I Am So Thankful

I spent the morning catching up on my sleep after my interesting stay at the hospital. After checking further, the pharmacist should have known that morphine and dilaudid were related and that I would be in danger of an allergic reaction!! I will be much more careful in the future before taking new drugs!

We are having Thanksgiving here-for probably the last time-as we do hope to sell the house and go smaller next year. I spent the afternoon setting my table-ironing the linens, polishing silver, placing the china, silver and crystal. I used a large metal “horn” that I have and placed all colors and sizes of gourds in it for my centerpiece. For candles,  I got out tiny little turkey candle holders for slim tall tapers. My table is white, red and gold (yellow) and so pretty!

Dennis finished the girls’ special Christmas presents and then helped me by doing the final grocery shopping for things we didn’t/couldn’t get yesterday. And then, he cleaned my ovens!! I have never heard of a husband that would clean an oven-but there he was scrubbing away so that I would not hurt my hands any further! What a wonderful, special man I am married to! I know that Jesus is taking note of all Dennis does for me-he has to have the most wonderful for jewels for his crown in heaven! All I could do was stand there and cry and thank God for him.

This certainly is not all that Dennis does for us, for our home.  He completely takes care of the laundry,  nine times out of ten, he cooks and cleans up! When I cook,  he cleans up. He takes care of our home both inside and out-whatever he can do to free me to work or to rest-whatever I need at the time.  He also chauffeurs me around,  as much of the time lately,  I can’t drive.  He takes our puppy Max and a book and they wait for me to finish a meeting or an appointment.

This week as a lot of my family comes to join us-I look back over the last year and all that has transpired. I see so much more good than bad-regardless of the financial struggles-the day by day dependence and growing relationship with my Heavenly Father has taken precedence over everything else I think about or do.  In every situation, I find myself thinking “what’s the lesson here?” or “what is God doing ?” or “who am I to share all this with?”  My continuing Bible study with BSF and how what I learn intertwines with my GriefShare Ministry as well as daily devotionals that I read or are sent to me,  continue to amaze me as I know that is my Father speaking directly to me and my circumstances.

So, regardless of what I am dealing with physically, or financially–I feel tremendously thankful and blessed- I truly have everything that gives one joy and peace.


Wrong Diagnosis!!

I had my brain angiogram yesterday. To the great surprise of my nuero doc, I do not have any fistulae, no arteriovenous malformations! I do have an inordinate number of blood vessels all over my scalp, but no tumor in the brain, no aneurysm. This is all great news!

The only bad news is that I still have a tremendous headache; I still have fluid in 3 pockets on my head; still have the nausea and dizziness–and NO ANSWERS!

I have to admit that at first, I cried. It is very frustrating to know that something is wrong with you, but hard to diagnose! I was very happy that it wasn’t as horrible a diagnosis as they thought, but all I was dealing with yesterday was an excruciating headache. After taking Vicodin, to no avail, they gave me Dilaulid as I am allergic to Morphine. Unfortunately, we very quickly found out that I am also severely allergic to the Dilaulid-it started with severe itching and then my asthma kicked in and very soon I was coughing and wheezing and not getting my breath. Thank goodness for one of the nurses who is also asthmatic-she got me the right meds pretty quickly, but I still had to stay overnight in the hospital. It was 3 in the morning before I was really able to settle down and sleep.

Needless to say, I scared my neuro doc to death! He is not used to dealing with asthma or any side effects from meds. I told him I am a walking “Murphey’s Law” when we first met. I think he believes it now!  The next step is a confab between him and all the nuero docs at USF. He will present my tests, scans, notes and his findings on Tuesday to them and hopefully someone will have an idea of what I have or what to do next!

Surprise! My Doctor’s Appointment Today!

I am again blessed! I was able to get in and see the new neurosurgeon today! He was very knowledgeable and even though this is a rare condition, is his specialty. He was very thorough in his examination and in looking over my existing MRI. He talked us through best and worse case scenarios and showed us what he saw on the scans. Then he ordered a CT Scan as well. We plan to do the angiogram on the 20th and surgery on the 23rd. Best of all possibilities is that they can fix everything through arteries-not invading my scalp or skull! Worst case, they fix it both ways. But the main thing is, that he can fix it! Now I just have to get through the week, working and operating as normally as possible!

Tonight was the next to last night for our 13 weeks of GriefShare Ministry until we start again in January. How wonderful it was to watch as people who had been coming all along shared and helped the newer ones! To see the blossoming of faith, the coming along in the process of grief for people where they are now vs 12 weeks ago is truly amazing and could only be a God thing! Saturday we will have a “Surviving the Holidays” seminar from 10-12pm. A lot of the “regulars” are bringing family members and we have many who couldn’t attend regularly but are coming just for this one time. I pray that God will richly bless this time and heal broken hearts, frozen hearts, mad hearts that will all be there.

A New Doctor!

After listening to counseling from family and friends, we did pray that God would lead us to a doctor who is a specialist in DAVF. My wonderful administrator Carol found him for me doing research. He is with the Neuro Group at USF Medical-which takes my insurance! He can see me next Thurs, the 19th, do the angiogram and surgery all very quickly! St. Joseph’s where we were yesterday can’t even do the angiogram till December!

I realize this isn’t an emergency like an aneurysm. But I can tell you it is very difficult to work, drive-anything with all the side effects of this! So I am really thankful-wish it was this week, but I can’t have everything!

I have been amazed at the outpouring of prayers, loving words and scriptures sent to me from my GriefShare leaders all over the country along with friends, family and new friends who have found out about the tumor! How blessed I feel!  Thank you for all you who have written!

New Diagnosis-Dural Arteriovenous Fistalas

Well, I have to say first,that I was very surprised today! I really expected the radiologist to just inject some cortisone and I was making too much of all this. Turned out I was wrong. Turned out I have two holes in my head! Both of them have arteries and veins and dura(brain covering material) coming out of the holes. They are both apparently tied into major arteries or a major artery in my brain. This is what is causing my vomiting, headaches and dizziness and even the ringing in my ears that I thought was my ears being infected! Amazingly, it is genetic and probably the lesions(tumors) have been growing 35 years or more!

Our next step is a  cerebral angiography . This is where they thread a catheter through the groin up to your neck and then insert dye to look at all the veins and arteries. We hope to do this next week. Then with the right information, the surgeon and the radiologist can decide exactly how and where to operate.

I have checked the internet for who does these very rare surgeries. I have found Mayo Clinic-which of course has saved my life before! and Mt Sinai in NY. Tomorrow I will call and speak with people at both places and see what kind of opinions they have.

So of course, the first question everyone in my family or at work has asked me is how I feel about this? Isn’t this just a little too much? Why in the world would God allow me to suffer again, more? My only answer is that He knows exactly what He is doing. I can’t begin to understand what other people with brain tumors or issues have unless I have been through this suffering myself. Already there are 5 people who have reached out to me that want to talk! I will get to share Jesus with everyone! Isn’t their eternity more important than my physical suffering? Isn’t this what Paul spoke of so often? I know he addresses this in II Corinthians 1:3-11.  Read it for yourself. Tell me what YOU think!

God is Creative, Therefore We Are!

Our message today was first that God is an Artist… as we are made in the image of the creative God, each of us is creative! Even if you think on of the left side of your brain! It can be expressed in so many ways besides painting or music or design-it can be problem solving, parenting, leadership, scientific research-anything! Gen 1:26 “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…the word there means like an ICON. Our ICONS on the computer point to different master program. So the thought is–Am I an ICON that represents God when people “click” on me?

The next important point was that God the Son-Jesus_ is the expression, the medium of God. He is the image of the invisible God. When you look at Him, you see God. He is the ICON that points to the Father.

In Gen 1:7-8 “God breathed life into man’s nostrils and he became a living being”. As a believer, I am embued with the Holy Spirit-he lives within me because I asked Him to. So the inspiration is that the next time I have a problem, I take a deep breath. I breath in His thoughts-often the answer to my problem or issue.

I wonder if I am stamped with the image of God? Do people look at me and see Him? What picture do I present with the way I live? Am I Salt and Light?

Pretty deep  thougths, but so important! Life changing for anyone who reaches out to have it.

November 5th, A Most Interesting Day

November 5th, 1953 my sister came into this world. We celebrate her birthday today! One day, with her permission, I’ll tell you more about her. But my opinion is that she is an extremely talented interior designer with architectural abilities. She has my total love and acceptance. She is the “Queen” of the 4 sisters. Our youngest sister, who just announced her 2nd pregnancy this week! is our “Princess”

Today is also the first anniversary of my mom’s death. My mom and I had a strange and wonderful relationship-probably like a lot of other daughters and their moms. As I have reflected back on our relationship today in particular, I am so thankful that first and foremost she was a believer who taught her children about the Lord-in some cases led them to Him, but always was a praying mom. She knew scripture like no one I have ever known and everyone she met, she shared Jesus with. I often thought she was so over the top with that, but this last year, I have felt that same mantle falling on my shoulders and as I have read and studied on my own and given God permission to bring Himself up in any conversation I have-it has been truly amazing how He has done that. Every single day, as a result, I get to share Jesus with somebody! Maybe it is someone who already knows Him, but needs uplifting, maybe it is someone who is seeking, maybe it is someone who doesn’t have a clue, but there they are in my sphere. You see, I do believe that God sent His Son so that people should not perish-and I certainly don’t want anyone to perish on my account!

So the next thing that happened this day was that an article that I wrote got published by EzineArticles.com! How exciting that was! I wrote about how God answers prayer specifically for us. I’ll eventually figure out how to do that link…but go to www.ezinearticles.com  then click on self improvement and spiritual. My article was listed at #7. The great news is that they asked for more, classified me as an expert author-no less! I do have ideas for continuing  a series on answered prayer as that is such a major issue in peoples’ lives.

Then I had a bit of “bad” news. Although I have to say for the first time in my life getting news that I am once again sick and facing possible serious surgery, I am only excited to find out what God is going to do this time! There truly is no fear, no “God mad”. I know that He is not finished with me yet-if only because of my GriefShare ministry and now my writing. It seems that I have developed the same symptoms in the same place on my head as I had almost 2 months ago when they removed that weird outside the brain tumor. I have about a 3/4 in “bubble” filled with fluid that has just come up. It has brought the headache and dizziness back from before. I will see the chief radiologist of the main hospital I go to on Monday. He will do some more scans and from there, I guess he and my neurosurgeon will decide whether to operate-like inside the brain- or whether to try to inject cortisone into the bubble. The danger is that the bubble is right over my main artery in my brain which holds a  quarter of the body’s blood! He misses and I am dead! Again, this will be where my trust in my Great Physician comes in. He knows all things-knew this was coming, isn’t surprised by it and has already taken care of it! I just get to hang around and see what HE DOES! 

Obviously I believe I have a story to tell or I wouldn’t be writing! It’s interesting that also this week the author of the writing workshop that I have just connected with and will go the first time this month has gone the extra mile to connect me with others that can help me with this writing gig-more than a workshop can! And I met a new person at my GriefShare group tonight whose 83 yr old dad has just published his first novel-a story of his mom raising 7 kids in the true recession. I can’t wait to meet him at his book signing this weekend!