Sunday, January 20, 2019

Post-Surgery Gratitude

I had my 2nd mastectomy this past Tuesday, and I have many things to be grateful for. Here are just a few that I want to mention:
  1. I did not get sick before surgery, so it did not need to be postponed. 
  2. The nurse who took care of me before and after surgery was wonderful. I was not able to have an IV placed in either of my arms/hands, so it had to be inserted in a foot. She was having trouble with my tiny veins, and ended up sticking me 3 times, but the 3rd time worked. She was very patient and calm through it all, and I even heard her whisper a prayer, "Please, Lord" before sticking me for the 3rd time. God answered her prayer.
  3. Surgery went well, without any complications. It took around 3 hours.
  4. I did not get nauseous after surgery like I have in the past, because they gave me a Scopalamine patch behind my ear to keep the nausea away.
  5. I was doing well after surgery, so I was able to go home that same afternoon.
  6. I am thankful for our new recliner. It has been helpful for me, because laying down on a bed was difficult and painful for the first few nights.
  7. My mother was not able to come for the surgery, due to sickness, but David's parents were able to be here. David's dad went with us to the hospital, and his mom, Sharon, stayed at the house with the kids. Sharon is still here helping out where needed, and I am very grateful for her help. 
  8. Several ladies from our church have brought over meals, which has been a true blessing! Other friends and family have sent private messages, cards, flowers, and/or made phone calls to encourage and pray with me. True Christian hospitality in the works.
  9. It is a blessing to have my husband, David, with me through doctor appointments, surgery, post-surgery care, etc. I trust him and am grateful for his wisdom and medical knowledge.
  10. The surgeon I had was the same one I had 6 years ago. So, I was comfortable with him. Before surgery, he always initials the area that is going to be operated on. This is how he did mine: 
11.  I know my surgeon's hands were guided by "The Great Physician," just like it shows in the picture below. This picture was hanging in my surgeon's office when I went in for a pre-surgery consultation. David pointed it out to me, and I had to take a picture of it.

Here's a close up look at the verse on the bottom of the picture.
12.  The nurses and doctors took good care of me at the hospital, including the way they wrapped me in warm blankets after surgery. It made me feel warm and cozy as I was waking up.
13.  Pain medications worked well, so my pain has not been unbearable. I'm mostly just really sore, and also uncomfortable from the drainage tube and side effects of surgery. I am taking things one day at a time, and look forward to Wednesday, when the drainage tube will be removed.

14.  We are still waiting for the pathology report to come back but, from what we know so far, we are anticipating all the margins to be clear and all of the cancer to be gone. Time will tell.

15.  I have had good days and hard days but, through it all, I am counting my blessings. God is  good all the time.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Start of My Gratitude Journal

At the end of 2018, I saw and shared a photo on Facebook that showed a glass jar with folded up pieces of paper in it. The words on the photo gave the suggestion to write down one blessing each week and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, go back and read them all. I thought that was such a great idea and decided I wanted to give it a try. But, then the thought came to me that a "gratitude journal" would work just as well, and I would be more apt to actually follow through with doing it if I did it that way. So, I found an empty, spiral notebook and began my entries on January 1st.

Its a pretty simple thing to do. Each day, I write out one or two (sometimes more) things I am thankful for. I have my notebook and pen on a table next to my bed and usually write in it before turning out the lights. It is a good way to help me fall asleep while thinking about the blessings in my life. I write down things from my day that made me smile, kind acts from someone, a kind act I did for someone else, or just something or someone I have thought about that day. 

Here's a look at my entries from this past week:

JANUARY 6 (Sunday): I am grateful for my teen son's hugs. Tonight, as we were getting ready to eat supper, I spilled an entire pan of pizza onto the bottom of our hot oven. I was upset and stressed, but JJ helped me clean up the mess, and then spontaneously gave me a hug. It really helped calm me and made things so much better. Just a simple hug can make a world of difference.

JANUARY 7 (Mon): Today is JJ's birthday. I am grateful to have shared 16 years with him so far. He is growing into a fine young man with a kind heart. I love him so much. I am also grateful his cousin/best friend was able to be here to help us celebrate.

JANUARY 8 (Tues):  I am grateful for the new recliner couch that arrived yesterday. It is very comfortable and was MUCH needed to replace our old 22-year-old hide-a-bed couch. This recliner will be VERY helpful as I am recovering from surgery next Tuesday, the 15th.

JANUARY 9 (Wed):  I am grateful for the way God brings strength and encouragement at just the right time. I have been really stressed this week, trying to get things accomplished before surgery, and frantically trying to  keep things disinfected so I don't get sick. Then, today I read a devotional in "Our Daily Bread" (it was actually the one from yesterday). It reminded me that worrying does not help the situation I am worried about. God is in control and I need to place my trust in HIM.

JANUARY 10 (Thurs): I am grateful for the relaxing, inspirational piano music that I can listen to on my tablet as I fall asleep tonight. It soothes my soul.
JANUARY 11 (Fri):  I am grateful for the safe travels of friends and family who needed to travel this afternoon in bad weather.

JANUARY 12 (Sat):  I am grateful David and I were able to sleep in this morning. I love our Saturday morning snuggles. I am also thankful for snow plows, the people who drive them, and my warm home. 

If you haven't already started your own GRATITUDE JOURNAL, its not too late to start. Just grab a notebook, or notebook paper, and start writing. It will become a blessing to you - I am sure of it - as well as a treasured keepsake to look back on at the end of the year.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Focus for 2019: GRATITUDE

For the past few months, I have been praying about which topic I should focus on in 2019 - for myself, as well as for sharing on my blog. One idea that came to me after reading a devotional in Our Daily Bread was that "every moment matters." So, I started making some notes, but wasn't yet convinced about that topic being the one. 

Recently, some friends told me that last year's posts about TRUST had been great; however, with my newly diagnosed cancer and other difficult things that have happened this past year, they thought maybe I was being “tested” on my trust - you know, sort of like "practicing what I preach." So, instead of writing more about trust this year, it was recommended that maybe I should write about blessings. I laughed at the suggestion and told them I would think about it; but that did get me to start thinking, "Hmmm, that might actually be a good topic to write about, and it could be right in line with moments that matter." So, I continued praying about it.

A few weeks later, I was chatting with my mom. She also said the TRUST posts have been good, and she has enjoyed reading them. Then, she reminded me about how my dad was often “tested” on the things he preached and taught when he was alive. So, she was sort of joking, and sort of being serious when she laughed and said, “Maybe your next topic should be about praises!” I laughed also, and told her I might have to do that.


They are all similar.

It was already pretty clear at that point about what God was trying to tell me; but, silly me, I still wanted to be sure.  So, I asked for one more sign.

Shortly after that, I found a short, online questionnaire from DaySpring that helps users find their "one word" for the new year. I took the quiz, and the word they gave me was . . . GRATITUDE.

The comments given to me after taking the quiz said:
2019 is your year to be thankful and practice gratitude in all things. It can be easy to take for granted the tremendous blessings you’ve been given, but this year is about mindfully thanking God for what you’ve been given, and sharing that gratitude with others!
Did you read that?

Bingo! It all made sense! GRATITUDE is needed in order to count your blessings. GRATITUDE is needed in order to praise the Lord for what He has done. GRATITUDE is the word I had been looking for. It's the one word God made clear that I am meant to focus on in 2019.

I really have no idea where this is going to lead, but at least I have goal - a direction to go in. So, my Sunday posts are going to be about GRATITUDE. That includes sharing about the ways the Lord has blessed me and my family, giving Him praises in all circumstances, and focusing on all the precious moments that really matter in this life.

I hope you will follow along; and please feel free to join me in this new year prayer:
Dear Lord, in 2019, use my words and actions to spur others on towards gratitude. Help me to be an encouragement as I praise you for all the blessings you have given. Amen.