Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December Already??

I'm such a horrible blogger.... I'm blogging in my head almost daily, it's just in getting time to sit down and type it out that I fail. Oh well, life goes on ;)

Life has been so busy...I mean, SO busy! We keep saying that after "this" project or "this" event that life is slowing down, or that nothing is planned....RIGHT! Mark & I have always been busy, always filling up our schedules, even before we met. It's fun and we really enjoy doing things for the church, getting together with friends old & new and just keeping life spontaneous. There is a time or point though that you just have to ask yourself, has being busy taken over our lives? I think the answer for us would be yes...if we're being honest with ourselves.

Ministry life.....is crazy, challenging, unpredictable, time-consuming, joyous, rewarding, frustrating, misunderstood, unconventional and wonderful! The thing to remember is that God established family before he established the church and unfortunately this "life" often blurs the lines of work/recreation, work/busyness, work/friendship & even work/family. This probably doesn't make much sense to anyone that is not or has not been in ministry work. I wouldn't change our calling because I know that God knows what's best! I do however want to be aware when we let our job or calling consume us in an unhealthy way.

As I look ahead to our soon changing family, I feel so compelled to re-prioritize our life as the Whitakers. Ministry is great-it's what we're called to; traveling is great-it's one of the things we really love; extended family is great-they are our history and heritage, supporting & loving; friendship is great-helps keep us balanced and gives us perspective...outside of growing in Christ and listening and obeying what God specifically asks of us, none of these should take away from our family though, the soon to be 4 of us!

I've never been big on "New Years Resolutions". If something is out of order in my life, why wait, let's deal with it now, so this is my challenge to myself - for my husband and children. Keep life in perspective. Deal with issues in grace and love and when they are current, don't try to wait for the perfect moment. Don't rationalize and make reasons for why it's okay to take this or that on as long as my family is there...no that's not giving them my best. Actually, it's often only giving them my left-overs and when life gets so hectic, it almost always means I'm giving God my very last left-overs. Priorities are so hard to get right, but so easy to keep life going smoothly when they are where they need to be!

If I follow my current trend..... ;) I may not blog again until after Christmas.
If that's is true then I want to say this now, my hope for all my family & friends is that Christmas will be a celebration of the life God has given you, the people God has placed in your life and the hope and future that only He can bring! Merry Christmas!!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Busy times....

The last couple of weeks have been overwhelmingly busy! Last weekend, I, with
A LOT of great, help, finished a remodel of the children's ministry area at the church. 10-10-10 was the kick-off of Kidz Blitz as well as a big day for the church....a push to invite friends then a cook-out after church.... There was the church yard sale the day before and then Sunday evening our Couples Small Group. A crazy weekend for sure!!

The work paid off, but I thought I wouldn't make it. This week I've been soooooo tired. Hahaha! I read that once you lose sleep you can't "catch up", there's no such thing, that lost sleep is just lost! So how is it that exhaustion can catch up to you but you can't catch-up on sleep to compensate? ;)

In my busyness, I didn't take as long for my quiet times and my prayers were definitely "on-the-go" (more than usual). So this morning, since the house has been so quiet, I've spent some time catching up and just reflecting. It's been so good and a great way to overcome the yucky dream I woke up from this morning. I was reading about Cain and Abel and Gen. 4:7 says "sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it." I thought about me getting "too busy" to have quiet time and that's just not smart! Imagine how different we would live if we lived with this verse always on our minds?! I know I would think & act differently in so many situations. I don't believe this verse is an attempt to make us fearful...it's like the center square on a bingo game...just something to help us win in life, if we choose to use it.

I love how you can read something so many times and then suddenly, God can bring something new out and help you see again for the first time! Super cool - and that's what happened here for me today!

I'm trying to slow down a little, but the Fall Festival is less than 2 weeks away...I can't wait for my Mom to come for a visit! She is always such a help, especially in crazy busy times like this. Hug your Momma today...wish I could hug mine!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quiet...

The house is so quiet. It is nice to get that break during the middle of the day...it's funny how, a quiet house during nap time is fine with me, but a house that's quiet because my baby isn't here or there are no little ones around, just makes me sad! :) Anyway, a quiet house, always makes me start thinking and replaying things that have been going on. This afternoon, I've been thinking about a stack of medical bills sitting on my table. I was thinking about them and all the stress and emotions tied to them, which made me think - I should blog! Then I thought, "why do I blog?" My answer to myself is, it helps me clear my head. Somedays are filled with conversations with people mostly 2 years old and under ;) and so it helps me feel like I've almost had a conversation with an adult...hahaha! Blogging also helps me see through my chaos and trials...see God, very present in my situations.

So, I'm still trying to set up payment plans and work out insurance issues on multiple bills and this morning I really had a melt-down over it all. Everyone says, oh as long as you pay them something you can't be punished or pursued or whatever. So, maybe I'm being pushed around or maybe because times have changed and the economical situation freaks everyone out the rules have changed....either way, I really let it get to me earlier! I called one office and she was very forward, and said, "So are you going to do $100 a month or more??" Really, well, if I only had to pay that one office off, sure, but I have 8 or 10 more that I need to make arrangements with, so no, I can't do $100 or more... I felt like I should be the one being a little more forward on the next call, so I didn't wait to be asked, I just offered, $50 a month (really, more than I wanted to offer, but I guess I was feeling prideful and ashamed to say $20 or $25 a month). He informs me that, $50 a month isn't an option. Uhhhh, what?! Then, in a very polite way, he explains that they are not allowed to take a bill out through a payment plan for longer than 12 months and he is supposed to push for it to be payed off in 4 months (Not likely, brother! :). Basically, they will just send you to collections immediately if you don't commit to an amount that will pay it off in the required time AND if you commit, but then don't pay that amount, off you go still...OH DEAR! As I hung up, I just laid my head on the kitchen table - feeling sorry for myself and overwhelmed too...then I felt two sweet little hands touch my leg, heard little feet walking around and then a little voice say, Mommy, what ya doin?

The bills are still sitting there, but I had a quick reality check that the most important things are not laying on the table, but walking around, playing and wanting to be hugged and loved on! I know that the doctors that took care of Trenton and Mark are worthy of getting paid for the work they did. I don't discount that at all, but the way the situation was handled this morning made me think about, grace. Who in my life am I not giving the grace they deserve? God continually gives it to me even though I don't deserve it! Am I getting so caught up in things revolving around my life that I don't even see others reality? I hope that I can truly see people more like Christ does...see them completely and be open to working with them, even when it doesn't serve me or maybe even makes life a little inconvenient for me at the time.

Nothing Jesus did was through the mindset of how does this serve me, but always, how can I serve others!! I want to be more like that!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The blog lives!

I can't believe it's been two months since I blogged!! I wrote this blog about a month ago and just couldn't finish it, so I saved it and have finally returned & finished it......
.....obviously the news about our addition is totally out now and tomorrow we will find out if it's a boy or girl! Or if Trenton is correct in saying-"it's 2 babies Daddy!"

" I have wanted to blog, but it's been a busy month, so I chose to take a little time off. Another reason being, that we've been sick off and on. If you haven't heard yet, most of my sickness has been from our precious baby that has been developing over the past 3 1/2 months. We are expecting a little brother or sister at the end of January!! There has been so much going on in our world the last couple of months that we decided it was best to wait a while to let the news out.
Of course, there's not much hiding it now... ;)

Although this was unexpected, I started having a suspicion that I may be pregnant the first week Mark was in the hospital. Once I found out for sure I still waited to tell him - he had a lot going on at that time! I wanted to keep it a secret until Father's Day (we were supposed to be on vacation), but he started asking questions several days before and I just couldn't not tell him. God knew what was ahead, because Mark ended up back in the hospital and Father's Day was most definitely not a good day for him! I was beginning to feel so sick and pretty tired and so it helped that he knew I wasn't just tired of taking care of him!

There were some pretty rough days for me in the hospital... not just the throwing up & early pregnancy stuff, but the fear of what might happen through all he [Mark] had to go through. It's one thing to look at your Father/son/brother in his position - trying to be strong and have faith, yet being human and having the thoughts of what if's... It's completely different when it's your husband! When my dad had a heart attack and was facing open heart surgery, I remember thinking "what would I do without my dad?", "who will walk me down the aisle when I get married?", "will I ever get that Dad hug that makes you feel safe?" But this time, seeing my love, my other half, my best friend lying there and having all the scenarios buzzing through my brain was at times a burden that I felt too much to bear. All the thoughts of having my whole world change before my eyes and so early in our marriage, as well as having the joy of a new baby overshadowed by my overwhelming fear that I would be traveling that road alone...Those thoughts & emotional struggles made for some really long nights and tense days. It was most definitely a battle to remind myself, that God's word is always true and He doesn't lie nor is it just a 'feel-good' verse that says, "ALL things work together for good...." It was tough not being able to talk to my Mom about all that I was feeling emotionally...I had never thought of her feelings being different than mine during my Dad's time in the hospital. I didn't want to say anything in front of Trenton and sometimes always having people around made it tough to sneak away and call her. I was so blessed to meet a couple of ladies (through FB) who have been through the same situation and they were such an encouragement to me in this area. Thank you!

Not even exactly sure why I felt the need to blog such deep, emotional feelings from this past summer, but it was real, it was a part of what went on and it's something that Mark and I have finally talked about. It was hard to have such deep thoughts and not be able to share them with him, but as time has gone on and God has continually strengthened him and life has returned to our own sort of normal ;) I felt like opening up that aspect of our situation to him. It was incredibly encouraging to hear people talk about being encouraged through our trial, our faith, ect, but I guess I just wanted to open up to the 'darker side' of all that I experienced, because I, nor Mark, are super human or invincible and we most definitely had our weak moments.

I don't believe God causes any bad thing to happen, but I do believe He allows things to happen. I also don't believe in ignoring the reality of any situation we may find ourselves in the midst of just because we are Christian and have faith. I believe that faith doesn't deny reality, but it acknowledges God in the midst of reality. Because of my struggles, I was able to really call on God for my strength. I was honest with Him about my fears and the things I couldn't understand. I think we can see that a lot in David's life and God called Him a man after His own heart. David wasn't afraid to ask God the tough questions. He never doubted but He did open up about everything He felt and experienced and through that, God showed him so much! I want to be someone that truly chases hard after God and is not afraid to be raw before Him.

I hope this has only brought encouragement to people struggling with emotions that some might say, doubt God. We are all human. When we begin a relationship with Christ, we don't become some psuedo-human....we still have our same emotions, we just have to give them to God and let Him be the One to walk us or even carry us through the tough times!

Resiliency can't come from our own strength or abilities it can only come from God!


Friday, July 2, 2010

The weekend...

Hard to believe it's the weekend already! It's been a long week....
I'm finally feeling better. Think I had a stomach virus. Been running fever off and on all week and just feeling yuck! Tonight was the first time I've really eaten much at a time this week. Mom thinks my body is just responding to all the stress of the past 6 weeks and because of adrenaline and just "willing" myself to go on, this is just now hitting me. Whatever it is, I'll be glad when I can eat again and feel normal ;)

We think the swelling it finally over. The beginning of the week was a little scary with Mark's tongue and throat swelling up suddenly....he is still itching though! But that's easier to deal with than swelling. He is still on steroids and we know that it took a couple of weeks to build up to the point it was, and he still has another week or so of steroids so it could still take several more days to get everything completely out of his system.

Things are slowly returning to normal. Tuesday, he went to the office for a short time. Wednesday was our 4th Anniversary and we spent the day out and about and then went to church. We finally purchased a new bed!! We are so excited about it....I've been asking for a new mattress for over 2 years and since Mark's surgery, he has had a terrible time sleeping and getting comfortable and so it was time!! We are loving it! We decided to go all the way and get a king. It's taking some getting used to, but it's so nice for the mornings when we go get T and take him into bed with us to snuggle :) Trenton thinks the bed is for him and loves it as well.

Thursday Mark had basically a normal day back at work. He was quite tired by the time he got to the house, but he did really well. Sunday will be a month since his surgery and I'm so proud of him and how far he's come. We still have changes to make and some commitments to own up to (mostly exercise!) but we are definitely on our way to a healthier lifestyle.

One way we've changed and continue to work on, is an earlier bedtime. It can be difficult with Parker (one of the little ones I care for), because it's often midnight when he is picked up. I lost one of the other babies I took care of during the past 6 weeks, and although it brings some financial stress, it has really helped during this time of "getting back to normal" to only have Parker to care for. Especially with his crazy schedule! At least the early mornings are occasional rather than every day now. ;)

Tonight we got to spend the evening with great friends that we definitely don't see often enough. It was a wonderful evening! We are looking forward to more time with friends on Monday. I hope everyone has a fun-filled and safe weekend! I'm so thankful that I was born in America...as much as I LOVED my time overseas, I do appreciate so many things that I took for-granted before. Happy 4th of July!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Uncertainty

Recovery is so uncertain. One day is great, the next day is so tough....keeps you feeling up and down for sure! We've definitely had our share of ups and downs around our house...the past few days Mark has been having a different and strange feeling in his heart, yet still feeling a little stronger each day. We've ventured out a time or two, mostly so that he can get his walk in for the day in an air conditioned place :) or to get a little Mexican food!! Healthier choices for sure though!

Yesterday, Mark was feeling good and he went ahead with his plan to co-lead worship at church. I hear he did a great job (I was in children's church with my kids) as usual, but hindsight tells you a lot and he definitely over-did it! We did get a wonderful nap after church. Lunch wasn't much on our radar (although his parents took us out for a good lunch!), just the thought of lying down and closing our eyes..... It was great!

We spent the evening getting cleaned up and continuing the re-organization process because his Grandmother is coming for a visit for a couple of days. Mark kept trying to do things, but just had to take it easy. Today has been tough too. Unexplained itching and swelling again... Great, right after we cancel his appointment with the allergist! Isn't that always how things seem to go....haha! He has been on the couch since mid-morning and I am praying that this is not a set-back, just a bump in the road!

I wish I could load up the family and take a road trip. There are so many people I want to hug and say THANK YOU for your support and encouragement over the past month and a half. It would most definitely take us a long time to get around to so many people all over the country and even across the ocean in Europe and Africa! We are humbled by God's provision and the love shown to us by so many!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

NO MORE ASPIRIN!

After many calls back and forth with the cardiac surgeon's office, we began getting some things in order, getting questions answered and best of all, got the official word to STOP the aspirin! Yesterday was a terrible day for Mark!! It's hard to see your husband go through all he's been through with the sudden heart problems and then surgery and all that goes with that.... but this was just so terrible. Seeing him so incredibly swollen and in pain was just, heartbreaking.

About 3:45 the PA called back [after giving the word to stop the stents about 3p] and told us the cardiologist that put the stents in wanted to see him right away in the office! We were not prepared to leave the house...hahaha! Mom had gone out to do a little shopping, Trenton was still sleeping, Mark was lying down and I was definitely not dressed to go out. I did a super fast wardrobe change, got Trenton's bag packed, woke him up and dressed him, got Mark's socks and shoes on him and got everyone out of the house and loaded up in the truck in record time. The doctor hit us with a lot of info....basically he's in "uncharted territory" having just had stents placed and having to take meds without including aspirin in the regimen. We discussed a couple of different options and basically he just told which one he was leaning towards and we went with it. We're going to try this medication out for a time and Mark will have a platelet test sometime in the next month to make sure that this drug is strong enough and doing all it needs to do to protect the stents and his heart. This drug is also typically used with aspirin, but it is more potent that what he was previously on with the aspirin, so we are going that route. Our only apprehension about it is the cost, but we're going to trust God just like we have through this whole ordeal and believe that He will make a way. We aren't sure how much our insurance will cover because the pharmacy had to order the drug, so we may be pleasantly surprised when we pick it up!

About 5pm last night I noticed the swelling had decreased a little and was hoping that it would continue going down! When he woke up this morning there wasn't much of a change in the swelling and the hives had become terribly itchy! As the day has gone on though, the swelling has decreased slightly, so I know we are headed in the right direction.

We are just now realizing how stressful this situation has been on little Trenton, and are trying to stay patient with his frequent melt-downs! I think he's afraid to really embrace us all being together....he's afraid we're going to have to leave again.

Mom bought a nice blow-up mattress and I'm camping out in our bedroom. Mark needs the entire bed to really get comfortable and I need to be in the room with him to give him his meds and be there in case he needs something. I can't seem to, not be tired, but I know there's a reason and know that in time rest will come regularly and we'll feel back to normal!! I also know that when Trenton and Mark take a nap I can too :)

We are looking forward to seeing friends again, getting out and about, doing some fun summer activities with Trenton and getting back to work! I'm believing that all my blogs from this point on are going to be all positive and only good reports! Thanks for your continued prayers and words of support!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This is really frustrating!

If you've seen the movie Hitch you know who we've been referring to.... Unfortunately, "Hitch" doesn't have anything on Mark. The swelling is so bad today! His entire face - eyes [swollen shut], ears, nose, mouth and slight swelling in his neck - all are just so red and puffy! I had a hard time sleeping last night, just knowing that the swelling had continued. I found myself just lying there watching him sleep, making sure he was breathing normally. He has also broken out in hives, in his hair, his neck, arms, chest and back. I'm waiting on a call back from the cardiology group that prescribed all the meds. I need to make sure he doesn't need to be seen. Also, the very first appointment I could get with the allergist is next Wednesday. He is actually out of town all of this week....go figure!
This is all very surreal...in not such a good way. I have been sitting on the couch, listening for Mark (he is sleeping) and watching Trenton play in the pool on the patio with Nanna, just thinking about the past month and how unexpected everything has been! I will update as I can....not sure if we will be making a trip to the Doctor or if they can call something else in for him. Continue to pray for healing and the swelling to go down, but also for his morale. It's uber depressing to finally get out of the hospital and to continue to get worse, and not even recognize yourself in the mirror! I think deep down he knows this could put him back in the hospital and the thought of that is more than he can bear at this moment. Thanks! Lots of love ~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Home at last??

Haven't been able to blog....Mark's phone quit working yesterday and he has felt so, so isolated. It was his only outlet and link to normalcy. So he has had the computer a lot of the day and we were so tired today that we tried napping this the afternoon.

We are finally out of the hospital! I feel so nervous though, Mark's swelling has continued since we left the hospital. Both eyes are swollen, so much that it is affecting his vision, one ear is swollen, a portion of his leg (around his knee) and now his lips! I can't help but feel on edge about how much the swelling has increased since we left and just pray that it doesn't affect his airway. The tightness he began feeling in his throat has improved a little and we're so thankful for that!!

Although one eye was swollen and the other was trying to catch up, they let him go with the belief that this was just the final stage of the aspirin allergy. The PA said that aspirin allergy is often, feet, hands, eyes....the exact path that it has taken with Mark. He was sent home on the benadryl and steroids that he was taking in the hospital. We're praying for an uneventful night full of rest and good sleep. Over the past 27 days I've spent 21 of them sleeping in a chair or little hospital couch, so I have learned just how much I appreciate the common things like a real bed and pillow!

Tomorrow morning I will be making Mark an appointment with an allergist. Hopefully he will be able to give us some real answers to the success of the aspirin desensitization as well as give us some direction as to what's ahead. The cardiologist team still feels so adamant about keeping him on the aspirin. They aren't being stubborn, they just know that the best protection for his heart is the aspirin. Because of his young age and the huge genetic component of his heart disease, they want to do everything possible to keep him out of a surgery situation as long as possible.....and we fully agree with that! At this point though, we're unsure that aspirin desensitization is going to work for his type of allergy.....We'll be making going to a lot of doctor visits in the next few days and weeks.

Today was most definitely a difficult day! We are so thankful that Mark is out of the hospital and are believing and praying that things will only improve from this point on. Although this hospitalization wasn't "serious" in comparison to the previous visit to Emory, the effects of not treating this problem correctly are massive! I know I've run out of ways to say THANK YOU for your prayers and words of support and encouragement, but they are still sincere and truly from our hearts! I often find myself rereading FB comments from days and even weeks before when I'm feeling stressed or like I've met my limit of what I can tolerate. We're also so thankful for those who brought "treats" to the hospital and meals to our house. The breaks from hospital food kept us sane and the meals, well you really don't know how much that has helped us out!! We're also immensely thankful for the support from our families and for their help with Trenton!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, Monday...

Mark is sleeping. We are waiting. I certainly don't want to be a skeptic, but I'm not quite embracing going home today....yet ;) One of the cardiac surgeon's PA's came by and told Mark he was looking much better and should go home today. The only problem was, she hadn't read his chart yet and didn't know about all that took place over the weekend. I can't lie, the possibility of heading south in the next 3-4 hours excites me though!

So, yesterday, we waited most of the day for the dermatology consult and about 3p I decided I should go ahead and leave to take care and check on Trenton. Our understanding was that once dermatology determined aspirin was the allergen, then pharmacy would begin the aspirin desensitization program. Apparently, pharmacy entered the room just as I left and turned the corner...Mark couldn't reach me (must have been in the elevator) so he began the desensitization process without seeing dermatology and all by himself. I don't mean to make him sound pitiful, I had just hoped to be here to ask some questions and encourage him through it. He had to drink a horrible amount of water with crushed aspirin...no fun flavorings! He said is was disguisting!! The 1st dose began with a small syringe amount and increased each time until the final dose which was in a huge bottle.

He didn't seem to have any problems and so I stayed at the house with my sick little man until my Mom got into town. For a little while, Trenton's fever just wouldn't go down, but finally after a lot of praying, some ibuprofen and a lukewarm bath he finally began to cool off and feel better. I got to the hospital around 11:30 and sometime around midnight I noticed Mark's right eye beginning to swell. It was not a pleasant moment in the room. Mark was angry that he was swelling because all he could think about was going home and I was concerned that it was happening rather quickly and of course that it was starting in his face and hoping it wouldn't affect his airway. They chalked it up to confirmation of the aspirin allergy and told him he could go to sleep. Today, he is still swollen, not quite as bad as "Hitch" though! :)

We're just hanging here, waiting on the word to go! At this point, allergy to aspirin has been determined. They are sending him home with a Rx for steroid to continue to bring the swelling down and we can continue the benadryl, so there's not much more they can do for him here. His Dr has been great about checking on him and really staying in communication with us about who he needs to see and all that we can do to move forward.

Yesterday as I left the hospital headed to the house to see about T, I was listening to an old cd and was reminded that although our lives seem to be totally out of our own hands right now and often in chaos, our lives are still in God's hands and we are going to make it through all of this and can be better because of it, if we allow God to work in us, in that way! I was feeling sorry for myself when I left, but I got new perspective on the drive and although I still feel weak and overwhelmed, I was once again assured that God plans and purposes are far beyond what we can understand!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day ~

We're still waiting...the plan is for Dermatology to do some testing on Mark to confirm that he is definitely allergic to aspirin. Then Pharmacy will get involved and begin an aspirin program to train his body to accept the aspirin. The Cardiologists involved say he just can't be off of the aspirin. It is too vital for the health and success of the stents and his heart.

It's been a bit of a rough day for Mark. Father's Day in the hospital or any holiday spent in the hospital is a bummer! Dermatology was supposed to come last night or early this morning....it's almost 2pm and we still haven't seen them. The test they have to do will take several hours and it would have been great if that could have been done today so that he could begin the aspirin program tomorrow. We had a family morning planned, but Trenton began throwing up right after he got out of the truck here at the hospital. So we made our visit brief for his sake and for Mark's. We don't want T to pick up anything else with his immunity lowered and Mark certainly doesn't need to get anything! So I'm hanging out with Mark for a bit longer, hoping to speak with someone from Dermatology.....Mark's parents took Trenton back to the house and he is napping. I'm going to head that way soon so I can take care of T.

This hospital stay is harder for Mark, I think. He's not going through as much physically so he's not quite as tired as before. He's feeling better but still here, just waiting. Spending time in the hospital over the weekend is no fun at all! Although we've had some good chats, I think just sitting in the room staring at each other is beginning to make him feel a little crazy! It's funny how the room seems a little smaller each morning that you wake up. We are so thankful his swelling is almost gone and are trying to stay focused on getting all of this figured out so that he can go home!! Thanks for your prayers ~

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Finally updating....

Well, I hate to say this, but I didn't even want to blog....guess I'm just ready for all of this to be over! I certainly know that Mark is ready!! :)

He is back in the hospital at Emory. He woke up Thursday morning with a little swollen spot on the bottom of one foot. He had gotten a much needed pedicure the day before as an early Father's Day gift and we just attributed the swelling to that. The heel of the other foot became slightly swollen too about mid-morning, but again, just thought it had something to do with the pedicure. Some friends had been planning on taking him to dinner that night and he rested most of the day so that he would feel up to it. Although he felt a little more swollen as he got ready, it wasn't anything really noticeable or worrisome. I dropped him off at 7 and by the time he returned at 11 both feet were huge and one hand was beginning to swell. I knew something was definitely wrong.

After some convincing, I packed a bag, we put him in the desk chair and rolled him to the car so that we could head to the hospital. I decided it was best to bypass Henry and just go straight to Emory and that's what we did. It was a hectic night, trying to arrange for someone to be with Trenton for the night and then the following day....prepping meals, juice cups, ect as well as packing for an unknown amount of hospital time. Not to mention, just the thought of having to suddenly leave him again. Although I knew he would be fine, I just hated to leave him in the middle of the night. We arrived at the ER around 2am and spent the rest of the night there. He was transferred to a room around 6:15am. The general consensus was that the swelling was caused by an allergen, not his heart. Good news! But then the BIG question, what was the allergen??!

Friday, he continued to swell most of the day. Feet, ankles, hands, one arm, his face (particularly around his eyes), and even his "back side". I'm most thankful that his throat/tongue/airway never became tight. We would have moved into an entirely different situation then....ICU, breathing tube, ect....not even something I want to think about! I am so, so grateful that God protected him from all of that.

Treatment has included, A LOT of benadryl and steroids, cutting out almost all of his meds, a lot of discussion with his cardiac surgeon, consults from an internal medicine dr. and now we will also be seeing a dermatologist sometime later today. They are getting as many people involved as possible, so that all angles of this situation will be taken into consideration. So I am asking as many people as possible (I know that countless people are already praying) to pray and intercede over the next day and a half. We need definite answers and solutions. I'm so thankful this wan't caused by some issue with the work they've done on his heart, but we need the right intervention to prevent causing problems with his heart. Internal medicine says, this really looks like an allergy to aspirin.....Cardiology says, without aspirin, the stent could very quickly close up and cause major problems (i.e. blockage, blood clot, heart attack) and the apsirin + Plavix regimen is most definitely the best treatment....Dermatology isn't here yet, but I'm praying that they can do some sort of skin testing rather than just taking "trial doses" so that he doesn't have to go through swelling again and they don't have to guess at which med is the culprit.

Today, he is able to move his fingers some and the swelling in his feet and face has definitely improved. He was in an immense amount of pain from all the swelling and was unable to stand or really touch anything with his hands. It made getting comfortable in the bed almost impossible and he couldn't do anything at all for himself. We were super excited when he woke up this a.m. and the swelling had gone down some!! He is able to rest fairly well, because all of the meds he's getting to reduce the inflammation really make him sleepy. This is certainly not about me, but I am not resting so well...so I just ask that you pray that God will give me energy and keep me healthy despite all that going on.

We know that "ALL things work together for good, when we love, serve and follow God"!! I pray that we will be faithful in this truly, trying time and have the discernment to see God at work. There are often factors and challenges that we deal with daily, that we don't necessarily share through the blog, but we know that God sees and knows about them and through all of our prayers He can meet every need regardless of it being spoken or not. I know that He is good and that any testing that may be thrown our way from he devil can be 100% turned around for good when we give it to God! Thanks for keeping up with us! We promise to live a calm and peaceful life.....one day! ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Here we are again....

So before I even get into my blog tonight, I need to give a disclaimer ;)
I am not falling off the deep end, we are just weary from the hospital stays and all the unknown, so if I come across, like I've lost my faith, don't worry, I'm trusting God now, more than ever!!

Every time I've started to blog over the past 4 days or so, something has interrupted. Not bad things, just things like, "Mommy, more juice please!", time for a pain pill for Mark, phone calls, visitors and often just falling asleep at the computer! :) Getting back to our house, has been wonderful, but definitely tiring as well. One of the babies I take care of started back Saturday and was with us Sunday also. My other baby, won't be coming back, because of family situations that came up during our time at the hospital. It was a little worrisome at first, but I know that God knows best and will provide in ways we don't even expect!

Sooooo, most of you know by now that we are back at the hospital. NOT the place we want to be and I'm sorry if you are partial to it, but particularly not at Henry Medical!! I know they do some things well here, we've just not had the best experiences any time a family member has been here.

We went to the GP this morning for 2 reasons...1. he needed to follow-up with them because of the surgery, just to keep them informed and get any diet instructions, ect from them. 2. He had been having some pain in his lungs and throat and although we were praying & believing that it wasn't pneumonia, we didn't want to take any chances, so I called the Dr and asked if he could be seen today. Once we were there, they took his pain VERY seriously, and the moment the Dr listened to his heart, she called in EKG and the next thing we knew, there were people all around, putting in an IV, taking blood pressure, reading EKG's, ect and then the paramedics walked in....NOT what we were expecting from that visit!!!

Trenton was with us and he was definitely concerned! He did keep asking every nurse, tech, Dr if they were making "Daddy, all better?" He is such and sweetheart and so compassionate! So Trenton and I headed to Henry, once again, following an ambulance, feeling confused and shaky and a little angry to be honest. Not at any person, just at the situation. I knew that I needed to continue to be strong for Mark, to encourage and build-up and never speak negative words about anything so that God could use me to make this very uncomfortable and rather annoying situation somewhat tolerable! Although he came in by ambulance, he still waited in the ED for over 6 hours. Some sweet friends showed up and blessed us with words, laughter and food ;) It totally helped pass the time!

He is in a room now, being monitored for tachycardia and just some irregular heart rhythms. His cardiac enzymes are only slightly elevated (high elevation is a sign of heart attack) so this is good news. He is once again NPO (nothing by mouth) tonight. The nurse just told us this is because the Dr wants to do a stress test tomorrow??? The Dr said to Mark, I don't want to do a stress test, so we'll just see how things go tonight, although he did mention the possibility of a heart cath again. Feeling out of control and clueless about what's going on with your care is not a good place to be in for patient confidence, so pray that God will give us the confidence we need and the wisdom to know when to say no as well as the right questions to ask.

I'm sorry this is so long! I'm believing that tomorrow I will be able to blog a short, very positive report on all of this! I told Mark he must get better....our family vacation is not far away! ;) Seriously, we are feeling so tired from all of this and ready to truly get on the path to recovery and wholeness!! We know God has a purpose in everything He allows and nothing is impossible for Him! So we wait, we hope and anticipate the miraculous to come out of this entire situation! Thank you for your continual support and prayers!! We love you!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goodbye ~

We finally got to say goodbye to the hospital!!! Wednesday afternoon, Mark was finally discharged. He had some irregular heart rhythms early in the day and we prayed that those would not keep us there. He didn't have any problems after 8:00am, so after 6 hours of observation, they started all the paperwork to let him go. It was surreal...especially for Mark. He refused to accept that he was leaving until all the papers were signed! It was evening by the time we finally made it to the house, but it was great, no matter what time it was!

Unfortunately, the first night wasn't overwhelmingly restful, but we know it's just going to take some time for Mark to heal so that he can really get comfortable at night. He is still feeling a good amount of pain and is dealing with some congestion. We continue to trust God for healing and protection from infection.

It is so great to be back with Trenton!!! He doesn't want to let either of us out of his sight. Trenton and I pulled weeds in the back yard then played soccer this morning. Daddy taught T about how to pull weeds and then kept score while we kicked the ball. I can't say enough how great it is to all be together!!!

We had to say goodbye to my Mom today....even though I didn't really spend much time with her over the past 2 weeks, I'm going to miss her SOOO much! I honestly don't know what I would have done without her. She definitely helped decrease my stress level, not only because I didn't worry about T as much, but she's been in my shoes. My dad had a heart attack 11 years ago and had quadruple bypass, so Mom knows the many emotions you go through when you see your spouse facing surgery and all the unknowns associated with heart disease.

Right now, Trenton is napping and we're about to do the same.....


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good News!

Well, I was just too tired last night and couldn't stay awake to blog. It's Wednesday morning and we are praying and hoping that today will be the day MARK WILL GET TO GO HOME! We are trying to stay positive and trust that God knows what's best, because He's obviously taken such good care of us through the past 2 weeks, while we wait.

Good news....
The elevated white blood cell count is going down.
The stent procedure went well and the bypass looked great from within the heart
Mark is beginning to feel a little more human and feeling more positive as well.

We continue to be amazed, overwhelmed and incredibly thankful for such a loving response from so many! Thank you for keeping us encouraged, supported, focused, loved and most of all lifting Mark up to our Healer!!

Hopefully my next blog will be written from 342 Southgate!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

It was a Monday!

This day definitely started out like a cranky Monday! Mark did not sleep well at all last night. Once I heard him in a good sleep rhythm I finally drifted off to sleep...it was almost 1am. My alarm went off at 2:03 for his pain meds, so I got up and asked him if he was hurting and it was a definite yes, so I called the nurse and waited until he had taken them and was settling back down....the rest of the night was interrupted by lots of coughing, finger sticks and labs. At 4:45 he called out for me....not sure if it's one of the meds or just the situation as a whole, but there have been a few moments of panic for Mark [that's totally unlike him!], and this was one of those times.

So our day began at 4:45. We did drift back off to sleep around 8 but by that point nurses, PA's and Dr's were stopping by to check in on him. It was just a tough day for both of us. I think perseverance is wearing thin. I often use my shower time to pray or cry and tonight I kept thinking about a verse in Galatians. It's Gal. 6:9 and it goes something like this - do not grow weary in doing good because you will reap a harvest if you don't faint. I had a little chat with God about this verse....I know this is not the context this verse was spoken for, but it was my prayer that I will not become weary and the same for Mark! When there are different situations with this same outcome time after time, it can wear you thin. For Mark, those things have been....the big one - you're here for angioplasty and you'll probably go home tomorrow (that was last Tuesday....), the changing surgery date, the promises to remove the chest tube (it finally came out about 12:30 today!!! and the mishap in scheduling the heart cath/stents.

He's scheduled for a heart cath tomorrow....a discharge date was given but we don't even want to talk about it for fear that it won't happen. If it does though, we'll be more than elated!! I'll update as I can tomorrow. We sincerely appreciate your prayers!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rest...

I know I shouldn't be awake, but I have that worried mom feeling that won't let you sleep.... Poor Mark, just can't get comfortable. He has been having some pretty impressive coughing in the last hour and I'm just sitting here, listening. I'm praying that this is all part of it....

Today was pretty good. You've probably heard, the third day is often the hardest after surgery and it wasn't easy, but he did walk around the halls three times today. It really makes him tired, but it's necessary to build back his strength and keep his lungs open.

Tomorrow should be the day he loses the chest tube (unfortunately it didn't come out today!) and then have the stents put in. He will be beside himself if they don't do it tomorrow. Not that he really feels up to it, but he is so, so ready to be out of here! And so am I :)

The highlight of our day was seeing Trenton this morning. He kept telling the nurses to "make Daddy all better". He is such an amazing little guy and we are so blessed that he's ours. We can't wait to be together again, at our house, just being together. Today I did have my first moment of apprehension when Trenton decided that it was pillow fight time with Daddy and he just tossed the pillow across the bed onto Mark (in the chair). I'm going to have to be creative with my ideas, but there's nothing that will get in our way of getting back to our normal life!!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

The day after ~

So it has almost been 24 hours since the surgery was completed, but Mark seems to be doing great! He's had some fever today and of course some pain, nausea seems to keep hanging around and he's having a hard time keeping anything other than water down. He did stand for a while today, sat up in a chair for over an hour and walked to the doorway and back to bed.

He is IV free except for getting an antibiotic by IV ever few hours. He is still on the oxygen through the nose and receives a breathing treatment every 4 hours around the clock He also uses a breathing tool 10 times an hour to exercise those lungs. His left lung is having some difficulty inflating completely, but we are working to get it to the level it needs to be. The chest tube should come out mid day tomorrow. I peeked at his incisions and they look great too...he said, "don't show them to me yet" :)

Along with the nausea, he hasn't had much of an appetite. His stomach is being a little slow in "waking up" and he is also having just a little difficulty getting his kidneys going again....all things that happen often, after this type of surgery. Help us pray that everything begins to function the way God designed it to.
A few other ways that you can pray for us....
Pray that discouragement doesn't set in for Mark!
Pray that he will have strength and determination to do his exercises & activities.
Pray that his body will heal quickly.
Pray for rest for him and for me too please.

If you know us very well, you know that we love company...we have people over for dinner or to spend a few days with us all the time, and truly love it!!
At this point in Mark's recovery, visits more than 15 minutes are difficult because of his discomfort and all of the things he has to do to recover fully from the surgery. Even extended visits from our family can be difficult and cause some stress for him at this point. I know many things will be changing daily and sometimes even hourly, so we just ask that you check with us before you make the trip up here. Please know that even your 10-15 minute visit means so much to us and encourages us in so many ways. It reminds us that we aren't going through this difficult time alone and we are so thankful for that!

I am praying for the people reading this blog....although I know there are many and I don't really know who logs in and reads each one, I pray that God will multiply the blessing your prayers have been to us and encourage you that He is always in control even in completely unexpected situations like ours!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I can breathe....

I don't even know where to begin...

This has been yet another day of emotional yo-yo-ing (okay, so I know that is not a word!). The day began well. Mark slept in. This was great because the lying in bed, staring at each other, just waiting was excruciating! We prayed that wouldn't happen and God answered that prayer....so much, that they called for him 1 1/2 hours early. Wow...shocking but hey, better than the alternative. So, once again we made our way to pre-op. It was all too familiar and I must admit there was a little fear in the back of my mind that Wednesday might be repeated. I quickly threw that out, because we had been assured that we were set to go and it looked like go early. Once again, the 15 minute wait became 30 minutes, then 1 hour, then 2.....finally 6 1/2 hours after the call to go to pre-op, after holding Mark's hand while he agonized over being bumped again and went through pain and discomfort from all the tubes from both arms and even his neck, and saw every person in pre-op go into surgery before him, they took him back.

I dreaded the next 6 hours and still, looked at them with anticipation. Although at the end of it, he would, in no way, feel like it, he was going to be better! I'm so thankful for the company of family and a sweet friend who drove WAY out of her way just to come sit and encourage!! Time passed more quickly than I dreamed it would. Once the surgery was over and I spoke with Dr. Halcos, I felt an elated feeling that I haven't felt in some time.

Surgery went well! Mark is strong. He did have to put him on the bypass machine for a time, which meant they had to break a rib to accomodate, but modern medicine & technology never cease to amaze and they were able to do a repair that makes it as if it was a slight fracture (I won't get into the details of it...just trust me it's amazing). The actual bypass of the artery looked great, bleeding seemed to be minimal and they were even able to take the breathing tube out just before they left the OR. God is amazing, wonderful, faithful and so loving!

The next part was hard....I was like on speed or something, I was dying to get back there. To see him, hold his hand, touch his face and tell him I loved him and that everything was good. It was a long wait....while waiting, my little man arrived and I got to spend some time with Trenton which totally passed the time.

Seeing him was wonderful and terrible! He was in such pain. When he looked at me and said "Hurt, I hurt Babe. Help me please!" my heart nearly stopped. It's the most helpless feeling to hear those words from someone you love when you know there's nothing you can do about it. For several different reasons and because of the situation as a whole, I left the hospital for the first time since we arrived at Emory on Tuesday and I am at our house for the first time since last Sunday. I can't sleep....I need sleep, but I'm praying, I'm celebrating and I'm thinking about how blessed I am. Another family in the surgery waiting area experienced something tragic, we are uncertain of what happened, but there's no doubt it was not the outcome they wanted to hear. Say a prayer for them!

Once this is all over I will blog a bit more about some of my challenges and obstacles, personally, through this hurdle. I know that Mark has been reading the blog and I haven't wanted to cause any stress or worry on his part. I am truly humbled by the comments and love shown to me by those who have read the blog!! I'm not super woman by any means...tonight proved that! I do so love the verse in the Bible that talks about when we are weak, HE is strong. I don't believe that is something that will just happen though. We have to admit that we are weak and need Christ. It doesn't take a traumatic situation, it just takes a change in our heart and outlook on every aspect of life. Over the past ten days, I have literally cried to God and all I could say was please be strong in me...over and over and over. And you know what, HE HAS!

Whatever your personality type, it is irrelevant if you don't submit it to God. I am, by nature, a nurturer and a protecter. Through Christ those traits have been invaluable for Mark (and even me) over the past 10 days and will be in the days to come. If I don't keep those in line with God's word though, and daily ask Him to use them for His honor, then they can actually be a hinderance. I hope that as we all grow up in our faith and knowledge and understanding of God's amazing grace, provision and love, we will submit not just ourselves in a blanket sort of way, but each individual trait that God has given us. Just like seeing so many people from different denominations, experiences, walks in life and ages come together to petition God and be the family God created us to be, for Mark, has been overwhelmingly beautiful; blossoming and continually developing who you are in Christ brings a beauty unlike any other!

Thank you for your prayers! We still need many for the days and weeks ahead, but God has honored your prayers and we are forever grateful!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Long day....Longer days ahead

We really, really appreciate those that gave us our family time this morning!!

We had a wonderful visit from Trenton Luke this today. Although it was tough in some ways, it was so therapeutic for both me and Mark. Tough in the sense that we've missed so many days with our little man, he's talking so much more, his hair has really grown and I think he's gotten taller!! Also, for Mark, little T (like all kids) is a bundle of energy and for Mark, it made him that much more aware of his decreased energy at this point. If you've never been in this situation [with heart problems/particularly facing heart surgery] or had someone close to you in it, you most likely don't know or even understand the emotions, the depression and the lack of energy you feel as a patient. Your life takes on new meaning and new perspective and you realize just how fragile our lives truly are. All of these feelings are heightened when you look at your baby and he just wants to play and for the most part is oblivious to the situation.

We read to to him, colored with him and even went for a walk down to the lobby to see the birds and the fish! It was great to spend time with T and great for Mark to be able to get out of the room. We may have exerted it a little too much for him, especially since we didn't get to nap later on! But we're hoping it will help him sleep better tonight than Tuesday ;)

We have had a number of visitors this afternoon and it's been a good day. A little apprehension lingers in the back of our minds, but we are praying that since we went through the whole pre-op part already we will be stronger tomorrow. Mark is so ready to put on his jean and flip-flops...to sleep in his own bed, watch tv from his chair, and be free from wires, iv's and blood pressure cuffs! I'm ready to have my family all together......to be able to take care of my husband and baby! Thanks for all the prayers and love!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Free Day!

So this is going to be short....I'm way tired tonight. Last night's lack of sleep and the nervousness of today has me feeling extremely exhausted. Most of you know by now, I'm sure.....but Mark's procedure has been postponed until Friday.

About 4pm, Mark & I had actually dozed off in his room and the PA came in to inform us that we indeed had been bumped! My heart fell to my toes, because I knew the anxiety and apprehension leading up to pre-op today and didn't even want to think about going through that again.....but after she left, Mark said, "I'm glad". He was feeling so terrible from the Morphine they had given him to start his procedure that he felt like he wouldn't have been able to go through with the surgery.

It was a rough evening for sure...A LOT of nausea, an extremely "edgy" feeling and just the tiring results of the emotions of the day filled Mark'd Wednesday evening. Later on he began having chest pains again...once again a roller coaster of emotions for me and a serious of disheartening events for Mark.

Since I am falling asleep I should wrap this up. Tomorrow we feel like we have a free day. So we are going to spend the morning with Trenton. Looking forward to just the 3 of us being together gain!! We're asking anyone who wants to visit to hit us up between 3-8. Also, just for Mark's well being, keep visits 15-20 minutes and no more than 4 visitors at a time (there is a waiting room down the hall)

Emotions....

I'm sitting beside Mark...he's sleeping. He has been prepped in multiple ways and as each item was checked off the list, his anxiety grew stronger. For someone who has never really had surgery, this is beyond HUGE! As most of you know, Mark's phrase is, "I don't do doctors"!

This morning as the clock ticked towards his departure time and nerves seemed to become more and more unsteady with each second, a PA came in to let us know that his surgery may need to be put off until Friday. Details are really irrelevant, something to do with scheduling of the single, multi-million dollar robot used to perform this type of bypass surgery.....About 20 minutes later, the nurse comes in saying she got the call that they would be up to get him soon....okay, so we are doing this we all thought! Another 2 days of waiting, seemed impossible to Mark!

Pre-Op is an emotional place. So many sights, sounds, people, anxiety. We spent just a moment with him there then followed instructions and made our way to the surgery waiting area. After 15 minutes or so, we were each allowed to go back and see him and began the whole farewell process. After an emotional parting, I sat in the hallway watching so many people hurrying along, yet feeling like the world had almost stopped spinning where I was sitting. It was heavy!

After 15 minutes or so, my buzzer went off again and I was told to go back to Mark. After several minutes with him we were informed again that the morning surgery requiring the robot had gone long and that, if they could do his case today it would be about 3 hours of waiting still.

So here, I sit, flooded with emotions, waiting....Praying....waiting. being encouraged by all the comments, calls, texts, yet feeling overwhelmed at responding right now. Just know that God is using each of you in a great way to strengthen me today and help us all through this rough terrain. It is 3:15 and the nurse just told us the surgery was going well and that Mark's case is still on....for the moment. We aren't sure how to feel, we feel like yo-yo's so far and are afraid to embrace this news just yet.....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whirlwind ~

Whirlwind - not a word I use often, but one that I feel like I have experienced today. Above everything else though, your prayers have definitely helped sustain us today and we are so grateful!!

The day started out with a lot of anticipation and a lot of waiting. At 10:05am we got the word that a bed was available at Emory. It took about an hour to get transport, paperwork done and everything unhooked and loaded up. Once we arrived, the process seemed much better already! Mark was in a holding room for the procedure and I got to go back to him shortly after he got settled in. As the nurse came in and out, he repeatedly talked about Mark's "angioplasty". We were a bit shocked as his certainty of the procedure, but he assured us that is what Mark was here for, not just a heart cath. Someone even said, you'll be going home tomorrow evening. We were incredibly excited about all of this!!

The Dr. that performed the procedure came in and spoke freely of angioplasty as well. I actually asked him, if bypass was in the picture, simply because that and angioplasty were the 2 options that were given to us at the end of the first heart cath. He said, well, no angioplasty should be fine.....After 5 minutes or so, the Dr. came back in, but with a of a different spin on the procedure. He said we may need several different options...last resort would be bypass though. He said bypass was not something you ever want to do on someone in their 30's.

One beautiful moment was when they said Trenton could go back and see Daddy before they took him back! It was great for both of them to see each other. As soon as T saw his Daddy, he said, "Daddy, all better". It was great! We all headed to the waiting room to wait.....

After 45 minutes or so, they called us back, I didn't know how to feel, it didn't take a super long time, so maybe this was good, but then I just didn't know. We met Mark in the hallway, and the Dr's were standing there with him. Then they began talking and talking and talking. I heard them and knew what they were saying but it felt like it must not be real....I honestly felt like, well know that God had an angel standing beside me! Helping me hold it together and take in all that I needed to hear.

It's a long story...so fast forward to 8:45pm. Here we sit, in information overload, unsure of the time of the procedure and really of all that's ahead. Sometime tomorrow, Mark will have Robotic Bypass surgery to replace the descending portion of the Left Main Artery. On Friday, he will have a procedure to stent the Right Main and Circumflex Arteries. We are hoping and praying for a restful evening (Mark is feeling more anxious than ever tonight), a textbook procedure tomorrow, an amazing recovery and a quick discharge date!!

I know this road is bumpy and certainly not easy, but it's not impossible!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Final Night!

We are eating a snack! Mark can't have anything to eat or drink after midnight so we just had a little snack together. His Ambien is on it's way and we will soon be snoozing....hopefully!

There are definitely some nerves about tomorrow (the heart cath and then just the waiting to hear the results and whatever the outcome may be....), but we are ready to get this process going. It is tough not knowing when we'll leave and when the procedure will actually take place, but we had a great time talking together about all of this craziness this afternoon and several good prayers as well as great visits with family and a few friends and we are ready. Now we may wake up in the morning and feel completely different.... actually we probably will, but we know that our strength doesn't come from our own heart or mind, but from God.

I will tweet info as soon as I know more and can, and that will show up on FB as well! It has been a beautiful thing to watch Christians coming together and truly living and loving like the "family" God created and desires us to be. Thank you is so inadequate, but THANK YOU for your prayers, and everything else! Goodnight~

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day of Rest???

Mark had a tiring day of rest, but it was oh, so worth it!! Thanks to everyone who was able to make it by and to all of those who FB or Tweeted, texted or called and mostly to everyone who prayed!!

I'm not going to lie, the day started out ROUGH! Very unfriendly hospital staff woke us up to start the day....we were both still feeling the stress of the staff's lack of compassion from Saturday night and were probably a little oversensitive. It wasn't the best start, either way :) Then Mark began having some pressure, not quite to chest pain, but definite pressure and even shortness of breath. They took it VERY seriously, and in Mark's opinion, "totally overreacted".....hahaha! There's no chances being taken about his heart...and that's the way it should be! He also began feeling well, just, down. Who wouldn't?? We're human! There are people groaning and yelling out all around you, serious emergencies - not to mention, no one ever envisions themself in this position, but certainly not at such a young age.
Of course, when he feels something, so do I. All of this added up to an emotional morning!

God knew what we needed though and thanks to the prayers from everyone!! The nurse made a complete change in her attitude/compassion towards us. It was so refreshing and I saw it as a total answer to prayer. The day got better and better for Mark!

The night wasn't as restful for him and this morning he has again been feeling pressure and a little difficulty breathing. Nitro drip was increased and he is sleeping now. Hoping to get to visit with a few friends again this afternoon! He is limited somewhat on visitors, so shoot me a text/FB/DM me on Twitter to find out details of visiting.

I have a specific prayer request today. We are still praying all of those things from Saturday, but as his time here at Henry comes to an end, we welcome that and look forward to the next step, but he also feels nervous. There's uncertainty about what will follow the heart cath and he needs peace and assurance from God that can satisfy and calm like no other person or drug.

At this moment I'm holding this close - "praying that God's peace will guard our hearts and our minds!"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The waiting...

I wrote this Saturday evening, but we had some issues getting food for Mark, so I dropped this and took care of that and so finally here I am posting this blog at 4:30am Sunday....

"Well, A LOT has happened since my last blog! I'm sitting here in the waiting room (thankful for the little things like WiFI, my sweater and lenient nurses that usually let me stay on after visiting hours....)

For those who haven't heard, the stress test (last Thursday) was, well too stressful! After only 3 minutes on the treadmill the Dr. had Mark taken off. Nitroglycerin administered and a few minutes of rest before continuing with a chemical stress test. I didn't realize, but a stress test includes a set of nuclear-type scans pre and post actual "stress test". Even the pre scan was abnormal, but the post scan showed definite problems and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital from Locust Grove Dr's office. We were told he would be observed in CCU and would undergo a Heart Cath Friday morning.

Mark felt some serious anxiety about the test, but the experience itself was far better than what he imagined. The 6 hours of no movement following the cath, a different story, but today has been better. There have been other obstacles along the way nosebleeds (one more than 4 hours long!), nausea and headaches...but we know that God has been with us in every moment. Last night we were reminded of how much worse some people in rooms around us have it and thanked God for His grace.

This morning, Mark & I had a good time just talking about the crazy ride we're on...we can see God's protection on us already and although so many things are uncertain right now, we know that He isn't uncertain and He is in control!

The road ahead....the heart cath showed significant coronary artery disease that has been present for much of his life and clots in one of the larger arteries on the right side of his heart as well as several arteries with blockages. For 72 hours he is on a specific medication to try and open up some blockages and get rid of the clots....the positive in the findings is that because this is chronic, and because God created us so amazingly, his heart has formed some new little arteries to try and bypass the damaged ones. Even better is that his heart muscle appears to be great, very strong and no damage!! This will help with recovery and just continuing to have a great quality to his life, actually it will probably be better because he'll be getting the blood flow he needs without causing his heart to work so hard for it!

The plan, try to sneak Trenton in to see him as much as possible!! Seriously, we were able to get him in this afternoon, but won't attempt it again. I caused quite a stir, but it was worth it for Mark and T to see each other!! Sometime Tuesday, once the 72 hour drug is complete, he will be transferred to Emory, where they will do another heart cath. Treatment will be based on the amount of change brought on by the medications.

Ways to pray for us....
1. Encouragement! For Mark especially!
2. Good results from the medication.
3. Peace for Trenton-he knows something is wrong and it's uber hard for this Mommy to leave him for so long (although I'm incredibly blessed to have Mom here taking care of him)!
4. Strength for Mark, today he was feeling weak.
5. Rest for us all!

I do feel so torn! I love my boys more than anything in this world and having them so far apart is not easy. I cry leaving each of them...I'm definitely looking to God, leaning on all the encouragement and support and taking things day by day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Results....and more results.

So, I haven't forgotten my blog! Life has been super busy over the past week.....

To recap - Surgery - Wednesday, recovery - Thursday...head to Daphne, AL - Thursday night, day with my family and Mark's - Friday, celebrating my sweet Sister's birthday (we spend the day on the water at the beach and it was heavenly!) - Saturday....got in about 1am, church Sunday morning and a worship appreciation cook-out at our house Sunday night with about 30 people here. Then my little Parker arrived, bright and early, Monday morning....well, not bright, it was 4am!!

That was just the weekend...I won't bore you with the week so far....

The results! Well, I spoke with the Doctor's office today. It's good and bad. Nothing major or immensely serious, actually, the biopsies showed nothing outside of normal limits. Okay, so that's great! But the problem still persists....he's been having 7-8 poops, almost everyday since Wednesday - and the abnormal tissue??? We go back to the Dr. in 2 weeks, to sit down and start again. Try to figure out another method to try or maybe another test....

In the midst of all that's been going on with T, Mark has been having some unresolved kidney problems. To prevent this from being terribly long and boring, he has also been having some heart issues as well (he'll probably kill me for blogging this....) which he just told me about - Let me get on a "soap box" If there are any men reading this...please don't try to be the man of steel or stone or wood or whatever it is that you're impressed with - take care of yourself and don't be afraid to talk to your spouse, parents or whomever it may be that loves you so much and won't think less of you for saying something may need to be checked out! Okay, over that ;) I love you Markus and I appreciate you being open and honest with me about this whole deal-once you came clean ;)!! Many tests were performed today, some with abnormal results, and he's having a stress test in the morning.

Please pray with us about all these situations regarding the health of my family! I appreciate it more than I can possibly express! All the scriptures, quotes and old wives tales about times of trial have been playing over and over in my head, but the biggest thing I'm holding onto is that God is sovereign! If you've never really studied or looked into the true meaning of that, DO IT! It will rock your world! We think is such a one-dimensional way but God sees, knows, understands, feels, protects, surrounds, carries, directs and loves in a way our humanity can't fully understand! I'm reminding myself of that in the tense moments which seem to be often, but not overwhelming. These lyrics come to me often...."there's a peace I've come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail, there's an anchor for my soul, I can say, it is well. Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed, victory is won, He is risen from the dead"

Yay, God! Am I nervous, sure, I'm human. But does is consume me, not when I stay in touch with my sovereign friend and Savior!! Don't try to be supernatural, talk to God about your worries, concerns, fears, whatevers, then let Him take over all those emotions and walk in the peace that He freely gives!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trenton's Surgery



A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed with us and for us today! We have felt the results of those prayers!

For those who don't know what's been going on with Trenton, here's a little history....
About 3 weeks after his 1st birthday, he began having GI problems. These have continued for the past 10 months. After trying a number of different things as well as various tests, the next step was to get inside of him and take a look on a naked eye level, but also on a microscopic level.

After a 24 hour fast (very hard to explain to a 21 month old that you can't give him any food...), and 2 rounds of "cleaning out" (enema's are not welcome anywhere near T now! Of course are they really welcomed by anyone?? He knows the box now!) he underwent upper endoscopy with biopsies taken from esophagus, stomach and the 1st portion of his small intestine. He was also scheduled for a colonoscopy while under anesthesia. The Dr. did find some unusual tissue there so they took 8 biopsies from his colon as well. He was definitely not digging all the strangers and weird things they had to do in pre-op....hard for Mommy to see, but he did just fine through the entire process. Coming out of anesthesia has been a little rough, his throat is definitely sore from the breathing tube and scope, but he has been resting all afternoon and we are looking forward to our trip to Daphne this weekend!

We know that God is in control of every situation, and I definitely had to remind myself of that fact, often, throughout this entire process. I had a bit of a meltdown Tuesday afternoon, but after a little chat with God, I began feeling more confident once again. I also really appreciate the encouragement from my Mom, my Mommy friends and for Ruthie coming over Tuesday night!! Also, thankful for Mark, for being supportive of me and also for being open about his own feelings about the surgery. He's a wonderful husband and daddy. We are encouraged that the Dr. was able to see something with the naked eye and are believing that the microscope will give specific results so that we can get Trenton over this completely. I continue to pray that God heal him completely and if he continues to use Dr. Patel or just chooses to take this away supernaturally we will trust Him and thank Him for healing either way!

We should begin getting results back from the biopsies in about a week, so I will update after we meet with the Dr. and have some answers. We really appreciate our very special friends Ryan & Caitlyn for being there for us through this mystery and for being with us in the waiting room as well as for Pastor Chris and Lisa for making the journey up to the Surgery Center too! It meant so very much to me and to Mark as well! We love and appreciate you all!

The Lights Flickered

You know when you're in the midst of a storm and the lights flicker, you wonder how bad the storm really is? Or if you've missed a w...