Thursday, October 28, 2010

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sunday, October 24, 2010

These Two Guys...

hayden, october 1st, 2010.IMG_2389

they were very worried about me.

When I talked to Hayden and Sarah before I left for Erlanger, Hayden just dropped his head. I know he was trying to process everything while I worried that I would not see him again. Just 13, my baby, I didn't want to leave him without a mother.

I didn't even want to look at William, seriously, I was afraid I would fall apart. We had just celebrated 24 years of marriage on the 4th and here on October 8th, he could lose his wife. We have been through so much together, loss of a baby, loss of parents, Alzheimers, financial ups and downs, depression, etc., but this... this was so much bigger.

My guys did great and to see their faces Saturday morning did this momma and wife a world of good!

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
Psalm 57:4

Friday, October 22, 2010

Time to Go Home!

simple + pretty

Beginning on Wednesday, Hannah and I started asking about my Cumodin levels, praying that they would be up to where the Dr. wanted them. Slowly they began to climb, but not fast enough for me!

Wednesday was a tough day for both of us. Hannah had not been sleeping well and wanted me home. I was tired of laying in bed watching TV. We both were teary all day.

By Thursday I was more resolved, knowing that I did not need to leave without the right amount of blood thinner in me. I definitely did not want a repeat of Friday. The existing clot was begin taken care of by my body, but without blood thinner, it could start growing again.

Friday evening I found out that my levels were up, but I refused to get my hopes up until the Dr. came in a said I could go home. Saturday morning she came in and said those sweet words!

She told me that it had been a blessing to care for me and then gave everyone of us a big hug. I told her that she had been a blessing to us in so many ways.

The nurses were excited for us and came in to tell us bye. One in particular that had taken Hannah and I under her wing came in to give us a hug. We had developed some good friendships with these sweet women and they certainly made our stay more bearable. A lot of laughter flowed from my room during the week. God had sent dedicated nurses to watch over me.

A couple of things:

We still do not know why I experienced this massive clot. There is one genetic test we have not heard from. I did not have an injury, I had not been on a plane for hours, I had not been completely immobile for a length of time, I am not over 60, etc. I did have the symptoms though; difficulty breathing, chest pain on inspiration, rapid heart rate, and low blood oxygen saturation.

It is possible that the blood clot moved to my chest and began to grow slowly over the 2 weeks I was being treated for pneumonia. By the time it was detected it was very large and very dangerous. But we will never know for sure and I am ok with that.

I have seen God's hand every step of the way during this journey. I have felt His strength when I was weak. I have felt His peace when the world would say there should be no peace. I have felt His comfort in the mist of great discomfort. I have experienced sweet sleep because I had hope no matter the outcome.

God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you Isaiah 41:13

Be anxious about nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6, 7

When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

Your right hand has held me up!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Room With a View and Other Stuff

What a blessing to have a room with big windows! The natural light was amazing as was the view. From my bed I could see the Tennessee River and the mountains surrounding Chattanooga.

It was nice to get settled in a regular room where the family could come and visit without major restrictions. Hannah finally had a couch to sleep on, though it didn't look very comfortable.

Side note: Prior to this she had to find whatever was available in one of the ICU waiting rooms. One night a gentleman told her that he was going to find her a reclining chair as he had seen that she was by herself and had not been able to find a good place to sleep. She said that there were many people that were so nice to her over the week. A volunteer in the Ronald McDonald house sat and talked with her one evening. In the restroom a lady asked her if she was alright. My doctor would check on her and ask about her.

The nurses were in and out frequently to draw blood (should have counted how many times), to take vitals, to check IV bags, etc. We talked and joked with them. When one walked in the room, I went ahead and held my arm out!

I told one nurse that I was going to pull my heart leads off to just give them some excitement at the desk. I did get my IV tube kinked a couple of times and the alarms went off. (that was unintentional, I promise)

Hannah and I made sure to thank them for every thing they did. There were several very difficult patients on the floor and we felt bad for them. Every nurse and tech was so friendly and that made the stay so much more pleasant.

As each day passed we could relax a little more, knowing that the my chance of survival was now outweighing my chance of not surviving. Hannah and I did hit a wall on Wednesday; we were tired and just mentally worn out. Once over that hump, we lightened up and settled in for remainder of time, whatever that may be.

During the week I had several tests and blood work done. I didn't fit the age or circumstances to have a blood clot, so the doctors wanted to try to find out why. Right now, we are still not sure. ( I did nap well on the gurney while waiting for the tests, can't figure out why)

My Cumodin levels were rising slowly and they had to be therapeutic for me to leave since the clot had been so severe. I would have to remain on the Heparin drip until then. My doctor, the one we met in the ER, was so careful with my care and patient to answer any questions we had.

The week was long as Hannah and I watched TV and found the silliest things hilarious. Sorry, some things are just too personal to share! Just glad we didn't get kicked out!! Ok, one hint: just because it says you can clean with it, doesn't mean you should!

Next: Discharged with hugs!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:9-10

His grace was and is sufficient for this young woman of faith.

I can not begin to describe the pain I saw in her face as the doctors spoke to us about the reality of my situation. I can not imagine how she felt as she saw her mother laying in a bed helpless. I can not grasp how alone she must have felt with no one there for her that first night while I lay in ICU.

What I do know and understand is that she found a strength that is not of this world to navigate her way. To take care of not only herself in a strange hospital, but to make sure I had what I needed. I know that she had to call on all she had been taught over the last 20 years to make it through those first 24 hours.

There were several that offered to come stay with me so she could go home and rest; wild horses couldn't have pulled her away. There was a determination in her eyes to see to my care; she wasn't leaving me.

There are no words to describe how much appreciate what she did day in and day out for me. She cared for my every need no matter how small or trivial. And goodness, let the Heparin bag get low and the girl was fit to be tied; that was life to me as far as she was concerned. She was going to make sure that ran uninterrupted!

Today she is stronger for having walked a difficult road. Today she knows that His strength is sufficient in her day of need.

She is Amazing


This young woman kept our home running and my guys fed while I was in the hospital. Sarah is an amazing organizer and 'lil momma'.

Sarah, thank you for stepping up at a very difficult time. It would have been easy to be frustrated at our separation or angry because your momma was so sick. Instead you rose to the occasion and did what had to be done. I missed you terribly, but was comforted knowing that you were taking care of things.

I love you so much.

ICU and God's peace

Once the heparin drip was in place, I was transferred to ICU where I would stay until the critical time passed. I realized that this meant limited visitation by family and me laying alone waiting to see if the embolism decided to break off kill me.

By now I was exhausted, but they wanted to place a second IV to draw blood from since they would be needing it frequently. That done, they allowed Hannah to come in and visit though it was very late. This was the first of many acts of kindness we would experience at Erlanger.

Hannah had to go find a chair in ICU waiting to get sleep. Truly on her own with her momma very sick, I saw a very strong young woman. I was so proud and so concerned for her; if anything happened to me, she was here by herself until William could get to the hospital.

Alone in the room, I felt God's peace. There was very brief moments of anxiety, but they passed quickly. I slept fairly well the rest of the night. God's peace truly passes all understanding. How in the mist of such a scary situation could I remain calm. If you had asked me before this happened, I would suspect that I would be crying and yelling, begging God to fix it. Instead, I felt all was in His plan and the outcome in His hands.

Being the only coherent patient in ICU, I got to know the nurses and they were so kind. When William, Sarah and Hayden got to the hospital Saturday morning they said we could visit longer than allowed. I was so excited to see them and for them to see me still breathing! They waited for each visiting time and I hear were first at the ICU door!!

My time in ICU was uneventful. I had no 'close calls' or tense moments other than getting wrapped up in all the wires and tubes! I got to know the nurses and waited for the next visiting time.

Everyone stayed in Chattanooga Saturday night anticipating mom passing the critical time and getting out of ICU. Sunday afternoon brought just!

The next blessing was the room where I would spend the next week. It, unlike the majority of the rooms, had three large windows that looked out onto the Tennessee River and the mountains surrounding Chattanooga. It also had a sofa for Hannah to sleep on.

Next: A week of laughter, healing and new friends

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saddle Pulmonary Embolism

After the CT the dr. came in to tell us he had found the problem, but with his heavy accent, it was difficult for us to understand the severity. We finally deduced that it was severe by several vague words he used, ie, 'usually', 'maybe'.

We were told that I would be transported to a larger hospital for treatment. Hannah instantly requested Erlanger in Chattanooga, not knowing what a perfect choice that would be.

I told William to go get Sarah and Hayden from home; I did not want to leave for Chattanooga without talking to them after realizing that I could die. When they arrived I had the first of several difficult conversations with my children. The Lord helped me remain calm and talk with them about the reality of the situation. We hugged and then I saw William's face. He was so scared and that broke my heart.

It was decided that Hannah would go with me and William would stay with Hayden and Sarah. The ambulance arrived quickly and after a large dose of Heparin, we were off. Hannah rode up front while I dozed in the back. I was and am amazed at how the Lord helped me remain calm.

(Later Hannah said the ambulance ride was horrible; I felt so bad for her figuring she was scared and he did drive fast. Then she told me the EMT in front was playing country music, which she hates!! )

We arrived at Erlanger and went directly to a room in the ER. Well, only after seeing a guy with blood all over him being bagged. Great, more trauma for my daughter. A young dr. came in and told Hannah that my condition had a high mortality rate. More trauma.

Then, once again God intervened and the dr. that would walk with us through my whole stay walked in. She was amazing. I told her that Hannah and I were having a serious conversation about the situation and that though it was very difficult, it was necessary as we were a family of faith. She said that she could tell and proceeded to remind Hannah who was really in control. Wow! God sent a fellow believer to encourage us!!!

It broke my heart to watch Hannah stand over me and sob. She understood God's sovereignty , but this was her momma. This was personal and seemed unfair. She worried about her brother and sister loosing their mom at a young age. She worried about all I took care of for them. I told her that if it was God's plan for me to go home to glory then He had a plan for them also; that they would find a new normal eventually. Good grief, that was hard to say; I didn't want them to have to find a new normal, I wanted to stay with them!

Next: to ICU, 24 hr watch and God's peace

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Happened??

Three weeks ago I went to the doctor after feeling short of breathe for several days. I had tried to carry on normal activity, but it wasn't possible. I was told I had pneumonia and given an antibiotic. There seemed to be some improvement, then a decline, so I returned and was given a stronger antibiotic.

Again, I improved, only to feel poorly again. By the third visit, last Thursday, I was having more difficulty breathing. and My PA ordered a chest x-ray before seeing me. She said it showed something, but they weren't sure what, so she wanted me to have a CT the following Monday. I fell apart in the office, I was so tired after almost 3 weeks of this. (at this point I am not driving at all and walking thirty feet requires me to stop and catch my breath)

In the mean time she threw everything at me to cover something respiratory. Nebulizer, inhaler, singulair, steroids, and oxygen. I went home with the orders to do nothing.

Friday began with the clarity that nothing was helping and I was getting worse. I couldn't walk five feet without loosing my breath. I didn't want to go into the weekend without talking to my PA to make sure she understood the difficulty I was having.

After the phone call and instructions to go to the ER, things began to move a bad direction.

William was not home, so Hannah called him and told him that she was taking me to the ER and to meet us there. It took forever for me to get dressed because I would loose my breathe. Then I had trouble holding it together in the car because I was beginning to get concerned. Lord, I was a mess, sitting there crying, holding on to an oxygen tank w/ a tube up my nose.

My PA had called ahead and they were ready for us at the ER. I was immediately taken back and tests were started. A little later we were able to see how God orchestrated every step from the time we stepped into our ER.

Next: what the test revealed and a fast ride to Chattanooga

Sunday, October 17, 2010

High Mortality Rate

Those are the words that came out of the doctor's mouth as he spoke to my 20 year old daughter...

Hannah stood in a strange ER with me laying on a gurney while the doctor told her the severity of my embolism. (later we termed it the 'mother of all embolisms") Medically it is called a saddle pulmonary embolism and it is very dangerous because it blocks the whole 'highway' to both lungs and it can damage the heart.

So, I had to have a very difficult discussion with her in case I were to die as my heart broke as she sobbed. Through God's grace I was able to remain calm during the whole ordeal.

I'll share the whole story soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

She Is Published!!!

Hannah was asked a while back to be in a cookbook and today we received a copy!!! Soon they will be available on her site for purchase. It is called 'Foodies Of the World' and it has some amazing recipes in it; so check over at Honey & Jam for your copy.


You Go Girl!!!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1st

hayden, october 1st, 2010.

My handsome young man