Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Knew?

Who knew the reason why after almost dying from heart arrythmias, drug interactions and miscommunication among doctors, W would live to see another few months painfree, regaining weight and having the best health in months?

Who knew that all our financial obligations and health care costs would be taken care of so easily without much stress or trouble when W. was diagnosed with cancer?

Who knew that we would be blessed with supportive friends and family who would continue to give us the courage to hang in there, with their love surrounding us?

Who knew that W.’s health would improve so dramatically as to make him a good candidate for a stem cell transplant in four weeks?

God knew!!

God knew that when his attending cardiologist had given up on him, and asked if we considered hospice for his cancer, that W. would live to prove his assumptions wrong. God was not finished with him yet.

God knew that when I was called to the hospital at 3am because W. had been having seizures for over an hour that I would again see him alive and breathing.

God knew that when W. took so long to wake up from his sedation, hearing my prayers to be able to speak with him again, I would be able to carry a conversation with him without any loss of cognition or his wonderful sense of humor.

God knew when I needed to be home with him, driving him to doctor appointments, handling the little ups and downs of his blood levels, his heart issues and very complicated medication needs, my work would generously allow me a family leave to help him recover.

God knew when I asked and trusted him to provide for all our bills, he knew our insurance would be there for us and that there would be few problems among the complicated maze of co-payments and provider reimbursements. God knew that the expensive chemotherapies would be covered. God knew that our application for disability would be accepted with lightening speed allowing up to keep up with health insurance and car payments without my income to help.

God knew that our family and friends would care and be there for us when we needed emotional support. God knew he would give me an extra measure of calmness of spirit and courage to do what needed to be done.

God knew that when we were disappointed that his living siblings were not good matches to donate some bone marrow stem cells to give him the best chance of long remission, two cord blood donors would be found in the world to give him that chance.

God knew that while we had no idea of when a stem cell transplant would be scheduled, we would be notified that he would have one in FOUR WEEKS.

God knows how we love him for loving us, and that no matter what happens, life or death, he has our humble gratitude and adoration for being so good to us and giving us a future.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Are we there yet? …….No!

I am feeling quite blessed that W. is doing so well. His flaky skin has cleared. It looks soft and smooth as a baby’s skin. A sure fire confirmation that something is going well is that he is growing hair on his body again. W. is looking very human again.

He is getting stronger and able to do more activity, but must still watch himself. He wants so much to resume all of his pre-cancer activities, he forgets that he is not completely whole, yet. His independence has allowed me to go to work for a few hours, however, I have a new worry to think about, W’s stubborness. The other day, we talked about putting together a corner desk our son has abandoned in the garage in pieces, as he moved to his new home. This would make an excellent workspace for W. to start to do things he used to enjoy like model building. He purchased a Skill level 2 model of a Clipper Ship that he spied at a hobby shop. He was anxious to get started. He is moving around better but his strength and stability are not 100%. I cautioned him not to move the heavy desktop part without help. It had taken the two of us, my son and I, to move it to the garage and weighed at least 40+ lbs.

One day, as I left him to attend a work meeting for a few hours, he decided he couldn’t wait any longer. He moved the small pieces of the desk into the house. Mr. Genius thought if he could put the heavy desk top on a rolling dolly, he could roll it into the house. Well, he thought wrong and has lived to regret it. The desk top slipped, sliding down his shins and scrapped them up. By the time I drove up, saw the dolly and the desktop moved from its place, I was horrified to think what had happened. As a rushed in, he was calmly sitting on the recliner with his legs up, looking as calm as could be. He was sitting as proud as a peacock of taking care of his leg wounds all by himself, which extended on both legs from his knees to his ankles. I wanted to wring his neck! I couldn’t help but smile at his resourcefulness, but also was disappointed to have a long ordeal of healing his open wounds without getting an infection, which could be potentially devastating.

It didn’t stop there. He wants to drive again. He wants his independence back. I guess I should be grateful he is wanting to be more independent, but this can be dangerous. The other day, I was baking cookies for a Dr. Seuss event at my preschool. The oven was on, cookies were baking, my arms up to my elbows were covered in flour and sugar sprinkles. Suddenly, W. announced that he wanted to drive to Home Depot to get some screws for his desk. Over the past few weeks, he has started carrying his car keys in his pocket. The light in my head started to go on. I am realizing that the desktop fell on the wrong part of him. If it had dropped on his head, perhaps it would have knocked some sense in him.

I asked if he could wait until I finished my cookies baking. He could not. My whole being was panicked. We were unsure W’s legs were strong enough to brake. He had been exercising his legs and they were stronger but I wanted to make sure I was with him if his strength suddenly failed, at least on the first time. Well, as I was trying to convince him to wait, lo and behold, his guardian angel brought our son walking through the door just then, and I asked him to go with him just in case he needed rescuing. As W. got into the driver’s seat, God made it clear to him he was not ready as he tried to step on the brake pedal to start the Prius. He couldn’t lift his leg high enough to do this simple move. Thank God for small interventions. Lord, help me to prevent him from killing himself……or I may kill him first! ;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ravelympics/Olympics Come to an End

The Olympic torch has gone out. The Olympics have ended. Let us shed a tear of sadness as it disappears into the sunset.

I enjoyed watching the Olympics this year. My favorites were everyone else’s favorites…the Snowboarding, the figure skating, the skiing, and the short track events. Every American seemed to behave with respect and decorum, even when they were disappointed not to get the Gold or be disqualified. Our athletes behaved very well and I hope gave the world a demonstration of the goodness Americans are all about. I am very proud to be an American.

I participated in my own Ravelympics and won a Ravelympic medal for finishing my Red Splendid Shawl. It came out beautifully. I finished one day before the closing ceremonies.

I’ve been itching to start the Waves of Leaves shawl with my newly redyed wool yarn. This is going to be a challenge for me as lace knitting takes so much concentration. I have already ripped out rows about 5 times to figure out and correct a mistake. Yet, I am determined not to give up. Once the pattern is established, I will find my mistakes sooner and be able to correct them without too much trouble. Perhaps I should think about using “lifelines” on this one. I heard on a podcast about someone who used Knit picks needles to make a lace project. She threaded dental floss into the small holes of the Knit picks needles that were interchangable, knitting as she went and…..Voila! Instant lifeline! What a great idea. I will have to try it.

Hit between the Eyes

Just when things are looking great, there is always something that hits you between the eyes and upsets the delicate balance of life.

My husband was making wonderful progress since coming home from a month long hospital stay in January to address some heart problems. Every day he seemed to be making progress. He was eating well, his diabetes practically disappeared, not needing any medication for it. His heart had been doing well with perfect blood pressure and good rhythm. He was gaining some weight back and his atrophied muscles were getting stronger, allowing him to graduate from a walker to a cane to aid him in his balance. Even his skin was looking wonderful, in response to a new chemotherapy treatment he had been receiving. We were talking about my returning to work part-time and perhaps venturing out to take some day trips around Southern California, which is now so green and beautiful, in response to the recent rains.

Then all of a sudden he woke up with a fast irregular heart beat called Atrial Fibrillation, which seemed to upset everything. Over the weekend the doctors and I attempted to adjust his medications to get everything back in balance. After a very long weekend and a big sigh of relief, I think we did it! However, it reminded me what a very fragile condition W. is in and how I should not take anything for granted.

You may have heard of the term “fragile diabetic”, which is a person with newly diagnosed diabetes, whose blood glucose goes up and down needing constant adjustment in medication. Our visiting nurse called W. a “fragile patient”, meaning that with so many conditions that needs to be monitored, any one of them can throw his body out of balance. I am thinking that God made me a nurse for this purpose, for it would be difficult for the average lay person to manage all of this without some medical knowledge.

Life is full of challenges, isn’t it? I try not to see challenges as God’s punishment for something done wrong, but challenges for what God wants me to learn. He always seems to be preparing me for something… encounter with someone who might benefit from the knowledge and experience his puts in my path.