Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
As I wrote in my last entry I am feeling almost normal again which, as good as that sounds, has it's downside too!!! I am the one in our household who has pretty much always took care of everything concerning the running of the house.... laundry, cleaning etc... I have never really asked the kids for much help since they are in school all day and I have been blessed with the ability to stay home (even when I worked it was usually night shift). I have thought many times that I was not doing my kids any favors by doing everything for them, even cleaning their rooms. I have thought about how I needed to have them do these things so they would not grow up ignorant to the woman's role in maintaining a home:). It has always been easier for me to just do it while they were in school instead of waiting till they came home to teach them how to do the laundry and cleaning. Well I have said all that to say... the downside to feeling normal... While I was "not myself" my girls took over, without ever being asked, and cleaned my house weekly just like I have always done!!!! They kept the laundry done, which is not an easy task in this household with everyone working at the store and smelling like grease from cooking, we do five loads a day!!! Some of you moms, like me, probably have never experienced this joy, so let me tell you about it!!!! Imagine sitting in your recliner, laying back on your favorite pillow, covered with a fussy blanket, controlling the remote, sipping a cold can of diet coke and watching as your lovely, previously untrained children, sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, scrub the tub, scrub the toilet etc...just like you would do it... hard to even fathom...but pure heaven!!! This was my life up until this week when they seemed to realize Mom's pretty much back to OK!!!!! Oh well, it was great while it lasted!!!! Seriously girls, I'm extremely proud of you and thankful for the way you all just took over and kept things done. I feel like the luckiest Mom in the world, so don't spend time contemplating what to get me for Mother's Day as you usually do, You've done enough!!! I Love you bunches!!!!
Tomorrow is the day we travel back to Nashville for my appointment with the Radiology Oncologist. I would be lying if I said I was not a little nervous about this visit. Our radiology oncologist friend in Florida, after reviewing my path report, was of the opinion that I would not need radiation treatments. I am just anxious to hear it from this Dr. at Vanderbilt who has been in direct consultation with my surgeon. I know it is in the Lord's hands and what ever His will for me is, He will provide the grace. Please help me to pray His will be done.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Lord has been good to me. I know there are so many people going through unimaginable grief, that my little ordeal seems quite trivial. The Lord has shown me so much over the last few months. Some times it seems like we dwell on the bad things in this world and spend little time looking at all the good. The Lord has opened my eyes to the fact that there is still a lot of good in this life. I am still amazed at the thoughtfulness of His children. I have received cards, letters, phone calls, and e-mails from so many people, even from people that I really don't know well, who have took the time out of their lives to let me know they are thinking of me and praying for me. It has truly been an amazing, humbling experience. There have been many times that I have felt the prayers for me, and know it was because of God's people praying for me that I have made it through as well as I have.
I can still only open my mouth about a half an inch and my diet still consists mainly of some form of potatoes. But on the up side, I have lost 20 pounds, without even breaking a sweat!!! The inside of my mouth is not sore except for one little place where my mouth piece rubs. Since I haven't been able to open my mouth very wide I have not been able to fully acess the "damage", but it feels like it is healing well on the inside. I have not had the courage to let my tongue travel inside any of the surgically created crevices though!!!! If I ever do I will let you know what it feels like . I think if my tongue was just a little bit longer I could probably stick it out my nose, wouldn't that be cool!!!! I woke up this morning, forgetting I was a changed woman, and popped open my diet coke can and took a big gulp, just like old times. Well ,needless to say, as I was running to the bath room with coke foam spewing out my nostrils I quickly remembered things aren't quite what they use to be!!!!
On a more serious note.... I have an appointment with the radiology oncologist this Thursday, April 30, at Vanderbilt. I will find out if I have to have radiation treatments. Please help me pray the Lord's will will be done in this matter.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I spoke to their dad this afternoon and he told me Drew had gotten saved back a few months ago and that was all that was getting them through this difficult time.
Some things in life leave us wondering why? We look for the reason, the purpose. We search in vain for understanding.
I have never asked “why me”, since getting my diagnosis. I look around and see the trials and heartaches all around me and am left thinking “why not me”. So many people are hurting. So many hearts are breaking. So many are facing trials and physical pains, I cannot imagine the depth of their hurt. I don’t understand. I don’t know why so many good people are facing the challenges they are facing. There is nothing I can do within myself to erase the misery from even one persons life. There is nothing I can do to change one individuals suffering. But I praise the Lord that I know Him. The One who can give comfort in our time of need. The One who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. I have bowed before Him more than once in the last year, so broken in spirit, not knowing what words to pray, yet He knew my heart. His grace has been sufficient.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wendell continues to force therapy on me, all the while threatening to send me to the nursing home for rehab!!! I think he really enjoys the fact that it is hard for me to argue with him now. He’s like Hitler’s sidekick!!!!!
I think I may have met my life time Quota on potatoes. I have ingested every variety known to man in the last few weeks!!! Mashed, stewed, souped, baked, creamed, boiled, with gravy, without gravy……..
I hadn’t been out of the house except for Dr. visits and our failed attempt at Church attendance Sunday. I was starting to go a little stir crazy, so we went to Cracker Barrel yesterday and to a couple stores in Knoxville. It felt good to get out.
When we leave the house I am now like a baby, I have to take my "diaper bag."
The paper towels for drooling, tissue paper for spewing (liquids out my nostrils), my bottle of Sprite, my plastic spoon (metal utinsils scrape my teeth), And my life saving pain meds!!!!
It is quite funny seeing people’s reaction to my speech impairment!!! Once I open my mouth it is like they just were not expecting to hear what comes out!! Some people look down, following their Mommas advice, “ it’s not nice to stare”. Some just smile really big and nod their heads pretending to understand every word I say!!! And some just look very uncomfortable like they hadn’t realized I was mentally challenged!!!! It’s quite entertaining!!!
The girls and I love to pop in a CD when we’re driving down the mountain and beller, I mean sing at the top of our lungs. We each choose a part and let it rip!!! I came to the sad realization yesterday that my singing abilities have been greatly hindered!!! I relayed this to the girls that I just might not be able to hit those notes as well as I use to!!! I could’nt really tell how disappointed they were, but Punky did say,” Yea Mom, since you have always really Nailed those notes!!!!”
Please pray for a friend of ours, Melissa Nichols who is in Oak Ridge ICU after having a kidney removed due to cancer. She should know of the Pathology results within the next couple days as to her treatment.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Wendell did some internet research on lock jaw and has come up with his version of a therapy plan for me. I take out my mouth piece and rinse with salt water for about ten minutes. We put the heating pad on my jaws and he rubs my muscles, I insert tongue depressors, stacked on top of each other, in my mouth and pry them up and down to force my mouth open, a little at a time. We usually start with five and have been able, before finishing a session, to get as many as ten in. Then I put ice on my jaws for ten or fifteen minutes. This process can be painful and I must admit I whine a lot, wanting to stop long before Wendell thinks we should!!! It really does help me to be able to open my mouth a little bit wider, the only problem is, it closes back up within an hour or two.
Wendell decided to cook Easter dinner and have his Mom and Dad, Kim and Robbie, Kelvy and Megan, Stephanie and Michael, and Uncle Raymond over to eat. I have to admit it was kind of neat getting up to find him in the kitchen bustling around, preparing everything, instead of me. Wow, it really felt good to just have to worry about getting myself ready for church while he did everything I would normally do!!!!! He and Kiah had made two pies the night before, one coconut cream, which is my favorite, and one Lemon.
We did therapy and then prepared to go to church. I didn’t take my pain meds because I knew I would sleep during church. By the time we got to church I knew it was a bad idea. My jaw muscles were spasming, and we were only able to make it through the singing and then had to leave.
Once home and medicated I was able to enjoy our guests and I was able to enjoy eating more than I have since surgery. I was so excited!!!! I ate mashed potatoes, gravy off of a roast his Mom made, and cream style corn. It went down well and did not take me an hour to eat!!!!! My swallowing has improved!!!!! I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get hungry again so I could eat more!!!!! Karen sent another coconut cream pie I will start on today, and Steven made me a huge banana pudding which I had for breakfast today!!!! Boy, it was good!!!!
I feel as if I am on the mend. I feel as if I am on my way to what will be my new normal. Sometimes I begin to let my mind wonder, thinking about all that has changed for me. Thinking how abnormal I probably seem now. But I quickly push these thoughts out of my mind by thinking of all I do have. I am truly blessed beyond measure. I know the Lord has a purpose for this in my life and I am anxious to know His will for me in this.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I can remove the mouth piece on my own which makes me feel a lot better. My speech is a lot worse though. I can no longer answer the phone because it is hard for people to understand me. The few times I have been out in public I have hated talking. People just look at me like I am mentally challenged!!! Wendell can pretty much understand everything I say and interprets to others for me!!!
This blog pretty much brings my details up to date. I pretty much took pain meds and slept for the first 15 days after surgery, only going out to Dr. appointments. I started feeling quite a bit better on about the 16th day after surgery. I still have to have my pain meds about 3 or 4 times during the day because of muscle spasm in my jaws and face. I can only eat smooth, creamy things like mashed potatoes, soup juice, or puddings. My portion control is great!!! It takes me about 30-40 minutes to eat a small store bought Jello pudding. I can only open my mouth about a half an inch and my speech is frightening to young children!!!
I am thankful for my God and His precious grace that has got me and Wendell through this. He has made Himself so real in my heart and life. Once again I marvel at His goodness.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The first week after returning home I spent most of my time sleeping and taking pain meds every couple of hours. I could drink fairly well. As far as eating goes… If I could get a tablespoon of soup juice down twice a day I was doing well! Oral surgery is wonderful for portion control!!!
Wendell, Stephanie and I made the trip to Brentwood, outside of Nashville, to Dr. Clayton, the prosthodentist, on Wednesday April 1st. Stephanie was all about going to see “the hole”!!! Dr. Clayton had a time getting the wires lose from my teeth, gums and roof of my mouth. Stephanie was all eyes. Wendell was not. When he finally got all the wires out and the obturator pulled down off my teeth he could not get it out of my mouth. There I sat with this big thing stuck in my mouth, trying not to gag, and thinking there’s no way it was coming out. But after much pulling, tugging, bleeding, and praying he got it. All the pink bubble gum looking stuff was what was stuck in the hole.
Stephanie was no longer all eyes!!! She was as white as Joshua Poland’s legs!!! The nurse had to bring her a little candy bar and something to drink to keep her from passing out!!! She then decided she would wait in the waiting room for us!!! Such a Trooper!!!!
Well after grinding the obturator down quite a bit he got it back in and had me take it out and put it in. I was only able to get it in once, he had to do it the other times, so I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to do it at home.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Some people may have wondered why I didn’t postpone my surgery after my Mom’s passing the day before. We prayed a lot about what to do. I had found this tumor in October, I don’t know how long it had been there, but I didn’t get the diagnosis until January and then was not able to be scheduled for surgery until March 24th. The tumor was growing and there are some types of oral cancer that are very aggressive. We would not know which type this was until we received the pathology report after surgery. If I rescheduled it would be almost another month before they could do it. My Dad and the rest of my family were pretty insistent that I go ahead with the surgery and they would wait until I could be there before having my Mom’s services. My going ahead and having surgery was a decision we made after much prayer, we know it was the Lord’s will. I know it may sound a little selfish, but God was in control of everything that was transpiring and even though I didn’t understand the timing then, I do now!!! God is so good!
I was released from the hospital on Friday, March 27th. I was still taking pain meds every 2 hours, which worked quite well unless I got behind on taking them, then it would take awhile to get the pain back under control.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We showed up for surgery on March 24th. After being admitted, changing into a drafty hospital gown, and starting an IV, the doctor came in to talk to us. He gave us the unexpected option of having reconstruction done that day. So we began weighing the pros and cons….. pros: I would get it all over with during one surgery, I would not have to use the obturator, my speech would be normal. Cons: It is a very extensive surgery, 12 hours, recovery time consists of three days in ICU and a one week or longer hospital stay, I would have to have a tracheotomy. The thought of getting it all done at one time was very appealing to me, I hated the thought of going through the anxiety and additional pain again. After much thought and prayer, and I am certain due to those praying for me, we made the decision to not do the reconstruction at that time. I have thanked God every day since, that He helped us to make that decision, I honestly don’t know if I could have handled any more at this time. Oh how sweet to have Him to turn to during times of uncertainty.
So off to the OR I went. The surgery lasted about 4 or 4 ½ hours. I can remember, knowing I was in the recovery room and hearing some friends and family talking to me. I had given Wendell instuctions to take pictures of every step, when I was back to normal I wanted to be able to see exactly what all went on. I must say HE LISTENED to me. I have some extremely unflatering pictures of me in the recovery room with friends and family!!! I did not become fully awake until I was in a room later that day. My mouth was extremely dry, and I could not differentiate between my tongue, teeth jaws, etc… everything was swollen and felt like one. It was probably about two days before I could really tell there were individual parts in there!!! I could talk, not well but Wendell and Steph could make out what I was saying. The first 24 hrs. after surgery were pretty rough. I have a usually high pain tolerance, but after receiving pain meds by IV every four hours for the first 24 hrs. I was to my limit. The IV meds would put me to sleep for 10 or 15 minutes but would not ease the pain. When I was finally able to make them understand this, they gave me a pain patch, and one of two different pain meds every two hours by mouth, and a Moraphine pump that I could administer myself every 8 minutes. Sounds like enough to make the devil forget his problems, but all I can say is it helped!!!
Well the meds are getting the best of me, so I will write more details later. Before I go, there is one other thing I want to say about the goodness of God.
When Wendell & I were driving to Nashville, on the night after being at Fort Sanders Hospital all day, and losing my Mother so unexpectedly, I told Wendell I know God has a purpose for everything happening as it does but I just couldn't possibily understand at that time His purpose in the timing of things happening like they were. I would still trust Him even if I didn't understand. Today my Dad came to the house to visit me. We were talking and he told me he does not think he could have made it through if we had rushed through everything. He said he needed that time before her burial. Our God is so good!!! His Grace is sufficient!!! He did not owe me any explaination of His timing, but He chose to help me understand.
Monday, April 6, 2009
At Dr. Clayton's, we were able to get the prostheses out after some numbing medicine, however he was not able to get it back in. She is only able to open her mouth 1/3 the amount she was able to last Wednesday, when we last saw him. Therefore, they placed a very simple thin mouth piece, which does not completely cover the hole, in place of the prostheses until we can get the jaw muscles working properly again. By the way, she can talk but it is very hard to understand her and that can become very frustrating. I was talking to Brother Jones today and told him we just need to pray for more grace and I know you all have been and truly appreciate it.
On to Vandy we went to get more pain medicine and a terabyte (a tool used to excercise the jaw muscles) so hopefully we can get more jaw action going on. Please pray as this could become a serious situation.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
One member of my mom's Sunday School Class came up today and had a meal from KFC and a card for us that the class had purchased. They are some very kind people at White Oak.
I made some coconut pudding today and Debbie was able to eat a small bowl of it. That is major improvement. She was able to eat a little potato soup as well. Jess got her some vitamin water at Wal-Mart and she has been drinking that.
Thanks for all of the calls, cards, gifts and prayers. I cannot begin to imagine going through these days without the Lord and our church families. More tomorrow after we get back from Dr. Clayton's.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Even with the pain, we continue to thank God for the good news we have received earlier in the week. My wife has said to me more than once today "I feel so bad for others who are going through much worse pain for much longer." I have to agree but at the same time it hurts to see your wife suffer and not be able to eat as she has. Thanks again for your many prayers and concerns for our family.
On another note, a friend of mines wife has kidney cancer and is unsaved. Some of our church family will go to visit her tomorrow. Please pray God will deal with her heart.
Friday, April 3, 2009
We did receive some good news today from my Dr. friend who read the Pathology report and seems to think that no further treatment will be necessary. This is great news, yet we still need to see what Dr. Netterville says next Friday. We are trusting in the Lord and know He knows what we need. I am thankful He gives wisdom and knowledge to men and women that can aid in our physical needs. He is so good to us.
On another note, I have not taken the time to thank everyone for all of the nice things you have done for us during the loss of my mother-in-law and my wife's illness. So many have called, given us gifts, cooked food, sent cards and flowers, taken care of our children, taken care of our store business, helped me work around the house and offered to do anything we need done. Everything has been so timely and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your graciousness to our family. We are so blessed to know so many good people. Sorry I am a long blogger but I have so much to say I can't find a good stopping point. More tomorrow.