Friday, November 23, 2012

Going Home....

Wednesday afternoon, November 7, I stepped out of the front door of the rehab hospital using my walker. I would only step back inside this facility again as a visitor. And, that may happen sooner than anyone might think.

I spent 2 weeks and 2 days at Newport Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation in intense physical and occupational therapy. I went through therapy before in 2008 when I had my first hip surgery. That was when I was in Tustin Rehab. I thought that time of therapy was tough when I had one bad leg to work through, an internal prosthetic device and was missing a part of my right pelvis. But, this time I did not have a good "leg to stand on." So, needless to say, this time of therapy was a great challenge for me.

I wasn't really prepared for therapy to be as hard as it was this time. But, with a great deal of tenacity and a deep desire to get out of being in a hospital, I worked harder than most of the residents around me. Granted, I was half the age of most of them. But, I had a lot at stake here. And I felt compelled to leave as soon as I could.

The day before I was to leave rehab, the therapist had me run through a series of "test" exercises to see if I really was ready to go home. One of the exercises was the staircase. I had to walk up and back down the four steps to the satisfaction of the therapist. I not only performed this test with a great deal of ease, I did it without the aid of my walker, crutches or even a cane. When asked if I passed the test, the therapist said "You passed with an A++!"

I couldn't ask for more than that.

With every test I was given, I passed. I felt strong and was confident I was ready to go home from rehab the next day. I also found out the secret of the therapists when they know someone is going home. They push them twice as hard to make sure they are truly ready. My passing every test was proof I was ready for my exit.

So Wednesday, I said all my goodbye's to the therapists before I walked out, and promised to come back to show them my progress soon. It was a great feeling to be saying goodbye. I was ready to move on. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was glad to have a bedroom to my self again with more channels on the tv than I would ever watch. I would be ever grateful for no one walking into my room at all hours of the night allowing hallway lights to shine directly into my eyes.

Oh to be home...

2 days following my exit from Newport rehab, my grandma was admitted. She also had a hip replacement by my surgeon, Dr. Femino, at City of Hope. And, this facility is so close to her home it was only right for her to become a resident as well. I just got them warmed up for you grandma. Now they will take good care of you and get you back to walking well again.

Next..."More of the Same."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A 15' Angel Behind You

Today we're going back to the present day again, October 2012.

After a couple of days being in the hospital prior to surgery, the nurse (Helen) who works with my surgeon (Dr. Femino) came by to see me. She was just checking on me to see how I was doing. Mom had gone to get a cup of coffee when Helen came by.

We talked for just a couple of minutes before mom came back to my room. After peaking her head in and seeing that Helen was there we all began to talk. Helen was taking a quick break to head to a prayer group on campus. Any body was welcome to come if they knew about it. Helen offered for mom to come along. After a minute of coaxing, mom and Helen headed off to another building on campus to the prayer meeting. Meanwhile, I took a much needed nap.

Mom and Helen headed for the room where the prayer meeting was being help. The set up of this room was in small groups. Mom headed for one group and Helen headed for another. Prayer wasn't too long, it was only during the lunch hour for employees at the hospital, so it needed to go quickly.

As mom was getting up an getting ready to come back to my room following prayer, a man approached her from across the room at another small group. This man proceeded to tell my mom that while they were all praying, there was a 15 foot angel standing behind my mom the whole time. The angel had it's wings open and extended out fully. The wings were white.

Mom thought this was so incredibly cool. She thanked the man for telling her about the angel. When she returned to my room, she proceeded to tell me the story of the angel when I asked her how prayer went.

My angel watching over me.
It was a great boost of faith for my mom to have this man tell her about and describe the angel standing over her. After all we have been through as a family, it is awesome to hear how other people see the Lord's hand on our situation. We don't always see the hand of the Lord around us, but we do know that He is there. To have this man see an angel over my mom, I could only imagine what he may have seen if my father and/or I had been there.

Mom has talked about this angel several times with others around us. My hope is that those others see the hand of the Lord in their lives as well.

After a few more days, I was transferred to the rehab hospital. This was on a Monday. On Wednesday when mom and dad both came to see me in the rehab hospital, my mom brought a gift from her Liz to me. Liz had been shopping for her business and ran across a flameless candle for me. (A flameless candle is a battery operated candle which flickers as though it were a candle flame on the inside.) The great thing about this candle from Liz, was that it is an angel.

So, I now have an angel watching over me every day and night in my room. This serves as a reminder to me that God is always with me and He is keeping watch over me. I love my little angel. It may not be 15 feet tall, but it is my angel and it is fully visible for ALL see.

Next: "I'm Coming Home."

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." Psalm 34:7

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Step Up...

Taking a detour back to my story in 2009.

A long time friend of mine had been working with a friend of his for a way to get me in and out of my Jeep more easy. With my right leg being slightly shorter than my left, and not having as much strength in my right leg, it was difficult for me to get into the Jeep either as a passenger or a driver. It would take some time for me to wiggle my way into the Jeep, so it was necessary to find a better solution for me. We needed something for me to step on. Side rails!

The day I had my three wisdom teeth removed, a man from a local car dealership came to my home and  installed side rails on my Jeep to provide more leverage for me to get in. I was completely out of it when he was there as the pain pills along with the anesthesia knocked me out for the majority of the day. Mom watched him work on my car and took several pictures as the guy installed them so I could see the progress later, once I was out of my drug coma. And, of course, so my family in CA could see them too.

Why are side rails so important?
  1. This was a step in the direction for me to become independent and live on my own again, alone.
  2. This was going to allow me the ability to get in the driver's seat without help.
  3. These were 100% paid for by the dealership and a gift to me for being a breast cancer survivor.
And, gaining my independence is just what these new side rails did. In April of 2009, my mom was able to go back to California and be home with my dad, while I stayed in Colorado with my job and my apartment.

Next: A 15' Angel...

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." Matthew 5:7

How has God showered you with an unexpected blessing?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Getting Encouragement

It's been 2 weeks since my hip surgery. I have been in the rehab hospital for 1 1/2 week now. I am beginning to see how much stronger I am getting and how much more stamina I have than a week ago. It is amazing how the body responds to trauma and when it is in therapy.

I cannot say it has been an easy road, though. I am being stretched in ways that I was not prepared for when I came to rehab. My false expectation was that this would be easier this time because my first surgery, rehab and recovery was so drastic. But, I am learning that there is nothing easy about surgery and recovery at all.

This rehab place is wonderful. It is not state of the art by any means, but the staff knows what they are doing and really work you hard to get you better as quickly as they can. Most of it is up to you by how hard you are willing to work. I am working hard to make sure I can leave on time and in great shape. So, I am getting better day-by-day. Today, I got to have my staples removed. The area around 2 of the staples was irritated, but all of my incision looked great to the nurse.

When the doctor came in to see me, he had me walk. I asked him if he wanted me to walk out in the hall, and he was surprised I was willing to do that. But, after he saw how well I was walking, he was happy and impressed. All this was a great visit. He asked how long I was going to be in rehab. We talked a minute about it and came up with a plan, which I relayed to the head therapist here at rehab.

So, I will remain in rehab until they feel that I am able to get into and out of bed on my own. According to my doctor and my therapist, that won't be long.

What else?

Well, as soon as I am released to go home, we will get the both my medical and radiation oncologist for therapy. My doctor has released me to begin either or both treatments as soon as they would like to. So, by next week, I should have appointments set up with both of them to get the ball rolling.

I don't know how long the radiation therapy will be this time, but what ever it is, I can manage.

So cousins, today was a great day of encouragement you have been praying for.

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:4-6

Is there something in your life today where you feel like you need some encouragement? Please share it here and I'll stand in prayer with you to find that encouragement.