Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reflections & big boys

It has been two weeks exactly since I went under the knife.  In some ways it feels like it has been so much longer and in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday.  I am definitely doing better than I have been in my  last few posts.  I'd say 75% of the time I'm doing pretty well and 25% of the time I'm fighting of bouts of discouragement.  On Saturday, I spent some time with Matt and the kids and I felt like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but of course I overdid it and on Sunday I felt like I was back to square one.  The rash is starting to clear up because I removed every last bit of tape.  The wound, however has gotten worse - I'm thinking because it has been more exposed...and because the staples need to come out. My friends, family and readers have been super supportive and I've never felt so loved.  I've gotten lots of phone calls and emails which have meant the world (even though I've hardly called or emailed anyone back). People have driven for hours to babysit, delivered meals despite their own challenging situations and even contributed financially towards our deductible. My husband is doing an INCREDIBLE job playing Mr. Mom despite the fact that he is truly exhausted.  I am so blessed!
 In my last post, which I wrote in the middle of the night, I was a bit discouraged and felt like I had nothing inspirational to offer, but as soon as I opened my eyes the next morning I knew that had changed.  That night I had tossed and turned and couldn't get comfortable.  I had tried laying on  my back, laying on my side, sitting up.  I'd moved to this side and that side of the couch and just couldn't get comfortable. After what felt like hours of discomfort, I finally picked a different spot on the couch and settled in for the night.  Earlier that week I had noticed that when I looked at my mom's television from my bed I could see a beautiful reflection of the trees and waterfront.  It was almost as good as looking out the window.  I thought it was a blessing.  Well, the morning after that incredibly uncomfortable evening, I opened my eyes and noticed the view immediately.  It was not a reflection.  It was the real thing.  I was now looking directly out the window and it was absolutely gorgeous.  I was once again reminded that during those difficult times when things feel like they couldn't get worse, our Father is at work.  He is moving in our lives and bringing us to a better place.  He's bringing us to a place where we aren't just seeing a reflection of Him.  He's opening our eyes and revealing who He really is.  Those rough days, painful seasons, and seemingly meaningless moments are all coming together and bringing beauty and peace.
One such challenge for me right now is Blake's (my five year old's) heart.  I guess I thought my kiddos would miss me tremendously while I .was gone.  In my naivety I pictured them counting down the days until mommy came home.  Well the past few times I've visited , Blake has made comments like - why are you here? Or, is time for you to leave yet?  Between the babysitters and daddy time, Blake has been entertained, had extra screen time and eaten things I'd never even think of giving him.  Thinking of mommy coming home is kind of like the end of the party for him.  Now, of  course I am an adult and I realize that if I was a kid I would probably feel the same way - but, I can't help it, it still hurts.  Not only that, but the way that he is speaking to me and acting around me reminds me that he is no longer a toddler - but a boy.  His sinful nature (that we all have, of course) is showing up in more clear, tangible ways.  I don't feel ready.  I had kind of gotten the toddler thing down, what am I going to do with this real boy?  How do I point his heart toward His Savior?  Will he see Jesus in me?  Oh, how I hope that I reflect God's love and that he will be drawn towards it.  How do I respond to the attitudes of his heart rather than the more obvious direct disobedience issues (which, of course, we still have some of those too).  Many of you have said that you were thankful for my blog because it helped you know what to pray.  I'd love prayers for my re-integration into the family.  Please pray that I will go back home renewed, refreshed and with a clear vision for my family.  Pray that God would protect me from the lies of the evil one that whispers (and sometimes screams) things like, you can't do this.  Or, you are not cut out for the "big-boy" stage.  Pray that we quickly get back into a routine that brings order, peace & education (not just brain education, but heart education).  Pray that somehow I can reflect Jesus, even while I am still recovering.  I am so thankful for each of you, both those of you I know & those of you who have just stumbled across this blog.  Having an outlet has been incredibly important to me on this difficult journey.  I pray that even as you read this God is pouring out blessing upon you and reminding you that you are loved and the He is not finished with you yet.  Oh, how thankful I am that he is not finished with me!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tornados & blood pressure

It's 3:30 am - I'd usually be nursing Teal sometime between now and 4:30 am. But he is not here. I can't sleep because I can't seem to get comfortable. Between my poison oak like rash (actually an allergic reaction to the medical tape), the dull ache of my leg, and the many positions I'm not supposed to be in, sleep seems to be a lost cause.  I am trying to muster up the energy to plug in my enormous cow maker (breast pump) so I can stay on Teal's schedule.  But plastic doesn't compare to precious half asleep eyes, or soft mohawky hair...and especially not dimply (tiny as they might be) smiles.  This missing of my baby and children is so strange.  On the one hand I long for them, on the other hand I am scared of returning to them.  This is one of the tough moments of this journey.  There have been many positive moments as well.  I quickly transitioned from a walker, to crutches, to one crutch.  I  can pour myself a glass of water - and even take a shower. Don't know that I will anytime soon though because I made the horrible mistake of spending too much time in the hot water last night (trying to soothe the rash).  My blood sugar is still too low and my pulse is still to high and for some reason the shower sent my heart rate off the charts. It started beating so fast that for the first time I was literally a bit scared for my life.  It took me a good 45 minutes to calm down.  Then, even though my heart was beating slowly, it still seemed to be working extra hard. I'm glad to be past that.  Remembering it makes me thankful for this tough moment.  Every day I wake up feeling like I have so much time on my hands and excited about what I might be able to get accomplished (I've been hoping to re-work our web site while I have a lot of extra down time).  And every day I end up frustrated because the simple things like getting dressed, exercising, keeping Teal fed (here or not) etc...take ten times more energy and time than usual.  I end up with only an hour or so of productive time.  I know, I know, I shouldn't be trying to be productive right now.  But the web site is something I enjoy doing and rarely even have a second to work on when I'm with the kiddos.  Yesterday I did a little bit better of recognizing my stress as seeking my will instead of God's.  I tried to hand it over to Him as much as possible.  When I'd start getting frustrated that I couldn't do what I wanted to I would pray, Father show me what YOU want for me for this moment.  Forgive me for clinging to what I want.  Change my heart.  And, nine times out of ten he did.  But the process was (and is) continual.

I've had some pretty bad dreams lately - I am now completely off the pain killers (other than Tylenol) so perhaps they will ease up.  But one that keeps popping back into my head was so scary, and felt so real.  Our whole family was in a pick up truck (how we all fit, I have no idea).  We started to get out of the truck.   I had Avonlea with me and Matt was walking around the vehicle to get to the boys.  We started feeling a strong wind.  It got stronger and stronger and I had to cling to Avonlea with all of my strength.  People and vehicles around us started to be pulled into the storm. It was a Tornado.  Matt was being sucked away.  He was screaming and reaching out for the kids.  The boys were by themselves in the truck begging for me to come to them.  I couldn't fight the wind.  I couldn't get to them. The truck started spinning, the kids screamed louder - everything in me wanted to be with them.  I knew we were going to die - I just wanted to do it together.  I woke up completely soaked with sweat - and even more thankful for my precious family.

I feel like my blogs have been nothing more than rambling lately - they don't really have an obvious point or theme.  But I want you to know that your sweet comments and messages about how much you are enjoying them have been a soothing balm and an inspiration during this difficult time.  I started this post with tears streaming down my face - I couldn't seem to pull it together.  And now, after simply sharing my heart I feel at peace and ready to get back to work...bring on the plastic.

Thank you for being an integral part of my healing process.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Visions & pain

     "It hurts so bad, can I have some more pain medicine?!  Please!"  "Hello?  This really hurts I need something else for the pain.  Someone, help!"
     "Maam, you lost a lot of blood.  We've had to do multiple transfusions.  Your blood pressure is too low.  There is nothing we can do for the pain until you are more stable."
     "Please, please - pain medicine, please!"
     "I'm sorry, Maam - you are going to have to wait."
This conversation repeated itself over and over again for  hours and hours after the surgery. I'm not sure exactly how long it was, but it felt like FOREVER! When they finally got me stabilized (thank you, Jesus) they were able to send some relief my way. But, it was a little bit too late emotionally. I had definitely entered the, oh no, what have I gotten myself into, mindset.  I was scared. Tired. Still in pain (though thankfully not quite as much) and regretting my decision.  I don't remember exact details of the next couple of days. I do remember being curled up in a ball posting desperate facebook messages pleading for prayer.  And being glued to my cell phone as the encouragement came pouring in message after message. I have a love hate relationship with facebook, but let me tell you - this week, I LOVE it.  I don't know what I would have done without that encouragement. I was constantly praying "God help me" kind of prayers, but the tangible words and prayers of friends and family were like medication to my soul.
     Matt had to leave the hospital around 5:30 am, but not too long after my mom was by my side.  The next few days were spent trying to get my blood levels back to normal and relieve my pain.  Each time my pain would start to feel better, my blood pressure would go down and they'd have to make changes with the medication.  It was a continual cycle.  I got lots of encouragement from friends who were watching my kids - sweet photos of their happy smiles - emails about how well they were doing and how sweet they were.  I clung to these little things.
The surgery, which was estimated to take four hours, took eight hours.  They had a hard time getting the titanium rod (from my fall off the cliff) out of my femur and had to be incredibly aggressive.  But it all came together in the end and the surgeon is happy with the results so far.  I'm glad he is happy. I haven't quite gotten there yet.  I don't regret the decision anymore, I know it will be worth it.  But if I think beyond the moment it is easy to be paralyzed by fear. So, I'm trying really hard not to think beyond the moment.  "God is my God and I will ever praise Him.  STEP by STEP He'll lead me and I will follow him all of my days"
     This week I'm staying at my moms house with our five month old, Teal.  My mom is an incredible blessing and is taking very good care of us.  Friends and family are still helping with the three older kids.  Nurses and physical therapists pop in and out and encourage me to exercise and be on my feet (with a walker) as much as possible.  I try.  I keep my mom entertained too.  One night at three in the morning I woke her up in a panic. 
"Mom! Mom! Come quick!"
"What is it, honey?"
"Mom, please don't think I'm crazy, but my future self is trying to relay a message.  Come, look - she is sending messages through this rash on my leg"
She looked at me completely dumbfounded and said something to the effect of "are you serious?"  Then she made her way towards me wondering if I had completely lost it.
I was 100% serious (I'm guessing it was the Oxycodone).  I had an allergic reaction to the tape they used on my surgical wound and my entire leg was itching and oozing and killing me. I needed her help with the rash and we ended up calling the nurse.  After she helped me sooth the pain she asked me if I remembered what I said about my future self.  It came pouring back.  I truly thought she was going to find a message written in the wound.  She and I laughed uncontrollably for a good 15 minutes...which would have been great if laughing didn't hurt so much.
     The next couple of weeks/months will probably be filled with interesting moments - I'm hoping to record as many of them as I can.  I would definitely appreciate continued prayers as I am realizing more and more how long of a road this is going to be.  I have to admit I'm nervous about next week.  How am I going to continue to recover when I'm surrounded by my little ones?  Will I be able to be a good mother?  A good wife? What if my amazing friends and family get sick of helping?  I'm surrendering these questions to my Maker on a regular basis. I have absolutely no idea how people get through these type of things without a relationship with Jesus.  He is my rock. Hopefully I'll find the energy to start spending some quality time with Him.  At least for now I've got quantity time.  He is with me always.

Old hips & new hope

     It is 5:30 am, the perfect time for me to spend some quality time with Jesus - but, I don't want to.  So, I'm writing this blog post instead.  You know what?  As I typed that I heard a still small voice (hopefully the Holy Spirit and not the Oxycodone) say - "I am with you always."  So, I guess officially I am spending time with Jesus...and my blog.  I thought I'd take a few moments to record some thoughts about the journey I'm walking (well, actually NOT walking) through in regards to my recent hip replacement. 
     The few weeks before the hip replacement were quite intense.  I had no idea how much time and energy it would take to figure out what to do with four kiddos for two weeks. You would probably laugh if you could see the size of the spreadsheet labeled "Hip Surgery - Kiddos".  There were soooo many needs.  God is pretty incredible though!  Every day either someone would come to mind or call me out of the blue asking what they could do to help.  And almost every time I had an answer for them.  Wow, it is humbling being needy.  But it is also so incredibly faith building.  God sent so many helpers.  Family, friends, and even people I'd lost touch with for years and years stepped up.  I have never felt so loved.  Because God was working so miraculously, my attitude was beautiful.  Those last few days I treated my husband with utmost respect and loved my children like never before.  NOT.  God would literally fill in 10 blanks on my spread sheet and I would thank Him by allowing my my stress level (and voice level) rise another 10 degrees.  I'm so thankful that I have a husband who, like my Heavenly Father, will never leave me nor forsake me.  Cuz, I'm guessing that month it might have been pretty tempting. 
    The week before the surgery the pain in my hip intensified 100%.  It was a strange feeling.  There was a part of me that was bummed to be experiencing so much pain and this other part of me that was thankful that my decision to have my hip replaced was being verified so clearly. I spent so much time that week physically preparing for my surgery that there really wasn't much time or energy left to prepare myself emotionally.  Riding to the hospital felt surreal. I went back and forth between trusting God and asking Matt to turn the car around.  The surgery was scheduled for 11:00.  We arrived around 10:15 and they immediately whisked me to a room without Matt.  He waited in a waiting room while they poked and prodded and asked questions and got me prepared.  I wasn't incredibly impressed (not with the care, but with the fact that my husband came to be my support and yet he had to do it from a room hundreds of yards away).  About an hour after we arrived they let him back in  and told us that it was now time to hurry up and wait.  They said that Dr.Brown was scheduled to be done around 11, but probably would be a few hours late because he was a perfectionist and wanted to make sure that every single surgery was done as perfectly as possible.  I was thankful to hear that and glad to wait for my perfectionist doctor - I was the next one on the table after all. The next couple hours Matt and I felt like we were on a date.  It was peaceful - truly. At one point I watched a slide show of my four precious blessings and tried to keep the tears from falling as I hoped and prayed that I would wake up and have the wonderful opportunity to continue being there mommy.  I reflected on their unique personalities and quirks and once again was overwhelmed with thankfulness for the blessings that God continually pours upon our family.
     I just realized this post is turning into a novel, so I'm going to go ahead and hit  publish and then write the rest of the story.  If you want to read the rest this morning, it'll probably be done in about a half an hour or so.  Thank you for your incredible support over the past few weeks. The emails, phone calls, facebook messages, and offers to help were and are an incredible blessing!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fear & trust

I ended my last post with the following paragraph - 
"I am really thankful that I am starting to recognize that choosing stress and worry is like kicking God of His throne.  I hope and pray that each time I find myself heading in that direction, I will say - not my will but yours be done.  Please, Lord - stay on the throne of my life.  I KNOW you'll do a much better job than I could ever do!"

And yet tonight - I am having a hard time trusting Him.  I'm, well - scared.  A week from today I'm having my right hip replaced.  I'm not sure exactly what the source of my fear is...I think it mostly has to do with being away from my four children for more than a week.  They have never been away from me for more than 2 days.  

Who's going to tickle Cole's neck, back & legs (in that order) as he makes his way up the stairs to his loft bed at nap time?  What will Avonlea think when I just disappear (I've tried to explain it to her, but she's only two).  Will I be able to make it through the whole thing without losing the ability to nurse our five month old?  Blake is SO CLOSE to reading...what if I miss the moment it all clicks?  

What if I feel like jogging after the surgery - they say I can't.  What if the kids act up more than usual while I'm gone?  What if I never wake up?  Can I sit in a bean bag (I heard something about not being able to sit in low positions). ? How long will it take to get back into our daily routine - which I've finally figured out how to enjoy (most days)?  What will my house look like when I get home?  What if one of the babysitters has to cancel?  What if my kids get sick?  What if I get sick? How long will it take us to pay the deductible?

Is this pain really going to go away?  Will I feel like an old lady? Can I dance? 

The questions linger...and I'm tempted to stay in this place.  But, for this moment - I'm going to choose a different path.

Join me?

Father God,
I am so thankful for all that you give me.  Thank you for saving my life all those years ago when I took a nose dive off a twenty foot cliff.  Thank you for allowing me to carry children.  You are a life giver.  Help me trust you with mine.  You are here with me this very moment and won't leave me (or my children) as we go through this challenging time.  Thank you for the wonderfully supportive friends and family you surround me with.  Please, Lord - help me focus on what you give and not what might be taken away.  May I rest in you tonight Father.  May the person reading this who is struggling with their own difficult circumstance, feel Your presence this very moment.  My they (we) know beyond a shadow of a doubt - that you are there.  You are loving.  You are faithful.  You never EVER give up on us - and you'll never leave us or forsake us.  May they (we) never take a single moment for granted, but learn to see You and all that you give.  I love you, Lord - help me to love you more.  Amen.