Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here We Go Again (Ellie's tonsils)

This is an addendum to my tonsilectomy updates. Apparently, as part of the healing process, a scab forms on the back of the throat and at some point, between the 7th-10th day, the scab comes off. Well, the scab in the back of Ellie's throat started coming off on the 7th day and although at first we went from no pain to having some pain, it quickly turned to excruciating.

Difficult to go from feeling almost normal to being in excruciating pain again. It's definitely part of the healing process so there is no worry there. I'm just feeling frustrated because my five year old cannot articulate her level of pain. And then it became obvious that it was time to go back on the Tylenol with codeine. So we are back to her upset about it hurting, having trouble eating normally, and fighting over taking the medicine (a battle I thought we were done with). I have no idea how long the pain will last. I guess it's like any scab, when it comes off the skin underneath is tender and sore, but eventually it feels better.

Ellie's follow-up appointment with the surgeon is next week (2 wks after the surgery). I have a lot to share with him. The least of which is whether she is healing alright. I have felt very alone in this and ill-prepared for what to expect. Maybe if I knew what to expect we wouldn't have gone through with it? Well, we still would have gone through with it. I know it was the best choice for her. I just feel like I needed more information then the generic post-op paper they give you before the surgery.

I know the end is near. Thankfully, this is temporary. But now I have a new appreciation for parents who have to walk with their child through a long-term illness or disability. I am amazed and awestruck by their strength. And I am thankful that overall my children are healthy and soon this will be a thing of the past. Not everyone gets to say that.

Please, Lord, be with those parents nursing, advocating, loving, and supporting a child with a long-term illness or disability. Give them strength to make the right choices for their children. Help them to persevere when their children are sick and suffering. Give them rest from the stresses of being parent and nurse to their child. Bring loving friends into their life to share the burdens with them. But most of all, God, be present in every moment, that your will be done, and let all the glory & praise be given to You. Amen.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feeling Weak -- Day 7 of recovery

"Keep moving forward", I keep telling myself. It's all I could do to get out of bed this morning.

Since the Great Tonsilectomy of 2010 this family has been thrown into a whirlwind. Everything in me knew I could handle what was ahead. Surrendering my child to God as they wheeled her down the cold hospital hallway to the operating room. Knowing I was going to have to handle whatever happened, the best or the worst. You may think I'm being a tad dramatic, but the truth is this gift of life, my child, was being wheeled away from me and I chose this for her. Not being there. Not being in control of what was happening in that room and trusting a man I had only met once before to take care of my child the way I would want him to. This would be hard on anyone.

The week became a blur. The days meshed together. The sun and exhaustion the only things telling me the day was done and a new one was to start.

How "easy" it was to surrender my child to God on the operating table. How much harder it was to surrender her to God once she was back in my care. I am the Mom. God made me to care for and nurture my child. It is my job. The job I treasure more than all others. A blessing, but sometimes laborious, painful, demanding, and wearisome. The pain of birth, the pain of growth, the pain of letting go. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Parenting, when you are really in the trenches, is not easy.

Woe to this controlling woman. This is a fight, to the core of me. Needing to help. Being able. Being strong. I am the one that can handle anything.

Is this the lesson I am to learn? More then ice chips help and pain meds should not be taken on an empty stomach? Do I want to depend on Someone bigger, but can't - won't under pressure? When did I embrace the lie that I could only depend on myself? This sin is bigger then I can see. How can I be cured?

"This is what the LORD says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.'" (JEREMIAH 17:5)

What if I can't do it? What if I don't know how? Would that be so horrible? If Someone else was given a chance to carry the burden for me? Who am I to decide how things should go? What do I know anyway?

And God a passage from Job...and I take a deep breath and remember the God who created everything is in control of everything and there is a reason that I panic when I don't feel in control. It's because I am not in control and never was. HE is the God of the universe, the creator of all things. Nothing happens without Him knowing it. Leave it in His capable hands!

Other posts on the tonsil & adenoid surgery:

Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day seven
An Addendum

JOB 38
The LORD Speaks
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?
8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt'?
12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 "What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 "Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d]
or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God's [f] dominion over the earth?
34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?
36 Who endowed the heart [g] with wisdom
or gave understanding to the mind [h] ?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

DAY FIVE - my last update

So we have about made it through the 5th day after Ellie's tonsil & adenoid surgery. And we have most definitely turned a corner. She is nearly back to her old self. Her voice is almost the only thing that tells you something is different. She's feeling better, talking more, the swelling has gone almost completely down (in her face, anyway), and she is just taking Motrin, as needed.

Thank you as you have "put up" with my daily updates. It was as helpful to me as anyone. And perhaps one day someone looking for a "real" look at what a tonsilectomy recovery looks like for a five year old will come across my blog and it will be helpful to them.

As all difficulties do, I have learned some things along the way. And I'll conclude by letting you in on some of them.
1. Tylenol with Codeine & Amoxicillan are NOT a good partner on an empty stomach.
2. Ice chips are your best friend!
3. No matter how independent your child is, there is still NOTHING like your Mama when you aren't feeling well.
4. Even the "best of us" can become the "worst of us" in times of stress.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help!
6. Never underestimate the power of "The Tonsil Fairy"! :)
7. Kids are amazingly resilient and although it was very difficult the first 3 days, it doesn't take long for them to bounce back.
8. You CAN get tired of watching movies & sitting on the couch. (I'll have to remember that on those lazy days when you just wish you could.)
9. Knowing friends & family are praying for your child gives you great comfort.
10. Who doesn't love a surgery where you MUST eat water ice and popsicles as part of your recovery!?!?

Other posts on the tonsil & adenoid surgery:

Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day seven
An Addendum

Saturday, April 17, 2010

DAY FOUR - recovery

Thankful that Day Four of Ellie's recovery from her tonsil & adenoid surgery was so much better than Day Three. Whether she has turned a corner or not, the dawning of a new day seems to have helped more than just our attitudes. And although today is Saturday, Adam is working and my Mom is watching Caleb, so not too much has changed in terms of care.

We slept past our early morning dose of Tylenol with codeine, so she didn't take it until the 6 1/2 hour mark AND she wasn't in a tremendous amount of pain. So closer to lunchtime I extended the time again, giving it to her again around 6 or so hours. So it seems like the pain has lessened and the swelling continues to go down some. I am so thanful for this reprieve (God doesn't give you more than you can bear). She had a poached egg this morning and some black bean soup (run thru the food processor) for lunch. She's definitely having a good day!

Around dinnertime she was in pain, enough to take the medicine and wait until it felt better. But overall, it was nothing like the past 3 days. A kind family from church dropped off a meal for us...tortellini, salad, and bread. Great sign when all four of us can eat the same meal together.

Decided to let her sleep with me one last night. After going back and forth about when to stop giving her the Tylenol with codeine, we decided to give her Motrin at midnight and see if she could make it through the night. Wound up being a good choice as she did not wake up until about 7:30am and not in very much pain. That confirmed that as Day Four winds down, changing over to the Motrin was the best idea.

Other posts on the tonsil & adenoid surgery:

Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day seven
An Addendum

DAY THREE - recovery

So this week I am living and breathing caring for my 5 year-old as she recovers from having a tonsilectomy & adenoidectomy. Day three was no picnic. In fact, it was probably the most difficult, challenging day yet. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep or the helplessness that led to me "losing my mind" or a combination of everything. It was an emotionally hard day.

She threw up again this morning and I finally realized that it was probably due to the fact that I was giving her both the Tylenol with codeine AND the antibiotic (amoxicillan) at the same time, on an empty stomach. Two mornings in a row of throwing up and I finally figured that out.

It was a long day. She is so done with being sick. She just wants to get back to life as usual, which is great, but not so easy on the caregiver, if you know what I mean. She is acting very irratic today...she wants it but she doesn't want it; blanket on her legs, blanket off her legs; wants to eat this, doesn't want to eat this; and it goes on. She is grouchy, and she has reason to be. But that doesn't make it any easier. I want to fix it. I want to take care of her. I want her to let me. I'm stressed out and overwhelmed. Nothing else is getting done and although I'm okay with that, the pile of dishes in my sink are growing, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, the blanket with throw-up on it needs to be washed, and that's just the icing. Just trying to be real here.

I lost it on many occasions today. It's surprising how many people told me not to cry today. But all I wanted to do was cry. Anyway...tomorrow is a new day.

She continues to struggle taking the medicine. And I struggle knowing when to give it to her. She has been on an every 5 hour schedule (and needed to be), but just this morning we slept passed the 5 hour mark, gave it to her at 6 1/2 hours and she didn't seem to be in excruciating pain. So that's a good thing. I'm thinking tommorow might be our last day on the Tylenol with codeine and then we'll go down to the regular Tylenol. I think she's constipated (TMI?) because of the codeine, so we may try some apple juice, pears or prunes in the near future, if she can get them down.

Once again, I am reminded how hard it is to stay positive under pressure. That by the third day of this I'm so overwhelemed I'm not dealing. How much I need prayers for patience and strength. And how comforting it is to cry out to God knowing I can't do this without Him (and some good friends).

Other posts on the tonsil & adenoid surgery:

Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day seven
An Addendum

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DAY TWO - recovery

So yesterday was the calm before the storm (as I suspected). Although she slept well, we had to wake her twice for her pain medicine. Getting her to swallow it was no easy task. It's pressing all of my Mommy buttons. Feeling so sorry that she is in so much pain, but not regreting a minute of having it done. Definitely like life...sometimes we have to do the hard things, knowing it will get better. We just keep moving forward, taking it moment by moment. I know this 24 hours will probably be the hardest. She is still very swollen and I'm sure that doesn't help anything. She wants so desperatly to eat food, but she struggles to convince herself to swallow anything. We are atleast getting water, ice chips, jello, and popsicles down...little nibbles at a time.

This morning I tried giving the medicine to her an hour early. The bottle says every 6 hours, but we were finding by the 6th hour it was very difficult. I think giving it earlier helped because after noon I started seeing a vast improvement. Maybe it was a visit from her cousin or maybe it was a combination of both.

We ended the day well. She requested scrambled eggs for dinner (WOW!) and ate them like it was her last meal. Topped it off with some Rita's water ice! It was so great to see her able to eat. Night is now upon us and we have to wake her up soon for another dose of pain meds. Guess we'll continue taking it a moment at a time.

Very thankful for all the love and support people are showering on her!

Other posts on the tonsil & adenoid surgery:

Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day seven
An Addendum

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DAY ONE - tonsilectomy

Today was the BIG day! Ellie had her tonsils and adenoids out. It was NOT a typical Wednesday. We arrived at the hospital at 7am and the surgery (slightly delayed) began at 8:45am.

Ellie was a trooper. We laughed as we watched her skipping down the hospital hallway on her way to surgery. She was fine until the anesthesiologist entered the room (I hope he doesn't have that effect on everyone - Ha!). But a drink of "silly juice" and 20 minutes later she was completely relaxed and "unaware". It took about an hour before the surgeon came out to talk to us. He said she did a great job. Her tonsils were "huge" and they had to take the adenoids out, as well. It was definitely necessary to put her through all of this.

How did Mom do? I did well (or maybe better then I expected). My biggest moment of dread happened before bed the night before. I struggled when she started to freak out with the anesthesiologist, but once she started to relax (again, thanks to the silly juice) it was much easier on me.

Found it interesting how my hardest times are seeing her upset and Adam's hardest moments have to do with protecting or "standing up" for her. As tears welled up in my eyes I heard the voice saying "be strong for her, Christy", but it must just be the way I'm wired. I can't help but show my emotions with tears. Considering how I could have reacted, however, I feel like I handled myself very well in that regard.

How's the patient? Returning home she was so hopped up on meds that she seemed to be feeling great. Aside from throwing up several times because of the blood in her stomach, you wouldn't have known anything had happened, initially. I struggled to convice her to rest and she was so hungry she wanted to eat whatever moved. Decided to give her "real" food while she was able to eat it (knowing it wouldn't last once the pain started to hit). So she ate (popsicle, half a piece of bread with jelly on it, and a few nibbles from our lunch).

Finally got her to sleep around 4pm, but by that time she had started to swell. Her poor cheeks are poofy and I think her tongue is swollen, as well. Her nap was very noisy between the snoring & the mucus noises rattling around in there. By dinnertime, the pain of swallowing started to kick in and although she wanted to have soup for dinner, she struggled with it.

We decided to give her the Tylenol with codeine a little early and within 20 minutes of taking it, she has eaten a bowl of chicken soup (with noodles) and another popsicle. She's been wearing an ice pack off and on, but the best thing I did was crush up some ice & let her chomp on it with her water.

Not sure how sleeping will go tonight.

Thanks to everyone for praying for her, for us. We really did have an uneventful, mostly calm experience. The doctor and nurses were really wonderful to her. I know that this is just the beginning of a challenging week. We would appreciate your continued prayers as she deals with the pain and her body heals. Thankful too, to live in a country where my daughter can have this procedure and live a healthier life. We really are fortunate. It's a shame we are often too busy to remember that. God met all of us at our needs today, with peace and comfort, strength and courage…and for that we are so thankful!

Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day seven
An Addendum

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Hope Is In You, Lord

Wednesday morning is Ellie's surgery and I'm trying to keep myself from the anxiety and worry that are lurking around the next corner. It won't be easy to watch them wheel her to surgery and away from us. But oh how thankful I am that it's just a tonsilectomy and nothing more serious. I know that even this minor surgery is a lesson to our family. A chance to pray, trust, and surrender knowing that He has it all under control. I am not worried. There are moments to come that I'm not looking forward to, but her pain will only last a few days/weeks. Like the struggles that come into our lives - they are temporary. And because of Jesus we have hope no matter what happens.

Our Pastor is starting a new sermon series on HOPE. When you think about the word "hope" in our culture it means maybe. But biblical hope is not maybe. Hebrews 11:1 says "faith is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see". Biblical hope means we can be certain! This hope gives us the endurance to withstand anything that comes our way.
"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to HOPE in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory". EPHESIANS 1:11-12
This verse compliments ROMANS 8:28 where we are told that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him". We need to remember that God is good, that He works for our good, that He has a plan, a purpose, and a will for us. Our troubles and our sins have a grow us, to teach us, to remind us that we need Him. "Good" is relative. In our pride we decide what is good and bad. We cannot always know why we are dealing with this or that. What we do know (and can see in these verses) is that God will work it out "for the praise of his glory." What is the "praise of his glory"? Well, it's kind of like God gets all the credit. When people share what God has done, the miracles, the redemption, the good, you cannot help but praise Him and thank Him for what He has done.

I am certain that God loves Ellie more than Adam or I can. I am certain that He will be present on Wednesday morning. Thank you God for the HOPE (no matter what happens) we have because of Jesus!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And the winner is...

I know you have all been waiting to find out who the winner of my first ever blog giveaway is. The contest officially ended today at noon. With the help of my lovely assistant, we randomly chose a winner. Scroll down for the big reveal!

Drum roll please...

Who could it be?

And the winner is...

Congratulations Jen Jones from Jones Abode! You are the winner of the one hour photography session! Thanks to all who participated. I already have an idea for another giveaway in the future. I promise the next one will be open to everyone (including Tennesee, NC, Maine, and Vermont). ;) Please don't be a stranger!

If you are interested in having some photos taken, keep me in mind. You can email me anytime:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Defining Moments

Yesterday we celebrated the most important day to a Christian...Resurrection Day (aka Easter). The week leading up to it is somber and difficult. It is a reminder of the incomprehendable sacrafice that was made for us. If I could steal a line from the VeggieTales movie "The Easter Carol"..."He died for us to give us life. To give us hope He rose!"

It was an emotional day that started with our Youth Group led Sonrise Service. The theme, if you want to call it that, was "Defining Moments". Defining moments are events (good or bad) that change our life. Moments that stick in our memories and effect how we live. Adam and I have shared many defining moments over the years. Getting married, the birth of each child, changing jobs are all new chapter, life changing events that many of us have experienced. Some defining moments happen to us, death of a loved one, divorce, major illness; sometimes we ride the wave of a defining moment with a friend or loved one. However they come about, they are major blips on the radar of life.

At the conclusion of the Sonrise Service many of the teens and some of the leaders took part in something called a Cardboard Testimony. I think the idea originated from the cardboard signs you often see homeless people holding. One side of the cardboard contains a sentence or statement about how life was before Christ changed your life. The other side reveals your new truth in Christ. Following Jesus is a life changing, defining moment so the cardboard testimonies basically share honestly what God has done in someone's life. If you are interested in seeing an example of a cardboard testimony click here. Adam has been helping with the Youth Group this year so he & I participated. It was really emotional to see all that God is doing in people's lives and to see people being honest about sins they are dealing with.

If you have been following my blog, you might know that Adam and I had a very defining moment occur about 5 years ago. And although what happened doesn't define who we are, we wouldn't be who we are today without having gone through that defining moment. And if we aren't willing to share what happened with others, then we can't give God all the glory He deserves in how he shaped, helped, loved, worked in what happened. Our cardboard testimonies didn't share the details...that's not really the point. And you don't have to know exactly what happened, although if I think it would help someone we are not unwilling to share. The point is we were hopeless and now we are hopeful. God changed us. He continues to change us. And because we're sinners we are constantly messing up and seeing things we are not doing that we should be doing (and vice versa).

But the greatest of all defining moments, as Matt (our Youth director) spoke about, was Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. His rising changed everything! Jesus took on all the sin for everyone EVER. He died for us. Now death has no sting (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). We can live forever with Him, if we believe and follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So we celebrate and remember what Christ has done and His promises to us.

Happy Easter! He is risen!
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