Friday, January 30, 2015

Begging vs Believing

When Haleigh was about 13 years old she asked Eric "Dad, when I get my driver's license will you buy me a car?"  Eric said, "Yes we will have a car for you to drive"  I remember this because I told Eric, "I wish you wouldn't have promised her a car, we are going to have to hear about it for 3 years now. What if your situation changes and you can't keep your promise?"  Eric looked at me and said "I always keep my promises"  I was dreading having to listen to Haleigh constantly ask about that car.  To my surprise she never asked again, she talked about how happy she was about the prospect of her drivers license and the freedom she would have, but never asked about the car.

I have often thought about that.  Eric was so confident he would be able to provide a car for her to drive he felt comfortable making a promise.  She believed him, he had never lied to her before.  I think I know Eric well enough to know if Haleigh had continued to bug him about the car for the next 3 years he would have been hurt or annoyed.  The hurt may have come as a result of her not trusting in his word.  The annoying aspect of this equation is obvious.

So many times I have asked in Faith for the Lord to heal me.  He heard me the 1st time, he also knew the answer before I asked it.   The very 1st time he heard my prayer, the miracle was in motion.  He never said it would be easy or quick. Maybe what I thought was my question was actually me begging.  He probably thinks "Why is she asking me this again, I already answered her. Does she not believe me?"

Lazarus was dead for days when Jesus thanked Heavenly Father for bringing him to life before it actually happened.   My mind tells me somethings are impossible.  Maybe I need to have more faith and thank Heavenly Father for the answers before they come.  Having faith means I cannot see the answer,  but I believe He will provide the answer. Heavenly Father already knows and he has given his word.  He must feel bad when I beg and plead with him.

 I've been getting all my initial pre-operative work done this week.  Did I mention, I'm having surgery on February 6th? This will be my 23rd surgery in less than 5 years.  A huge part of me wants to completely check out.  I'm so done with hospitals, surgery and doctors. The other side say's "It's not your time yet, I can do all things through Christ"

Trying to find a vein today the RN asked me "do they usually have a hard time finding your veins?" I smiled and politely replied "Yes, they usually do" She was frustrated, after the 6th poke she said "I'm going to try one more time if I can't get a draw back I will go get someone to help me"  She finally had to take the blood out of the upper part of my arm just below my elbow.  Painful?  Yes it was, but I was calm.  I asked her just before she rolled me into the CT scan if she would shut my right eyelid.  She did, what a job, was my thought.  When the contrast entered my body a sudden warmth penetrated every cell in my body.  It's a strange sensation, my fingers tingled, I felt like I needed to pee and my ears were burning.  This was all done at the Maricopa County Hospital.  My  surgeon is employed by Mayo Clinic in Rochester, but does trauma surgery at both Mayo Clinic and Maricopa.  More about him later, I am blessed once again with an incredible surgeon.

I left Maricopa Hospital and went to the Mayo Clinic Hospital to get the rest of my pre-operative work done.  Time to collapse some more veins.  I was dreading going into the blood lab, knowing they would have a hard time finding a vein.  Another 7 or 8 pokes, she finally got a smaller needle, which was what I had asked her to do in the beginning..... no one believes me.  She finally found a working vein on the side of my left hand close to my wrist...painful?  Umm.... yes but grateful she found one.  She had tears in her eyes.  I told her it was ok, she said it looked like I had been poked earlier.  I told her I had she said she couldn't believe how calm I was.  I left there sat in my car with my head on the steering wheel and cried just a little.

I just need to believe the Lord is on my side, He knows what is best for me.  Put it in his hands and let it go.  Today, I will thank him for the healing that's coming my way.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Divine Connections

God knows every hair on my head.  He knows who I am.  He knows what my future is.  It seems with this knowledge I should have no fear.  If I trust in the Lord there should be no doubt of His love for me.
Living completely in faith, knowing he will lead and guide me is still hard at times.  I know He has my plan already mapped out.  I've said so many times, nothing happens by mistake.  People come and go in my life for a reason.  I've made divine connections with some pretty incredible individuals.

When I was at Cleveland Clinic last summer I met a woman named Darlene Ballard.  I sat in the waiting area feeling vulnerable and weak.  I looked to my right and she was sitting with her friend (I believe) I noticed Darlene right away, her eye was completely shut.  Without hesitation I walked over and sat beside her. "Do you mind if I ask you what happened to your eye?" I knew I was taking a risk asking such a bold question.  Perhaps she was not like myself, would she be offended? I'm so glad I decided to speak with her. She turned to me and immediately I felt something, a bond.  "Of coarse I don't mind." Darlene continued to tell me  about why her eye was closed. She had a benign tumor. It wrapped around her eye.  Although she was elated the diagnosis was not positive for cancer, this was and is a major trial to overcome.  Her journey with this unexpected burden will not soon be over. In fact she will probably deal with this the rest of her life.  She explained the surgeon could not get all of the tumor, even after a very long grueling surgery.  She was positive, she showed me her eye was beginning to open just a bit.  I asked her if her eye will ever completely open. Darlene said her surgeon told her it will open.

Last Sunday night I received a phone call from Darlene.  She was simply calling to check on me. We talked for quite a while.  She has had another surgery since I last saw her. She explained it will take several surgeries to get the entire tumor.  I believe she came into my life for a divine purpose.  Sometimes the Lord closes a door so that another one can open.  I know there is not a support group for the loss of a nerve.  However, Darlene and I have struggled with similar feelings and emotions. It is my pleasure to call her my new friend. I will continue to pray for her full recovery.

I've learned I cannot force things in my life to happen, I can't manipulate God and his timing. He brings the right people into my life, so I can weed out the wrong.  I know this sounds a bit strong.  The truth is in life there is always going to be good and bad.  We cannot know the good without experiencing the bad. Just as we cannot know the light, unless we have experienced the darkness.

My dear friend Sheldon passed away this week.  I made a divine connection with him.  I will always be grateful for that connection.  He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.  I was diagnosed in 2009.  Over these past 5 and a half years we were able to connect on a different level than I could with other people. Sometimes all I needed to do was turn around during church to meet his eye, at that moment we both knew.  I could see in his face if he was having a good or bad week.   Today, my immediate prompting was to turn and see if he was there.  Sheldon was a quiet giant, I never heard him complain.  We shared moments, thoughts and feelings about oncologists, medicine, chemo, and side effects.  He had a great love for his family.  He loved his wife Kit, and his children Estee, Noah, Peri and Chloe deeply.  I often listened to him share his feelings about each one of his children.  He didn't want Kit to have to deal with the effects of cancer and often took it all on himself.  Kit was an incredible caregiver and strength for him.  She was well aware of his care and was always concerned.  She made sure Sheldon ate clean and healthy.  I was always impressed at how well she was able to balance everything in her life.  I understood him wanting to do things his way.  I have felt those feelings of concern for my own family.   There have been many times I have chosen to not tell my family what is happening in my world at Mayo Clinic.  I think this is normal for a lot of people who deal with life altering events.

I will be eternally grateful for divine connections I have made.  With my Heavenly Father, this connection has been invaluable. As I continue down the journey of life, I will never ignore a prompting to introduce myself, find a friend or share a moment.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Am

The past couple of months have been a mix of emotions.  I am so excited for our new grandbaby to arrive in February.  Kaitlyn is so cute pregnant, and I love watching Brian transitioning from husband mode to the responsibility of becoming a father.  They are going to be fantastic parents.

I've decided Cleveland Clinic is a great facility, but not for me.  It's too difficult to be away from my family.  After the last surgery I had in December, I have not heard back from them.  This, makes me nervous.  We have been told several times when working with a nerve there is a small window of opportunity to work with.  After discussing my feelings with Heather and doctor Barr's, we decided to get me in with a fantastic doctor at Mayo Clinic.  He is employed by Rochester Mayo Clinic, but resides here in Arizona.  He works at the Maricopa County hospital and also does surgeries at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, seeing nerve and trauma patients every Wednesday and Fridays.  I was blessed to get an appointment with him.

I will be having another surgery on February 6th.  I feel really good about the procedure he is going to perform.  This first surgery will be a nerve graft, I will be finding out more about the details when I see him next week.  Then in a few months, there will be a much longer, more risk surgery. I will be spending at least a week in the ICU.  I am at peace with our decision.  I know I am going to be questioned about why I am going through with these surgeries.  I already have been told by several people, if the doctor wants to do anymore surgery I should tell them no.  It was suggested I should just be happy with how I look and move forward.

I have contemplated and pondered that bold statement for over a month now.  I am not a quitter, I am strong, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get my smile back.  Vain? I don't think so, I fighting against a time frame to work with this nerve. I know myself well enough to know if I don't try and that window closes, I will have regrets.  I choose to leave this life with no regrets.  Once I am told there is nothing more they can do, I will let go but until that time, this is what I think is best.

I want to point out I was told only 2% of people have a nerve die for no reason. This is not caused by a stroke or bell's palsy, most of those patients have full  restoration of facial paralysis.  My nerve is dead, it is not coming back to life, not with therapy, not with standing in front of the mirror everyday begging facial muscles to move.  There is no comfort I get knowing I need to live with this.  There are no support groups.  I have felt alone and disconnected from my family and friends.  I have shed more tears over this than I ever did over my diagnosis with cancer.  I will not apologize to anyone for how I feel.  I would hope people would be considerate of the decisions I have to make, they are difficult.

Most of us, including me have this conception of ourselves.  None of us want to think we are concerned with the look of our face.  I am here to tell you, unless you have been through this, a part of that 2% you do not know how you would handle it.  This has really messed with my head, and made me doubt myself in so many ways.  I'm trying so hard to be patient, to remember when I felt like most of you.  The fact is, I am part of that 2% and I do have to deal with it.  This may take years for me to feel comfortable.  So many people have asked me why I am involved with Nerium International.  It has been a year now since I made that decision.  Before the paralysis, I felt like I needed to get out of the cancer world and instead of always thinking about my next doctor appointment, get reconnected with friends.  One of the best decisions  of my life was to become a partner with Nerium.  Little did I know my life would be so richly blessed with self development.  I know without a doubt the Lord was watching me.  He knew what this facial paralysis would do to me. I have learned to love myself on a level completely different than I ever imagined I could.  I truly believe happiness comes from within, it is a process of finding yourself.  I am in that process now.  I have friends who don't know anything about my cancer journey, who didn't know me before the facial paralysis, they have helped me along this road of self awareness.  My friends who have known me for years and seen me through so much, will forever be embedded on my heart, I love them eternally.

I believe I have nothing to offer Nerium International, the company will grow and flourish with or without me, but I need  to flourish and grow right now. I feel a part of something, something wonderful.  The philosophy of the company I already believed in, the integrity and loyalty I feel is something I have wanted to be a part of my entire life.  This is so much more than about money for me. I have a chance to really make a difference in not only my life but to help others do the same.  Right now this is where I need to be.  I have constantly relied on the Lord for 5 years to guide me in the correct decisions.  I am not going to turn my back on the feelings I have now.  I know He is with me, He is blessing me along this journey.  I am continually telling myself I am beautiful, I am a daughter of God, I am an influence, I am important, I am going to survive, I am choosing the right.