Monday, April 28, 2014

Cuz I am H A P P Y I am gonna shake like I've been changed

I know that this song has been played and replayed, but this one has lyrics that just make me happy.  I would love it if we started to sing this version at church.  I don't think a person can listen to this song without wanting to clap and dance.  Can you?  I sure can't.

I would love to somehow combine "Happy" with :Shake" for an epic happiness mash up.

Do yourself a favor and check out this one by the same duo as happy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My heart doesn't operate in the scientific: Waking up

This is the fourth installment of this series. My heart Part One , My heart Part Two, My heart Part Three

There is a man at our church whose family has faced hardship over the years.  I don't know this family well, but I know them well enough to know that they have lost one of their sons to leukemia in his early teens and that another son, though in his twenties, never developed past the age of a young toddler. Many a Sunday during worship you can find this man not sitting in his seat with the etchings of life's burdens on his face, but rather he is up front dancing and waving flags. (Oh how I wish I had video of him for you to watch)  It isn't the dancing or the flags that keeps my eyes upon him, but it is his face.  His face beams with joy.


I have often watched this man and I would wonder how one finds this joy.  This joy that dances at the goodness of the Lord after the loss of a son.  This joy that waves flags of worship to a God who never healed either of his boys.  I did not know this joy, or any joy, and I wanted to.  I wanted to know joy that sits deeper than life's circumstances.          

"You can start waking up now."

The nurse said as I was wheeled out of the operating room and into the recovery room.  I had spent almost ten hours in surgery.  I had gone into the surgery praying that God would walk me through the door of my darkened past and show me whatever it was I needed to know.

I have no memory of those ten hours.  I had half expected to wake up with a dream like sequence of childhood events somewhere in my consciousness.  There was none of that.  Since it seemed nothing had happened I expected to feel that paralyzing sensation of fear and anger over what was still left waiting behind that door. There was none of that either.  No my heart and mind were strangely devoid of angst.
The alien-esque drainage
tube and me in my $3
 fuzzy jammies I found
 on clearance.Pain and
happiness side by side.

Not only was I devoid of angst, but there was an underlying happiness.

I was in pain physically from the surgery, my neck felt as though an alien was trying to burst through my skin due to the drainage tube sticking out of it, but under the pain was happiness.  (I must admit though that I almost cried when the Dr. told me I would have to keep that painful tube in for another day.)  I made a mental note of the happiness and filed it away.

As the days post surgery have continued to tick by happiness has continued to follow me.  It was only during my not so great reaction to lorazepam that it went away for awhile.

Then the happiness became more.  I became washed in it.  For two days straight I could not get the smile off of my face, I was beaming.  Wait, I was beaming?  Yes, this girl who had never known joy was suddenly awash in it. Fear had gone and joy was filling me.

I went to church last Wednesday night and I could. not. stop. smiling.  I was smiling so much that my cheeks were literally starting to hurt.  I kept looking over at my pastor, wondering if he had noticed.  I wanted to catch his eye and point at the smile, open my eyes wide, and shrug my shoulders as if to say, "Look at that, you were right, who would of thunk it?"

I have no idea what happened to me during that surgery emotionally, but I know that God answered my prayer in His own way.  He met with my heart and soul that day and He changed me.  He has also been whispering here and there of where He is leading me.  Whispers that before the surgery would have terrified me and left me saying, "I think you have the wrong girl here."

The first Sunday after I came home from surgery I sat and listened to our guest speaker at church talk about a place that used to burn brightly for God.  As he spoke God showed me an image of this place once again being set ablaze with His Spirit.  I was thinking, "That would be so great." and not giving it much more thought than that.  Later as the service was ending God showed me the image of a match and He asked me, "How many matches does it take to light 1,000,000 candles?"

The answer was only one, because once the first candle is lit it can then light the next and so on.

Then he reminded me of that image from earlier and suddenly I felt very match like.

He has also been whispering that there is more I am going to need to remember from my past.  It will need to come out, but I no longer fear the knowing.  That door that it sits behind doesn't loom large and loud with scratching noises any longer.  What sits behind it hasn't changed, but my ability to face it has.  I can only chalk that up to God.

My surgery and the subsequent medications to help regulate my hormones may be able to explain some of the attitude shift, but it can't account for removing fear and bringing joy.

I went into surgery on a Thursday morning in early April and since then God has been whispering,

"You can wake up now Sweetheart. It is time for you to start dancing, because your face is beaming."

Faith Barista”Whitespace

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A prayer for all the "Mercy's" in the world

A few months ago I wrote a brief glimpse into the story of a girl I named Mercy.  This Mercy girl flits in and out of my heart often.  I don't know the rest of her story yet, but I know that there are lots of girls like her out there and so this prayer is for them, for all the "Mercy's" of this world.  The story I wrote will follow the prayer, will you please join me in praying for Mercy.

*****Lord , I pray for all of the "Mercy's" in this world.  I pray for the all the pain and hurt that runs deep through their veins each and every day.  Lord, show them the mercy that they cannot find in themselves or their world.  Send them hearts that will listen and understand.  Show them that they are not alone and that the anger and sadness is not who they are, show them that they are more.  Give them the strength to speak the hurts instead of acting them out, give them people to speak these truths to who are compassionate, people who can see past the bruises and into their hearts.  Most of all Lord, I just pray that they find you.*****


She sat in the bay window, her knees pulled tight to her chest.  She was clothed in all gray: light gray stretch pants, long and loose cable net sweater, and socks that scrunched up around her ankles.  Her attire matched the color of the sky outside.  She hugged her knees closer and rested her chin upon them.  She watched as raindrops zig-zagged their way down the window.

A man's voice spoke from behind her, drawing her back into the present and out of the watery world before her.  She didn't want reality, she wanted to wash away like those raindrops.

He called to her again.  "Mercy.  Mercy.  Can you hear me?"

Her name was Mercy and the irony of her own name and his question did not escape her.

As she slowly turned to face the voice her own mind asked the same question, "Mercy, can you hear me?  Mercy.  Mercy?" , but she wasn't speaking to herself.

She raised her eyes only long enough to glimpse today's intruder.

He sat in the only chair in the room; legs crossed, a notebook and pen poised and at the ready.  He was younger than most.  Her eyes caught his for only a second, but that was a second too long.  It was too much exposure and she turned again to face the window.    The rain was still dripping but the spell was broken, reality glaring hard about her.

"What do you want?" She asked.

"I want you to tell me why you are here."

"You know why I am here."  She wasn't going to make this easy on him.  She never made it easy for anyone.

"I want to hear it in your own words."

"I am here because life sucks, the world is scary, the fear and the anger tear at me all day long and I can't take it.  I have no where to release it all and so I tear at myself, because I am the one I am most angry at."

But none of that came out.  She just sat in silence and instead pulled a sleeve up over her arm showing him it, because that arm spoke louder and bolder than any words ever could have.

He was fairly new at this job.  He had seen other arms, other patients, but none like this.  He worked hard to cover his shock at the depth of pain revealed in this showing of skin.  He didn't know how she was able to touch it.  The skin was a dark purple, all of it and swollen.  Deep scratches and scabs broke through the purple in telling lines.

"Why?" It was all he could muster and he wasn't sure if he said it with the professional flatness he had been taught to use.

He hadn't.  The concern seeped through the question.  Her ears perked, because she heard it, the concern.  "He really is new," she thought, "or is it that he really might care?"  Either way, the slip of his heart dropped her guard enough that she allowed words to slip out.  "It is who I am.  That is me inside and I wear it out.  I wear my insides out and no one likes that, so that is why I am here.  I am here because I show my honesty and it is too honest."  Her hand pulled her sleeve back down over her hurts and anger.  That was the most anyone had gotten out of her in a long time.  This speaking honesty instead of acting it out was tiring and frightening.  She slipped from the window and moved to her bed.  Climbing inside she turned away from him and pulled the covers up close around her.  "Can we be done now?"

"Okay, but I will be back soon.  Thank you for showing me."

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Heart doesn't operate in the scientific: The operating table

This is the third installment of  this series.       My heart Part One     My heart Part Two

"You went in for an operation, but you got up off of the table before it was done."

That is what he had said to me, my pastor, at our meeting.  I wasn't sure I agreed.  If I had gone in for an operation it felt like I had chosen the wrong hospital. That weekend had very definitely left me torn wide open and had left me in need of some sutures at the very least.

I went home and I bled.  I didn't know where to find a doctor to close me up.  I sent a letter to my old counselor in Washington asking for some direction.  I also started looking online for help; reading articles and buying books.  I was desperately trying to find the right sutures to stop the bleeding.

I found this book and ordered it off of Amazon.  When it came I read 100 pages of it that first night.  I was holding in my hands what may as well have been titled "Understanding Karmen", because it was 400 pages of everything I had ever felt, thought, acted on, and didn't feel.  I was not some crazy, bad, mis-created person.  I was a violated person left damaged by the violation.  Everything I think, feel, and don't feel is common!

I always knew that to some extent, but to see it written down in black in white was freeing.  It was like finally having a diagnosis for my emotional ailment.

With the exception of the pre-pubescent abuse that I suffered at the hands of my friends father I never had clear memories of what had happened to me.  I always knew something had happened because of who I was, but without the memories to go along with it part of me felt as though I was making more out of it than needed to be made.

Sometimes, before a wound can be healed you have to open it up and get the infection out.

The weekend retreat had opened up that wound deep, and now that I look back I hadn't gone to the wrong hospital, that weekend was just the first step to prepare me for the surgery that I needed.  The infection had to be removed before the healing could take place.  And that infection continued to ooze out as I have written about in the last two posts.   Oozing validations that something most definitely had happened to me in my childhood that were justifying the diagnosis I held in my hands.

As comforting as that was I was still left bleeding and oozing. The infected memories were frightening and I was not in control of what seeped out of the wound or when.

In His complete mercy, God gave me a name, a diagnosis, for that black slimy blob I was holding in my hand; that cancerous slime called childhood sexual abuse.  But His mercy did not stop there.  He also gave me a diagnosis to hold in my other hand, papillary carcinoma of the thyroid.  It may not be the diagnosis to answer the three+ years of medical mysteries that I have gone through, but it was a validation that listening to my body is important.  (The story of how this diagnosis came about verges on the miraculous, but it will have to wait for another day).  I had decided that my body was just a big fat liar who liked to create pain and mayhem and this diagnosis let me know that at least sometimes my body was telling the truth.

He was answering my angry prayer from the few months before.  He was letting me hold the answers in my hands to show me that when He healed me it would not be from my own overwhelming defectiveness.  He was giving me reasons, tangible ones, and He was continuing to say, "Trust me."

(To be cont.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My heart doesn't operate in the scientific: Bucking against the fence posts

*This is the second installation of this series.  My heart Part one.

I am going to travel backwards for a moment.  To share with you something I wrote but never posted.  This was written after I had gone in for my neck issues, but prior to getting any kind of diagnosis.

Our Pastors have been preaching a lot on healing.

A lot.

Our once a month Sunday night service was all about healing last night.

I went to church wanting to hide in a corner.  I was contemplating where would be the best "hiding" spot in the sanctuary where I would be the least visible.  I felt like a caged animal being poked with sticks.  Honestly, I didn't even really want to go in.  I thought about just sitting in my van for the whole service. ( I go on my own when we have Sunday night services).

I made myself go in though.  And I made myself sit in my normal spot;  middle section, second row back, second seat in from the right.  I was freezing, so I wrapped my grandpa sweater around me tight and kept my arms folded tight to my chest.  I probably looked pretty frangry (freezing and angry).

Before we started singing the pastor talked about how he really felt that Jesus was going to heal people and that if we needed a healing to be sure and ask for it.  He also said that wherever we were that we needed to meet with Jesus.  If that meant dancing, dance.  If it meant crying, cry.  If it meant laying face down on the floor in prayer, then lay down.

So I stood there being frangry.  I told Jesus, "I am here and I am really angry.  And Lord, no one had better come and try and heal me tonight, because I don't want it."

I realized that this is an odd thing to tell the Lord, especially for someone who has said she is on a healing road.  So I explained to the Lord and to myself, mostly to myself, because Jesus, He already knows what I mean and who I am.

"God, I don't want you to heal me before they find out what it is.  I want to be able to say 'SEE, SEE, that is what has been causing the hurts, that is what is causing the pain!  I am NOT making it up, it is real and it is THERE!'"  And I had an instantaneous image.  In my mind I was holding up a blackened slimy blob in one hand and the cause of the physical hurts in the other and I realized that for both my physical and emotional hurts and pains that I wanted to be able to pinpoint, name, and see that there was a cause, a reason for them.  A tangible thing to hold and to say, "See this thing, it is real, it is REAL!  This has been the cause and I am not defective.  I am really okay and this whole time this slimy black blob has been to blame for the emotional and the medical whatever it is for the *physical.*"  If healing comes before I can root that out then I will always feel defective.  I will always feel as though God merely healed me from my own overwhelming defectiveness.
Now go from here to Encounter weekend that first weekend of February.  When I came home I wrote my feelings from the weekend out in my journal.  This is what I had to say about part of the weekend.
I drew this and wrote out these scriptures
after writing out my letter.

Friday night I had felt like a caged animal.  The very first assignment was to write a love letter to Jesus of all things.  

Hello!  Can we just jump into my intimacy issues right off the bat?  Yeah, great.  I told him I wanted to be the wild horse bucking against the fence posts, wanting the security of the fence, but the freedom to still buck.  I told him that I did not want to be close to Him.  He understood the why's.  I didn't have to state them out.  I told him that I could never buck like the wild horse though, because I had already been broken and told that any wild left in me was bad.  It wasn't much of a love letter, but it was my heart at the moment.


I didn't even really know where those feelings were coming from as I wrote them, they were just there.  I still don't fully understand that wild horse analogy that I was feeling.  I have an inkling that it has something to do with memories that had yet to come out, and those that still have yet to come.  

I finished up the events of the weekend by saying, "I feel war torn and battered.  I don't feel abandoned, but maybe a bit betrayed.  Morning came and joy wasn't waiting."

I have  spoken  of how I went and saw my pastor after this weekend happened.  I didn't speak about what he said to me during that meeting.  (This is the man whose ear is so close to God's lips that I can see the whispers of His voice reflected in his eyes.  As with anyone I don't just blindly follow, but because of how this man lives his life and who he is, because of who God is, I have learned to listen.)  This man told me at our meeting that I just needed to take time and give everything to God, sit down and have it out with Him.  He said that God had a healing for me.  He told me that he could see me with a smile so big and my heart so free and filled with so much joy that my kids and husband would not recognize me, because I would be different than who they had always known.  I would be/feel light.  He told me that I would be the catalyst to move my family into great things.  He also told me that it was no small wonder that I was here in this place (literal location) that God had purposed to put me here for this very reason. He warned that I should not take that lightly and that opportunities like this one don't last forever.  

I was incredibly discouraged when I left, because didn't he know that I did not know HOW to do those things?  I hoped for his vision of my future, but I saw no way that it was going to happen.  Joy? JOY?! Beaming, BEAMING, out of me?!?  Doesn't he know that I am  the girl who doesn't know joy?  He might as well have asked the lame to walk, the blind to see, or the captives to go free.  And now that I write that out, that is exactly what he was asking. Only I felt as though he were asking me to figure out how to go about doing that.  But it was never the lame, the blind, or the captives who saved themselves was it?

(to be cont.
*I have been told that this cancer is most likely not the cause of the previous physical ailments and that they are probably not related to one another.
**linking up with faith barista/white space even though the prompt is Easter and I don't speak to that directly this is the story in continuation of my personal Easter story of stones being rolled away.
Faith Barista”Whitespace

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My heart doesn't operate in the scientific

This is the first post of a four post series. Please read the rest of the story by clicking on the "cont." at the bottom of the page.

*Warning: This could be a trigger for those who have been abused.*

I wrote back in early February how Jesus whispered  words to my heart after a particularly difficult weekend.  Here are just a few of those words.

 I know you are frustrated and scared.
 I know this weekend brought up hurts you thought had finished hurting.
 I also know it brought up much fear, because it loosed up hazy 
realizations of memories you don't want to remember, 
things you don't want to know. 
You are so afraid of finding out what has been hiding behind that door 
with all its scratching noises, but I am bigger than that door, baby,
 and anything that lies behind it.

That door had been jarred open that weekend and scared is where I was.  I went on later to write how God was revealing more of what lay behind that door to me in dreams.  That door and all that lay behind it left me in a state of emotional turmoil.  I never knew when I would slip from present day into the emotions of the girl who was trapped in time behind that door with the memories.  I could be washing dishes as an adult in the now and turn and be child sobbing, scared, and hurting.  

It was during this time that I discovered I had thyroid cancer. 

I was never scared of the physical cancer. ( I have always been scared of the emotional "cancer" that lurks behind that damned door.)

The testing for the cancer, surprisingly to me, brought out more of what hid behind that door and that completely terrified me.

As I laid on the exam table during a biopsy of lymph nodes in my central neck my throat was being pressed on and suddenly I was in two places at once.  My body was surrounded by doctors but my mind was in a dark room, a man's hands around my throat, I could feel myself starting to lose consciousness in the world my mind inhabited.  I was panicking.  All I could do was desperately pray for Jesus to save me from my mind and the memory that had slipped out from behind that door.  

I wanted to sob, ask the doctor to stop and curl myself into a huddled ball, but I knew that I couldn't do that. I held myself together as my breath quickened and my lip quivered.  After enduring an hour of being both here and there it was over.  

I spent the weeks between that procedure and my surgery praying that God would use my time in surgery to minister to me.  I would be a captive audience with no distractions.  I prayed over and over that He would walk me through the memories during that time.  Scientifically, I am sure that sounds implausible, but

my heart doesn't operate in the scientific it operates in the supernatural.  

When people would ask me how I felt about the surgery and the cancer I would answer them honestly and say I was just ready to get on with it.  The cancer was no big deal compared to what lay behind that door and I was very worried about surgery opening that door even further.  I didn't tell them that part though.

I just prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed.  "God, please, just show me what I need to know while I am under.  I know I will be unconscious, but please just tell me what I need to know. Walk me through it, I don't care if it sounds dumb, just do it. Please!"  

Surgery day came.  I went into the operating room and thought, "Okay God, you're up." as they moved me from one bed to the other and I slipped into the anesthesia, or rather it slipped into me.  

(to be cont.)

Playing a bit of catch up: Thyroid cancer

I haven't shared this on the blog yet, but I have thyroid cancer.  I had my whole thyroid taken out along with some 22 lymph nodes in my central neck and 9 lymph nodes in my upper left neck on April 3rd.  The surgery itself took pretty near ten hours to do and I was in the hospital from Thursday morning until Monday afternoon.  Since then I have been dealing with some interesting side effects from both the surgery and from the drugs.

Since surgery I have been numb from my left ear, down the side of my neck, the front of my neck from the base of my incision to the top of my chin, down the left cheek along my jaw bone, and half way under my jaw going towards the right side of my jaw line.  The numbness in part is due to the nerves that were disturbed during the surgery and it will be a matter of time to see if the feeling will come back.  The numbness itself is pretty livable, although it has the weird effect of making my left ear ache.

Another fun side effect is that I began twitching.  Mainly in my left shoulder, but sometimes across both shoulders and down my left arm.  One night I spent 5 hours in the ER, because I would not stop twitching.  It felt like I had a palsy of some sort. When the twitching would really pick up it would also cause my speech to become halted.  All of my lab work came back normal and since it started to slow down and was not life threatening the ER sent me home.  After following up with my surgeon he is pretty sure it is caused by the nerves being stretched in that part of my back for so long during the surgery and it should eventually resolve itself.  It has been getting better each day since then, but I have a follow up later today with a neurologist just to be sure, but also because they found something during my MRI in the hospital that isn't concerning, but is worth following up on.

Drugs have caused me quite a few unpleasant side effects.  Morphine, percocet, and lorazepam are not my friends.  The morphine and percocet were to help with the pain in the hospital, I did not like morphine at all.  The percocet I could take in small amounts and only with food.  The lorazepam was meant to help me with the twitching, but it ended up being the complete opposite of a calming agent for me, so I only used it once.  If I can figure out how to do it, I will upload the video of my sister pretending to be me while whacked out on it.  It is pretty funny.

I will follow up with my ENT at the end of this month and I meet with the endocrinologist in the beginning of May to figure out where we go from here.  The specific type of cancer I have is fairly aggressive and a bit more rare than the run of the mill thyroid cancer. Since they found cancer in one of my lymph nodes that were removed I have been told that radio active iodine treatment will for sure be in my future, but for now that is all I know.

This journey has already proven to be an interesting one and I am sure that it will continue to be so.  It may sound odd, but I am looking forward to seeing how this will all play out, because I know that God is using this for big things.  I will write more on that in the future, but for now I am at peace and am ready to go.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ten things I have learned at the hospital so far.

1.Modesty stops mattering when you are coming out of anesthesia.
first morning without a thyroid

2.It is impossible to relieve yourself on a bed pan, while in bed.

3.Sitting on a bed pan while trying to make yourself go for thirty minutes makes said bed pan want to attach itself to your body.  

4.Bed pans that attach to you means that you are really glad for lesson number one.

5.  Morphine is not my friend.  The nausea and dizziness made walking to the bathroom impossible.

6. When using a bed side potty chair make sure that the catching tray is securely in place. If it isn't you will know it when you stand up and your bathroom victory is now splashed all over the floor.

7. Wearing underwear and pajama pants never felt so good after going 24 hours without either.  

8.  Always circle the dessert on your menu option even if there is only one choice.  No circle means no dessert.  No dessert means a sad pouting face.

9.  Percocet is my friend for trying to get some sleep. Although it made me dream that I was filled with helium and was going to float off the bed. 

10.  Always bring your own pillows and blanket to the hospital with you.  It helps with comfort.

This sweet little bear is watching over me.