Thursday, February 25, 2010

Are You There Spring?

What a great way to be welcomed home! I had so many cards from you that it took me three days to open them all. Even Zoe's class and the other third grade class inundated me with such creative and loving cards. Thank you Sacred Heart students for all your love! You rock
It's about that time where we are all at the point of being oh so over winter and the cold that it brings. It seems as though it has brought more to our household. Since I got out of the hospital I have been on the couch with little energy and terrible nausea. Today is my first good day and I am so very grateful for it. Along with my dilemmas also comes that of the rest of the family. Grace has missed another week of school due to a sinus infection which is not a huge deal but the antibiotic they put her on has given her severe stomach cramps and is just not comfortable at all. There is nothing worse than to hear your child cry in agony and there is absolutely nothing you can do. On top of that a nice little round of head lice has infested the school and yup, the girls got it. My prayers have been for Hal to stay healthy but God had other plans and because of all his running and taking care of EVERYTHING he has now battling a cold. Of course he is blowing if off as no big deal. Anyhow, things can only get better and they will. I know I sound hopeful now but I have to be honest and say that my trust and faith in my God was taken aback as I did nothing but ask him to help me and rid me of my pain. Once again my time frame and his are not quite synched and I was angry. For some reason it is hardest for me to pray and draw closer to Him when I am suffering. You would think it would be opposite. But when I did sit down and read my bible of course He answered me and made the words literally jump right out at me....
Isaiah 49; 14-16 The lord has forsaken me my lord has forgotten me. Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget i will never forget you. See upon the palms of my hands I have written your name your walls are ever before me.
I do believe at times that God has forgotten me, that he doesn't see nor hear me... why doesn't he just do what i ask when I ask??? Because he has different plans- plans which are mysterious and hidden from me. I will continue to pray for the grace I need to bear my suffering patiently which he has now heard and given me. I am feeling so much better and can now understand a bit better what he has in store for me. I know that his plan includes telling you about my story. I need to share with you what I 've learned about Christ through our challenges and our thanksgiving for all that he has given me and my family. Al thought we undergo our trials we wouldn't change what we have learned about our faith and our God.
The sun is shining and the month of February is almost over. Soon we will see little bits of green popping out and perhaps some flowers. I will wait patiently for the change in season because I know it will come, that's how He has planned it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Goodbye KU Hospital

I was told today that tomorrow I will be discharged. YAHOO is all I can say to that! Oh and AMEN. It has been a long 15 days here at KU hospital and although the entire staff is nothing but fabulous, I am ready to go home and see my family and sleep in my oh so missed sleep number bed.
Let's see what has happened since Hal last blogged for me (and what an incredible job he did. He has such a great way with words. I told him that he could take over for me anytime. Thanks honey I love you). Last Friday I had a simple procedure done in the radiology department where they inserted a filter in my chest which does just that, it filters any clots that may produce and catches them before they can gather in my lung.
Yesterday they put me under and did a laproscopy to my right lung. The CT scans were still showing strange nodules and so we decided the laproscopy could tell us more. Well it did, it told us that there was definitely no cancer in the lung and that the most probable reason why I began bleeding in the first place was because of the blood thinner they had me on. Such great news!!!! The new plan of action is to put me on a very low dose of coumadin (a blood thinner) and send me home. I am feeling pretty good, a bit tired but good.
I can't wait to get back to Shawnee and see all of you and personally thank you once again to seeing that me and my family were taken care of. Your love for us shows in all the little and great things that you so unselfishly take on.
Hal's parents are here and as usual have been a huge help. They got here and immediately took charge of what needed to be done. It's so nice that they know the kid's schedule and can just take over at a moment's notice. I see the Holy Spirit surrounding us and teaching us the value of family and closeness. If it wasn't for my illness we wouldn't have the opportunity to spend so much valuable time together.
My family starts to arrive soon as well. My mom will be here for Zoe's birthday next week (weather permitting) if the snow is too bad then she'll just come when my brother and his family arrives for Spring break. I sense a Wii rock band tournament happening. We weren't able to get together over Thanksgiving so I just can't wait to see them in March.
Well, my time is almost up as I am using the resource center in the cancer unit and I can't hog the computer. I just wanted to give ya'll a quick update and to tell you that I love you and can feel the prayers that you have so lovingly said over and over again. This was yet just another bump in the road for us and our plan is to continue on and battle whatever comes next. But for now our plan is to be together and appreciate one another and put this behind us.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Home away from home

Hi everyone -- Hal here -- still filling in on blog duty.

Quick clinical update...With a week at KU Hospital behind us, Ann is much improved. She is out of the ICU and is doing well in a peaceful room -- it took time to get there but all of the monitoring wires and IV's are out. The chest tube remains to drain fluid from her right chest cavity but the amount of fluid has dramatically dropped off (which is good). Next step will be a PET scan on Monday to provide the physicians the benefit of additional information and then a plan forward will be established.

To clarify any questions for the detailed oriented folks out there...the current understanding is that a nodule in the lower right lung lining began bleeding last Thursday and partially filled her right chest cavity thus causing the shortness of breath and pain. The chest tube was inserted and the fluid has mostly been drained. The key question at hand is the cause of the bleeding and if possible a permanent remedy so that this situation will not reoccur as Ann needs to continue with treatment.

Ann is being well cared for by her doctors and nursing staff at KU. Great people that care deeply about their work and their desire for the best possible outcome for Ann. All options are being considered and it is reassuring to witness the level of cross specialty consultation occurring. At times, it is a test of patience as one simply wants the magic wand to be waved and all to be well; however, we know this is complicated and it is important to exercise good prudence in each decision.

Ann is of good spirits but certainly would rather be in her own bed. Our thanks to the many friends that have gone out of their way to stop by for a visit or help the family. Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist, visits her each day and we even were able to get permission for Zoe and Grace to visit her tonight and have a family dinner together. Due to H1N1, the hospital rules are that kids under 18 are not allowed in without her doctor's permission and an quick exam prior to entering the nursing unit. All good precautions as she is on the oncology floor at the hospital and no one on that floor need any avoidable illness to be added to their plate.

As you all know, I love Ann so deeply. I pray for her many times each day as I witness her joys and sufferings. Through God's grace and the care of her health care team her burden was eased this week and we offer our thanks to God for the relief from the pain of a week ago. As always, the next step is not as obvious and clear as one would like it to be but isn't that what faith is all about?

In a recent reflection, I heard faith beautifully described. Imagine, you reach the edge of a cliff of what is visible and stare into the darkness before you with no assurance that your next step will touch solid ground. Taking that next step boldly anyway knowing that God will either catch you or give you the wings to fly -- this is faith.

Perhaps we too seldom admit in our modern world that we don't know the answer; that we are limited by our collective understanding of the "science" of things; that, scary as it may sound, we are in control of much less than we ever thought; that God is bigger than we can imagine and we, the created, need to stop trying ourselves to be god's and let the true God of the universe work through us and show His stuff.

May His peace be with you.