Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

This has been a doozy of a year! Heck, it's been a heck of a couple years! However, I'm going to take a lesson from my friend, Molly, from, I'm going to be THANKFUL for my past year. All of us could spend a long time (some longer than others) cataloging our problems from this year: the economy, various aches & pains, natural disasters, etc. However, all that would do is depress us. It's just not healthy or productive. Instead, let's focus on the positive aspects. I don't mean to sound trite, but I'm thankful just to be alive and with my family.

There have been many roadblocks, but I know my road is the one God has asked me to drive. God gifted me with a wonderful man to drive this road with. God has entrusted us with two beautiful children. He also gave us four saint babies to watch over us. He's also given us an amazing support system including our extended families and you our Internet friends!

Even the struggles we've faced have been opportunities. They are opportunities to become better. They are opportunities to show God's graces. We can be like Mary (this IS still the Christmas season) and not only say "yes" to God when He gives us a challenge, but also pondering everything and giving back to God what is His: everything!!! God bless & Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

God bless you! May Mary, the Mother of God, hold your hand through your trials... I always think of her at 9 months pregnant riding a donkey cross-country and then being forced to give birth in a stable without her womenfolk to support her. In those times I think typically a woman would be surrounded by her kinswomen, a learned woman (doula or midwife), and fellow villager women. However, Mary gave all that up because of the emperor's census. She travelled with Joseph on a donkey -- they were probably very fortunate to have one -- across country. It must have been a terrible and terrifying time, but she knew the Savior was going to be the result.

Two months ago I was in Houston preparing for major surgery.I was in a lot of pain and very anxious for the pain and surgery to be over. The surgery was relatively quick, but the pain (mostly from the surgery) is a continuing trial. The severe pain issues from before the surgery have dissipated for the most part. My collarbones don't feel like they're being pulled down my chest unless I over-use them. My arms are weak, but the nerves are stretching and hopefully healing properly. Physical therapy has carried me a l-o-n-g way towards recovery. I will never be as I was, but with this physical therapy I am doing so much better. In a little less than 6 weeks I've gone from being unable to lay flat (on my back, no attempts on my stomach) to being able to lay on my stomach while raising my upper body by my arms. That is a HUGE difference.

That's not to say that PT is all rainbows and unicorns... Some of the exercises and manipulations are terribly painful. I've got scar tissue/adhesions between the muscles and skin that constantly work against standing up straight. On area on my left is so painful that it feels a bit like when my appendix was inflamed. In order to eliminate the adhesion I have to press on it where it hurts the most and hold pressure on it for 90 seconds. That is the longest 90 seconds I've encountered for a long time! Thursday at PT Simon got to help by doing the pushing on my sore spot. He thought it was great and funny, I thought it was typical and torture!

May this procedure (surgery and PT) be my savior from my problems!

I also want to say Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my journey. I've been trying to send Christmas cards to those who send me notes, cards, or contributions, but I am a failure at correspondence. Believe me, I am so grateful for every little thing that everyone has done for me that I'd love to write notes to each and every one of you. The sad fact is that I don't because I get caught up in everything else going on: Christmas, kids, house, work, etc. It's no excuse really, but , that's what it is. I apologize if I've left you out... I plan on trying to write more cards before the New Year. God bless you all and Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weird things to wear me out...

I've become a master at identifying too late things that are quite difficult for me to perform. It's not that I'm stupid (I don't think anyway). It's just that I either don't fully consider the full implications of my activity or I'm just not in nearly as good shape as I thought. After all, it's been over 2 years since my chest and arms were as God made them. It's also only been 7 weeks since I had major surgery that even caused me to lose enough blood for an OR transfusion.

This weekend I chose to do some Christmas baking with the kids. I got them situated, all the ingredients out, as well as my various measuring devices and mixing bowls. I measured everything (like a good sous chef) so the kids could "help". The first step of my cocoa chocolate chip cookies was creaming the butter and sugar together. Well before the mixture was creamed, my arms gave out. Of course at that point I'd already begun, so there really wasn't much point or chance to stop. Oh, just as an FYI I *was* using my hand-held electric mixer, not hand mixing.

Another task I performed weeks ago even made my physical therapist look askance as me. I was doing my "homework" from her (stretches and such) with the kids. That lead to a game of "Mama Says". In the course of the game it is usually necessary for me to demonstrate a couple requests. It's also quite likely for the kids to ask me to join in the activities. So, about 4 weeks after surgery, I thoughtlessly did a somersault. The excruciating pain was immediate. Actually, I wasn't even halfway through the somersault before I knew it was a bad idea. My father-in-law kind of laughed at me. The kids thought it was awesome for me to join them. (shrug)

I do similar things all the time. It never fails that when I'm under restrictions something heavy needs to be lifted, I have time to re-organize a closet, kids misbehave, etc. I am a do-er not a supervisor, so I leap into the fray before giving a thought to my own capabilities or the full range of consequences possible with a given action. You'd think after 2 years I'd have figured it out, so perhaps I am a bit on the stupid side... However, I prefer to think of myself as overly optimistic and involved. ;-)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Get back to work!

Well, my 6 week recovery period is over... I'm so anxious about my first day back at work that I feel like I'm going to hurl... I was awake (still/again) at 430 this morning since I couldn't sleep. :-/ it doesn't help that my arms and abdomen are still sore enough that Nor does it help that my abdomen still swells when I wear real pants -- pants cause some pain too. I'm going to be continuing physical therapy twice a week too. I'm hoping and praying for the best, but kind of expecting the worst. However, the sunrise is beautiful with the glorious colors reflecting on the clouds. Even the frost is beautiful once I melted it off my Jeep. This is a day the Lord has made; I will do my best to rejoice in the small things and be glad to be alive!

My Chemo-Jane hair-style

My Chemo-Jane hair-style
I just had to have my mom buzz my hair because it was falling out so badly.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.
My loving husband is watching me distract myself with a game on his iPhone.

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs
I even have a fashionable belt to hold up my drains.

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE
The smile is fake because the TEs were irritating!