Monday, December 27, 2010

Crediting this One to God!

Luke 1:13 "...your prayer has been heard."

In my last post, I was given some ominous news about both legs having a bone infarct and possibly this would be in my hips, knees and shoulder as well.  I did the obligatory MRI last week and the same doctor who had read the X-rays and told me it was osteonecrosis informed me right away that he had been mistaken.  He now said it is clearly a stress fracture and nothing more.  A follow-up X-ray of both hips showed them to be in fine shape, no bone infarcts!

That was quite a Christmas present to receive!  I have a "boot" on the left foot which closely resembles the black Ugg-like boot on my right foot so you almost cannot tell!  Says something about Ugg boots!  I am trying to stay off it as much as possible to allow it to heal since the more I am on it, the more pain there is, especially when walking.  

The fear of never healing has left though and has been replaced by new hope that I can recover, lose weight and who knows, though it would be a miracle, perhaps run again.  With that hope restored, I have begun exercising again with my T-Tapp videos.  I took a "before" photo today which I will not show you until a year from now when I get to take the wonderful "after" photo!  

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve at Community Covenant and then a surprise invite to a friend's house for dinner and fellowship.  Wasn't feeling so great so we left early and I had a stomach episode at home which I kind of felt coming on all day.  Christmas Day was so nice and quiet, together as a family at home.  The kids were way more patient then I would be at their age, waiting for us to get up, make breakfast, eat (an hour later), open one present, delightedly put that Lego set together, open another present, delightedly put that one together while Mike and I took our Christmas Nap on the sheepskin rug with the dog in front of the fire!  They never asked if they could open a present.  I would say, "Ok, I think it's time to open another present."  I think the true meaning of Christmas really stuck this year!

I just realized today that I didn't take a single photo of our Christmas celebration because of feeling physically crummy I guess.  On Christmas night, I made a huge error in judgment.  We went out with friends to our favorite Chinese restaurant, China Pavillion.  First error in judgement was going there on Christmas Day because it was slammed and the staff was completely overwhelmed!  Second lapse was when I decided to try one little bite of a seafood fried rice including one little-mini scallop.  I thought I would challenge my system to see if I truly was allergic to shellfish or if I'd "outgrown" it since it arrived only after my transplant.  I couldn't be more wrong...had a doozy of a stomach incident about four hours later.  I'm done with shellfish.  

Thank you to all of you who have sent wonderful cards, treats and presents this year and even to those who are like me and have had every intention of sending something, but haven't been able to!  Please understand that we are so late in getting these things out because of how bad I've been feeling this month.  I am working on it little by little though!  If I were a company you'd ordered from, you would be a disgruntled customer by now, but thankfully you are family and have a larger capacity for grace.

Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas, Dear Ones!

I am sitting here in my messy house, alone because the kids and Mike went to Carlsbad for 4 days, and battling the ants that are packing their nests up to move inside with the daily drenching we're experiencing with the Pineapple Express.   Instead of getting busy cleaning I am going through the cards and notes I received from you all almost two years ago when I went through my bone marrow transplant.   What a blessing to remember how much I am loved and I'm once again drawing from the encouragement as I face life with disability.

As you might have heard, I was told last week that the excruciating pain which I described as feeling like my ankles are breaking, was not an ankle sprain or fracture, but a "bone infarct" -- you have heard of myocardial infarction?  It's like that but it's in the bone -- the blood supply was cut off in the bone marrow and it died, making the bones very fragile.  It's not usually in that area (ankles or at the bottom of the leg) and is suspected to be in my hips, knees and possibly shoulder.  I have to get an MRI this week and see an orthopedic surgeon, but the news is that I cannot run or jump and that dead bone does not regenerate new bone if it's pretty far gone.  In early stages of osteonecrosis, i.e. dead bone, there would be no symptoms, and they can try to remove plugs from the bone marrow to stimulate new growth.  Ouch.  I was told by my UCLA doctor that this condition is not uncommon in his patients and is usually due to the prednisone which is why they try to get you off of it as quickly as possible.  I only wish I'd known that I should have learned to live with side effects of GVHD that deal with the skin and fatigue rather than the side effects of prednisone which are so much worse!  They never give you the details until you "need to know!"  This doctor also told me to live with the pain as long as possible before getting any joint replacements (hip, knee, etc.) because at my age I'd have to get them replaced in the future since they don't last forever.  I'll also probably be on some kind of medication to prevent more bone loss.

I had to grieve for a few days because it was the first time I had to swallow the reality that I would never run again, never return to my old self, back to the glory days of those 2 years in remission where I experienced the best health of my life.  I remember the feeling of that so well thinking then that it was like a taste of the unhindered life we'll experience in Heaven someday.  I felt completely free and energetic and alive!  Well, that must have been just a wonderful gift from God to enjoy for a season, making me crave Heaven even more because that is what it will be like.  Through the few days I was grieving, I clung to the truth of Philippians 4:6-7 which says:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 knew he'd bring me through it and restore that peace in my heart, and I told myself that even as I cried through the pain.  Sure enough within three to four days I was not only at peace about it, but over the next week the calling on my life to share the hope I have in Christ has been renewed.  He has allowed me to share in the sufferings of Christ and I want it to be used by God to bring others to His glory through it.

Now, I turn back to these wonderful cards, and would like to share some of the encouragement I received...

A friend writes that she prays the power of our God and His name will encourage me:
El Elyon - "The God Most High" He is the Sovereign God
Elohim - "The All-Powerful One, Creator"
El Roi - "The God Who Sees Me" God sees us in all our circumstances
El Shaddai - "The All-Sufficient One"
Jehovah Rapha - "The Lord Who Heals" He heals physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Jehovah Shammah - "The Lord is My Companion"
El Olam - "The Everlasting God"
Jehovah Rohi - "The Lord is My Shepherd" - God takes care of us.
Jehovah - Jireh - "The Lord will Provide"
Jehovah or YHWH - "I Am" - He never changes; His promises never fail

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everalsting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength...those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

May God answer all the prayers that have been said for you by giving you new strength, health, and all His blessings.

Have a Merry Christmas!