Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Loss of Wisdom

I am sorry it has been so long since I have updated this blog. Life has taken a few twists and turns, which I will go into next time as a digression from the timeline. With that said, back to 2009.

Having felt as though the therapy I was getting at work was not working the way I had hoped it would, I decided to make a change. My chiropractor checked around with several therapists in town and finally found one a couple of miles away who thought he could help me. My condition was not one most of the therapists had understood, so my chiropractor wasn't going to send me to just anyone.

This therapist was Mark Deysher (pronounced die-sure). He had been in the Air Force for many years and had seen a lot of combat related injuries. Once he retired to Colorado Springs, he began working for Select Physical Therapy, a division of Healthsouth.

Mark was the absolute best person for me to go through therapy with. He had such a caring way about him and made you feel as though you were more important than business. He always wanted to make sure you were progressing as best as you could. However, the company didn't like that about Mark and chose to get rid of him. I didn't go back because of that. But I digress slightly. Mark did wonders with me and I do miss him to this day. I will go into our therapy sessions more another time.

I was doing fairly well, so on the weekends mom and I would travel around the state finding new and interesting things to keep us from getting tired of only having appointments and work during the week. We had a lot of fun finding larger than life rocking chairs, funny restaurant names and just plain seeing the sites. Colorado has a lot more to offer than just your ski resorts. Colorado is really beautiful.

But, even with all of the site seeing, life can always bring you back to reality. In March, I finally went to the oral surgeon and had the remainder of my wisdom teeth removed. I was in so much pain after that. Having my major hip surgery was a walk in the park compared to having my teeth pulled. It was so bad, my chiropractor had to realign my jaw several days later. I really didn't enjoy that process at all. But, you do what you have to do, right?

So, I'll tell you all about the past couple of weeks that I have been offline and then get back to the story after that.

Next..."Managing Disappointment After Disappointment."

"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Given the ALL Clear...

The same week we have a fire in my apartment complex, I have to go to California for my 6 month check-up. Not only was I going to have to fly (you read all about our traveling fun in "Losing Wisdom") but I would have to leave my apartment for several days not knowing if I was going to have a place to come back to or not.

With a hint of apprehension, mom and I set off to California. I was certain this was going to be a good check-up, but until the tests were over and the Dr. gave me the results we had to wait to find out for sure. The way I was feeling about this check-up was really positive though. I would go through several tests of a PET Scan and X-rays of my right hip before meeting with Dr. Femino to see how my prosthetic was doing. After gaining a good relationship with him, my appointments became much more friendly. We would do our greetings with him and Helen, get to business about the tests, and then move into random conversations about all types of topics. Sometimes dad and Dr. Femino would talk about the USC Football program, while mom and Helen talked about recipes or vacations. I would bounce between each of the conversations being able to add my two cents to either one of them.

Dr. Femino was becoming a much softer person when we would meet with him, and it was a nice change from our first meeting together. Helen just became more dear to our hearts every time we saw her. She was (and still is) such a positive influence in our lives. She and I email each other encouraging things such as scripture, devotions or poems we run across in our daily lives. It truly is wonderful to have one of your medical professionals not only pray for you but with you. Helen is the best! And, we love her so much.

Dr. Femino went over the images from the PET Scan with us. He sat down at the computer in the room, found the images of the hip and showed us what he saw and what that meant. When looking at some of the images, you could see the internal staples holding the mesh in place which kept vital organs from dropping and causing issues. You could see the prosthetic clearly and an outline of the prosthetic in a milky white. He called this milky white outlining around the prosthetic "New Bone." We all had to ask what he meant by that and with great pleasure he told us that my body was fully accepting the prosthetic and building calcification around it making it stronger.

Such great news that was. The prosthetic was getting stronger because my body was building a wall of defense around it. What a cool thing. Thank you God for making this happen!

Dr. Femino was very pleased at how everything looked. He didn't see any new areas of tumor and felt that all was well. He said he would see me again in six months, but call if anything happened between now and then. This was great, and my parents and I could not have been happier.

We also met with Dr. Paz for a brief time, where he confirmed the great results and also talked about the "new bone." Both doctors had just given me the "all clear" to continue life as I know knew it.

Next..."Another Loss of Wisdom."

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Fire"works in January?

Christmas and New Year's were over. Mom and I were getting back to more decorating in the new apartment. We had only been here for around two months. It was a Sunday night as mom and I were talking about curtains and colors for the living room area. Mom was standing on a chair beginning to measure and hang a curtain rod above the sliding glass door from the living room to the patio. I was watching t.v. Mom noticed an orange glow outside the blinds that the apartment management places on the windows and sliding doors throughout the complex.  She peered out of the blinds to see that the grass was all orange and flickering. As the wife of a firefighter you know what orange and flickering means, fire!

Mom ran outside the building to see where it was coming from. Then she ran back in and told me to call 911 as the building was on fire. She ran to the maintenance man's door directly across from us and starting banging on the door yelling that there was a fire on the third floor and that we all needed to get out. As mom and the maintenance man knocked on all the doors in the building telling everyone to get out, I was on the phone with 911 telling them everything that was going on and that I couldn't get out until mom came back to get me.

As I was being walked out the door by mom, uniformed officers were on their way in. We told them our floor was evacuated as I was the last one to leave the ground floor and to check the second and third floors for others. Following me out the door was a third floor neighbor with his dog. His mom just happened to be someone I worked with, so he was heading to his mom's house for the rest of the night.

Mom and I got in my car and moved it to the street so the fire department didn't have it in the way of fighting the fire. It was a good thing too, as the ladder truck needed to be right in front of our place to fight it from above. It would be hours before we knew what was going on. Mom walked over to the clubhouse where a lot of the residence from our building and the adjacent building were. She had left me in the car so she could just go check on what we were to do. It was nearly 45 minutes before she came back. I had all that time to think about what was going on and come up with all kinds of scenarios in my mind. I didn't know if I had an apartment to go back to or not. I didn't know if all my belongings were ruined from smoke, fire and/or water damage. I was a complete wreck of emotions sitting there by myself, not knowing.

The 2nd and 3rd floor fire damage from the outside of
our building. My place, untouched by the fire, only
had debris and water on the patio outside.
When mom came back to find me crying, she laughed in the panic of knowing that I was ony that way because she had been gone so long under these circumstances. It was a little funny that I was crying, though. I really had nothing to cry about that I knew of. It was just all emotions. Mom got me and my wheelchair together and we rolled over to the clubhouse. Since my apartment was on the bottom floor us the unit that started the fire, I was going to have to go to a hotel for at least that night. Since I was the resident on the lease, I had to go in and talk with the Red Cross volunteers and the apartment management about what was going to happen next and such. It was not a very fun evening.

I texted my boss to let him know what was happening and that I wouldn't be in the office in the morning. We called our family and let them know what was happening and to be praying. The firefighters were very nice and kept us all updated as best they could. After another long while, some of the residents were allowed back into their apartments as they had no damage, only the smell of smoke. Since I had unique circumstances and needed some special items from my place to stay in a hotel, the firefighters and our management escorted my mom to our apartment to grab the things that I needed. in order to leave. They weren't gone too long before mom came back empty handed.

Come to find out, absolutely NO damage was done to my place inside at all. No water damage. No smoke damage. No fire damage. The firefighter came back in complete disbelief at how my place was spared. The apartment manager came back completely awe struck at there being no damage. Mom came back thoroughly elated that there was no damage to my place and we were going to be allowed to sleep there if we didn't mind the smell of the smoke. It was all up to me whether I thought I could handle the smell or not. Mom and I moved back in right away and slept there that night (noise from the firefighters and all).

This was just another blessing from God that my place was spared from everything that could have happened! There was not a doubt about it and we made sure the apartment management and firefighters knew that God had protected us. We also thanked the firefighters for their efforts of saving the building completely. Without them having put the fire out, the building would have been lost. So, between the firefighters and the Lord, I had much to be grateful for.

Next...."Given the ALL Clear."

"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Daniel’s Friends Disobey the King

Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Saved in Fiery Trial

Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”

They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this." Daniel 3:1-29

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Losing Wisdom

Getting back to Colorado was about as bad as getting to California by airplane. "What do you mean? Flying is much easier than driving across country." You ask. Well, let me explain in detail for you.

Packing and unpacking is always the fun part of getting ready to and coming back from travel. What happens in between for you and me is a totally different experience as you will soon see. Upon arriving at the airport, I have to prepare to be pushed in my own wheelchair from the get go. Not by someone who works for the airport or the airline, but by my mom. We always get to the airport earlier than most people because of what you will read coming up.

Once we get everything out of the car, me into the wheelchair and gather up all of the tickets, boarding passes, id's, etc. mom has to push me to the check in line and then push the luggage to the check in line. Throughout the entire line, mom has to keep shuffling between the luggage moving and me moving in the chair. By the time we get to the front and are called up to use the electronic check in system, mom is exhausted from all the back-and-forth pushing and pulling of me and the luggage, and the airline personnel is less than excited to wait for us to begin our check in process. They usually huff a few times before we get our confirmation number out and begin typing on the kiosk.

After about 10 minutes checking in, they usually find out that they have to do a special handling since I am disabled and get my luggage checked without having to pay their lame fees. Then they get really happy again (ha ha) when they have to print tags for us. Are we having fun yet? It has has been anywhere from 20-35 minutes just to check in. And that is if the line isn't too long.

Next is the absolute best part of flying, getting through security. So we wrap through the line like everyone else, carry-on luggage and all. Our carry-on luggage includes: my back pack with Lap Top, iPad, Power cords, Portable Hard Drive, Cables and Accessories, mom's carry-on bag full of whatever didn't fit in my backpack and her things, 2 purses (mom's and mine), 2 cushions to pad my wheelchair seat, 2 sweaters or jackets, 2 books, acceptable snacks for mom and me and once we get through security at least one bottle of water if not 2. The best thing of all of this stuff is that mom gets to put all of it on the security screening table by herself because I'm usually waiting for a female TSA agent to  give me a full body pat down as I set off the metal detectors even if I get too close to it. The even more fun part for mom is that she is usually completely through the security screening process, repacked and has her shoes back on before they ever start patting me down. I always have to wait for what seems like an eternity to get mauled by the TSA. They are always so apologetic when they find out that I have cancer. They never know what to say at that point and want to get it over with as soon as they can.

So, another 20-30 minutes have gone by and now we are just out of the security area and on our way to the gate, via stopping for water or coffee first (depending on where we are flying from). Mom is still pushing me in my wheelchair while carrying her purse and carry-on bag and wearing my backpack full of heavy electronics. I try to put stuff in my lap so she doesn't have to carry it all, but she insists doing it any how (big point of conflict between us every time we fly). We may also stop to use the restroom so neither of us has to on the plane. If not, we make the stop before our connecting flight in the next airport.

We finally make it to the gate. We still are not done though. Since I have my own wheelchair for travel, we have to get special tags for it from the gate agent. We also have to make sure they know we need extra time to get on the plane so I am out of everyone's way when they all board. Once this is done, we are finally able to sit and wait to be called. All-in-all it is usually about an hour from the time we get out of the car to the time we sit and wait to board (usually another few minutes only).

We are boarded first so we can get to our seat and have all our stuff put away before everyone else boards. This way, we don't hold anyone up getting on the plane and us leaving the gate on time. The gate agent usually wheels me done the jetway to the plane, while mom follows with most of the carry-ons. I get out of the chair and make sure the leg-pegs have been removed from the chair and are in mom's bag before I start down the aisle to the seat. I am usually on my crutches by this time. Mom makes sure the chair gets folded up and is at the gate check door for them to take to the cargo area. Then she makes sure the flight attendant knows that we will need the chair again when we get off the plane, so they can make sure it gets delivered to the plane's door again. By the time mom and I get to the seat and she puts everything in the overhead bin, we are both tired and ready for a nap.

Once we take off, finding a comfortable position to sit in for the entire flight, is a challenge. I usually have to move around A LOT during the entire flight. There is no "Sit Back and Relax" on a plane for me because the seats don't recline enough for my disability. By the time we get to our connecting airport (usually Denver), I am in a ton of pain. We have to go through the entire deplaning bit, just opposite of getting on. We are almost always the last to deplane. Sometimes while I am getting in my wheelchair at the door of the plane, the flight crew already has their belongings and makes it to the gate before I do. Sometimes I just had to walk off the plane I hurt so bad.

Then, we race through the airport again to the gate because where we land and where our next light leaves from are on opposite end of the terminal. This is usually where mom is huffing and puffing to get us there and hurts herself in the process. Not a good thing! By the time we catch that last flight, we are even more tired and can hardly wait to get home so I can lay down from the pain and mom can lay down from exhaustion.  But, we still have to get the luggage and me to the car and drive home. Usually we put me and the carry-on luggage at the curbside while mom goes, gets the luggage and takes it to the car waiting for us in short-term handicap parking. Great day, huh?

So, after being home for a day or two from our Christmas vacation home, I have to go into the dentist to get my tooth fixed. After taking some x-rays of my mouth, it is decided that it is better to extract the tooth as it is wisdom tooth. So, not only did we decide to take that wisdom tooth out, we decided it was best to take them all out. We took care of the one causing the most problem and set up another time to come back and finish the job.

What a great New Year this would turn out to be. I was going to have a tooth removed. Yeah!!!!!!

Next, "Fire"works in January....

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:2-8