Friday, September 26, 2014

The Day that Hope Woke

Two weeks ago today, I went into major surgery under the care of hope-to-the-hopeless-physician, Dr. Steven Steinberg. When I woke up, I felt hope around and inside me. I remember looking at my mom and beaming peace. It was coming out of every pore. I could feel it almost like electricity running though my veins. I was still in and out of consciousness, but I was certain of one thing. September 12, 2014 was the day that my hope woke up.

I looked into my mind's eye and saw something that I haven't seen in a long time; a silver lining. With every day that passes, my faith in a future of less pain is validated yet foreign. I'm almost afraid to believe, lest I jinx it not to occur. In the past, the pattern has been one step forward, two steps back. However,  in my heart, I feel like maybe now it's OK to believe. It's time to put that pattern behind me. After all, Hope is awake now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

No Small Miracles

Ten days ago, I had my 4th major abdominal surgery in just over a year. After last summer's surgical debacle, it was hard to have faith that everything would be OK. But faith I had that morning, if for no other reason than to avoid poisoning an already dangerous situation with negative thoughts. Ironically enough, I received an outside reason to have faith when I reached the surgical floor.

I recently had an angel card reading. One of the many things the angel medium said was that the number five would be important in my life. It had given me goose-bumps, because my lucky number is five. Perhaps that sounds minor to many of you, but when I reached the surgical floor and had to put one of those sexy blue surgical caps, my file was laid upon my abdomen. I looked down to see "Operating Rm 5" circled. That's when my faith was validated by the Universe.

I remember very little after that. I entrusted my body to the surgeon, my soul to God, and I took a deep, drugged nap. My first memory post-op was of my mother's soft voice, her loving hand stroking my cheek, saying, "He found it and fixed it, Jessica! It's all going to be better now."

Another thing I was told by the angel medium was that there would soon be a miracle in my life. She did not mention what kind of miracle it would be, ie. health, family, money, etc. The fact that the surgeon opened me up, found the culprit of my pain and was able to fix all in one swoop is a miracle if I've ever heard one.

None of us are guaranteed a life of health. When we have one, we should be grateful for it. And when we struggle with our health, for no matter how long, we should embrace every moment of wellness we are given. And when a marriage of divinity and medicine are able to repair what is broken inside, nothing short of eternal gratitude will do.

~Oh what wondrous dreams we weave when we allow ourselves to believe! ~  Me

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Changing Jobs

It has been almost a decade since I was able to work due to my health. While I would love to return to the workplace someday, I've realized how far away I am from those currently seeking jobs.

Most everyone has a skill set, whether or not they get paid and receive benefits for them. Some compete to work in the coolest environments, some to apply their skills, and some, yet, who merely want great offices with the best views. Of course, money speaks volumes regardless of the career.  Even with my BA in Spanish, a good job history and decent skill test, the thing I am sadly best at is being a patient.

This is one of those jobs where, despite the view I have (right now I'm looking down at the Horseshoe), I wish I could be somewhere else. I've done it longer than any other job, I do it better and calmer than the general population, and I've got plenty of scars on my breathing resume to prove my experience. Just like my peers work to earn money, I must spend time in the hospital to earn health. In either situation, it's a matter of survival.

Over the past fifteen years, I've learned to drink contrast without gagging, I've had tubes stuffed up my nose, down my throat, up my bum and been x-rayed and CT scanned so many times that I can probably be seen from planets that have yet to be identified. I can be poked over and over for an IV without screaming or moving, despite the pain.  In fact, I've developed a method whereby I can meditate out of my body, away from the pain and hover there while IVs are placed. I'm waiting for the patent.

More than anything, I know how to play the hospital game. I know that when you're in the most pain, you either won't be due for medicine, the medicine ordered is something you're allergic to despite the fact that you have submitted your allergy list multiple times, or the doctor hasn't ordered anything (even though he told you he would.)  Or a nurse is looking over your med list and begins to tell in a shaming way how awful it is that you're on so much medication! You're stuck in your bed, feeling like an ant with the Wicked Hoe of the Hospital standing over you with evil eyes that pierce your soul.

It can be any combination of unfortunate happenings, but when you're in the hospital for more than two or three days, the hospital literally sucks the life right after you. No matter how nice most of the staff is, it is almost impossible to be in the hospital without getting mind-sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of hospital b.s. This is why I hope to get better so I can get out of this line of work.

I have been affirming my love and gratitude for my body, and making sure God realizes how grateful I am to have come through such a complex surgery. At the rate I'm going, I'm praying the winds blow me in a new direction very soon. Then the world will see the woman who is ready for a new journey. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Best Laid Plans

I know there is a saying "When people plan, God laughs", and he has been laughing this week as I've tried to keep up with my plans to write a post everyday about a different coping skill in preparation for today's surgery. That didn't work out so well. Alas, it is now the morning of surgery, and I'm a wee bit nervous, and I don't think any amount of planning could have kept me from this natural fear of being cut open. So instead of hearing my controlled emotions each day, you instead get to hear my sarcasm the morning of surgery.

The last time I was hospitalized, I came across the show "Naked and Alone". At first I was a bit mortified by the show, but now I'm a fan. And while watching a rerun yesterday, I realized while the show entertains me so. The name of the show could very well describe the day of surgery. You are made to get naked, you go into a room full of spectators and are stripped of your dignity, and by the end of your hospital adventure, you smell and are it great need of a shower and a good meal. My fascination with show all makes sense.

So it's o-dark-thirty, and I am expected to take my second shower in 5 hours with this heavy-duty soap that could easily wash my skin away if done too many times, no less the germs it's supposedly meant to wash off. Yesterday, showering with antibacterial soap was my cardio. At this point, I hope you can taste my sarcasm, as it's about all that's left as I prepare for today's major operation.  Fortunately, I'm my surgeon's first case of the day, so hopefully he hasn't had the chance to get drunk, and its not so late that he's falling asleep. Thank God for every blessing!

I'm trying to figure out how NOT to be scared knowing that I'm going to wake up with about forty staples running down my abdomen, almost like a zipper. God willing, there will be no infection or complication. I've had my fill of problematic surgery for the year. I would be truly grateful for every prayer, no sarcasm. My humor is my armor, but underneath I'm just a woman who has been sick for a long time, and whose greatest wish is to come out of this operation with a little less pain in the future.

My blog gives me such joy, and your comments and emails mean so much! I am grateful for every wish for wellness, and every prayer! This past week or so, the blog has been a little less active between my vacation and pre-op appointments. I hope to come through surgery stronger than ever! May all of you be well until I return.

Monday, September 8, 2014

First: Acceptance

On Friday, I will have my fourth major surgery in just over the course of a year.  The first one occurred on July 30, 2013 when my exceptionally tight esophagus was repaired. Unfortunately, my bowel was nicked during the surgery, and I went in to septic shock. The next day I had to have emergency surgery to repair what damage was done from sepsis, 8 inches of my colon was removed, and I ended up with a colostomy for six months. I spent 6 days in the SICU afterwards, battling ICU Delirium. It was a very traumatic and life-altering experience. I am so fortunate to have survived!

That surgical experience left me TERRIFIED when it came time to reverse my colostomy. It had been six months of hell with my dysfunctional (the word the surgeon used) colostomy, and I wanted it reversed more than anything!,  However, after all that went wrong last summer, I worked myself into a frenzy of stress and fear about going under the knife again. Trusting a surgeon with my body again was tough.

I think that, as a culture, we invest our trust in our doctors as if they are demigods. I know that personally, I sign those "Medical Consent" documents like I'm signing for a UPS package. When you live through one of the SEVERE, potential near-death complications listed on your Surgical Consent sheet, you start to think more seriously about what it is to which you are consenting. Our bodies are sacred gifts, and we should take time and thought before letting anyone cut into them. Were it not for my past positive experience with my current surgeon, I wouldn't be going through with this. 

My terror was already seeping out when my mom, nephew and I went to Colorado last week to visit family. We had a lovely week, but there was a specific experience that has truly changed my way of thinking. I had energy work with a Shaman, and his wife gave me an angel reading. If you don't believe, allow yourself a chuckle and stop reading. If you feel like such things COULD exist, it's worth seeking out. This woman sat me down, and the cards I picked and the things she told me blew my mind. Tiny details nobody knows came out of her mouth. It was incredible.

I can't even describe the peace and inquisitiveness the reading brought out of me. It was like little drips of water on a parched tongue, and I want more water. It was a chiropractic adjustment of my spirit. I can't say all my fear is gone, but I feel my angels are watching over me. From this reading, I have adopted a different attitude. Rather than freaking out about this upcoming experience, I have instead reached within, using the tools that were validated in the reading and come up within several ideals to explore and adopt before surgery. They are intended to motivate yet soothe me in this voyage to the 12th.

Today's practice  is acceptance. It has been almost four weeks since I saw the surgeon, and it was decided that surgery had a good potential of helping my pain, There were no promises made, but he thought there would be a reasonable chance in relieving me. Since that appointment, it has felt as though each moment has crawled on; the idea of pain relief has seemed so far away. When every moment is saturated with pain, it is almost impossible to think about anything but relieving it.

Now that it has arrived, it's the acceptance that I will have to endure pain to heal. There may be tears before there is laughter. And I keep telling myself that I will be surrounded by my angels no matter how long I'm on this healing path.  I can see in my mind's eye good times ahead. I ACCEPT that they will happen. My heart can feel the pain leaving my life, and I accept that I deserve it!