The early start, of a long day…

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It’s the middle of the night, and the moment I realize again. Life will never be the same. Yes, it’s a constant flurry of activity, moving, going, doing ~ but so little being. Even surrounded by family and friends, yet not still. Quiet.

Oh how I ache for it. So, here I am.

Today I am reminded, just ever so slightly, that my life is  not my own. I think I am getting sick. Not anything major, just some sniffles. Yet, even these sniffles mean no rest for the weary. I cough, I ache, I hurt, I can’t return to sleep.

I sit here wanting to take medications for the coughing, I cant. I want to take some medication to stop the post nasal drip, again, I can’t. All I can ever have is aspirin. Ugh. So this may be the beginning of a long week, I don’t know. Last year I remember I had a pneumonia shot along with a flu shot. It’s time!

You see, these clots I had, I pretend they didn’t do any damage. I make way and think, “Okay, I can handle this.” I push myself. Off I run, doing more – or just what needs to be done, but my body just can’t keep up. This is the hardest thing to accept after a pulmonary embolism. While it’s true you can return to your life and thrive, you still have limitations. Each case is different. I wish it would be clear where I am headed.

I reflected early this morning, that it was just about a year ago I had my 3rd PE. Just what am I in store for this winter? I have no idea. It will be the first winter without a clot in my lung or in recovery in 3 years. Wow.

This life continues to be an exploration and journey. It’s time I listen. If that means I get up in the middle of the night to remember that, then so be it.

And the day begins.

Reaching

Reaching

Reaching.

Upward, onward, forward and often, backward. This constant process of reaching, of moving and of trying. A never ceasing, unending, constant sense of chaos. Looking for answers to long asked questions. Ever searching.

Like the cattails that sway in the breeze and never sit still. Are our hearts as we search them in the midst of pain.

Pain.

I rarely talk about it. In fact I was reminded as I shared with a precious friend just this weekend how little I do talk and contemplate the turns in life that have come my way. It’s not that I haven’t let them mold me, challenge me, grow me. But, have I spoken to free myself from the fear? Have I spoken so that maybe someone else might gain strength? Have I spoken to find my own voice?

Have I spoken?

I live with daily pain, the kind that takes your breath away so immediately your chest feels like it’s caving in. It hurts to breathe. Yes, read that again. It hurts to breathe. The very thing we take for granted, that sustains our life, brings me pain. That’s the thing about pain. We surprise ourselves on what we can truly endure.

This can also bring me much fear. Not fear in the sense of I can’t catch my breath (although I’ve had a few of those moments), but fear in losing time. Once you have tasted the sweetness of the brevity of life, oh how you want to rewrite the story! I desperately yearn to be reaching.

For more.

Reaching inward, yes. Rearranging my daily activities, responsibilities and priorities so that I honor this life I was blessed with, again.

Reaching outward, yes. Seeking to build a holistic support system around me, calling out for help when I need it.

Reaching upward. To the God who allowed this all to happen in the first place? Not so much. It’s a constant tension to reach out. There’s a cycle of doubt which creeps in, fear takes over and I cave. Like the breathe caught in my chest, is the love I offer my God.

Painful.

Rather than look up, I look backward at what could have been, should have been, on what I had planned. The “if only’s” choke out and I gasp for air again. This time, not because of a clot in my lung, but a clot in the relationship I have with my Father.

I reach. I grasp. I struggle to see His face, to hold His Hand. As I reach out, I find it empty, soaked with tears of grief. Of moments put on hold, memories missed and time lost. There I am, reaching backward once again. I know this path.

What will it take until I learn to no longer look backwards?

Perhaps that’s the point of the pain in the first place.

To trust.

To embrace this clinging, breathing, calming, moment by moment life of rest. That’s where my Father is, waiting for me, in our relationship together. Calling me to come.

Be.

Then the breeze blows, the wind moves and I feel His touch again.

This time, I reach up.

Just Another Step

Today marks another day in recovery for me. I had minor surgery a few days ago. Really, it’s minor.

Yet, somehow it doesn’t feel minor.

My health has been the main reason for this blog. To consider what has been going on with me and try to explore the realties of my  new life. These pulmonary embolisms have totally changed my life. I can’t even express how they have effected me and my entire family. But here’s the hard truth, the stark reality, I am so thankful I am still alive! More often then not you don’t survive a PE.

Since my third PE last fall, I’ve had  a medication change. I am now on Lovenox for life. Coumadin just wasn’t effective for me. I just couldn’t get therapautic. Lovenox is a low dose heparin that I inject into myself twice daily. It works differently within the body than Coumadin does. Each anticoagulant comes with their own risks and concerns. Nothing is ever fail proof. One of the risks of Lovenox is a higher chance of internal bleeding, as well as not being able to stop the bleeding once it starts.

It was the reason for my recent surgery.

It’s been about 10 months of internal bleeding now and I am ready for it to stop! So although the surgery was minor, it’s not minor to me at all, it’s major to me. For it can set me on a new road for recovery. If my internal bleeding finally gets under control, then perhaps the anemia will stop and the fatigue will subside.

I just have to be patient and take it one step at a time. And this?

It’s just another step.

Happy Anniversary!

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It was two years ago today. I heard the doctor tell me that I had a blood clot in my lungs. At first I wasn’t sure I heard him right. But make no mistake, it was a pulmonary embolism. The first of two I would suffer that week. Three total since that fateful day. There are some things in life you are just not prepared for. Here’s was one of mine.

Family immediately poured into my hospital room and support was all around me. Yet, there was no greater presence in my life than my husband, my girls, and Sam. They were there with me, in victories and in struggles. I meandered slowly around the hospital floor, they’d cheer from the waiting room.  They’d cluster on the window, giggling, taking photos on the laptop and hanging out.  Patiently waiting on me, and loving me in a hard time.

I remember feeling like a patient on “House” as they deliberated to figure out why this was happening. No matter the reason, there was nothing to change. They tell you how lucky you to be alive, yet rarely prepare you for the journey that lies ahead.

Recovery.

They say it’s hard to understand another’s journey unless you walk in your shoes. I dare say I wouldn’t want you to.

I can’t even begin to explain the changes this life experience has brought about. Much of it necessary and needed in my life. But you know what? I don’t need to explain. That is a wonderful byproduct of this difficult road. Learning to let go.

Freedom.

So much of my life I clung to what I knew, what I could do, what I believed in and what I accomplished to determine who I was. It was this deliberate, yet immediate, shutting down of my life as I knew it that caused this shift to my experiences and eventually to my heart.

Change is a part of life. We all have it. Circumstances that cause us to stop and ponder the view. To take stock of where we are at and  by chance where we are headed. Even with all the physical problems that have cropped up dealing with the pulmonary embolisms, I am thankful.

For it’s in these intense difficult moments that small nuggets emerge which crystalize your view. That scrape away the scales of doubt and fear from your eyes. Perhaps for the first time in yoru life, you really see.

Would I desire to change how things have developed and evolved? Sure, there’s plenty I would want to handle differently.  But since it allowed me to get to this place today, I embrace it. I grab ahold of it fiercely like never before. For what is emerging is truly a resurrection. Not of who I was, but who I am truly am, and who I truly need in my life. God.I am, a survivor, yes. Yet, I am His!

So, I close with His words, not my own.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18

Another day

So today is another day, left wondering what might be really going on inside my body. That’s the thing about dealing with constant, health problems, doubt creeps in, fears ebb at your trust and you are left hoping for security, but not truly hopeful.

In times of crisis, or times of chaos, there may be friends, family or church members who reach out as you struggle with your health concerns. Rightly so, you are in pain. Some may even call you brave. In truth, you are just trying to accept the day to day reality you now need to live with.

Here’s one issue I struggle with and has really overtaken my life these past few years. Blood clots. Clots that form in your body even when you are doing all the right things, following the doctor’s orders and bam, another one hits. The interesting thing is the reaction from others when you tell them you have a clot. Often they are worried, scared for you, truly concerned. When you begin to think about it, your get scared too. Yet, you face them once again, like before, medicating yourself and asking God to return you to a “normal” life.

At least that’s how I handle them.

My life truly has not been my own, almost each time I have recovered fully from a clot and am released by a doctor, my time is spent “catching up” on things at home that have piled up, it’s a vicious cycle. Stress levels increased  and a chaotic life becomes the norm. And guess what, stress is horrible for someone who has a clotting history, round and round we go!

Blood clots can stay in one place or they can travel in your body, and you can lose your life from them. This is serious business. They are not anything small to play around with.

Wanna know one thing I have learned in this process? Trust yourself. Trust your body and how well you know it. It’s not foolish or  selfish to listen to what your body is saying to you. The more foolish thing would be to ignore it. Listen and get help. Don’t worry about what others think, because they are going to think it regardless of what you do. Judgement comes easy when opinions abound about “what you need to do,” comes. Remember you are the one living this life.

Let’s live it!

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