"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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sometimes We Just Have to Throw Up the White Flag......

Good afternoon,

Today was a very long time coming---for a variety of reasons. We had really been looking forward to today, and it hasn't disappointed any of us. First, we hadn't been able to attend worship since before Christmas, and we have sorely missed that. Not only were we not able to receive awesome teachings from our Pastors, but we had missed the Praise and Worship and the Fellowship with those of like, precious faith. So.....when I awoke this morning, I was really looking forward to attending. The second reason was that Bethany was scheduled to have her pic line removed after church service. Yeah!

Pastor Tom gave an excellent message on "How to Stunt Your Spiritual Growth." Hmmmm. It was more of a 'what not to do,' instead of a 'what to do,' if you know what I mean. Kind of like reverse psychology. An example that made me laugh was, 'If you want your teenager to clean his room, and he hasn't quite made the time or mustered the energy, then say, "Don't worry about cleaning your room; I'll take care of it." Ha ha. Jonathan and Bethany both got a kick out of that one. As did I. More, Jonathan than Bethany though.

Anyway, Pastor asked, "How many situations would be different if we would live our lives as though we totally trusted God?" Wow! I had to really take a step back and think about that one. I knew that I totally, unequivocably trusted God with my children, with Bethany's health concerns and with my vehicles, but I couldn't say that I totally trusted Him with the rest of my life. I mean, I never worried about Bethany coming through her surgery and her host of complications; Never. Not once. I was very concerned over the fact that she was experiencing a LOT of pain. That was brutal.

I never worry about my kids salvation because I have totally entrusted them to God early on. I follow Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." That's not to say that they would never stray from being a Christ follower; I believe it to mean that they will always, eventually return Home. Thank God. Thus, no real worries there.

Ah....then what concerns me? I hate to say, 'worry,' because I would never consider myself a worrier. I do, however, have concerns over some other things in my life. I guess that would mean that I may not be living my life with total trust in the Lord. I know that I know that I know that I know that God is ultimately in control; it's just that sometimes I wonder what is He thinking. Come on. Must He really take me down this road? Just when things seem to be going relatively well, if not great, then KABOOM! The Lord changes the direction of my life. Again.

If there's one thing I am constantly learning, admidst all of the KABOOMS in my life, it's that sometimes I need to just throw up the white flag and totally surrender my life to the One Who created it. To the One Who ultimately knows the long term plan for me. To the One Who always, always, always has my best interest. To the One Who knows everything.

Sometimes, I have to surrender daily. Lately, that's been my mantra. I surrender today, again, Lord. Geesh! I just did that yesterday, but I can tell that I need to do it again today, because I am beginning to worry (be concerned--lol) about something. So....I throw up my white flag, and offer my surrender to Him.
I am constantly living the verses, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess 5:16-17. Praying without ceasing. I have found that when I am constantly doing that, things tend to go better. Ha. Isn't that a revelation? Just kidding.

I also have to remind myself to continue to surround myself with Christ Followers--not just people that attend church. No. People that are actually following Christ in the daily lives, living out the Great Commission, serving and following Him; knowing that it's not a religion, it's a relationship with the One and Only. Sometimes, that is difficult, considering I am an extremely busy women. Between raising two teenagers and one 20 year old, owning two dogs (including a 105 pound puppy), working full time, cooking meals, managing a home and yard, along with a sick child, yada, yada, yada, fellowshipping with those of like precious faith tends to take a back seat.

Although I taught the Bible Study, Captivating, for many years, to countless women in my home, I am taking a sabbatical. There is a long waiting list of women who want to attend the 10 week course, however, I think that I need to rejuvenate and begin attending a LifeGroup myself. Wow! Now, that's a concept! A bible study for me and not by me. I could definitely get used to that. I just know that I couldn't commit to two evenings a week to such, so something is going to have to go. For the moment, it will be Captivating. Hmmmm.

Pastor also mentioned that we shouldn't allow our circumstances to weaken us. As I think about that one, I think, "Well, that's not me." Ha. But when I really think about that one, I think, "I've let my recent circumstances weaken me to the point of saying, 'I'm never going there again.'" I'm learning that is not the right answer. The Lord knows all of my questions, and He knows all of the answers. I am now learning that if the Lord wants me to go 'there' again, I willingly will.

According to Steven Furtick, or so my Pastor says, "All of the good stories start with adversity." Wow! Isn't that the truth. Look at labor and delivery. Moms out there, need I say anymore? Married Couples out there, need I say anymore? College graduates out there, need I saw anymore? Grandparents--same thing. It's so true, God uses our pain and trials for many things, but mainly to refine and perfect us. OK, enough already. I'm feeling mighty refined about now.

I'm really looking forward to the message next week: "Mirror Mirror--What Does God See When He Looks At Me?" It will last for 5 weeks, and it should be really interesting. Until then, though, I will continue to hold up my white flag, on a daily basis, if not hourly, and pray.

Anyway, after a great and thought-provoking worship service, we came home and started right into writing thank you notes, cooking and doing various things around house. Then.....dun ta dun dun dun....the home health aide arrived to remove Bethany's pic line. After a seemingly endless supply of questions, most often geared for an older person (i.e. do you use a cane or walker; do you need assistance using the facilities), she removed her pic line and left. Woo Hoo! Other than a little pain at the incision points, Bethany is doing extremely well. So well, in fact, that after the majority of her thank you notes were written, she went to the UT rec to watch a soccer game. Then, off to her boyfriend's house for the evening. I'd say that's nothing short of a miracle.

When I think that less than a month ago, she was on a ventilator, in excrutiating pain, helpless and tearful, I think, "Wow! Not only is God in the miracle working business, but that life can change, for the better, on a dime." I know that it can also change for the worse on a dime, but I am concentrating on the better part right now. Circumstances would have me think about the bad, but I am choosing to think about the good. :) Isn't that part of what surrending is all about? Choosing to believe the God has everything under control because He is ultimately in control and has our best interests at heart? I think so.

Nonetheless, thanks again, so much for praying for Bethany and our family. We just keep on keeping on. It's very different in our home with Joy moved out, and we really miss her. We saw her yesterday, but never for long enough. It's definitely been a few weeks of change, not all good, but the Lord knows. I am continually thanking Him for that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

TGIF. It's been a long, albeit good, week for Bethany and me. Thank God. We are so looking forward to the weekend. Bethany is hardly on any pain killers, however, she still needs some because of the chest and arm pain from her pic line. Yes. It was adjusted. And yes. We have spoken with her doctor.

Bethany's home health aide came today and Bethany was still in alot of pain. She discussed the fact that her doctor appointment isn't until Wednesday, and that she doesn't think she will be able to stand the pain that long. So, the nurse asked Dr. Chiyazda to call me. He said that the nurse could come back on Sunday, after Bethany's dosage, and remove the pic line. Thank God! Please remind me again, how did we ever survive before modern medicine?

Well, after being away from home for so long, I had decided to organize my entire home; not a small task, even for a girl like me. I'm typically a very organized person, however, since coming home, I have felt extremely disorganized; Disillusioned? Disenchanted? Nope. Disorganized. That's the correct word.

Anyway, I've been on an organization streak:

•The bathroom is now color coded; Joy is blue, Bethany is green, Jonathan is red and I am pink. The girly accessories are in drawers; there is a drawer designed for each item: toothbrushes/paste, makeup, accessories, combs/brushes, and towels are in the cabinet.

•The kitchen only has items in it that I use weekly, if not daily. The baking stones are stored vertically; my pantry only has foods and herbs that we will actually eat; the dogs' dishes are put in a drawer that slides out when it's feeding time.

•All of my digital photos have been categorized and saved onto CDs that I have stored copies of in safety deposit box; Jonathan's high school scrapbook has been updated through his Freshman year, and I've downloaded enough pictures to completely fill my digital photo frame.

•Koda has officially graduated from Obedience Training. Hallelujah! He is the calmest, most well behaved dog, on the planet-next to Domino, of course.

•I was able to finish both the front and back yard before the snow came this afternoon. Koda's holes are filled in with fresh dirt; bushes are covered; bird feeders are freshly cleaned and hung with bird seed; snow blower is freshly oiled and ready; garage is cleaned and all of Bethany's dorm furnishings are neatly stored until Fall, when she will move back into the dorm.

And then.........I suddenly awoke.. Apparently, my heart couldn't handle this amount of heavenly, dreamfilled bliss. And alas, reality struck. My home may not be as organized and clean as I would like, but at least I have a home, a place to call my own. I may have all my photos digitally mastered, but Praise God, I have a camera and a laptop. I may not have the world's best dog for a pet, but he has substantially calmed down--to the point I barely recognize him. And, although my garage is an absolute mess, at least Bethany is back at home. Ahhh.

Although life may not seem to be going as I would have planned, or would have liked, I know the Lord has a plan for me and for my family, and for that, I am truly thankful. I prefer to get straight to the plan, whereas the Lord appears to prefer me going on tangents and indirect roads--I guess that is how He is polishing and perfecting me. Geesh! Enough already. We all know I will never be totally polished and not nearly perfected, but just allow me to get straight to the plan. Hallelujah!

May you know His vision for your life and may He see you through to it (soon). Ha.

Thanks again, for everything, especially your continued prayers.

Love, Shari

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good evening,

Well, it's Tuesday, and we are already exhausted. It seems as though the days are longer and the nights just seem to have become shorter. There is not a moment that passes that we are not grateful to be home, safe and sound, in our beds, with our family.

Bethany had a good day today; she was able to go virtually all day without any painkillers. Sure, she was in some pain, but she has been trying to wean herself off of them (so she can drive), and she is doing quite well.

A major shout out to my long time girlfriend, Lois, who called me yesterday with some excellent advice. I met Lois, in 1986, when I had just taken a job transfer to Toledo, and she lived in my apartment building. She was in nursing school, graduated shortly thereafter, and has worked at St. Vincent's ever since. She said that she had been reading this blog and noticed that Bethany had been in a lot of pain because of her pic line. Yes, yes, yes. She said that Bethany shouldn't even be able to notice the pic at all, and it shouldn't ever cause her absolutely any pain.

So, before she called me, Lois called the pic team at St. V's (have I mentioned just how much I adore proactive people)and talked with Annette, the nurse who put Bethany's pic line in. After discussion, Annette suggested that I call the Infectious Disease doctor, in charge of Bethany's case, Dr. Chinyazda, and request that he fax a prescription to the pic team, so they may slightly adjust Bethany's pic line by a few centimeters. Apparently, they have had some success with this in a few other patients.

I was all for this, as was Bethany. We had called the doctor last Friday, complaining of chest pain, etc., but given Bethany's history, we decided to forego another x-ray and just deal with the pain. Under no circumstances, did Bethany wish to be re-admitted to the hospital--pain in the pic line or not.

Anyway, I took Lois' advice, called Dr. Chinyazda's office and requested a fax to the pic team. After numerous conversations with Tara (the second nurse on the pic team), she called me and asked me to have Bethany ready on a moment's notice. She was very mindful of Bethany's time, and didn't want her to have to wait long, should she have another patient. So, I called Joe and then Bethany and asked them both to be ready when I call. Sure enough, Tara called within the hour, and Joe took Bethany to have her pic line adjusted. After a mere 20 minutes, Bethany was feeling much better. Tara not only adjusted her pic line, but she also re-dressed the IV at the insertion site. It had been becoming very painful, too. Whew! Another problem solved, thanks to wonderful friends. I then called Tara and thanked her, too. She had even let Bethany forego the entire Registration Desk process, as this was a 'free of charge' adjustment. Woo Hoo!

After work, I hit Michaels to pick up some more craft materials for the Nurses gifts that Bethany and I are making. We are two kinds of gifts, 40 of each, and we are almost done. We are so very appreciative of the kindness, compassion and expertise that the Neuro-ICU staff, as well as the entire 5th floor staff (we had a bed in all three wings at some point or another) were, that we wanted to tangibly thank them.

Talk about exhausted after getting home. I immediately began to craft the gifts, before I collapsed on the couch. Then, miracle upon miracle, Elyse Hoefflin arrived with her friend, Ryan, and delivered a delicious dinner to my family. We were starved, but even more than that, we had the privilege of chillaxing with them for about 45 minutes--very sweet. We traded hospital stories and various other tidbits; I think Bethany and I have missed socializing due to our extended stay, her being homebound, and me going to work daily, so this was a very nice visit. And.....she even brought a DELICIOUS enchilada casserole, salad, homemade brownies and icecream. Thank you SO very much, Elyse and Gail, for thinking of us. It has truly made our day.

Speaking of which, Lila Rose, the President of Live Action, posted this song on her FB page today. It definitely reiterates exactly what I am saying, how one small act of kindness change someone's life. I hope you enjoy it and take it to heart.

We still have some prayer requests:

•Bethany's recovery--of course. That she recovers completely and quickly so that she may resume the normal activities of an 18 1/2 year old--namely cleaning her room, dishes, etc. Just kidding. School and work! She wants to use this time to get back to her ballet, dancing and soccer.

•Joy--that she is not overworked with 18 credit hours of coursework, three part time jobs, and homework. That continues to do well in school and that she remembers everything she studies. That is comfortable living in her new digs.

•Jonathan--that he continues to do well in school; that he doesn't have test anxiety and that he remembers everything he studies.

•Chris' son, Nik--that he is miraculously healed of Crohns disease, and that he no longer feels the effects of it.

•My niece, Autumn, and her husband, Tauben, are due to deliver their first baby any day. That she has a quick, quiet and uneventful labor and delivery and a perfectly healthy son.

•My mom--that the doctor's are able to completely diagnose and treat her. She has been hospitalized for weeks and wants to go home, but the doctors tests have yet to reveal definitive results. Praise Report: her white blood cell count has recently dramatically increased.

•My cousin's friend's mother, Linda Sadler, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. She is currently waiting to see if it has spread to her brain. This woman has battled breast cancer in the past and currently has stage 4 stomach cancer, cervical cancer and 9 lesions on her liver.

•Lastly, myself--my doctor finally changed my medications this afternoon. She was surprised that the medication hadn't made me gain even more weight than they already had. That now I can finally work out and return my body to the shape it needs to be in. I am going to compete in two triathalons this summer, so that should be enough motivation to get in shape, however, due to Bethany's extended stay in the hospital, I have used up all of my sick time at work. Thus, I will have to postpone my rotator cuff surgery aa while longer, and won't be able to lift weights. Grrrr.

Thank you very much, Love, Peace and much Joy, Shari

Monday, February 6, 2012


For Reassurance

For the past 6 weeks or so, I've needed to sense God's most tender mercies more than ever. Sure, it was partially because of Bethany's surgery and it's major complications, but it was also because I just felt desperate for God and for His presence.

When I was a little girl, as the youngest of five children, I would twirl and spin around my dad, wishing I could know that he loved me. He did love me, albeit in his way and not necessarily mine, but something was broken in our father-daughter relationship that sometimes left me feeling desperate for reassurance.

Over the years, God has healed my heart in countless miraculous ways. God has gently whispered all those things that I had wished by earthly father would have said to me. I am positive that God's love for me is deep, unwavering, never ending and certain.

But there are still times I catch myself twirling again. Crying out again. Wishing I could feel totally secure. Hating my insecurities. And mad that this struggle I thought was over, surfaces still.

Hmmm. Maybe I always will.

And maybe that's not such a bad thing.

For it keeps me desperate for a reassurance I can't get any other way. It keeps me desperate for God.

I can hear my friends and children tell me they love me and yet still feel my heart desperately twirling.

I can stand before a crowd and sing until I can sing no more, all the while, people are clapping...and still feel my heart desperately twirling.

I can stand in a hospital room, knowing that the Creator of the Universe is on my side, has created my daughter and wants only the best for her...and still feel my heart desperately twirling.

I can conquer my food demons and finally fit back into my skinny jeans... and still feel my heart desperately twirling.

The only thing that stops the desperation, the uncertainties, the insecurities, the twirling...is for the Spirit of God to lay across my heart and make it still. The blanket of His presence and His protection is the only perfect fit for the deep creases and crevices carved inside me.

I don't claim to know what tough things you've been through in your life; I do know that I've had my share of tough things, and I also know that brokenness is universal. We all have things in our lives that trigger deep insecurities (not just women) and our own personal twirling around seeking reassurance.

But here's the amazing thing.

While brokenness is universal-God's redemption is also universal for those who proclaim Christ as Lord. No matter what cracks and crevices we have in our heart, if we seek the truth of God above all else He is enough to fill in those raw places. "Whatever is true...think about such things...And the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9).

I know that as I kept vigil over Bethany's hospital bed, desperate for reassurance of God's grace and mercy, I made the conscious decision to let His truths permeate my being, fill my mind and seep into those desperate places of my heart.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

I pray that you...may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17-18).

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

I pray that I am always desperate for God, for His Word, for His Holy Spirit and for His mercy and grace. I pray the same for you.

Again, thank you for your continued prayers for Bethany's recovery. She is doing extremely well, however, she is still in pain. Her pic line still hurts, and her head and back still do, as well. She cannot do stairs very well (very slowly, if at all), cannot bend over and shouldn't drive (due to her medications). Unfortunately, I have to leave her home alone during the daytime, however, God is in control, and I am only 20 minutes away.

Her pain has yet to subside to the point where she can say that she is in less pain than prior to her surgery. I am praying that time will come very soon.

I hope you have enjoyed this little deviation from my normal blog about Bethany. Prior to Bethany's surgery, my blog was such as today's.

Blessings, peace and joy, Shari

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yaay! Tomorrow is Monday! (What?)

Yes, that's what I am feeling about now. I am sooooo very glad the weekend is over. I'd rather it was Friday again and that my family was given the opportunity for a 're-do,' but I highly doubt that. So....tomorrow is Monday, and I am glad. So very glad. Wow! I never, in my wildest dreams, would have ever thought that I would be writing that, let alone actually thinking it, but I am. If there's one thing that I have learned in these past grueling weeks, it's that 'change is inevitable,' including the 'TGIM' thought. Who knew?

Well, yes, SuperBowl Sunday is always good. I wouldn't want to take that away from anyone. Ha. And....I was able to meet my sister, Debbie, for dinner in Novi, Michigan. That was good, too. So....I'll try and concentrate on those two things.

Bethany is still in pain, but not wanting to return to the hospital to have her pic line removed. She doesn't want to risk them holding her hostage until her antibiotics are completed in another week or so. I can't say that I blame her, but having chest pain is so not a 'piece of cake' either. She is sleeping soundly now, having taken her meds about 10pm, so I will set my alarm at 2am to allow her to take some more. Then she won't wake up in a lot of pain after 5 or more hours. Anyone who has had surgery knows exactly what I am referring to.

Well, I will definitely write more tomorrow. Exhausted from the harrowing weekend. Bless you all, and many continued thanks to each and every one of you.

Love, Shari

Friday, February 3, 2012

And yet another setback.....Geesh!

Well, it's been a really long day, and I'm glad it's nearly over. The morning began quite well, with the Home Health Nurse coming and showing us how to do the pic IV on Bethany. It was definitely interesting, however, it was not that difficult. Bethany took to it like bees to honey, so I merely watched and nodded--knowing that she will be doing the majority of the work.

When the nurse finally left, after two hours, I raced to work for a very productive afternoon. And then....I raced home. Jonathan called on my way home, for ride home from track, and it all clicked. When I got home, Bethany had been sleeping all day. Thank God. I was exhausted, as I hadn't gotten to bed till after 3:00 am, and then I awoke every hour to check on Bethany. Nonetheless, she was awake, looking as gaunt as ever, and in pain from her pic line. I was really hoping that would magically disappear while I was at work.

We talked about possible scenarios--returning to the hospital, having it removed and being placed on either a regular IV or oral antibiotics; returning to the hospital, and just seeing what happens on a Friday afternoon; waiting it out and calling the doctor on call tomorrow; waiting it out and falling asleep. Hmmmm. Given both of our mental states, the last option seemed the best for the moment.

I had taken some food out of the freezer to cook dinner (after listening to ideas) and was ready to begin dinner, when Bethany said that not only was she hungry, but that the Greenlease Family had dropped off dinner for our family. OMG!!!!!! So VERY happy and grateful. Like I said, we were EXHAUSTED and hungry. A deadly combination.

I immediately put their delicious chicken pot pie in the oven, poured milk and readied everything. Praise God, Bethany ate an entire bowl. Jonathan, Joy and I did, too, but that's irrelevant because we will eat virtually anything and everything and have ever present appetites--unlike Miss Bethany. Bethany has lost at least 25-20 pounds and is looking very gaunt today, however, I suspect that will change tomorrow, having eaten a meal tonight. I can't even begin to say, 'thank you,' enough to our Main Street Family and Friends.

(This is what boredom looks like in the Grayczyk household).

After eating, Joy and I began to watch a movie and chillax when Bethany requested Joy color with her in her room. So, I did what I do best, fell asleep on the couch for a few hours. Ah....just Koda, Domino and moi. When I awoke, Bethany was just taking some medications and asked that I awaken her in 4 hours. No problem. Joy was doing homework; Jonathan was going to bed, and I was wide awake (well, sort of), so I got on Pinterest (my latest addiction). No harm done.

Bethany did say, however, that her chest was really, really hurting again. Hmmm. Given her extremely high level of pain tolerance, this is more than just a little disconcerting. I suspect what we were planning on doing tomorrow may have to wait again.....taking Koda to Maumee Bay to swim, housecleaning, grocery shopping, sleeping in (my favorite), taking the downstairs Christmas tree down, putting the remainder decor up in the attic, etc., so that we may take a trip to St. Vincents.

Please pray for Bethany's spirits, especially if we need to return to St. Vincents; we will do her IV around noon, and then take it from there. If al goes well, we will stay home and take it day by day; if not, we will return.

Please pray that her pic line starts behaving and becomes pin free. That she is able to resume some normalcy to her life; that she is not depressed, and that the changes in her life do not have long term consequences.

On a positive note, my mother is feeling much better. Although she will be spending the weekend in Beaumont Hospital, hopefully, after some testing on Monday, she will be discharged to return home. If all goes well, I would like to go visit her on Sunday after church. Praying Bethany will be able to go to church on Sunday, too. We really miss corporate worship, praise, friends and family.

Blessings, peace and joy, Shari, Joy, Bethany, Jonathan (Koda, Domino, Picasso, Mr. Incredible, and Carl)

TGIF! It's a Beautiful Morning.....

Good morning,

Well, our first night home wasn't too eventful. Bethany slept on and off, however, she was in substantially more pain than she had been in at the hospital. Because of this, I didn't actually hit the hay before 3:00 am. She said that her entire body hurt, especially her chest/heart, where her pic line is inserted. Hmmmm.

Here's a picture of a little ballerina--just as Bethany once was. She has

always been passionate about dancing, and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she will soon be dancing again.

I was tempted to call someone for some medical advice, but I held off. I remembered that Bethany had felt similar chest pain when she had the pic line inserted a couple of weeks ago. So....I waited. She begged me not to call anyone, so I didn't. I texted a friend of mine and asked him to call me in the morning with some medical advice. He reassured me that, because this has been in Bethany's history (experiencing chest pain from the pic insertion), that it's probably OK; I should ask the IV people when then visit at 11:00 am. I'm good with that because it sure beats the alternative.

I am just letting Bethany sleep this morning, even though she needs to awake to take her medication by 10:00 am, at the latest. I just know it's going to be a long day, and I figure she should get as much sleep as possible. Her pic insertion site is already bleeding and the tape is fraying. Goodness. The hospital said that when this happens, the bandage needs to be replaced--not just taped over. We must, however, wait for the medical person to arrive.

Toledo IV just called, and they are on their way to deliver the antibiotics. Yaay! I was a little worried about that. The hospital had given me a prescription for the antibiotics, but said that I 'shouldn't' need to fill it. Hmmm. What exactly 'shouldn't' means, I don't know, but at least this is now one thing I won't have to worry about.

Jonathan is at school, Joy had a doctor appt this morning and is leaving for work, Bethany is sleeping, I've already completed a host of housework; it's really wierd. To actually be home, in a really quiet house. Now that Koda has finally settled into his body and become very sedate, it's really odd. I haven't been in a quiet home in about a year--Rob and Rosie now have their own apartment; that's one less twenty something and puppy; Koda has totally turned into a different dog; that's another less puppy; and life is finally settling down. Whew!

I am hoping to return to work this afternoon, but I can't honestly say that I am. I have been working on balancing spreadsheets at home, but it's much easier to work from my office. I am just waiting to hear back from someone to see if they can come and sit with Bethany until Joy gets home.

I thought I'd include a picture of Bethany with her Aunt Jodi. She came to visit her yesterday. Also, the IV antibiotics, and a huge amount of related supplies, were just delivered. What part of, "She is medicated and sleeping so she can't sign. Would you like to view her Power of Attorney papers allowing me to sign on her behalf?" don't they understand. No, I am not going to wake her up. Goodness.

Please continue to pray for:
•Bethany: that she recovers quickly, handles the pic line with ease, is not too depressed and is able to rely on the Lord, her chest pain goes away and she becomes pain free, that her appetite and health return to normal--whatever that is.
•Nik Shay: that he continues to heal from C-diff, that he doesn't have Crohns disease or collitis; that he doesn't become too depressed and is able to rely on the Lord.
•My mom: that she continues to heal so that she may be discharged from the hospital.

Thank so much, and I'll continue to keep you posted. The Lord has taught both Bethany and myself many things during this time in our lives, and we are anxious to share.

Blessings and peace, Shari

WE ARE HOME---finally

Well, Bethany is home. Thank God! Thank you, everyone, for your prayers that have brought her home. Today was quite the whirlwind. Slow, but windy. I had actually planned on going to work today; that is, until I woke up. When I went to bed last night, everything was calm, Bethany immediately went to sleep. And slept, she did. Through the entire night. Thus, I did, too. That's always a good thing.

First thing in the morning, we learned that she would be having her pic line put in. Then, we waited.....and waited. Bethany ate breakfast and then slept and slept, and then slept some more. Goodness, now that her steroids were changed, she is finally able to sleep.

I had heard that we just may be going home today, however, it wouldn't be until after she received her evening antibiotics--8:00 pm. Just in case, I packed everything up. Pastor Tim and Aunt Jodi visited today, as did Nate, Bethany's boyfriend. She hadn't seen Nate in quite some time, and he was definitely a pleasant surprise. We prayed with Pastor Tim, and chit chatted with Aunt Jodi, until Bethany fell asleep again. And then we proceeded to wait some more. Because we had been transferred to the Neuro/Pallative care room, sometimes we felt as if we had been forgotten about. We hadn't, but we just weren't familiar with actually being left alone. Ha ha.

While Pastor Tim and Jodi were visiting with us, I received a phone call from the home health care agency that would be assisting me in taking care of Bethany and her newly placed pic line. They said that they would be coming to the house tomorrow morning at 11:00 am. I mentioned that we were still at the hospital and that we weren't even sure that we would be coming home. She said that the hospital had called her and that we would, in fact, be home by this evening. Well, good to know.

So, I meandered my way to the nurses' station, and yes, the home health aide was correct. They were preparing to discharge Bethany. Yikes. Although we were mentally ready, we weren't physically ready, as we had actually been waiting for someone to give us a 'heads up.' Hmmmm.

It was around 4:30pm, and Joe left to go pick up Jonathan from school. The nurse came in and said she was going to discharge us. So....I quickly called Joe back and handed him some stuff to take out to the van with him. Quick thinking on my part, if I do say so myself. Anyway, sure enough, they took out her last IV, handed us 7 prescriptions, explained a little about the pic line, set up future doctor appointments, and hugged us, wished us well, etc. Whew!

What a day! And off we went, no looking back. Au Revoir. Adios. So long, farewell. We went straight to the Kroger pharmacy drive through to drop off Bethany's prescriptions; I figured I would drop them off, take Bethany home, unload the van and get her situated and then go to pick up the prescriptions. When we got to the drive up window, I mentioned that there were so many medications because we were just on our way home from the hospital.

What happenned next totally made me cry. And then cry some more. It touched Bethany, as well. The girl (Elise Hoefflin) at the pharmacy window, looked into our van window and said, "Oh my gosh. I go to your church, and we have all been praying for you. The Morph (college age youth group) group were just talking about Bethany and her plight. We read your blog daily, pray for you constantly, and am soooooo happy to see you going home. In fact, I am making food for you Wednesday." WOW! We felt so blessed and loved. And isn't that truly what life is all about? Feeling blessed and loved and returning such?

Both Bethany and I have been struggling in that area lately, and our encounter with this young woman of God was definitely a Divine encounter. Not only did we need it, but it also showed her, firsthand, the miracle of prayers answered.

When I returned to pick up the prescriptions, I waited in a long succession of cars to pick up prescriptions through the drive through window. When I finally got up to the window, there wasn't anyone behind me. Elise was at the window, and said that she had rushed our order and had hoped that we weren't in the long line. I told her that it felt rather nice to wait in the van in silence. Bethany was home sleeping, and I was out to get the scripts, pizza and movies for a quiet night at home. She also said that her younger sister had a very similar surgery as Bethany. She then began to relay her sister's story to me. Wow! God truly is in the miracle working business.

Again, both Bethany and I feel truly blessed to have as many friends and family and people we don't even know praying for her and for her recovery. It is only by the Grace of God, through your prayers, that she is home tonight.

As soon as we came home, Bethany went straight to bed. Did not pet the dogs. Did not use the restroom. Did not put anything away. Did not go to the refrigerator. Etc. Straight to bed and there she stayed all evening. Joy came home from studying at Carlson Library, and Jonathan came home from filing a police report at UT, and Bethany stayed in bed. She and Jonathan talked a bit while Joy and I did the same. Then, she resumed sleeping and Jonathan, Joy and I watched a movie.

Bethany did just awake for some food. That's good. I can tell she will be going right back to sleep. She also took some of her medications. Tomorrow morning, the home health aide will be coming to show us how to administer the IV antibiotics. That should be interesting. Depending upon how things go, I plan on going to work in the afternoon. As of now, Joe is working, and Joy has a meeting and then work, but I hoping to work something out with someone.

Again, thank you so very much, and I can't wait to tell you what tomorrow holds for Bethany Rose. I'll post later in the afternoon!!!!!!

Much Love, Shari and Bethany

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wow! What a Difference a Day Makes

Good Morning/Afternoon,

Let me say it again, "Wow! What a difference a day makes!" Bethany had a really good day yesterday, a great night (she slept the entire night), and has had a really good morning. She received an Ambien sleeping aid around 9:30pm, and was asleep within 10 minutes. Woo Hoo! She had her IV PCN Dilatid drip removed yesterday, so that meant there were less cords to deal with. She was also put on Percocet every four hours, so that meant semi-waking her every four hours to swallow pills. It's all good!

Her pain level has substantially decreased to the point of going over 4 hours for Percocet. We'd like it to get to be about 1 Percocet every 4-6 hours instead of 2 every 4 hours, but I think that will come in a very short time--a day or so. Bethany was able to eat a bit yesterday, and definitely showed an appetite last night.

After finally awaking this morning, Bethany had her morning assessment, and I immediately ordered her breakfast so that she would be able to get up and begin walking. Right as room service was delivering her breakfast tray, the IV people came to insert the IV pic line for her. That took about an hour. I couldn't get the internet in the lobby, or I would have posted during that time. Anyway, she just finished breakfast, is watching CSI, and resting comfortably in her bed. She is way beyond bored though. Just saying.

The nurses said she could go home later today; we are merely waiting for them to remove her IV liquids, her foley, show us how to administer the IV antibiotics at home, and for her to get up and walk some more. She hasn't walked since yesterday afternoon. I'm working on that part.

Bethany feels just about ready to finally leave. Thank God! Yesterday would have been too soon, but today or tomorrow seems just about right. She is anxious to get home, as am I. Thank you so much, again, for your continued prayers of healing and love, on Bethany's behalf. Had it not been for the prayers of the Saints, Bethany may not even be going home.

Here's a little different picture. This week is Catholic Schools Week, and that means that today is, "Disney/Pixar Day" at Cardinal Strich. Joy helped Jonathan dress up as Carl, the old man in the movie, "UP." This is awesome!

Please continue to keep Bethany is your prayers:
•that she is able to manage with her PIC line and that it doesn't give her any problems;
•that she is able to resume her 'bounce in her step' asap;
•that her spirits perk up;

And for my mom:
•that she begins to feel well;
•that the doctors can determine just why she has such a constant and violent cough;
•that her arthritis and leukemia are totally healed;

And for Joy:
•that she is able to continue to do well studying for her 18 credit hours, while working two jobs and taking care of home;
•for her peace of mind, wisdom and strength;

And for me:
•that my job is OK and my FMLA paperwork is approved;
•that everything goes well upon going home;
•for peace of mind, wisdom and strength.

Love, Shari and Bethany Rose

PS: Koda has made a 180 degree turn-a-round, and has become a totally sedate dog; Hallelujah! We are finding that the older he gets, the better he gets. ha ha. Thank God, as he has been on our very last nerve since the day we adopted him. At one year old, 100+ pounds, he's gorgeous and sweet!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Things are definitely looking up

Good Morning,

Bethany had a really good night. Thank God! She was able to fall asleep relatively quickly, after the Ambien, and stayed asleep most of the night. She awoke on and off, but was actually able to return to slumber until the morning. Woo Hoo! I, in turn, was also able to get a good night's sleep, for the first time in a very long time.

Bethany was transferred out of ICU late yesterday, into the A wing, and goodness, this is one LOUD wing of the hospital. She was scheduled to go into the C wing, which we are very familiar with, and is a Neuro wing), however, there was only one room and another patient, who needed a lot of monitoring, needed it more. So, we went to the A wing--Neuro and Pallative Care. Hmmmm. That means that everyone talks really loud inside the rooms, outside the rooms, anywhere and everywhere. Doors are loud and the staff doesn't seem to have any concept of the relation of noise to headaches.

We had an awesome pm nurse, Lovie, who was exceptionally careful of the noise level and light and sounds. The am nurse, who happens to be extremely efficient and nice, is very loud. She has awaken Bethany no less than 5x already this morning, for various things, none of which required her to be awakened. Goodness! Anyway, efficiency can go a long way. I've posted a note of the door to "Please be quiet upon entering and keep lights off."

When Dr. Healy came this morning, he said that, although there isn't any definitive way to determine if Bethany is suffering the side effects of the meningitis, he was going to continue to treat her as if she is. He has consulted with the Infectious Disease Doctor, and Bethany will have another IV pic line put in today. This will allow her to be on IV antibiotics for 5-6 weeks at home.

Bethany's goals today are: sit up, stand up, and walk without extreme headaches; eat more than just a couple of nibbles; work with physical therapy. Bethany has already eaten 1/2 of a bagel with cream cheese and about 6 spoonfuls of oatmeal. This is much better than anything she has attempted before. She is currently attempting to sleep, and then we will attempt to sit up in a chair.

Bethany is definitely looking A LOT better than she has been; her face is no longer gaunt, and her eyes no longer have dark circles under them. It's been difficult to get much rest, as this hallway is extremely loud. Because she is in a Pallative Care room in the hospital, it is assumed that the person in the room is near death. Need I say any more?

Update: the nurse just quietly came in, emphasis on 'quietly,' and gave Bethany some medication. Finally, 'quietly!'

Saints, Bethany still needs prayers for the following:

•Complete recovery without any long term side effects;
•That she is able to remain comfortable throughout her stay;
•That she is able to be weened from the Dilatid PCN, without any extreme pain;
•That she is able to continue to keep nutrition down;
•That her spirits aren't diminished any more than they already are.

More prayer requests:

•Nik Shay is still very sick with C-diff. His symptoms have not improved since the beginning of November. Doctors think he may have develooped Crohns Disease. That Nik be totally, supernaturally healed of any and all C-diff and that it has not developed into either collitis or crohns disease;

•My mother is still in Beaumont Hospital, in Detroit, suffering from the effects of a recent diagnosis of a rare form of leukemia. That she is kept comfortable, her pain is relieved, her symptoms are diminished, and that she, too, is supernaturally healed;

Bethany and I can't even begin to thank everyone enough for all of the love and support and PRAYERS you have offered up on her behalf. Blessings to each and every one of you.

Love, Shari and Bethany