...however, my faith has been challenged beyond what I thought possible. Last year I celebrated Christmas in the hospital. In fact, I spent six weeks and then another two. I havent been as active on this web site since, though on numerous occasions, I've asked for prayer with little or no explanation (or others have asked on our behalf) and yall have lifted us. Again, I thank you..... and now I feel a desire to share more of the details of my story.
For almost six months, I'd sought relief for this excruciating pain, horrendous fatigue and related symptoms. Two hospitals, a walk in emergency clinic, and two doctors told me that they could find nothing wrong. Actually the last doctor stated that I was depressed and had scoliosis. He ordered an MRI and gave me pain pills and an antidepressant. Both were incorrect diagnosis. When the severe rash started, he gave me a referral for a dermatologist. By this time I'd left my job and my 16 year old daughter and I had moved in with my mother. Even though the doctors couldn't find a cause, my health was rapidly declining. I could barely walk and my breathing had become quite labored, For over a month, I couldnt eat and when I forced myself, it wouldnt stay down......
On December 2nd, I drove myself to the hospital. And was admitted. Within minutes ACCURATE diagnosis were being made. That night, I was diagnosed with severe anemia and was advised that my kidneys had shut down. The next day, I was informed of the real culprit - multiple myeloma. A rare and incurable cancer of the blood plasma. The irony that I still struggle with today is that a simple blood test is the diagnostic tool, and had my diagnosis come sooner, I would not have lost use of my kidneys. Obviously, for the last year we have been aggressively addressing this cancer and have encountered many joys and disappointments along the way.
Shortly after my discharge, We learned that my cousin's son had been diagnosed with a lymphoma. His battle with this cancer was relatively brief, and at 36, Mikey passed. My heart has been broken with sadness for his beautiful momma.
Then at the end of August, I was driving home from Tallahassee, FL. I'd taken my girl and her new papa-san chair back to college. On the way home I received a phone call, to call my girl back as soon as I got home. It didnt make a lot of sense but ..... what the heck! When I pulled into the driveway and called her back, I understood immediately why she had been so stubborn about not telling me as I was driving. My kid sister had gone away for the weekend with her husband. She was now in the hospital in a coma. They didnt know how long she would live. NOW the depression would start. At the time, my sister, Holly, and her husband, Chad, had joined Ex and had celebrated one month smoke free. A day or so later, a friend came and picked me up and took me to Ft. Myers to be close to my beautiful sister. At some point it was decided to take her off life support. It was a miracle that she continued to live! She does require a feeding tube but that is the only life sustaining assistance that is required. Holly was eventually transferred to a private hospital closer to her home, and between her husband and our mom someone was with her but for a couple of hours at night.
Then came the worst news yet. Momma had come home for a couple of days when the phone call came........Chad was dead. Our beloved Chad...just didnt have the strength to continue this ordeal and had actually killed himself. Unfortunately, this began legal battles and threats and even a kid-napping of Holly and Chad's son to Indiana. (the custody has been resolved to our favor and the pre-schooler loves visiting his mommy, as well as his older sister and brother -- who are living with their biological dad). Burglary charges are still pending as Chad's dad, aunt and uncle changed the locks on Holly's house and stole various items of value.
As difficult as this has been for me, it has been much more difficult on my mom and my dad, of course. To my 16 year old daughter, Chad was "like a father" and the one that she intended to walk her down the aisle at her eventual wedding. She spent many weekends or vacation days "hanging" out with their family. She has struggled so much, but thankfully is finding some relief in therapy. My Angela had asked that we not have a Christmas Tree this year, her sister and I agreed. It's still too sad.
So......... why am I sharing this???? Well it is NOT to bring sadness to you or this site. It IS to fill in some of the mystery, because yall have prayed consistently, often with little or no explanation. And your prayers are being heard by God, creator of the universe, healer and comforter, Abba Father. Holly is Improving, soon she WILL wake up and come home. THIS we believe.
This Christmas eve, my girls and I went to West Palm Beach and attended services at our previous church, most of whom had only heard the prayer requests for our family over the last fourteen months. Our Christmas miracle was this...... ALL three of my daughters were there as well as my two granddaughters. (5 yrs; 5 months). Oh and my best friend joined us as well. ( I forgot to mention that my 30 year old daughter has been in counseling and now rehab for an addiction to narcotic pain relievers and is doing so well in working her recovery program!)
When I quit smoking in September 2009, I had such joy in this success........I was the happy quitter. AND I HAD PLANS for my new, healthy life!!!! I started working out and was walking 5K's. I planned on running a 5 K for my 50th birthday.....ha! "MY" plans. Today, I walk with a walker or a cane. I sleep often and I'm expecting to have back surgery in the next week. My prayers are simple.....healing for Holly and for us all and for God to have his will in my life, even as I struggle with my own purpose in his plan. I pray for strength for my momma who lives near the Institute to be with Holly. I thank you for your continued prayers. I want to share this most important thought with you.......never, ever, in this past year have I seriously considered smoking even one cigarette. I know it would not resolve one piece of this mess, In fact, smoking would only cloud my thoughts and my emotions, it would injure my healing, It's just NOT AN OPTION! So, when yall talk about the stress................believe me I know......but you, WE are worth far more than what that addiction has in store for us!!! Life will still be life......there will be good days and not so good days, and there will be days, weeks, months where we may struggle beyond what we ever imagined.......AND NO MATTER IF IT IS A BETTER DAY OR A SAD DAY..... IT IS SO MUCH BETTER SMOKE FREE!!!!
Praying for us all, (that includes YOU!) for a healthy, joy filled 2012. Praying for extra miracles in all our lives this coming year. Most of all, praying for a year of freedom from nicotine!
God Bless you, each and every one!!!