Tuesday, December 23, 2014

At Every Corner

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men."
Luke 2:14
I love reading through the book of Luke this time of year, recalling the Christmas story in my mind. What an incredible event! What an example of trust in Joseph. Faith from Mary. Grace and love from God Almighty. 
I know I've talked a lot about the stresses of the past year. I've discussed our struggles to some extent, but hardly in depth. I also know many of you who are dealing with many other issues. Death. Sickness. Frustration. Loneliness. Grief. PTSD. Divorce. Sadness. The list is endless. Whatever it is, it's big to you and I know that feeling all too well. I just wanted to share some bible verses that I have on repeat in my head lately that might just help you get through the holidays, too.
"God surrounds me with his favor." Psalm 5:12
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
"He will be our peace." Micah 5:5
"Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!" Psalm 116:2
"My God with his loving kindness shall come to meet me at every corner." Psalm 59:10
Are you getting the major theme? He is with us always. ALWAYS. He'll be with you when your patience is tested with those people you don't really want to be around. He'll be with you when you're seemingly all alone. He is with you in the wee hours of the morning when you'll try to put together a crazy, difficult toy in hopes of surprising your kid with a new gift. He'll be with you when your Christmas isn't the picture perfect facebook post you thought it would be. When the kids are crying in the backseat while you travel, when they forget to say please and thank you, and when they ask for something you can't afford, God will be right there with you. How amazing is that? The God of the universe is with you. He's with me. He's right there with us.
We aren't promised an easy road in life, but that doesn't mean we can't choose happiness every day. Every hour. Or in my case, minute by minute. It's a decision.
Earlier this week, I almost let someone upset me. But I quickly came to my senses because I asked myself if I had any control over the situation? No, I did not. I asked myself if there was anything I had done wrong in the situation. No, there wasn't. The awesome thing about God being by my side 24/7 is that I can have an overwhelming sense of peace when others try to put me down. My identity is tied up in Him so I don't have to fear. I don't have to let anyone walk all over me in order to build themselves up. I'm God's girl. He is my peace.
Be kind to one another this Christmas season. We don't know what other people might be going through inside. May the glory be to God and goodwill to all our neighbors down here that we're doing life with.
Merry Christmas, y'all! I wish each of you well. I really, really do.
(The boys do, too despite their grumpy faces.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

another saga for Abel's ears

I think I'm mostly writing this for documentary purposes or perhaps as a way of updating family all at once, but it might be a little bit because I feel like I need to talk about it. I've tried looking at the bright side of the last few months- my deaf child now hears! But because we've had our share of problems since the surgery, there has been a black cloud above it all (a small one, but one just the same). For months, Abel has battled ear infections, Bell's Palsy, balance issues, the flu, and more. This was a happy child. This was a healthy child.
I think his medical professional team is finally starting to listen to me, to my gut, that something is wrong. He has been on every antibiotic known to man. He's taken steroids, ear drops, and tylenol for days because he is so often in pain. I despise pumping all this medicine in him and not ever seeing much improvement. I hate seeing him uncomfortable.
Yesterday was interesting. I loaded up three small boys and drove for at least six hours. I sat through two appointments and an hour and a half break in between. It was miserable, really. What I learned was even more upsetting. Still, Abel has fluid despite the ear tubes. Furthermore, he is no longer responding to most sound on the right side. This was tested in a sound proof booth. His left side remains very consistent, but he may have heard one prompt with the right side processor at the very loudest level. There were no responses after that. Then when he was hooked up to testing equipment, it was revealed that the nerves aren't being activated. His audiologist called me today to tell me that she has never seen much of a response in that test on that side. She said she had hoped it was due to the infection (and she still does), but -knowing the answer -I asked her what the worst case scenario was and she said, "It could be that the implant is failing and needs to be replaced."
Obviously, that's the last thing I want. (*She did add that she didn't think I should worry about that just yet)
His speech therapist received the information from the audiologist and decided to test it in Abe's session this morning. Sure enough, he seemed to hear some things, but he was much less consistent on that side. She is hoping it was an issue with the processor (outside portion) that was set to be replaced anyway because of a broken ear piece. We received the new one today and his speech therapist said she would come by tomorrow to work with him some more after she got off work to see if it was any better.
Meanwhile, I got a call from the surgeon. That's when this all started to sink in for me. He ordered more medicine and broke the news that Abel had to have yet another procedure that requires anesthesia. Yesterday was his second birthday. Christmas is coming soon. I hoped so badly that his recent ear tube re-insertion was the last surgery of the year. He will soon be sedated for a CT scan to look around at the infection site and to make sure the implant hasn't moved. I'm so sad for him.
I hope that one day I can look back on this as most cochlear implant parents have told me and say that it was all worth it. I have faith that I will, but right now my little man is going through so much and I wish he wasn't hurting.
Despite his hurdles, he is still doing great with what he is hearing. Just today, he said "ow ow" (for out. out!) and "mo" for more. It's incredible to hear a deaf child begin to speak using words appropriately and not simply repeating. There was a time that I hardly thought this day would come.

Thank you for praying with us. If you could specifically pray that the infection and fluid would go away, that the implant is in the right spot, and that my sweet Abel starts feeling better I would appreciate it so much.

A year ago today, I was blissfully unaware of what the following year would bring. I was amazed that I had a one year old and a two year old. I had no idea I was pregnant with our third. It hadn't crossed my mind that Abel was deaf. I didn't know how hard this first year would be, but God has brought us through it so far and I'm grateful. I believe He is teaching all of us different lessons. I trust Him. I do.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Serenity Now!

Allow me to tell you what lead me to a crying fit in the parking lot of speech therapy today. I woke up feeling quite ill so I decided to skip the workout I had planned (almost always a mistake). Not having that time to myself set the tone for the day, I think. As always, Abel had a few engagements we had to attend. His case worker and therapist lady (for lack of better terminology) were set to come over. I'll just let your minds wander to the chaos that ensued that had me yelling (literally) half way through the appointment "Serenity now!"
I doubt either of them are Seinfeld fans so they probably just think I'm nuts and well, I guess I am.

Kids fighting. Abel taking off his ears. Pulling off ornaments. Bumping into Christmas trees. Merit crying. Refusing to eat. All of them. Whining. It was just another day in the life, really.

Then J calls me to say he won't be taking Abel to his appointments tomorrow (which means, of course, I will be driving at least 6 hours tomorrow with at least two kids who don't particularly care to be left in a car seat that long...AGAIN).

I briefly consider jumping off a bridge. Try to pump instead. Only got one ounce.

I drive to speech. In the rain. With puke on my pants.

Afterwards, there's a party for all the kiddos in speech therapy. I thought it started at 3, though. It did not. I decided to wait for it to start until Abel decided he'd had enough and started throwing a toddler tantrum on the floor as I attempted to call Vandy to reschedule the appointments because HELLO-HOW-CAN-I-TALK-TO-DOCTORS-WITH-TWO-UNHAPPY-BABIES?! I can't even talk on the phone with one. The girl on the other end of the line tells me that the doctor we need to see is only there two days a week...and by the way, he won't be there at all next week. How do people with jobs do this? No, seriously...I want to know. I can barely keep my head above water. Because she has no appointments, I decide I just have to suck it up and go because Abel is still in pain. He cries for long stretches at night and in the car. He pulls at his ears that are red hot. And my happy child has been grumpy for a long time now. I hate it.

I hung up the phone and high tailed it to the car. I push the button to start it. I'd just have to make my apologies later for missing the party....but what do ya know? Key not detected. Jordan stopped by earlier to bring me a rescue coke and attend speech with us and accidentally took my key home with him in his pocket.

Cue tears.

How was your Tuesday?
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