Mo’ Mo’ Snow…Ugh

We got three to five more inches last night here in Idaho Falls.  I am happy we aren’t getting the ice storms that are happening across the nation.  So please understand I am happy about that part.  But I am tired of snow.

The song from White Christmas has been ringing in my head, “Snow, Snow, Snow” and I say enough of the white stuff.  That white stuff that covers up those icy spots.  I have not had to drive in this stuff for over eight years.  And I was satisfied with that.

Yes, I know the farmers need it.  Yes, I know the rivers will be full.  Yes, I know the snow enthusiast who love to be out in this to play (why?) love this.  I have heard all those reasons and I do not begrudge them that. I truly don’t.

But piles and piles of white stuff mounted in small hills is overwhelming.  You can have a sledding hill in the parking lots alone.  Can you guess I am not a fan?  It is pretty to look at initially until the plows make it a yucky gray.  Until the dogs make yellow snow or until you are just tired of the white glare.

I am more a spring/fall girl.  Not super hot, not super cold but just right.  So I wait in great anticipation to see another color but white upon the land.  Colors that will perk me up.  Let me open my windows with little birdies tweeting about.  Brings up images of Snow White in the forest with all her little pals gathered around her.  Aww the idyllic bliss of spring.

I long for spring but all I know right now is they are predicting , mo’ mo’ snow.

Heaving a heavy sigh.

 

 

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Tired of being Tired

I was talking to one of my kiddos online and she said she was tired.  I asked if that was physically, emotionally or mentally.  She replied, yup.

Oh my darling daughter, I so understand that.  I know right where you are coming from with that simple sentence, “I am tired”.

I hate that feeling when you feel you can’t get caught up or you are feeling like just giving in to those emotions.  You are like me you hate to be vulnerable but so often we are.  We put on our Teflon clothing hoping things don’t stick to us.  Only to find we can be one sticky gooey mess that has to be painstakingly chiseled away.

Right now my Armour is feeling a bit rusty and dinged.  I want to show bravery and trust in God at all times in all ways.  I don’t want to question why, that is not for me.  God didn’t do this to me; genetics, diabetes, misfortune of life.  It’s not how I have this but how will I deal with it.  I have choices.

Bitterness that will turn me sour and mean.

Self pity that will just swallow me whole.

Acceptance and apathy…so it’s happened

Or fight, don’t let it defeat. Be stronger than this situation.

I am still in a fog.I am not sure what emotion I should have right now.  I am just going through the daily motions waiting for the next step.  What will that be? I have not a clue.  So right now I just keep going,  trying to act normal. Trying not to dwell on my time bomb.

ticking-time-bombBecause that is what this feels like.  You know it’s there, you know it is not good…you made the silly mistake of googling it (doh) and now you know more that you should.  And of course everyone has a  scary story of being related to someone or knowing someone that had an aortic aneurysm . STOP telling me.  I don’t want to know that you know someone who knew someone whose aorta ruptured and they are now dead.

Let me find my own surprises.  This is a lot to take in in one sitting.  You go from you are ok, physically, not perfect by any means to your aorta could dissect and if it does it is hard to save you. Thanks needed that pep talk.

I have said before, it is what it is, I can’t change it.  I try not to think of it and ignore it but it hard to do.  Try telling yourself not to think of something and then see how often you think of that thing.  I am in prayer.

Several people have me on prayer chains..thank you.  Please please pray for all my tired’s. I have appeared strong in my life and I have appeared needy, right now I am on a teeter totter going both ways.  I want to be strong but that is becoming numb.  I want to shut down and just hide away.  Not even a Calgon take me away type of hiding but away as in alone.

Today is another day, there will be a tomorrow and then that will fade  away until there is another tomorrow.  Life continues; it does not stop because Dawn Marie is tired.  It goes on and I make the decision to march on; one step at a time, one moment at a time until I am no longer tired.

 

 

 

Back from the Doctor 

You walk into the waiting room of Cardiologist office and you are  the youngest one in there. Then you’re given a bunch of forms to fill out. Forms that ask personal and intimate questions. Form that could be embarrassing. Forms looking back at family history. Forms for every med you take. Forms to keep privacy, forms to inform those who don’t have to be private. By the time you go back to see the doctor, you need to see another doctor for carpal tune from writer’s cramp.

The nurse was nice and funny. She asked about the ages of our children. When we said 15 and 11, she looked at us and said, “are you crazy!?”. That is one of the most honest responses we have received and we  burst out laughing.

Dr Sester came in, he was dressed in jeans, boots and a belt buckle. He introduced himself and then asked if we had a solution on poddy training a puppy, then he showed us an adorable pic on his phone of his golden doodle puppy. I was put at ease.  

He talked of coming here from Kentucky so he could fly fish. He said he liked the snow because it meant more water in the rivers. Plus he liked hiking and playing on 4 wheelers. At this Ron was put at ease. 

He did an initial exam and then got to business. My aorta aneurysm measures 4.9 to 5.0 cm. They usually operate and it is a big surgery. They would cool down the body and a bypass machine would be used. 
But he wanted a cardio catscan with contrast dye. The catscan that discovered this was a great catscan that caught this but wasn’t for the heart. Also he ordered an echo cardiogram and a nuclear stress test. Those will happen Monday and Tuesday.

If anyone wants to watch a stroke survivor with a wobbly left side that can’t walk a straight line, be on a treadmill I am selling tickets to defray medical costs.

I go back to see him on the 31st and then will see where we go from here. I did ask him if it could rupture…he gave me an analogy of a tire and multiple layers and a bulge it gets.  It can dissect but we don’t know if it will, when it will or how it ill.  That answer didn’t tell me anthing.

I was very quiet when we left. I was hoping to hear it was a mistake or it is small we won’t worry. I didn’t hear that and my super woman cape drooped a bit.

Frankly at times, reality bites.

Reality and faith

The Matthew verse has been resounding with me for the last few days. I am trying to not to worry about tomorrow.  The TAA (thoracic aorta aneurysm) it’s not something I can change.. it is what it is. The lump in my breast is there and I can’t change that. I have surprised myself with no tears or hysteria.  I am concerned,  when you know there is a TAA you feel like a walking timebomb. 

I am a bit matter of fact in some ways or practical. I know I have to get several things in place; healthcare directive, living will, durable power of attorney and a will. Not to be morbid but funeral wishes and decisions (this is from working in a funeral home). 

These aren’t fun things to do at all but necessary. I am more worried about my husband and my children. I want to protect them but this time I can’t, the reality is there.

I know another reason I am not a puddle of emotions is I am totally relying on God. I trust him and knows he has me in his hands and heart. 

In the Lord’s prayer, we say,

Let thy will be done

His will not mine. 

Maybe tomorrow after talking to the cardio surgeon we will find out if I am having surgery or what type. Maybe I will even be healed. I believe in miracles.

I have not even looked ahead to Friday with the mammogram and ultrasound.  That feels a long way away. I am only trying and I stress trying to take care of today.

It has only been one week since we have begun this journey. Buckle up kiddies we are on this wild ride together.

My Next Journey. 

   Once upon a time three years ago I started my blog so I could chronicle my journey of having two strokes within eight days at the age of 48. Now as age 51 (I still cringe that my age begins with a five), I started a new Journey. It’s not exactly the journey I want to take but the journey I’ve been given.

   I guess I have done the head things and now I get do the area below the shoulders; My heart and my right breast. Thoracic aorta aneurysm our words I had never heard until Monday. The phrase that “your lump in the breast has changed” followed the next day with the appointment with your hemotologist saying he is doing a blood clot study and checking for a blood syndrome.  My body is falling apart. I guess I am doing my Humpty Dumpy impression. Now I pray that these doctors will do better than the king’s men did in that riddle.

  Today, I had an early morning appointment with the vampires in their white coats and snappy blue gloves. They were kind that they only had to one stick and took 6 vials of blood. They weren’t hungry as I thought they might be.  

  Now we wait for the results. In the meantime, I wait. Cardio surgeon on the 17th, mammogram and ultrasound on the 20th, test reltd for the blood work the 26th. I did say I wanted a social life with real people.

   I have been asked how I feel aboit this all. I haven’t cried, I haven’t been emotional. I have been master of fact. I can’t change it,

  I am drifting off here. I will continue this sags.

Blessings and prayers.  

Good Luck, Bad Luck Who Knows

There is a story of a Chinese proverb…this is the abbreviated story or the Cliff notes version: 

A man had a son who he loved,

the son got a horse that was beautiful,

 but was tossed from the horse, 

the son broke his leg..

a warlord was taking able bodied boys and men but the son couldn’t go because of his injury

After each incident the father says, “good luck, bad luck who knows.”

That has been my mantra this week. It is only Wednesday and I am tired both physically and mentally. Saturday began it all, my left leg was swollen and was tender to the touch in the calf. Sunday it had not improved. I had been having trouble breathing and my chest was tight. My concern was blood clots.

Monday morning, I called for an appointment with Dr Adams. They ran an INR and it was 1.4. (For those who don’t know what that is it test your blood. It’s when you take Coumadin and you don’t want it to thin and you don’t want to thick. It is a pain in the butt). So we knew that was not the problem. But the tightness of the leg and the swelling was  concern. Dr. Adams decided that we should go ahead and run a ultrasound on the leg and a cat scan of my chest. I was told to go to Mountain View Hospital right away. At that point I was feeling overwhelmed. They want you to the test and they weren’t sure how long itwould take.  I had Rose to pick up then the hour after that Brandon. Thankful for our niece Kerri in helped out.

They did the CAT scan first.  They had to put in an IV for the contrast dye. Fun fun oh I loved that. (Sarcasm.) The technician was pretty good, it only took two sticks. And lucky for me it was a donut style Cat Scan. No claustrophobia. I so loved the warm flush of the contrast dye down my body. You panic that you peed your pants.That took about 45 minutes. I then had to wait for the ultrasound of my leg. I really regretted not shaving for a few days. That took about 30 minutes. Whew that was done.

Home I went to take it easy and put up my leg. At 4 o’clock my phone rings.

 Nurse: great news there are no clots.

 Me: that is great news.

 Nurse: Did you know that you have the thoracic aorta aneurysm?

 Me:(confused pause) no noone has ever told me that. They would right? 

Nurse: It’s larger than the Dr. would like . She wants to refer you to a cardio surgeon. Dr wants you to keep your legs up, rest, keep your blood pressure down, and avoid stress. We will make the referral for you.

 Me:Okay great thank you goodbye.

Stay Calm ok, No stress..I Have A TEENAGER and a special needs child…no stress right. Then I do Google search on TAA. Dumbest thing to do. TAA is known as the silent killer, not usually discovered until death.  John Ritter and Lucille Ball died of TAAs. Great now I feel like the old tinker is a bomb that could go KAPOW all of a sudden.

I tell Ron and we decide to tell the kids after school. I even had a picture. I am still talking calmly to myself. We pray and Give it God.

I

 This is what it is..I am puffed out on my heart.  Brandon begins to cry saying this is his fault because he is mean. Rose begins to wail that I am going to die. Well that went well. I comfort them.

I still have not cried and am in a fog. I know me getting the catscan was God’s hand. If it were not for my leg and chest hurting I would have not have had the Catscan we would had known of the heart issues.

Tueday I went to see the Hematology doctor, Dr.Adams the husband of my other Dr. Adams. He wants a blood work up done for clotting and another done to test for a blood syndrome. Mylanta…what more.

Oh wait this morning, Thursday they call telling me of my referral to the cardio surgeon and oh by the way we found in that catscan a small lump in your right breast.  We are ordering a mammogram and ultrasound.  

Now remember this is the nurse who said avoid stress. So as I am talking to her I have two arguing kids and three dogs barking because the kids are yelling. (Typical day here in Paradise.) She asks if I am ok. I told her this was normal… (I didn’t tell her, I would have been yelling for everyone to sit down and zip your lips or shut your snout.)

I send up a prayer and try to herd the kids out the door for school. I am still living and have kids to taxi to school and an office to get to and work to do. Life has to go on.

Surprisingly, even to me, I have not cried, have not melted down. I might be numb, I might be not sure how to tackle this. I am staying in prsyer. I pray for the peace that passes understanding.  I pray for my family and I pray for God’s will to be done.

Through my faith,  I am stronger. I am praying if it is will for a miracle that many will blame on scientific breakthroughs. I am a child of God and have fsith.

My journey will begin the 17th of January.  Please pray for all my family during these diffict timed. Remember, Good luck, bad luck, who knows.

Ouchie, Awake

It is 1:49 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I am tired, I do want to slip gracefully and gently into the Land of Nod. Go see Morpheous. I want to sleep and have pretty dreams; unicorns, rainbows, laughter, a gentle spring breeze and all you can eat chocolate that won’t make you gain weight. 

Well that is not happening. I am hurting. My left leg on the stroke(s) side is swollen from the knee down.  The tight of swollen that makes you feel like your a growing balloon. I have my leg propped up but it not making a difference.  I feel frustrated.  As a woman said on a youtube video, “I ain’t got time for that.”

Swelling in a leg is concerning of course. One it hurts, two it could be serious. No, I am not exaggerating. It is swollen down to my toes. I have a few issues to cause concern. I am a diabetic and have had 2  stroke.and my mom had pulmonary clot–so my mind jumps there. 

It hurts to move it and I have been keeping it elevated.  But it is hurting like crazy. I have prayed tonight and will continue. I think a doctor visit is in order do they can diagnose my pain. Usually I try to avoid all doctors.  I saw a lot of doctors during my hospitals stay.

So I am praying and praying.  As I told my congregation in my sermon, “pray, pray and then pray some more. God will answer my prayers but it will be in his time.

I hope I am finally able to sleep. Good sleep and see ya in five hours.  Joy joy! Sleep well my friends.

First of Everything in Idaho

Everything I am doing is another first. I have done many of these things in other places but everything now is my first in Idaho. Firsts are not always good nor are they bad they are just well firsts. 

I have taken my first (and I hope only) Idaho drivers test. I was one away from failing. I misses the question about livestock in the road. They did have to try six times to take my photo and only had to call Boise two times. But after two hours I was a licensed Idaho driver whose picture looks more like I was booked into jail.

I have become a pick up and drop off mom.At times being like those people I have scoffed. Arriving 30 minutes early to have a good place in line. I am now a parent who is in constant  (or so it feels) contact with the teachers and counselors. Often hearing on the phone from the school,  “how are you doing today?” And my response is, “Depends on why you are calling.”

I have experienced the new of a new church with each of us learning our rythmes and tempo. Sometimes discordant, sometimes melodic and sometimes off key. I have some who are content to find our stride and some who are afraid we will never find it. I pray and pray and often pray again. 

I have now experienced my first blizzard. 12″ in one day and whiteout conditions. I had not driven in this type snow since I lived in Finley, Washington in 1994. So it was new again. I didn’t want to seem wimpy to my Idaho family .  Another new thing they don’t have snow days, they have cold days. Two things I am not a huge fan of is cold and snow. Yes, I do know I moved to Idaho. The picture above was taken from our driveway looking toward our neighbors. His property starts where the trees are.

Apparently though my 15 year old has neither of those qualms as I came home to him shoveling snow today. Shoveling was a shock yes but also he was not wearing a hat, coat or gloves. He was also just wearing shorts. Yes it was a balmy 12 degrees but really dude.

Another new thing is that Rose has a friend. Not a make believe one but one who comes over to play and they go do thinges together.Today they went to a place called Battlezone. It has an area with multiple trampolines and an area for Nerf battles. The youth pastor in me perked up. I had images of some of my former youth having a heyday there.

Is new good or bad? It can be both. It’s all adaptation. Learning to like, to love or to tolerate the new. New is here. I can embrace it or hate. New may be uncomfortable but if you don’t embrace it, you are miserable. Life is too short to be miserable. 

Two dear people from my former church passed away. They had full lives filled with with good and bad. But what I learned from both of them was to pray, rejoice always, smile and let the Lord handle the hard stuff.

My new is just that new. It boils down to how I handle new.

Jesus Welcomed Her Home

Last night I received a text from a friend and former parishioner, probably a bit of a no-no, as my year from them has not yet come; but this she knew would be important to me. Wanda Holcumbrink has passed away.  Jesus welcomed her home. It saddens my heart, that I cannot be there for her official going away party. So I want to write this since I cannot be there and I cannot officiate as I have had with Bowling Green First Christian or New Harmony Christian Church congregants.

Wanda is now with her beloved Barney and the rest of her family that went before her.  I have lost many parishioners in my life as a pastor and seen many people I love pass away but Wanda had a  great impact on my life.   I can list a few others of course but today is Wanda’s time.

Before I even arrived as her pastor, she was calling me and saying prayers for me. I admit I was initially caught off guard by this.  A woman who I didn’t even know was calling from 1900 miles away to pray with me. That blew me away!

Wanda became my prayer warrior.  She would call me out of the blue because had led her to pray with me and for me and usually it was just at the right time.  She often told me she would pray for me at night because she wasn’t sleeping anyway. I somehow adopted my name of her from Wanda to Aunt Wanda.

She was also strong-willed and spoke her mind.  Albeit in later years it was peppered with a few scattered, “hells and damns”.  At times when I heard she was on the phone to talk with me it was with trepidation as I knew there might be a stern rebuke or a highly made suggestion always prefaced with, “now people have told me” or “this is just an opinion of an old woman”.  Most of the times I would listen to those suggestions.  A few times I balked and explained why I was doing things a certain way.  She would listen and either agree or disagree. Always those times would end with prayer.

Often before service I would give her a hug and she wouldn’t let me go as she said a prayer in my ear before I had to go before the congregation.  Sometimes she would decide we were a closing prayer at the end of the service and have us round-up.  Sometimes she would want to pray or say something during the service that was not planned.  No one ever complained  because she was Wanda.

My visits with her in her home was peppered with stories of Barney, his mother, Daddy and Momma, her siblings, her children,  grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephew and always a few anecdotes about Yvonne and Kay.  She would share stories of the farm and of the church. It was easy to stay and talk with her and we always left with some applesauce. And of course we prayed.

Little Kennedy’s illness hit her hard. She shared with me that it caught her off guard.  She felt that little one’s pain and it she admitted was hard to take and was causing her depression. But as you can guess she prayed. She saw the miracle  happen in Kennedy.

As she started to fail in the last few years, she would not always remember when I came and visited her.  She became home bound.  One day I received a message that Aunt Wanda was “pissed that her preacher had not seen her”.  I had but she was vocal about that.

Because she did not go out and I worried about her eating or lack of eating, I would go and get lunch and bring it to her.  She said she would eat anything.  So we would have pizza,    fish and hush puppies or chicken with sides.  I would always bring enough for her to have it for dinner too.

Aunt Wanda was a fierce prayer warrior and taught many of  us how to pray deeper and longer.  She taught us to have a heartfelt love of prayer and have a true deep and abiding love of Jesus. She taught and exhibited to us to be faithful in our Bible reading, in our study, in our actions and in our prayers.

Even as she begun to fade she prayed.  My family and I had our last visit with Wanda on a Saturday before we moved to Idaho.  I knew this would probably be my last time with her.  She wanted to take a picture with my son Brandon and daughter Rose.  I  cherish that picture and to see her smile.We spoke of me leaving and how disappointed she was that I was leaving but she understood God’s call.  When I asked to pray for her, she let me under the condition I let her pray for me.

There are many Bible verses that would describe Wanda; the Proverb of the Good Wife, Timothy’s word of fighting the good fight, 1 Thessalonians to rejoice in all thing and to pray without ceasing and the list could go on. But I think the one that was said to her was, “well done my good and faithful servant”.

Yesterday, Wanda went home and was welcomed by Jesus.  She is now praying for us from up above.  I will miss Wanda’s presence but I take a piece of Wanda with me to cherish in my heart. I can’t wait for the day I can join the party with you.  I love you Aunt Wanda and welcome home.

 

 

 

What this Election Will Mean for Me

Last night, I finally went to bed at midnight. My eyes would no longer stay open. I knew when I awoke history would be made. But unsure of what that history would be. I had definite opinions of the candidates and not really fond of either. But I knew it would change the world.

See I don’t do a party, there were things that each party was saying that I liked. Issues that I agreed with and disagreed with. I come from a family who hunts for food, a soldier, and a prison guard so I understand how they feel about their guns. I worry about losing Affordable Healthcare, if that goes away, how do I afford insurance and without that, I cannot afford insulin and my many meds that keep me going since my strokes. So this a great concern. Will Ron have to give up his social security to get a full time job with benefits?

I am a bit sick to my stomach. I am not sure if I can pinpoint the exact reason. I want America to be great again. We may gain jobs but what may be our cost to do so? We are a land of immigrants, do we need better controls on that and what might they be? Do we need a better look at foreign policy? Who do we befriend, who do we defriend? Will we look internally or externally? Did people vote not for either candidate but who would nominate the next Supreme Court judge? Did they just vote down party lines? (Sorry about the blue highlight, not sure how I put it there.) 

I have a pretty strong hunch how my older children voted. And I can say with certainty that they did not agree. Even the littles were on different teams. So some are happy happy and some are drinking themselves to the stage of blurriness.

I was taught to respect the office of the Presidency. I will do so but with trepidation and deep concern. I will pray for our President as I always have. I will continue to pray for our country and ALL our men, women and children. 

I didn’t like either candidate. I didn’t like them personally. I didn’t like what they stood for in many aspects. I didn’t care for how they attacked each other during the campaign. I didn’t like the ugliness and the accusations. This campaign was ugly. This campaign it was painful. It was unbelievable how two people can sink to the lowest of lows. It was unbelievable how we looked into the depths of their personal lives. It was unbelievable if you look at their past histories. It’s amazing how you looked at their current history. 

Today I am concerned and fearful of what is to come.