Life Hangs By a Thread

You know the Bible says our lives are like a wisp of smoke, but mine was brought home to me literally this morning as once again, I aspirated something I drank-coffee, this time. When this happens it triggers violent coughing, hopefully getting out everything that went into my lungs. My nose fills up too, making it very hard to breathe. I know if I can’t get it all up, and eventually get the coughing to stop, it’s another trip the ER. Oh, not on July 4th, please!! That was my prayer, in my mind…

Obviously, I got it all out and then did the nebulizer breathing treatment. Sore, not talking right now. But all along, I kept thinking how thin a thread it is that keeps any of us alive! A person can have great health, but slip and fall and get a severe concussion as my sister did a few weeks ago. Hitting just a little higher or lower on the stair and not missing the metal strip, was the key to no major damage. All in an instant! As was mine… When one is young, usually there are no thoughts about death. One thinks they will live forever. I remember thinking people over 35 were “old or past it” whatever “it” was! Oh what a comeuppance I’ve had as I’ve grown older! I guess I never expected to be 67 either! But as I have said before, the Lord God has plan for my life and the number of  my days written in His Book of Life and nothing can alter that.

Jeremiah 29:11-13   For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.   What a promise!! One of my favorites!

Revelation 17:8  …those on earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the Book Of Life from the foundation of the world…

Revelation 21:27  (speaking of those who will enter heaven) And nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but ONLY those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Remember here that I wrote that we are all made perfect in Christ and it is by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS that we are made whole and perfect by accepting that sacrifice He made on the cross. Our God dying for us, to give us eternal life! What other god in any other religion has ever done such a thing for his people, much less his creation?

In Him we have freedom. Our country was founded on Christian principles. I pray God that we will celebrate that today of all days! Happy Birthday, America!

Cindy

It’s Hard To Believe It’s Been Five Months…

However, I have just been through the hardest months of my life! As I look back over all I have ever been through, I have often wondered, except for the Lord, I know I would have never made it! That is certainly true of these last few months! Except that this time, I got impatient and angry. I decided it wasn’t fair, in all honesty. I had just had enough. You see in October, I contracted this weird inner ear/balance issue called labrynthitis. Didn’t really get over that before I came down with MRSA and then had to be treated with IV antibiotics, the  first two of which was highly allergic to! But I went every single day from Thanksgiving until February 1, eventually having to have surgery to clean it out. It is a nasty bug and it can always come back.  Then February 4th, I went into the hospital with clots and severe asthma. I spent a week in the hospital with that.

The Lord says He always has a purpose for what He allows in our lives. He definitely believes in “those teachable moments.” Mine came Friday night watching some different people on Christian TV (the 5th). There were so many things said that just broke my heart. I could see that I was exactly where I needed to be. I had already been introduced to new doctors that for the first time in my life actually seemed to get that certain issues that I thought should be addressed would be addressed. Hopefully this isn’t TMI, but I have a clotting problem obviously as this is the third time for clots in my lungs (see my posts from July 2012) and I have had 3 strokes. The hematologist asked me if I was northern European by descent (Scottish, Irish, English)-yes to all. It turns out, they have a known clotting issue. So I find out on this Tuesday if that is one of my problems. The pulmonologist is also first-rate. He has seen me 3 times since I got out of the hospital, even had to send me back last week as I was in the middle of another attack plus bronchitis. He does believe that there are medicines that with the right testing, my life can be turned around. But mostly, I realized, I needed an attitude adjustment!!

On top of that three weeks to the day that I had gone into the hospital, I had to put my husband in as his heart began to fail again. Unfortunately some very poor cardiologists made some bad choices for him in taking him off of his heart medications in the last 2 years and that is pretty much why he is in trouble now, according to the new cardiologist we have. Please pray for him especially! He has prescribed a brand new congested heart failure medicine for him, plus there is going to be lots of new testing in the next several months. We are hoping that he won’t have to have a new pacemaker/defibrillator installed in the fall.

Today’s devotional from JESUS CALLING by SARAH YOUNG is very special to me.

“Trust Me One Day  At A Time. This keeps you close to Me, responsive to My will. Trust is not a natural response, especially for those of you who have been deeply wounded. My Spirit within you is your resident Tutor, helping you in this supernatural endeavor. Yield to His gentle touch; be sensitive to His prompting.

Exert your will to trust Me in all circumstances. Don’t let your need to understand distract you from My Presence. I will equip you to get through this day victoriously, as you live in deep dependence on Me. Tomorrow is busy worrying about itself; don’t get tangled up in its worry-webs. Trust Me one day at a time.”

Psalm 84:12 O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trust in you.

Matthew 6:34 therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Please understand that I am NOT saying that I do this well at all! I don’t. I haven’t. I am trying. I am sharing this out of my deepest thankfulness for people in my life who have loved me, prayed for me, supported me, cared for me anyway-even when I was so desperate and angry and so weary I wasn’t sure I could go on. Thank the Savior that He understands all of this. That there is such infinite GRACE!

Cindy

June 13th Was My Birthday!

IMG_0615As many of you know, I consider it quite an accomplishment when I get to celebrate another birthday! And so it was this year too! First, I should count my many blessings: my husband of 34 years whom I love so much! My wonderful kids-actually grown women now and son-in-law, and 3 fabulous grand girls! Then there are all of my extended family, my 5 siblings and their families. I have such great sib in-laws, and nieces and nephews and 2 grand-nephews. Then there are my cousins and their families. I look back through the pictures of my life and it has passed so fast so far! I have so many wonderful memories. Not that I plan on stopping making memories, but today I feel very blessed. The picture which I will attach and am going to try to change on the Gravatar is what we took last Friday night. I was full of fresh oysters, shrimp and pompano (a wonderful fish)! All fixed at home, so far we do it better than anybody we’ve found locally! And I do make this wonderful salsa to go with the fish and shrimp. Marvelous!

As I have said so many times, it is the Lord’s blessing that I am here. We do believe that we are living in Paradise on earth anyway, back in FL. I have been able to find some genuinely caring doctors who have gone above and beyond to see to my care. I thought that I would simply see a breast reconstruction surgeon when I got to FL as that was what I was cautioned by my oncologist. I had a lump that was needle biopsied after an MRI couldn’t tell clearly what the lump was. When I brought the MRI to the FL surgeon and we discussed the lump, he said he wasn’t as concerned with getting that out as he was with the picture of my other breast. He showed us that it clearly showed the implant was millimeters from pushing through my skin! This would have been catastrophic on many levels he said. Immediate overwhelming infection, and less so, they couldn’t put the implant back in for 6-12 months. He emphasized the need for immediate surgery which I couldn’t believe they got approved so quickly with my insurance company. Once he got in, he said he found a mess. The previous breast surgeon I had after my double mastectomy had put in silicone implants, one that ruptured. When he replaced it, he never bothered to clean out the silicone. So it’s been flowing around loose in my body for all these years. It probably has something to do with the immunity disorder that I have as I have read that the silicone ruptures did lead to immunity issues in people. All I can say is it’s a good thing he is retired!!! Because of all the mess, it took 3 hours to do my surgery.  This surgeon has been incredible. I asked him about his bill and he said I would never see one. I asked if he was sure that Mentor would pay for my implants, he said absolutely. The hospital care was great too. Even his follow-up care has been above-board. He saw me in the office on a Sunday last week because of course, I have some infection. But he wanted to check me himself instead of sending me to the ER. Can you believe that? And he had already driven an hour out-of-town to do military stuff for 9 days. He is the only guy they use!!

Today I had another block in my back after seeing a neurosurgeon who wants to do a sacroiliac join fusion which he thinks will help my pain hugely. But the catch is being off of my right leg weight for 6-8weeks and I live in a townhouse. I need a stair lift and right now that isn’t doable anymore than more surgery is–maybe late this fall? In the meantime, I have a great pain management doc and he schedules me really fast. We saw him Wed and I had the block today. I have no pain at all in the joint. It usually takes a few days for the muscle going over to my hip to get the medicine to, but here is hoping it works for a while!

I have had the most difficult of business weeks. I don’t think I could have managed without my devotional and all of the scriptures from Jesus Calling. Please pray for me that next week goes well as it is a very important week of interviews!

So now we have been here 3 months. Slowly making friends with our neighbors and people at the church. It’s been hard with me being down, but I hope to start having people over for dinner! And I can’t wait for Bible Study to start in the fall. Bible Study and Sunday School that’s where you make your best friends.

so I think that is enough of an update for now.

Cindy

 

CHANGES…

I know that it has been some time since I have posted anything. For my faithful followers and inquirers, I do apologize. I have been going through some of the most difficult times of my life, though, and as I have sought the Lord, today, HE has answered me, most graciously. 

Back in February, I had to go to the ER again, because they thought I had another clot in my lungs. It turned out to be pleurisy which is a really painful lung condition. it hurts when you talk, when you laugh and when you cough–all of which I do a lot! Unfortunately the CT scan showed a couple of spots on my lung. I wasn’t really concerned until my GYN doc who had found a lump in my breast just the month before (yes, I’ve already had breast cancer once) was really upset about the possibility of the connection of the two issues and asked me to see a pulmonologist for a referral to an oncologist for a complete check. Notice please, this wasn’t my idea, but my doctor’s. I saw a pulmonologist right away, unfortunately not my own. What a mistake, that!! He didn’t seem to even know what cough variant asthma was! Nor did he know how to prescribe my cough syrup! My pharmacist thought that was a riot! At any rate, he looked right through me. Ever had anyone do that to you? I had no idea what his issue with me was-I had never met him. My pulmonologist and  I had a good relationship. She had cough variant asthma as well, so she certainly understood my issues. I had a terrible cough when I was there and certainly could have used a shot of decadron which is what my pulmonologist in Tampa would have given me. He was only concerned with the fact that he couldn’t hear me wheeze. Cough variant asthma people don’t wheeze–we cough!! Obviously he was no help at all as it took me 2 days to get the cough medicine!

That night I had a really, really bad asthma attack. It was like back in 2011 when I had all those really bad attacks. I think I was so worn down from all I have been through this year physically and mentally, I just didn’t have much strength to fight the spiritual battle that I have been able to do since that May 2011.   On top of that, I started getting opinions from everybody about what I should do, or not do, think or not think. Truly if I had not had the Lord Himself to go to for truth, I might have listened to wrong advice, wrong opinions. I did have a great ER doc. He referred me to an oncologist/hematologist. She turned out to be one of the most caring doctors I have ever met! Unfortunately I am not out of the woods yet as to the spots on my lungs–I will have to have follow up scans every few months.  But at least she has me set on the right course for care!

My journey took me to Breast Specialists of Atlanta. I understand they are the very best. First my insurance company insisted on a mammogram, which is very difficult when one has had reconstructive surgery and implants after a double mastectomy! Imagine my surprise when I found out that I had silicone implants! I thought for the last 11 years that I had saline implants because the first implants had leaked. Well, unfortunately, so have these 11 year old implants! There’s a big blob of silicone right on the outside of my left side where one of the “problems” was! The second problem has turned out to be a benign cyst that I just got the news back on today!! PRAISE THE  LORD! I had so asked that I not have cancer back. I really didn’t know how in the world I was going to handle working with chemo and radiation! Thankfully, the Lord heard my prayers, those of my husband, my sister and my daughters, my brother and sister in law! How precious have they been to pray for me! No diatribes or opinions-just care. When someone is hurting, that is all they need to hear, love and support!!

So physically, bottom line for me at the moment is to get the implants replaced with saline and get that silicone, once and for all, out of my body! That’s the first thing I have to do when I get to our new home in Niceville, Florida! Yes, that is the reason for the title of my post today. I think a lot of you have known we haven’t been thrilled with our circumstances or the quality of the life here. My husband has always wanted to retire to the Panhandle! I would always say no, too many hurricanes hit there, no medical care, etc, etc. But he has spent the last four months doing research on the area and we’ve gone down there several times for weekends. I was wrong. There is good medical care, even a new hospital and where we will live is not in an evacuation area– it’s about 15 minutes from the beach across the bay bridge. And the people are so nice! It’s small town America! Call me corny, but I am ready for it! I don’t need the big city! We are so excited about this! We think we have already found a church too, but we will visit awhile till the Lord says for sure. And as for my Bible study? I can keep up with my BSF International or go back to Precept upon Precept by Kay Arthur. I did that for several years before I started in BSF.  Our church has some great choices for women’s ministry as well as men.

I could go on and on about how much better we think our lives will be in our new city. Our new home, which will not be much more money than what we are paying now for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apt, is a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhome with a garage and backyard patio! We will feel like we are in a home again. Last Saturday night, the people above us had a fight from 12:30-2:30 AM. It was very loud, lots of screaming going on. It was really scary. The weekend before, they were vacuuming at 12:30 am. Really and truly, I can’t wait to leave next week!

Oh and if anyone wonders what about my wonderful job? My boss said when I asked him if he minded me moving to the Panhandle, “no, you’re just changing a zip code and an area code. whatever makes you happy.” He’s great, isn’t he?

I’ll write again when we get settled.

Goodnight and God bless!

 

Surely God Is My Salvation; I Will Trust And Not Be Afraid, Isaiah 12:2

The verse in the title came from my devotional this morning. I should finish it…  “The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation”. The Lord told me that hardships come my way as part of my journey. He is careful as He allows them and exactly how hard they are! But He said to not retreat in fear from the afflictions, since they are among His most favored gifts.  This was from the book JESUS CALLING  by Sarah Young.

Now let me tell you why this was so very important to me this morning. Last night, we had gotten home from a short visit to the Panhandle of Florida (more news on that later) but I had been short of breath and my chest had hurt increasingly as I coughed or laughed. So I had used my nebulizer, taken my other meds and just gone to bed early. I knew there was no way that I wanted to go to the ER on a Saturday night in Atlanta! I slept most of the night propped up on multiple pillows and had a neck pillow for my head.  My husband had thought a heating pad would help, so I used that too. Still we woke up early, not having gotten a lot of sleep. It was a rough night! Oh how much I prayed about NOT going to the hospital again! I prayed in the early morning, really having a running conversation with the Lord because by then, He had told me to go. I begged and pleaded not to have to or even just to go to Immediate Care, but no, He was so insistent. I can’t laugh, because it hurts, but I think now back on our conversation, He was very gentle, but like I said, so compelling me to go there!

So off we went. Everyone thought I had thrown another clot. I kept saying, ” I don’t have sticky blood!”, but the symptoms were there. The problem was that they needed to get an IV in the crook of the arm area. NOT the best vein area for me. I have the tiniest veins! It took 2 IV nurses and a sonogram machine to get the IV in a vein that didn’t blow! I have bruises everywhere else. The good news is/was that it wasn’t another clot! The bad news is that it seems I have pleurisy-and oh my goodness, does it ever hurt! They treat it with steroids, just like my asthma, so once they kick in, perhaps I’ll feel better. Steroids generally gave me energy and took away my RA pain. I certainly pray they will take away the lung pain. I have to admit to being pretty miserable with it.

And yet, I truly can say, thank you Lord! Thank you for the check up which I apparently needed. Yes, He knew that. And yes, I can praise Him through the pain as He is my Strength and my Song. Still, I would appreciate your prayers as I recuperate.

What A Lovely Weekend!

I feel so privileged to have family that loves one another! This weekend my husband and I spent with my sister and her husband who recently moved to Charleston and with our move in February, to Atlanta, now we are just 5 hours apart! The Lord blessed us with great weather and so we were able to go out in their boat and explore the coastline, the river, and some of the canals. We saw the lot where they are going to build her dream house after years of building and designing so many others’ dream homes.  Of course, my sister out did  herself with dinner last night. I even had to  bring home the recipe for the salad; it was so great!.

I  ostensibly went over to work with her to help her with marketing her business only to find out God had already been working on her behalf and teaching her Himself! How much better is that? And the stories she was telling me? Well, suffice it to say, her stories just as miraculous, wonderful, and quirky as mine are because we serve an awesome God!!

Last Tuesday night,  I started my Bible Study Fellowship class. It was a new group, in a new location because of our anticipated move  next spring. To me, it was like coming home in so many ways. Not  that the first group I attended was not a lovely group of ladies, it was. But this group simply reminds me in so many ways, of my friends at home-it’s just comforting. And the material is all new! New features and in depth scriptures! I really like it. It is like it is all brand new to me–like I have never studied it before. 

The other  very nice news from last week is that another sister–the one in Florida, is coming up to go to the Women of Faith conference here in October. that is so special to me! It seems like we have been going forever. I know at least for 10 years and now even with the move, it is nice to know that we won’t be stopping that tradition either!

So now to prayer requests: my back has gotten seriously bad for me. Turning or changing positions in bed or in a chair has gotten to being a very difficult proposition. I am having to use more medication than I like to use even though I know I have it for this very thing! I do have a last block planned for Tuesday. If it doesn’t hold, the doctor says I am most probably going to need surgery as I have been dealing with this problem for over a year and have had multiple blocks, which make me the perfect candidate for the procedure. They call it band-aid surgery these days-out patient procedure, but between this and another female issue, I may be spending a little more time than I would like or have planned with doctors. I would love it if the Lord would just make it all just go away. Please pray to that end.

Goodnight! God bless.

And Life Keeps Slipping On By…2 ER Visits

My August was crazy busy, punctuated by two ER visits that I couldn’t let slow me down. I know that might sound crazy in lieu  of all my physical issues, but to me, they were simply attacks. Satan‘s way of keeping me off my game. The first was my asthma of course. We tried the fire station again, but for some reason they took 10 minutes to come to the door and finally my husband had to call 911 to get them to call them. Their lights were out, I guess they all were sleeping. But it took them so long to get to me and then to decide to do anything-and nothing of importance that I wound up in the ER. The ER released me just in time to visit my pulmonologist that I already had an appointment with. It felt like one big plan on somebody else’s part. I finally got enough breathing treatments and drugs to do better-but a waste of time and energy as far as I am concerned.

And then because I had had a very short dose of antibiotics for that respiratory issue, my C Diff decided to raise its ugly head again and so I was in the ER  for a Monday afternoon for that. Unfortunately, that one’s not so easily gotten rid of and so I am still dealing with it and will for a awhile.  I did have a scan to make sure I hadn’t suddenly grown a tumor or a blockage, incase anyone would question that, but negative on that end too. Did I forget anything? oh yes, last week, I also had an eye infection. Nothing drops won’t take of though.

  I still base everything on 2 Corinthians 1: 4 though: The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we can comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  (American Standard Version)

So what do I think happened to me in August? Satan’s winning? God isn’t watching out for me so carefully? I think I covered this in my last post, but let me say it again, I believe that everything that touches me has to come filtered through God’s fingers. Just as the silversmith cannot take his eyes off of the silver being refined by the fire, neither can the Father take His eye off of me. So you say, “Cindy what about all these afflictions still?” I don’t know of fruit coming off the asthma episode yet, but I certainly saw it with the C Diff and a young nurse taking care of me in the ER. All afternoon I had wondered why I was there again, so soon after the last time, but it was for her. She is a nurse today because her brother had leukemia when she was young. He was one of the “lucky ones”. He now runs a camp for seriously ill children and she is nurse–would either of those careers been sought if other circumstances had prevailed in their young lives? But look whose lives they are touching now! I asked, of course about their own personal beliefs. I was very happy that both of them know Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God as their personal Savior. What I did encourage her to do is to write all her memories down from the sister perspective. How helpful that might be for someone else! She is like me and thinks she can’t write a book either, so I told her all about blogging. I hope she joins our world and she tells her brother. They could so multiply the good they do.

And you might be asking yourselves, “well, Cindy if you are so sure about your Heavenly Father and His eyes on you, why would you be questioning where you are again?” That would be because I am not perfect yet, especially when I am hurting. I need my Father right there, front and center, talking to me, telling me what I am supposed to do and if there is talking to be done to somebody, to bring them on, but that I need the right pain meds to be able to do that talking. My hospital doesn’t like Demerol. Until I had spend several hours rolling around in pain regardless of how much morphine they gave me, they didn’t go find any Demerol. It was amazing though how fast that Demerol worked! Then I could talk! And talk I did.

The other reason that I was questioning things was that the day before I had been absolutely compelled to go to FB Atlanta. I didn’t feel that well, my husband didn’t at all and so I had gone alone. Dr. Stanley spoke on 2 Corinthians 1: 4!  It’s funny, but I don’t believe I have ever heard a sermon on my verse before. Actually that wasn’t his main text. His main text was I Peter 1: 3-7  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation  that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Dr Stanley had many very important parts to his sermon. He thought they were so important that we all needed to be able to take notes and put them in our Bibles.  As it is late and I have already been so wordy, I’ll save the notes for part 2. So ya’ll come back now, cause these are great!!