My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

ten days, still in a haze

I feel worse today than I did on the first day. Every trip to the potty is a new level of hell. I'm shaky, my heart is racing and I'm regretting this in a big way. I know it needed to be done. It wasn't "elective" surgery by any stretch. It was, "take care of it in a planned way or end up in the ER with a thrombosed situation". This was better. It just... ugh. It just hurts so bad.

I'm scared that I won't be ready to go back to work on Tuesday. My job security is definitely a concern. I did get permission to have this surgery and explained that it was a 2-3 week recovery. But while I've been out I've been "demoted" in a sense - moved to the back office. It makes me feel like i need to get back as quick as I can and be one hundred percent when I get there. Which makes me really emotional, unfortunately. I've spent all of the past year held hostage in a body that doesn't work like I need it to and it's made me the lowest man on the totem pole in our office, despite my longevity with our company.

I can only play the cards I've been dealt. I didn't ask for any of these current afflictions... but that is the lot that God has given me. And I trust God, that everything works together for good for those who love Him (and I do) and are called according to His purpose. Right now my job is to heal physically. Emotionally my job is to not worry about the labels that man gives me but to trust the labels that God has given me. He knows the depths of my heart, He knows that my intentions are pure. I've been the low man on the totem pole before and it doesn't change who I am in His eyes.

There are a lot of people who rate their success on the dollar amount on their paycheck or the job title behind their name or the house they live in or the spouse on their arm. My success is based on who I am in His Kingdom and how well I am living up to His purpose for me. I know that if I seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness first, that everything else will be added to me. I've focused too much on my pain in the past year and haven't focused enough on His purpose. I have to recognize the treasures that come from my pain, the relationships that are strengthened and healed because of it... the compassion I have that I've never had before.

I love this picture of Jamie, Austin and Sarabeth - it shows how much they  adore him.. and how many teenage boys will allow their little cousins to cuddle up to them? 
I can't believe that it's already New Year's Eve. I can't believe that another year has flown by. I started this little blog seven years ago... right after my Jamie girl was born on the 29th... I never could have imagined what an impact this blog would have on my life, the people it would bring into my life - the blessings that God has brought into my life through this blog. And Jamie... to see her is to recognize unfiltered joy... I can't imagine a child more loving, trusting, precious... she is my heart. We had no idea at the time what a blessing she would be.

Lord willing, in 2012, Austin will graduate from high school. Lord willing, I will put more effort into the only label that really matters, being "His child". Whatever happens, wherever life takes me, I know there is a purpose. Every pain filled moment, every crisis, every disappointment has a purpose. It's my job to learn His voice so that I know which way He is directing me. I trust God with all my heart and all my life. Even with this broken down, pain filled body. It is His.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

day 8, not feeling so great...

I'm in a terrible amount of pain today. I can't get comfortable. I'm sitting on ice right now but I've gotta tell ya... I thought that by this point I would be much better than I am now.

I've got some things weighing heavy on my heart. I can't really share in this format but if you pray, please pray for God's blessings on us. I know He has a plan and I never doubt Him. It's just a matter of getting from the seen to the unseen. I am anticipating some big changes in my life for 2012 and I will need much spiritual fortitude to stay strong during those changes... one of them being, of course, Austin graduating from high school.

Yesterday was a good day... I had more visitors in the nest. Ryan stopped by to see me before he headed back to Pennsylvania and realized he had a serious oil leak. He called Uncle Bubba (my brother Jim) to ask who they use for car repairs... Bubba referred him to ARI in Cleveland... Ryan called AAA and got his car towed... they checked things out, fixed the problem and got him back on the road for only $53. Huge blessing!

And while he was at our place waiting for the car to be repaired, Joshy came by to pick up his drivers license (he had left it with Ryan - I'm not sure why) so Ryan and Joshy took Austin out for lunch/dinner. Austin's been so great to me during this whole ordeal. It was a real treat for him to get to spend time with his older brothers.

I've had a really hard time eating. Yesterday I had a baked sweet potato and some pretzels and that's about it. Ryan brought me back a burrito from their lunch yesterday but it was too spicy.

Austin hung out for awhile in my room with me... we watched the Price is Right. I guess he had never seen it before because he thought it was entirely entertaining. I like finding the old vintage game shows from the 70's on the game show network. Everything from the hairstyles to the clothing to the prices on things... really fun.

I'm reading Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly - it was a Christmas gift. I also got a really cool food processor which Austin used to make very decent salsa yesterday - or the day before - I can't remember. It needed lime juice but we didn't have any. He didn't have a recipe... just figured out what is in salsa and put that together.

I'm still oozing from the holes where the pain pump went in... they don't look infected and don't hurt much... just... draining.

Trouble the cat has been my constant companion - except when people are around, then he gets sort of skittish. Stubby is the opposite - he's basically a piece of furniture until people come around and then he starts the "poor, disabled kitty" routine. Stubbs wouldn't leave Joshy alone yesterday. Josh was always good to the poor disabled kitty and I'm sure Stubby remembers that. Trouble literally stays glued to me... when I'm laying down, he's either beside me on the pillow or actually sleeping on top of me.

I'm going to take the Christmas specific ornaments off of my pink and purple trees and decorate them for winter/Valentine's. I love all my lights in my room.

It's very cold out. Well, cold for us. Not that it matters. It's a constant 62 degrees in the nest.

So... that's what's happening around here. Hope you're all safe, warm, happy and enjoying these last few days of 2011! Love and hugs!




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whiny Wednesday ( I think... I've lost track)

I haven't been a faithful blogger this week. I was trying to spare you the moaning, groaning, belly-aching and misery. I've really just pulled all my pain inside and have just been trying to do the best I can to get ready to get back to work as soon as I can. It's not been pretty! Nor have I been pretty... I'm not sure I even combed my hair yesterday. I did change my drawers because the site where the pain pump goes in has been oozing icky slime for the past two days. The surgeon says this is normal. Excessive bodily fluids are not normal. He also said if there was infection the broad spectrum antibiotic he gave me during and after surgery would take care of things. It's next to impossible to pee so I get up a half dozen times to try before it works. Every time I poo I have to immediately get into the tub to make sure everything gets cleaned up ... there are so many little surgical sites that I want to make sure we get all the nooks and crannies cleaned up. So afraid of infection.

And in between... I sleep... I play a few games (but not many because I can't find a comfy position to use my laptop).. but sleep helps better than anything. They called in a prescription for ultram for me because I was running out of demerol and none of the Physicians Assistant's on call can prescribe whatever class of medication that is in . I'm just basically having to tough it out so I use sleep as a barrier to pain.

I wish my mama was still up here. She did such a good job of taking care of things. I really could rest and not worry about Austin doing something stupid - like leaving the door open where the cats can get out. I didn't have to talk to anyone. She kept my place clean and quiet and I could just rest. It was the best time I've had with my mom in a long time. I'm grateful she was able to come and stay and grateful that she was willing. She never complained. Jim and Angie and the girls came over yesterday and when I told him how much help mama was, he said, "I can go get her if you want me to.... "

Jim and Angie brought the girls in for us to exchange gifts and it was so much fun. I love how my family has brought Christmas to me, where I am, in my nest. I think that's a great example of the love that surrounds me. I'm blessed.

And then my sweet friend Pam went out and picked up a few odds and ends that we had run out of - things like trash bags- and picked up a prescription for me.

I haven't left the house in a week but I haven't been alone... and I think that's really awesome.

Ok... new pain meds kicking in... I've lost my train of thought... I pray that wherever you are, whatever you're facing, that you're not alone. *hugs*

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in the nest

my cuddle bugs....


 dat pweshus wittle face


These poor fellas may be having Christmas dinner with you... 


 more pictures of my cats... have to continue


the Crazy Cat Lady persona  





not my best parenting moment but it was funny 





since I'm basically a shut-in for the next two weeks, my family came to me 


my loves!  those three dresses hanging behind them on my shelf are dresses that I wore when I was little. The first one I wore when I was probably under age one... the pink one I wore to Jim's kindergarten graduation, the white one I wore to my own kindergarten graduation. 
this is a "you'll shoot your eye out"  moment. 


a wise, older lady in my church once told me that
mothers of sons get their daughters when their sons
get married. I can't imagine a sweeter girl for my Cody or a sweeter daughter for me!

same smirk, same glasses on the head... they should have been twins.






We had a good time and being with my family has really been a blessing to me.
I'm sticking close to the nest again today. The site where the pain pumps went into my skin is red, swollen  and painful. I'm going to do as little as possible today and see if there's anything left from the plate that mom fixed for me at my brother's Christmas gathering.

Praying for you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas are differing for me this year...

It's been a rough week of liquid dieting, medical proceduring, surgery and recovering... my Christmas looks very different this year.I couldn't have done it alone. So I present for you.. the Twelve Days of Hemorrhoid Surgery.

On the first day of Hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: a liquid diet with mostly jello to eat.
On the second day of Hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: one colon prep kit
On the third day of Hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: a night on the toilet
On the fourth day of Hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: much apprehension
On the fifth day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: ONE COLONOSCOPY
On the sixth day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: back to liquid diet
On the seventh day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent me: NPO* after midnight
On the eighth of of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: my mom to take care of me
On the ninth day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: a nurse who messed up my IV
On the tenth day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: a hemorrhoidectomy
On the eleventh day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: news that everything was ok
On the twelfth day of hemorrhoid surgery my doctors sent to me: a painful recovery

*nothing per oral - it means nothing to eat or drink


Today the pain pump comes out so it may be a struggle. My mom is heading home today. I wouldn't have made it through these first few days with just Austin to help. It's been nice to spend time with my mom without any distractions. I have also loved having her dog, Purple Oscar here to curl up with - wish we could have a dog but our schedules wouldn't allow for it. I'm really nauseous and dizzy today and the pain is much more intense... but I'm hanging in there. The pain really peaks in the last hour before I can take my next pill. At that point all I can do just try to stay distracted or lay down and take deep breaths.

Anyways... there are people all over the world who are struggling with bigger pains and bigger problems than I will ever face. This is just a season of life - recovery - and I have been surrounded with love and compassion and encouragement. I pray that whatever you're facing, that you feel those same blessings.

Coffee is ready... love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

friday update. I think it's friday. I've lost track...

I'm not feeling so hot today. Seriously... I have barely been out of bed. The worst part so far has been the places where they had tubes in me during surgery... my throat is raw and I can tell exactly where that stupid catheter went. I've got cotton mouth from the meds and I am congested.

So that's all the news from the nest. Ha!

Not really. There's more. My mom bought a really cool purple tree and decorated it. Trouble the cat seems to have a little more respect for the bigger tree than he did for the little pink tree. He hasn't attempted to knock this one down. We have pictures but I haven't uploaded them yet because I've been mostly in bed.

If a doctor tells you that the surgery you're about to have is "the most painful surgery we do"... take him seriously. There was no exaggeration in that statement. Even with the pain pump delivering constant local anesthesia... and the demerol... I'm still feeling a good deal of pain. You should see how pitiful I am with all the tubing from the pain pump taped all around my body and the little bowl of medicine in a little pouch hanging off my neck. Sad day.

I haven't really regained my appetite which is probably a good thing, right? Last night we had chicken enchiladas from the little bakery in town. They have these pre-packaged meals that are made by the sweet ladies that work there... it's like stuff you would take to a potluck dinner. The meals are not as cheap as what you could get in the grocery store but they're much better tasting and cheaper than what it would cost me to buy the ingredients and cook them. Not to mention that I can't really do much of  anything at the moment. It's also cheaper than getting take out food. If you're local-  near me-you'll have to try them out. 

I can't believe that Christmas is only two days away. The present that I was most excited about for my daughter in law hasn't come yet. I ordered it from Kohl's online. I'm fairly bummed about that.

My mom and Austin have been really good about taking care of me. I'm uncomfortable but they're doing everything they can to make me comfortable. It's just going to take time, I guess. They say that the third day is always the worst. I'm sore like I've been in a car wreck.

Sorry for whining so much when it's not even Wednesday. Using the year end to fix your rear end is no fun at all. Keep me in your prayers.

Also, keep sweet Linda's daughter Mandy in your prayers. Mandy had a procedure done and ended up with sepsis. She's in critical condition... young lady, in her twenties... and very, very sick. My heart is so heavy for their family.

I have two little bouquets of flowers in little teacups on saucers. Really precious. Can you tell that the demerol is making me a little a.d.d.?

That's all for now. Love and hugs, y'all. 




















Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm not really completely lucid yet and I don't imagine I will be for the next few days... so keep in mind that I am blogging under the influence...
I get more pain meds in about ten minutes.
The pain isn't too horrible right now, even as the meds have mostly worn off. Having the continuous local anesthesia has helped, I'm sure, although the needles for it have been really painful.
Surgery went well. I will have to have some additional surgery in a few years... but I'm good for now.
Think I'll go back to sleep now.
Love and hugs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Whiniest of Wednesday is yet to come...

It's the whiniest of Wednesday around here! It's my surgery day and I am... at peace but apprehensive, if that makes sense.

Yesterday went fine. Everyone says the prep is the worst part of a colonoscopy and that is true... I wasn't a fan of the IV either... but other than that, no big deal. When I got to registration the man at the sign in desk noted that Dr. Lewis was doing my surgery... he said, "he's a fine, Christian man... he's my surgeon too"... and I thanked him for sharing that... "that's comforting to know, thank you for telling me that"... seriously... knowing that the person who is in charge of my care prays the same way I do... well, that's a good thing.

I had a long wait in preop...it was a little over an hour... I tried to nap but there was a lot of commotion over a guy who had a surgery scheduled and the equipment had not arrived. Apparently our hospital doesn't own the equipment for some procedures and only has it on site certain days of the week. Who knew? The person who scheduled this poor guy's surgery didn't schedule the equipment. So there was much drama and many people coming back and forth and (loudly) discussing the options. I was worried for a brief moment that his equipment was also my equipment but quickly surmised that was not the case. After that I just laid there eavesdropping.

Finally they came and took me back. The procedure itself... turn on your left side... covered with nice warm blankets... put on oxygen mask... make sure blood pressure cuff is positioned correctly... make sure heart monitor leads are not constricted... everyone makes introductions, a little pleasant small talk... the anesthesiologist says, "I'm going to put something in your IV, it works quickly" and... wake up in recovery. It was that simple. Dr. Lewis came by and said everything was fine, no polyps, no gnarly growths or anything to worry about... just hemorrhoids. The nurse comes in and tells me I need to pass gas before I can leave... she sends Bubba out of the room so I will fart... she says, "you grew up together, didn't you pass gas in front of each other?"... Not intentionally. I mean... my boys would fart out songs to each other... they would light their farts... there was no holds barred... but my immediate family was slightly less gauche. So I pass my gas, get my apple juice, get my clothes on and go home. No big deal. I wasn't even loopy.

I'm on the third day of my liquid diet. I am not loving it but I'm not really suffering. I had a little mango ice yesterday... a cup of coffee or two (black)... a good bit of apple juice and I went to sleep before 8. I woke up at 12:23 am and panicked because I wasn't supposed to have anything to eat or drink past midnight. I decided that it wasn't a big deal if I had something to drink so soon after midnight, took a big swallow of juice and poured the rest of my glass out so I didn't accidentally drink anything if I was groggy during the night.

I feel like this is such a boring entry! I'm just really distracted by my anxiety. I'm not in a cold panic or anything. I'm just apprehensive about the pain and recovery. I'm trying to sort of equate it with childbirth recovery since there are a lot of the same kind of pains... but I'll be minus the cramps, the engorgement and having to care for an infant... so this should be easier, right? I'm just ready to get this over with.

So that's my Whiny Wednesday...
Nothing to eat or drink until after surgery...
Having to get another IV...
Worrying about the pain and recovery...
And... that's it.

I'll update whenever I am lucid enough. Thanks in advance for your prayers and good wishes!
Love and hugs!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Newsday Tuesday - warning, I will discuss things that might not go well with breakfast...

My Christmas to-do list is very different this year. Instead of "make sausage balls" and "mail Christmas cards"... it includes things like "bowel prep" and "colonoscopy" and "hemorrhoid surgery". Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, indeed.

If I had to list my fears over the next two weeks they would look like this:
1. survive three days on a liquid diet
2. have the "intestinal fortitude" to drink all the colonoscopy prep stuff
3. survive colon cleansing with hemorrhoids
4. get through two mornings in a row of nothing by mouth (including coffee) (especially coffee) until time for my procedures - I won't leave the house to go to the mailbox without a drink. I drink constantly.
5. survive colonoscopy with hemorrhoids
6. survive hemorrhoid surgery
7. survive two weeks at home with a teenager on Christmas break
8. be well enough to return to work after two weeks
9. not run out of money during the time I'm out of work
10. have a good outcome

I just realized that nowhere on that list did I put "deal with the pain". I keep googling "hemorrhoidectomy recovery" and reading the horror stories. I think living with the amount of pain I've had every single day for the past year has changed my tolerance to pain. When you continue to survive the things you think are impossible to survive... you develop a pragmatism about it. I hope I don't hurt. I imagine I will. The difference is that at least I will have pain medication... instead of having doctors shake their heads and prescribe things that make me fatter but don't make me better... this surgeon is like... this will hurt and we will help with that.

I remembered to turn my alarm off last night. The alarm NEVER wakes me up, I'm always up at least an hour before it goes off. I thought... I'll be wide awake by the time I have to leave for either procedure today or tomorrow... and the next two weeks after that neither Austin and I have a reason to get out of bed. I mean... we don't have obligations. This is the first time in as long as I can remember that I've had that luxury. Any time I've not had a job I've had the need to actively search for one. When I was a stay at home mom I was a mom with three little kids and a house to keep and much to do, every day. I've never really had a vacation... and even the short trips I've taken over the last decade or so had an agenda. I was where I was for a reason and couldn't really just relax. I will not fret about anything until January 3rd. I have never been in that position. As much as I'm dreading the pain, I'm embracing the break from our busy life.

As I was saying, I remembered to turn off the alarm but Trouble the Cat has an alarm that won't quit. He started in on me at 4am... patting my cheeks, touching my eyelids, licking me... argh. I changed positions. I covered up my face. He actually took his two front paws and pulled my hand over his head so that he was making me pet him. He's going to be ... well, Trouble. He's so used to our schedule.

I made it through yesterday on my liquid diet. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be but... I made the mistake of watching a documentary on the Connecticut Hot Dog Tour. I don't even really like hotdogs but... oh... the soft bun and the chili and... man. I wanted a hot dog. My co-worker gave me a bag of homemade Christmas goodies and I didn't even peek inside. Thursday, maybe. I couldn't stomach the broth but the jello was awesome. I wanted to top it with cool whip but... it's ok. I made it through day one.

The colonoscopy prep was... ok... it wasn't as bad as I thought. You take this little pill and then wait until you go to the bathroom to start drinking the liquid. I took my little pill and FOUR HOURS LATER.. .at my usual bedtime... I was able to start drinking... everyone said the liquid was vile... I'm going to say that it was more like a salty, thick, orange gatorade. I had to drink 8 ounces every ten minutes until it was gone. I chugged my glass and then had several minutes to recover before I had to drink again. It went by faster than I thought and wasn't as bad as I thought. The results... not as painful as I had anticipated but I'm still doing what my dad refers to as "the green apple trot" this morning. The hardest part is that there is NO WARNING... by the time you realize you have to go... it's too late. I don't move fast. Good times.

My procedure today is scheduled at 11:30. Well. I have to be at the hospital at 11:30 which probably means my procedure is at 12:30. I figure an hour or less for the procedure... an hour of recovery... about 45 minutes drive home... I'll be settled back in the nest with a big bowl of jello by 3:30...

My belly is growling so loudly that it scares the cat.
So that's the news from the nest today... hope you all have a TERRIFIC Tuesday... thanks in advance for your prayers! I'll update whenever I'm lucid and able. Love and hugs!



Monday, December 19, 2011

Reasons to Love Monday - God is not dead, nor does He sleep

 It's a clear liquid diet for me today but fortunately, coffee is on the list of things I can have. And fortunately, my Guardian Angel, Tracey, sent me this awesome cinnamon coffee from Starbucks that is really very ok black. I would prefer to add that awesome amaretto creamer that I have in the fridge... but I'm going to stick to the plan today. I mean... anyone can survive three days on a liquid diet, right? It's not exactly what I want but it's ok.

This picture of the crazy man with the lumberjack beard and the sock monkey hat is my first born. Boo Boo will be in Atlanta this week... of course, I won't be traveling any further than my nest but I just KNOW he's gonna come see me. Right? Please? I won't have a lot of time with him but he'll get to bond with his brother and sister-in-law... he'll get to love on his grandparents. I'm just so proud of who he is that I'm very ok with the choices he makes and how he spends his time in Georgia.

The next picture is my niece Madeleine who is 4. My heart breaks every time I see a picture of her... those gorgeous big eyes... her long dark curly hair... she is one of us in a bigger way than any of us has been... I would love to take her to Babyland General and let her
see all the baby dolls... I would love to play the games with her that I play with Sarabeth and Jamie. I would love for all my girls, my precious nieces, including the big girls, Tiffany and Elizabeth... I would love for them to all be in one place at the same time. I have never met Madeleine. I've never been able to shower her with "surprises" like I have with Sarabeth and Jamie. I'm so in love with this little girl who I've never met. I wish she was a part of my life but I'm so delighted that she even exists. The world, my brother's world, without a doubt, is richer for having brought this little doll into the world.

I drove home yesterday in the bright sunshine thinking how blessed and how charmed my life is... I don't have everyone nearby that I wish was nearby... but I have so many people in my life who love me and share their lives and love with me, even if it is sometimes from a distance.

I'm facing a painful surgery - the words of the surgeon keep ringing in my head, "this is the most painful surgery we do" - but I'm not facing it alone. It's been a long time since I spent more than a few hours with my mother... and she's by no means the healthiest person in our family... but she's coming to stay with me for a few days to make sure I'm ok. To make sure that I don't have the kind of circumstances that I had with my last surgery where I was in too much pain to do anything for myself but there was no one to do anything for me. I can relax, rest, heal.

My bills are paid. My pantry is stocked. My house is cleaner than usual, even though it's not exactly *company clean*. I'm ok with that. I've bought gifts for everyone that I could. Not as much as I wish I could do but there's something for my closest family members. My niece Tiffany is looking forward to celebrating Christmas after many years of not celebrating for religious reasons. Her little boy, Ethan, (who is also has a piece of my heart) can anticipate Santa Claus coming... and she's having another little boy in about twenty more weeks! Our family keeps growing. We are so blessed. I am so blessed.

My reasons to love Monday are different this week because... it's not my usual perspective of looking out over five days ahead where I will be in pain and suffering at my desk, trying to be cheerful and kind to everyone who crosses my path while still being effective and productive, despite the pain. This Monday I'm facing a few days ahead with pain and suffering but... where I am supported medically with appropriate pain relief, where I am supported emotionally and physically by my brother, sister-in-law, mother and son. I am not alone. My greatest fear, the thing that brings me to tears quicker than anything is the feeling of being alone. I am not alone.

The song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" has sort of been my earworm over the weekend... mainly for the line "God is not dead, nor does He sleep"... and for me, in a year where I have faced a lot of trials and frustrations... and even once felt that God had turned His back on me... that line reminds me that there is so much more going on in my life than what I can see... in this world we will have trouble but He has overcome the world... and so, in that, I love Monday because I know that I am safely in His arms.

Love and hugs...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

sunday catch up

I think I should have a tshirt made that says, "I survived 48 hours without internet"... but it sure wasn't easy. Even though I was at my office Christmas party Thursday night and got much accomplished Friday evening and Saturday morning... Austin can tell you how sad it was to see me sitting here playing free-cell on my internet-less computer. I'm an addict. There's no way around it.

I think I'm ready for my week of medical madness ahead. I got all the laundry put away... made a massive grocery run... cleaned out the fridge... got all the presents wrapped and grouped by family... changed the sheets on my bed... I even have a cache of canned vanilla cokes and cat litter in my trunk to take care of the needs of my boy and my furboys.

This afternoon I have to make up some jello... I was going to use the pre-made, single serve kind while I'm on my liquid diet but our store only had variations of red: cherry, strawberry, raspberry. I had to buy the old fashioned jello powder - apricot, orange, peach. I was also surprised at the limitations of popsicles (which I keep spelling "pop-sick-els", a fraudian spelling, I think)... I ended up buying mango italian ice. I couldn't have anything on the cherry/strawberry spectrum and I couldn't have anything with specks of real fruit. EVERYTHING in the popsicle aisle was either geared toward kids (i.e. red) or high end (with fruit) I bought tons of apple / white grape / white cranberry juice. That will be a treat because I rarely drink juice... too high calorie.  And I have fat free chicken or beef broth. Woohoo.

I'm on the liquid diet all day tomorrow... nothing by mouth after midnight tomorrow night for the colonscopy on Tuesday at 11:30... which seems kind of extreme because if you have the first appointment you have the same "nothing by mouth" cut off. I just had the misfortune of scheduling late and having a midday appointment. At any rate... tomorrow I have the whole nasty prep to go through and I am dreading it in a huge way. Post colonoscopy I stay on the liquid diet for my surgery on Wednesday. Again, I drew the short straw because I can't have anything by mouth after midnight and my surgery isn't until 10:40. Post surgery I'm allowed to eat but then there's the whole fear of whatever goes in has to come out at some point so I won't exactly be having a steak. The last surgery I had (not counting my wisdom teeth removal) was June 2008 while I was in Jacksonville. I was basically abandoned the next day after surgery and didn't have the strength to fix anything for myself... I lived on graham crackers and apple juice that weekend. However... the graham crackers and apple juice were oddly comforting so I bought some for this week.

I've definitely pushed myself too much this weekend with all the laundry and the shopping and toting stuff and  so on but... I usually make myself rest up on the weekends so that I'm able to work the next week and I only have 6 hours to work this week, so I think I'll be ok. I figure... I'll be on enough *feel good* stuff this week that my back pain will be minimized. I was worried about the impact on my back during surgery but it's a face down hips supported kind of thing so it shouldn't cause any damage to my spine.

I am now on managed care through my health insurance. Basically... managed care is when you have a chronic illness... they have an RN available to help you make decisions regarding your care. The thought behind it is that if there is a medical professional guiding you there will be a more targeted care plan. I did the initial intake with her last week over the phone and when she saw the entire list of diagnosis' that I have she was shocked that I was still working. I'm glad I had the talk with my pain doctor last week about the incentives to continue to work and how few of his patients improve when they stop working. There is something about having a goal, something to focus on, that keeps people from giving up. I want to work. I just want it to not hurt. That's realistic, right?

Today... I have to run back into town to pick up prescriptions (including the wicked colonscopy prep stuff)... need to make my jello... and... I've got a special "last meal" planned... shrimp with cilantro lime rice. I'm undecided on whether I'll watch the Tom Brady vs. Tim Tebow matchup today. My blood pressure was high all last week - Friday it never got below 150/100 - I think it's been far lower this weekend because I've been super chilled with Austin out of town but... I take everything so personally when it comes to Timmy that I'm thinking I better wait until the last five minutes to watch lest I stroke out. It's much more enjoyable to watch the post game wrap up than to actually watch him play.

So that's the news here in the nest this weekend... hope all is well with all of you! Love and hugs!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday - peace on earth

Peace on Earth ... good will toward men...

It's Thankful Thursday. I have just two full days and one short day to work between now and the end of the year. I wish I didn't have to do what I have to do on my time off, but I'm thankful for the resources to take care of what needs taken care of....

Santa came early here! A good friend sent us a new pillow (can't have too many... got to cushion the tukas!) a new coffee maker and Starbucks coffee! That's the kind of gift that keeps on giving! I am so overwhelmed by the generosity that is shown to Austin and I that I don't even have words... it's an amazing, beautiful thing... and I don't feel worthy...

But I did realize yesterday that the very few people who treat me or Austin unkindly - and there are a few - are such a very tiny percentage of the people we come into contact with... for the most part, our lives are filled with kindness beyond what we deserve.

Interesting, isn't it, to realize that the kindness you show to someone might just be balancing some unkindness someone else has shown? Smiling... a kind word... generosity... simple things can totally change someone's day.

At least twice yesterday  I wished I had a big roll of hundred dollar bills to pass out to people who are going through hard times. It's always sad to me when people struggle to pay their bills - I have a lot of empathy because I've been there - I am there! It just seems like Christmas puts a big magnifying glass on our situations... if you're blessed, you feel those blessings more... the have nots feel an even greater void.

You really don't have to be rich to make a difference, though. I can't pay the bills for my clients who struggle but I can offer them a kind word of encouragement. I explain our billing system... let them know what the absolute latest day is that they can pay... offer the different ways to pay. And although, there are times that I feel humbled by doing a task in our agency that is typically performed by the employee with the least experience and training... without a doubt I know that God is using my talents and spiritual gifts to reach people in our community.

Sometimes we just have to get our pride out of the way for God to be able to use us as a blessing. Sometimes we just have to let go of the things/people that we think we want in our lives for God to be able to bless us.

I realized yesterday that even facing three (or more) days on a liquid diet, a colonoscopy and major surgery in the week before Christmas, thanks to an ex-husband who shall not be named, this still won't be my worst Christmas ever. Ha! In fact, this has been an incredibly peaceful holiday season for me and I am beyond thankful.

If I had continued to cling to that toxic relationship, if the series of disappointments had not happened, if I had not struggled to heal and overcome my heartbreak... I wouldn't know the kind of peace I know now.

The things I thought I wanted in my life were just things... marriage, financial security, companionship... the things I thought that relationship would bring... couldn't truly protect me from unhappiness, instead, they became the source of my unhappiness.

 Peace transcends... it's like air... it flows through you and from you and surrounds you and supports you. It allows you to rebound when you come across unkindness. It gives you a confidence that anything you face, regardless how unpleasant, can't steal your joy, can't change who you are. Peace is powerful.

Peace on Earth, good will toward men isn't just a holiday platitude. It's a year round attitude. When you have true peace, you can't help but have good will toward men... and even when someone is unkind to you, you feel a sense of compassion toward them that they have some spirit within them that is preventing them from experiencing what you have... what I have.

Even when you face pain or uncertainty... you can move forward knowing that God has gone ahead and made the road easier for you.

Even when you feel "less than" or a "have not"... you can know that you have everything you need. Peace is free. It's freeing.

Even when people treat you unkindly or you feel disrespected, you can still believe in who you are, peace confirms your identity and doesn't require validation from others.

Today, this Thankful Thursday, throughout this trying year, I am thankful for peace and I am thankful for the ones in my life who have brought peace into what could have been an unhappy time for us. Above everything, I wish you peace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm not whining TOO much this wednesday... just overwhelmed a bit

I have traveled many miles in the past 48 hours since I last wrote a real blog entry. I feel like I'm in sprint mode now, trying to get everything wrapped up so that I can face my two medical experiences next week with peace. Even though my mom will be here... I'm so used to being self-sufficient and independent, I feel like I have to have everything one hundred percent accomplished before I start drinking the colonoscopy "juice" on Monday. I have to:


  • buy Austin's snacks for his retreat this weekend
  • make sure he's packed appropriately
  • find out when/where I'm supposed to pick him up, which I'm fearful is going to coincide with the time that I'm chained to the potty doing my colon cleansing (lovely picture to paint at breakfast time, right?)
  • I have two more presents to buy
  • One present that hasn't made it here yet
  • All presents to wrap (which I honestly do love to do... I just haven't yet)
  • I have to figure out what I can "eat" on my clear liquid diet and stock the house
  • Have to make sure Austin has easy prep food to eat for Monday and Tuesday while I'm unable to eat
  • Have to make sure all bills that will come due between now and the first part of January are paid
  • I want to get all the piles of clean laundry that are in my room folded/hung/put away 
  • Have to call my landlady and let her know that my mom will be here with a dog and make sure that's ok (she's very sweet but does like to know what animals are here in our neighborhood)
  • Have to get all my new prescriptions filled, including my colon cleansing juice


And since we last left this story... I have had my pre-op visit with my surgeon, done the registration at the hospital, had Austin's "final" IEP meeting and visited the pain doctor for the last time this year. Here's a list of the info I've processed over the past two days:


  • One surgery might not fix things. It's possible that they will need to handle things in two different surgeries. There is a concern about scar tissue. Not happy about that.
  • Recovery should take about 4 weeks. I can return to work after two weeks but will likely not be able to work full days at that point.
  • My hospital and surgeon have been paid.
  • My blood pressure remains high. The bottom number is the bigger concern, it's always high. 
  • My heart rate is still too fast but the rhythm is normal. 
  • Both of these issues are being attributed to pain. 
  • We are still avoiding any narcotic pain medication for my back problem. There's one medication that helps that I only take at night due to the side effects - they've come out with a longer lasting version that may give me better daytime pain relief. I've been given samples of this to try while I am out recovering from the surgery. 
  • They called the medical supply company while I was at the office yesterday to see why they never got me the TENS unit - this is a medical device that transmits electronic impulses to the muscles to help with muscle spasms, a frequent problem I have. I could use this at work and not have "medicine head". 
  • They don't want to attempt any future injections for me. They're costly and don't help. 
  • It's believed that the largest contributor to my pain is the degenerative disc disease / osteoarthritis. This will continue to be a problem - or as Dr. Givogre said, "you will never have a spontaneous recovery from this condition". 
  • I have to admit that when he said that, I had visions of people at healing services tossing away their crutches. I believe that God can do anything, even heal a busted up spine. I also know that for some people, what seems to be a disability proves to give them special ABILITY...wisdom and compassion and life experiences they would never have had without it. 
  • My pain doctor (Dr. Givogre) is encouraging me to continue to work full time as long as I can. He said that *even though* many people go on disability and are able to collect disability with the type of problems I have... his patients on disability NEVER improve, the pain levels don't go down, and they always seem to age faster, and become depressed. He said work is a great distraction from pain. I was very encouraged by this. He also said he can prepare a report for my employer to explain my medical situation and why there are days that I absolutely just can't work... I think I'd like to have that, not that it's ever been requested but just in case.


Austin's IEP meeting went well. An IEP, for those who don't know, is an individualized education plan for a student with learning differences. He has almost always had one. His indicates certain accommodations that the school system is legally required to give him to allow him a "level playing field"  so to speak. His calls for things like not having to hand write most work because his fine motor skills are poor... small group testing because he gets distracted in a large group, etc. His IEP also provides a transition plan for helping him prepare for adulthood. They make sure he can do things like balance a checkbook, budget, behave appropriately in a job interview, etc. He has come such a very long way. To have an IEP meeting and find out that he's doing well... it's a huge blessing. There were times I was certain that Austin wouldn't make it to 18 without ending up in jail or a psych ward or as a drop out. He has far exceeded my expectations... even if he does have a "solid C average". He's still in the game. That's huge. I'm extremely proud of him. His room, however, is just this side of an episode of Hoarders. Still.

I'll work full days for the rest of this week... I'll work Monday until 2:30... and that's when the sick leave begins. I know many of you are praying and many more are sending good wishes and blessings our way. Please know that I know that my life is not by chance or happenstance... I couldn't survive without your collective support and I don't take it for granted, not for one second. Thank you for caring. I always pray that God returns a blessing to anyone who blesses me...

Hope you have a great day...



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

short update

Quick entry before time to start work...
The internet is down at home. I believe there is a widespread outage but was unable to confirm.
Yesterday went well, despite the morning appointments taking way longer than expected and getting stuck in traffic on the way back home... throw in a migraine and a extra long IEP meeting and I was toast.
Went to bed early.
Got up early and... no internet.
BUMMER.
Today I go to the pain doctor.
It's a good thing.
So anyways... that's the haps... time to start here at the office.
Pray for me. I'll pray right back for you.
Love and hugs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reasons to Love Monday, the World Tour.

Ok... maybe the world tour is overstating things a bit... but today is going to be a very odd and disjointed day for me with a lot of driving. Driving hurts. My piriformis syndrome is particularly painful on the right cheek so when I'm using my right foot to press the gas/break it presses on that nerve.

My usual compensation to ease the pain is to lean off of that cheek and make the pressure go on the left cheek but there's a lot of sciatica pain in that part of my seat.... and we know what's going on in the bullseye....

I have to drive from our cozy little home to Gainesville to see the surgeon.... have my pre-surgical exam where they make sure the scope of the treatment and surgery is still indicated.

THEN I will drive over to the hospital (next door) and do the registration, blood work, etc...

and when that is finished... I will go to work... which is just about a half hour from the hospital...for just a couple of hours...hopefully long enough for me to do my usual stuff so that nobody else has to do it...

and then I will drive to Austin's school which is about a half hour from my office for what will probably be his last IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting, to determine if he is still eligible for graduation and to determine his post graduation vocational plan. He will enter into a vocational rehabilitation program that will teach him very important things about what is expected by an employer and hook him up with an employer who is involved in the program.

Hire the handicapped. It's a good thing. I don't know what kind of benefits are available for employers who hire disabled people but I'm pretty sure there is some kind of tax credit for it. Must research this further.

Depending on what time the meeting ends... I may go back to the office. If it's going to mean driving the half hour back to the office to work an hour or less, I'll just go home.

It makes me tired just typing it. I'm having a lot of pain today... not just the back, I'm still having crazy cramps any time I eat or drink anything... about ten minutes later I start having horrible abdominal cramps below the belly button. I'll definitely bring that up to the surgeon today. Wonder if I could talk him into a tummy tuck at the same time? Hmmm...

Ok... end of my whining and belly aching (literally)... it's time for my Reasons to Love Monday:

1. It was a good weekend. Lots of happy bonding time with the kid and the furbabies. Lots of laughter. Lots of rest.
2. Mucho driving during the day means a very short time at the office. I love my job but it has been a painful place for me over the past year.
3. I'll be driving right by the Starbucks so I intend to stop and indulge. A pumpkin spice latte is just what I need on a disjointed day to tie my world together.
4. Starting next Monday I'm on a clear liquid diet for at least three days. I see weight loss in my future! When I get home from the surgery I'm still supposed to eat things that are "easy to pass". After my last abdominal surgery (the endometrial ablation I had in June 2008) all I wanted afterwards was apple juice and graham crackers. Since i was mostly alone afterwards, it was good that I didn't require anything more involved.
5. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Even though I haven't wrapped anything yet.
6. Austin is feeling much better and is going to school today.
7. We have worked together to keep the kitchen clean and it's been clean for a whole week! The floors... eh... not so much ... but still! OF course, clean kitchen makes me realize how much of my silverware has disappeared into the abyss of disarray in Austin's room.
8. A long time in the car means a lot of listening to Christmas music which makes me really JOYFUL! I haven't heard my favorite karaoke Christmas song: Santa Baby... but that's ok. I've heard lots of good stuff and will hear more today.
9. I love Monday because I woke up on the right side of the dirt today... I have a car that will almost certainly get me where I need to go... I can afford gas to get where I need to be... I have the money to pay the doctor and the hospital... I have the insurance to take care of what I would never have been able to afford... I have family support and encouragement... I have friends who support and encourage me... in all I do, there is a vast and diverse network of love that encircles me... it drives out the dark and gloom and enables me to face whatever I have ahead. I am blessed.

Hope you find reasons to love Monday this week, too!




Saturday, December 10, 2011

letting myself go... in so many ways....

It is 12:41 pm on a Saturday and I'm sitting here in my pjs with my hair uncombed and yesterday's makeup still streaking on my face and I. don't. care.

I've either achieved true apathy or I'm letting myself go.

Yesterday was a rough day.

I had one of those mini-panics of "do I go to the doctor for this infected finger thing or tough it out?" I had visions of amputation flashing through my head (hypochondriac, much?) but as it turns out, there was a ... let's call it a "misunderstanding" at the office that I was grateful to have the opportunity to at least try to defend myself on... not sure it mattered, one way or another... but as I was driving home with the durn finger still red and throbbing, I said out loud to God, "Ok. I see why I needed to stay today."

Because my prayer... my honest to God prayer was, "if I'm supposed to leave, then you'll give me a sign by having someone who isn't typically compassionate act compassionately toward me". And I gotta tell you the truth... at lunch time... I was feeling sort of "unheard" by God and others.... but as the day went by and I saw that it was necessary to defend my actions... well, not exactly then... at that point I was thinking, "HERE I AM SUFFERING with this durn rotting finger... and my back spasms and my stomach KILLING me... HERE I AM TOUGHING it out and THIS is the thanks I get?" ... but later... when I was in my quiet, reflective, "thank you God for getting me through the day" mood... then I realized why it was important for me to be there.

You know what else? I was glad, once again, that I started the day with the realization that I was desperately standing in the need of prayer. I thought it was because of my finger but in reality, it was more about my honor.

And honestly, it still might not turn out good. I take that back. I know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. It still might not turn out the way that Heather, in Heather's limited wisdom plans for things to go. Even though I have the awesome example of every single crisis in my life ending up as a very God thing for me... I still worry. Isn't that nuts? It's like I still have this need to maintain control... even though that's one way to be certain that it won't work out well.

I got home... visited with my boy and my fur-boys and played a couple of hours of mindless, unproductive games until I could no longer keep my eyes open... and I collapsed into the horizontal nest (as opposed to the ninety degree angle nest) for a few hours... then got back up at 5-ish and ... here I still sit. I got up and made breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast), did a load of laundry, semi-swept the kitchen, made lunch (yellow rice and green beans. I don't know why.)... but other than that... just me in all my apathetic glory...

Marveling over God and all of His Glory...

Happy Saturday, y'all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

friday

It's Friday.
I woke up at 3:15 with my birdie finger on my right hand infected. Don't ask me how that happened. I had a really big problem back when I used to get acrylic nails with my cuticles getting infected. It got so bad at one point that my cuticles were oozing, red and inflamed. This "tall man" has no obvious cuts or tears in the cuticle but it's really, seriously, can't bend it, hot, red, painful... really infected.
Grrrrreat.
Also woke up with a sore throat. Austin has been sick all week and I'm terrified of getting sick and not being able to have the surgery. Not that I'm looking forward to it, mind you, but because I know that my opportunity to do this is because of the narrow window of time... using the medical coverage with the deductible already met and having sick leave begin again if the recovery isn't as quick as I hope/want.
Donning our gay apparel.
A teacher in Michigan changed the phrase "gay apparel" to "bright apparel" after her elementary school children kept giggling when they would sing Deck the Halls. Is this new? Because I can remember giggling at "gay apparel" back when I was young. Of course, now I wonder if donning my gay apparel should mean wearing birkenstocks and failing to shave my armpits.
I'm just sayin'.
We also had a choir teacher who would scream at us if we said "in egg shell seas day oh" instead of "in excelcius deo" in the song Angels We Have Heard on High. I am still careful to sing it correctly.
One Last Christmas
Have you heard the song, "One Last Christmas" by Matthew West? I am too lazy to you tube the link for you but you must listen to it. I heard it the other day and commenced to that "ugly cry"... you know, the one where you're hiccuping and snotty and just completely lose it. Mascara alert. You've been warned.
Attorney General Eric Holder
Liar, liar, pants on fire. As long as we have politicians we will have dishonesty. I don't like it. "If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray then will I hear from Heaven and heal their land". The world is a crazy, crazy, out of whack place right now where right is wrong and wrong is right. It hurts my heart to watch the news... there is such a disregard for morality... and I continue to maintain that when abortion was legalized in this country that we opened up a floodgate of disregard for human life. Read the Old Testament and you'll see nations and tribes and people who were marked as evil because of the way they treated their young.
I'm sad that Michelle Duggar lost this new baby and it breaks my heart to see people mocking her over it. Every life is precious.
My pink tree quit working. The lights on it, I mean.
My dad painted a beautiful Christmas card. I meant to scan it so I could show you. Maybe I'll do that today. He's our Pop-casso.
Yesterday at work was extremely painful. I can't even begin to explain how bad it hurts to sit in the same chair for 8+ hours a day. My back hurts as bad/worse than it ever has. My stomach has been cramping for the past week. Then there's the other issue that will be addressed with my surgery... I've got such a sketchy schedule over the next ten days... I'm trying to hang tough as much as I can at work.
Monday I have an appointment with the surgeon, pre-op at the hospital, possibly Austin's last IEP where we meet with the work rehab counselor. This appointment is huge because what happens when Austin graduates... he transfers into the work rehab program where they help people with "differences" transition into college/career. This is the most important IEP ever. This sets the path for the rest of his life.
Tuesday I have an appointment with the pain doctor to discuss where we go from here with my disability... I'm so emotional about this. I'm so weary of hurting all the time. When you go to the doctor you expect them to do whatever it takes to make you better. When you go to the doctor and you know that they can't make it better... it's discouraging. I usually leave there in tears.
Next Thursday is our office Christmas party.
Next Friday Austin leaves for his Catalyst retreat.
The following Monday, the 19th, is the last day that I will work before my surgery. I will have to leave early because I have to start the colonoscopy prep at 3pm which will cause much unpleasantness. I start on clear liquids then and will remain on clear liquids for at least the next few days.
The 20th I have my colonoscopy.
The 21st is my surgery to remove hemorrhoids (caused by nerve damage in my back that has made it more difficult to "take care of business") and to remove any polyps or other issues they discover during the colonoscopy. I busted open the seal on my surgical orders that I am supposed to deliver to the hospital during my preop appointment. In addition to the renovations to my backdoor, they will do exploratory surgery to determine if there are any other structural defects. I don't know about you... but I'm not excited about being invaded two days in a row.
And now it's Friday. I'll be doing my wrapping on Saturday and I am very excited about that... will be putting together Austin's stuff for his retreat... and resting up for a very busy time ahead.
Hope you have a Fantastic Friday and a really awesome weekend.
Love and hugs!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What I mean when I say, "Merry Christmas"

I've been saying, "Merry Christmas" to pretty much anyone I come in contact with. It used to just be a pleasantry but now, I see it as exercising my rights of free speech. Now I say it with a bit of a challenge in my voice... as if I'm offering up a password to see if the other person is "one of us".... you know, those radical evangelical conservative Christians who happen to believe that Jesus was born in a manger, died on a cross to save us from our sins and is coming back one day. Or... maybe "one of us" in the sense that they respect the rights of others to believe as I believe.

Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. We're bending over backwards to be politically correct except when it comes to matters of the Christian faith. Why is it so bad to be a Christian all of a sudden? Why are we marveling at the fact that a young man like Tim Tebow offers acknowledgement that his talents come from God? What's so strange about believing in God, honoring God... why is that offensive?

Jehovah's Witnesses have knocked on my door ... I don't believe what they believe... I don't invite them in ... I just take their little pamphlet, thank them, offer up a "God bless you" and close my door. I don't mock them. I don't yell at them. I don't try to take away their rights. I don't mount a campaign against them. I just believe what I believe and exercise my faith in the way that I believe.

I'm not judging you by celebrating Christmas. I'm not bible thumping. I'm not trying to belittle you or make you feel inadequate or unholy. I'm a sinner who is saved by Grace. I'm no goody two shoes. I'm not perfect. I've just learned the "secret" to overcoming all my shortcomings. I know Jesus wasn't "technically" born on December 25th... but that's the day that has been set aside to honor his birth. Deal with it.

I'm not wrapped up in the materialism of Christmas.  I don't go into debt buying up electronics and junk. It's a good time of year to do nice things for the people you love... whether it's a material good - or like my friend Pam who offered to take that little oil changing chore on my Christmas list and take care of it for me. Everyone in my life is safe and fed and comfortable and clothed. If I find someone who isn't, I'll take care of them to the best of my ability no matter what time of year it is.

Sure, the banana nut bread and sausage balls and fudge and holiday hams... they're awesome. I'll gladly partake. I love the lights. I love the spirit that binds us - most of us - together. I love the fact that we take a minute to count our blessings and gather with family and maybe, somewhere in the middle of it remember to honor the One who makes all that possible.

When Michelle Duggar announced that she was pregnant with her 20th child she was mocked and lambasted and ridiculed. There are millions of mothers with two or three kids who don't provide a fraction of the love and attention that Michelle pays to her kids. Millions of mothers who raise their kids on food stamps, medicaid, in government subsidized child care living in government subsidized housing. Yet a responsible mother who raises her children, pays for her children and ends up with responsible citizens who contribute to their community and world... she's a joke.

I think we've lost our balance. Jerry Sandusky molests dozens of kids and because of the reverence for a football organization, he gets away with it for years... We're holding up people like Snooki and a barely dressed Lady Gaga as role models... people don't respect the value of life... people don't respect the property of others... people assume that the government owes them a decent living... it's class warfare... war on Christmas... war on morality.

I'm just one woman with very little influence and only a couple of nickels to rub together. I come in contact with maybe a dozen or so people a day. I can't change the world but I can say Merry Christmas. And when I say Merry Christmas, I'm saying, "It's ok for me to be a Christian. It's ok for me to worship God. It's ok for me to pray - I'll even pray for you. It's ok for me to honor God for the blessings He gives to me and mine. It's ok for me to share my beliefs. It's ok for Tim Tebow to kneel in reverence. It's ok for Michelle Duggar to have as many kids as she wants. It's a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.. And if you don't like it... that's too bad. I'm not changing in order to be politically correct." We've let go of too much already.

In the words of Michael Scott from The Office, "Happy Birthday Jesus, sorry your party is so lame".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wonderful Windy Whiny Wednesday with my Wish List

It's early morning on Wednesday... two weeks from today I'll have my surgery and I am so very glad I didn't have to postpone it. I'm really struggling... not just with the ... well, you know... but my stomach is a mess... my belly has been cramping for days and days (you've heard me complain about it several times!) my back is flared up - probably because of the weather - which means the piriformis nerve is compressed causing my right cheek to have horrible muscle spasms (not the cheek I smile with) ... and the sciatica has my left hip and cheek and leg in such agony that I'm fairly dragging that leg when I walk. I'm basically a ball of pain, all the way around from about the bottom of my bra to the bottom of my bottom.

It ain't pretty, people.... but it's Whiny Wednesday so we might as well get it out of our system, right?

Austin has the sinu-pneumo-broncho-crud and sounds horrible. He stayed out of school yesterday because I knew he'd no sooner get there than call for me to check him out. The last thing I need in the middle of my work day when I'm struggling to deal with my literal pain in the rear... is for my figurative pain in the rear to cause me to spend my lunch break on a tour of White County. No.

I made yesterday my "early day" from work so that I could get home early and bring him cold meds and tissues. I know how miserable it can be when you don't feel good and don't have access to stuff that will make you feel better. He caught a second wind after he was medicated and cleaned my kitchen all spic and span (without using spic and span) and cleaned the top layer of the hoard out of his room. It's progress.

The fun thing... while I was at the Dollar General picking up assorted potions and comfort items for Austin, I ran into Angie, Sarabeth and Jamie. I think Sarabeth is sleeping on some type of stretching device at night... she  is so tall that I can no longer kiss her on the top of her sweet red head when I hug her! Jamie is growing too... I saw her first before I saw Angie and SB... she was dancing around near the front of the store as I pulled into my Princess Parking Place. She's just a little fairy flitting around from flower to flower... carefree and adorable. I got to see Angie's new car which I LOVE.

We're expecting a cold and windy day today. It will be below freezing tonight. There's a lot of water on the ground now but the wind should dry everything up before it can freeze.

How is it only Wednesday? I'm Thursday tired, I'm sure of it.

I spent Monday buying Sarabeth's Christmas on lunch. I spent yesterday buying Jamie's Christmas gift on lunch. Yesterday I got the stuff to wrap everything and I've got deliveries happening over the next week or so. I should be finished with my wrapping by the end of this weekend... and that will allow me to use the weekend while Austin is on his retreat to do the final errands and buy stocking stuffers. I'm right on track, minus Christmas cards. Not doing a good job on those. Eh... a girl can't be perfect. I'm just mega-proud of myself for getting as much done as I have under the circumstances.

When I saw Angie yesterday she asked what I wanted for Christmas... I had seriously not given it a moment's thought... I just have felt in such a place of survival that I haven't thought about luxury/comfort items. I'm just glad for every day I can do the things I need to do. When I think about what I want... it's the things that I can't do for myself more than it is STUFF. Here's my official, dream big, Whiny Wednesday wish list:

a book shelf  OR Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly / Beth Moore's new book on James
a food processor - not a big one, though, I can't figure out how to use them OR tomato plants planted next spring for me so we can grow our own
chia cat grass or chia herb garden. they both look fun.
my oil changed in my car - I mean, really, for someone else to take it to the oil change place and wait with it. I can't bear to sit in those hard chairs
oh... speaking of hard chairs... pillows. I've got a ton but I need more since I'm going to be sitting on them for a month or more... I'm going to need a pillow for every port.
a new coffee pot. the automatic "off" feature no longer works on mine and I have to remember to turn it off every morning before I leave for work
warm fuzzy socks and/or warm fuzzy slippers
big comfy sweatshirts
anything Starbucks related

And... that's enough. Anything from that list would equal GPS or rice cooker "best gift ever" status.
Hope you all have a Wonderful Windy Wednesday. Love and hugs!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Newsday Tuesday, hold your babies close

Newsday Tuesday and the biggest news is ....


Iridessa Skye Guinn has arrived!
She was born 12/05/11
at 6:06pm weighing
5 lbs, 6oz

She is a miracle. It's so surreal... it seems like a lifetime ago that these two kids were dealing with this crisis pregnancy, trying to navigate some rough waters with their families about baby Dessa... and one thing that stayed steadfast and true, no matter what the consequences they faced, Logan and Hillary wanted this baby. Before they knew it was a girl, before they knew how they would manage to raise her. They still may not know how... but they knew they loved her and wanted to give her life. It hasn't been easy. Even now, Dessa is in NICU because her blood sugars are unstable. All I know is that any life that God creates deserves a chance to be born... and then to grow surrounded by love... Every life matters.

There's a news story right now here in Atlanta about a 7 year old girl who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and discarded into a dumpster. From the mother who allowed her child to play without supervision to the evil creature who harmed this precious child... there was a serious disconnection of comprehension of how precious life is.

For me... it would be like allowing my little niece Jamie... with all her bubbly sweet innocence... to be put in a place where anyone or anything could harm her. How could you let your child out of your sight? Even now... with Austin nearly grown... I worry when I don't know where he is or what he is doing. God's grace allows me peace with the things that I can no longer control where my children are concerned but... I can't help but worry and wonder about the babies that I brought into this world...

To have a child is to forever have your heart walking around outside of your body.

There is a young boy in Jacksonville who violently pushed his little brother into a bookshelf. While the little boy laid unconscious, his mother searched "loss of consciousness" and "concussion" on the internet... downloaded music... checked several other websites...for several hours instead of calling 9-1-1. Her two year old died and her 12 year old son is on trial for murder. As a mom, you can't always keep your kids from fighting but she failed to protect both of her children.... the baby, by not calling for medical assistance that would have probably saved his life... and the older child, by putting him in a position where the consequences were far more severe than they had to be.

My Boo... my oldest son... will be in Georgia for Christmas... so although I'll be pretty much confined to my nest for the duration, I'll at least get to see him.

My mom will be coming to stay with us when I have my surgery. That will make a huge difference. I worried about how mobile I would be and whether I would be able to do anything. I've been searching the internet for testimonials about the recovery from this surgery and they all consistently say that the pain is horrible for the first week or so. I'm anxious. Trusting God but anxious.

Our landlady had a huge party over the weekend and shared the leftovers with our neighbors upstairs who shared them with us... turkey, dressing, green beans... mmmm! And one of our clients brought banana nut bread yesterday... also very mmmm!

As I was sitting in the parking lot of a busy shopping center in Cornelia yesterday (the old Walmart) eating a banana and listening to Rush Limbaugh, this man approached my car and wanted to engage me in conversation. I was parked far away from any other cars and my window was down because the weather was mild and I had just been chatting with a coworker who was in the same parking lot... she pulled up beside me and we chatted. So... it was very unsettling. I made haste to get away from that situation.

My stomach is still very unsettled but yesterday, all day at work... my tummy was fine. My back was pretty out of whack for most of the afternoon but I was stronger than I thought I would/could be. Every day is a blessing. Every day that I can do what I need to do... blessing. Every day that I am not strong enough in my own body and have to rely on God... still a blessing.

  I wanted you to be able to hear this beautiful song by Christian Artist Sandi Patty... I tried to find a youtube of her performing it but all I could find were these tributes created by mothers for their little ones. Made me kind of mushy... I used to sing this to my babies... it's based on Psalm 139, the chapter I was learning this year... I gave up right around the time of the fire. I'm determined to finish by the end of the year ANYWAYS.

So that's all the news from the nest and beyond... praying that you have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reasons to CONQUER Monday

It's beginning to look a lot like... Monday. Ugh.
Monday... when the starting gun goes off and I climb onto the hamster wheel that is my life... the never ending cycle of work / sleep / work / sleep and the never ending struggle to balance enough pain relief to be able to work with enough cognition to sustain a home and raise my child.
I ended exhausted last week... after only four days... the pain was so excruciating by Friday that I made my call of shame. Undoubtedly, I'll have a heavier work load today because of not working Friday... in addition to the mental stress and - as I explained on Friday - the guilt and shame that accompany the pain. I'm embarrassed that I can't do all the things I need to do. I'm embarrassed of my shortcomings.

Today the pain level is pretty high. I hate the stupid numbers that the doctors ask to you give to your pain... 0 being pain free and 10 being the worst pain you've ever felt. I always say 7. It's a ridiculous system.

At the risk of becoming that bitter person that people avoid... let's jump into our Reasons to Love Monday. There have to be some, right?

1. Mild temperatures. Not too cold. Not hot. Lower humidity. No frost to scrape from the windshield. Just a cute cardigan over my outfit - not a bulky coat. No muscle spasms when I step outside.

2. Tim Tebow. Despite all the naysayers, all the people who mock him for his passion and his faith, despite the disrespect of people who call him "Teblow" or "Tebag" this man continues to humbly, courageously speak out about his faith and continues to give God all the glory for his success. I think the fact that he doesn't have the best throwing motion... the fact that there's no reason he should be succeeding... is the beauty of his story. David and Goliath. Timmy Tebow shouldn't be a successful NFL quarterback... but he is. And I'm encouraged by his success.

3. I think maybe that's where I've been remiss over the past year. I've been looking for people who are worse off than me so that I can say, "I may have it bad but look at this person!"  when instead, I need to be looking at people who are succeeding, who are better off and not necessarily COVET their situation but watch for people who have turned suffering into a platform to give encouragement to others... when you can turn your suffering into something that glorifies God... that's amazing.

4. We accomplished a lot over the past weekend. I still need to get my Christmas cards in the mail but I've gone such a long way toward the gift shopping. I still need to find a few odds and ends... and I need to find Austin swim trunks for his retreat... but God has been good to me. Austin has been cooperative and compassionate and just a huge blessing to me over the past few days.

5. I woke up with horrible stomach cramps... got up several times during the night ... my first steps this morning were among the most painful I've ever had with this (let's call it a TEN!) and I started my morning in tears. While I've been writing this post I've had to scurry to the loo four times... and while that may not seem like a reason to love Monday... the stomach cramps ARE easing up. The hemorrhoids... oy vey.

6. It's my kids' dad's birthday today. He may not have been all that I needed him to be... but if you had asked me ten years ago, I wouldn't have expected him to be where he is now, healthy enough to work full time. If not for him, I wouldn't have the three awesome boys that I do.

7. Trouble is cuddling a green tomato that I had left on the counter. He's the oddest, funniest cat I have ever seen... from the way he waits outside Austin's door for him to come and play... to the way he plays fetch like a dog. He's brought a lot of joy into our house.

I praise God for this season of life. I praise Him that I am still able to work, that I have a job to go to and a car to take me there. I have not lived up to my expectations or aspirations since this season of life began but I am doing things that many who are living with pain are unable or unwilling to do. I embrace the concept that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that nothing that is happening in my life is a surprise to God. My goal is to use my situation to encourage others. My goal is to give words to others who are struggling and can't find the words to explain to the people they love that "*just because* I'm not able to meet the social obligations in my life, doesn't mean that I don't love you and don't want to see you". My goal is to help people to grade on a curve... to understand that the person living with chronic illness may not be doing the best of everyone you know... but they may just be doing the best that THEY can do. Honor those efforts for the people in your life who are living with pain. Acknowledge their efforts.

Alright y'all... get out there and conquer Monday! Love and hugs!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More Crazy Cat Lady Photos...












Saturday, December 3, 2011

My thrilling (not so much) Saturday

I realized today that I have thirty pictures of my cats on my camera waiting to be uploaded. All cats. Nothing else. In a week. I am THAT crazy cat lady. And I think it's ok.

The pain has been much better today, thank you for asking. I've gotten so used to the people I see everyday or very often not really asking... then last week when I went to the doctor, when I came back to work a new co-worker asked, "how did your doctor visit go?" I'm so used to not being asked that I was unintentionally evasive and negative, "my doctor visits never go well". But I silently thanked God that someone asked. It was heart warming.

If you missed my facebook status update today, Austin DID pass his final portion of the graduation test. If he manages to pass the rest of his classes he will graduate in May. It seems so surreal. He is sometimes so grown that I can hardly believe it... and other times he is so immature and uncooperative that I feel like it's still the same Austin I've always lived with... especially when he and Trouble get each other wound up. My goodness! That cat adores that boy. It's ridiculous. When I finally upload some of the 30 pictures I have taken of the cat in the past week, you'll see Austin treating Trouble like a marionette. And Trouble purrs like crazy the whole time... and then whines outside of Austin's room when Austin goes away.

My friend Pam's daughter, Olivia, did our grocery shopping for us last night and they delivered our groceries to the house. It was such a huge blessing for me! This is Olivia's new business - forget babysitting - the girl is a grocery shopping champ! (not that she wouldn't be a great babysitter, too, I just don't have NEED for a babysitter. mostly.) She even knew to get a rain check for us for the sale item on my list that the store was out of. We will DEFINITELY take advantage of this in the future. I'm thinking when I have my surgery especially. She charges ten percent of the grocery bill for her services and a small fee for gas... totally worth it, especially when I'm in need of heavier things like milk and juice and soda and canned goods. I just used the grocery store sale ad to help me make a list... and they showed up with the groceries a few hours later ... it was that easy!

Austin *just happened* to be awake this morning when I was heading out to the bakery and to pick up his breakfast. I decided to take advantage of his wakefulness (is that a word?) to make a Walmart run for a few necessities. We were able to pick up a spare bag of cat food...I buy the biggest bags they sell - finally figured out that it's cheaper that way - only I can't pick them UP, so I need Austin with me. We have enough for the next week or two but would run out about the time that I am recuperating. So now we have plenty. Plus... if we get any wintry weather we are more likely to be unable to get out than we were when we lived in town. There are more curves and hills where we live now and I'm SURE they don't plow our little dirt road so we are STOCKED up on cat food, dried beans, rice, etc. I mean to stock up on shelf stable milk as well, more for use in cooking than drinking.

We bought a few gifts while we were at Walmart and looked for a new jacket for Austin as he has outgrown all of his. We did not find a new jacket. I ended up buying one for him online at Kohls.com - they also had a great sale online so I was able to buy Cody and Marquee's gifts and a very small, cheap trinket for myself...  I found EXACTLY what I wanted for my mom and dad at Walmart so they're set... I need to buy Ryan and Sara's gifts (which I will probably buy online so I can ship directly to them, assuming they're going to be in Pennsylvania for Christmas) and I've still got to get Jim, Angie, Sarabeth and Jamie's gifts.... which I plan to do tomorrow, hopefully, and then I will be through. I couldn't do a lot for anyone and I couldn't do for as many people as I would like to gift... but it was really important to me to have the shopping finished early. And to be stockpiled on cat food so we don't run out while I'm recovering and unable to drive... so the Walmart run was perfectly timed.

While we were in Walmart Austin wanted to get a surprise for Sarabeth, Jamie and Jorjann to give them during the retreat they're going on in mid-December. I think I've mentioned... the Catalyst class is doing a retreat in Pigeon Forge and Jim and Angie will be the worship leaders. Since Jorjann's mom, Natalie, is the Catalyst teacher, all three of my not-so-little-anymore nieces will be there. He picked out something really cute for them that was only $3 each.. and I was so impressed that he thought about the girls that I had to indulge him. He really is a good cousin.

I wanted to find a thank you card for my aunt and uncle who made it possible for me to go ahead and have my surgery... I found one that was so incredibly perfect that I was giddy! I can't tell you what it says yet because I don't want to ruin the surprise for them... it's just hard to find a card that says, "thank you for making it possible for me to have my hemorrhoid surgery"... and I did!

Austin and I went to the bakery and picked up a few little necessary items. Ok. Not absolutely necessary but "make life a little sweeter" necessary. He asked Nancy, the lady who manages the bakery, as she was slicing our loaf of cheddar bread, "how much bread dust do you think you guys generate over the course of a year?" She didn't know. We mulled it over a little further on the way home and decided that there should be a law firm soliciting lawsuits for people who worked in bakeries and developed "yeast-o-thelioma".

I have a new tv obsession  - "How I Met Your Mother". I seem to never watch shows until they reach syndication. I guess it's my way of not committing to a program until I know that the story is going to have a couple of seasons to play out. I watched six hours of HIMYM yesterday. RIDICULOUS. I am absolutely infatuated with Neil Patrick Harris... not in a romantic sense but in that category I have where I would like to have him sit on a shelf in my house so I could be occasionally entertained. I guess... in a way... having him on tv is like that... hmmmm...

Sorry Dawgs... LSU is going to remain #1 and win the SEC Championship. That's my prediction now that we're in the 3rd quarter. I watched an awesome basketball game between North Carolina and Kentucky today... it went down to the final second. It was muy exciting.

My Steel Magnolia, Great Aunt Bette came through her surgery to repair her broken hip with flying colors. The doctor was reportedly impressed with how healthy her bones are... and how devoted her family is. Aunt Bette had four boys and a girl, just like my family, and her only daughter died tragically back in 2007... but she has some fabulous granddaughters that take awesome care of her (and daughters in law, too) and I know she'll be fine. The picture above is one I snagged from my cousin (second cousin, I guess, as our parents are cousins) ... this was Aunt Bette's birthday last year. That's my sweet little grandma on the back row, on the far right. Aunt Bette is in the middle between the little girls in the front. I haven't seen Grandma and Aunt Bette together too often but they do seem to coordinate their outfits somehow.

SO that's my Saturday... hope you're having a great weekend. Love and hugs, y'all.