I am sitting here reluctantly reflecting on 2017. I have to admit, it was a challenging year. It left room for new goals and rekindling dreams for sure. I can close my eyes and see January come into focus like a Scooby Doo flashback. The pain had been intense for some time. Including right side abdominal pain, this radiated to my back. I thought kidney stone, but it was different. I researched where the appendix was, that was not quite right. Eventually, I was taken in to urgent care. They treated me for an infection, but also determined my gall bladder was the problem.
Instructed to get in to my doctor right away, I felt relief was surely forthcoming. Three weeks later, I was lying on a hard, uncomfortable x-ray table. A woman was shooting some contrast stuff into an IV, and I could watch that stuff glow up on the screen as it slowly moved from my gall bladder into my liver. I remember thinking, “This can’t possibly be great for my body.” If it produced answers, it would be worth it. By this point, being in any position that folded my body in half- like driving, or sitting at my desk for 7 hours a day, were causing severe pain. That severe pain caused instant fatigue every single night. I was over it.
A few days later, the doc called and informed me that my gall bladder had near stopped working. After a visit to the surgeon, surgery was scheduled and I was in the next morning to have the problem removed. It is no big deal, he said. You should be able to drive the next day he said. Unfortunately, things did not run so smooth. I gained an infection while in day surgery, then colitis, and healing took a bit longer than expected. We would learn my gall bladder was dying, diseased and had something called ‘strawberry gall bladder;- cholesterol in the lining.
Six weeks later, on a chilly morning in April, Easter morning to be exact, my daughter, who had been in the hospital for two weeks with preterm labor at only 23 weeks, would call me to say I needed to get to the hospital right away, that the baby was coming. She would call about 20 minutes after that and holler at my husband to get me there now.
This was a familiar road for us. My other granddaughter was born April 1, 2013 at the same exact day- 25 weeks and 3 days gestation. She would miraculously survive with no medical issues. Therefore, as we began this journey with our 2017 miracle, we were optimistic for a similar outcome. Our newest addition began strong. My daughter suffered some epidural complications with severe headaches.
Scheduled to fly out on vacation just a few days later, I felt the familiar sinking feeling. Stress was beginning to feel like a Siamese twin- attached. I could not take a breath without her taking it from me. She walked with me, slept with me, worked with me, drove with me. Stress became the unwanted visitor you never invited to visit.
That baby girl slowly began to show some complications. Those complications quickly escalated until the day we did not know if she was going to make it. When the doctor calls you and suggest you get to the hospital right away, there are no words to describe your fear. There are is no release of your anxiety, or the enveloping fog that gathers in your mind and settles so heavy on your heart.
They had removed her eye mask, we were able to see her fully for the first time, and she was beautiful. I sat there staring at that innocent, precious face. Her mom and dad had left the room, and it was just the two of us. I spoke words of healing over her tiny body, laid my hands over her heart and abdomen, asking God above to work through my hands and restore her heart and her organs. He would do just that.
As we watched multiple doctors work on her throughout that day, the entire day, I knew God was there guiding them, and comforting that sweet little life before us. She would spend two months in the NICU. It was a rocky journey, the very opposite of the one her big sister made. Interestingly, the doctors and nurses treating her never believed us about the ease of her sister’s first few months. They constantly questioned us on that, which baffled me. We knew what we lived through.
She came home on July 4- Independence Day! The drive home was a beautiful time. We cried. There are just times that you cannot help but cry. She is now almost nine months, and doing wonderful!
I made my way through July, but August would present some heavy family issues that kept Stress sleeping right there next to me. I could feel it inside. Like some sci-fi thriller when an alien crawls down the explorers throat and takes over their body.
Half way through September, I suddenly developed a headache. Nothing new to me, I took some Tylenol and expected it would be gone soon.. then another day, and another and a week, and a month. Six weeks later, the headache was close to the worst one of my life. I was getting up to get ice and medication, when I suddenly found myself stumbling and out of nowhere, dodging a flashing beam of light. This was new. I made an appointment with the doctor the following day.
It is now December 28, and I have just begun treatment for a messed up neck, discovered by the MRI I had to aggressively demand. Separately from that, diagnosed with migraines with aura, I am seeing an end in sight. I have arthritis in my neck, bone spurs, and a spinal canal closing in on my nerves. According to the neuro surgeon, there is a good chance that physical therapy can reverse this nonsense. I am all for reversal, so I’ll take it! I began therapy last night. They placed a bunch of acupuncture needles deep into the muscles of my neck (deep by my standards). They tell me that one side has overcompensated in protecting the other side- first we fix that. I have no idea what comes next.
This is my year. It may seem calm and no big deal to you, because let’s face it, we never know what someone else is going through, and that some one else may have had way worse. Anyhow, with all this ‘life’ going on, my writing took a back seat. I did the best I could maintaining my social media accounts. Let me be honest here. It is all I could do to get up each day, go to work, come home, clean, cook, and help my last child at home graduate high school. He gave me some challenges and graduated a semester late, but hey, he did it. THIS is truly the best Christmas gift ever! THIS is also-Life.
I do not know what 2018 will bring. I will once again be opening it with health issues. Mentally I am a strong, energized, motivated woman, and I am ready! I have faith this neck stuff will work itself out. Life will go on. I am doing all I can to kick Stress out- it is truly one of those clingy types- who needs that.
Every day seems shorter and shorter, is this aging??
The years pass like a speeding money train on route to an important destination. If I blink, I may miss it. I can stay parked on the couch pouting, frustrated and invite Stress to linger. On the other hand, with confidence and faith, I can respectfully decline the invite to mope-ville, and prepare for the days ahead.
Please God, remind me to appreciate each one individually for the gift it is. I do not want another year that is one long moment of time clumped together and sitting on my shoulders laughing and weighing me down.
God has better plans than I can ever imagine. I choose that. I choose that-every day!