Thursday, May 31, 2007

Echoing Messages

I am a firm believer that the Holy Spirit is God's messenger. Of course, He has to get pretty creative to be able to get the messages through to us ~ sometimes we can hardly see the trees for the forest!

Over the past couple of months, the same message has been coming to me through different sources and translations ~ but I am astounded by the resonating message ~

"When I am weak you are strong"

"He said to me,'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I always thought this verse was figurative not literal ~ but as my strength waxes and wanes ~ it has become a literal translation for me. Personally, I can't rely on myself right now to be strong ~ that doesn't mean I won't put up a good fight, but I need to lean on someone who can be my source of strength. All of this is quite the humbling experience. I pray that after my physical strength returns one day that I will remember this feeling that I have now and never forget it!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dandelion Soup

I went on a run after work yesterday ~ I know ~ doctors orders are to cease running on hard surfaces ~ but I am stubborn and don't do anything cold turkey. Anyway, back to my story, I was enjoying the sunshine on my face and noticing that my legs were beginning to feel like bags of concrete, when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.

I focused my eyes on the moving object and I found myself watching
a cottontail bunny running as fast as her legs could carry her across the street. I politely gave the bunny a nod and said, 'Well hello, bunny rabbit!' What was so priceless about our meeting was that she had a perfectly picked dandelion in her mouth. I am guessing that she was on her way to feed her baby rabbits some dandelion soup. Since the animal kingdom has been speaking to me more loudly lately, I looked up the meaning of the rabbit totem and found that they often represent fear and overcoming limited beliefs. Maybe it's a sign to be more open minded and put more faith in the unseen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May God Hold You in the Palm of His Hands

I had a humbling moment yesterday after I spoke with my insurance company about the possibilities of three surgeries down the road. My case manager shared with me that she has a son that had decompression surgery when he was two. What are the odds that my case manager would even know what a Chiari Malformation is much less a personal connection!?!

I relate well to visions in my head and the vision of God holding a baby sparrow in the palm of His hands came to mind. He does take care of the most minute detail in my life that continues to reaffirm me that I am being taken care of in every way possible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fallen Into Shadow

There is evidence of shadow in my life ~ a great decision weighs heavy on my mind. Throughout my life, I have been an impulsive decision maker. Not about what kind of CD I should buy, but decisions about the big stuff ~ relocating to a different state, changing jobs, buying a new house, and matters of the heart. A swelling feeling will come over me ~ my heart races ~ I will get a feeling in my gut that tells me to act now ~ don't think ~ just do it! And yet, right now, I would give anything to have that feeling about my brain.

Maybe I am still in a state of shock. If the powers that be are saying that I need three surgeries, then why don't I feel worse? Where are the alarms and the flashing red lights? Could their diagnosis be way off? Were they smoking crack the day I visited their office? My faith is being tested. Maybe this is one of those times when I should be still and listen to that small, quiet voice that I can only hear when I slow down enough to hear it.

Falling into shadow does not really feel that good, but a shadow shows evidence of the sun. You can't have one without the other. The colors of the ocean come to mind. I'm talking about the vast range of colors that you see ~ blues, greens, aqua ~ the bands of colors blend together seamlessly. I have a feeling that one day I will wake up and just have the answer I was looking for, much like the blending bands of colors in the ocean.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Protected From the Storm That Rages

A week has passed since my visit to the Chiari Institute. The shock is beginning to wear off, and now I am faced with trying to make sense out of all the information I received. Although I did get some pretty clear answers, and THREE surgeries are on the table, I am not quite sure what to do. What would you do? I am thankful that I "have time" to think about what the next step is. I'm not being forced by anyone to do anything right now ~ but on the other hand I wish someone would make the decisions for me.

I feel as if I standing on the bank of a turbulent river. Once you take that first step, you are going to get wet ~ there's not doubt about it! There are just so many things to be considered with the risks of the surgeries and will they actually alleviate my symptoms for good? If not ~ why would I put myself and my family through all of this pain? So, while I am mulling over the pros and cons ~ I take great comfort in music. Funny how sometimes they just speak to my heart ~ like they were written with me in mind. I do have a hiding place ~ and I am learning to trust God more ~ but it's not easy...

Hiding Place ~ Steven Curtis Chapman
In the distance I can see the storm clouds coming my way, And I need to find a shelter before it starts to rain, So I turn and run to you, Lord, You're the only place to go, Where unfailing love surrounds me, When I need it most. You're my hiding place, Safe in your embrace, I'm protected from the storm that rages, When the waters rise, And I run to hide, Lord in you I'll find my hiding place. I'm not asking you to take away my troubles, Lord, Cause it's through the stormy weather I'll learn to trust you more, But I thank you for the promise, And I have come to know, Your unfailing love surrounds me,When I need it most.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Triple Threat

For one of the first times in my life I am trying hard to wrap my mind around the information we received yesterday at the Chiari Institute. First of all, I was feeling a little out of place once we finally got there. Let's face it ~ there are many people who are worse off than me. I work full time and although it might be a little hard at times, I still manage to run a 5K a couple of times a week ~ definitely NOT the picture of someone in critical condition.

The first person I saw during my stay at the Chiari Institute was a nurse. She spent an hour with me doing a full medical history work up on me. Next, I spent time with a neurologist, who after examining me, wrote me some scripts for some high powered medication should the need arise to take them. Then he explained that someone who is very highly skilled at determining if someone has tethered cord syndrome would be looking at my spinal MRI and then crunch some numbers to determine if I had it or not. I kind of nodded politely when he was telling us all of this information. I had been tested for this and wasn't really showing many signs that I might have it ~ so I wasn't overly concerned. We then had a break until 4pm when we would meet with the neurosurgeon, Dr. B. It was lunch time so we walked down the hill to a cute Italian bistro for a bite to eat.

The day was going good so far, we hadn't learned anything new, but it was extremely comforting to be talking with the chiari experts about my symptoms and condition. We were busy eating lunch when I got a call on my cell phone from Dr. B's assistant ~ she sounded urgent on the phone ~ she asked where we were ~ they needed us NOW! So, we paid the bill and headed uphill to the institute. It was 1:30 and Dr. B was ready to see us. We were thinking, this is great news, he's early and we will be getting out of here and on our way back sooner than expected. I was so not prepared for what came next.

Next thing I knew, I was meeting the world renowned Dr. Bolognese. I liked him immediately, he was smart and witty, yet professional. Then, we realized that we were headed up Shit Creek ~ He proceeded to tell me that I am basically a "triple threat" ~ not only do I have a significant Chiari Malformation (yes ~ I already knew that!), but I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Tethered Cord. We both looked at one another, eyes wide open, feeling like we just had the wind knocked out of us. Then Dr. B told us his surgical plan for me was to do THREE surgeries ~ not one, but THREE!

The good news ~ I am trying to look at the positive side of this ~ is that I am in no immediate danger of permanent damage. The ball is in my court ~ more like an elephant than a ball. It's going to take some time for me to digest this new information. So ~ we continue to play the waiting game ~ all the facts are on the table ~ I am praying that I will get a clear sign so that I know when the time is right to get started on the surgeries. Where are those $%^&*$%^#$ paddles when you need them?!?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I Will Praise Him In This Storm

I am a spiritual person, but it seems like right now the word of God speaks to me louder and clearer than ever. I take great comfort in hearing the voice of truth. Just this morning at church, the sermon was about when some of the disciples went out in a boat with Jesus and a big storm came upon them. Jesus was sleeping and they woke him up, terrified that they all were going to die. They asked him if he cared about them ~ how silly that question must have sounded to him. Of course he cared about them and wouldn’t let anything happen to them, he was the Son of God, after all! The image of Jesus there, sitting in the bow of the boat ~ amidst the storm raging all around the tiny craft ~ is very comforting to me.

All though I am feeling much like the disciples on the boat that day, I am reassured that He does care and I am not alone. I don’t want Him to take away the storm. Being with Him in the storm draws me closer to Him. I will praise him in this storm. I know I can weather this storm, as I have done many times before. I am a survivor ~ I draw strength from my weaknesses ~ I will endure this time of trials. That doesn’t mean that I will like it, but I know in my heart that He has great plans for me while I am on this planet and it’s not my time to leave yet.

This Tuesday, I will see the Chiari experts, and hopefully any questions I have will be answered. They will be able to give me the big picture on what lies ahead of me. Very soon, I will have to commit or not commit to having brain surgery ~ yikes!

Friday, May 4, 2007

So ~ I was driving to work this morning and I was struck by a tsunami size wave of emotion. This happens to me a lot on my drives to and from work. It takes about 30 min each way. Since I have some time to slow down and clear my head, emotions bubble up to the surface. Almost out loud I exclaimed, "Why in the world are you thinking about having brain surgery! All of your symptoms are all in your head ~ you are making all of this up!!!" I think that maybe my sub conscience is still trying to come to grips with reality ~ thus the struggle inside my head.

Something I have learned through many trials and tribulations is that when I have let God into the drivers seat, things just fall into place. So after I wiped my tear stained cheeks and walked into my office, my cell phone rang ~ it was the Chiari Institute. They had a cancellation and want me to come in next Tuesday, May 8th instead of May 21st. You have to understand how hard it is to get an appointment to appreciate the importance of getting bumped up to the top of the list (twice now)! Most people have to wait 2-3 months to get an appointment. After a couple of phone calls to secure care for the girls, I accepted the appointment.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed right now ~ I am sensing that something/someone bigger than me knows the urgency of my situation and is taking care of me. It's that same feeling I felt when I was happily cheering away at a basketball game in junior high. I had recently changed doctors and a full blood workup had been done. The next day, Mom shows up and calmly tells me that I have a life threatening condition and that I could have a heart attack at any moment and die. From there I was quickly admitted into the hospital. So ~ yeah ~ I am feeling a little on edge.

Things are definitely in motion. I am in good hands and I will have more answers soon. Go with the flow ~ I am being led.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

William Emmett Dawson ~ May 2, 2007

Never Alone

I heard this song on the radio and it gently reminded me that no matter how alone I might feel at times, I am never alone.

Never Alone by Jim Brickman
(Feat. Lady Antebellum & Hillary Scott)

May the angels protect you
Trouble neglect you
And heaven accept you when its time to go home
May you always have plenty
The glass never empty
Know in your belly
You're never alone

May your tears come from laughing
You find friends worth having
As every year passes
They mean more than gold
May you win and stay humble
Smile more than grumble
And know when you stumble
You're never alone

Never alone
Never alone
I'll be in every beat of your heart
When you face the unknown
Wherever you fly
This isn't goodbye
My love will follow you stay with you
Baby you're never alone

Well I have to be honest
As much as I wanted
I’m not gonna promise that cold winds won't blow
So when hard times have found you
And your fears surround you
Wrap my love around you
You're never alone


May the angels protect you
Trouble neglect you
And heaven accept you when its time to go home
So when hard times have found you
And your fears surround you
Wrap my love around you
You're never alone


My love will follow you stay with you
Baby you're never alone

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Welcome to the Planet

Last night, around 7:30pm, I had just gotten off the phone with my Mom. She was giving me the latest update on my sister's labor progress or lack thereof. Things were progressing at a snails pace ~ I was really torn ~ wanting to be there with her, but knowing there was nothing I could do to make the journey to motherhood easier.

All of my life, nature has spoken to me when I needed a sign that God was totally in charge of the situation. I turned my gaze upon the back yard and low and behold, I found myself staring back at a beautiful male cardinal. He sang his song and looked right back at me. I knew in that moment that everything was going to be ok. Then, a song came on the radio ~ with these lyrics:

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here
Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?
What happens next?

How appropriate and true these words were! This morning I became an aunt and very soon I will meet my nephew!