Saturday, May 30, 2015

Seeds of Hope

Those of you who read my blog, know I talk a lot about having hope in my life.  I know for me when I have a  seed of hope it gives me good things to look forward to in my life. Hope always gives birth to the overwhelming trials of life. It always believes the best, even in the face of my worst circumstances. For believers in Christ, hope is much more than a wish, yearning for a positive outlook, it is based on the promises of God.  I'm grateful for the Hope Doctor Lettieri has given me for a positive outlook with my nerve surgery
I can have hope in life no matter what surrounds me, because I believe in a Heavenly Father who cares, knows me by name (Isaiah 45:3), understands the desires of my heart (1 Chronicles 28:9), and who knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5).
Recently, I watched  an interview with passengers of the the miracle  Flight #1549. Instead of ending in a disastrous crash, it gracefully landed in the Hudson River in New York City. Knowing this was a UsAirways flight, I have had some exposure to the story, and was very proud of the captain and how he landed.  The outcome was nothing short of a miracle. In fact, it was being referred to as “the miracle on the Hudson” because all 152 passengers and all the crew survived.
I thought about the passengers and what must have been racing through their minds in those final minutes before the impact. During the cries and prayers, I’m pretty confident in saying there was one thing they all desperately held on to ......Hope.
Some passengers hoped to kiss their spouse one more time, others to hug their son or daughter, and some to make things right with a friend or family member.  As the plane was about to hit the water, they knew their lives were at stake. Many were praying, and all were hoping for a miracle. Then the impact came and an amazing scene unfolded with passengers streaming onto the wings of the aircraft.  Eric and I watched the news replaying the scene over and over I watched the amazing rescue. 
While I watched this documentary I  couldn't help but think of the many people who feel their life is like that plane. I know sometimes I feel like I'm going down, leaving me only to hope that someday things might be different. When I have those feelings it's difficult to shake it off, sometimes it takes days or weeks.  Then I remember the promises, the covenants made and I have Hope again.
I know people who are facing setbacks with their job or relationships.  I know people struggling financially or who are feeling the pressures of life.  It's sometimes overwhelming.   Knowing Heavenly Father is for me, not against me, gives Hope for a brighter future.   His love has no boundaries. 
I have to constantly ask myself; Am I solid like a rock, or am I allowing myself to sink in the sand?
I recently let the enemy, Satan, own my thoughts, I've even allowed others to dictate my divine destiny by getting my head.  I need to always keep hope alive and never ever give up.  I know God always, no matter what has a solution for me.  I know this because he knows me, my destiny was chosen before I came to earth.  He has rescued me when I was in depths of despair.
So far He has not let me down, when I trust in Him, I am never disappointed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dr. Sal Lettieri

So much has happened since I last posted.  May is almost over, I never go this long without blogging.  This has been such a great way for me to release some of my frustrations, express my appreciation from my heart and share the humor in my life.

I have a surgeon.  I love, love, love. Dr. Sal Lettieri.  I was referred to him by Heather a year ago, but since he was out of the country at the time we decided to go to Cleveland Clinic (huge mistake) I haven't heard from Cleveland Clinic since I had my surgery in July of last year.  I realize I should have waited and seen Dr. Lettieri.  He is employed by Mayo Clinic, works at the Maricopa Burn Center in Phoenix and does 2 days a week at Mayo.....whew that was a mouth full.  How do I explain Dr. Lettieri, and why I love him......?  He is compassionate with a little bit of sassy in his attitude.  I just really feel comfortable with him.  Dr. Lettieri did my last surgery at Mayo Clinic.  He is very confident in what he does.  There is a huge difference in doctors who are confident and those that are cocky. My doctor at Cleveland was very cocky and arrogant, I never felt comfortable with him or felt  he had my best interest at heart.  I was so impressed with Dr. Lettieri one day at one of my appointments.  He was telling me what he thought would be the best surgery for me, then instead of making the decision he said "I know some really smart surgeons, I'm going to call one of them and get their opinion" he pulled out his 'flip phone' (seriously who still has those?) called a colleague  gave him my diagnosis and asked him what he would do.... the other surgeon agreed with his decision, he hung up and said "In my job I know some really, really smart people, so I'm going to get one more opinion" and he did, he called another surgeon he knew just to make sure they all thought it was the proper procedure.....I loved him at that moment, not too many doctors do that in fact no doctor I know has ever done that for me.....confident vs. cocky......he's confident.  Last week I got a text from him saying "call me when you can"  I was at work on a break so I called him.  This is what he said "I've been thinking about your surgery and......." he proceeds to tell me about a change in the procedure of my surgery, ...... I interrupted him and said "I trust you, I don't really understand any of what your telling me anyway so just do what you know is best for me" It finally feels really great to have a surgeon I can trust.  I have thought about him so many times since then, what it said to me was he was thinking about me.  He has many patients, and I guarantee he has their best interest at heart. I found out that he is Nie Nie's Dr. L, on her blog.

My last appointment with Dr. Lettieri was good news.  The nerve replacement he did from my leg to my face is supposed to grow an inch a month.  February was my last surgery, so it should have grown 3 inches.  He checks this by tapping on the left side of my face to see where I feel it on my face.  When he did that, I instantly felt it on the upper right side of my lip....HOORAY....stand up and do a jiggle's working.  I cried on the way home, I'm so happy.  So, what does that mean?  It means in 3 more months if it continues to grow I will have another big surgery to connect it to a viable muscle, or was it a nerve....? I don't know, it gets connected to one of those on the right side.  It doesn't really change the look of my face, but it gives me some feeling back.  Right now my face is still so numb.  The entire right side of my upper lip feels like when you go to the dentist and get novocaine..... Dr. Lettieri, was really happy with the results.

My eye continues to be an issue, it constantly drips.  Basically the surgery Dr. Cockyman did at the Cleveland Clinic was a waste of time. I have a hard time seeing out of my right eye. By the time I leave work at UsAirways it is a constant drip and never goes away.  Dr. Lettieri and Heather had me do some exercises with my eyes to see what the issues were.  I will be having surgery at the Mayo Clinic on June 24th, hopefully to put an end to the eye dripping and redness.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Price of Beauty

I was recently at a training in Canada, as I religiously took notes I suddenly was struck with shock when I heard Mark (the trainer) tell a story about how much women pay for their beauty products.  I heard laughing from the audience, but I was in another world.  I was having an outer body experience. What is the price we pay for beauty?  I'm not talking about a monetary price, as Mark was humorously entertaining us with.
I had an ah ha moment, I wrote:   Mark said "believe me guys, there is a price for beauty...."
I immediately wrote down "For me, what I have learned about beauty from Nerium this past year is Priceless" My face is disfigured, it will never be the same.  I want that so badly, I want to look at someone and smile, smile BIG.  I want to show my teeth.  I can't believe I took my smile for granted.  Just like I took my hair for granted, the feeling in breasts for granted, being able to run and train for granted, I could go on and on..... I simply took everything in life for granted.
I cannot honestly say any of this is understandable, nor has it been easy.  I may not always please people with my honesty and truthfulness, however I know the Lord has gotten me through these past few years.  I have been refined, not defined by Him who loves me just as I am.  In my quiet time, when I spend thinking and pondering over why so much in my life has been hard there have been times I've truly wanted to crawl in a hole and die--I've wondered if anyone would even miss me, lost sometimes in despair.
Then suddenly my heart is filled with more love and an overwhelming feeling of His arms around me, pulling me up through that dark and empty hole into the light again.
I lived for so long not caring about others, not caring even about where I was going or where I should be.  I now know my life was intentionally and most humbly prepared for me before I even came to earth.  His grace has gotten me through enormously unbelievable circumstances.  Because I know He has made promises to me if I am righteous and obedient I will continue trying to live as He wants me to.  I will share Hope and Faith with others, I know the Lord will use me, he will lead and guide me to people who are in need.  This life for me is no longer about beauty on the outside, I ask Him to help me not turn from pain and to give me strength and compassion to help others who are climbing an uphill battle.
We all want to feel beautiful, external beauty, I know this because I have been that person.  There are still glimpses I take in the mirror that horrify me.  When I am weak, I know I have to move forward, never go back, never give up.  I am putting all my faith in unseen strong hands that I have felt comfort me and pull me to a higher ground.  I love that feeling, knowing He is watching over me, He knows me, He feels my pain and He understands my journey on this earth is not quite over.
Physically I am tired, my body aches my heart is full and yet I want to fight because I know there are so many more miracles to come to others from Him through me.  I don't feel comfortable sharing those sacred moments the Lord has so gracefully revealed to me I have more work to do before it is my time to go live with Him again.  He has lifted my burdens on so many occasions when I have wanted to give up.  When Sheldon died, one of those special moments came.  I truly miss him, and visit his graveside often. I'm not sure why, I haven't visited anyone's grave as much as his but I feel a peace there. I will never forget him telling me I looked beautiful when I was bald.  Eric tells me I'm beautiful everyday, he is so kind in that way and I appreciate it so much, but the day Sheldon said those words to me, it meant something different.  He stood there pale faced and bald himself and yet for some reason those words penetrated my heart like no one else ever has. Maybe because I trusted he knew how I was feeling, not just using "words" to succor the needy.
Every bit of the worlds definition of physical beauty has been taken from me.  So yes, there is a price to pay for physical beauty, but for me what I have learned about pure unconditional love and beauty in His eyes is priceless.