Soul Surfer - Inspiration
Have you seen this? I'm obsessed! What an amazing story. Bethany Hamilton is out surfing one day with some friends and a shark attacks her and rips off her left arm. She survives by Gods grace and goes on to show the world how strong, courageous, resilient, and determined one can be. Even though a teenager, she looks uncertainty in the eye and takes on the incredible journey of learning to surf with one arm. I am draw to her spirit, but mostly in her reliance on God. She displays a mindset that I've tried to embrace throughout my journey, acceptance not questioning. If you haven't seen it, watch it, it's definitely worth 1 1/2 hours of your time.
I went back to Alaska Regional this week for my final formalized speech therapy appointment. I was there at lunchtime and Nurses milled around the elevators with lunches in hands. One looked familiar to me, I recognized her clothing style. I remember bits & parts of my ICU time, some is crystal clear and some has a hazy glow. One such clear memory and one I believe I've spoken about before is my last interactions with Nurse Linda. It was life & soul changing, and I'm not being dramatic! Let me shine some light on it... I learned I'd soon be transferring out of ICU, but before I could go, they wanted to resolve my pain & discomfort with my peg tube. Because they were baffled why discomfort occurred every time they fed me, they wanted to make sure the food wasn't leaking out into someplace they didn't intend, so I got to have another CT Scan, lucky me. I think I should of had a punch card for all my MRI's , CT Scans & Swallow studies, with all those and the yearly MRI, I should be getting a free something or other, right? Anyways, upon hearing I was having another scan I was less than pleased. All I knew was that I didn't like the previous scans,the tumor discovery & Grand Mal Seizure episode during my scan, what would happen this time? I'll admit it, I let fear get the better of me and I was a mess. Enter Nurse Linda. She came into my room in her familiar attire, skirt & pants, hey it was winter time :) She came to check on me even though she wasn't my primary Nurse. As she prepared me physically (my bed, chart, & medical equipment) for the trip to the basement for the scan, she noticed my worried demeanor and asked how I was. It was clear I was scared.
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
--Psalm 10:17, NLT
While she busied herself with cleaning & wrapping up cords, entering data into my file, and checking my med cabinet, she told me that I probably didn't remember, but she met me in those few agonizing uncertain days following brain surgery, and she'd been praying for me ever since. She felt drawn to me because she knew I was a Mom to two little boys (3 y.o. and 3 week old). She said that as an ICU Nurse she 'should' pray for all of her patients, but she felt she needed to pray specifically for me. I was so touched and I now know why. God had placed her in my life for a reason. I have no doubt He orchestrated it all, especially the timing. Moments before I was to be wheeled off for my scan, I asked her to pray over me. She didn't have to, in fact her job probably said no, but she did it anyway. She prayed over me and I felt all the anger & fear melt away. Throughout this whole ordeal, I finally felt peace. She took me down for my scan & stayed by me throughout it and then brought me back to my room. I haven't seen her since then until this week. Flash forward to this week, I was standing at the elevator & I noticed the dress/pant combo of a Nurse at my side. I looked for the familiar face, but initially I was thrown off by her darker hair. My eyes searched for her name tag and I finally had my answer, Yes, it was her. I look up & said, "I don't know if you remember, but" before I could get it all out she said "I was wondering if that was you!". We only had 4 floors to chat, I wish we'd had a hour, but I'm thankful for that moment. Since I've been out of the hospital I've been sending cards, mostly Thank You's to many of the Doctors, Nurses, and Therapists I've had the pleasure of working with and from many of them I'm left wondering if they ever get them, well Nurse Linda, thanked me for them. I in return was able to Thank her for the gift she gave me. Words can never be enough to say Thank You to all those involved in my treatment & recovery. I'm so humbled & gracious for it all. Although I didn't or haven't enjoyed all of my journey, I'm grateful for what it's taught me & what I've yet to learn.
End of Speech Therapy - Now What?
I guess when your in recovery mode you lose sight of what you did prior to the event that sent you into recovery mode. Side note: I'm done with formalized speech therapy and I'm not sure how to feel - happy, sad or ambivalent. I'm choosing the later. I'm happy I've progressed well enough to not require such formalized instruction, but, is this it? I still don't like what I hear. I still get questions & looks. I think I had it set in my mind that God knew I loved to sing & I assumed he'd restore my voice to me. I guess that isn't the case, not part of the plan, and that's okay because I can still communicate, just a little different than before. I have to really take some time & wrap my mind around that one. You see I LOVED singing, in fact I still do, I still sing at home or in my car, when no one is around but my husband or kids. Most of the time, I have a song going in my head, in my old voice. I miss my old voice a lot and I'm grieving that loss. I was the girl who sang at church, sang in competitions, sang throughout high school and a year in college. I think secretly I wanted to be a professional Christian recording star, but not anymore, not with this voice. I'm trying to embrace that God can & will use my new voice if I allow. Now, I dream to one day feel comfortable singing in a pew at church. I dream of sharing my story publicly, so that all may hear the goodness of God. It's interesting how dreams change, or maybe it's perspective ;0)
New Speech Therapy Exercises vs Surgery
Since Speech Therapy is done, I'm interested in other venues available to me. I contacted OHSU about a surgery Dr.Flint mentioned last time I was there. I wrote to a great speech therapist Jana, who works in clinic with Dr. Flint and has seen me each time I've been there. She was quite helpful in recommending some exercises to try for 6 weeks before we address the surgical option. I'd love to decrease my nasal emissions without surgery, so I'm definitely going to give these exercises' a go. She also encouraged me by saying that just because I'm done with speech therapy doesn't mean I'm necessarily done healing, it just means I don't need the weekly, monthly guidance I use to have. Nice way for me to look at it. Thank you Jana!
Upcoming for me this month :
Annual MRI - ugh! Please pray it reveals I'm fine still - the great Nile running in my head now is getting smaller (look at my MRI and you'll understand why I call it that).
Welcoming Baby Kragt - I'm so excited for this!
Moments of Thanksgiving:
Holiday Bakefest with my sister - we bake an enormous amount of goodies to share during the holidays and I get to spend a whole day with one of my sisters. Added bonus... this year I get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. YUMBO (as Zachary says).
Mom's that listen & let you complain regardless of their needs, worries or cares. Love you Mama - virtual leg wrap sent your way ;0)
Darren & our bimonthly movie date night. We've just started this and it happens after we put the boys down & we'd love recommendations for movies to see. Last night was Fireproof and boy is it AMAZING. I love you Babe! Thank you doesn't even encompass my gratitude, but I'd be amiss if I didn't say at least that.
Zachary & Kadin - you guys are so full of energy. You make me laugh, cry, smile, pull my hair out, dream, fear, and live. I love both of you so much. Thanks for being a large part of my journey. I'm fighting for you & Dad!
Dinner with family - Thanks Mom, Jaime, Niels, Auntie Jean & Uncle Rob for letting our crazy family join you for a delicious meal & memories. We are so blessed by this time! Love you all!
I think this is something new I'll add to each post. I've so much to be THANKFUL for! I'm putting my thanks but in no particular order.
Blessings to you as you prepare for this joyful holiday season, may you seize the moment to celebrate the tiny child born so many years ago.