Friday, January 29, 2010

turning a corner, maybe?

after two very difficult days, today has been much better. i am hoping that this means i am turning a corner.

i think i have a hematoma at the incision site on my right side. this has happened to me before after a previous surgery and it is quite painful. basically it is a hard knot where blood has pooled below the surface of the skin. it is quite large and unreasonably painful. i think i tried to do a little too much on wednesday (i.e. 3 loads of laundry) and that probably didn't help matters. i know, i know, what was i thinking!?!?! i was thinking there were a lot of dirty clothes in this house!

as a result, i was confined to the couch much of the day yesterday and stayed out of pain as long as i didn't move. then i made a poor choice by not taking any pain meds before bed last night. i didn't think they were doing much good. i was wrong! i woke up at 4am this morning in some intense, make you want to cry, pain. after taking some meds and listening to the ipod as a distraction, i was able to go back to sleep and woke up feeling much better.

today has been much better. i can walk across the room in an upright position again. i've kept an ice pack on the hematoma and that seems to have helped. i've taken pain meds religiously and my sweet friend kyla and her kids came for a visit. i am praying that things will only get better from here.

i think my recovery expectations were a little unrealistic. i thought for sure i would be back to my normal self by now. after trolling the internet investigating recovery stories of people who have had this surgery, i realize the inaccuracy of my expectations. it seems that every person is different, but no one has recovered in one week's time. and i just thought i was superwoman!

i can tell my body is adjusting to having only one ovary. my hormones seem to be, shall we say, a little erratic, though the doctor assured me that over time my body would adjust. i drove for the first time yesterday to pick burrito up from school and while i felt quite horrible, it was also liberating to get out of this house! i am thankful that it is the weekend, and i will have my husband for company. i am hoping to make it to church on sunday, but we will see how i feel. i am a little wardrobe-challenged right now, as the incisisions are still sensitive, so if we do make it to church, i'm not sure what type of outfit i will be able to concoct!

there's a fire in our fireplace and a movie waiting for me to watch. i am thankful for your prayers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

habakkuk, surgeries and pathology.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19

this scripture was part of our wedding ceremony. i first heard this particular passage at passion '99, a college worship gathering that forever changed my view of God. john piper spoke of suffering and shared this passage, which was a part of his wedding ceremony. when i heard it, i knew that i, too, wanted this read at my wedding, you know, if i ever got married. i was convinced back then that i would be the first baptist nun! ha!
piper says this about this particular passage:
"habakkuk has ended in song! he has gotten a glimpse of the glory of God, and despite the certain suffering that looms on the horizon, he knows that this God will be enough for him."
i wanted this included in our wedding because i think it is a perfect picture of the magnitude of your wedding vows; that no matter what may come, the Lord is our salvation, and that alone is enough.
and we've all walked the road of suffering, haven't we? it is the nature of this world in which we now live. sin entered in and as a result, all have fallen, all have been touched by suffering. and it's easy to think that philosophically we will trust the Lord and rest in His sovereignty until real suffering hits. we find ourselves having to choose fear or peace in Christ.
i've had several people ask about the pathology of my cyst. it has been sent off but the results have not come back yet. i can sense the concern when people inquire about it. and i admit, the fear of cancer is a real one for me. i fear death, partly because i cannot believe that heaven is better than this life i have with my husband and family. i have to constantly remind myself that heaven really is better. Scripture says so (better is one day in your courts o Lord than a thousand elsewhere...psalm 84:10).
and believe it or not, this is the third time we have walked this road. since being married (just 7 years ago), i've had 2 other instances, one requiring surgery, where we were wondering, "do i have cancer?" so maybe fear of cancer just hasn't been a real concern because this is not new territory for us. or perhaps, because statistics show that the type of cyst i had is rarely malignant (2% or less), we do not fear. or hopefully it is because we can rest in Christ and His Word that says even if all is stripped away, we will yet rejoice in Christ and take joy in the God of our salvation.
this is a hard thing. and i am not very good at it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


so yesterday was a bit of a pity party day. i opted not to blog because i figured who needs to be invited to my pity party. and there are so many more tragic things in the world, that i am just foolish for feeling sorry for myself. my sweet husband sensed my pathetic state and slapped me upside the head with some psalms and i quickly got over myself! ;)

so today is a new day. recovery is a lot slower than i anticipated. i am still quite sore, but i can recognize that things are getting easier. i can get in and out of bed and up and down out of chairs a lot better than i did a day after surgery. i think the hardest part for me is not the pain but the lack of doing. i have a pretty high pain tolerance and surgery seriously is a breeze compared to the pain i had when i went to the ER. i like to be busy and just sitting around for 7 days now is really starting to get old. but maybe this is a lesson that the Lord is trying to teach me.

today i am thankful for:
1. a good night's rest. i am able to sleep on my left side now (still not my right) and i sleep best on my side so that is good.
2. i can take showers. i love taking showers.
3. i do see an improvement, even if it's not the improvement i had anticipated.
4. friends! a friend is picking up burrito from school this week, we still have meals coming, i get at least an email a day that totally blows my socks off, another friend is picking up noodle for bible study tomorrow....thank you friends!
5. i am off pain meds as of today and i still feel okay. the pain meds honestly make me feel worse than the pain.

things to pray for:
1. i am fighting some congestion and a cough....a cough is so NOT a good thing right now.
2. i ran a low grade fever yesterday...hoping that is normal and i don't think i have one today.
3. one of my incisions began bleeding this morning. it has since stopped, and i've got a call in to the doctor about it.
4. finding joy in all things...i admit my weakness here. it's hard to find joy in an ugly, hacked up, swollen and discolored abdomen. but i am trying.
5. mommy guilt. i am not the normal mommy that i usually am, and i feel guilty for the burden it has placed on my family.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

i'm okay.

it's sunday morning. i wish we were on our way to church. i am tired of being cooped up in the house. i think we are just going to load up in the car at some point today and just drive around before i go completely crazy!

i feel okay. the incisions are not that sore, and i am just taking the prescription ibuprofin now. i took a shower this morning and that felt glorious. several people have asked about the status of the cyst that was removed. 98% of these types of cysts are benign so we don't have any reason to believe otherwise. i think they still sent some of it off to pathology but i really can't remember what they said in the hospital. i was still a little loopy! i have to schedule a follow up appt tomorrow so i'll inquire more about that then.

i wanted to reiterate our thanks to all of you who have prayed, called, emailed, facebooked, brought over food, and watched the boys. special thanks go to dr. john (a friend and general surgeon from church) for his wisdom and willingness to help us, even to the point of doing the surgery himself! many thanks to wendy from school and brittany from church for organizing meals for us. we have food coming through the end of the week! it was sweet to see people praying for me on facebook as i waited in the pre-op room on friday. all of the nurses and doctors who helped us were super nice. we could just see the Lord carrying us through the craziness of the past week.

the boys are feeling better and the antibiotic seems to be kicking the symptoms of strep throat. my husband is amazing....just taking things in stride, staying so patient with the boys and joyfully serving me and my needs.

i am not sleeping well. i am a side sleeper and that is just not possible right now so it's hard to get comfortable enough to sleep for a good stretch of time. outside of that, i feel like things are going well. i keep teasing john that i want to have a funeral for my dead ovary. he just shakes his head. i think it's hysterical! don't you think that's funny? ha!

so there's the latest update. we'll see what this next week holds. john returns to work tomorrow, burrito will go to school and noodle and i have a movie and jammies day planned.

Friday, January 22, 2010

home sweet home

we were home by 6pm tonight, and it feels good to rest in my own bed!

if you've been following me on facebook, you'll know some of this info already. the hospital had free wi-fi so i was able to update as the day progressed. and perhaps the best thing, i was able to stay in the zone by listening to the david crowder band, instead of the noises of a hospital.

surgery started shortly after 11a and lasted about 2 hours. the plan was to try and remove the cyst laparoscopically, but it ended up being too big (it was around 10 cm, roughly the size of a baseball). so the doctor then had to do a 4th incision about 3 inches long and get it out that way. fortunately, everyone knew that i was super motivated to not spend the night at the hospital and allowed me to go home after an extended recovery period.

i've had several people ask about what it means to lose an ovary and i don't mind sharing, but if this weirds you out, feel free to skip this paragraph! girls have 2 ovaries so i still have mine on the right hand side. we can still get pregnant if we were to so choose.  the cyst that i had completely consumed my left ovary, and the sonographer said he saw very little ovarian tissue left. the weight of the cyst is what caused my ovary and fallopian tube to twist, causing the severe pain i had on tuesday. for whatever reason it twisted back, and that's why i have not had pain since then, but it would have eventually twisted again if we would not have removed it. the doctor ended up having to remove my left fallopian tube as well, because it had been damaged when the twisting occured.

so that's the skinny on all the technical stuff. recovery was tough. i was quite nauseated for a time and it took a bit for the pain meds to really kick in and work well. but, i was determined to go home so i was willing to deal with whatever to get there!

it was during this time that john told me that burrito had come home early from school because he was sick. by the time we got home from the hospital, both boys were complaining of sore throats and running a temperature. john left to go fill my prescriptions. my mom got me settled. i made an appointment for the boys. john came back home for 10 minutes then got back in the car and took both boys to an urgent care center. they were quickly diagnosed with strep throat. john brought them home, my mom got them ready for bed, john went back out to fill their prescriptions, came back home, gave them medicine and put them to bed!


isn't this just crazy! but the Lord is so good. john is a SUPER amazing husband. my mom has been SO helpful. and our friends have been AMAZING prayer warriors. thanks so much! we feel really loved and overwhelmed.

but i'll post more about that tomorrow. it's off to bed for me. it's been a rather LONG day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

we finally have a surgery time!

we are so excited to say that we finally have a surgery time!

and can i just share with you the amazing work the Lord has done for us today?

we started the morning off with a resolve to set things in motion. john and i hit the streets with a figure out the whole medicaid mess and to try and get surgery scheduled. as i was getting ready for the mission, the Lord gave me the idea to call the business office at the hospital. if anyone would know what to do, surely the people who deal with this daily would know, right?

thank you Jesus, for sending us some sweet people to help today. they helped us to quickly realize that we are not destitute enough for medicaid. i am not sure if i should be sad or happy about this. ha! so the financial counselor there went to work on coming up with a discount that would help us. and she did. and we are SO grateful.

honestly we feel like these ladies went above and beyond their jobs to help us and we're not sure why. it could be because of all the PRAYERS from you. the hospital, obgyn/surgeon and anesthesiologist have all agreed to discount their fees significantly. my obgyn even called the anesthesiologist herself to work out a deal for us. what doctor does that?!?!?!

soon after all the financial details were worked out, we scheduled surgery for tomorrow morning at 11:00. we love the obgyn and have full confidence in her skills to remove the cyst and ovary. she plans to try to remove it laparoscopically on an outpatient basis. however, because of the size, it may end up being more invasive which may lead to an overnight stay.

it's really been quite crazy. i told john this morning i haven't even had time to process the fact that i am having surgery or that i am losing an ovary because i've either been doped up on pain meds or running around town trying to schedule surgery or making a bazillion phone calls to work details out. i guess maybe that's a blessing.

and another amazing thing....i've not taken any pain meds since lunchtime yesterday. i've not had any pain and i feel so much better off of them. i've been able to eat and drink and function!

i have had time to think about the ways the Lord has grown us in this process. we are generally quite independent people. we are not accustomed to needing help nor asking for it. through this though we've realized just what the scriptures mean about being the hands and feet of Christ and how the body takes care of each other. we are oh so thankful. and just saying those words seems so inadequate.

but thank you!

so we would ask that you continue praying for us in these ways:
1. pray that surgery would go smoothly and it could be done laparoscopically
2. pray that recovery would be quick and uneventful
3. pray that we would trust the Lord with all things, including finances
4. pray for our boys...that life would return to "normal" quickly
5. pray that pathology would show that the growth is indeed benign

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

update #1

hello friends!

first let me say THANK YOU for the love you have shown me and my family. we are simply overwhelmed with the offers to help, to bring a meal, to watch the boys and to PRAY for us. we are so thankful for each one of you!

my pain has subsided and for that i am so grateful. the pain meds prevented me from sleeping much last night thanks to giving me the itchies (a known side effect)! i've been advised to take some benadryl to remedy this.

so we met with the obgyn this afternoon. the sonographer showed us the 10 cm growth that he called a dermoid. it has essentially gobbled up my whole left ovary. this type of growth is typically benign so we are breathing a sigh of relief about that! it most definitely needs to be surgically removed. due to its large size the obgyn couldn't promise us that it could be removed laproscopically (i probably misspelled that!) so it may need to be removed through an incision. laproscopically would mean outpatient, incision would mean 1-2 days in the hospital.

surgery has not been scheduled due to our "no insurance" situation. we have applied for medicaid (today) and should qualify for it, as far as we can tell. we have also pursued the JPS county hospital route. our obgyn was very sensitive to our financial situation and told us we basically have 2 options at this point:

1) wait for the acute pain to recur, go to the ER, explain that we've seen her and she is aware of my situation and they would proceed with surgery, assuming that we would indeed be covered by medicaid and they would "fast track" our application or

2) she is planning to speak to the CFO of the hospital tomorrow to see if we can get his permission to proceed with surgery under the assumption that medicaid would cover it, without waiting for me to be in acute pain again. she said she would call us tomorrow to inform us of his decision.

so i guess our PRAYER now is that the CFO would have pity on our case and approve my surgery and that surgery would take place THIS WEEK.

the doctor seemed to be under the assumption that IF he did approve it, nothing would likely occur until monday, a situation we would not prefer. i wish i could have had this surgery done YESTERDAY. i DO NOT want to experience that type of acute pain again, thank you very much!

but we are grateful for the possibility of it being covered by medicaid, or if not that, a discounted program through JPS. so we are trying to TRUST THE LORD with the timetable and see what He works out.

in the meantime, i am praying like crazy that the pain stays away, that i can keep some sort of food/drink down (i either vomit from pain or vomit from the pain meds!) and that my family can function with waiting for the next bomb to go off. it is so hard to know whether john should go back to work, if my mom should continue to come to our house, do i take the pain meds or not, will we make it through the next day or the next week without pain, etc, etc.

thanks again friends for your prayers! we really appreciate them!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

please pray

i find myself in an unusual circumstance. i've not been here before and i sure don't like it! it all started this morning. it was a normal morning, not wanting to get out of bed and start the day. i took a shower but when i stepped out i noticed a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. i didn't think much of it but within minutes i was on the ground in pain.

and the pain got worse and worse. so bad, in fact, that i began vomiting from the intense pain. it became quickly apparent that i needed medical help.

we went to the ER and after getting pain meds via i.v. and a CT scan, it was determined that i have a growth on my ovary.

a baseball sized growth!

the doctor thinks that the growth caused my ovary to twist, becoming cut off from blood and oxygen supply, and this is what caused the intense pain. he explained that you have about a 6 hour window from the onset of symptoms to save the ovary, a window which was just closing at this point.

i was sad. i don't like the idea of not having an ovary. i was sad. i am scared of growths.

so the next step will be an ultrasound tomorrow to determine the state of my ovary, the size of the growth and the necessary surgery will be scheduled. we are not sure if that will take place tomorrow or another day.

i am currently on a high dose of pain meds. 2 every 4 hours and the doctor instructed me to set an alarm so that i would wake throughout the night to take more. i will gladly comply. there are no words to describe the pain i experienced today. no words.

so my friends, i would ask that you pray for me and my family. pray that the doctors we see would have wisdom, that the pain would be controlled with medication, that further tests would be conclusive, that the growth would be benign and that God would provide miraculously for us financially, as i do not currently have medical insurance.

i will keep you updated.

Friday, January 15, 2010

funny boys

these two boys just crack me up sometimes! they still love dressing alike, even at ages 5.5 and 4. i just love it and hope it lasts forever, ha!

burrito amazed me today. on the way to school this morning he said, "mom, we are running early today." perplexed i wondered to myself what made him notice this but before i had an answer, he clued me in. we listen to the same radio station every day and they always say, "you have so and so minutes to make it by 8:00." so burrito tells me, "i heard them say you have 20 minutes to make it by 8:00 and usually they say 8 minutes or something so we must be running early." isn't it amazing that he noticed the difference. i was so impressed with his observation!

noodle had sports class today at our local rec center. we've done this before and loved it so much that we signed up for 2 more sessions this year. when i went to pick him up his teacher told me that they learned about basketball and that noodle told him he had been practicing at home. this was true...noodle could play basketball for hours and both boys had played with john the night before. then his teacher told me that noodle was good, really good. it made me so proud!

and for another funny "noodleism:" let's can i put this politely. noodle was in the bathroom this morning doing the #2 and yelled for me to come in there. when i came he asked me if i would "turn on the air conditioner." puzzled, i asked him what he was talking about. again he said, "turn on the air conditioner. it's stinky in here!" then i realized he was talking about the exhaust fan! it was so cute and so funny that i didn't have the heart to correct him!

loving these boys and loving being a momma!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

my two cents: the nintendo wii

this new year has really thrown me for a loop. i just can't get back on a normal routine. it doesn't help that i've had a sick boy home this week. i've had a zillion blog posts rolling around in my head, but none have made it to the computer!
so i thought i would start this new thing and call it "my two cents." i love reading reviews of what people think about certain products and trying to determine if it would be a good thing for our the vacuum cleaner that i am still in love with!

so after having our nintendo wii for almost a month now, i thought i would do a personal review.

it's been really fun to play as a family. we only have the basic wii sports and wii play, but those have been more than enough to keep us entertained! the boys love boxing, as seen here with noodle in boxing action. surprisingly i have not spent a lot of time telling the boys that they have played too much. maybe it's their short attention spans, maybe it's because they are accustomed to doing things in moderation, thanks to their wonderful parents, ha! either way, we don't play it every day but when we do, we have lots of fun.

i also have the wii fit plus with the balance board. i've enjoyed the workout exercises on there so far but i must admit i am getting a little bored with it. there's just not enough action to really feel like i am exercising. i am considering purchasing something different.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy 7th Anniversary!

happy 7th anniversary to my love, john david! i am so thankful to the Lord for him every day and especially this day.

i posted some pics last year of our wedding here. it was a glorious day. and the past 7 years have been glorious too (well, mostly, ha, ha!).

we celebrated all weekend long. the boys stayed at my parents' house the whole weekend, which they thought was pretty cool too. john and i went out for a dinner and movie on friday, something we have not done since before burrito was born. crazy, i know! we ate dinner at fuzzy's taco shop (so very austin-ish!) and then saw "leap year." a great, funny and clean romantic comedy. we highly recommend it!

then on saturday we had breakfast at ihop, and spent the day in dallas shopping and eating. one of our very first pre-dates was at an ihop because starbucks closed at 10p and we wanted to keep talking!

on sunday we slept in (another first in a long time moments) and had a relaxing morning before we were reunited with our boys. it was great!

so now we look forward to the next 7 years of adventures together!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


i am a little tardy on posting my resolutions for this year. i've been thinking a lot about what i think about new year resolutions.

my conclusion is this:

resolutions are useful if they are attainable and measurable. attaining and measuring seems really difficult though if you do so over a year long stretch of time, such as a year.

so i've come up with a solution.

i am advocating new month resolutions. i have several goals to accomplish this year, but i would like to take them month-by-month. this seems so less daunting, and as i accomplish doing these resolutions over a month's time, i think i will be motivated to keep doing them the next 11 months.

so here are my new month resolutions:

1. exercise. now i don't like to mention this too often because everyone gets so irritated when i talk about working out. i am skinny. but my goal in exercising is not to lose weight, but to be more healthy. i am not an exerciser by nature. i don't like to have sore muscles. i don't like to sweat. but i do want to be healthy and live a long time. and while i am generally skinny, there are certain areas of my body that just don't look like they once did!

2. love the Lord more. what does this look like? for me, it is reading and spending time in the Bible. i am shamefully horrible at this.

3. love intentionally. i want to be proactive in loving my husband and children more. for me, this would be spending more time on being with them and less time on doing. no more multi-tasking. it is okay and good to just hang out with the wii, watch a movie, play a game. i do those things now, but i couple them with folding laundry, checking emails, paying bills, etc. no more!

4. explore my future. next year noodle will be in school 3 days a week, and i will find myself at home without any children. i would like to start thinking now about how best to spend that time. volunteering, discovering a home-based business, finding a flexible job.

there are more but these are the top 4 for me. so for january, i plan to work on all 4 but really zero in on exercising. i received the wii fit plus for christmas, and i am loving it so far. it is a good exercise program for me. not too hard, plenty of motivation and a lot of fun. and then in february, i plan to zero in on the next resolution, trying to not neglect the other 3 but focusing my mental energy on spending time with the Lord. and so forth and so on.

so those are my new month resolutions.