Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving and a Question

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Wednesday afternoon W. and I will hop on a plane and fly to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with my mom. This will be the first Thanksgiving in eleven years that I have not hosted. I really am not sure I'll know what to do with myself. I'm so used to doing all the cooking. It will be a nice change, and I'm sure I will still get to help do something! What about you? What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? I love them all...a lot. Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. I have so much to be thankful for this year, and every year, really.

This is probably going to sound very random, and it kind of is. I hope it will make sense a little later, but right now I need your input and help. What book, that you do not own, is on your must-read or to-read list? Please leave a comment, letting me know the title of the book. Random, I know. But, I promise in a couple of days it will make more sense to you. Ha! How's that for suspense... Have a great Monday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Out of a Bloggy Hiatus

What a better reason to come out of a bloggy hiatus than to celebrate! In the few months I have been trying to get better, so much has happened with you all. Not the least of which is the fact that Kelly keeps getting cuter and cuter as she gets closer to her due date. I know I'm a day late, but I wanted to participate in the bloggy baby shower, too. So here goes:

Like Julie, I found your blog from a comment you left on Beth Moore's blog, and I was instantly drawn to you. I had only been a Christian for a short time when I found your blog, and your faith in God made me want to know him more. After reading your blog for a little while, I felt compelled to pray for you. I remember that you had written a post about your struggles and it broke my heart. I remember sitting on my couch, thinking about what I could do for you. Of course, I immediately wanted to send you a gift. I mean, come on, that's what I do ;) But, I didn't know you at all, so that was out of the question. Instead, I felt God tell me that all I needed to do was pray. So, I remember typing you a really long email with a bunch of verses that I wanted to pray over you. I felt like such a stalker. Ha! But, I knew that God wanted me to pray for you. Any time I let my self-doubts start creeping in, doubts like "God, I don't even know her, and God, I'm sure she thinks I'm nuts", something would happen, and God would remind me that I was supposed to pray for you. And, I am so glad He had me pray for you. Not only was my faith strengthened by seeing how big and awesome our God is, but I also made a friend in the process. I have sincerely loved getting to know you over these past few months. You are an amazing, sweet woman. I hope that we get the opportunity to get to know each other better in the future, and maybe even get to meet one another someday soon!

Like Caroline, I distinctly remember when I felt God release me from praying for you. It was shortly after Sarah announced that she was pregnant. While I was so happy for Sarah, I began praying even harder for you. One night, I had a dream and both you and Sarah were in it. You were skiing of all things, but you both had on matching snow suits. (Only a girl would have this dream ;) Anyway, as crazy as it sounds, I knew that God was telling me that your prayers, and my prayers, and the prayers of everyone else who loves you, had been answered. I just felt that you were going to have a baby. There were so many times that I wanted to say something to you, and ask you if you were pregnant, but I didn't for fear that I was wrong and had misunderstood. So, you can imagine how happy I was when I found out you were, in fact, pregnant! I screamed, and cried, and danced, and mailed a baby gift right away!

I know that you are going to be a wonderful mother. Of that, I have no doubt. My only advice is to love much and pray for the patience of Job! If you have those two things, you cannot go wrong. And, don't take yourself too seriously. Try not to worry about all the little things because the big picture is way more important. God brought you this precious baby, and He will be faithful to her and to you. So, try not to worry. (Easier said than done, I know). After all, how can you possibly go wrong with God in control and a hundred gallons of antibacterial soap around! ;) You'll do great, I promise! Best wishes always. I love you, friend!
I look so forward to catching up with you all. I have missed you SO much!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tag--I'm It!!

OK, ladies. I've been tagged. Both Meredith and Heather tagged me to post six quirks that I have. Really, all I have to say is 6? I can only pick six? Oh, what will I choose? Well, here goes. Here, in no particular order, are six unremarkable quirks about me.

1. I talk in my sleep. Not mumble, groan talk, but complete sentences, carry on conversations talk. Sometimes with my eyes open. Scary, I know. You don't have to tell me. I'm the one spilling my guts to people in the middle of the night. AND, unless you tell me, I don't know I did it. Or what I said.

2. I love monkeys--all kinds of monkeys. I think they are awesome, and if I had a pet, I would want a monkey. But, since no one else seems to think having a monkey for a pet is such a great idea, I have to settle for stuffed ones. I have two. Grand Master Monkey and Sleepy Time Curious George. Yes, for real. Hey, no laughing. Did I mention they are fierce? ;)

3. I play with my eyelashes when I am tired, but only the eyelashes on my right eye. Which is funny because I'm left handed. Regardless, if I'm playing with my eyelashes it's a sure sign that I am very sleepy. And, if I'm missing a bunch of eyelashes on that eye you can know that I've had a rough month. Ha!

4. I love school, and I even (please do not start throwing things at me) love homework. I always have. I was one of those irritating kids who asked for extra credit homework all the time. I still love to do homework. Maybe that's why I love Beth Moore so much? I can tell you this. I signed up to take a Bible study at church this fall, and I nearly died and went to heaven when I found out that our "workbook" is an enormous three-ring binder filled with worksheets to fill out. And, yes, I still shop for new school supplies every year. Some people reorganize their lives around New Year's Day. Well, for me it is mid-August. And, yes, I know I'm weird.

5. I love music. Almost any kind of music, really. I know most of the words to many Top 40 song from the last couple of decades. My dream is to go on Don't Forget The Lyrics. I play at home every time it is on. And, if you are ever over when it is on, don't talk to me unless it's during a commercial break. You'll break my concentration. And, seriously, it takes a lot of concentration to remember the words to "Blame it on the Rain."

6. And, finally, well at least for this meme, I cannot stand and will complain for years about any movie that doesn't end the way I want it to. Seriously, if I don't like the ending, I will not ever like the movie. Even if I liked all of it but the last five minutes. There is one huge exception to that rule and that is with "The Way We Were." That is my absolute favorite movie of all times (except maybe Gone With the Wind), and I love it even though K-K-Katie and Hubbell don't end up together in the end. I could psychoanalyze that for you, but refer to number 4. You already think I'm weird. So, I'll just let it drop.

And, before I go. Thank you all so much for your prayers. They mean the world to me. The two tests they've done so far have been normal, which they expected, and I have another test tomorrow morning. Yuck, yuck, yuck! Thanks again for praying! I love you all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the Words of Kindergarten Cop...

It's not a tumor. Well, at least they're pretty sure it's not a tumor, but more about that later.

First, I want to thank all of you who have checked up on me the last few days. You have no idea how much it means to me that you are thinking about me and praying for me. I told George last night that I have the best girlfriends in the entire world, and I truly do mean that! Each one of you is such a blessing to me.

And, I have to tell you, I hate being out of touch with what is going on with you. While I've been in my drug induced, comatose state, I know I've missed so much. And, I am so behind on things it's not even funny. I've been carrying around cards in my purse for weeks that I haven't mailed yet. I owe people birthday presents and care packages that I haven't had time to put together. I haven't even sent out W's birthday invitations for his party with his friends. I guess I'll have to make phone calls to all the parents. Oh well, I guess life goes on, right? I really don't mean to complain. I know that there are a lot worse things going on out there than my inability to get birthday invitations in the mail. I just really want you all to know that I am thinking about you and praying for you, and if I owe you something in the mail, please know it will be forthcoming...sometime.

Now for my health update. I'll try to make it short because I'm tired of talking about it. Ha! But, I really would appreciate your prayers, so here goes. I went to the neurologist yesterday. I really liked him. He seemed very competent and was very nice to me. Anyway, he doesn't think my migraines are causing my severe headaches. He doesn't think that I have a brain tumor or cancer, PTL, but he is testing me for those anyway. I go tomorrow morning for a CT angiogram of the blood vessels in my brain, and I go one week from today to have an MRI done. Instead of being a real tumor, my neurologist thinks I have a pseudotumor cerebri. I guess that means that my symptoms mimic those of a brain tumor, but there is actually no tumor present. Instead, my body is producing too much cerebrospinal fluid which is causing my spinal column to swell. It is also causing me to have too much cerebrospinal fluid around my brain. That, in turn, is causing pressure, which is causing my headaches. There are two different types of pseudotumors, one responds well to treatment and the other does not. If treatment doesn't work, pseudotumors can cause blindness. Assuming the CT angiogram, MRI, and blood work all come back negative, ruling out a real tumor or cancer, this is probably what is wrong with me. My doctor will order a spinal tap to confirm the diagnosis and relieve some of the pressure in my spine. The he will have to determine what is causing my body to overproduce cerebrospinal fluid, and my treatment will depend on the cause.

So, anyway, if you happen to think of me tomorrow morning, or any time in the next several days, I would appreciate your prayers. I am still in severe pain most of the time. Until they rule out cancer and brain tumors, they can't give me anything different for the pain. So, I'm basically in limbo, not knowing how well I will be able to function day-to-day until then. I know I can count on you to pray for me, and like I said earlier, that means the world to me. You are all fabulous women, and each of you have been such a blessing to me. I love you all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 13, 1997...

was eleven years ago yesterday. And, I will never forget what I was doing that day. Never. It's permanently etched in my mind and is one of the most important days of my life. At 6:00 a.m. on August 13, 1997, I walked through the doors of Mercy Hospital poised to rid my body of the alien that had invaded it for the last nine months. Well, I was poised to lose the alien and the unmentionable amount of pounds I had gained, and I probably don't have to tell you how disappointing that was. Someone should have told me that I would still look pregnant when I left the hospital. It would have been the humane thing to do, and it would have stopped me from trying to roll my wheelchair into oncoming traffic as I left the hospital. OK, maybe not. That may have been caused by the hormones and lack of sleep.

Oh, I kid. I didn't really try to push my wheelchair into oncoming traffic. I just thought about it.

Now, some of you may be offended that I called by child an alien, but get over it. He was an alien; my doctor told me so. You see, I had one of the WORST pregnancies ever recorded in human history. I lost so much weight my first trimester due to my "morning" sickness, I was nearly hospitalized. I literally spent almost the entire first three months of my pregnancy either in my bed or in my bathroom. Oh, but don't cry for me Argentina. I more than made up for the weight I lost in the last two trimesters. I told Julia yesterday that I took the whole eating for two thing very seriously, and apparently I thought the second person was an NFL linebacker. I would tell you my daily eating schedule, but I'm too embarrassed to put it in print. I gained so much weight, and not surprisingly got so big, I couldn't drive the last month of my pregnancy. If I pushed the seat far enough back to accommodate my gigantic stomach, my vertically challenged feet couldn't touch the pedals. So, basically I looked like the Goodyear blimp with appendages.

And, no I'm not exaggerating. Not. At. All. People started asking me when I was due at six and a half months. And, let's not talk about the fact that I was my biggest and most swollen during the hottest months of the year. There was only one thing that was remotely good about being so big so early in my pregnancy. It got me out of a speeding ticket. You see, when I was six months pregnant, I was driving myself to the hospital to get an ultrasound done, and I may or may not have been speeding. I really couldn't tell you because my speedometer cable had broken. So I was just driving what I thought seemed like the correct speed. I could have paced myself with traffic, if there had been any. But, I was on a two lane highway, and there was no one else around. Well, no one except the County Sheriff's Deputy, who was driving the other direction. Apparently, he thought I was going too fast. So, he made a U-turn in the middle of the highway, and pulled me over. When he got up to the car, he looked at me, asking where I was going. I told him I was going to the hospital. His face turned white, and for a second, I thought I was going to have to take him with me. He took another look at my very large belly, and he started screaming "Go! Go!." So, I did. I may have been blonde at that time, but I was not stupid. I waved at him and took off before he could change his mind. And, yes, girls, that is my favorite pregnancy story.

And, not only did I gain a lot of weight, but I had a terrible case of pregnancy rash. What? You didn't know such a thing existed. Well, that's funny. I didn't either. But, apparently, it does, and according to my dermatologist, I had the worst case he had ever seen. Seriously. I was covered from shoulders to knees with a bright red, bumpy, itchy rash. It was so bad, when I had my rash cream prescription filled, the pharmacist handed me back 12 tubes of rash cream. That was just for the first prescription. I had two refills on there too. Of course, the rash cream also came with a big sign that read "Unclean, Unclean," and a voucher for a stay at the nearest Holiday Inn located outside of my camp. Alright, alright, it didn't really come with that, but it should have. But, because I get my prescriptions filled in my local grocery story, the rash cream did come with at least two half gallons of Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. You know, so I could drown my sorrows.

Oh, in case you are wondering, I was allergic to W's placenta. That's what caused the rash. My doctor called it alien placenta. See, I told you he said W. was an alien, and you thought I was just being mean.
With all of the nutrients I was taking in, I didn't have to wonder if W. was healthy. Oh, he was healthy alright. He was having a grand time in utero, and he apparently had no intention of ever leaving. My doctor got concerned because he was getting so big and decided he better induce me. So, I faithfully presented myself at the hospital at 6 a.m. on August 13, 1997.

Well, I guess I should say that I and everyone who was related to me within the fourth degree on consanguinity presented themselves at the hospital. And, a few people who were not related to me at all showed up too. Have I told you that my family has a problem with boundaries? It was a good thing that birthing suite was large because there had to be 15-20 people there at any given time. And, once again, no I am not kidding. If the whole ordeal had been videotaped, I'm pretty sure we could have been on Jerry Springer or at least Maury Povich. Of course, I really didn't care. My birthing plan clearly stated that I wanted as many drugs as they would give me. (All kidding aside, I was blessed to have all the people I loved most in the world with me that day. All of my best girl friends were there, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.)

I would tell you the rest of the birthing story, but I won't for fear that I will horribly scar you for life. Instead, I'll just say a couple of things. First, I learned that I have very small hips. Unfortunately, with all the KFC, pancakes, fudge cakes, and Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream I ate, you really couldn't tell. Well, without an X-ray anyway. Second, if I had one piece of advice for pregnant women, it would be this: find out which hospital has the best anesthesiologists, then pick an OB-GYN who goes to that hospital. Because if all Hades breaks loose, you want a good anesthesiologist. Trust me.

With all that said, my little alien entered the world at 8:24 p.m., and my life hasn't been the same since. He spent the day with his not-terribly-active great grandparents the other day. Not surprisingly, he had a lot of pent-up energy. When George and I got home from work, he told me this. "I've been bored all day, but I'm not now. You're my thrill ride." And, I just wanted to look at him and say, "Oh baby boy, you have no idea. You are my thrill ride." And, no matter how much I joke about my pregnancy (and girls, you are supposed to be laughing at this), and no matter how trying the pregnancy was, I would do it over and over again. I love that boy more than I've loved anything in my entire life. He is completely worth it.

We always go out to dinner to celebrate birthdays. It's just our tradition. The birthday boy or girl gets to pick where we go eat. So, in honor of W's eleventh birthday, we went out for some hibachi last night at our local Japanese steakhouse. One thing I can say about this kid is that he likes good food. Never once did we get off easy and get to go to McDonald's for the birthday dinner. Oh no. We spent several years dining at Biaggi's Italian restaurant, and we learned rather quickly that we needed to keep a close eye on the child when it came time to order dessert. Because if we weren't paying attention, he would order some for himself. And, no kidding, he would order it like this, "May I have a piece of the torte chocolata, please?" He was six going on 36, and he still is. I could tell you a hundred stories, but I'll save some for later. I have some pictures to post, and I'll try to do that tonight (if my headache will allow it.) God blessed me by allowing me to enjoy W's birthday dinner last night, but I feel worse today than I have all week. The good news is that I go see the headache specialist next Tuesday. PTL!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Am Alive...I Think

Ladies, I have missed you so much!!! I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. Of course, it doesn't feel like it's been a week primarily because I was asleep for most of it. Ha! I have no intention on dwelling on my last week, but I do want to give you a little update. As many of you know, I had a really bad migraine two weeks ago. Unfortunately for me, it really hasn't gone away. It gets better...and then it gets worse. Well, last Wednesday it was so bad, quite frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I've pretty much been on every medication known to mankind, and none of it was working. So, my doctor basically knocked me out for a few days. He prescribed a sedative that kept me sleeping. Well, sleeping and drooling on myself. But, seriously, what's a girl to do? Someone would wake me up every four hours to take another pill, and then I would roll over and go back to sleep.

Well, most of the time, anyway. If you know me at all, you know that I am a people person. Don't get me wrong, I like having quiet time to myself, but I don't want that all the time. I love being connected and in relationship with other people, and we all know how much I love my girlfriends. So, sometimes I would make George bring me my laptop, and I would check my email and your blogs. I'd last about 10-15 minutes, and then I'd fall back asleep. On Thursday, I tried to be belligerent and thought I would go to my small group at church. Ha! That would have required having the ability to dress myself, and that, girls, was not happening. So, I missed small group, I missed a hot date Saturday night with my good friend Melissa (sorry Mel!), and I even missed church on Sunday. I'm back to work (which is a whole different story, for another time.), but I still feel lousy. I'm waiting for my doctor to call me back. He is referring me to a neurologist in Iowa City who specializes in headaches, primarily in women. I know many of you have been praying for me, and I cannot tell you enough how much that means to me. I would appreciate it if you would continue to pray for me. Please pray that my headaches would stop, that this referral process would go smoothly, and that I will be able to make it through my work days (or that they would give me a leave of absence).

Basically, I want my life back. I feel so unconnected to everyone I care about, and I hate that. It makes me feeling like a horrible friend. I know that each of you have a lot going on in your lives, and I want to be there to cheer you on, pray for you, and just generally be there if you need anything! So, I'm going to go get caught up with all of you. (I tend to feel better in the mornings, so I am going to make use of that time!) But, before I go, I have to tell you two funny stories about being so doped up on medication that you are out of your mind.

First, I am so glad that God looks at the heart and knows our intentions, even when our words are lacking. Why? Well, because some of my prayers were a little, um, how should I say this, strange. Occasionally, I would come to a little bit, and when I did I would try to pray both for myself and for the people on my prayer list. But, my prayers would get all messed up. They would start out OK. I would generally be able to name the person I wanted to pray for, but then I would think something crazy, generally something related to some dream I'd been having. Or, even better, I'd fall back asleep in mid-thought. Crazy, girls. Crazy. But, I'm sure glad that God knew what I was trying to pray.

And, about those dreams. Whoa! Those were crazy, too. They ran the gamut from involving running from serial killers who looked suspiciously like people I know to gardening and a whole slew of other things. The weirdest ones I had, though, involved elevators. I had a couple of different dreams where I was stuck in an elevator and all of a sudden the elevator would start to swing wildly back and forth, kind of like swinging a yo-yo on a string, and throwing me all around the elevator. Inevitably, the elevator cable would break, and the elevator would start to fall. I could feel the drop in my stomach. It was seriously crazy. I would always wake up before the elevator hit bottom, but it was still disturbing.

What about you? Do you remember your dreams? If so, what's the craziest dream you've ever had? And, girls, let me tell you. I am so glad to be back, and I can't wait to catch up with you all!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Weekend at the Lake

OK ladies. As promised, here are some of my pictures from the lake this weekend.

Here is W. with his cousin C. This was taken minutes before the kiddos tipped themselves over in the paddle boat. I laughed at the time. Foreshadowing, friends. Foreshadowing.

This is George and W. on the jet ski.

Here they are again. And, no George isn't a ghost, promise. He's just very, very pale.

You thought I was kidding about being dumped off the jet ski, didn't you? Oh no, girls, I wasn't. That little head sticking up out of the water is me. I'm trying to pull myself back up.

Yes, here I am again, swimming along side the jet ski. Why? Because I was never able to do a pull up in high school, that's why.

Here's W. and his cousin C., swimming in the lake. You can't see it in this picture, but he has his shoes on. Seriously.

And, here we are. See, I'm a good sport. I'm smiling, and this is after I got dumped off the jet ski. Notice, however, that I am staying put on the boat. Less dangerous that way. At least until I learn to do some pull-ups!

So there you have it. Pictures and everything. I've been crazy busy at work, but I'll try to get my blog award passed on tomorrow. I love you gals!! You're the best!!