17 Days

March 31, 2010 at 6:35 pm (MVD)

It has been 17 days since I’ve been able to wash my hair.  Tomorrow is my follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon.  Hopefully they will remove the stitches and give me their collective blessing to give my head a good scrubbing.  My skin is very, very dry (probably from the anesthetic) and I have been using a sugar scrub to keep it exfoliated.  I cannot wait to try my new “Mally” makeup (from QVC).  When I do, I will take “before” and “after” pictures, just for fun.

I have really been watching what I’ve been eating because I cannot exercise.  When a person is 50, in order to eat, one must exercise.  My elliptical and pilates machines are calling my name!

I think I am also struggling a bit with depression.  Nothing I can really put my finger on; not a huge deal.  I am having trouble focusing long enough to get anything completed and haven’t picked up a paint brush for a week.  That is not me.

I am not going to focus on that, just acknowledge it and figure out how to move forward from it.  I am so blessed that Amanda stayed with me all last week and helped me through my first week home from the hospital.  Juel came on Monday and Jana came today.  Both are dear, dear friends and they lifted my spirits! 

I will claim new grace and new mercies tomorrow and continue to behave my way through this new life experience 🙂


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MVD ~~ Part 3: Psycho Lady and Meeting Patrick

March 27, 2010 at 2:03 am (MVD)

I am going to skip right over the passing out while pooping part of my recovery.  I will merely be succinct and say that I needed to go, I tried, stood up and the next thing I knew, four people were looking down at me as I layed on the bathroom floor.  Not one of my classier moments.  To add insult to injury, they put me on bed alarm, meaning if I took 1/2 of my body’s weight off of the bed a very loud alarm sounded!!  

Then in the middle of the night I got a psycho roommate who had decided that the louder she groaned, the more pain meds she would get.   Apparently she wasn’t new to the nurses and they weren’t giving her meds.  That didn’t stop her from ringing her nurses’ bell every 10 minutes.  Her other earth-shattering problem was that she wanted a private room and was “claustrophobic” in a room with someone else.  (As you can imagine, our tax dollars are paying for psycho lady).   I finally rang the nurse, apologized and said, “I know I have taken all of my sleep aids. What else can I take?”  She said, “You are due for a percocet.”  I replied, “Give me as many as you can.”  I slept fitfully for 3 hours. 

One more psycho lady story…  She whined (actually that’s the only way she knew how to talk) that she didn’t have a room service menu.  I lent her mine and she ordered breakfast.  I didn’t listen to her order, but when it came an hour later she marched right over to her phone, pressed the room service button and said (I kid you not), “I ordered four slices of toast with four butter containers.  There is only two pieces of toast and one butter container!!!

I begged Todd to let me go home, even though I threw up after moving around.  I promised him that Amanda would be staying with me.  I said, though, that if he would make me stay, I wanted another room.   While I waited outside of my room, in a soft chair in the sunlight, away from psycho-whining lady, the cleaning lady graciously brought my Bible and books out to me.  I was just sitting, breathing prayer, soaking in the sunlight and a man came and sat beside me.

His name was Patrick.  I think he was younger than he appeared.  He had inoperable lung cancer and they were radiating tumors on his brain.  He had been in the hospital for one month.  He had two sisters and some nieces and nephews but was for the most part, alone.  We talked.  He told me about his hard life (he did carpentry work).  He had a note paper to write things down as the brain tumors had effected his memory.  I told him about my DannyO and wonderful children.  I would imagine we talked 20 minutes or so and the Holy Spirit said in a whisper “pray with him.”  I am ashamed to say that I have never prayed with a stranger in my life, except on OB as a teenager. 

I said, “Patrick, could I pray for you?”  He said, “Sure.”  I said, “I have to take your hand.”  With his work-weary worn hand in mine, I began to pray for Patrick,  I prayed that he would have peace as he went through these difficult procedures.  I prayed that his family would bless him.  I also prayed that, if he didn’t know Jesus as his personal Savior, that he would ask Jesus into his heart.  That way he would absolutely know where he would go after death.  I told Jesus that I wanted Patrick to know that I loved him and would pray for him even as I left the hospital.

When I was finished, two tears streamed down his face.  He is facing certain death and he knows it.  I pray for Patrick even now that the Lord will send someone to him… perhaps even me when I get my strength back. 

God’s love is unmeasurable.  It reaches as far as it needs to go to meet a sinner where he/she is.  THAT is LOVE!

I am a changed woman as a result of my encounter with Patrick.  I need to be bold and listen to the Holy Spirit.  I need not be timid when it comes to sharing my faith.

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Happy Birthday, Darling Daughter

March 25, 2010 at 9:40 am (Musings...)

My precious gift, Amanda Joy, was born 28 years ago at 9:54 a.m.  I actually didn’t have very hard labor with her (only about 8 hours).  She has brought me much joy ~~ I thought I’d share a small montage of pictures of her.  They are random, picked from many, many beautiful memories.

Darling Amanda Joy

Amanda's First Christmas

Ready to brave the winter weather 🙂

I think (hope) her Dad drove her to the field for this picture!

She LOVED being read to!

Amanda, her Daddy and Duke

Amanda LOVED her baby brother, Brent

Winter Formal ~~ with a dress I made 🙂

H.S. Graduation 2000

Amanda singing at Towson University

Singing with house of echO

Happy Birthday, Darling.  No one can truly know the joy you’ve given me.  I love you more than you know!  ♥Momma

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“Finding Joy”

March 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm (Musings...)

Me in Third Grade in Telford, PA

I thought I’d take a break from blogging about my MVD… the next installments include pooping (very important in a hospital; I found that out the hard way) and a psycho roommate.   Another story for another time . 🙂 

My middle name is “Joy” so I have that pressure of being happy in all circumstances ~~ Melodye Joy doesn’t give me many options, does it?  I’ve even blogged about “Choosing Joy.”  Many of you who have talked to me know that I often talking about being joyful in all circumstances, by choice.  That is part of Practicing the Presence of God.

In the midst of my very difficult week, however, there was no joy to choose.  It was indeed that grueling.  ~~ I had to “Find Joy.”

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

O Lord, you have filled my heart with greater joy.”  Psalm 4:7

There was absolutely nothing in my circumstances that evoked joy:  ICU, dry-heaving, nausea, despair, pain, fear, fatigue… How could I find joy?

 ~~By Looking Up~~

“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.”  Psalm 91:4

I found joy, not in my circumstances, but in the knowledge that I was being held, protected and loved.

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MVD ~~ Part Two

March 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm (MVD)

Surgery took an additional 2 1/2 hours.  Celeste sat with Dan for four hours and Pastor Dave, Sam Davis stopped in to check on him.

I woke up in ICU, confused, but in no pain.  Danny stayed until 5:30 then went home for the night.  Dr. Bowles said he discovered two (2) veins compressed around my trigeminal nerve and had to use two sponges to provide a cushion between the veins and nerve.  The facial spasm nerve has quite a bit of MS plaque and he couldn’t fix it…  but Botox will…

…at about 6:00 p.m. I started vomiting.  Nurse Teresa passed me on to Nurse Jackie.  I threw up every 30/45 minutes.  Jackie got permission to give me the anti-nausea meds early ~~ was not effective

March 16, 2010

I am still throwing up.  I ache all over.  My head especially hurts.  DannyO wiped my chin as I continued to dry-heave.  I remember nothing more about the 16th, except that feeling that, if the Lord wanted to take me, He could 🙂  .  I was ready to go.  I couldn’t even pray but I knew many people were praying on my behest.  Brent kept my wonderful ICU nurses busy, calling every 3 hours or so from NC to check on my condition. 

March 17, 2010

It is St. Patty’s Day.  I don’t’ care!!  They have given up on giving me anything by mouth, just a good IV.  Then Lou “pharmacist extraordinaire” found just the right “cocktail” of anti-nausea drugs and after 30 hours spent vomiting, I stopped!  🙂  The Lord’s mercy is indeed great!

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MVD ~~ Part 1

March 22, 2010 at 9:15 am (MVD)

I will attempt, over the next several days to transcribe what my thoughts were this past week.  Much of it is “chicken scratch” so I hope I can ‘cifer it!!

March 14, 2010

Spent the day very restless.  Made sure the bills were paid, called my kids and told them they were the “best thing that ever happened to me.”  Sat with DannyO on Sunday evening and watched Erin Brockovich (she was one brave lady!).

March 15, 2010

MVD surgery is scheduled.  Got up at 4:30 and washed my hair with anti-bacterial soap and dried it well.  Left for the hospital at 5:30.  While Dan drove, I texted my kids…”I love you more than you know.  Talk to you soon ❤ Mom.”

Got through the doors at 6:00 and was  immediately sent up to the 6th floor.  Quick work was made of my clothes.  They added a stunning pair of white support stockings to my wardrobe.  I kissed Dan, told him I loved him and they whisked me away to the MRI room.  Dr. Bowles drew on my face, positioned electrodes around my forehead and shaved a portion of my hair behind my right ear.  The MRI with and without contrast took 20 minutes.  I was then wheeled to the OR staging area.  I was given some happy juice and asked if there was a possibility I could be pregnant.  I retorted, “I don’t have a uterus!”  They wheeled me into a large room with big over-head lights…the last thing I remember…

In the interest of making these readible, I will break my story into about five pieces.

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Peace~Joy~Queen, etc.

March 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm (MVD)

"I'm not the average girl from your video, and I ain't built like a supermodel, but I've learned to love myself unconditionally, because I am a QUEEN."

Okay, that is just a silly picture, but my CPT partner, Jamie, bought me a bag of goodies, including a tiara,  feather boa, and milk duds:-)!  She wanted me to remember that she is praying for me.  Jana, my best friend, I know is praying for me.  My SIL, Georgina, gave me the precious gift of a Prayer for healing Mass ~~ the prayer booklet is going with me.  Michelle gave me a picture depicting Jesus as the “Great Physician,” going with me.  Thank you, Nadine, for the prayer card.  Candi, Carla, Bill… thank you for praying with me Thursday.  DB, Jamie, Bill, Cindy, Deb, Brendan, Vince, Dave, Bob… thank you for letting me worship with you this weekend; and for your prayers.  I know my Monday Art Class is thinking about me.  Tom, Robin, Aunt Lorraine, and Nancy, thank you for your phone calls.  Dave, Shelly, John and Barb ~~ we laughed so hard on Friday !!  Thank you for all the positive FB messages and TN forum messages!  If I missed anyone, don’t be offended… this brain is on overload today!!

Darling DannyO, you are my rock ~~ 30 years in May!  Amanda and Brent are my precious gifts. 

All of this to say that I am taking the prayers of legions into the operating room tomorrow.  Am I afraid?  Yes.  Do I feel this is the right decision?  Yes.  Am I looking forward to life without pain?  Yes. 

I am hopeful and full of joy.  It isn’t a stupid joy.  It is peace knowing that I am doing the right thing and will be in capable hands and Jesus will be with me.

“You turned my mourning into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks, forever.”  Psalm 30:11-12

Talk to you in a few days!!

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March 12, 2010 at 10:25 am (MVD)


Sparkly Windows!

I have not nested since Brent was born in 1985.  I am nesting right now!  I’ve got my windows cleaned, taxes completed (almost), bills paid, groceries purchased, all of the important things I do as a manager of a household!  I need to take down some Christmas decorations today ~~ now that the snow has melted!

This week has been difficult, though, on so many levels.  As a Child of God, I KNOW the right things to say; I even know what Scripture to recite, but I am floundering as if my foundation is very shaky.  I had a moment of panic as I was driving to Praise Band practice yesterday… what if the anesthetic doesn’t take and I’m awake on the operating table??  I know that is very stupid, but that’s where my mind went.  Last night I dreamed that they had to cancel the operation because there was a “flood!”  That isn’t far-fetched, because we are under flood watches through Monday. 🙂 

I am finding it difficult to accept help from my daughter, Amanda.  She is coming to stay with me when I come home from the hospital.  I’m not sure why that is hard for me to do… I think because I’m used to being the Caregiver of those I love, not the other way around!  I am sure that I will be blessed and we won’t throttle each other in the week we spend together 🙂  I love her so much!

I have my DVD player, a David Jansen “Peter Ompir” art DVD set, two books, my Ipod, Bible and notebook, a new pair of slippers, some pajamas, and my robe, ready for my next adventure.  I am looking forward to Tuesday ~~ and the road to recovery!

I know that I know that I know ~~ in my brain!  Now I need to “know” in my heart!  I will continue to move forward and try to figure this out!  I have no profound statements, spiritual nuggets to impart.  I am simply a flawed human being, who is a Child of The King!

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A Little Retail Therapy

March 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm (MVD)

There’s nothing like a little “retail therapy” to cure all that ails you!  I picked this purse up at TJ Maxx’s yesterday.  I love the sculptural flower on the front of the pocketbook.  I had a green one in my cart also, but Amanda said that the bronze one would go with more things!  I also picked out a fabulous pair of JLo sunglasses to hide my facial spasms.  I must say that I almost look like a VIP in them!

I had all my pre-op tests run today.  My heart is strong, my lungs are clear.  I had enough blood for them to draw five vials :-).  Dr. Bowles likes to have blood on hand when he operates so my blood was “typed and cross-checked.” 

Everyone I met at Conemaugh was nice and supportive.  I moved through three departments within two hours. 

I was given a bottled of anti-bacterial shampoo to use on my hair Monday morning.  It will be interesting to see what the shampoo does to my red coloring!

I went to see Dr. McGeehan on Monday.  What a wonderful neurologist he is!  Dr. Kevin assured me that my Sunday meltdown was normal.  I actually asked him if he thought I needed psychiatric help and he said, “No more than I do!”  He said that if I hadn’t had a meltdown, he would have been worried about me.

I went to art class last night and got so many hugs, good wishes and prayers that I am carrying them with me even today!  What a great bunch of people:  Nancy, Betty, Nadine, Deanna, JoAnn, Toni, Jane, Tom, Paul.  DannyO went to class with me and worked on his own piece.  I love that man of mine! 

I need a nap ~~ I am in a lot of pain.  But my taxes are almost done; I was right; we owe.  I may clean my windows tomorrow.  But right now I am going to take a nap.

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It Be Otay

March 8, 2010 at 12:16 am (MVD)

In the back of my mind, I knew it was coming.  I was saying all the “strong” and “right” phrases and encouraging people who were encouraging me.  However, it is just like holding a door shut against an overflowing river.  The door holds fast for only a bit and then……WOOSH!

Interestingly, this meltdown was cause by an innocuous event on a forum.  I usually sign my name like this:  Blessings, Melodye, http://www.melodyejoy.wordpress.com/   I have used that signature on and off for the past 3 years.  I guess someone on a forum doesn’t like the blog link added.  They are the moderator, the boss, I guess it is their choice.  But, I didn’t go down without a fight.   My blog is an extension of who I am, it is my thoughts, my prayers, my pictures, my life. 

I stood strong until I melted into a mess of tears ~~ that was an hour ago.  The tears are still coming. I know they are tears of fear, unknown, pain., certainly not because a moderator didn’t like the way I signed my posts. 

I cry some more… but the tears are now a cleansing fire.  “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:7

I cry for the lost years as I struggled with MS and my body’s reaction.  I cry for the years I couldn’t be there for my kids when they most needed me.  I cry for the unfairness of life sometimes.  I cry for the purely selfish reason that if I had been healthy, I could have worked and we wouldn’t have had to struggle financially so much. 

There isn’t going to be a happy ending to this blog…  I am crying.  There is a cleansing that is occurring, a sanctifying fire. 

May I not lose sight of whose daughter I am, a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is my Jehovah Jirah, my Jehovah rapha. 

I hope I stop crying by the time tomorrow I meet with the neurologist and am hoping he won’t wheel me into the Psychiatric side of the hospital 🙂

“It be otay.”  Grammy used to tell me that as she gave me the best hugs in the world.  “It be otay.”    Grammy, what I wouldn’t give for one of your hugs right now.  “It be otay.”

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