lake, I broke my left leg in 3 different places. I was rushed by ambulance to the Mason City hospital, and in 4 short days, I had to have surgery to set the break.
Although it was a very unfortunate accident, I worked really hard to recover from that injury. My hard work ended up paying off, and I was back in time to start my junior season of basketball. It felt so good to get back into the groove of things, but when I was competing and running on my knee, something just didn't feel right.
I had a sharp pain in my joint, and deep down, I knew something was wrong. After sitting out a few basketball games and practices, soccer season soon came around. I started off the season strong, but then the same sharp, annoying, and stabbing pain returned. I finally got tired of hurting all of the time, so we went back to my surgeon in Mason City to get it checked out. To my dismay, the hardware in my knee had shifted and it needed to be removed as soon as possible. A hardware removal surgery was scheduled for May 23rd, 2018.
Given this news, the procedure was just supposed to be a simple surgery, but the hardware removal did not go as planned at all. Many complications happened, and a couple days after my surgery on May 25th, my surgical wound opened up and dehisced. After calling my surgeon’s clinic multiple times and being turned
away, we decided to take matters in our own hands and get an appointment with my primary care provider in Iowa Falls. It turned out my surgical wound was severely infected, and I had to go back for yet another surgery in Mason City.. Only to then find out, that surgery caused even more complications, and my knee had never been so bad before.
Within 3 days after my surgery on June 6th, my body had became overwhelmed with infection, and I went into septic shock. I was rushed to the Iowa Falls emergency room, and given my condition there, I was transported immediately to Iowa City. It was there that they assessed my knee, my infection levels, and my vital signs. and deemed I was in need of an emergency surgery.
In surgery they found 17 colonies of infection bugs in my knee, muscle, bone, blood, tissue, and joint. To just give you guys an idea of how critical my condition was, and honestly how lucky I am to still be here today, there’s an infection marker called your CRP - and your CRP levels go on a scale from 0-40, with 0-0.5 being the normal range, and 25 being the deadly level - and my CRP was sitting level at 34.
Having said that, I was in need of many extensive emergency surgeries. But even after they tried everything in the medical books, nothing seemed to be working. My infection just kept coming back in full swing, which caused my doctors to become stressed, my nurses confused, and I was miserable.
In total, as of 7/22/2019, I have been admitted as an inpatient at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital for 124 days. I have had 25 total surgeries on my knee/leg, and some of those include irrigation and debridements, arthroscopy, abscess draining, medical gastroc muscle flap, skin grafts, external fixator placement, wound vac placements, antibiotic cement bead placement, antibiotic cement spacer placement, antibiotic cement rods and joint placement, and total leg arthroplasty.
If that's not enough of a headache, I have also had countless other procedures performed on my body. I have had 8 different PICC lines placed, several knee aspirations, different sources of imaging, countless labs drawn, and unexpected allergies pop up. I have completed several rounds of IV antibiotics, done home infusions for months on end, been accidentally overdosed 4 times, and have gone through hell and back with a smile.
Although there are many more details to my story, it would literally take all day to explain them. Since you and I both don't have that kind of time, instead I will list different blog posts below to visit if you want more details. I have written about pretty much anything and everything, so feel free and take a look around!
The Upbringing: What my life was like before everything
I Got Screwed: My original admission at the UISFCH
About the Author: More about me as a person
The Inside Scoop: Relationships made while in the hospital
Dreaded Readmission: When my infection came back and I was readmitted
Inside my Head: My mental battles
The Jesus Burn: A church conference and Jesus's presence
Year in Review: A summary of my full year of 2018 in one blog post
Life Beyond the Cover: The trials I faced as a little girl with an eating disorder
Face to Face with Jesus: More about the night I was overdosed and my experience