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I missed you!

Ok, ok, I haven’t been here in a little while. God and I have been wrestling with some things and I didn’t quite know how to put it into words. Just a few weeks ago, I was in excruciating pain and feeling like there was no end in sight. I hadn’t been out of the house to do anything fun in a long time. I kept saying “no” to the invitations of friends and family. I was in a very, very low spot.

Then I got the chance to do something I’d never done before. Attend a White Tie Fundraising Gala for National Jewish Hospital. I’d passed on the first email sent by the administrator of my department at Children’s Hospital because I figured I’d never find a date or a dress – and figured there was a good chance I’d be hurting too much to go anyway. Then the second email came, saying that most of the seats were still available and at $500 a plate, the department REALLY didn’t want them to go unused. So I took a chance, im-ed my friend Kyle (who actually OWNS a tux), and accepted two of the seats.

My sweet friends, whom I’d been neglecting, offered me formal dresses and gowns they had in their closets, and I found a dress that I LOVED. Brilliant red, floor length and flowy. Just gorgeous. I found the perfect pair of shoes on sale and a matching bag at Ross for $5. The ball was amazing – so decadent – and I felt like a princess. Plus, I enjoyed the company of my date and the coworkers we shared the table with.

As I was driving home I had an epiphany. I can actually LIVE. I don’t have to focus on simply surviving – yeah some days suck – but there is so much out there to experience. And that I really am strong enough to do it. I realized that while God had been telling me to “wait” for a really long time, waiting didn’t need to be so lonely and miserable.

Following this epiphany God finally told me that some of my waiting is over. I have been approved to have an experimental treatment for my pain. It would have been prohibitively expensive without my insurance but they are going to cover it. I will go in on April 3rd for a one-week trial and if it is sucessful will have surgery a little later in the month to have the device permanently implanted. This has the potential to give me 100% pain relief. I’m not even sure what that would really be like anymore, but it sounds awfully good.

And on top of that fabulous news – I’m in the early stages of a new relationship with a really great guy. More on that another time.

God is SO good

Kyle and I at the Beaux Arts Ball

Kyle and I at the Beaux Arts Ball

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…and somehow turns all things to His good purpose.

 

Tonight, over the phone, my father said words that I’ve waited years to hear. He began by relating the story of what had occurred this morning. My dad, my brother-in-law Jonathan, and Jonathan’s best friend Mark, went fishing in the icy waters of a river outside of Billings. My dad has been in Montana for a little less than a week helping Jonathan do some major remodeling of his kitchen and to spend some time relaxing.  They had planned this fishing trip since the weather was supposed to be particularly mild and the three of them LOVE to fish. All three were dressed warmly, long-johns, warm coats and tall waders to keep their legs dry. They took Jonathan’s boat out on the river and found the place they wanted to be. Dad and Jonathan were on one side of the river and Mark was on the other. After about a half hour and with no warning, Mark lost his balance, fell into the water and was swept downstream by the strong currents. He was swimming but having a tough time staying above the surface. And the water was COLD. As soon as Jonathan saw what was happening he began running toward Mark. Dad said that he’d never realized just how strong Jonathan was until he saw him running in the water as if it wasn’t even there. Then Jonathan started working across the river alternately running and swimming. He finally caught up to Mark and the two of them were swimming as hard as they could toward the shore. Dad untied the boat and began floating toward them, but they were already up on the bank by the time he reached them. They quickly built a fire and got Mark out of his wet clothes – Dad stripped off his top layer and put it on Mark – they were desperately trying to warm him up. Another couple came by and gave the guys their coats and some extra clothes they had. Mark was in terrible shape, shivering convulsively, vomiting and had trouble remaining conscious. After a little while though he began to warm. Dad and Jonathan muscled him into the boat and Jonathan rowed them at record speed down to where the truck was parked. They stowed the gear, tied the boat in the truckbed and sped off to an urgent care clinic. The doctor told them that they had done everything right and although he was recovering from hypothermic shock, Mark was going to be just fine.

 

After telling me this story, Dad said, “after what I witnessed today, there is no doubt in my mind that God exists.” He hasn’t been a believer since childhood – basically told me once that he just didn’t know and didn’t feel any urgency to investigate. Now – who knows? I cried when Jonathan and I talked about it – dad had said the same thing to him – and we both could hardly dare to imagine that God was actively trying to get my dad’s attention. Oh it filled my heart with joy and wonder.

 

Jonathan told me that he really had no memory of getting to Mark and actually couldn’t believe that he had, that Mark had been so far away by the time Jonathan started to run. He credits God with that. He also mentioned that he didn’t understand how Mark was in such bad shape but that other than being colder than he could remember, Jonathan was just fine. God apparently knew that my Dad couldn’t have handled two guys in hypothermic shock. The couple arriving when they did and having extra clothing was another miracle.

 

Tonight I’ll be saying some extra prayers. To thank God for Mark being ok, that Jonathan was there and was able to react so quickly, that Jonathan wasn’t hurt, that my father is ok. But mostly for showing Himself to my dad today – maybe opening his heart to discovering a relationship with Him – and strengthening the faith of me and my brother-in-law. He is so good, loving and faithful. I am in awe.

A lovely moment

Here is a great Wrestling Faith moment for you. I recently posted on my gtalk status “Really wishing I had a baby to hold right this very moment” and had been desperately missing some friends. I wasn’t even going to go to church tonight as I’ve been feeling puny all day – but knew that it was a talk I wanted to hear and that I didn’t want to miss Jared’s 12 days of TNL Christmas. So imagine my surprise when I see my dear friends at the front of the church – along with their sweet, sweet, 2 week-old baby. It did my heart good to know that God hears me and answers. Sometimes He even answers the way I want Him to. It also did my heart good to hold little Jillian and tell her how much I love her already.  Not to mention Kaylynn shouting “Janna” and rushing into my arms as soon as she saw me. It was a special night with special friends. He is faithful.

A father sized hole

Yesterday I read a book called “Chasing Fireflies” by Charles

Martin. It was wonderfully written, an engaging and exciting

story, and it broke my heart more than once. It also raised

some intriguing questions – one that I’d like to process here

– about parenting and fathers and faith.

 

I’m not going to tell you about the book other than to

explain that it is fiction – not some sort of religious

self-help manual. I think this is one book that is valuable

enough to encourage you to read and think on on your own. I

also think this question is one that has been asked by

millions of people over all the years of the world.

 

The author talks about how all boys are born with a hole in

their middle. A hole that needs to be filled by their fathers

and when it is not, is often filled with destructive things

like addictions. (I’m sure there is a similar corellation for

girls, but I happen to have a son so thats what I’m focusing

on). It’s not too far fetched… so my question is: When a

boy’s father is absent or inadequate, how can a mother fill

that hole? Especially when the boy doesn’t necessarily know

that his father is inadequate or even idolizes him to some

degree.

 

My current answer is – THE Father. Therin lies another big

question for me. I didn’t come to a relationship with Christ

until I was an adult and when I found Him (or rather, He

found me) it all just kinda clicked into place. At this

moment, my son is not terribly interested in learning about

God or attending church with me. There is no part of me that

wants to force him in any way and that leaves me in a

quandry. How do I show my son how much he is loved by his

Heavenly Father if he has no interest in knowing Him? And if

the hole inside of him doesn’t get filled with that love and

doesn’t get filled by his dad, what can I do? Is a mother’s

love sufficient?

 

Another thing – I do not want to raise a child with an

unhealthy dependence on me. I don’t want to be Marie to my

Raymond… if you know what I mean. It feels like such a fine

line to walk – which I guess is parenting in general

sometimes.

 

Thoughts?

Tomorrow, Friday Oct. 24th, I am undergoing a diagnostic laparoscopy to try to figure out what is going on inside my belly.  When the results from my miserable CT scan came back as “essentially normal” I cried. My body has been telling me for a long time that things are not “normal” in there. For the past two weeks I have been unable to eat, or sleep, or even put in a good days work. What if they DON’T find anything to explain my symptoms? Do I have to live the rest of my life like this?

 

Now, let me explain the procedure a little bit. First of all, it is diagnostic only. So if the surgeon does in fact find something wrong he will not be fixing it at this time. We will discuss the findings and then, if necessary, schedule another surgery. Secondly, it is laparoscopic. That means that there will be one or two small incisions in my belly where they will stick in a scope to go look around. The surgeon will examine all of the organs in my abdomen as well as the abdominal wall and see if there are abnormalities, adhesions or the like. It should take about an hour and a half. Then I’ll spend approximately 2 hours in recovery being medicated for pain and nausea and finally they will ensure that I can keep some juice and crackers down. Then I’ll be sent home to recuperate.

 

At this point I am planning on only missing three days of work. Tomorrow obviously and then Monday and maybe Tuesday. I will take advantage of my boss’ offer to work from home during that time. I expect that I will be hanging out on the couch watching inane television, re-reading a favorite novel or two, and sleeping.

 

I’m prepared for the doctors to give me bad news. I’m prepared for the doctors to tell me that they have found something and we will do our best to treat it aggressively. I’m not prepared for them to come back without any explanation of why I’ve been so miserable.

 

Your thoughts and prayers during this time would be much appreciated. I’ll come back and tell you all about it just as soon as I can sit at the computer for any length of time. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday tomorrow and a great weekend after that.

 

All my love!

Bad stick

I had a terrible day on Friday. I know, it seems like I have a lot of terrible days, but on this one I think you’ll agree.

I had an appointment at 9:15am to check in for a CT scan. The surgeon ordered it because he wanted a little more medical evidence that standard treatment (primarily dietary) is not working and that surgical treatment is now the next best option. They told me not to eat or drink anything after 6:45am, to come in and drink a contrast solution and then get scanned at 10:45. Sounds pretty straightforward, yes?

I showed up on time, signed in, filled out the paperwork, answered some questions and was handed a large styrofoam cup filled with a thick, milky looking substance – plus a plastic container with another cupful in it. The receptionist smiles up at me and says, “you’re in luck – this is a new flavor! Drink the first cup in the next 10 minutes and then finish the rest before an hour is up.” I smiled right back at her, refrained from commenting and had a seat.

Think of the flavor of this “solution” as white chalk, like your kids might use to draw on the driveway, mashed up and mixed with body lotion, a few drops of berry flavoring, served at room temperature moments after being run through a carburetor. It’s actually worse than that. The receptionist saw me gagging a little and warned me that if I threw any of it up, we’d have to start all over. So I steeled myself – and drank it all in one shot. Then poured the rest of it into the cup and drank it all down too. *shiver*

Ok, so now my stomach is a little upset, I’m still a little nervous about the implications of this scan, and I’ve got to go to the bathroom. I’m not a very happy camper! I took care of my business and sat down with my book and tried to block everything out until the tech called my name. Then it got REALLY ugly.

I walked in, laid down on the little bench and tried to take deep breaths. The tech is really nice and tells me that she’s going to put in the IV for the iodine contrast, scan me, and have me out of there in 10 minutes.  She spends a long time looking for a good vein for the IV, tells me to expect a stick, and goes for it.  And gets nothing.  She tries again, this time on my other arm. Nothing. She tries a third time, back on the first arm, almost gets it…. but no.

She calls a nurse from somewhere who comes down and says she’d like to try this little trick. She lays a warm, wet towel on my left hand for a minute or so and then tries. DANG that hurts! She digs around for a bit. Nothing. “Ok, I’ve got one more trick,” she says. She puts a blood pressure cuff around my right arm – pumps it up – and looks for a vein in my wrist. One – two – three – poke. OUCH! All for nothing. This nurse then looks at me and says, “Since we can’t seem to get access, we’ll probably have to have you reschedule.” Are you kidding me????  I looked her in the eye and said, “No. Lets find ourselves a nice paramedic or flight nurse or something. I have veins and someone is going to get into one. There is no way I’m drinking that crap again.”

I might not have sounded quite as calm as I’m sure it reads.

All in all, I got stuck SEVEN times before they got an IV in, thanks to the help of a PA with an ultrasound machine. Even then, it was only about halfway in and was extrememly fragile. Which made the iodine injection really fun. But only 5 minutes after the injection – the scan was over – and I was on my way.

No results yet.

11%

Yes my friends, that is how much “real honey” is in the KFC Honey Sauce packets. It actually SAYS that on the packaging. Is that disturbing to anyone else?  Their butter packets don’t say anything about how much “real butter” is in them… I’m afraid to find out.

 

Totally got hit on by the drive-thru guy though.

 

Disturbed.