My Office Has A View

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And it has a bed too.  🙂  this is a portion of the paperwork from my charts that I’m sorting through, copying, and preparing to go to Chiari Specialists that have agreed to read it all.  Don’t know where it will go after that but its a start.

Irritation and Irradiation

Face down and strapped onto the surgical table, scrubbed and ready to get the facet joint injection my new PM doc, Dr. K., asked permission to change the procdure to an epidural. He felt it would be more effective as it would provide relief all around especially since I have a couple herniated disks.

If anyone wants to prove evolution they can’t do it by me…unless one is “proving” survival of the fittest. Then again, well…nevermind.

I did agree to the epidural but only because they were using the x-ray to ensure they didn’t do a spinal tap. Now that my neck has been sufficiently irritated and irradiated I get to take my pain meds while I wait for the steroids take effect.

Lookout facebook here comes “Alice”.

I think I better sign up my alter ego as a blog author. Should I categorize the posts under Wonderland, or down the rabbit hole? Who knows what things will grow before my very eyes. Ha! Ha!

Say What?

“Dr. U, has scheduled you for an intra-articular cervical facet joint injection.”  When Dr. U’s nurse called I had no clue what she was talking about.  I’m still learning.  That’s what I get for taking Animal Science classes in place of Biology and Anatomy and Physiology.

I think this will be another good “column” for my blog…medical terms related to Chiari and spinal degeneration.  Maybe?  What do you think?

I had the first injection December 28th and due to inflammation I had to reschedule the left side injection.  In a little less than 2 hours I’ll be propped up on my right side, wrapped in the sheet covering the table, and strapped down – so I don’t fall of the table. 

The nurse will clean the injection site with betadine, several times, and place surgical drapes over my shoulder, face, and head.

The xray technician will get the continuous x-ray machine going and moved into position over my neck.

Then the doctor sprays freezing cold spray onto my skin and begins to insert the needle.  He confirms with all in the surgery suite that he’s in the right place, in between the cervical facet joint.  And gives me the injection. 

The whole injection process takes about 10 mins.  And days to recover from…at least for my first shots that was the case.  We’ll see about these ones.  

This time I’m not getting any sedation.  So please pray I will be calm and comfortable.

Merrilly disappointed?!?!

How do you handle adversity and the many disappointments in life?  If you’re anything like me you want to change them.  Something, anything, less painful would be better. 

“OK, God, I’ve learned my lesson now can we get on with life?”

I haven’t learned everything about God’s sovereignty.  And He gave me a perfect illustration of that today.  I had it all worked out in my mind.  I would see my Neurologist, he would see the nerve blocks haven’t stopped my pain and I would be merrilly on my way to the Chiari specialist. 

NOT!!!

I cried myself to sleep last night over the confusion of what God was doing.  Why should I have to rack up more medical bills trying to eliminate a possibility instead of just treating the obvious?  Why do I have to go through all of the deep waters right now?  Why not just the medical stuff?

I found myself explaining to God, “God You know the injections are so expensive.  You know they haven’t offered any great relief.  You know that because my meds make me loopy, come 7pm I’m counting the minutes until I can take my bedtime meds and escape from the constant pain.  You know my husband is unemployed.  You know I can’t homeschool my children.  You know I can’t even sweep the floor with a regular broom..bend down to pick up anything…think.  Please help me see what You are doing?  Help me Jesus, please!”

Soon after, God graced me with sleep. I fell asleep clutching my “God blankie”.  That’s what my 3 year old “baby” calls it. My “God blankie” is actually a prayer shawl that was a gift to me from a supporting church.  Though I have had it only a few months it brings comfort to my heart.   I know that a prayer went up to God with every crochet stitch.  Last night, though, I doubted that any of the prayers were future tense.

I awoke this morning to the ring of a message having arrived in my inbox.  I had contacted a Chiari specialist on my own last night before I took my meds and the message was from him.  Yes, he would look at my films.  Yes, he would offer a 2nd opinion.  This gave me the courage to contact 2 other specialists I had researched.  Yes, they would take a look at my films.  Yes, they would offer me a second opinion.  And one of them is in network for my insurance! 

Oh ye me of little faith.  When will I learn that God is at work even in the “No.”  He loves me and desires what is best for me.  Had it gone my way I would be seeing one unknown specialist.  In the “No.” God gave me the choice of all of the specialists, and the pick of the very best ones.

I may just call some more tomorrow.  😉

God used my despair and disappointment to remind me of a very important truth, like Peter, I need adversity to get my eyes back on the Lord. 

Phew, wish I wasn’t so stubborn! 

I can picture in my mind the Lord gently holding my chin, tipping my head upward to see His face.  Then He says to me, “Look at me.  No, look in my eyes.  No, Deb, not the circumstances… just Me.  See I’m here.  I never left you.  Trust me!  I’m at work just keep looking at me I’m not finished yet!”

And so, I lift my eyes to His, and draw Closer to Christ.

“Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.  He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”  Isaiah 40:10, 11 (emphasis mine)  

Closer to Christ – Introduction

A dear friend gave me a daily devotional book written as God showed Himself to the author. Since I have not read the entire book, yet, I can’t give an official endorsement, however, I can say I love the format.

I love letters! The best ones have the return address of a loved one, a special friend, or one of my Titus 2 women. With the ease of email pretty much the only envelopes in our snail mail box are my medical bills. Let me tell you Neurological and Spinal issues are not cheap! Anyways, I love reading the name of the sender, feeling how thick the envelope is, and even holding off on reading the letter until all is quiet on the Borrmann front. I especially cherish the letters God uses to speak to me. Whether He is encouraging Godly character, chastening me for sin, or wrapping His loving arms about me, the personal aspect always touches my heart.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the writing of this particular devotional was done as the author spent her daily time alone with the Lord. The result is a daily letter from the Lord to the reader. I hope that I will have a chance to share with you all each week the special reminders I received from the LORD about who He is, how He loves me (us), what He is doing in my life, and/or why He is allowing me to pass through the deep waters of trials or pouring out the blessings of following Him.

The first installment of Closer to Christ will be blogged tomorrow, hopefully.

Mrs. Johnson’s Peanut Brittle

I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but I love hard crunchy candy. The absolute best was always my Go-Go Grandma’s peanut brittle. It was perfect!

Not too many peanuts. A nice thin shattering layer of Karo syrup…and all the other yummy things I remember.

I tried making some Brittle for our allergy queen only to find it wouldn’t set. I guess the peanut free butter free brittle is not so brittle. A hot bubbling pot of oil and syrup is as far as it went.

You can imagine my disappointment. Can’t you?

Then came the cookie exchange and boy, oh boy, was I excited to see the peanut brittle! I hesitantly took the first bite only to find it was just like great-grandmas. Yahoo!

I was handed a generous amount of pretty little candy bags filled with brittle. And shared many of them with my family when I got home. Then I hid a couple of the scrumpcious delights for savoring later.

Last night I was looking at pictures just brought back to us from Uruguay and suddenly I had to have that brittle. It must have been the picture of great grandma that triggered the craving. So I went to the place I hid them only to find they were gone.

I felt like the woman in the parable who searched high and low for the lost coin. And since it was late, usually past the time I take my bedtime meds, I’m sure the kids thought I was in wonderland already.

I never did find Mrs. Johnson’s brittle. I may just need to buy the supplies and ask her to make me some more. Soon. Very soon!

Puttin’ Out the Welcome Mat

Many of you know me as a wife, mom of many and missionary who served God on deputation and later in Uruguay, South America. You prayed for me through trials. Rejoiced with me over God’s faithfulness. Tried to grasp my struggles.

Maybe you know me as a friend, a confidant, and as you read 33degreesbelowzero you knew my heart through all my musings. You laughed with me. Cried with me. Gave me swift kick in the backside.

Perhaps you are here by following a search engine link.

No matter how you arrived, you are welcome here. I hope in some small way I can make you feel at home.

Now, did you get your Dr. Pepper and Peanut M&M’s? I’m ready to sit awhile and share what God is doing in my life right now. I hope you don’t have to go anywhere soon!

Warning, Will Rogers!!!

DANGER AHEAD: I am learning a lot about what it means to walk the talk. That looking great on the outside, isn’t what the Christian life is *all* about. (Romans 8:29, 12:2; Philippians 3:12; Matthew 23:27-28) That I have to be thankful for the gifts the Lord has given me, rather than covet the gifts of others. (1 Corinthians 7:7; 12:1-31). When I desire to be the hand when God has made me the foot, or to be the voice when He has made me the ear, I cause the body to be divided. Sad thing is that I have spent so much time listening to what role I play in everyone else’s eyes that I don’t really know what God designed me for.

As believers we are called to be separate but does it really mean that we have the right to say that because someone doesn’t see *our* way they aren’t walking with Christ? Maybe walking the same direction as the Lord is what makes us peculiar more so than what clothes we wear, what Bible we read, what continent we live on, what language we speak…maybe??? (Mark 7:7-8, 21)

Here is where the danger lurks, especially for me. I’m not perfect and I’m pretty much tired of trying to live up to everyone’s expectations and ignoring God’s. I am guilty of desiring the approval of man and casting aside the grace and mercy of God.

Life is hard enough with Chiari I and it becomes ever so frustrating and disouraging when it must be lived as if I’m a superwoman Christian. Quite frankly, that uses up too much energy and plants all variety of bitter seeds in my heart. And, no question, I would have a much more productive life if I would have left the pity party for myself. Instead, I hung up the banners bought the part hats and tooted my own horn. Now I am spending hours pulling weeds of bitterness from my heart.

How’s that for being real?!

So…here’s the plan I want to be honest and share my blessings, answers to prayers along with my mistakes and embarassing moments. That will require a definite measure of humility on my part and a cup or two of mercy on your part. And vice versa.

So…here’s the disclaimer…if you are a follower of Ain’t Losin My Marbles, and you were a follower of 33degreesbelowzero you might be in for a rude awakening. I hope you’ll see what I see about myself…um, I’m a hopeless obsessive compulsive perfectionist with foot in mouth disease. And my spiritual gift is prophecy with a healthy serving of administration and very little mercy. Maybe you already have been jolted awake by the sting of my tongue, or by my not so compassionate mercy. Possibly you have been ear to my black and white way of thought, and life. Perchance you are in the same choir as I and you can relate. Whoever you are in my life, I hope you will see the ways in which God is changing me.

Really! I actually edited this post at least, well, a lot to keep from tasting my stinky foot all night. 🙂

Ahem, back to the disclaimer…I will share some thoughts, beliefs, standards, struggles, human-ness, aka sin nature, as I walk with the Lord. I will also share some links, MRI’s, explanations, and even gruesome stuff about Chiari (CM). I will try to warn you first…if I remember. In either case, this blog will be the proof you were waiting for…to prove I’m human too.

And I’m horrible with punctuation!

How’s that for being honest? Of course, the ladies at BWM already know that fact.

So…maybe I *am* losin’ my marbles afterall.

If you’re ready to walk a mile, or two, or more with me I hope you know that I’m looking forward to the company. And I welcome the conversation.

Come on in!

Hello Everyone! Welcome to my new blog home! Grab yourself a Dr. Pepper and some peanut M&M’s and stay awhile.

Let’s catch-up!

I know, it has been a long time since we have spent some time talking together at the old place.

I have a lot to share already but I better put out the welcome mat! Don’t forget this a new abode for me so it may take me awhile to get it just how I like it.

I’ll be right back!

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