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Archive for the ‘Prayer Requests’ Category

So tomorrow is the day.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping the past couple nights, so I doubt I’ll even bother trying tonight.  We have to get up about 2:00 or 2:30 in order to get everyone out the door and to Ochsner by my 5:00 a.m. arrival time.  Maybe I’ll sleep on the way down there…maybe I won’t.  Regardless, I’ll get all caught up on my sleep in the next few days LOL.

I’m not really nervous, not yet.  I’m dreading it though.  I know its going to hurt like the dickens and that the recovery is really gonna stink.  Previous surgeries, I’ve had my big blue recliner to recuperate in…and sleep in for the first couple weeks back home.  But, it finally bit the dust, and the recliner I have now, when new, was comfortable, but it was extremely cheap too and now ITS getting broken down.  Ahh well, I’ll figure something out.  I may just have to get someone to drag me out of the bed every morning 😉

My cats won’t leave me alone.  Gilda is shy and somewhat anti-social…I have to pick her up to get her to sit in my lap at all.  Even she is hovering around me.  I can reach out right now and touch any three of them at a moment’s notice.  I’m sure if Perry were inside he’d be hovering too.  They know something is up.  Maybe I’m more stressed and nervous than I realize.  I’m going to miss them while I’m in the hospital.

I’m choosing to look at this as just another surgery, and I’ll come out on the other side just fine.  The alternative still worries me a little, but I’m doing all I can to pray and get back to where I need to be…I can’t do much else about that because what will be, will be.  I do feel good about the surgery…just not the recovery.  In one sense, knowing pretty much what to expect as far as the pain goes kinda sucks.

So anyway, I’m just trying to get things ready to go, but I know I’m forgetting at least a dozen things in the process.  I was lying in bed at 2:00 a.m. last night, making a list on my iPhone of what I need to take.  I’d be lying if I said I wanted to do this, but at the same time, I do want to get it over with so I can get busy with recuperation.  I just want it all over with so I can come home and enjoy what’s left of the Christmas season.  Its my favorite time of the year.  And yes, if I end up with a protracted hospital stay, I WILL have a Christmas tree in my room.  Lights too.  I’ll make it happen…Amazon is an amazing, wonderful invention 😉

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All of you who are Christians know the old saying…”If you died tomorrow, would you go to heaven?”

Since getting the first news of my cancer returning, I haven’t cried.  I haven’t stressed.  I’ve felt like its all going to be ok.  The stress I’ve had and the few tears I’ve shed so far have been for my kids, mainly, but overall, I feel like everything is going to be ok.  I’ve talked to my girls, who are taking this diagnosis really hard, and reassured them that no matter what happens Monday, I’m going to be ok.  I told them even if I don’t come out of that operating room, I’m going to be just fine.

The truth is, I don’t know what to believe anymore.  I lost my faith for a time after my stepdad Jay died.  I was so angry at God that at times I even questioned His existence.  Deep down though, I always *knew* I was just acting like a pouting child, trying to get my Father’s attention by denying Him.  The anger really didn’t last long, but it was still there, and something I still feel guilty about.

When I carried Ruby, I never got mad at God.  I prayed like I have never been able to pray before or since.  I had a lot of trouble praying for her at first, because I felt like it was a selfish prayer, but I got over that and prayed and prayed, cried, begged, pleaded with Him for my baby.  After she was born, and I could see evidence around me of how she’d touched people in her very short life, I was sad, even depressed a little, but I was ok.  However, along about what would have been her first birthday, I wouldn’t say I got mad exactly, but I was extremely bitter.  My health was continuing to decline, I couldn’t do any of the things I used to be able to, I could see the babies born around her birthday crawling, walking, cooing, looking oh, so adorable, and I wanted my baby.  I started realizing that when I went to church, I couldn’t focus on the message, all I could do was think about how much pain I was in sitting there, wondering what was for lunch, just weird stuff that would pop into my head.  I kept having to force my attention back to the pastor (who is a very good pastor by the way), and I was getting frustrated.  I couldn’t pray anymore.  I didn’t feel like I could ask for anything for me because again, it was selfish.  When I’d try to pray, my mind would wander.  I realized it was Satan trying to keep me away from God, but I couldn’t seem to do much about it.

I began to slip…I started letting swear words drop more and more often.  I got mad easier, at little things.  I deliberately got into arguments with my mother when she tried to preach to me.  For the most part, I quit “praying” altogether, although looking back, I realize that I never failed to thank Him every day…when I was able to climb out of bed, I’d say a quick “Thank you, Lord,” or something similar.  Whenever anything good happened, I would do the same thing.  So I always felt like He was still in my life, if not directly in front of me.

Since the cancer returned, I haven’t really been able to pray much.  I’ve said a few, “Thy will, not my will” type prayers, and a couple times I actually prayed that He would deliver me from the surgery and everything would be fine.  But I felt guilty…not worthy.  I don’t feel like I’m where I need to be.  People have assured me that it doesn’t matter, that He understands because of what I’ve been going through, that I was truly saved, therefor I’m going to Heaven if anything goes wrong…but honestly, its not the way I was raised.  I believe people can and do backslide.  I’ve been told that if you backslide, you were never truly saved to begin with.  I beg to differ.  I KNOW I have been saved in the past, and I KNOW that I have backslid, more than once.  I believe in God wholeheartedly…I try to do what’s right with my life, and I try to be a positive influence to my kids.  But I make mistakes…sometimes big ones.  This whole past year and a half haven’t been pretty.  I can’t seem to figure out what I really need to do to get back to where I need to be.  Justin thinks I’m holding myself to an impossible standard, but I’m not…I know I’m going to make mistakes.  I can’t explain it, but I almost feel as if God has turned away from me with my inability to pray and focus on that prayer, to the exclusion of all else around me.

Its something I’ve struggled with for months, but I pushed it aside because I was still firmly believing in God and his ability to answer prayer and provide miracles.   This morning however, I got scared.  I had one of the worst nightmares I’ve ever had, but recounting it, its so rediculous.  I believe it was a message from God, although not as powerful a message as I received in 2006.  Perhaps it was more of a warning, a reminder, I don’t know.  All I know is that at the worst part of the dream, I told myself, “This is a dream, wake up now,” and I woke up.  The first thing I did was thank Him that I’d woken up.  The next thing I did was wake Justin up and ask him to pray with me.  As he was hugging me and waking up enough to pray, I managed to mumble, “I’m afraid for my soul.”  That man, I do not deserve him.  He prayed for me for over 30 minutes.  I was mad, because while I was praying along with him, my mind kept wandering.  I looked at the clock several times.  I cried a couple times.  I again had trouble focusing on the prayer, the nightmare, whatever message God may have been sending me…my brain started to rationalize the whole thing.  I started coming up with excuses, and that made me madder, and being mad made me have even more trouble praying.  I know I’m ADHD but dang, I’ve always been able to pray until about 3 years ago.

Basically, I’m not sure where to go from here.  I’ve been staying out of crowds because I can’t risk getting sick, and flu and everything else is ripe this time of year.  I’ve been hesitant to go to church, because I think that people will say “She’s only coming because she has cancer again.”  My brain will NOT let me stop thinking all these things.  I just want peace.  I think part of my problem may be that there’s a part of me that hopes I WON’T come out of that operation, because I’m so tired of constant pain, constant disability, constant nausea, constant weight fluctuations.  Its all just getting to be so much.  Everyone thinks I’m so strong…after every surgery, I don’t cry, I don’t even complain much.  I grit my teeth, get back on my feet ASAP, and do everything they tell me to do.  Admittedly, I do ask for the strong drugs after surgery.  I’m afraid to take too much pain medication here at home because of the history of addiction on both sides of my family, but in the hospital, I give in to the relief because its controlled.  I’m sure it doesn’t make sense, but it does to me.  Anyway, I’m not strong.  I’m very weak.  I don’t like this…I don’t like not being able to enjoy my kids and my life.  But…I deal.  Still, it makes ending it all a very attractive prospect.  I would never commit suicide (there’s the whole “hell” thing), but drifting away on anesthesia, well, it doesn’t sound all that bad.

So, I’m all over the place.  I need prayers, lots of them.  I want to be able to find peace with God, with myself, with my health.  I want to be able to “pray without ceasing.”

I know we can’t always get what we want, but I feel like that’s something I need.

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I know I haven’t updated the blog…its been too difficult to sit still and focus.  On the one hand, I’ve got so much to get done before surgery…on the other, I don’t WANT to do any of it…as if it will delay the inevitable.

The board of doctors finally decided that they want to do the surgery.  The oncologists were the lone holdouts, because this tumor hasn’t been diagnosed as malignant, and won’t be until its biopsied.  However, a needle biopsy could do more harm than good…IF the tumor is encapsulated (all but one of my tumors have been), a needle puncturing it could release cancer cells into my blood stream, which I don’t have to tell you would be a bad thing.  Even if its not encapsulated, that wouldn’t be good.  Its almost completely blocking the inferior vena cava, so regardless of whether its cancerous or not, it has to come out.  The problem, as Dr. C explained it, is that this is a first for them.  The size and location present problems that they’ve never had to deal with.  He explained that instead of having Plan A and Plan B, they need to go in with Plans A, B, C, D, E, etc.  So much can go wrong on the table.

I asked him what was wrong with me, because I’m not terrified.  I told him I’m more worried about the painful recovery than the possibility of not waking up from the surgery.  He laughed a little, and said that I might be a little numb to it all because for me, its just another surgery, that I’ve been dealing with it so long, been sick for so long, that its hard to put it into perspective.  I suppose he’s right.  Still, I look at everyone freaking out around me, and wonder what the heck is wrong with me because I’m just rather blase’ about it all.  I know from experience that about 30 minutes before the surgery, I will get anxious and nervous, but for right now, I’m more laid back about it.

My surgery is scheduled for November 26th.  I have to be there at 5:00 a.m.  All three of the kids are going to miss school to go…they want to be there until its over, however it may turn out.  I’ve decided that they can be…if they go to school, they’d be pulling them out of class to tell them I was in recovery and ok, or heaven forbid, to tell them I’d died…either way, when they get called out of class to find out, they’d be worrying themselves to death, so I think its best that they be with family, whether it be good news or bad.

It still bothers me that my status as a cancer patient knocks me off the organ transplant option.  Even with a family member willing to donate, they won’t do it because the cancer makes me a bad risk.  The problem is, my cancer isn’t that huge a deal…when its metastasized, its been small tumors that they caught quickly and removed.  Its not a situation where its spread and I’m sick from chemo or radiation.  The only organ impacted has been my liver, and its healthy as can be, and had no recurrence of tumors at all in over six years.  I did have a tumor on my right adrenal gland last year, and it and the gland were removed, but my right kidney itself was fine.  I guess I’m a little biased, but I don’t see that I’m a bad risk for a transplant if the blood loss during this surgery stuns my liver or kidneys to the extent they don’t “come back” after the blood flow is reestablished.

People look at me, and they don’t see that I’m this sick.  Other than the protruding belly and the liver spots on my face, I look good.  When I wear makeup and cover up the spots, I look REAL good.  I get around fairly well most days, and I don’t sound weak or anything unless I’m having a really bad day.  If it weren’t for Dr. C, they probably wouldn’t have caught this for that reason alone…I don’t “look” sick, so I must be fine.  Dr. C has been with me every step of the way over these past six and a half years though, and knows my history, so he’s stayed on top of things.

I’m not afraid, not yet.  I’m not even really all that concerned.  Maybe its blissful ignorance, but I’ll take it.  I do get stressed out, thinking about the recovery.  I know from experience how painful its going to be, and Dr. C telling me this will be my worst surgery yet doesn’t ease my mind much.  He stressed again at our last appointment that they may have to crack my chest…that until they get in and see where everything is situated, scar tissue is, and the ease of access, they just won’t know.  I”m not a really tall person…I’m only 5’6″, but my height is in my legs.  I have a very short torso…another thing that may make them crack my chest.  Ugh.  I’ve seen Dad and friends recover from heart bypass surgeries…it looked really painful.  I do NOT want to go there.

I’m doing a lot of praying, but I feel hypocritical about it.  Why do we pray so hard when we face something that might kill us?  I pray all the time, sure, but I don’t think its as ernestly as I’ve been praying the past couple weeks.  I don’t really know what to pray for.  “God, please heal me” seems so shallow and self-serving.  Asking Him to see me through this trial also seems selfish.  The truth is, I’ve forgotten how to pray for myself.  I’m very self-conscious and always feel like everything I’m saying is for affect, and not sincere.  Then when I start over, trying to be more sincere, I feel like I’m not fooling anyone.  My mind never stops, it never lets me have any peace, but constantly fills me with self-doubt and loathing.  I’m trying to place it all in God’s hands, but letting go of that control is a very difficult thing to do.

I don’t understand why these things keep happening to me.  I made a lot of mistakes in my younger days, true, but do those mistakes warrant this?  Its been one thing after another, ever since 2006.  It just never stops…I never get any peace.   I don’t know what its like to just relax…my brain is always working overtime, I’m always stressed and worrying about something.

This is one reason I haven’t updated my blog.  I feel like I’m constantly whining or complaining.  I feel like maybe I’m talking about it too much, making myself the center of attention too much.  Boy, those “friends” several years ago really did a number on me…when I worry about whether to update about my health and ask for prayers or not because it might make me look like an attention-seeking drama queen, even though I KNOW that I really do need those prayers…well, it just sucks.  I shouldn’t care anymore, but for some reason, its something that I can’t seem to let go of.  Yet another thing I need to pray about, if only I could find the right words.

So that’s it…this is where I am right now.  Where I’ll be in a couple weeks…I guess we’ll see.

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I’ve been on the phone for a while with the doctor at UMC who will be assisting with my c-section.  On the one hand, I feel much better about my care now…he was wonderful to talk to, and sounds like he’s making darned sure they have all their ducks in a row to take care of me.

On the other hand, I’m a complete and total mess.  I’m about this close >< to having a complete and total mental breakdown.  I can’t stop crying.

Long story short…they just don’t believe there’s enough lung tissue to sustain life, and Ruby’s fetal breathing movements, while amazing to them, they feel is just a fluke, or that she has just enough diaphragm to make the movements.  After all, they are just reflex movements.

The soonest they can assemble the team for me (I have to have extra surgeons in case something goes wrong with my screwed up internal anatomy) is 11-20.  The day before my Dad’s birthday.  I’m going into UMC on the 19th so they can “flush” my system.  In case they have to do a bowel repair, they want a clean organ to work with to cut down on the risk of infection and make the repair easier.  Think colonoscopy prep.  Because I’m diabetic, and my sugar crashes when I don’t eat, they want me in the hospital on IV and such so they can monitor me and take care of me if that happens.  I’ll have to have a central line because my veins are worse than a junkie’s, courtesy of the hospital stay in 2006.

I’ll also have to have a vertical incision this time instead of lateral, for a variety of reasons…one, less scar tissue there…two, more room to maneuver if something goes wrong…three, I guess it’ll just be all around better to be safe than sorry.  All I know is the recovery and pain is going to be worse, and I’m not going to have a baby to distract me from it all.

Yeah, I’m in full-blown drama mama mode right now.  I don’t want to do this.  I don’t.  I want to keep her.  I want my miracle and I’m so PISSED OFF.

Please keep us in prayers.  I know its not too late for my miracle.

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to just be left alone?  To go to a doctor and be told that its nothing to worry about?  To be able to tell people about your health without them immediately looking askance at you and doubting you until they see the medical records for themselves?

My pulmonary doctor called this morning with the results of my CT scan.  I told him I wasn’t worried.  He corrected me and let me know I should be.  I told him no one would believe me, that this much crap doesn’t happen to a single person in less than 3 years.  He laughed and said all they had to do was look at my records…I responded with “I’m not going to tote THOSE around the rest of my life!”

I need more surgery after Ruby is born.  I can’t deal with this.  I’ve been handling it…I have…and then a lovely friend sent me a lovely handmade gift for Ruby, and I LOST it when I opened it this afternoon (I was instructed in the top of the box to wait for the card which finally arrived today, even though I believe they were mailed together…gotta love rural mail systems).  The gift was lovely…and so touching, and I’m going to treasure everything in the box, and I do plan on putting them on her for pictures at the very least.  But it set me off into the crying jag that I haven’t allowed myself to have…I screamed at the ceiling, I screamed at God, and even though I thought I’d given it over to Him, I guess I hadn’t because I ended up on my knees, holding my belly, and BEGGING Him to let me have my baby.

And…I don’t feel any better about it now that I’ve let myself go.  I can’t keep doing this.  I’m not strong enough.  I’m crying as I type this.  I’ve cried so much my nose has been bleeding almost non-stop for hours.  I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE.

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Hi everyone…thanks so much for the comments and prayers.  They mean a lot to us, especially right now.

We’re at the airport waiting for our pilot to do his pre-flight check once his student gets here.  She’s a doctor, which is fairly cool IMO, since I’ve had a few contractions this morning and it will relieve my mind to know she’ll be in the air with us.  Our pilot also insisted on picking us up at the hotel when he found out we were going to have to pay for a cab.  God is still being good to us.

I haven’t completely given up hope, but I am realistic.  I don’t understand why God is allowing us to go through this, but I know He can bring us through it regardless, and that’s what I’m holding on to.  I’ve made it known, to Nashville, and to my local OB’s office today, that regardless of where I deliver, I’m open to donation of anything that is viable, and also am open to having samples taken for study.  If anyone can benefit from this, it will help me emotionally.

I had a very difficult day yesterday, and a worse night, but surprisingly, once I fell asleep, I slept deeper and more restfully than I’ve slept in months, even though I was having to sleep in a bed instead of my recliner at home.  I got about five hours of uninterrupted sleep, and I really needed it.  I’m doing ok today…Justin has been my rock and continues to be so for me.  I haven’t found my “strength” yet, but I know that when I get home and can hold my kids, I’ll be better.  All I wanted yesterday was to go home and hug them.

One of the most difficult things that happened yesterday was also bittersweet.  When we got back to the hotel room, I sat on the bed and was trying to hold it together.  Justin came and kneeled on the floor in front of me and just hugged me.  The minute he wrapped his arms around me and I leaned into him, Ruby kicked us both.  He hadn’t felt her kick before.  I lost it at that point, but I kind of like the memory now.

Feeling her kicking and moving is at times heartwarming and at times very bittersweet and painful.  I’m not sure how I’ll make it through the next several weeks, knowing that my baby is not going to live once she leaves the safety of my womb.  That hurts so much.  At times I find myself praying that she passes before she is born, as I’m afraid she’ll be literally suffocating when she’s born and therefor suffering, and I don’t like that thought at all.  I know how it feels to gasp for breath, and I can’t imagine not being able to breathe at all, and your body needing to.  Its driving me crazy thinking about it, so I’m trying not to dwell on it, and have been praying for God to ease Ruby’s way in whatever manner He can.

So.  Nashville is willing to deliver me, but if my OB in Hattiesburg agrees, I’ll deliver there since its at home and I know and trust him.  If he doesn’t, then I’ll still have to at the very least go to UMC in Jackson for delivery.  UMC and Vanderbilt are both bad options for me, since I won’t know the doctor who will be delivering me…and that causes me some stress and concern.

All of the medical team in Nashville met with us yesterday…and they all agreed that they think even though I’ve had three previous c-sections, and am definitely at risk for uterine rupture during labor, allowing me to labor and deliver naturally is the safest option for me due to the vast amount of scar tissue in my abdomen.  They said a c-section would be a very involved and complicated surgery for me due to the extent of the scarring and the areas covered, as well as my “unique” internal anatomy, and would put me at the most risk.  Even should my uterus rupture during labor, a hysterectomy done on me at that time could be done without a huge surgery, and would be safer on me than a c-section.  The main reason they don’t like to allow VBAC’s after two or more c-sections is because uterine rupture could kill the baby and removes a woman’s fertility prospects.  Neither of these are a concern in my situation now.

Hearing this recommendation was very hard on me.  I’ve always wanted a VBAC…I always wanted to DELIVER my babies…and now to be “allowed” to do so because the baby is going to die anyway and its the safest option for me…oh how that hurts.  But, I’m trying to look at it as a special memory I’ll have, one more thing to tie me to her.  Maybe this would be best, as I’d have a birth experience to remember…maybe it will make it and her more real to me…I don’t know.  But, if the doctors here in MS agree that its the safer option, that’s the way I’ll go.

I don’t know how much I’ll be blogging in the future…I may be having too difficult a time to share my emotions (I think I’m a little numb and definitely still in shock right now), but I may find that blogging helps me too.  I don’t know.  But, I know I will be back at some point…if I ever leave that is lol.

Prayers that I feel like we need right now are for peace…the strength will come, I know, but peace is what I feel like I really really need.  I haven’t gotten mad at God yet, although I’m sure that will come, as will the complete breakdown and crying jag that I haven’t allowed myself to have yet.  Once it does, I know I’ll feel better.

Thank you everyone for everything that has been done for us…donations, prayers, emails and comments, I can’t thank you enough.  Ruby has touched lives already, and I’m hoping that somehow, this experience will one day allow me to help others, and thereby help myself too.  That’s my fervent wish anyway.

Thanks again.

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My heart is burdened and I have no real words.  I’ve been crying most of the day.

In a nutshell…the perinatologist, Dr. Wenstrom, believes Ruby’s intestines have gone into her chest instead of out through the omphalocele, and restricted lung development.  She couldn’t find any lung tissue on the ultrasound to measure.  She basically told us that we’ve done all we could do, and to take comfort from that.

Granted, this was ultrasound.  We’re still waiting on the MRI results.  The MRI sees things ultrasound can’t.  Three weeks ago, at my UMC appointment, they definitely visualized the intestines in the omphalocele, so I believe this is a recent development and won’t have affected the lung development.  She said she couldn’t really see because the heart and all is in the way.

We’re waiting to see the heart surgeon…supposed to be at 1, but he’s in surgery, so here we are at 2:30 still waiting, and I’m a wreck.  I cry at the drop of a hat.

I have trouble believing that God has allowed good news at every twist and turn, positive things for us all along the way as we’ve needed it, just for it to all end now.  I’m still holding out hope until I get the results of the MRI.

My OB at home also called and said that my entire right lung is cloudy now instead of just the lower lobe, and they want me back to the pulmonary doctor on Monday.  My oxygen sats were measured here when I told them that, and they weren’t great.  So we have to figure out what to do with that information.

My plan, if its the worst news for Ruby, is to still carry her to term unless my health prevents that.  I will donate anything that can be donated, and allow them to study her in the hopes that someone else can be helped in the future.  But my heart is bleeding and I ache all over.  I feel each little kick and start crying again.

Pray for strength for us, in whatever is to come.  I’m still holding out hope, but either way, we need strength.  I’ll update more when I’m able.

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