We are back, at least for the moment!

In our earlier post, we stated we’d try to get a post in a week. Maybe more. According to how our day goes! Between radiation treatments, Barry’s doctors appointments and our energy levels; we are lucky to get anything posted. Have patience. I have taken pictures and written posts while sitting around the hospital. A lot of interesting things go on in local hospitals! Just wait……

Daily Prompt: In Good Faith: A brother’s wish

Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FAITH.

During a shift at my first job, I admitted a man to my unit that was in bad shape.  I discovered his admission was at the request of his Hospice,  for pain management. Being a new graduate nurse, you get crazy assignments and tough cases as learning experiences.

I completed the proper paperwork, gave the patient medications his doctor ordered, did what I could to help the family and make them comfortable. I gave the report to my charge nurse and then; started rounds on my other assigned patients.

The supervisor met me in the hallway to tell me of a status change for my new patient. When I returned to his room, I met a representative from his Hospice and he introduced me to the family gathered to say good-bye. My new patient’s diagnosis was End Stage Pancreatic Cancer and his last wishes were to be admitted to Room 434 at the Regional Hospital, where his wife passed away. She died, in 1984, in the same room where he laid dying now.

The Hospice nurse explained his wishes a little better. When his time was close, he requested to be admitted to the hospital for pain management. For about two hours, I played private-duty nurse to his family for whatever need may arise. I tenderly cared for their family member and provided pain management, as ordered, to keep him as comfortable as my capable hands could.

It did not take long for the signs that God was calling him home to show up. His respiration’s were becoming shallow and his heart rate slowing. When the end was upon us, our patient’s brother stepped forward and stated. ” I’d give anything, to see him sit up in bed and take one more breath.”

As in slow motion, my patient slowly, sat up in bed and drew in a long exacerbated breath, fell back on his pillow and was gone. Everyone just looked around the room in amazement. The Good Lord swept in and took him off to be with his wife.

As I watched the family leaving and listened to their stories of this man’s life, I imagined he and his wife walking, hand-in hand, down a beautiful street in heaven.

My faith has always been strong. When it falters just a little, I think back to the 39 years of patients I have cared for and the many unexplained things I have seen. I have no doubt in my mind, there is a God and he is with us always! This story is about my first spiritual encounter. I will never forget the feeling in that room. I left the room full of faith and longing. I get goosebumps, just thinking of that night.

Writing through Cancer for week of June 2, 2013: Hope is a thing with feathers!

This is a continuation of our post earlier this week:

That sweet little boy at the Birthday Party, looking and hoping he could find more presents hidden within the gift wrap piled on the floor. He was frantically searching; he was positive, he would find one more present. he was showing he had total faith in his situation. His thoughts alive with the feeling of hope.  He just knew he would find one more present. So adorable searching.

Before we had wrapping paper all over the house, we got a bag and played gift wrap basketball. Making a game out of the cleanup, let him see there were no more presents. he was able to focus on the gifts he received and the house full of people who came to celebrate with him and his sister.

Hope covers many aspects of  our lives.Dealing with a serious illness brings hope into your life in several ways. you hope the illness will not get bad, you hope to live through whatever illness you are going through, you hope your families will be there for you and not change their minds as you get worse, you hope the people you have called friends for years will be there when you need them.

There is so much hope involved in illnesses. It is hard to deal with hope, when you are fighting so hard to stay healthy and you find yourself surrounded by people you cannot count on. You need to remember that God is always there. Giving your troubles and burdens to God must be done with total faith, then we can continue our walk in life with the assurance that when trouble comes; we know God is there and that whatever the new trouble is,God is never surprised, for He is with you.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the middle of the sea. If your faith is not strong, we lose hope and start looking for a quick fix.

Psalm 46:1-God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble

Psalm 31:24-Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord

Psalm 33:18-Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

Psalm 33:22-Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

Psalm 38:15-For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

                 King James Version (KJV)     

It is that faith,  is our Hope and knowledge that God knows when we are on this rocky bumpy road, and holding that faith is when God puts his loving arms around us and smooths out the road ahead.

Though we may never know the why, but really do we need to know, because this is where we gain Wisdom as we talk to God and, no matter what comes our way, you know God will see you through it.

Through my illness, I have struggled with worry, stress, and anything else that made me worry. It wasn’t until I started praying for hope, mercy and understanding that I was able to but my health in God’s hands. I recently went through a breast cancer ordeal that I had no worries about I knew it would be ok. God was doing the hard work for me.

I am currently struggling with another issue. I am handing it over to the good Lord tonight hoping he can lead me in the right direction with re-motivating my partner in crime, I’m wearing my husband out. Barry suffered a stroke a few years ago and is doing wonderful, but he’s worn out. I need to see what I can do to give him a break. We both need a break, but that will have to wait a little longer. I do not know what I would do without him.

One day at a time!

Daily Prompt: Goals

When you started your blog, did you set any goals? Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

Starting a blog was not our idea. Barry and I started sessions with a neuropsychological counselor, Dr. J. Since Barry and I had both recently suffered from serious Neurological health issues, we were butting heads regularly and could not decide how to solve our issues.  At the time, she felt we needed a place to write our emotions and situations down. She felt Barry and I would adjust better, to our new lives, if we put got everything out in the open and talked out the issues we wrote about.  

Goal number one would be for us not to hold our emotions in. When a problem or issue occurs, document it. Write down everything, every detail possible. She did not specifically mean a blog, but a journal. I chose a blog, rather than the other, to really get feedback from others on what Barry and I were facing. 

I believe our goal with a journal / blog met and will continue to be met. Barry was uneasy to start. He has never been one to share his emotions. He is learning that we are two new people and that we have to learn to like the new “Barry and Jill”. We are both learning to look at the big picture, called life. For a while, we forgot we needed to care for each other, not just meet our own needs.  We are also figuring out the way to co-exist and falling in love with each other all over again.  

Goal number two was to spend at least an hour per day alone, together. We spent a few weeks having lunch out, daily. Applebees our favorite lunch spot for months.  The staff knew us on site and what our regular order was. As Barry’s health improved, we increased our time and headed to the gym and when able, we added a walking routine to our daily regimen. We continue our exercise routine today. We are slowly working on gardening projects around the house. Our yard has paid the price for our illnesses and we would like to slowly get it up to par.

Barry struggled with retirement. He attempted to go back to work, but was never able to make it past part-time. By mid-day, he was unable to control the stress. He finally bit the bullet and retired at the end of April. In close to 30 days, he almost has his “Honey-do” List completed. Retirement has energized him. I love it!  

The neuropsychological counselor we were seeing had to close her practice due to an illness. Barry and I continue to follow her advice and our relationship grows stronger daily. I am currently facing another serious illness. Barry is being a doll and extremely supportive everyday! 

Thank you, Dr. J! You are with Barry and I daily. God bless you!!!!!

I felt so lost…

I felt so lost yesterday, this morning I realized I stayed so busy yesterday, that I never wrote a post. My father had a rough Sunday night. We received a call at 9AM from a friend of Pop’s. He had found Pop unconscious in the floor of his bedroom. He called 911 and Pop was taken to Athens to the hospital. Sandy was on the way when Kristie called. She was working and could not leave. Barry, Mom, and I got dressed and headed to the hospital.  By the time we got there, he was being admitted to the hospital.  Sandy stayed a few minutes longer, then had to leave to do her bus route. She could not find a substitute for the afternoon route.

We stayed until Kristie and the boys arrived. Pop was comfortable in his room. Since he had fallen several times, the nursing staff but an alarm on the bed. Pop could not get up without someone hearing an alarm. This made us feel safe to leave him alone for the night. They said he would be discharged the next day. Between Libor and us, someone could pick him up and settled at home before Kristie was home from work.

Pop has a implanted defibrillator. It went off on the 29th of April. He had a heart attack and that defibrillator saved his life. The cardiologist added a new drug that Pop feeling nervous and not good at all. He could not sleep for anything. He gradually felt worse every day on the new drug. We called the doctor’s office for assistance. They did not believe it was the new medicine and stated they would take a good look at him in the office st his appointment. He was scheduled to be in there in 2 days. He was due to see the cardiologist tomorrow. I guess he could not wait.

God leads and guides our daily activities. God must be telling Pop  it is not his time yet. He’s got to hang out with us a while longer. He ready to help us get his affairs in order. Barry and I will be going up to help him set things up this weekend. We’ll have to work things out for healthcare POA’s and type his will up for him. Sandy will have to sign everything when she gets home. She and mom are attending my Nephew, Daniel’s college graduation this weekend. Mom is really looking forward to it. I hope they have a great time.

Life will eventually slow down. My second surgery has been scheduled for May 28th. Looks like my summer will Will be spent healing. YoU’ll still have decisions to make after the surgery. Radiation and chemotherapy are still a big unknown in my life.

Saw my neurologist this morning. He wants me to have a few health issues checked out and deal with the chemotherapy before he changes anything. So I feel kinda lost or on hold until a few issues are settled.I’m digging deep to pull my patience out and focusing on my health and diet while at home.trying recipes that are results to chew and swallow. My body is getting to the point that it has a little trouble doing those things lately.God is guiding me with this issue. I pray and ask for guidance and patience daily. I have figured out it is not my place to ask God why I am in this shape any longer. It is in his plan and I am in his hands. Not going to Strasbourg anything…..at least I’m going to give it my best shot at trying not to stress. God will guide me!

Post Lumpectomy: Day 9 pathology report from Dr. S

When you go to a doctor’s visit for a pathology report, life can get a little scary. They tell you they caught it early and it will be easy to handle once out.

I’m not worried about the results, my life is in the hands of Our Glorious Heavenly Father. I’m ready for whatever he has planned for me.

I’m getting a bit frustrated with things going wrong with me. I’m especially frustrated with the constant need doctors have to cut holes in my body. It will not take long for my body to look like a road map of scars. I need to make an appointment with a dermatologist next. I have a few places that need to be checked out.

Cowdens Syndrome is manageable, but you have to stay on top of your screenings. Miss one could mean a major life change or your life. At the moment, my head is spinning and I can not turn it off.

There are so many health issues going on with me at the moment, it is hard to judge what to handle first. The priority at the moment, is the breast cancer. My knee would have to be next and the growth on my tongue is third. Within the breast cancer treatment, I have been getting treatment to the left knee. I have an appointment next week concerning my tongue. We’ll see.

Received the pathology report today from surgery. My lymph nodes are clear, but the cancer had spread in the tissue around the tumor. I have to have another operation to let the doctor remove more tissue.

Unfortunately, the process I’ve just been through is about to repeat and could repeat numerous times until she is happy with the amount of tissue she has removed. I’m not happy with the thought of more surgery, but I do not want this mess growing in my body.

Well supper is ready and I’m off to serve it up. Have a great evening…….

Things I thought I would never able to say, ‘Yes, I did that’ , in my life time

If you think you are about to read this ‘naughty girl’ confession list, prepare to be disappointed. I’m afraid to admit I’m one of the tamest women left on earth. I should have titled this post, ‘The things I should be embarrassed by or ashamed to admit I did’, rather than the title I posted. Well here goes, sorry to disappoint you……

1. I called out sick at work, when I just did not want to go.

2. I am currently wearing a kotex pad under my left arm, to cover one surgical incision from my breast cancer surgery.

I sprang a leak. I felt like I needed a plumber. The doctor’s answer was to cover it with a kotex pad to handle the drainage until my next appointment.

3. When I walk briskly, I sound like a bottle of water being shaken up.

4. When driving a drunk friend home, once upon a time, he attempted to grab the wheel and struck me across the face. I pulled over to the side of I-85 and put them out of my car.

5. I have had to send money to a friend stuck in Biloxi, Miss. without a dime to get home.

6. I once let someone get mad at me because I did not like hanging around with them. They got mad and quit coming around. I felt so bad, but I didn’t have the nerve to tell them to go away.

7. I let myself get into a situation at a party once, that a woman thought I was interested in her. Embarrassing….

8. When I went to pick a blind date up once, they attacked, I fought them off and ran. As I ran he tore the shirt and bra off my body. I was running through a parking lot half-naked.

9. In my single days, I let a woman tell an overly tipsy man I was hers, to get him to leave me alone.

10. Left a restaurant/bar with a couple of friends one night. When we got to the parking lot, one of the women I was with, started taking off her clothes as we walked to the car. To date, I haven’t asked “why?”.

11. I watched a girlfriend walk over to a man, whom had hit on her, pull a can of ‘Campbells’  soup out of the bust of her dress and hand it to him. She asked him to leave her alone and told him that he had the only thing he’d ever get from her in his hand.

12. My ex-husband talked me into ‘making-out’ in a casket at a funeral home in a small town in Georgia.

13. I corrupted my new husband in the dark on a boat on Lake Lanier, many years ago. That is all I’ll say about that.

14. I have attended the Masquerade Club in Atlanta, Ga. Not proud of being talked into going.

15. I used to love karaoke.

All of the above statements are true, 90% of them happened within 6 months of my divorce. I decided after that time, that I had put myself and my body through enough craziness. I let the true, sane me come back out to be the decent person I am.

Writing Through Cancer: When life hurts, writing can help. Weekly writing prompts for those living with debilitating illness, pain or trauma.

Stories—the small personal ones that bring us close as well as those of the larger world—foster compassion.  In the telling of our personal lives, we’re reminded of our basic, human qualities—our vulnerabilities and strengths, foolishness and wisdom, who we are…, through the exchange of stories, [you] help heal each other’s spirits.

–Patrice Vecchione, Writing and the Spiritual Life

Growing up, I was a shy child. As the years went on, I came out of my shyness a little, but as I grew older and started getting serious about life the shyness reappeared in certain situations.

I think we all go through an awkward phase as a child, I’d say I hit mine around the sixth-grade or seventh-grade. The summer I turned twelve years old, I shot up over six inches in height. Mom thought she was purchasing stylish glasses for me, when truth be told, they were the ugliest glasses I had ever seen.

Anyone with an opportunity and a mean streak took it upon themselves to let me know how gawky and goofy I looked in those glasses. As I got taller, I was the second tallest girl in my class and the first girl to develop in all the right places. I was taller than everyone in the class. That just added to the fire.

Another thing that added to my “nerdy” status is that I developed allergies as a child. I grew up when they didn’t know how to treat allergies. I was always sick, had a lot of food allergies and did a ton of throwing up after meals. Not so easy to make friends when you are literally the snotty girl, always scratching and have the ability to vomit at the drop of a hat. Kids can be so mean. I was sick so much, mom thought I needed to see a doctor daily. The ironic thing about mom running me to the doctor constantly, was that the brain tumor I have has been there since I was a child. I was sick, but not for any of the reasons she was taking me to the doctor.

All of these, should have been good things, but the kids I grew up with saw a vulnerable girl they could hurl their latest ammunition at. It was like some bully kept a book and said “let’s pick on her today.”

One stupid new girl decided she would target me on her own. I became her pet project at her new school. She took particular dislike to my glasses. I was called “Four-Eyes” so many times in the eighth-grade that I decided to let her foolishness stop bothering me and decided to kill her with kindness. Sometime in the night-grade,  the bullying stopped. The new girl, never turned nice through four-years of high school, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t let her get to me.

I took my classes, did my school work and survived high school. Most of us do. What you have to remember about bullies, is that they are just jealous or sometimes it could be as boy or girl who is sweet on you and doesn’t know how to handle their own feelings. Be patient growing up, God will get up through it! I went to college away from everyone I had known for years.

After graduating high school, the shy girl came flying out of me again. Nursing school put me into situations I didn’t know how to handle, so I did my best. If I was uncomfortable in a situation, I worked my way through it. After I was married the first time, I ran into people here and there. What I noticed the most, was they acted like we were life long friends. God says to forgive and I have forgiven.

Doctors are not kind to new nurses or old ones at that. My first nursing job, opened my eyes to how crude the medical profession can be. You would not believe, what goes on behind the scenes, at some hospitals here in Georgia. In all my life, I did not realize how ugly people can be to one another. I grew-up quickly.

After my first husband and I divorced, one of my first jobs as a single woman was at the local jail in my hometown. The saddest part of that job, was seeing more people I went to high school with in jail than on the streets of town. A few were hard to believe, but others I had seen in trouble for years. I dated a deputy for a while, and he got a bit stalkerish. Someone in jail, that I had known for years, stood up for me. He did the right thing and said something when the time was right. I never got the chance to say thank you! Thank you, Joe! I know he’ll never see this, but at least I have said it.

I went through many jobs, that finally lead me to the career I was meant to have. I stayed with that career until I was forced into retirement by a nasty brain tumor called a gangliocytoma. I would later discover the tumor was just a symptom of a genetic disorder called Cowden Syndrome. Sine that diagnosis, I have survived Thyroid Cancer and I am dealing with breast cancer. Every month, I am in some doctor’s office being probed, prodded or x-rayed.

Note to all doctor’s that do lumpectomies, tell your patient’s about the fluid build-up possibility and the possibility of acting like a leaky pipe under your arm. It would make life after lumpectomy less stressful.

I’m getting tired, but I refuse to let this mess get the best of me. God has a plan for my life, otherwise I wouldn’t still be around. It is not my place to question that plan. I have tolerated this breast cancer episode better than things in the past. Either I am tired of fighting, or learning how to give it to God finally. I’ve prayed about the subject. It must be sinking in.

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Day Two: Post Lumpectomy

MM900178208The drugs have worn off, I’ve started my exercises, and I rode in the car this afternoon. I took a pillow for comfort, but it went really well.

The pain is subsiding, until I move my arm too much. I still have my faithful bottle of giggle pills.   I have drunk so much liquid I feel like my eyeballs are floating. I have to flush all that lovely dye and anesthesia out of my system. The sooner that mess is out of my system, the better. I’ll feel better and I’ll stop resembling a Smurf around the edges. The doctor says that effect will go away in a few days.

The wait has begun. My appointment is on the 10th to get the pathology report and make treatment plans. I’m not worried, it’s in God’s hands. But now that I am more alert, it is on my mind. That simple little report is going to have such as huge impact on my life. It is hard not to think about it.

In between all the hoopla above, my left knee has given out on me and they are injecting chicken cartilage into the knee in hopes of forming a cushion in there to keep bone from hitting bone. So far, it helps for a few days, then the pain is back. It is a series of three shots. I’ve had the second one. If this doesn’t help, they want to discuss a knee replacement. I truly am NOT sure how I feel about that.

Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray).

Our lives are in God’s hands. He has a plan for us all. We are not to question that plan. We are to be good people and better Christians.

Barry and I study our bibles. We have devotions with one another and we are active at church. Loving every minute of it. Barry and I have discussed that we feel more complete and better about where we are headed than we have in years.

I am finally catching on to the practice of handing things over to God. This breast cancer experience has shown that to me. My stress level has been lower and I have been able to turn my head off and go to sleep at night. Every prior health issue has caused me to worry myself sick. I tolerated this so much better. I’m proud of my progress. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

I’m learning to deal with my illness/disability as part of my life. The new “Jill” is progressing. Took me long enough. I blame my slowness on the brain injury caused by my brain surgery. Is it not awful that you have to cause a “brain injury” to save someone’s life when a brain tumor is discovered. Also, it isn’t like I’ve been a little busy.

I’ve been able to get my exercise regimen going again. Feeling better and walking better. Hopefully this latest health issue will not put a damper on that. My exercise makes me feel better.

The babble is starting, which is my question to stop typing. Have blessed night everyone.


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Day One: Post Lumpectomy

I promise I’ll only do this today, but this is where my mind is and I HURT! You do not realize how much certain parts of your body move, until some doctor cuts a hole in it. I just have one main word to get across in this post and that is OUCH!

I feel as if I have been wrestling with barbed wire. I don’t know who intubated me, but they may need a little more practice. I know they tried their best. Obviously got it in the right place, but my throat is incredibly sore from their practice. My twitching vocal chords did not help, I’m sure.

As the radiologists was inserting the guide wire, into a supposed numb area, I felt like she was jamming a piece of barbed wire in to help Dr. S. find the tumor. I’m glad I was asleep to have it removed.

WOW……..what an ordeal for a Stage One Breast Cancer. I’m just glad this was not 20 years ago. I saw that surgery in nursing school. Medical technology has improved immensely. Thank Goodness.

I’m not out of the woods yet. We are waiting for the last pathology report to find out the treatment I need.

Please keep up the prayers, cross you fingers, cross your toes, send a few angels my way……I need all the help I can get to make it through this.

Thank you all (had to let my Southern Belle shine) for your concern, support and prayers. You are all wonderful! Just a short post for today, I need another pain-giggle pill. I’m not one to like medication, but this stuff is good and I like to giggle!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!