Friday, July 18, 2014

Getting on my nerves

I am so grateful to all my friends and family who have tugged, pulled, pushed and prayed for me while I was at the Cleveland Clinic.  7 weeks I was away from my family, I missed my grandchildren so children too, but mostly Eric,  Recker and Ezra---they have  my heart.  There was no way Eric could be away from work for that long, and honestly I had no idea I would be there for so long, it took 2 weeks to get all the testing done, then another 2 weeks for all the surgeons to get there schedules  to coordinate, by the time all this was done I had a week left and made the decision to stay, I think I was so afraid of going home and not coming back.  Eric was able to be there for my surgery, I am so grateful to US Airways for offering to pay for his round trip, Eric would of never missed my surgery, he's been there for everyone of them and has been such a blessing in my life.  I have always said I work for the best company ever, US Airways.  My supervisor and manager are incredible people, with integrity and support for all who work for them. Thank you US Airways.
When I left for Cleveland Clinic I had a pic line in my arm and could not change the dressings on it nor was I able to do my own transfusions, that were needed to be done every 12 hours. For this reason I was blessed with Diana Lents to come with me, she gently took care of those things for me and having a nursing background was able to ask all the questions I didn't know to ask.  Her family is from Ohio and they were so gracious to allow me a stranger to stay in their home to save on hotel bills.

John and Angel 
I'm sure they were glad to see us leave, but still never was I uncomfortable or treated with such respect.  I will always be endured to them for their Christ like service in taking a stranger into their home. I miss them, Angel would always read me a scripture a day to help keep my hopes up, and my testimony of Jesus Christ alive--thank you Angel.  John, he is a true gentleman with unwavering love for his wife a true Angel in all rights of the word, and for his children and recently born twin grandchildren.  He is a full  on Yankees lover, but I won't hold that against him.  He kept his composure very well when I told him I didn't care for Derek Jeter.

Another angel who came to visit me was PK's mother, she is such a lovely woman and I was blessed to spend some time with her. I loved talking with her and could see that she has a sincere heart,
no wonder her son is my favorite doctor ever.
Evgenya Kreymerman

I cannot explain how happy I am to be home with my family, when Recker sees me he always makes sure he looks at my ankle where my stitches are, I was afraid he was going to pull on them but he doesn't he just stares at them and then stares at my face as if to say "I'm sorry bonbon"
This is where they took nerves from
 These little stinkers are getting on my nerves, excuse the pun. When I put any body weight on that foot an electrical shock shoots through my foot and up my leg. My foot and ankle are so swollen I can't elevate it, because when I do the electrical shocks are too much for me to handle.
Nurse Diana Lents--can't thank her enough.
 We could of hired any nurse to come with me, but I was blessed to have Diana and even more blessed to have her family welcome me into their home and care for me until I could go home.
best welcome home ever I love my family
Oh how I missed my family, no one can ever replace the love a family has for one another, and when one of those special spirits are gone for any length of time, we miss them deeply and gain a new appreciation for them, I'm so glad we are eternally bound to each other, I would not want it any other way. I love you Kayla, Jeremy, Recker, Ezra, Blake and Chloe, Kaitlyn and Brian, Haleigh and Scott.
Eric I saved for last, he has a sweetheart, not too many people get to see him the way  I do.  What a blessing it is to be married to someone who you never want to be without.

Dr. Haberkamp--so happy all the time

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beauty is from within

I'm not sure where to start.  It's difficult for me to type, but I know I need to record what has happened this past week. I was so happy when Eric came for my surgery, he makes everything better, we have never been apart for this long and it has been hard on both of us. 7 weeks of waiting is a difficult road to ride.  I read my new Live Happy Magazine over and over Knowing I Can Make A
Difference--figuring out how was the hard part.

On July 3rd I arrived at the Cleveland Clinic around 5:30 am, Eric and Diana were with me.  As I paced the floor not wanting anyone to talk to me or touch me, I realized I was having a panic attack and prayed to Heavenly Father to take this pain and anxiety away. He did, and I was soon off to the OR, to get dressed in the hospital gown--It doesn't matter what hospital you're in, the robes are all the same.
Before Eric came back to see me off to surgery, I said several quick prayers asking Heavenly Father to watch over the surgeons hands, and if it be His will that he would allow me to heal from this odd, unexpected trial I was facing.  I wanted to put my head under the pillow and hold it down so I can scream, cry and forge through this quickly.

Frenchy sending me off to surgery

Ready for Surgery with Diana Lents
Eric gave me a kiss on the forehead as they wheeled me into the OR, it was difficult to maintain my composure, tears flowed from my eyes and onto my pillow. Down the hallways of Cleveland Clinic I saw a wall that had 30-50 white coats hanging on hooks, I started to cry again.  Those coats belong to doctors, doctors who will come to the hospital,  take their white coat off the hook and go to work. The tears continued to flow as nurses came up to me asking what they could do for me--I shook my head back and forth,  and watched them walk away not knowing what to do.  I just wanted them to put me out and get going on this surgery. I always look forward to going to my Happy Place in Paris Port Jaune, Eric and I pick wild flowers, ride bikes and have a picnic, leaving the rest of the world and worries behind.  I'm ready to move on with the surgery and hopefully put this chapter to rest,

This picture still brings me to tears, Eric is the
most positive person I know--thank you Frenchie
I woke up in recovery with a lot of pain, I was trying to process where the pain was coming from, as the Nurse said "Mrs. Williams time to wake up, do you know where you are?" "how many fingers am I holding up?" It was then that I realized the surgery was over, my immediate response was to touch my head, to see what damage had been done. It was an 11 hour surgery, lots of anesthesia, blood, and what's this? a neck brace--I'm confused--Eric and Diana came into recovery, Eric told me I was beautiful. I thought  him saying I was beautiful was so sweet. I knew it wasn't true, how can I be beautiful with blood all over me, a swollen head and staples making their way down my skull like a train track?
Just out of surgery

So happy to be with this guy
a kiss from Frenchy

Going back to my room I kept going in and out of consciousness, not only does Cleveland have bumpy roads, the driver taking me back to the room was bumping into walls and doors.  He also asked me what I would like him to sing for me, really? He wanted to sing, I said OK Luther would be good, so he starting singing  Luther Vandross 'Here and Now' I told him it was beautiful, but not to quit his day job. He put his pointer finger to his mouth as if to shhh me.  We arrived at my room, I had a few minutes before Eric and Diana arrived so I cried a little.  When Eric walked in my room I was overwhelmed with immediate love and peace.  With Eric I don't have to say a word and he knows what I'm thinking sure don't want to disappoint him, He has been my rock and my best friend through all of this nonsense.

 On day 2 at the hospital it was a Holiday..the 4th of July..The doctors on my team sent their residents to visit me.  One resident told me he was there in place of my pain doctor and he would put in orders for  my pain medicine.  Within a half hour my pain was slowly rising to a 6, I beeped for the nurse and asked her for pain medicine.  She said she would get it right away, within a few more minutes my pain rose to a level 7, I beeped for the nurse again asking for pain medicine she then told me the resident did not put any orders in for pain medicine.....WHAT??.. by now I was at a level 8 going on 9....the pain was so bad  I started to cry, then I asked the nurse to please call my husband, I just wanted him there. From this point on, I tried to process happy thoughts, happy moments, sometimes it worked sometimes it just didn't.  I stared at the clock not only waiting for the meds but also wanting Eric to be with me, he always seems to make things better.  I was out of breath and crying so hard trying to catch any breath I can the sweet nurse rubbed my arms and legs trying to help, but she too was crying so we were not getting too far.  I tried to sing "Be still my soul" through the gulps of air, then I sang "Come thou fount" trying to tune my heart to Him.  I sang "I feel my Saviors Love"
  My room was right in front of the nurses desk so they could watch me and monitor my pain levels. I was staring at the clock and whimpering loudly, out of control.  I was on my own, I felt deserted, left alone, scared and crying the hardest I ever had in my life.  I was yelling in between cries, "Why have you ignored my pleas and prayers?" I literally felt this was going to be my last day on earth and I would not be able to say good-bye to Eric. I was inspired before I went into this long surgery to write  letters  to Eric and each one of my children.  I paged the nurse and asked her if she had gotten in touch with Eric, she said no,  I asked her to please give him this letter in case I didn't make it.

The other patients in the area where I was were complaining, telling the nurses to get my doctor or move them so they wouldn't have to hear me--I tried so hard to stop crying, the nurses were coming in saying how sorry they were but they couldn't do anything until they heard from the doctor.  I could hear nurses at the station outside of my room, they were laughing and joking with each other.  The cackling of laughter I heard I will never forget.  My desperate cry for help was falling on deaf ears.   After an hour and fifteen minutes the resident came into my room. He walked up to me and said "Why are you crying? It can't hurt that bad." I was covering my mouth, because I knew I must have looked horrible. Then he said something that made me want to kick him "Why are you covering your mouth?" Looking back on this I say "Are you kidding me?"I also recognize he was showing off as the senior resident to the junior residents.  I didn't respond except with a cry and loud scream "Please help me" finally the pain medicine was surging through my veins  with purpose and strength. I handed him my Live Happy Magazine and asked him to read this book with a humble heart. As he walked out of the room I heard the nurse ask "Where have you been for an hour and 15 minutes. we have been paging you?" Arrogantly as possible he turned looked at the nurse and said "I don't have to answer to you."  When I could finally speak without trembling, I didn't want to, I just wanted Eric.  I had been waling and gnashing from side to side for an hour and 15 minutes, it took every bit of energy I had.  My heart was racing but my blood pressure was low.  When Eric arrived all was calm, he had no idea except he asked me "Sweetheart have you been crying?"  Uh--just a bit, and I could see the hurt in his eyes as I told him,  He said no one ever called him, which now in retrospect I realize it  was probably better.  He never gets mad,  but I'm pretty sure this was not going to be acceptable behavior,  I know he would of gone crazy seeing me in that much pain.

Today I had my post op appointments with the surgeons, they told me my ear looks great and everything is healing perfectly, still I am in a lot of pain and I just want to go home.
I was told I can go home, and that I will need to see the doctor once a week for the next few weeks, then at 2 months we will see how the nerve in my face has regenerated. The doctors told me this type of major surgery with nerves takes at least 6-8 months to see results, so patience is going to be my middle name.  Tonight I am exhausted from the appointments, I am grateful for my doctors and I am looking forward to seeing my family.  The happiness I feel in my heart far out weighs the horrible experience I had at the hospital.  I'm going to live happy with the results of my surgery no matter what.
Happiness comes from within and is found in the present moment  by making peace with the past and looking forward to the future.  I believe Eric was right when he said "you are beautiful" I'm learning that beauty is from within us, I choose to be happy and not let the new look define who I am.

I think I look terrible here, but my sister
said, "well you have no wrinkles, Nerium
is working"  

I was able to send those beautiful nurses who took such great care of me the Live Happy Magazine, with a note telling them how grateful I was for them during such a difficult time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I feel my Savior's Love

 Rainbows, always show up when I need a sign from Heavenly Father
that he here's me.  They are magnificent to me.

Well, I'm here again the night before a major surgery hoping and praying this time I've been away from my family, will prove to be worth it.  Making decisions without Eric or the kids to help me has really been hard to do.  I feel like every hour I need to say a silent prayer to the Lord to bless me with a light, something that can feed my brain with knowledge.  Then I ask to help me be still enough, to hear what He is trying to teach me. 
 I know change, and fears of change, have been clearly on my mind.  I've been walking around with a patch on my right eye, I hope the drops I've put in it night and day along with the patch 22/7 was enough to not have to have a cornea transplant.  The time I've spent here alone has given me time to really reach down and ask some gut wrenching questions. One is, can I live a quality life with my face the way it is right now? Am I confident enough to live the rest of my life having people stare, to here children say to their parents "what is wrong with that ladies face, or eye?" I've had a few even ask me themselves, I just tell them I have a boo boo. 
These past 5 weeks in Cleveland I've gotten inner strength I never thought I had.  I wish I could understand His plan for me.  I've read my scriptures, and Preach My Gospel chapter 6, everyday trying to be lead to a place I need to be, asking and begging Him to teach me what I need to do, so that I can return and live with Him one day. I'm not sure how I'm doing in that area, this is just so darn hard. I know I need to hold on to everything I know to be true and not let go.  Those things I know are so precious to me and can never be taken from me. I've had many spiritual experiences since my 1st surgery at Mayo.  The Lord loves me enough to give me a glimpse into my future, it is beautiful, every time I wake up, I want to go back, but I'm always told "It's not your time, you must return and finish your journey" 
I received a text from a friend today, (I don't want to reveal her name she knows who she is) she said she had been thinking of me but didn't quite know the right words to say. She then said I hope you are able to get the answers your looking for, if it is the Lord's will.  When I read that part, I have not been able to get it off my mind....what is the Lord's will for me? Even I don't know the answer to that. She brought up the fact she has been the caregiver of 2 sons who have been struggling with health issues, she said something else that has stuck in my head...she said she would gladly take their pain on herself so these boys would not have to feel it.  This reminded me of the feelings our Heavenly Father must have when He sees his children struggling, He easily could take our pain away, but for some reason He never does, why is that?  I believe He wants us to learn to rely on Him fully, give Him all we have then sit back and have FAITH, have enough HOPE in Him to make miracles happen, or be strong enough to accept what is being presented to us, and find a way to live a happy life in whatever circumstances we are faced with.

I also received a text from my sweet Haleigh Bear:
H: "mom when are you coming home.?
M:"Good question, it all depends on how well the surgery goes. I'm praying it'll all go great so I can go home this weekend. I'm really scared.
H: We miss you so much, I pray for you every morning and night and I have faith that the surgery will go well. Don't be scared Heavenly Father is always looking over you, and dad will be there.
M; yes I'm looking forward to seeing him, this is the longest we have ever been away from each other.  He's the only one who knows how to calm me when I get those anxiety attacks while I'm waiting for surgery, I just don't want to ever feel that extreme pain from the nerve, ever again"

I wonder if I have kept my promises to Him.  When I was about 14 I promised the Lord if He would get me out of the situation I was in, I would promise to live a life of pure intent, I would share His
Gospel with others, I would study and share with others how to live a happy life, no matter what. I don't think these past 5 years is exactly what I had in mind.  When I look in the mirror, I don't see what He sees.  I know He see's the heart inside me, and He knows how much strength I have, He has shown me I can handle any trial that I face.  He's always been there right beside me, I know when I kneel down to pray to Him, He always answers back, it's not always the answer I want, or the timing is not always when I want it to be.  I truly believe in Miracles, and He is the only one who can make those happen.
Going into this surgery, I feel all alone, even though Eric is here, I feel like I am in a negotiation with the Lord for my life.  The anxiety I am feeling for this surgery is different from what I have felt with other surgeries.  I'm far away from home, and I just have to keep remembering no matter where I am, He is always there just one prayer away.  I feel like this road is getting longer and longer, harder and harder to maintain calm.  My heart is beating in my chest, I don't know if I can ask Him to take that away.  I realize my life is forever changed, and I will never be the same again, I hope I can be a better version of myself, even with my face disfigured, I know who I am, and I know the kind of person I want to be.  As a person who has witnessed what Heaven feels like, I cannot deny what I know to be true.  I know the Lord has a plan for me, I just need to figure out what that is.
Tonight as I lie down to sleep: I feel my Savior's love,  His gentleness enfolds me, and when I kneel to pray my heart is filled with peace, He knows I will follow Him, give all my life to Him,  I feel my Savior's love, the love He freely gives me.