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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year In Review

Hard to believe that today is the last day of 2010, isn't it? In just a few months, my "baby" girl will be graduating from high school!

In many years, 2010 was a very rough year. But rather than focusing on the ways it was hard, I want to look at the blessings. I know I'll miss some, but I'll hit the highlights.

After more than a year of 32 hour weeks, Tom's job returned to 40 hour weeks in April. And he was even able to get some overtime this year.

Tom had surgery on his shoulder and had a bone spur removed. It really helped with his shoulder pain which was a huge blessing.

I discovered that my ovaries had quit working and I had started menopause (I'd had a hysterectomy several years ago, but they left my ovaries). The first medicine she tried me on seems to have helped a lot.

The doctors found out that I didn't have asthma, my trachea was collapsed. Fortunately, there was a very good doctor in OKC who could help me and he did. He is truly one of the favorite doctors that I have ever had and I feel lucky to have had him help me with my breathing problems. The biggest blessing is that the surgery went well and it seems to have helped my breathing, although I think it may be a few weeks before we can tell for sure how much.

As you look back over the last year, remember to focus on your blessings!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Prayer Works

Have you ever wondered whether prayer actually works? I'm guessing we've all asked ourselves that question from time to time. Let me tell you a story of prayer in action. I had my tracheal re-section surgery on December 15th. I was intubated and in ICU. On Saturday, they took the tubes out and pretty much unhooked me from everything, then kept me overnight in ICU to observe me for one more night. On Sunday morning, they sent me straight home from ICU. All that is amazing, but (to me at least) not even the most amazing part of the story.

I was terrified about this surgery. The thought of having my neck opened and my airway worked on, well, it was scary (to say the least). The Sunday after Thanksgiving, our preacher read from Luke and the story where Jesus is born. The angels told the shepherds "Do not be afraid". When Gary read that passage, I felt chills down my spine, it was like God was telling me directly not to be afraid, it would all be fine. I continued praying about it and asked others to pray for me. Then one day, my devotional had this verse from Joshua 1:9 in it: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I felt those chills again. I prayed and put it in God's hands and just asked him that if this surgery was the right thing to do, then all the doors would open and it would happen. I won't lie and say I didn't feel scared anymore. Because I did. And I went through moments of freaking out. But I reminded myself of those messages, prayed about it, and forged on. I tried to concentrate on getting things ready around the household for the surgery.

The day of the surgery came, my surgery was scheduled for 1:30 and they were running way behind. I was about ready to bolt and had a tearful breakdown with Tom. But God reminded me that I was there because that was where He wanted me to be. And I didn't run away. That night after surgery, I remember waking up in the ICU where they asked me if I was in pain and if I needed morphine. It hurt, but not that bad, so I turned it down. Thursday and Friday are pretty much a blur, I remember people coming in and out, I remember responding (by nodding or shaking my head) to questions, etc. Saturday morning, they took me off the sedative, and removed the tubes. I was able to eat and most importantly, drink water! Woohoo! By Saturday night, I had the catheter out and was getting myself up and down (with supervision) to the bathroom and as I said earlier, they sent me home Sunday morning.

Now to me, the most amazing part of this story: on Thursday the 23rd, I went to get my stitches out at the doctor's office. The doctor referred to me as a "model patient". He said he had never had a tracheal re-section patient who was constantly smiling every time he saw them and had such a positive attitude. Now, that was really prayers at work. If you know me at all, you know patience or a positive attitude are not some of my stronger virtues. I've always wanted to be one of those people who were happy no matter what the circumstances. It was only through everyone's prayers that I've been able to be so positive and patient through all of this. Thank you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

2 Years and Well...a whole lot of days

I know, it's been a whole lot of days, weeks, actually since I posted. I had my first laser surgery scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving. When they got in there, they found instead of scar tissue, my trachea was the shape of an hourglass. So my options were pretty much down to: live with it, try a stint, or the tracheal re-section. The stint was a temporary measure that might or might not actually open it up. They'd go in once to put it in, then back in a few months later to take it out. If it worked, great, if not, I was back to needing the re-section anyway. It also had some pretty scary sounding possible side effects. The doctor said he usually only does the stints for people afraid of the other surgery (especially the part about having to be intubated and in ICU for several days). I was totally thrown for a loop. I prayed (and asked others to pray) for wisdom and really felt like the best option was to go ahead with the tracheal re-section. So on December 2nd when I went back for my recheck from the November 24th surgery, that's what I decided to do. They did the tracheal re-section on December 15th. So far, I can tell some difference in the breathing but he said that there would still be a lot of swelling inside. I'm doing really well, but I'm still pretty wiped out from the surgery. I plan to post again later this week to tell about how the prayers of everyone helped me through the surgery and recovery.