"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Saturday, December 31, 2011

And life goes on...

Good morning. Bethany had a decent night, but an extremely painful morning. She was able to sleep on and off all night, but the pain really set in this morning. What part of ICU don't people get? It seems like EVERYONE in this place likes to speak really loudly--no such thing as whispering. OK--Dr. Healy and his entire staff whisper--probably because they know what spinal headaches and pains are all about. Anyway, enough ranting.

Again, percocet and morphine can only do so much; pills have almost always had minimal effect on Bethany, and I think that why the morphine shot works best. Unfortunately, they are by request only, and only 4 hours. Because she may fall in and out of sleep, it is had to gauge just when she should have them until it's too late. The morning doctor said that Bethany's dosage may be increased because the current dosage didn't seem to be working. So....they gave her a shot around 6:30 am, and that seemed to help. The shot, however, was only for the increased amount of 2mg, and not the original 10mg. We didn't know that, and wondered why she was in so much pain.

Anyway, shift changes bring new nurses and new rules and regulations and new explanations of everything. Thus, Bethany had to wait four hours until she was able to receive her 10mg dose. Nonetheless, she received it and is resting now. She is still restless, but in much less pain.

Bethany has yet to eat virtually anything, so all of the pills and meds are irritating her stomach. She is hungry but can't keep anything down. I have been feeding her ice chips and a few bites of a pancake, but that's about it.

Yesterday morning, Dr. Healy had her drain moved to bed level, so that it would be resting on top of her bed, thus causing the drain to drain more slowly and minimizing her headaches and hip pain. Well, that didn't work. It is still on her bed, but instead of draining 550ml (already a lot in a 24 hour period), she drained 650ml. Geesh! Still can't figure that one out. The Doctor said that she is fine and is on schedule for this type of surgery.

Bethany's hips, head, upper back (shoulders/neck), lower back, and legs all hurt--in that order, and they seem to always be hurting. It's just a matter of the medication making them hurt less. She has been such a trouper, so polite to everyone--even when they are talking very loudly, or very late with medications, or stabbing her three times to insert yet another IV. Again, she's a trouper and a true joy to be around. I'm so glad that I have been able to spend this time with her.

Prayer concerns: Freedom from pain everywhere within her body; that the doctors will give her medication that works well; that she is able/wanting to eat and that she keeps things down without nausea; that she continues to heal on pace; that she has total and complete healing of her spine and related issues, and that she has the peace and comfort of Our Lord.

Thank you very much for your prayers of love and encouragement and hope.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Unfortunately, no change for the better.......YET!

Bethany has had an extremely rough day; she is still moaning and quietly sobbing in her sleep. She was given pain meds 45 minutes ago, but because she is acquiring a resistance to them, they provide little pain relief. I set up two heating pads for her, and at her request, I just removed them because they made her too warm. She is trying to postpone her morphine shot for another hour; she realizes that if she has it now, it may be about 3 hours before any additional pain medication. I really wish the neurosurgeon would prescribe something stronger for her pain.

Bethany has had her IV released; she is only hooked up for a 15 minute stint of antibiotics every few hours. She still has her catheter and her vitals are taken only every 4 hours. The drain is still on her bed--level and is draining; it is currently up to 400 since this morning. She has yet to eat anything today, other than two bites of mashed potatoes. OK. Maybe three bites. Joy brought her up a Wendy's frosty, but I don't think she tried any. I bought her a Dew (at the nurse's request for caffeine to alleviate her headache temporarily), but she only took one sip. She hates soda pop.

Since I began typing, she just changed her mind and requested a morphine shot (at my suggestion). Her moaning is getting louder and louder--so very sad. Just because the calendar says someone is 18 1/2 years old and is technically an adult, doesn't mean they can tolerate this kind of pain.

I know that Bethany's frame of mind is changing. This episode is entirely reminiscent of her last surgeries, and that is frightening. When she has totally awakened today,for brief periods of time, she has had blurred vision and hasn't felt like communicating at all. Almost catatonic, if you ask me. I think it's because of her lack of appetite; thus, she has an empty stomach whenever she swallows the pills or takes the shots. Hmmmm. Food makes her nauseous. For that, she is taking Zofran. Along with her pain meds, she is taking a host of additional medications.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers; I know they are working. Bethany will be healed and home soon enough; it's just the interim that is unfortunate. "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. Acts 3:15-17" Amen.

Blessings and peace to each and every one of you and yours.

Finally, a snippet of rest.

Well, it's 1 in the afternoon, and Bethany has finally found some rest. She is still moaning in her sleep, but she is sleeping nonetheless. Thank God! She has developed such a resistance to Percocet and Morphine that nothing seems to be really helping her. Joy brought up a heating pad for her lower back; the hospital supplied a moisture heating machine for her upper back; she has warm, wet towels on her shoulders and neck, and her hips and headache have yet to find relief.

Bethany hasn't eaten anything today, and she drank about 1 TB of milk and brought it right back up. I've ordered mashed potatoes, Gatorade and a bagel for her, but she finally is resting, and I am not about to awaken her. Timing is absolutely everything around here. Please pray that she is able to eat something--anything, as I think that may help her headache and nausea. Thank God for medications.

Nate just left, and I guess I'm gonna watch, "The Help," all by myself. Ha ha. I'm enjoying the quiet alone with my little princess. She is such a warrior princess and trouper. I am so very proud of her.

Thank you, Jesus, for Bethany Rose. For being her All in All, her Jehovah, her Healer, her Comforter, her Beginning and her Ending, her Peace and her Rest, her Hope and Her Love. Amen.

We pray this isn't a foreshadowing of things to come

Good Morning. Well, let's suffice it to say that it's been a rough night for Bethany. She's been in an extreme amount of pain; she's sad because this is very reminiscent of her past surgeries--pain, feel exceptionally well, extreme pain...She is currently taking percocet pills every four hours and 10 mg of morphine every four hours (percocet at noon, morphine at 2, percocet at 4, morphine at 6), however, they are NOT working anymore.

Bethany virtually slept from the moment her visitors left at 8:00 pm or so, until 6:00 am, however, she awoke every hour or so in extreme pain. She has been moaning all night and morning, and said that she foresees this as being an extremely bad day. I know that we both trust in Jesus to deliver her from this. His strength is sufficient for her, however, she needs a miraculous revelation in her body.

"I trust in Jesus, my Great Deliverer, my Strong Defender, the Son of God.
I trust in Jesus, Blessed Redeemer, my Lord forever, the Holy One."

Saints, I ask for prayer for Bethany's strength and comfort at this time. That she is able to find rest for her weak body and is pain free; that her spirit is lifted and she is able to find sweet sleep. Thank you.

I must sign off because the keyboard tapping (virtually silent) is too loud for her.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sleep. It's all we've been doing lately.....

Good Morning. I'm sorry it has taken me a day to update everyone. Yesterday was exhausting, and we've been recuperating ever since. Bethany had been in a lot of pain, and the doctor decided she could have percocet. Thus, it relieved her pain, and she felt rather animated for quite a while.

Bethany's boyfriend, Nate, arrived around 10 am, and hung out with us the majority of the day. Bethany had really missed him, and this was nice. Nate, however, brings out the animation in Bethany, and she refused to attempt sleep. Then, some additional visitors came and so did the exhaustion. As it stood, Bethany overdid herself and was totally exhausted and in a lot of pain. She was able to take some pain meds, and then sleep on and off for about 10 hours--which is excellent.

Over the years, Bethany has found that pain pills have not been very effective for her, so she prefers shots or fluids. She has also found out, much to her dismay, that Vicoden and Percocet do not work very well for her. So, Dr. Healy just switched her to Tylenol 3 and Morphene. She takes Tylenol 3 every 4 hours, and Morphene (shot) as needed, usually every 4 hours, as well. So, at noon would be Morphene, 2pm is Tylenol 3, 4pm is Morphene, and 6pm is Tylenol 3, and so on.

I think the Tylenol 3 is helping her to sleep, which is a really good thing because sleeping helps her body to heal. She leaked another 550 ml of spinal fluid, yesterday, however, it was mostly clear. Before it had been extremely bloody. It is still a LOT of csf to leak, so Dr. Healy has moved her csf bag so that it is level with her bed. The higher it is, the less draining occurs. Draining is a good thing, just not too much of it.

Bethany has been eating a little bit here and there. Her breakfast came and because she slept through it, it went, too. It was too cold to eat, so we'll order more later when she is awake more. She had a little bit of stir fry for lunch, and some soup for dinner.

Prayer concerns: Bethany's hips are really, really sore, as are her neck and shoulders. She must remain totally flat through Saturday, and this, along with her csf leak, causes her hips and neck and shoulders to be distressed. Hopefully, the raising of the csf bag will help alleviate some of her pain.

Please pray that her hips, shoulders and neck are relieved of pain; that she continues to heal quickly, and we continue to have excellent nurses--as we have.

On behalf of Bethany and myself, we thank you tremendously for your prayers on her behalf.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's another day...

Well, let's suffice it to say, 'It was a rather long night.' Bethany is doing well and can receive a morphine shot every three hours, upon request. Yup, she's requesting them. That, along with Zofran (for nausea). Both seem to be doing their job and allowing her some sleep, albeit fitful. She has had a LOT of neck and upper body pain, along with her lower back and head, however, her upper body/neck/shoulders and headaches seem to be being the brunt of her surgery. Hot compresses seem to help a lot, along with a cold, damp washcloth on her forehead.

Bethany fell asleep around 11pm, and I stayed up and watched 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,' on Hulu, till around midnight. Thus, when Bethany woke up (for the upcoming day), I was a tad tired. She was having extreme headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and nausea. Her catheter and IV's were hurting, etc. Again, another morphine shot and some Zofran and a steroid, too.

Her neurosurgeon's assistant arrived around 5 am to assess her recovery and surgical site. Then, the neurosurgeon, Dr. Healy, arrived shortly thereafter. Dr. Healy surmised that Bethany has been leaking an excessive amount of csf (spinal fluid), so she will need to lay flat for the next 4.5 to 5 days. Her body makes 500 ml of csf daily, and she leaked over 550 ml yesterday. My lowering her body level, the drainage should decrease. No problem there. Dr. Healy has reminded us (not that he needed to because we were acutely aware)of the complications of Bethany's last two surgeries; she leaked an excessive amount of csf for months. So.....no problem whatsoever laying on her back for awhile.

As of this morning, Bethany had yet to keep any fluids or solids down, except for one cherry flavored starburst. I guess she just needed a tiny sugar fix. Bethany was, however, able to keep down a slice of bacon, a pancake and some chocolate milk this morning. This means, the staff will be able to give her a percocet--which will last longer than morphine and it isn't a shot--it's a pill. Woo Hoo!

Bethany, even though she has a headache, is listening to her MP3 player, while doing a crossword puzzle. Hmmm. Well, best be ending this. It's time for more pain meds and a linen change.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers to our Most Heavenly Father on Bethany's behalf. Please continue to pray for a quick and total recovery, and for peace and comfort for Bethany. Blessings to all.

Nighttime is the time to sleep........

Well, it's midnight, and Bethany is finally getting some relief that is allowing her to sleep. It's taken Morphene, Steroids, Zofran, hot compresses on her neck and shoulders, and cold compresses (changed every 10 minutes for the past two hours) on her forehead, in order for her to be comfortable enough to actually sleep.

This is a girl that has had MAJOR spinal cord surgery, has a drain that is catching her spinal fluid as it leaks, has a catheter, full leg cuff compressions, IV's, cords everywhere, and hasn't complained even once. Not even one time. She has a huge tolerence for pain and uncomfortableness. That's just her--go with the flow.

I am so very proud of her, and I praise God daily for my Bethany Rose; for her compassion and determination, her fighting spirit and courage. She reminds me of Deborah in the Bible--strong, fierce, Godly, determined, and focused. May Bethany be an example for us all.

Please continue to pray for Bethany's complete healing and restoration of her body. Thank you, Saints.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another update on Bethany Rose

Well, it's been 9 hours since Bethany's surgery, and minus the spinal headaches and neck/shoulder pain, Bethany is doing miraculously well. She is on morphene shots and ice chips, along with very limited visitation. Bethany is leaking the appropriate amount of spinal cord fluid, thus the headaches. Better to leak it out than to leave it in. We are just praying that it continues as such and that her nausea subsides.
Here's a picture of Nathan feeding Bethany some ice chips. (kind of dark in the room and the picture)

Nathan and I will be spending the night with her and she finds comfort in having us near...ah....especiallyl Nathan.

Thanks again for your prayers. Love to all.

Post surgery

Well, Bethany is officially out of surgery.  It was approximately three hours, and the doctor said that she did well. A Major Success--Praise God!  He also said that although her spine had re-tethered, and it was larger than before, she has a greater probability of returning home sooner. As a youngster, her dura was very, very small, and now as an adult, she has many additional layers to her dura--thus her CSF (spinal cord fluid) will be less likely to leak.

The best case scenario would be for her to be released in 4-5 days (not a few months like the past two times). 

We are all waiting to see her in the ICU.  Until then, Saints, please pray that she recovers quickly, isn't nauseated and has little pain.

Thank you so very much!

Bethany is in surgery NOW

My little Bethany is currently in surgery, under the Divine direction of Dr. Michael Healy.  We are believing for a miracle and that Bethany will have total and complete healing and restoration to her physical body.  We are looking forward to an 'excellent report.'  Thank you, Jesus, for blessing your daughter, Bethany Rose.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Words to the Wise (and not so wise)....

What's one of the most powerful gifts that our Creator has bestowed upon us? Words. Yes, words. Those often loud, emotional, letters strewn together, communication tools, called words. It's amazing that God gave us such a gift. After all, he didn't entrust this gift with dogs, cats, monkeys or elephants. He only only entrusted them to man.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs that, "death and life are in the power of the tongue;" that our words are the mirror from which others view us and cast judgement upon us. If you ask me, that's rather scary. To think that my tiny little tongue (compared to an elephant's, it is tiny), could determine my eternal destiny. Wow! They impact our children, friends, relatives, and the world. But some of the most powerful words we speak are the ones that no one hears ... the words we speak to ourselves. We can speak life to ourselves and we can speak death to ourselves. Our minds think about 130 words per minute and our mouths (women) speak about 25,000 words in a day. That's a lot of words! A considerable amount of those words are spoken or thought to ourselves. Most of this self-talk is harmless, such as what will I fix for dinner? or where did I put my hairbrush? I ask myself more questions than the average person does, because I am a tad more forgetful than the average person is. So....from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning, until the time my head hits the pillow in the evening, I'm internally speaking a LOT to myself.

As I ponder the past week, I am wondering just what makes some people feel so confident and others feel so insecure. The only thing I can come up with is words. Some people use them as encouragement and delight. Others use them as weapons of warfare. I just cannot handle being around the people that use them as if they were overseas, fighting a losing battle--they just keep the bullets coming and coming. Geesh! I'm pretty sure that virtually every adult female I have ever encountered has been the victim of verbal bullying. Yep. The kind that smacked her right in the gut; the kind that confirmed every insecurity she ever, even remotely, felt about herself; the kind that left her feeling like the batter who struck out with three runners on bases or the girl who never received those proverbial birthday party invitations. Wow.

Saying, "I'm so fat," "I'm ugly," or "I'm never going to be good enough,"to oneself can be extremely destructive and debilitating. It can lead to such a grave negative self-perception that it leads to emotional chaos. But....it's even worse when someone else is slaying you with their negative words--thus, just confirming the chaos you are feeling. Negative self-perceptions, repeated over a time, will brand themselves into our minds and eventually become our reality. If you repeat a wrong belief or lie enough times, you begin to believe it. "Nobody loves me," "I don't have any friends," or "I'm so ugly" becomes your reality ... even though it is a false reality. You can become stuck in the house of mirrors looking at a distorted reflection of who you really are. Each time we speak a lie about ourselves, to ourselves, we become more and more bound by it. Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that, "As a man thinks within himself, so he is." Gosh, that so makes me want to practice saying positive things to myself. I guess Zig Ziglar was really onto something when he tried to involve the country in positive self talk.

When we look into God's mirror, His incredible love letter to us we call the Bible, we discover the truth. God does love you (Colossians 3:12). You have an entire cloud of witnesses cheering for you (Hebrews 12:1). You are God's masterpiece, a work of beautiful art (Ephesians 2:10). You are good enough because Christ lives in you (John14:20). You are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God. That's the truth. Let's get out of the house of mirrors and start seeing ourselves as God sees us.

In one of John's letters, he wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4). I believe that God has no greater joy than to know that His children are walking in the truth. When we are walking in the truth, the lies are exposed. We can recognize the lie, reject the lie, and replace the lie with truth. Then, and only then, can we be all that God has created us to be and do all that God has created us to do. We can experience the abundant life that He planned all along.

I believe God has great plans for all of us. His Word promises that He does. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). But many of us are not experiencing the abundant life because we don't know who we are. We have believed the lies that we are not good enough, unloved, unworthy, and unforgivable. We have been looking in distorted mirrors for far too long. God wants us to look into the only true mirror that will tell us exactly who we are, what we have, and where we are as a child of God -- His Word. It is the key to living the victorious Christian life.

My hope for you is that you are able to uncover the mirror that God has chosen to see you through; that your 'looking glass' becomes so beautiful, because of your reflection of Him, that you can't help but love yourself as the Child of God that He has created you to be. Be blessed as you find the many ways to bless someone with your words today.