Ladybug Secrets

Ladybug Secrets:
Don't let the small stuff bug you. And Spot new opportunities.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just a Little Update

Well it is over!  The surgery is done!  Almost a week after, and I finally feel well enough to sit up and write.  Even though I have a tiny bit of strength, my head is spinning.  I truly did think...."Ah I will not need that many weeks to rest and heal!  I will just push through it!"  The cold hard truth...this is brutal!  But on the other thankful I had it done!

To start out, Tim and I had a nice drive down to Cincy last Sunday!  I can't even remember when we had spent that much time with each other without kiddos. :)  We talked about old, new, and future dreams.  We shared french fries, he laughed at many of my silly quirks, and of course I pointed out ever state trooper on the highway. (even though he was not speeding...they make me nervous!)  We held hands and he comforted me, he knew I was scared.  The hotel was peaceful and bed time early!  It was so nice to sleep!!  If you are not a parent of young comment!

Monday we arrived right on time, and everything went fairly smooth.  I had to tell my story a million times, and all the docs and nurses marched through.  My parents, Tim, and my brother came to wish me love and wait.  They gave me some meds to help with nausea and valium.  That was the last thing I remember!  I do not remembering operating room or recovery.  I was out.  I woke up with a start in my hospital room, asking when surgery was.  I thought I had just dozed off.  But it was done and successful.  We settled in for a few days in the hospital.  Now I had been told the hospital was nice, but good grief!!!  It was like staying at a very nice hotel!  The rooms are huge, and super clean!  Everyone was amazing!!  My one nurse Jacquie won the award for best nurse I had ever had!  In fact, Tim thought I made a new BFF. I also loved my OT and PT ladies!  It was so fun to chat with them!  They treated me with respect, and knew what was wrong!  Refreshing to have people hear you and actually accept and understand your diagnosis!

I hit a few little road bumps.  I developed what looked like a really bad sunburn all over neck, face, chest, and upper arms.  Once I quit taking the morphine it went away.  I also had a couple infections, but they gave me several doses of IV antibiotic, and they are better.  We were able to leave on Thursday, and the ride was amazing!  Very smooth and felt pretty good afterwards.  The past couple of days have been harder.  I think I have tried to push myself too much here at home.  Have lots of trouble with vertigo, and also pain.  The steroids I believe are making me super hot and flushed.  I also am stopping the muscle relaxer because it is making all my other joints pop out of socket.  My biggest thing is I need to rest!!! I am yelling this at myself right now!  :)  If you would pray for me on this!  I want to hurry and feel better...I want my kiddos to be snuggled up with me again!  Once again I am working on patience!

Thank you so much to all who have helped!!!!  I can't even begin to name everyone!  But thank you for meals, staying over night with me, visiting me in hospital, visiting me at home, cleaning my house, keeping my kids, helping with so many things, and endless prayers!!! You are amazing, and we are blessed!!! Thanks again for everything, and I am fairly certain this has many typos as I am heavily medicated!  So no gross pics of incision...but here is one of my poor IV arm. :(

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Snuggle Bugs

Tonight is my last night with my kiddos for a while.  My heart is broken!  I know it sounds silly but my heart is only complete with my kiddos close to me.  I have 2 of my bugs snuggled in next to me.  Brooke and Chan have both found a comfy spot in my bed, and I am eating up all the extra snuggle time with them.  I have to say the most difficult part of going tomorrow is leaving them here.  And yet, they are my greatest motivation for going and taking the time to heal properly.  I know how much they need me to heal, and how much I need to get back to them.

I was telling a friend the other day that one of the hardest realizations to come to is knowing that you are the only person(excluding hubby) who loves your child unconditionally.  I know that friends and family care a great deal for them, but that unconditional love is something only hubby and I can give.  I think of my sweet Aidan and worry about how he will handle all of this.  He takes things to heart, and sometimes becomes emotional over small things.  I love him for this!  I love his sweetness towards me, and the ways he tries to help around the house.  I love how he cares so deeply for others, and wants to speak up over injustices.

My feisty Brooke can make many turn their heads and wonder who her mother is!  And yet I love her spunk and complete love for life!  She can speak her mind, and still be loving to the core.  Brooke thrives on routine, and loves to know she is being cared for.  She loves snuggles and also loves her alone time.  If she is angry, she wants nothing more then to be left alone.  Brooke is not one you reason with or even coax into being happy.  She loves to march to her very own drum!

My ultimate snuggle bug is my Chan Man.  He is the one I am most worried about leaving.  I know the other kiddos understand where I am going, and will be busy playing and making memories.  Dear Chandler has hardly left my side.  He has not stayed away from me much at all.  Even when Brooke had her surgeries, I took him.  He sleeps with me every night!  I am so scared he will miss his mama, and I will miss him!

With all this said....I know they will be fine.  God loves them even more than me, He has their future in His hands!  I am so thankful to have that peace.  And I have to say Tim and I are looking forward to some time away!  Funny that most of our friends take cruises or fun beach vacations.  Not us!  We are headed to Cincy to stay a few days in the hospital!  We are excited though for a whole car ride to talk, a night away in a hotel, and just being there with each other.  The little things make it all special!

Monday, September 17, 2012

One Week and Counting

One week away!!!  Hopefully next week at this time I will be in a hospital bed healing from surgery.  I have to say the anticipation is killing me!!!!  I just want it to be done!  I want to know if it is going to help.  Will I be able to get rid of these sickening headaches that make it almost impossible to function?  Will my neck and the back of my head finally be able to support the rest of my head?  Will the rest of my symptoms settle down, or will the spiral out of control?  Honestly I just want to know.  I want to know the hand I have been dealt.  This past week has been a mix of the good and the bad.  I have had moments where I felt great!  I zipped through organizing closets and teaching kiddos.  I made pillows and a hide out for the boys room, and started working to re-decorate Brooke's room(she wants to decorate with ladybugs!).  Then I have crashed!  Surviving days on only 2 and 3 hours of sleep because the nights are so painful, and days not much better.  Today being one of those days!
I was up until 5:30 AM and then slept until 8.  Barely able to move I got ready for the day.  It is amazing to me on days like this how hard it is to even comb my hair.  Just standing in front of the mirror takes concentration as my legs feel as if they will buckle and my wrists hurt so bad even a comb is to heavy.  Yet somehow I manage to make it... only by His grace.  Aidan had an OT evaluation today.  I did not want to cancel since we have been on a waiting list since June.  I begged the kids to be super good for mama because I seriously felt like I would throw up at any moment.  I held my head while the OT talked to me.  Just wishing I was in bed.  She took Aidan out of the room for a few minutes to do a test.  My phone rang and it was my mom!  She was in Belden and wanted to know if she could help me.  Praise God!!  She came over and helped me get the kids together to leave.  Then she offered to take them to her house!!  I am so blessed to have her for my mom!
I got home, and rested for a couple hours before my meeting with a lady who is going to help me try and save our house.  A sweet friend told me about this lady and the Restoring the Dream program.  We had thought about applying for it a while ago, but the bank urged us to work with them.  So we did.  Unfortunately that did not end up working, so here we are back to this program.  I gathered all the paperwork I needed and went to appointment.  She was wonderful and is pretty confident that we will qualify.  Of course there are no guarantees, but there is Hope.  She feels we are in good shape for qualifying since we had both unemployment and medical debt setting us back.  She was worried we would not qualify for the medical part because you have to be in debt at least 10% of your income.  All I had to do was show her one bill from Brooke's surgery and we were taken way over the 10%.  So that bill not only saved our daughter but possibly our house too!  Still do not like seeing that large sum next to the word owe!
As I count down the days, I am relishing in every moment with my kiddos, hanging out with friends, and trying to play normal for the week.  Still in awe of how He works through others to bring us hope, comfort, and a better understanding of who He is!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No More Darkness, Resting in the Light

I have said many times before that I feel as if I live in the middle of Chaos.  I do not want to, I do not try to, for some reason though chaos finds me.  To be bluntly honest...I am sick of it.  I try very hard not to be the person who says "Why Me?"  But honestly, some days, I am.  It makes me sad because I know there is much suffering in this world, and mine is a very small piece of that.  But the reality is I am human, and I hit bottom.  I cry out for relief.  Is this really so wrong?  Is it wrong to wonder how much more a family can take before they snap?  I am going to explain a few things in this blog post that may cause some to judge me.   Not that I have any desire to be judge, but I feel it is important to be open.  I guess I feel that someone might read this and realize they are not alone.

I have talked about our financial struggles and our home before.  It is no secret we have had a hard time holding on to this house.  Between job loss last summer, then moving, then job loss again, then moving back, and add into that numerous medical visits and surgeries, we have exhausted all resources.  We have had so many help to keep us under this roof.  I spent 4 1/2 months filling out paperwork back and forth between us and the bank in the spring.  I have talked to one person after another, and then we found out that all was fine.  We qualified for a program to retain our home!  Blessings!!  We have been resting in that for a few months now.  It has allowed me to focus in on my medical issues.  Last week I received a letter stating we did not qualify for the retention program.  I figured no big deal...must be a mistake.  I called only to find out there was no mistake.  The program we were told we qualified for was now unavailable to us.  It seems to be due to an error on their part, but that is really beside the point.  The plain truth is we need a new solution.  We can possibly re-apply.  We can possibly seek funds from state funds that were set aside for this.  No matter what it is more paperwork, more hoops, and honestly I am wiped out!  Even if we do figure this all out, we still have a wall caving in in our basement, and a huge amount of stairs to come into the house.  The stairs are very difficult for me now.

We have not made any decisions.  We are waiting until after surgery to decide what to do next.  Tim and I both agree we must stick together and support each other and the kids through this.  After hearing this news I was devastated.  How could I be asked to leave my home again?  Where had we gone so wrong?  How can you handle money better when there is no money to handle?  I need to be working.  I need to contribute to our finances.  I have always worked at least part time.  I quit my job when we moved because that job by far compensated for my job.  But sadly it only lasted 4 months.  Since we have been home I have been too sick to work.  I feel terrible guilt over this.

I look at this mountain in front of me and think, "Do I even have the strength left to climb it?"  In my head I hear things like, "You committed to purchasing this home.", "You can't walk away.", "you have to fight."  And I want to, just not sure how.  I think about the urologist, neurologist, and cardiologist Brooke needs to see.  Plus she is still complaining of eyes hurting and that is another doc.  Aidan needs an MRI and CT that can only be performed in Cincy.  Chan has an MRI scheduled.  We have school, church, awana, and 4-H.  Ranger has an ear infection again.  Tim got sick the other night because we slacked on eating healthy because I was sick over the weekend.  So I have to up my game on the meals he can eat.  Thank God for a friend who is helping keep up with house.  I need to make sure all is well with Amy and see her before surgery.  I feel bad...I do not see her enough.  I need to get the kids to see Tim's Grandpa before the surgery.  Plus just normal stuff around the house.  Poor Tim tries to help but works long hours.  I listen to myself make list after list.  I think why, how?  But then....

On Sunday I was reminded that God is the light that consumes the darkness.  Why am I sitting in the darkness?  There is no purpose in the darkness.  I can never find peace, acceptance or understanding in the darkness. I can not truly be happy in darkness.  And I will continue to ask why if I remain in the darkness.  I do not know how things will turn out, or if we will stay here or move on.  But where ever my family is, I want to rest in the Light.  I want to find my strength and comfort there.  My family needs to be in the Light together.  Today I was listening to this song in the van.  It is one of my favs by Shonlock.  Never odd or even, His Miracles are countless!  And my family is truly blessed right where we are!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Counting the Days

Sitting in church this morning, I realized how utterly important it is to be close to God.  No this is not a new revelation for me, but a reminder.  I pray everyday, and most days find myself chatting away to God.  But so often I forget to stop and listen.  And one thing I have a hard time with is surrendering my will to His.  Not that I do not trust His plan, or even dislike it...I just feel powerless when I do not feel in control.  My life teaches me more everyday that I simply can't control my life.  I am powerless, even when I try desperately to cling to that power.  In the end, God always shows up and taps (knocks) some sense into me.  Today I needed that as I prepare for this upcoming surgery.

22 more days...that is all!!!  On September 24th I will have surgery in Cincinnati to fuse my c1 and c2 spine. I can actually say...I am hopeful!  The idea of being able to hold my head up and my head not pounding is a wonderful thought!  I also know this is a rough surgery with a 6 to 8 week recovery time.  I am very nervous that my house will become a toxic dump, my children will form at least 2 cavities, and I will lose my mind from being cooped up.  These are all things out of my control, so I am starting to breathe deep now to prepare myself.

I went to my doc last week.  She was concerned with my breathing issues.  I am very short of breath.  She wanted a few things checked to make sure all is ok.  On Thursday I went for a CT scan of my chest.  All looks normal, except for a soft tissue mass on my spine.  Praying it is something that Dr Durrani can address, so I will talk with him next time I go.  I have a pulmonary function test scheduled for this Friday.  I leave Thursday morning to drive (no worries, my mom is driving!) to Cincy for my pre op tests.  I am going to try to squeeze Aidan's flexion/extension MRI and 3d CT in while we are down there.  We have to do it all in one day because I have to be back for my Friday morning appointment. :(  It will definitely be a very long day.  Please pray for my mom, as she is very worn out!  She is such a blessing to me, but I know that she is also hurting.

I have a few specific prayer requests.  I am never good at asking for help.  In fact, I will pretty much do something unless someone tells me not to.  Although lately, I have let things slide because my body can not physically do it.  Thankfully a dear friend is coming once a week to help me with the cleaning tasks I am unable to do!  It is wonderful because I can rest easy knowing my floors are clean, and my bathroom does not stink.  Going into this surgery I know I will need help afterwards.  So many have been kind to offer to help.  I wanted to post a few things that I will need assistance with.  If you feel led to help, please let me know.  Again I am humbled by all who have helped and prayed in the past.  We are so blessed to have such amazing family and friends.  God is Good!

1. Food:  My amazing friend Monica has set up a Take Them a Meal page for us.  Plus some other friends have made some freezer meals for us.  If you would like to sign up on Take Them a Meal...that would be amazing.  Just follow this link:  Last Name: Crown  Password: PRAY

2. Helping with Kids:  Tim will be off for the first week.  And my mom will be around to help also.  But I know the kids will be itching for some play date time.  I am creating a schedule of when Tim and my mom will be available.  If you are interested in helping with this, please private message me.  I can check times with you.  Please no one take this the wrong way...but I am very protective of Brooke (of course I am of all my children, but hers due to health issues).  She has several special needs and I am open to talking about them, just not here.

3. Various Household Things:  I do have someone who helps once a week, and another friend who tries to come 1 to 2 times per month.  But with me in bed, I am sure we will need help with this.  Tim is a help, but works soooo many hours.  I want his time to mostly be kid focused since they will not have their mama in the same capacity.  So we need help with stuff like laundry, ironing, dishes...I know sounds super exciting, right!?  Do not everyone volunteer at once! ;)

4. Errands:  Hopefully there will not be many of these.  I am trying to stock up.  But I know something will come up.  My main shopping places are Raisin Rack, Giant Eagle, and Target.

5. Travel Needs:  I hate posting this one, but I am trying to be open and honest.  All of these doc appointments and surgeries are straining us financially.  After 2 job losses in the past year, we are just playing catch up.  Any extra overtime is paying medical bills and prescriptions.  I hate talking about this kind of stuff because comparatively speaking we are ok.  We have a house, food, vehicles.  Please know my heart, I know we are blessed!  Still some days are kind of scary when I realize how many trips to Cincy we have coming up, plus numerous surgeries, and trips to other docs in other states.  With that said, if anyone feels called to help us with expenses that would be amazing!!!  We will need a hotel in Cincy, plus gas back and forth, and food.  We tend to mostly eat at subway as it does not bother Tim or the kids as much as other fast foods.  Anything is a blessing!

6. Prayers!!!!  We know the power of prayer!  We know God has this!  Just knowing you are praying, makes me smile.  I feel a little less stressed and can remember that we are treasured!

Thank you all!!!