I had an extraordinary trip to London in November, the cost of which was covered by a college friend who gifted me the money for my new passport, a hotel stay in Chicago, my plane ticket and my personal spending money. I stayed with a dear friend and her family who had at one time lived in the States. She and her family have been going through some very tough times lately, and I so longed to see her in person. I will never forget the kindness of my benefactor! I will write and share more about the trip in a future blog entry.
I also had the awesome opportunity to attend InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial missions conference Urbana 15 the last week of December. This trip was gifted to me by the organization to honor the fact that I have been a long-time donor (kind of embarrassing to admit that) and the fact that I put the organization in my will. Apparently a big deal! A friend even donated money to cover my hotel expenses! It was an opportunity I definitely wanted to embrace as I am praying about God's will for my upcoming empty nest years....thinking of career #2....more about that later.
My daughter Heather and I could really use prayers for managing chronic health conditions. We are so emotionally done...spiritual attack after making some monumental spiritual decisions perhaps....should have seen it coming :)
As many of a you know Heather is a type 1 diabetic, and she manages beautifully. On top of that she has asthma and sinus infections, mild scoliosis and was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia and anxiety.
Thankfully, after a few trial runs with some medications, we have landed on two that are helping immensely. She has agreed to go counseling, which I think will help.
It was so heart-breaking to see how poorly she was doing from before my London trip to when I came home. Of course, I got her into our family doctor right away even though they said they had no openings. (This Mama does not take NO for an answer!) By then her pain was all over systemic, and we suspected juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. All tests for that came back negative, thankfully.
I was so concerned that I was thinking about NOT going to the missions conference. God bless my middle child Amy...we called her at Purdue to tell her what was going on, and she just wept. (You see, Heather is her baby!) Amy was shocked when I told her I was thinking of not going to the conference. She sternly told me, "Mom, you have to go!" She went on to remind me that she would be home soon, and she is like Heather's 2nd mother and would watch over her. I sure do have great kids!
I am much encouraged by Heather's improvement in the last week, and she had a great check up today for her diabetes.
And then there's me...my poor body! I broke my right shoulder about 10 years ago ice skating with Heather. At the time there was not much the doctors could do, so I just wore a sling. In the past few years it has become excruciatingly painful when cold weather sets in, which made me think it was arthritis. MRI scans and x-rays have shown no arthritis....instead I have two impartial tears in my rotator cuff. Not sure what is next, but surgery is likely.
I have absolutely no idea how I am going to manage alone and work with an immobilized arm for 6-8 weeks, but I am sure I can figure it out with help. If I do have to have surgery, I want to wait until warmer weather....I don't want to be wobbling around on snow and ice with my body out of balance. Heather suggested I do it in the summer, when she is out of school and also could stay with me to help me the bulk of the summer.
Last March I started having extreme lower back problems, and I have much improved thanks to my chiropractor. Unfortunately, I still have to sit on a special pillow all the time. I have one in the car and one at work and one at home. When I am out and about and we go somewhere I have to sit, I take the darn pillow....I have been doing this for almost 10 months, and it has become quite annoying. The pain comes and goes and is very extreme at times with pain radiating to other areas of my back and down my legs. Motrin has become a food group in my diet!
Those of you who know me well know that I have a very high pain tolerance...so for me to complain, it's bad. I have had 14 surgeries, cancer, chemo, radiation, broken bones and three babies for heaven's sake! And God carried me through it all, and I am sure He will do so again!
So I am seeing an ortho doctor this month and a back specialist in March.
I honestly don't know what Heather and I would do without each other. Just a few weeks ago she was crying and in pain and completely stressed out...that night I just crawled into her bed and cried with her. Tonight when I wasn't feeling well and in pain, I wept and said, "Could I just have one day when I feel good and am not in pain? Just one day!" Bless her sweet heart, she completely understood, made her own dinner and sent me to soak in the tub. God sure knew what He was doing by putting our family together!
So everyday I make the conscious decision to choose gratitude. At the same time, I want to these things fixed! I have things to do for God! At 50 I am far too young to have to be concerned about whether or not I should carry luggage or wear a backpack and popping tons of Motrin everyday!
Every day I am making the conscious decision to choose joy, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I usually wake up in pain, rouse myself out of bed, get dressed and eat breakfast (so I can take Motrin and follow it up with Extra Strength Tylenol a few hours later.) In my head I know have to eat to take pain meds...so I stagger toward that goal every morning. Then I head to work, knowing that the distraction will help and that the pain meds will kick in. The rest of the day goes better, but by evening I am exhausted. The good news is that my asthma and colon are doing great! And I just celebrated my 19th anniversary of being CANCER FREE....what an incredible milestone!
Please pray for pain management, wisdom for treatment decisions to be made, eyes that look to Jesus no matter what and a heart that chooses joy.