17 July 2011

Oh Love

I have had a blast w/ my cousins here- oh how it's so amazing to be WELL again; I feel like a NEW person & can't help but smile!! Today we did a photo shoot- yes, I actually WANTED my picture taken! Who would've known?! lol OMG- I had a BLAST! It was better then taking my senior pics; partly because I was severely Anorexic when I took my senior pics & also because my amazing aunt was taking the pics- it was a BLAST!! I recall taking my senior pics- I blacked out every couple minutes but never told anyone that I had lost sight for a couple seconds. I had ZERO energy; I also remember him lifting me onto the top of the stone arch w/ one hand. I didn't think I looked skinny enough in the pics; let me phrase that differently- ED didn't think I was skinny enough! I remember praying to God to give me the energy to just GET THROUGH the session w/out fainting. Today was COMPLETELY different! I wanted to keep going 4ever! I'm SO excited about the pics- they TOTALLY describe ME!! OMG- I wanna show everyone!! I have LIFE!!! Life is so beautiful!!

This weekend we talked about memories- both good & bad. This is the 1st time in almost 3 years I've actually opened up about my surgery- I don't remember EVER discussing it!! I honestly tried to go on with life as if it never happened. I was beyond ashamed & embarrassed- especially of my scar! It was so UGLY! I couldn't understand why I was in so much pain- I DIDN'T NEED medicine! Surgery was nothing, right?! I am still trying to wrap my mind around this surgery- I don't know why it's taken me so long! Ugh! My family was telling me of THEIR experience w/ my surgery since I honestly don't remember very much of it. I forgot that right after surgery there was a little boy who was hit in the head w/ a horse whip & his brain was rapidly swelling- he was rushed into surgery & there was EXTREME chaos (I was oblivious to this due to the anesthesia & pain). Nurses & doctors were doing everything they could to save this tiny child's life. I wasn't allowed any pain meds until after the anesthesia wore off; well, due to the chaos my pain meds were WAY behind schedule- I was laying on an open wound- 21 screws & 2 rods- and I wasn't allotted any pain meds. I remember my mom was nearly beside herself during this time- she literally passed out because of the pain I was going through & she could do nothing about. She says I would moan, my eyes rolled backwards & I was clear sweaty & bloated due to the "trauma". I remember none of this- my mom tells me that at one point the pain was so intense that my dad laid his hands on me & prayed- crying out to God to help me. Several moments later I was able to fall asleep & my pain meds began working. There IS A God!! I was in the recovery room for over 3 hours- it normally takes 45 min.-1 hr- due to the chaos of the dying little boy. I'm sad to report that this little boy passed away that day- I hope & pray he is sitting at the feet of God, playing in Heaven & sitting on Jesus' lap.

 I remember waking up in ICU & seeing the beautiful & calming faces of Sam & Randy. I could hardly keep my eyes open, however due to the pain, exhaustion & meds. My grandma tells me of how in ICU I had a male nurse- she told me when he went out of the room that he was my nurse & I replied "he is NOT my nurse!!" She pointed to his name on the board & I had no comeback- she was right!! He had to turn me every 1/2 hr. or so off of my back- at those times I sighed with relief as the pressure was OFF my wound! Another memory I have is waking up to Dr. S the day I was released! I had my 1st good night's sleep as I decided to sleep on my belly. I had tried b4 but was unsuccessful due to all of the tubes, IV's, etc. Also, I needed help rolling myself over. My back was so weak from the surgery & was still healing- think about it; your back is basically the center of your body & what keeps you standing, gives strength, etc. It seems to me like I'm acting like a baby- please understand that I'm NOT exaggerating or do NOT intend to! I have minimized this surgery for years; I had no idea but others did.

I remember the ride home from the hospital- the LONGEST ride of my life! The bumps seemed never-ending & ever increasing in intensity- it also hurt to sit back in the seat & was uncomfortable & also took alot of energy just to sit up. I remember the tremendous amount of support I received from my family in Christ- it was AMAZING! So much love! Thank you again for being so incredibly supportive & empathetic!

 About 1 1/2 weeks after surgery we drove 9 hrs. away to my cousins wedding- I was so excited to see my oldest cousin tie the knot! This surgery was NOT going to keep me out of the action! The car ride was very uncomfortable- thankfully my amazing siblings allowed me to have the entire back seat to stretch my egg crate on & to sleep. I HATED taking the pain medicine & I remember refusing to take the required amount- I was very stubborn when it came to pain! I HATED to show pain!! I remember sitting for the 1st time post surgery on wooden benches- it was a strange sensation! I also remember somehow staying awake & standing all day- only God is my answer for this! I didn't have to miss my 1st cousin's wedding!!! We had a campfire after the wedding (we camped in a campground) & we all sat around the fire. The kids also went hiking & exploring the campground w/ our handy flashlights- I remember running down a hill for the 1st time post surgery- it felt SO FREEING!! I have so many good memories of this weekend- staying up all night talking & laughing, exploring, etc.

Several days after we returned I attended the 1st day of school- I remember taking a pillow (my mom insisted) but never using it. The next day was P.E.- my FAVORITE part of school!! It killed me to not be able to participate. I was prohibited from participating in P.E. for at least a month post surgery, I believe. I remember being dropped off at home during P.E.- I was home alone so I took advantage of this- I ran on the treadmill for hours until my siblings came home from school. Sometimes I was able to get by w/ running 2x daily. I was DETERMINED to not lose my athleticism & my muscle tone which I'd worked so hard for! I was determined to get right back into sports- right where I left off prior to surgery. I ran despite the piercing pain- I viewed it as accomplishment, I guess. The whole goal of this surgery is for the rods & my spine to fuse & become a single unit hence the bone grafting. My spine was not yet fused attributing to the pain & uncomfortableness. I remember getting to participate in P.E. for the 1st time post surgery- I believe it was several months post surgery. It felt so good, yet I was extremely disappointed w/ myself for not being as "good" as I was prior to surgery.

 I remember in track & field for my last time prior to surgery being prohibited by my doctor to participate in ANY competitive sports or tournaments. I wanted more then anything to participate- actually, I believe I did compete despite being prohibited to do so (shh...... don't tell Dr. S! ;) ). My peers didn't understand  why I couldn't participate- it wouldn't be the same!! I was accused of "trying to get out of competing"- totally the opposite of my intentions but I can't change others opinions & beliefs.

Post surgery it absolutely killed me to sit on the sidelines in volleyball as volleyball season was beginning. I was no longer a starter. I however faithfully attended practices- NOTHING was going to keep me "off the floor" & from sliding around. I was determined to work myself back up. Sports was my life- what else was there?! One of my loves has always been to dive - anywhere, whether on cement, grass, in mud, etc- I love to get INTO it! I remember diving on the cement court for the 1st time after surgery- everyone was so worried except for me! I also remember playing my absolute heart out on the court during scrimmages, practices & tournaments - I didn't count these as competitive. I remember that my mom was NOT happy w/ me- she was scared I'd mess something up in my back. I just liked to prove others wrong- that I COULD do it! I wasn't relying on God for my strength & advice. Sports had become my idol for a long time & little did I believe "you can only serve one master". God showed me this by replacing my idol w/ Himself.

 This is about all I can remember a the moment as I've never spent much time on this subject until recently. I've literally watched the 1 hr. live broadcast of a spinal fusion 10x or more- I am absolutely AMAZED & blown away- my mind cannot yet grasp this concept. Seeing the open wound, the blood lost replaced with my own donations, screws put in, rods literally hammered in between these screws for security, the actual bending & shaping of the spine- I had NO idea this was how they did it! Until I watched this movie I knew they had drilled holes into my body, but SEEING did wonders for me. I didn't realize the complexity- the pushing on the body to loosen up the spine - words cannot describe or explain what I felt while watching this & what I experienced. My eyes were opened to new horizons; one of my dreams is to witness- to be in the OR during a spinal fusion. I can't fully explain the experience- I learn by experiencing myself- words can only do so much. I'm beginning to think of this experience- I don't like to consider it as traumatic but a part of me believes it was. I don't know if it is for everyone, though.

07 July 2011

My Beautiful Exhausting Journey

Wow - I knew life was going to be crazy but God once again out-shown me! I'm so sorry, first of all, for not socializing more w/ everyone during these past 5 weeks - I've been working my butt off! I didn't by any means try to ignore anyone- I've just been overwhelmed with changes! I have to admit, when I don't put my full trust in God but instead try to get through life on my own, I feel WAY overwhelmed! It has been extremely difficult to find the balance between God, college & homework, a job, volunteering, friends, housework, etc. When I give it over to God, however I feel so free! It's so hard for me to grasp that God wants to take these burdens for me - that  life CAN be easier. I tend to always want to take the hard way, well most of the time! :) How can God allow life to be so easy? Don't I have to do something or have to work & earn anything?! I tend to make life circumstances more difficult then they actually are!

This week I had to write another essay on homosexuality and to find my voice in the world of writing. It was my "last chance" to speak my thoughts and to give my own opinion. I was beyond overwhelmed at the thought of speaking my mind, having to provide reasons for what I believed and also we weren't allowed to say "the Bible says this so I believe it". I gave this over to God to give me words. I kept telling myself my essay sucked & wanted to redo it, but couldn't because it was time to go to bed. The next day I dreaded reading my essay aloud; it had too much about God & I was terrified about being ridiculed and persecuted. Also, I thought again that it sounded like crap & made no sense. God once again proved me wrong! As I read my essay, my peers were speechless- not by what I had written but what God had written! I chose to let God work & speak through me & he more then fulfilled His promise! Previous essays which were read were about the cruelty, judgment, etc. of Christians, etc. I was so afraid of reading mine out of fear of judgment. However, when I read it some were moved to tears; I was SHOCKED! I thought it sucked & definitely minimized God's abilities! Hearts of people totally opposed to the "Christian view" were softened and I was awestruck by my God! They told me nothing needed to be changed & that I should write a book; please, I don't want you to think that I did this- it was merely God, although I WOULD like to take the credit! :) heehee. One of the strengths I've gained in this class is to think outside of the box- my essays are always unexpected and begin with twists leaving readers wondering "what in the world is she talking about?!" I LOVE to bring out unexpectedness and difference! I've searched & indeed found a way to bring out my own perspective on things & it's so amazing! I LOVE the shock factor!! This class has tested me in terrifying and excruciating ways, but I wouldn't change a thing! I've become stronger because of the grace of God! My hard work well-paid off! My goal was to do my best and to excel in this class - to improve my writing skills if writing was meant for me. God showed me that writing is indeed one of my callings - this class turned out to be amazingly challenging with incredible amounts of homework but God did indeed help me to excel at this class- PLEASE, I DO NOT want to brag! My intent is for you to see the INCREDIBLE strength of my God! He has once again proved me wrong!

After my Writing class I had to take my Algebra 2 final- I was terrified! It was on the computer which I hate! I like to write out my math & receive credit for a question even if I entered it wrong! Well, God helped me once again! I finished it in half the time I'd expected and got to go home & get ready b4 going into ACH; the lady at the surgery desk hurt her back so they wanted me to come in as soon as possible. After eating lunch & getting ready, I arrived b4 12 & got to work! I've NEVER run the desk during the day, let alone on a Wednesday(one of the busiest days!). God once again helped me- it was complete insanity up in the surgery waiting area! Everyone seemed to come at once & there was only one of me!! Doctors came out suddenly, the phone rang off the hook, I was running back & forth taking families back to recovery, & had to page the families for the doctors and nurses- this is all I remember as it went by so quickly! Wow- I have a new respect for those running the desk during the day on Wednesdays! I felt so incredibly overwhelmed to catch up, but once again God was right beside me. I felt like my head was going to explode yet had to stay "sane"! lol However, despite the insanity, God gave me a slight sense of calmness. Love keeps me going- I can't help but smile when I'm at ACH and yesterday wasn't an exception. I LOVE that place! Finally toward 4 it calmed down & I could actually sit down! lol I was reading my Bible & one couple asked me if my book was good- I was like YES! It's the Bible! I LOVE to be a witness and disciple for Christ! I wanted to leave by 4 because I still had my last final essay for the semester to write, but stayed for the sake of the families. One family had a child receiving a spinal fusion, so I wanted to stay & take them back to see their child. I told them I also had a spinal fusion & they were amazed & encouraged. The doctors were running WAY behind schedule, so I stayed to help them out. Finally the time arrived to take the family back to the ICU waiting area. On the way there we talked as it's quite a distance back there. She questioned me about the surgery & recovery, etc. I'm so GRATEFUL God chose me to receive this surgery & placed me there as hope to a hurting family- it makes everything beyond worth it!! I can now encourage & advise others who also require surgery & can be a living example- I can sympathize!! Wow- I NEVER anticipated this b4 surgery as I didn't know anyone who also had a spinal fusion. The doctors here are AMAZING! Well, most of them! lol Tomorrow I get to go back @ 8 AM until 4! Woohoo! No school!! God really does make beauty from ashes! 

Last night once I FINALLY got home I had to write a paper. :( Well, our power went out to make things even more difficult! So, I finished my other assignments due today which did not require internet and then went to bed. This morning God helped me to finish my essay & to complete all of my other final homework! I can only pray that God uses my essay to speak to others & that it even makes sense! I pray that my voice, God's voice would be made known loud & clear; that I can make a stand! I was terrified of my grades because of the intense competitiveness in nursing- I want so badly to be a nurse & will do anything God leads me to do. However, I was trying at times to do it on my own- didn't work out so well! :) I've learned to put my full trust in God as scary as that is! He hasn't let me down so far, so I'm trusting Him! I still have doubts, insecurities and fears but God is substantial. I pray that His will becomes my own! God, use me!!

01 July 2011

What Caused Me to Have SSA? Part 3 – The Role of Abuse

What Caused Me to Have SSA? Part 3 – The Role of Abuse

This is an incredible ministry let alone article. I am so amazed!! My eyes have been opened even wider when I thought they couldn't possibly stretch any further! As I've said before, when I signed up for Writing I, I had no idea what I was getting myself into! 16 weeks crammed into 5 weeks is crazy when I think about it- 2 essays a week plus "digging" into issues I've never searched myself for. I had NO idea the amount of soul searching which would be required in this class; in all honesty I picked it because I thought it would be an easy way out. Wrong!! lol

I have had to do some tremendous soul searching and truth seeking during this semester, which only has 2 more days!! Woohoo! lol ANYWAY, it has been hard but through it I can honestly say I've come out stronger. I've had to search my heart, my beliefs, etc. for hard & essentially important issues which I'd never thought about prior to this class. Subjects like Racism, sexual orientation, marriage/ divorce, sexual harassment, etc. Honestly, I was living in a fairytale prior to this class; I was aware yet unaware/naive (if that makes sense) to the darkness & cruelty of this ever-increasingly fallen world. As I've mentioned before, I struggle with black & white thinking; so to me the thought of good AND evil existing in ONE world was impossible & didn't make sense; to me this sounds stupid but it's literally a cognitive distortion I faced and continue to face. I've had to come to terms these past five weeks with the harsh reality that this world is fallen and evil & I don't have all of the answers. I want so badly to take all of the evil & darkness out of this world - to bring EVERYONE to Christ; however this is unrealistic, sadly! I can either choose to get discouraged that my "dream" is impossible or I can choose to follow it anyway, knowing that in reality not EVERYONE will come to Christ as I wish could! "Happiness doesn't mean that everything is perfect, but that you've decided to see past its/life's imperfections." So true! If I would wait until everything was perfect to be happy, I'd NEVER be happy! Happiness is a choice available to EVERYONE!! NO ONE is exempt no matter what the circumstances! God truly does change ashes into beauty! Sorry, I'm going off in a tangent! My mind has so many thoughts whirling around in it as life is insanity!

My next and LAST essay topic is on sexual orientation. This, at first I didn't even need to think about- it was an automatic no-no because the Bible said so! Well, I couldn't use this as proof and my stance on an issue- this class requires "wallowing in complexity", empathy & an open mind. It was hard at first for me to come to homosexuality with an open mind, even though I'd never researched & dug into this issue for myself. In college there are so many different viewpoints & opinions- that's an understatement!! Those who "speak the loudest" are the ones, obviously, we hear from the most. This world has actually become, in my opinion "black or white"- right or wrong. It seems to me that people have lost respect for each others beliefs and instead want to prove them wrong & to in fact BE RIGHT themselves! WE have all of the answers seems to be the key thought. When this happens, I don't believe that we can solve these issues with the attitude of in fact, pride that OUR view or whatever is BEST! Humility is lacking - GOD is lacking! God can't be the leader if we ourselves choose to dictate our own lives and thoughts. Anyway, in class there is so much bashing of the Christian faith- there's ALWAYS a fault in everything as that's the easiest part to find- however beauty is what is harder to find & requires hard & dedicated effort. It would be much easier for me to abandon my faith at school as I seem to be a minority as a Christian there. I could get discouraged about what this "nation under God" is turning into; however, I'm taking a stand to make Christianity the MAJORITY! I feel so misinterpreted, misunderstood, overlooked, etc. as a Christian- Stereotypes are hurtful! God was right when He said this life wouldn't be easy! I am searching deeply into the issue of homosexuality as this essay is a chance for me as a Christian to "be heard" & take my stand as a writer. After briefly researching homosexuality I've come to see it through new eyes- it is indeed an addiction just as an eating disorder is. After I looked at it through the eyes of an addiction & an eating disorder, I was able to empathize and better understand. THAT made sense! In class we were given a handout on Exodus International Ministries & they indeed "tore it to pieces" & even the Christian faith as a GROUP! They "trashed" Christianity I now realize! I had NO idea what this ministry & was well aware that there are indeed false prophets in this world so I began to doubt this ministry by what my teacher said about it without even giving this organization a chance! After talking with one of my bff's Leigh Ann, she encouraged me to check out this website & I was in shock! I would've missed a HUGE & beautiful picture of Christ! I've learned that I cannot go by what OTHERS say about something- MY OPINION COUNTS & is valid! We are all so different yet want to put each other into an identical box- IMPOSSIBLE! We can't function properly without diversity! GOD is the judge! My faith has been tested and indeed strengthened and I choose to take a risk and enforce or enlighten the goal of this ministry & to show my own perspective- to decrease the stereotype of Christians as judgmental, hateful, etc. people. I want to make it clear that I, as a Christian do not hate people, I hate sin; those two things are completely different! I am taking a stand for Christianity! Now, I don't want you to look at me differently now - as someone lower or indeed higher then you but I am not going to change your thoughts! Just know that all things are possible through Christ- He is my source of strength & the same can be true for anyone! God is working in me as He is in you also, if you're willing to give Him control! I love you all & pray for strength and encouragement for each one of you! I have an amazing support system around me- beauty surrounds me!