Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28

Hi all,

I am going full-steam on this next class (Old Testament Survey)and loving it! While there is a huge amount of reading, I am managing to get through everything. I am working one week ahead which is a great feeling. The assignments are varied which keeps everything new and fresh. This professor is truly trying to connect with the class and that's been refreshing. My last two were rather non-involved and didn't interact or give feedback. So, I am pleased to have Dr. Brooks this time.

I have to say that we serve in the most wonderful, loving church. I think that some folks are simply in tune with the Holy Spirit. Sheila, from my Sunday School class and a friend, is bringing over our dinner this afternoon and visiting. I think that another lady or two may be coming over, also. I am looking forward to that fellowship. I have made it to church the past two Sundays but not to Sunday school due to the drug's side-effects that I take on Friday. Saturday and Sunday morning are difficult for me.

Oh, I know that I said that I wasn't having to take a chemo pill, well, I was wrong. The drug that I take on Friday is a form of chemo which explains the lovely side-effects. I don't think it's as bad on me as it could be and for that I am grateful.

The weather has been pleasant lately but today it's rainy -which I image that the area farmers need. I love the fall - everything about it - the trees, the smells, and colors and fall decorations. It also means that Thanksgiving is around the corner which is one of Mark's favorite holidays. He can visit with family and friends, eat all his favorite foods, have time off from work, and NOT have to worry about spending money and buying gifts. This year is really tight since the school cut his pay by over $4,000 and they had already really cut his pay last year. But, we are grateful for his job and he respects his principal.

Paul got a holiday job at GameStop and is on top of the world. Hopefully, he will start next week. They have to process his package. This job should be right up his alley. Billy is supposed to be scheduling Paul's Eagle Board of Review. And, I HOPE that happens quickly. I would love to have his ceremony in mid-December. And, it will take a while for everything to come back to me.

Michael is still enjoying his last year in college. He likes living on campus and it's amazing how much food we keep having left-over since he isn't living here. I need to adjust amounts that I prepare.

Well, that's my update. I hope that this day brings each of you joy in Christ.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010

First class of the semester is complete and I managed to get an A. I began working on my next class which is Old Testament Survey. I love it! Unfortunately, it has more reading than I anticipated but my eyes are handling it with God’s grace and help.

The doctor didn’t start me on the chemo pill – I am taking that to mean that he didn’t get a lupus diagnosis. That’s a praise. My eye doctor told me that he suspected that my rheumatologist would continue looking for another connective tissue disease because of my others numbers.

I have been trying to read up on Sjogren’s Syndrome and I got some good advice especially regarding my dry mouth and numbness in my feet. My knees are giving me fits right now. They are really swollen and painful. But, I have been blessed in that Mark and Paul are allowing me to rest.

My husband has been so wonderful to me. He is so busy with his jobs; yet, he has been sacrificing for me. I am always amazed at his goodness and devotion.

Today was a good day in that I got tons accomplished with school and I made a nice dinner for Paul and Mark. I fixed them pot roast with potatoes and carrots and did some green beans. Of course, I am not eating beef, so I had green beans and eggs. Oh, and I had some applesauce mixed with steal cut oats. Yum.... not! Hahaha

I gave up my church responsibilities for a season, so that my eyes can continue to heal. I miss teaching but we are so fortunate to have godly people at our church who are so willing to step in and take over. I am planning on singing in the Christmas cantata and Mark has asked me to sing a solo, too.

One of the church members painted Mark’s church office as part of Pastor Appreciation month. Lauri and I picked out the colors. It looks wonderful. After we get his office decorated, I’ll post some photos. I am going to move his diplomas and awards and hang them in his office. I also want to include some family photos. Anyway, it will be a work in progress!

Blessings to each of you. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Praise!

I had encouraging news at the eye doctor's today. Finally, they saw no filaments on my cornea which means all of these drops and drugs are beginning to work. And, he thought that he might have seen some tears.

So, my eyes are improving. I still cannot overtax them and I have to continue use the eye drops but they are improving.

I see my rheumatologist on November 2 and my next eye appointment is November 4. I am so glad not to have to be going to the eye doc weekly!

Hopefully, I will get a good report from the rheumatologist, too.

I have actually managed to lose weight while taking all of this prednisone. That's a huge blessing since my rheumatologist told me that would make my hips, knees and ankles worse than they are now. I do get hungry, but I am being good.

Thank y'all for continuing to pray for me. I needed this good news. It uplifted my spirits.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Saw the Rheumatologist

So, I go to my eye doctor for dry eyes. I am just expecting some drops and for him to send me home. But, I was wrong. Instead he sent me for blood work and those tests turned against me. I have Sjogren's which is an autoimmune disease. I guess it's doing a pretty nasty number on me. And, he was concerned about my ANA test result as being the "highest he's ever seen in all his years of practice." I would guess him to be in his forties since he has two teen-age daughters. He's not a doctor newbie. He's having that lab re-done along with several others. He is expecting me to have lupus along with the Sjogren's but I am praying hard, along with lots of other people, that I just have Sjogren's. Oh, there were some other lovely things that he mentioned which I have, too. But, I didn't see them as threatening.

He's starting me on lots of drugs. Honestly, sometimes I think that I am God's step-daughter who He doesn't particularly like at times. First of all, I am afraid of the eye doctor and I have been having to go every week and one week twice and have stuff done to my eyes because of the severe damage. I truly dislike taking pills. So, now I am going to be taking mega amounts of drugs whose side effects include getting fat, hair loss, nausea, mouth ulcers, and drug induced insanity.

The doc told Mark to watch me closely because I am on such a high dose of prednisone that I may not be able to handle it. If I get "too crazy" (not sure how my poor husband will determine that...) he's to take the prednisone away from me and immediately call the doctor. If the test for lupus comes back positive, he will be adding chemo in a pill form.

I am not a happy camper but I am trying to keep it together - exactly what the "it" is I am not sure. I guess "it" would include my faith, my hope, and my eyes on Christ. I have been having a pretty big pity party for me today and honestly, if I could cry... I would just like to sit and cry for a couple of hours. But, I can't cry, instead my eyes just fill up with mucus that sits on my cornea causing more damage. I can't even seek the comfort of tears.

Mark and my sons have been amazing. I have a kind loving family. I recognize that blessing of these three men in my life. But, my heart has been thinking of Christi and Bobby and wondering if I'll ever get to see them, talk to them, hold them in this life.

When I was at the doctor's office yesterday, I had to write down the names of closest of kin not living at home. I wrote down Michael because he's living on campus and then stared at the second space. The space where I should have been able to write Sherry, Patti, Christi, or Bobby suddenly became a huge open wound on that paper.

I wanted to scream a prayer to God right at that moment and beg Him to heal their hearts or minds or whatever and allow them to be part of my life again. But, I didn't do that. I just sat there looking at that gapping wound on that paper. As I was mourning my sisters, God gently said, "Write down Lauri. She's your sister. I gave her to you." So, I did. In the line where is said relationship, I wrote like my sister.

On the drive home, I was pretty quiet. I told Mark that I questioned why God had let me be born. My parents never loved me. They were disappointed that I wasn't their son. I spent many years of my life trying to earn their love. That was rewarded by their stealing my children and destroying my relationship with my precious sisters, too. We are struggling financially due to job loss and pay cuts. And, now... this. I said all of this out loud. I guess I was breaking the silence. Without hesitating, that sweet godly man, took my hand and said, "You were born for me. God gave you to me. You, not our children, have brought me more joy than I ever thought possible. Debbie, without you I would have been lost."

My heart just about broke. My family has tried to destroy this man and he still counts himself blessed to be married to me. His words humbled me.

Paul went out today and bought me Smart Water. He didn't tell me. I went into my room and there was a huge bottle sitting in my bedroom. I went to his hallway and asked him if he had bought me the water. He said yes. I called him to me and hugged my son and told him that I loved him. He told me that he knew. Then, I added that he shouldn't do things that make me cry these awful mucus tears. He replied, "Mom, it's just water." But, see it wasn't just water. He knows that I love Smart Water. I love the way it feels in my mouth - so smooth. I love the way it taste. He knows his mom. Sometimes, he acts so self-absorbed that I am amazed when I see him so caring. God keeps giving me glimpses of the man this eighteen-year-old is becoming. I am so grateful. He has been wonderful to his momma through all this ugly medical stuff.

I am rambling. I should be writing a 15 page research paper which is due Friday week and I can't get my brain to wrap around it. Instead, I am writing this pitiful post and sharing my fears and joys with whatever poor person reads this blog.

If you have a moment and you believe in the power of prayer, I covet your prayers of healing.

In the meantime, I am going to try to "keep it together."