Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Think to Thank

It was a long gray winter, full of highs and lows; and while I have spent many sleepless nights composing this post in my mind, somehow I could not bring myself to actually write it down. I've complained, aloud and silently, and I haven't been very kind, especially to those I love the most. I don't want to dwell too much on those feelings because they continue to weigh me down, even though I know where they come from. Now, as winter becomes spring and the sun brings warmth and light, I'm trying to shake off that dark spirit. It begins and ends with hope and faith and reminding myself to be thankful for the big & little things God puts in my life every day.

My latest scan (Dec 2015) was clear of any new or existing tumors. No evidence of disease! This is huge. I am now considered a "success" story. It still seems unreal. For the most part, I feel great. I have energy and strength, especially in my little school job. I still need a little nap time once in awhile and I suffer with Whipple-related pain more than usual, but otherwise my health is okay. It's a relief. Next scans are in June. Praying for more of the same great news. In March, I marked FIVE years since my diagnosis and the start of my lifelong battle. It feels wonderful to be on this side of the trial.

The job is good. In January, I got a new position that includes helping in the office. I still work the playground and love the kids, and now I get to do more secretarial jobs, too. The kids get excited when they hear me on the intercom, and I still get lots of hugs on the playground. One rainy day, I opened my umbrella and was immediately surrounded by a mob of little 1st graders. My co-worker, Nessa, said she wished she had a video of it - every time I would move, my little kid-cluster shuffled along with me. So cute.

A few months ago, my hubby started seeing a new diabetes doctor. I went with him to his first appointment, and during her initial exam, she saw the huge "diabetic ulcer" on the bottom of his foot from the blister he got during our beach trip last August. She immediately sent us to the U of U ER. She was mostly worried that it was infected and had maybe infected the bone. I was pretty freaked out  - that has been my worry since the day he got the blisters. I've known too many diabetics who have had amputations and/or have died due to feet problems. Thankfully, at the end of our 4-hr ER visit, it was determined there was no infection; AND hubby was referred to the Wound Care Clinic, where their main job is taking care of wounds just like his. It was another true miracle in our lives. Almost two months later, the wound is healing and it looks SO much better. But once again, I realize that I am not a very sympathetic nurse or caregiver. It's a terrible weakness. I get impatient. I find fault in the smallest things. I get "grossed out", which is not fair at all. When I think of all MY caregivers over the years, I'm ashamed of myself.

My sweet J-girl has traveled an important road the past few months too. Her independence is growing. She is gaining confidence in herself and her abilities. She recognizes the things (and people) holding her back & she's trying to move ahead. One giant step has come in finally getting a job. She is a new girl! She works at the local Megaplex movie theater, and after just three shifts, she's happy and busy. I love it. I knew it would make a difference in her life, which it has, but she needed to come to it on her own time schedule. It's amazing. 

We still have one car, and now that J is working, it takes a lot of creativity to manage three people's needs for transportation. I recognize another miracle that I can walk to work, that J's shifts start after the hubby's shift, and that so far, things are okay. I try not to worry about tomorrow & the future. God will help us & take care of us.

We spent Easter and the beginning of Spring Break in Vegas at C & R's beautiful new home. A & L joined us there, along with my mumsy & A-niece, and it was such a blessing to be all together. The littles are the BEST & the bigger kids are succeeding in their adventures. I love them all dearly. They are my blessings & I wouldn't be here without them. Thank you, God, for forever families.

One of my favorite quotes from President Monson is, "Pause to pray and think to thank." It's the essence of life and hope and peace. I'm still learning to be better. Thankfully, as Elder Holland taught in last Sunday's conference session, "...God gives us credit for trying."
(Missing 2-yr old Jax, who escaped from the group as the photo was taken!)

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