Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Stroke...

Friday, I was thrown a bombshell by something which occured on Tuesday, the 20th. Friday morning I looked at the all familiar verses in Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious for about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I read those verses and thought to myself, "Wow, for once I can honestly say I am not anxious about anything. I'm beginning to get well, my Mom is with the Lord, everything is going great with Pilot, yada, yada, yada."
Fast forward a few hours and I'm sitting in the doctor's office getting checked out for my right arm and hand "going to sleep." You know, that tingling feeling where you shake your arm or hand and normal feeling resumes. In my case "normal" didn't resume, and still hasn't fully.
I begin telling the doctor what happened and why I think it may be diabetic related, or possibly a pinched nerve, etc... He checks me out and then drops the bomb, "I think you have had a small stroke."
My first thought, "What a difference a couple of hours make."
My second thought which I verbalized, "But I felt this, whereas with my other two strokes I didn't feel pain, no discomfort etc, I just couldn't get my arm and hand to do what my brain was telling it to do. I did/do have hypersensitivity after the strokes, but not while the strokes were happening." Let me explain so others can know, you may or may not experience sensations when you are experiencing a stroke. I guess that is why they have those letters behind their names, M.D. I don't have those letters.
I felt/feel like a walking time bomb, just waiting to go off. There really isn't anything I can do. Well, yes, I can eat right and exercise, etc but, let's get real here. If a blog clot decides to break off and float along, I have no control over that! None!
They say if you have had a small stroke you can expect a big one to follow shortly after. Of course, the longer you go without experiencing a big one the chances begin to diminish somewhat. It has been five years since my last one. Now, I go through the waiting cycle again. That's where one feels like anything could happen.
I have hung on to the Philippians verses like a life line. And there are others which are enabling me to feel more stable, not so "tossed" to and fro. I know that He desires the very best for me and if that equates to having another stroke...then so be it. I will "dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust" (Ps. 91:1-2). "I lift up my eyes to the hills---where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Ps. 121-2).
"Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten you law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise" (Ps. 119:153-154).
Regardless of what He has in store for me, I pray that He will be glorified. May every thought I think and every word I utter, be edifying to those around me, and honoring to Him in all ways. I trust Him when I am fearful. I rest in Him for my peace. I delight in Him because He has saved me. ME!!! I cannot fathom it, but I am ever so grateful He did.
In the meantime I, like Paul look to Him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I need the quiet...

I'm here and, I suppose, I'm alive. However, I feel nothing remotely similiar to being alive. I am terribly sick and don't seem to be getting any better. The good news is the chest x-ray showed no pnuemonia. It's my asthma and a terrible sinus infection. The good doctor has extended my prednisone treatment, and I am still on antibiotics and my very scheduled doses of my cough syrup with codiene. Thank goodness for meds! ;) I'm in bed, except for when I eat, then I come to the table. Dear hubby has been an angel! I don't know what I would have done without him.

Consequently, I feel like everything will be exactly the same when my sister and her hubby return in March. Oh, I know, in reality, I'll be feeling better soon and then I will become productive again but, right now, I cannot even imagine it. I remind myself of my dear mother. When she broke her pelvic bone in the three places, the nurses would come in to assess her pain. Well, she quickly discovered if she didn't move, at all, she had no pain; and that is what she told the nurses, "No, I'm not in any pain." I'm exactly the same way with my cough. As long as I don't move, I don't cough...well, most times, that is. Lol!

So here I lay with a gigantic mess all around me. It just goes to show that God's ways are infinitely above our ways. There is an old poem I came in contact with many years ago. Every so often it's truths reach out and touch me.

It is written by Alice Hansche Mortenson and is called I Needed the Quiet. Enjoy!

I needed the quiet so He drew me aside.
Into the shadows where we could confide.
Away from the bustle where all the day long
I hurried and worried when active and strong.

I needed the quiet tho at first I rebelled
But gently, so gently, my cross He upheld
And whispered so sweetly of spiritual things
Tho weakened in body, my spirit took wings
To heights never dreamed of when active and gay.
He loved me so greatly He drew me away.

I needed the quiet. No prison my bed,
But a beautiful valley of blessings instead--
A place to grow richer in Jesus to hide.
I needed the quiet so He drew me aside.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Difficult Day....

My sister and I have spent the entire day going through our mom's closets. We still have another full closet to go of hanging things. My mom never threw away anything that was of good quality. In fact, we came across the dress mom bought after she lost her "baby" weight when I was born! It is still a sharp looking dress without blemish and could be worn today. Some of my friends are going to be quite blessed to have a free shopping day. Alas, neither my sister or I can wear size 6, 8, or 10's. We have set aside a ton of the 6's and P/S's to send to our aunt, my mom's younger sister. She is thrilled to be receiving them.

Marsha and I have done all we can today. It is so difficult to go through all of her newer things. Especially what she had been wearing these last few months. I can only be in her room for a limited amount of time before I have to go out for a break. How I wish she would have let me start going through things at the beginning of last year. Even if she wore a new outfit everyday she still would not have worn everything she had. Incredible.

We are going out to eat again tonight. It proved to be cheaper for Marsha and Vic to fly out on Tuesday rather than this weekend. I'm glad. I can hardly bear thought of them leaving. I do have one friend lined up to come Wednesday afternoon to try on clothes. That will help having a friend in.

I wonder....has she thought about us since she left? Or is she too busy strolling along with her Lord, seeing her family and friends who have gone before her. Has she met up with Paul, or John, or Abraham and Sarah? There really is no hurry, after all, because we have eternity. But I wonder.

Monday will be two weeks. We have been so busy with the lawyer and taxes and the banks etc, I feel like I haven't even mourned. Actually, I guess I really haven't. Tears? Yes, some. More on other days, not as much on some days. Maybe once everyone is gone and it's just Pilot Dad and me left.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm back....

As I have journeyed through this valley with my mom it has become abundantly clear to me that God never intended for us to die. That was a consequence of disobeying Him. Rather, He created us to live. And to live abundantly forever.

Now, even though my mom's physical body/shell has died, she has not. She is continuing to live the life God originally planned for her to live, only now she is in heaven where life is as it was originally intended. One day life will be as it should be for me, too.

As I watched my mom over the last days of her earthly life, I observed how much she fought to live. She did not go easy! :) Nor should she. Life is a gift from God and she fought to maintain it to the very end. For my mom it took a month, well, actually less than a month. The first significant change came January 3, then the next change came on the 10th, followed by another significant change on the 17th. We made a follow-up appointment with her doctor on the 31st of January which she did not make.

My sister and her husband did arrive in time, and Mom did recognize her, even though she never spoke to her. By then Mom was conserving all her energy for only necessary conversation. That was Saturday the 27th. Sunday she was pretty much in a partial coma, very unresponsive except in times of pain, when she would let us know. But Monday...Monday she was totally unresponsive to us. There was no acknowledgement of us just her agonal breathing which she labored through. The hospice nurse arrived a little before 3:00 p.m., shortly after the harpist had left. He stayed until about 3:20 and then left. At 3:45 we called him back, she was with her Lord.

I had been sitting on her bed with her, just like I had done in the care center. I kept touching her, stroking her hands, etc and talking with her. I noticed a change and told my sister, then another change in her breathing, then her color changed and then she exhaled the last time. She was whole.

Oh! What a void she has left for me here at home. My sister and husband will leave this weekend and I freely admit I am dreading it. So much to do, so much to go through. How comforting it is to me to know that He is and will continue to sustain me, to carry me through this time of grief. I know the sun will shine again one day.

After my brother was killed, it took me a long time to grieve. I think because of the horrific circumstances on such a sweet, loving young man. Then, when my dad died, it was such a sudden shock that left me reeling. God was gracious to me in both circumstances. Death seems so final. Doesn't it? Even as a Christian, knowing that death isn't the end, often our hearts lag behind.

Thank goodness, the loss of someone so dear never has to mean the end of abundant, effective, and joyful living for a Christian. Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for awhile as grief takes its course, but those of us who allow our broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again. My Savior, and your Savior, I pray, is the God of resurrection life, no matter what kind of death has occurred in the life of any believer!

I cannot tell you how many times I sat there beside my mom and wished it was me. Knowing that I would be going through this devastating loss again is shattering but through this time He has given me His power to my life. His power defies all odds. God Himself is the only explanation for my emotional survival and revival. Really, I believe the most profound miracle of all is living through something I thought would literally kill me. Not just living through it, but living through it abundantly and effectively.

No, I will not be the same but for me, as a Christian, my life is never about sameness. It's always about change. That's why it is important to not only survive but to also thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss. I am being conformed to the image of Christ. It is Christ alone who binds and compresses my hurt with His nail-scarred hand. And through this time, He offers me a new life...a far more compassionate life, a wiser life, and I think a more productive one, because of all I have been through on this journey with Him.