A Journey of Learning
I’ve had requests to move these posts to their own page so they don’t get lost.
Posted by thecanvasgrey on 18th April 2007
Miracles … Dead or Alive? Part One
The unknown is a place where one can become overwhelmed or find out who they really are as a human being. The unknown can be exciting or scary and at times both. Ever been on a roller coaster or in a haunted house at Halloween? Now I’ve found another truth about the unknown; for me it can be a place were real miracles can happen.
I was in the unknown zone for the past two month. I’ve been having some health issues. My GI found problems and my knowledge for four days was based on “something on the ovary, spots on the liver and something wrong with a bone in my right hip.” My GI doctor was so very supportive and sweet but in his tone and continuous apologies I knew that there was SOMETHING. I embarked upon the four longest days of my life so far. Testing had begun for ovarian cancer.
I am an optimist/realist. I knew that 75% of ovarian cancer patients didn’t make it. I knew there were survivors out there and wonderful things being done everyday in treatment. I approached it with all the strength I generally do in crisis. I am someone you want around in a crisis. I’ve been in several with friends and family. I’m always amazed at my own composure and thought process after everything is said and done. I was hoping I could do for myself what I had done for others.
Since I realized I had absolutely NO control over the outcome of the tests I broached an army of support. I called and emailed everyone I knew to pray, think, send vibes, whatever and however they could imagine that the outcome of things would be good. I didn’t ask for a miracle and never expected one. All I wanted was for it to be something I could survive no matter what it was; something that wouldn’t take me away from my family, my kids.
Those were the longest days of my life…THANKFULLY! I got to kiss and hug my boys more, think of things I’d do if I had a short period of time (for me 5 years is short), and face my own mortal self. I was thankful that I got out of Mary Kay and had only time to spend. I was thankful that I was here, with my family. I wept occasionally but always controlled, soft and gentle. It was difficult to comprehend that my life may be coming to an end much, much sooner than anticipated and with so many things to do and left undone. But then the realist in me knows this happens everyday around the world.
On the third day after this life altering announcement I went to have an ultrasound on the ovary that was suspicious. Afterwards I lay upon the bed. I was tired. I was also found anemic and the iron supplement hadn’t kicked in yet. So laying there resting, trying to find a way to catch up on my sleep I felt a very strange sensation in my abdomen. Immediately I remembered what a friend had said about being surrounded in blue light in her email. It was comforting and I actually drifted off to sleep for about an hour.
The fourth day was unremarkable until after I picked up my oldest from school. The kids were playing in the backyard. The sun was out and I was sitting watching them on the swing (pure enjoyment). Something in the left side of my brain made a popping sound and I felt something like a seed bursting or a grape being squashed and the contents pushing out into my brain. I thought how odd. Of course I thought stroke, but I could talk and move. My mind turned to thoughts of cancer and that this may have been cancer cells making their presence known in my brain. Then there was a warm feeling of liquid that flowed just under the skin of my left cheek and nose. It seemed to end in the left shoulder. I tasted something medicinal in my mouth. I knew it could be a stroke and called my husband to come home. I called a dear friend who was a nurse to confer about this event. She said it sounded strange but agreed that with everything else going on I should go to the ER. As we arrived at the ER I turned to my kids and asked them to look at me. I looked deep into their eyes and told them I loved them. I kissed my husband and told him the same. I knew it was a possibility I would not see or tell them that again. In that moment I was stronger than I’ve ever been in my life.
In the ER my normally low blood pressure was sky high. I looked and felt pretty calm considering all that was going on but apparently I wasn’t. I was shocked and thought this must be evidence of a stroke. I was very glad my husband had taken the kids to have dinner. I didn’t want him worried anymore than he needed to be, for himself and the kids.
As I walked back to my ER room, my adventurous self over took all other concerns. My sense of humor over took me. Dr. McDreamy walked into my ER room. “Oh God” I thought, “You’ve sent me Dr. McDreamy because I won’t get to see my family again… OK…GGGGGRRREAT, thanks I think… OK … I’m going to enjoy it as much as I CAN!” Giving up control and looking to find the best of what I had. I really amazed myself! After all, I am Ms. IN Control! I didn’t know I had this in me, to release control and have fun during such a time. As I swooned out words to Dr. McDreamy he told me all this sounded very odd. He sent me for tests. He sent me the perfect, lively, nurse, my age and cut from the same swatch of character and a jokester. I found solace in her every visit to my room. We joked and talked about finding love late in life. Again, God sent me an angel nurse to help me in my last hours. ***Laughing out loud*** I can laugh now because it seems so dramatic to me to think in this way. AT THE TIME, NOT SO DRAMATIC!!!! I was taking it seriously in the funniest way I could. I was determined that I would never leave this life in anything but a good frame of mind, if at all possible.
After all the testing was done my angel nurse came in to inject something. “Oh, this will just make you drowsy and you will get some sleep later” she cooed. Oh wow, GREAT I thought, I hadn’t slept much in the last four days. She left. The drug started to make me woozy…my eyes crossed…very woozy… wild and random thoughts went through my mind and my blood pressure went up. I called to the nurse with no response. I became frightened. My arms started to shake. “Get a grip, get a grip,” I told myself. I tried to concentrate on bringing my blood pressure down with deep breathing with not much luck. Random thought, “They don’t want to tell me how bad it is and they are putting me under for surgery!” My entire body shook in spasms, especially my legs. I realized it was my fight or flight panic response, I’ve had it about three times in my life. Random thoughts, I am so alone; I am the only one who is experiencing this; I’m completely alone. In death, I will be completely alone. I was calmed. If this is how it would be, then okay. Is this what they speak of as “sweet release?” (OK I know it isn’t but thought a little comic relief was needed.) I knew I wouldn’t be in pain. I believed I would be somewhere with God. If this was to be, then I will go in peace. Just look out for my family. I’m no longer in control.
***SNORT*** I awoke to my own snort! What the??? I just dropped off to sleep. AND I WOKE MYSELF BY SNORTING!!! How unladylike!!!! I hoped that Dr. McDreamy hadn’t heard that!!!!! It felt good to chuckle to myself. In he came, on cue, to tell me that everything checked out fine. He said this is still a puzzle and to see my regular doctor as soon as possible. My nurse and I parted saying that it was a pleasure…and it was, at least the meeting her part!
Come back for PART TWO of MIRACLES … DEAD OR ALIVE?
Posted by thecanvasgrey on 20th April 2007
Miracles … Dead or Alive? Part Two
DAY FIVE, the most wonderful family doctor I’ve ever had called me. “What is UP with YOU, my dear?” said Dr. Good Guy. He sang sweet nothings into my ear telling me that ovarian cancer was highly unlikely; neither the ovaries nor liver spots concerned him. HUGE SIGH of RELIEF! I wanted to jump through the phone and plant a big wet one on him!!! Then came the BUT… he was concerned about the bone. He was also concerned about this brain episode I’d had. I was more thankful that it wasn’t ovarian cancer. I still don’t have the words to express the gratitude I have about that.
I knew that no matter what “it” is I would survive! I revved up myself for a battle. Cancer is something people live with everyday; something people are cured of EVERYDAY. John Edward’s wife, she’s doing it…so could I! I was so deeply grateful and ready for whatever came next!
Mixed results about the bone caused Dr. Good Guy to sound the horn and up the hill we charged! He was determined to find the primary location and get me into treatment quickly. (For those of you who don’t know, when cancer is in the bone it has usually metastasized from another location.) Over the next two weeks Dr. Good Guy called almost daily with new test results. No cancer here, no cancer there. After my bone scan Dr. Good Guy called and said he had gotten me an appointment (FIRST thing the next morning) to see a leading orthopedic surgeon in the area. WHAT? I couldn’t be gracious or thankful enough to either doctor.
WHY is this going so well? WHY am I getting the best care ever? HOW could I ever be grateful enough? I felt…feel so unworthy? HOW could I be so unbelievably calm all this time?
It hit me like a TON of bricks…the army of friends and family I had called upon! Prayer, thoughts, thankfulness, love, light, caring, sharing, support…I’m being held up in my spirit by those that have been coming together in unison for me. I was overwhelmed. I started praying and thinking of each person. I wanted this wondrous thing they had done for me be repeated back to them 10 times. I didn’t need to know all the names, God knows.
Finally, a quick biopsy, a preliminary diagnosis that surprised everyone the tumor is benign. Oh my, oh my, oh my GOD! This was COMPLETELY unexpected!
How could I be so blessed? Could my friend had intuition or premonition when she dreamed this would be localized? Is this how God works miracles? Could the episode in my brain have been a healing?
These are the great questions I ponder while preparing for surgery next week. Dr. Sweet Heart is doing the surgery. I’m ready and excited to complete this particular journey into the unknown.
Coming next week
MIRACLES … DEAD OR ALIVE? Part Three
My conclusions and my lessons learned about how healthcare works!
Posted by thecanvasgrey on 11th May 2007
MIRACLES … DEAD OR ALIVE? Part Three
My conclusions and my lessons learned!
I’m two weeks out of the hospital and doing great; not 100% just yet but considering all that happened…GREAT! I’ll not share the boring details of what happened other than to say I was well taken care of by the nurses. Nurses really are angels on earth! They sat with me through the blood transfusion and took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Absolute ANGELS!
There are so many things I want to share so that you or those you know may benefit from my experience. Having been relatively healthy most of my life I learned many things about my body, my mind and my spirit. First I’d like to speak to my complete and sincere thankfulness; no matter who or where you are, things can ALWAYS be worse. I thank GOD for the incredible things we know about and don’t know about in this life. He has so delicately and ingeniously intertwined us and binds us. God is so much more than anything or anyone can imagine. I thank the wonderful doctors and nurses who were there for me when my family and friends couldn’t be; they are the get ‘er done people! I thank my dear, dear family and friends for their love, support and their willingness to intercede in my behalf.
Several of my family and friends have been profoundly affected by my journey; surprisingly so. I guess it hit home that we are all human and will die, some sooner than others. I never knew who really cared about me until this time in my life. It renewed my marriage in a way I can’t explain. I am so grateful for all the experience and knowledge this life changing event has exposed me to and it to me. I’ve also been unpleasantly surprised as to those who I thought were my dearest friends ended up being just that; they were dear to me, not I to them. The care and love I so eagerly showered wasn’t returned to me in my time of need and I grieve for them. They have lost something significant.
Some things I must just accept in faith that they are what I believed them to be. Because no one human can explain them; I guess I must accept they are of God or miracles or things yet not explained. From my experience I accept with faith that lines were crossed beyond religious beliefs. God is so much more than any religion can put into words. I accept in faith that maybe it isn’t how we worship or pray or believe, it is the coming together of our spirits, our hearts, and our minds. Ok sci-fi fans, NOT like borgs ***cheap laugh*** LIKE the SPIRITUAL BEINGS THAT WE ARE! No one religion, belief, way of prayer or thought better than another; FOCUSED on each other for the sake of good, caring, hope, faith, love. I’m in NO WAY trying to bottle up God. To me, He is so much more than we can fathom; look at the stars in the sky or listen to a child laugh. It has renewed my faith in this wonderful life experience and made it even more precious than it was before because I don’t (and shouldn’t) expect anymore than I’m lucky to get. It has strengthened my resolve to learn, share, understand and care for others in a way I haven’t since I was a child. And I fear no more because I’m loved, blessed and cherished.
Now as for those miracles; those questionable wonderings I’ve had about my ER trip and dreams, etc. We generally aren’t looking for miracles on a daily basis. We have no idea how CLOSE that car was because we never saw it. Or how we were healed from something we didn’t even know we had. And my conclusion is that miracles are all around us because someone is (was, will be) praying, thinking about us or connecting with us spiritually in some way. Others are placing us in God’s crosshairs for miracles whether we know it or not.
I realized that miracles ARE ALIVE…whether you see them or not!
THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS THINGS I’VE LEARNED THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE. SOME OF THIS INFORMATION ISN’T FOR THE WEAK. I’M SHARING THIS BECAUSE I CARE AND WANT YOU TO BE AWARE AND HEALTHY!
The most important thing I learned is that NO ONE cares about YOU, like YOU DO!!! Have your medical history written down. Take it with you whenever you go to the doctor, hospital. Carry a copy to give if needed. Don’t assume that things about you have been shared from one doctor to another correctly. ALWAYS SPEAK UP! Everyone makes mistakes…two doctors did with me…they are human! SPEAK UP!
Never wait for important records to be transferred from one location to another. If possible, get the records, review them to make sure they are complete and hand them to the other party. This is especially true when time is an important factor. If I’d waited another two weeks they would have had to take more of my hip and there is already enough gone, thank you! HA!
When something is found and testing begins, DON’T ASSUME you have what they are testing for!!!! In my case, they were testing me for ovarian cancer because they must put something down as to the reason for the tests so insurance will cover the exams, etc. So TRY not to sweat it until they TELL you what they have found to be true. It is hard but really spare yourself some worry on that if you can!
Oh this is gross but I must share because I had no idea. When given pain meds INSIST that you are given a stool softener too. I ended up impacted because no one told me this or asked why I wasn’t taking one. I truly hope this NEVER happens to you! The only pain worse is child birth. I KID YOU NOT! My ONLY relief was to go fishing…yep…fishing for feces. Don’t be afraid. You can do it and the relief is quick and no trip to the hospital! I NEVER would have done this if my sister hadn’t told me about Bobby doing this for Whitney on their reality show. ***BIG SIGH*** One redeeming tidbit of helpful information from a reality show…so sad that two gifted people ended up in that mess.
Lastly, keep your eyes on the bills because you can get charged double for things. Here again, humans, mistakes, double checking never hurt anyone and the money comes out of our pockets in the end no matter how you look at it!
I sincerely wish you HEALTH! Because it is up to YOU to be happy!!!!
PS March 4, 2008 I had an epiphany about my experience. Early in the testing AFTER my “episode” and trip to the ER and BEFORE I knew that I had a tumor, I was in Dr. Good Guy’s office after some tests. I was wondering out loud to him if I could have some type of infection or cyst. He rifled through all my blood tests and said that it was highly unlikely because the tests showed I had one of the lowest numbers for infection in my body that he’d ever seen…a nine. Another eye opening, God given reassurance to me that I truly received a healing from God. I can’t help but to wonder why and why is He showing me things in such obscure, unusual ways; like seeing the links in an invisible chain. I still struggle with how I can EVER praise God enough, be thankful enough. I can only do my best…I can only do my best.