Saturday, November 29, 2014

Counting My Blessings

Ephesians 5:20 “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This week represents a time of Thanksgiving in our nation, and it gives focus to Americans on being thankful for our blessings. As a child of God I am thankful every day, but I often spend more time complaining than I do thanking God for His grace and mercy.  I have to admit that some days I struggle to find the blessings - not because they aren't there but because I get wrapped up in the bad stuff.  I'm working to change my perspective. 

I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to follow Jesus without fear for my life or true persecution. 

I am thankful to have spent over 33 years married to the man I fell in love with at age 18.  Our marriage is good - not perfect, but we have enjoyed many more happy times than not so happy.

I appreciate the simple upbringing I had in a home with parents who taught me wrong from right, made me behave, gave me what I needed but not everything I wanted, held me to high expectations but allowed me to fail, and loved each other and their children unconditionally. 

I am grateful for my mom who had the courage to leave an abusive marriage when I was 8 months old and lived with various relatives, eeking out a living to make sure I was fed and kept safe. 

I am eternally grateful that my dad (the man who raised me) loved my mom and me enough to accept us as a whole package when he married my mom 55 years ago. 

I am thankful for the children God blessed us with. He gave us a strong-willed spirited girl who is a beautiful woman of Christ today. She is a wonderful wife, an excellent teacher, and a huge blessing to her family. He gave us a baby boy who was blessed to be taken straight to Heaven and is waiting for us there. He gave us a second son who gave us great joy, kept us laughing and broke our hearts when he could not deal with his illness of addiction. I am thankful he now lives with Jesus and waits for us. 

I am humbled and grateful that God allows me to care for Billy with the help of family and friends. I hope to someday thank God for a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. 

What a blessing it is to have my mom live with me now.  At a time when she needs me to care for her, I can do that just as she did for me. 

I am blessed and grateful. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sixty Nine Days

My last blog post was 69 days ago on September 8th.  We had recently placed Billy on hospice care, and my dad was still living.  These are some of the events of the last 69 days:

  • On September 14th, Billy's nurse called to tell me he had fallen out of his chair onto the floor of the dining room and an ambulance was being called.  He received nine stitches along his brown line.  Henceforth, when no one is watching Billy, they are to recline his chair so he won't lean forward and fall out.
  • On September 18th, we visited my dad at his care facility and realized he could no longer hold up his head and was not making eye contact.  He ate very little. 
  • On September 22nd when we saw Dad he never opened his eyes and would not eat.  
  • On September 24th, Dad had his 78th birthday. The staff propped him up and tried to feed him. We sang happy birthday to him, and he never responded. 
  • On September 28th, Dad went home to eternity at 1:30am.  
  • We celebrated Dad's life on October 1st and laid his body to rest. 
  • During most of September, Mom worked on getting in with a gastroenterologist following her last hospital stay.  I am amazed at the practices of the group of gastro docs in the mid-cities area of DFW.  Because my mom saw a gastro doctor in Dallas three years before, none of them in that area would see my mom.  My doctor in Grapevine agreed to see her and do the scope she needed.  During the three week delay, her pain increased almost daily. 
  • After Dad's funeral on October 1st, Mom had a colonoscopy on October 7th.  I think we knew what we would hear, but we hoped differently. Mom's cancer has moved into her colon and created a blockage.  That doctor told her she needed to see the oncologist right away.  Apparently right away in doctor language is 8 days later. 
  • On October 15th, the oncologist told Mom she would need to have a colostomy.  Mom told him NO. He offered other possibilities.  They did not work. 
  • On October 21st, we returned to the oncologist.  Mom was worse.  She had a transfusion on October 22nd and was scheduled to see the colon surgeon on October 29th.  
  • On October 25th, Team BK walked in the annual Walk to End ALZ!  We raised over $2,700 to benefit Alzheimer's research.  THANK YOU, Team BK! 
  • On October 29th, we took Mom to see the surgeon who scheduled her surgery for October 31st.  The surgery was considered palliative.  
  • On October 31st, Mom had successful surgery. The surgeon was able to see the cancer but did not attempt to remove any of it.  He did reroute Mom's colon, and she is now learning a new way of life.  She hates it, but she has maintained a sense of humor. 
Those are the biggies of those sixty-nine days. Along the way, I saw Billy several days a week, and I think he's pretty stable at the moment. His smile keeps us going, and we are so grateful that he shows recognition by reaching out to us and smiling.  His college buddy, Don Garrett, came by to see him last week, and he seemed to recognize Don.  Every day with an alert Billy is a blessing. 

With everything going on in our lives, it seems that grieving my dad's loss has been somewhat delayed by Mom, my sister and me. Mom looks forward to seeing Dad and so many loved ones in Heaven soon. I understand that, but we are not ready for her to leave so soon. So many of you have prayed for us, and we know that.  Thank you. I continue to stand on God's promises. 

Revelation 21:4 
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."