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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Time flies when you're not having fun.

So much happens in your head when you are faced with the phrase, "Your husband has a lesion on his brain." Total freak-out mode. Is it a tumor, or as they phrased, a "glioma"? Is it a stroke, or as the report stated, a "white matter infarct"? Who do I tell? Who do I NOT tell? What do we do NOW? Besides lose what's left of our minds. So after many doctor consults, we choose a neurosurgeon, the BEST. He tells us it's 99% sure it's an 'infarct' (what a disgusting word, I know, right?).... He says come back in 2 months for another MRI and we will see if it grew any. WHAT?!?! Ok, so we r pretty sure it's a stroke. Not much of a surprise, he's had little ones (TIAs) before and it DOES beat the hell out of a cancer diagnosis, yes? Neuro guy says everything is ok, he's 99% sure. He's the best, as I said, as I keep telling myself.

John, whom I most lovingly refer to as the Captain (we have a lot of Johns in our family)is actually handling it well mentally. Pardon the pun, but he's a real Trooper.

Actually we've been through scares like this before and we made it through.

Once in 1993 or so, he had a cardiologist tell him not to even walk across the room without knowing he was gonna have a heart attack. Next tests showed that he actually had NO blockage
in his heart. That he was fine, that the test was a fluke.

In later years we were on vacation and his blood pressure skyrocketed to something like 300/200, which is definitely deadly. We were in Missouri- they kept him overnight. I followed his wishes not to call family or friends so it was -at the time- the scariest moment of my life. But he got better and after the one night in St. Joseph Missouri, we carried on with our vacation. Worst vacation ever, we hit every E\R in the US from Missouri to Wyoming. But we did it together and we pulled through. And when he finally let me tell the family, they all came to our rescue- and our son came to get us even though we were so very far far away. He's an amazing son, and we are blessed to have actually 2 amazing sons and a most amazing EVER daughter, who all pulled together and made SURE we made it back home ok. And thank God for them, and thank God we don't have BP issues any more.

A couple years ago the Captain was taking a blood thinner for the prevention of his strokes. He was also taking ibuprofen for migraines. (Just a side note, he's a worry type person, he worries too much about details and everyone's feelings.) The ibuprofen irritated an ulcer in his stomach, which was likely created by worrying too much, but that's a whole other post topic. He developed a hole in his stomach because of the combo of the Ibuprofen and the worrying. He started to bleed, ALOT, in his stomach, made obvious by ways you can guess. Horrible ways. I argued over an hour for him to go to the E/R. He wouldn't go. I finally said, E/R or 911: you choose. He chose E/R. They tell me another 30 minutes of him waiting and he would've died. The bleeding ulcer - made worse by the blood thinner, had made him lose all but a tiny bit of blood in his body. For instance, a grown man usually has 10 to 11 pints of blood in his body at all times. In the ICU, they gave him 11.5 pints of blood just to keep him breathing. Then they said he wasn't out of the woods yet even. The blood thinner was a double edged sword, it made his blood flow out of his body FASTER, however it kept what very thin blood he had left flowing to his brain and through his heart. No damage done permanently to either organ, thank you again Jesus. They fixed the ulcer, about the size of a nickel, kept pumping 4 or 5 bags at a time into him, and prayed (as we all did) for his life to be spared. I don't know how many days in ICU but it was a lot. Then a few more when he was stable in a regular room. Obviously with prayer and much appreciated staff and a wonderful family support system, we made it through.

Even more scares we've had together- I fell off the deck and broke a few things and tore a few tendons, ligaments, etc., years later. I knew I had a surgery coming at the very least on my ankle. But my ortho guy wanted to check my ribs and lungs before scheduling. Something showed up in my x-Ray that looked like a lung tumor. We planned my funeral at that point. An MRI and CT scan a couple weeks later, showed my "tumor" to be a very large and wicked kidney stone. I never thought I'd be happy to have a kidney stone!!! I, in the previous weeks, had said my goodbyes to my husband, my brothers, my family, friends, you name it. I just knew I was a dead duck. So did the Captain. But the kidney stone, although it wasn't fun to pass, was a hell of a lot better than a cancer diagnosis.

Recently the Captain had a pretty routine CT on his kidneys, just a normal thing at his age. It showed 6 tumors or cysts, ranging in size from a grapefruit all the way down to golf ball. Not just one kidney, BOTH of them. Plus a kidney stone. Again we sought out the best surgeon. We made a plan: if he was to lose both kidneys, I'd give him one of mine. He didn't like the word "dialysis" but we figured it was going to have to be done at least a little while until he could get my (or someone else's) kidney for him. Well guess what!? We planned a funeral just in case. We even moved money this time. We just KNEW this was IT. Too many times he had escaped death, examples above- and the many falls he'd taken lately, either down the stairs or otherwise. He was constantly escaping the greatest of harm, so this had to be it, right? Maybe God had decided. Or maybe not?!? These tumors/cysts: according to the BEST surgeon of this type; all benign. Check again in 3 months, but he was CERTAIN that no surgery or even WORRY was necessary at this point. He even said the kidney stone was so small that the Captain wouldn't even notice its passing. More prayers answered, and believe me, we had so many prayers, ours and others'.

My point in telling you all this: Two things: you never know what tomorrow will bring, And no matter how bad things get, pray.

Here is what I'm learning: I'm learning that life can throw you curve balls even if you don't even know how to play the game and even if you didn't know you were even playing. I've learned that no matter how bad things get, you always have God, your family, and your friends. I've learned that God is in control and that I must let him take control when I can't have control, and even when I THINK I DO have control. I've many times reflected on the fact that God gave Job so many challenges because He KNEW Job could handle them. He basically said to Satan, "Give it your best shot, I know that Job will pass every test that you give him." I know I'm not Job, but I take pride in facing challenges given to me; given to US. Because I know that above all, God believes in me, even when I don't believe in myself.

We all have challenges and we all have our 'crosses' to bear. God allows this because he loves us and he believes in us. I read in my Bible (can't quote chapter and verse, or even the book section it's in) that God gives us some of these challenges so that we can USE our crappy experiences (or good ones too) to help others. I'm guessing that means if you walk a mile in someone's shoes, you can better understand and help your fellow man. It's your duty- when u suffer a loss of any kind- to sympathize or empathize with your loved ones the best you can, and if you have 'been there-done that' you have a better perspective to do so.

I'm no Bible thumper, you guys know that if you know me very well. But I have,and we have, been through a lot, with our near death experiences and our every day challenges we have in both our health situations. We benefit through God's grace, and thankfully the care and love we get from our family and friends. We have a lot of crap going on, but we are still the luckiest and most blessed people I know- and it's because of you and because of our faith- our faith in God, and our faith in each other.

A lot of you maybe haven't been through the same types of crap, but we all have CRAP of our own. My prayer for you today is for you to look at your CRAP as a gift, and for you to have a knowledge that God is there for you, even when you might think He is not. Take your CRAP and think to yourself, "Wow, God must have a lot of love for me and tons of faith in me, for Him to have given me this CRAP that He KNOWS I can handle."

People LOVE to say that God will never give you challenges you can't handle. But they never
say, "It's okay to ask for help when you need it." I have problems asking for help. But I'm getting better. I hope all of you get better too. It's okay to ask for help, whether it be from God, a family member, a friend, or clergy if you have it. If all else fails, ask me, I'm a good listener. Lol ;)



I forgot-

You know what I was thinking just now? I was thinking I wish I had a blog. You know what I'm thinking right now? (As Theressa would say) well duh!!!