Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Up All Night

Some nights I have a difficult time falling asleep.  I've been told that this is common in dialysis patients.  Some nights I'm eventually able to fall asleep, and others nights I take a couple of Benadryl to help.  (Of course, then I'm left with what I love to call a "Benadryl hangover" the next day...)

Last night was one of those nights.  It was about 1:30 and I was flipping through the channels on TV in my bedroom.  I turned to CMT and this video was starting.  I really like Martina McBride, so I stopped and watched.  It is so amazing how music and lyrics like this can bring people in similar situations together.  Even though this song is specifically about cancer, I think it applies to anyone who has a strong support system.

You need to take a few minutes right now and watch it.  (You may need Kleenex handy.)

I have been so fortunate to have the BEST support system around as I have struggled the last two years.  I shared the sentiments of the women in the video who say that no one has ever made me feel like a burden...especially Gordon.  He never complains when he has to do more than his fair share of the housework, clean up my puke bucket, or listen to me whine.  He has been given the strength to get through this, and to help me get through it as well.  I don't know how I got so lucky, but I am grateful every day of my life.

Dr. Vargas called yesterday and said I'm not a mutant after all.  My Hep B virus strain is not drug resistant, which--in the long run--is good news.  I'm going to start taking two different anti-viral meds and we're hoping that will kick the virus' butt.  I know I've said this a million times before, but I'm SOOOO ready!  The more I've thought about it, the better I feel that, although a set back is hard, it will be better to make sure all is completely well before I get the kidney from Michelle.  I would feel so terrible to waste it because I was impatient.

At Courtnie's school, they are required to memorize a poem and recite it to the class each quarter.  The teacher selects the poem, and some of them have been quite interesting.  Courtnie is doing her recitation today with the poem, "Pancake Collector."  It's a cute one, and she's loved memorizing it.  She was getting ready this morning and went into my bathroom for a while.  When she came out, she had curled her hair for the first time on her own.  It looked great!  I don't think I did as good a job my first time using a curling iron.  What a cutie!  I love her so much.

We're going to Utah this weekend for Tyler's baptism.  I need to start getting things ready, but Ben Hur is on TV, so I'm not.  Oh well...maybe tomorrow. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

I've made a resolution to blog more often, and I'm starting today.  Hopefully this resolution will last longer than all of my New Year's resolutions! :)

Truth is...I haven't written lately because I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself.  I have gone through several weeks where I've just cried for no particular reason.  A couple of weeks ago, I showed up early for dialysis (thinking I could get in early) and ended up waiting for about an hour.  During that time, I watched some of the other dialysis patients come and go.  All of them looked so sick.  One lady--just a little older than me--sat waiting for her ride for quite a while.  After waiting for about 30 minutes, she ended up crying because she was in so much pain.  She called her husband, and he wouldn't come and pick her up, so they had to call and ambulance to come and take her to the hospital. 

For some reason, this really affected me. By the time I got into my dialysis room (aka, "The Fishbowl"--I have to go into a "special room" that is isolated from the rest of the patients so I don't accidentally infect them with my Hep B germs) I was pretty distraught.  I just started sobbing.  I recalled the scene from the movie, "As Good As It Gets" where Jack Nicholson comes out of his psychiatrist's office, looks at the patients waiting in the lobby, and asks, "What if this is as good as it gets?" 

That thought has been on my mind quite a bit over the last couple of weeks...hence the pity party.  A couple of weeks ago I found out that instead of the Hep B virus count going down, like it's supposed to on this medicine, it is--in fact--going UP.  Dr. Vargas is baffled, and ordered a lab test to determine what is up with the virus.  He said I may have a strain that has mutated and has become drug-resistant.  If this is the case, my current viral count may be as good as we're going to get and we can proceed with the transplant.  This is risky, as the immuno-suppressant drugs I'll take after transplant could allow the virus to rapidly multiply and kill my liver.  Either way, I'm not living the life I want to live right now, and why prolong this if it's not going to get better.  With a healthy kidney, I can take a combination of drugs and hopefully kill off the virus.

I've been waiting on the results for two and a half weeks now.  I was supposed to get the results last week, but Dr. Vargas was out of town.  Ugh!  I should hear tomorrow.  I know that both of us would like a resolution to this issue.  As Gordon told me a while back, "It would seem that your life is not destined to be easy."  He was kidding, but that's the understatement of the year!

Ian and Gordon have been busy with football.  They practice every day until 6:00 and their games are usually on Wednesdays.  It's been fun to watch Ian improve.  He played quite a bit the last game, playing both offense and defense and kicking.  It's like a switch has gone off in his head and he has decided that tackling someone can be fun.  He enjoys playing on the defense, as it gives him a chance to tackle people more often.  I'm glad he's starting to feel successful, as he didn't feel that way at the beginning of the season.

Courtnie has been playing soccer for about a month now.  She's never really played an organized sport before, and it has been interesting to watch her grow.  She seems to enjoy it, even though her team has played four games and has yet to score even one goal.  I'm glad that she's getting some exercise and is making new friends.  She's also taking piano lessons, and is doing very well.  She is always happy to practice and wants to do well at her lessons.  (It doesn't hurt that her piano teacher is awesome!)

The last two days have been awesome.  I love watching General Conference and hearing the words of our church leaders.  It started early--with the first talk by Elder Richard G. Scott.  He talked of the importance of using the scriptures in our daily lives:

"To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship," he said. "It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort and be a source of motivation for needed change."

As individuals ponder the scriptures, they are able to find direction and form a foundation of support. Scriptures provide an incredibly large resource of willing friends who can help, Elder Scott said.

"Pondering a passage of scripture can be a key to unlock revelation and the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost," he said. "Scripture can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope and a restoration of confidence in one's ability to overcome the challenges of life. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges when there is faith in the Savior. They can accelerate physical healing."

I have experienced this first-hand recently.  In our Gospel Doctrine class a couple of weeks ago, we were reading in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 1.  It reads:

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

I sat there reading and re-reading that passage for the majority of the class.  Not only is my suffering for my own good, but it is also essential.  We all must suffer so that we can have empathy for others' suffering.  Perhaps the reason I have been through this trial is so that I can help others.  I also took comfort in the fact that Christ knows me, knows my sufferings, and that I will someday find consolation and salvation because of my suffering.

I loved Elder Carl Cook's talk on the counsel President Monson gave him.  As Elder Cook looked down in discouragement, the prophet told him, pointing heaven-ward, that it is "always better to look up." 

Gordon had to work Saturday night, so I took Ian to the Priesthood session.  When I picked him up, he and I talked about the subjects that influenced him the most.  He said that several of the leaders talked about being prepared for whatever the Lord needs you to do.  Whether it is answering a question about the Church, or being asked to give a blessing, if you aren't spiritually ready, you won't be able to fulfill that responsibility.  I'm so proud of my son.  He is my spiritual hero.

I loved Sister Dalton's talk to fathers about raising daughters.  I thought often of my dad, who was always a listening ear and and one of my biggest cheerleaders.  Sister Dalton said that the greatest way a father can love his daughter is to love her mother.  This will teach her that the right man will always treat her with love and respect.  I wept as I thought of the way my loving husband has treated me for the last twenty years.  He has treated me like a queen in every sense of the word.  I tell Courtnie often that I hope she can find someone as wonderful as her dad.

President Monson is a wonderful storyteller.  I loved watching his facial expressions as he told the story of the five dollar bill and the answer to a young boy's prayer.  I can imagine being next to him as he tells stories.  His expressions remind me a lot of my Grandpa Cobabe, who was also a great storyteller and a wonderful man.  I'm so grateful that the Lord has given us a prophet who is not only a great leader, but is personable and kind. 

Above all, I'm grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ permeate everything that I do and everything that I am.  I am grateful for the hope it provides to me and my family of a true "happily ever after."