Monday, November 28, 2005

In My Heart

It was a wonderful weekend with the kids and hubby. Thanksgiving was extra-special this year, given TP's health scare from a couple of weeks ago, and given that DQ has found her niche at school. Friday was spent with my husband, tackling long lines at stores, but we were able to get the bulk of our shopping done before noon (and, just in case the kids read this, I am not mentioning what we bought for them!). Saturday and Sunday were spent combining chores, errands, and decorating the house. Speaking of which, my house is a disaster area right now, and it will be that way for the next day or two as I put the finishing touches on the decorations (I tend to go all-out at Christmastime).

This will be TP's last Christmas with us as a "child". It's a rather bittersweet realization, and I am overwhelmed at times with memories of past holidays. The age-old poignant question keeps on tugging at my heart "where did all the years go?", to which I have no reply. How I wish I could wrap those years all up like Christmas presents and then unwrap them, one by one, ever so slowly, savoring each and every year once again. The subtle changes I see inTP as she pulls away from us towards independence are presents, too, because each of them is like a unique gift which delights all who know her with its' special touch coming from her soul.

I have already received one of my Christmas gifts this year. It was a letter from DQ's principal acknowledging that DQ was on the honor roll for the first term. Inside the letter was one of those obnoxious "My child is an academic honor roll student at. . . " bumper stickers - you know, the kind that when you read them on somebody else's bumper, you kind of roll your eyes and say "yeah, whatever". Of course when it's YOUR kid, you get a secret kind of glee at being able to stick that thing on your bumper! (Oh well, at least I'm honest!). Anyway, I guess this bumper sticker is EXTRA special to me because of DQ's past experiences at her prior school. This was, indeed, cause for celebration! The joy on her face when she saw that sticker was amazing to see.

Hey, you know, I am SO blessed to be able to be my kids' mom - in the good times and the bad. And I thank God each and every day for my girls, who are growing up and growing away, yet always remaining the same in my heart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart, especially this year.

This year has been such a mixture of extreme highs and extreme lows, and because we've been endured so much, our family has experienced many tests of our strengths and weaknesses. There have been many moments of pure joy, despair, happiness, agony, laughter, and anger. The ultimate result, however, has been a profound sense of GRATITUDE.

I am grateful for my hubby's new job with excellent health insurance - we'd be in deep trouble without either the job or the insurance benefits. I am also grateful that my guy is such a good and decent man. He'd do anything for his family - and it shows in his sense of dedication to us. Poor thing - he's surrounded by women, but he takes it all in stride.

I am grateful for TP's presence in my life. She's been through so much physically and emotionally this past year - but her strength and faith have helped her weather many a storm. I am blessed to have her as a daughter. She has brought so much love into my life. I can't imagine life without her - and that point was brought home to me so dramatically two weeks ago when she was so ill.

I am grateful for DQ - my amazing "baby". She experienced the ugly reality of racism in this world, and it has taught her the valuable lesson of loving yourself no matter what anybody else says. She embraces life with a zeal I have rarely seen, and nothing (or no one) is going to stop her from getting where she wants to be in life. She is so strong and resilient - and I am so very proud of her.

I am grateful for the life the Lord has given to me. I remember an assignment which was given to me when I was in high school, where the teacher asked us to write a story of where we thought we'd be when we were the age I am at right now. I am not anywhere near where I thought I'd be - in fact, I am way BEYOND it. Back then, it was all about how "successful" I was going to be. Now, I define success in much different terms. It's not about recognition anymore. It's about the love of a family. It's not about fame anymore. It's about making a difference in the life of a child. It's not about "things". It's about people. It's about God.

Thanksgiving is being grateful for the many blessings bestowed upon us by our Lord. So, this year, when we gather around the table, I can't wait to hear what my kids are going to say when we talk about the blessings we received this year.

One more thing - I am grateful for all of the "blogging buddies" I have made over the past few months. Each of you hold a very special place in my heart. I appreciate your support and prayers and fellowship. And I wish each and every one of you a blessed Thanksgiving (even those people in different countries!). May God bless you all.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Value of Life

Yesterday, I was half-listening to a morning talk show host (Glenn Beck), and he was discussing a woman who had a rare disease, and who had been kept alive for the past several years by taking some medication which cost $1,400.00 per DAY. Imagine that?! Anyway, this woman had been feeling guilty lately, because she figured out that the grand total thus far of keeping her alive was approximately seven million dollars. Taxpayers are footing the bill to keep her alive. The question that had been troubling her, and which caused her to feel extreme guilt, was "Is my life worth $1400.00 per day - am I worth that much money?".

I have been mulling this question over and over again. If it cost that much to keep me alive, would I feel as though my life was worth that amount of money? It caused me to think of yet another question - if, indeed, that much money was being spent on me, how would I live my life differently? And yet other questions then come to mind. . . WHY don't I live my life as if that much money is being spent to keep me alive? WHY don't I live my life to the fullest capacity every day - I should want to glorify God in every way, out of thanksgiving for the gift of life He has given to me. And, in general, why should putting a dollar value on a life mean MORE than putting a spiritual value on a life - as if money has more value than a soul?

What are your thoughts???

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Hi everybody!

TP is home, safe and sound. She's in her bed now, all snuggled up in freshly laundered sheets, with the dog curled up in her arms. She has a half-smile on her lips, and looks quite content.

It's been quite an ordeal. The cough I mentioned in my last entry turned out to be fluid on the lungs, due to all the IV fluids they had been giving her. I actually stayed home and my husband spent the night on Friday night, and I returned the following afternoon (yesterday) and spent the night last night. They were able to get her blood pressure stabilized, and her fever has been gone for over 24 hours, and she has had a bit to eat. She's still quite pale and very tired, but that is understandable, given all she has been through.

I feel so very blessed, for many reasons. Most importantly, I am blessed because TP survived this ordeal. There was a horrible stretch of time where she was extremely critical - and that is the absolute worse feeling in the whole world. I am blessed because God answered our prayers. I am blessed because I have a wonderful husband, and another great daughter, and family members and friends who prayed long and hard for TP's recovery. I count ALL of you as my special friends, who rallied around me and the rest of my family in this time of great need. It's amazing to me - even though I have never met any of you face to face, your love and support and prayers have touched me more than you will ever know. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I am going to take a very long nap now. I will probably write more tomorrow or Tuesday.

A special thanks to Darlene who gave me instructions on how to get my blog back up and running (apparently, it disappeared for awhile??), and for mentioning my situation on her blog and asking her readers to pray.

Give your kids a long hug and hold them tight - you just never know. . .

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Update

What day is it, folks? I've been living in twilight zone. . .

TP was taken to a room in the Infectious Diseases unit of the hospital yesterday evening. Last night, I had a "run in" with one of the interns, and then the resident got upset with me, too, because I was questioning a decision they had made about NOT giving her any blood pressure meds until this morning. They finally gave some to her, at my insistence, and now today, she's had a really hard time keeping it within normal limits. Don't even get me started - but I'll tell you, once she is out of there, I am going to make a BIG STINK. Her regular doctor isn't following the case this admission, and there have been a series of decisions which have been made which I am very concerned about. I also get very pissed off (yes, guys, I do swear sometimes) when they treat me like I am some sort of overprotective and rambling idiot who is a dumbshit. You know, I have a Masters Degree - I have been in the medical field for over twenty years - I have doctors who call ME about psychiatric medications for MY opinion - so I do have a brain on my head. Also, I am a MOM who happens to know quite a lot about this disease which is afflicting MY daughter - and I have lived with it on a daily basis for over a year and a half now - so I DO know when something isn't quite right with my daughter - so I would appreciate it if some of these interns and residents wouldn't question MY judgement about my daughter's condition. Crazy jerks.

Anyway, she has been progressing pretty well, overall. They still don't know what caused the infection, but they have continued to give her antibiotics. She was pretty tuckered out today, so she slept some. She complained of a cough, and a pain in her chest, but they just said they'd "keep an eye on it". Because I made some mortal enemies with the intern and resident last night, I didn't question that decision (against my better judgement), and now I just got a phone call - only two hours after leaving the hospital - that her blood pressure is very high again and they are getting a chest x-ray on her.

So, I am waiting here by the phone for an update. I may go back in tonight to stay with her (oh, how I was looking forward to my own bed - but she needs me right now). I'll write more when I can. Sorry I can't answer all of your lovely comments from my last post.

Love 'ya all!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I am home again for a few hours, to take a shower and take a "power" nap. My husband is staying with TP in the meantime.

This is just a quick update - I will write more in depth when things setttle down.

TP was in really bad shape yesterday, and her condition deteriorated quickly late yesterday afternoon. She has sepsis (an infection in her blood). Her blood pressure dropped to 98/22 at one point in time, and her fever remained extremely high (between 104-105). She vomited continuously, and they were having difficulty keeping her hydrated. She was so listless, almost unresponsive. They made a decision to transfer her to PICU, and when we got there, they wouldn't allow me to go back to her room because they had to get her hooked up to all the machines, etc. Of course, throughout the day, I had been praying, and that intensified as I was sitting there in the waiting area. I began praying the rosary, a beautiful Catholic prayer. When I was finally able to go back there 30 minutes later, TP was alert, her BP was within acceptable limits, and her temp had fallen to 102. The power of prayer. . . Also, later that evening, a close personal friend of the family who happens to be a priest, came by and gave TP the Sacrament of the Sick. TP was very aware at this time of our friend and of the significance of this sacrament, and she gained an enormous amount of peace and comfort from the administering of it.

Words can't begin to describe the horror of watching your child be so ill; nor can they describe the power behind prayer and faith.

Please continue to pray for her recovery (she's stable now, and we are praying that she continues on the upswing, but we're still uncertain about the cause of the infection). I'll try to write again tomorrow.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your friendhip and support and prayers. You are great!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I Need to Ask a Favor

Hi Everybody!

I spent last evening into this morning (a total of 10 hours) in the emergency room with TP, and she was admitted into the hospital at around 4:30 a.m. I got a total of 30 minutes of sleep. I drove home this morning at around 11:00, and I am going to take a shower, get a half an hour nap in, pack up some more stuff, and head back to the hospital which is about a half an hour away.

TP has some sort of systemic infection - they aren't 100% certain of what's causing it, but they think it may be related to the port she has in her chest. We won't know for another 24 to 48 hours. She's been carrying a temp ranging anywhere from 100* to 104.8*, and her white blood count is extremely high. So, please say some prayers for healing. I probably won't be able to post another update until Thursday night or Friday some time, so don't get alarmed if you don't hear anything. I am not going to take my laptop to the hospital - instead, I decided to get caught up on my reading.

Take care, everybody. God Bless -


Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Arrival

Her blood pressure soared up to 180/120, and the residents were not certain what to do. It was in the wee hours of the morning when her specialists were at home in bed, and I could tell these doctors were scared. I kept on saying "Give her a nifedipine, please - she needs a nifedipine", which is a medication which lowers the blood pressure dramatically. One young doctor kept on asking TP the same questions over and over again, and TP was beginning to get disoriented as her blood pressure kept on steadily increasing - and I was getting furious. I finally looked at the nurse, and I said "Doesn't he hear me? Don't you have an order written in her chart to give her a nifedipine on a prn basis?". The nurse nodded her head in assent, and so I looked at the resident again and loudly repeated my request. He looked at me with a blank look and an eyebrow raised, and abruptly left the room with all the other residents. I looked at the nurse helplessly, and she quickly turned around and followed the others. Five seconds later, the young doctor came back in with a nifedipine, and gave it to TP. Within minutes, TP's blood pressure started going down, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The next morning, TP and I had a long discussion about what had happened and why. She was clearly upset that the resident didn't respond to my requests, and equally upset that the nurse didn't speak up. She said, "When I become a nurse, I will NOT just stand by like that nurse did - I will say something to the doctor". It was the first time I had heard of her desire to become a nurse.

Since that time almost a year and a half ago, TP has continued to want to become a nurse. We have visited several nursing schools, looked into the advantages of getting a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (a 4 year program where you become an R.N. plus get your bachelor's degree) versus getting just an R.N (a 2 year program). She decided she wants the four year degree, a decision which we totally support. She has worked dilligently to maintain her excellent GPA, in between flare-ups of the lupus and other medical problems related to it. She has worked to save up money to help offset college expenses. Her main goal, through it all, is to help others - she has said repeatedly "I want to give to others what was given to me".

Yesterday, many things happened to TP which symbolized the culmination of her dreams. Yesterday, she took a huge leap toward adulthood.

It started out with a trip to her specialist, who gave her a CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH! He remarked that he had never seen her labs look as "perfect". He was so thrilled with her progress, and so we talked about her future. He was excited to find out that she was thinking about attending the college where he had obtained his Bachelor's degree. He was willing to write whatever letters he could on her behalf, to obtain financial aid due to her diagnosis, and to attest to her courage and determination. We left the doctor's office with a song in our hearts and praise for our Lord, who helped us every step of the way along this long and arduous journey with His strength and comfort.

After that, we went on to the credit union to open up a checking account for TP. I had already discussed with her all the responsibilities associated with an account, and told her about bounced check fees, etc. . . I had to co-sign for it, and she got her first 10 starter checks (and she used one of them later in the day). Then, we went out to lunch, and talked about the upcoming year as a freshman in college. As we were driving to pick up her sister, TP said "Mom, thank you for all that you have done for me - I appreciate it. And, I love having a "Mom and Daughter" day with you!". My eyes welled up with tears, and I reached over and grabbed her hand - I had no words to say at that point because the love I was feeling was so overwhelming.

Later in the day, we received a call that her Senior pictures were in, so we quickly went to pick them up. They are beautiful, and we are going to have a difficult time choosing just one! Almost immediately after we got back home, and another phone call came. It was a personal phone call from the admission counselor at the private university to which she had applied! The counselor asked to speak to TP, and she proceeded to let TP know she had been accepted! And, to top it all off, TP will be eligible for their highest level scholarship due to her excellent academic record. You may remember that TP has a habit of jumping up and down when she gets good news, and sure enough, as soon as she hung up, that habit kicked back in!!! In between the jumps, she was trying to get the news out, and I finally had to admonish her to stop jumping (please!). Oh, the joy on her face was priceless!

So, yesterday, my little girl had many of her prayers answered. So many things came to fruition for her. So much hard work on her part, and the efforts of others on her behalf, came to pass in one beautiful autumn day, when my little girl became a young woman with the promise of her future beckoning in the warm breeze. Watch out world, TP has arrived. . .