Wonder Woman’d My Air Cast : Talus Recovery (Week Four)

4 weeks post injury, 2 weeks after surgery.

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been living on couch/bedrest for an entire month!

This week was a busy week with several outings!

After church on Sunday I tried to catch an Articuno on pokemon go, we failed after multiple attempts due to lack of players, but it was still fun to try for it.

Tuesday was a double date with a very sweet friend of mine to see Valerian. We’d planned to see it together since hubby has been highly anticipating it, before I even broke my ankle.

We sat in the middle due to my wheelchair status. It was neat to have such a guaranteed good view. Also an excellent movie, I know understand why hubby does not consider Star Wars true sci fi. Incidentally, it also seems as if Star Wars copied Valerian (a French comic book series). I became obsessively interested for the night and ordered a physical book of the first volume of the comics. I think it would make a great tv series.

I decided to try to look cute and wore my new purple polka dotted minnie Lularoe leggings.

However, when I got home my poor feet were swollen again.

Wednesday was my next post op appointment. More xrays were taken and they actually showed them to me! Look at all that hardware. I also made the Physician Assistant’s eyes almost pop out of his head when stressing the importance of strict non weight bearing activities. (So what if I was asking about exercises like pool and stationary bikes….)

Then my stitches were removed. This means no wrapping and I can finally go back to taking showers again!

Weds night I got out of the house again for midweek church. (A friend recently stated when I phrase it like that I sound like a caged hamster…well…I mean…we both have wheels..)

With all of that getting out of the house I was pretty exhausted and felt less guilty about binge watching Big Bang Theory. But, I had envisioned a fun project, ordered supplies, and actually completed the project that evening!

I figured if I’m going to be wearing my air cast for the next at least 6 weeks (let alone whenever I transition to partial weight bearing) it might as well look cool. What looks cooler than the super woman of the summer: Wonder Woman. I just covered it with red masking tape and glitter washi type. #winning. I thought too seeing the “wonder woman ” boot might be more encouraging through physical therapy.

So overall, I’m taking things day by day. The pain usually isn’t too bad as long as my foot remains elevated and iced. Off and on I struggle with sleeping through the night just because it is hard to stay comfortable. Please keep praying for the bones to heal through union and there to be no damage to the blood supply (which could result in the death of the bone). I’ll find out more at my next scans in 4 weeks.

Nature Wheeled: Talus Recovery (Week Three)

It has been three weeks since my initial Talus fracture injury, and one week since surgery.

In an attempt to “stay ahead of the pain” I was faithful about taking my strong pain meds, to the point of setting an alarm to wake up in the middle of the morning (meaning I wasn’t sleeping very well either). After my body adjusted more and I relied on lowed level pain meds and ice therapy to dull pain I began to feel better.

During those first few days I had my sweet mother in law to take care of me. I was also able to be patient with myself, prescribing more tv binge watching: Downtown Abbey. By the time my MIL left we had watched 3 seasons!

My tune changed after a post op check in on the state of my stitches. Huge praise, the incision was healthy and infection free. In not so pleasant news, I’d not been wearing my boot due to discomfort so my foot struggled to lie flat. The brisk nurse forced me to get it flat to get it back in the boot correctly before we left. I bit back tears during this process.

While in town we stopped by the grocery store. The rest of the tears flooded out as my fears came back about painful physical therapy and the need to return to the stronger pain meds and forever feel sick. I blubbered by my MIL stayed sweet and asked if there was anything special she could get me from the store. I asked her for my comfort snack, gummy bears!

Waiting in the parking lot, and continuing to cry, I decided to log into my pokemon go account. Well I was surprised when a special like week only available pikachu with Ash hat was hanging out. I didn’t even need to move before it popped up! I was thankful for the silly blessing to help redirect my thoughts towards God’s companionship and positivity versus the unknown scary future.

Then, my MIL returned with several gummy bear packages (they were on sale) she said she figured it was enough to get me through the next few months!

This past week has been about “nesting” really settling into life on the couch. We purchased this pretty cart from Michaels to help me have more things near me (and to keep them organized).

Before MIL left we were able to arrange an outing. Camp Reset‘s movement challenge for the week included a nature photo scavenger hunt. I was dying to show MIL our favorite walk/park downtown.

Since the park was already downtown, I talked hubby into stopping by my very favorite giant pizza slice location. MIL was in shock at how big the slices are! I was thankful to actually eat sitting up, at a table!

Then we trekked to the river walk. I was thankful that hubby approved this one as more “wheel chair” friendly.

We took the “must have” picture at the love sign.

I tested out my arm muscles determined to wheel myself some, and quickly tired out, how do people wheel chair through entire 5ks?!

During this time period a new perspective has been revealed to me regarding those who need mobility devices like wheel chairs. I hadn’t expected to be able to get on the overlook platform and was elated to discover it actually had a wheel chair ramp. (I’d never noticed it before). I locked the wheel chair, and braced myself on the ledge, standing on one leg. I lost myself in the moment: hearing the music from an event, watching the flow of the river, and feeling the breeze on my skin.

After the appointment with the nurse I’d resigned myself to not have a nature trip outing, due to her insistence on elevating higher, more, in order to finally get the swelling of my foot back down. But, I was thankful that hubby had advocated for this knowing how much I’d emotionally need it.

We couldn’t scout down on the actually island, but we rolled the trail at little longer. I snapped a few more pictures, but didn’t stress myself out over finding everything on the scavenger list. I knew the importance was focusing on being present and that the list was to help us to “focus” on the things around us.

Afterward I was able to talk hubby into stopping at an ice cream place I’ve been oogling for like a year! It was nice to finish off my MIL’s time here with a memorable outing.

This isn’t a journey I would have chosen, but I’m determined to learn everything I can from it!

Had Surgery: Talus Recovery (Week Two)

Prepping for surgery:

I broke my left Talus June 30th, it was determined I needed surgery for it on 7th. Before we even left the specialist’ s office hubby called his parents’ and my Italian MamaBama agrees to come down to help.

Pre surgery involved a few outings like church and icecream:

And heading to the library for stacks and stacks of books:

I was very nervous pre surgery, not so much worried about dying, but worried about the hard climb after. The unknown of pain, level of functioning, extent of recovery time. But I was encouraged by several Bible passages: Psalm 18:33, Isaiah 28:16, and Psalm 46. In reading those verses I realized that no matter what, God would be with me through this journey.

That night neither hubby or I slept well. I was anxious about not feeling emotionally connected and I made sure he didn’t sleep either. This led to bickering that wasn’t good for either one of us. Unfortunately, it was just one of those times that I forgot we are on the same team.

The surgery

That morning came way too early. It was also a neat showcase of how hubby and I handle things differently. He was stressed wanting to do his plan which led to some more frustrations. I was very thankful for my mother in law’s (mil) peaceful presence.

After dropping dog off at a friend’s we arrived at the center. They sent me ahead in the wheelchair. I brought the stuffed monkey hubby bought me before we were dating. Ironically, I wore it around my neck into the building. The nurse asked me my age, unsure if I could be left alone. Haha. 

After check in I was weighed then got changed into the gown. I answered several medical questions from a nurse who reminded hubby and I of a bubbly curly haired friend of ours. 

She ran through the checklist then said “angelreon” Hubby and I asked her to repeat herself, still didn’t understand. Mil and her say it slower ” any jewelry on?” To which hubby and I laugh and hifive, both being confused. Then we joke about what kind of disease angelreon could even be.

We met with the Dr who answers a few more questions and I’m wheeled away again. I was nervous as I entered the operation room and they introduced me to everyone. They put the mask on me and told me to breathe deeply. I prayed and coughed as I felt the anesthesia in my body.

When I woke up I was in a different recovery area. I felt odd and I was very aware how slowly I was talking. I was aware of feeling weepy relief and being extra chatty processing what was happening around me. There was music playing and I pointed out the irony of the lyrics of American Pie “and this’ll be the day that I die”

Quickly I was reunited with my family and I felt teary again. Hubby said the surgery took the planned 45 minutes, but Dr said it went well. I was disappointed they made me sit up, I was all to ready to sleep.

The nurse focused on having me eat some crackers and drink sprite. I still felt sick so they gave me something else and these cool throw up bags. I felt fine after that. The nurses teased my hubby about how finicky he held the throw up bag. 

All I could do was wait to get home to sleep it all off. Once in bed I couldn’t sleep. It hurt (a low level ache) and I couldn’t get the pillows comfortable. 

The Dr called that night to check on me and said I should be icing my ankle as much as possible and should even make sure to move my ankle/legs often. It meant so much to hear is concern ūüôā Hubby had told me later that day the Dr said I should get all movement back up and down but he wasn’t sure about left to right due to all of the fragments. I don’t know what that will mean about my beginner ballet class.

Post Surgery

The biggest goal has been following a pain medicine routine and trying to sleep. It hasn’t hurt too much, but I’m sure the meds are to thank for that.

Sleep has been difficult to get, waking up every few hours to take pain meds. My sleep has been improving  since I claimed the couch.

Most days I’ve felt pretty nauseated or woozy thanks to the hydrocodone. I’m trying to reduce it so I feel better.

Some hours I’m back to my bubbly self excited about whatever I’m doing. Other moments I’m tired, cranky, frustrated, sick. In those moments I’m very thankful for the companionship of my mother in law who reminds me “slow and steady” and binge watches Downton abbey with me.

Visited an Ankle Specialist: Talus Recovery (Week One)

To learn about how I hurt myself check the previous post (currently down).

Today I visited the ankle specialist. I’ve been anxious about this appointment because it would finally interpret my scans, and tell me what the rest of my recovery would be like.

Easily I was the youngest adult in the waiting room, but everyone was kind, often wishing each other quick healing. We met the Dr. and he calmly, gently explains that I’ll need surgery as the scans show that my fracture is slightly displaced. I was disappointed, but if my bones aren’t together, they aren’t together and it won’t heal with a cast.

He continues to tell me that they’ll use 2 titanium screws in my ankle, at which I start singing “I can say, ‘I am titanium!'” To which the Dr. looks at me like I am super crazy. I explain that my head works in song lyrics and he laughs it off. I’m very aware of the assistant taking notes wondering if this will affect how they document my mental awareness.

He says to schedule the surgery for Thursday, it’ll be out patient, and shouldn’t take very long. He wrote me a prescription for a wheel chair, a knee scooter, a year long handicap pass and a permission excuse for 2 months of no work after the surgery.

I’m still struggling to process it all, it’s scary to see how one action has other unexpected actions.

I was worrying, but managed to talk husband into getting my very favorite giant pizza from downtown, after the poor guy was exhausted from obtaining medical records and mailing them to worker’s comp insurance.

Not only did I get to eat the best pizza on the planet, but friends of ours were eating there as well. They walked back to the car to visit me. My friend, Kelsey used to work with hubby. I find out not only did she fracture her talus in a cheerleading accident, she broke several bones having to have her ankle reconstructed. Her surgery was performed for the very same Dr and she returned to cheerleading after, not loosing any functioning!

So hubby was reluctant to let me eat unhealthy pizza, but it was just another way for God to show His divine providence; He is in control.

How I’ve been spending my time:

camp reset an online creativity challenge

-yummy meals from friends

-reading

-crafting

-trying to take in sunlight where I can

– even folding laundry, wanted to do something normal in my life

Please pray for the surgery. My mother in law is coming down to help take care of me before surgery while James is at work. Please pray for the rest of worker’s comp paperwork to be finalized as that could delay the surgery.

Thank you for all your encouragement!

Seen the End of the Journey

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Once upon a time I began my counseling career after my internship. It was challenging phsyically, emotionally, in all the ways. I desperately wanted to reach these kids who were known to be some of the most aggressive and tough. I hurt because of their hurts, wondering how I could better help them. I cried in our break area so many times, only to hear from other hardened staff, “oh you just need to toughen up,” as I nursed bruises, and frustrations at being ineffective.

After a grueling summer, each supervisor wanted me on their team, I praise God for my displayed work ethic and passion. I accepted the alternative school placement.

I went on my annual beach vacation, and returned to school politics and an agency that didn’t defend me, giving the position away. I was broken hearted and betrayed professionally. I later cried to my supervisor who was going to be my team lead at the alternative school. I think that I was the most broken hearted because of how much I wanted to partner with this school. The teachers were wonderful, and had amazing structure for these behaviorally challenged children. I was going to be successful at this location. Then this dream was suddenly ripped away from me. (Ironically some of the structure at the school bent under the pressures of intense kids and more politics, so likely God was sparing me from something).

I stepped down from this agency and chilled out for awhile, scared to restart my career, not knowing if I could trust employers not to put
me in such risky positions only to be betrayed by politics.

Then, last year, in my month of living courageously and stepping out of my comfort zone, I followed up with the recommendation to apply at the local community service board. I applied for any position I was qualified for, including crisis services even though individual outpatient and daytreatment were things I’d done before.

I got hired to this team with amazing people and management. I met the CEO the first week, was provided the resources to do my job. We were even given a new building recently to better serve our rural community.

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But one of the coolest things was to see God tie some of the threads of my life together this week!

An assignment came up in the city, which we always enjoy. I met the client, he was familiar, and I recognized the names of the teachers. I explained that I’d worked for the previous organization. Later that day I discovered that even though the alternative program was at a different base school, it was still the same amazing program I’d longed to partner with! In an unexpected twist I was back at this school, working with these incredibly understanding teachers helping this kid stay in their school location! So many things were similar, including this map carpet that I had been all too fascinated with.

I worry much more than I ever have need to about the future. I want to know how things will end, how meaningless choices affect the outcomes. In these moments, seeing God reveal His hand it is easy to believe and to trust. I’ll revel in those gifts, but I really want to focus on the ways God has revealed Himself in the past the next time something uncertain happens.

Isaiah 26:3- You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Celebrated My 10th Spiritual Birthday

I can’t believe that today I can say that I’ve been a Christ follower for ten years…that is a DECADE! I’d like to be able to brag about how much I know or have grown as a Christian, but I still feel like I’ve just barely scraped the surface of what it truly means to grow in trusting God daily.

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Something that I thought would be fun is to reflect on those first few moments and my journey into becoming a Christian.

My entrance into the church was through serving projects. Our area in the tidewater had been struck by a powerful hurricane in 2003. Schools were out for a few days, so I was bored. The guy that I was dating shared that his youth group was highly involved in the community. That youth group and youth director had organized projects going into the most severely affected homes and helping those people to clean and remove the storm debris.

Because of that I started to join the youth group in various activities. This led to deciding to go on the fall youth retreat.

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One of the distinctive memories of Eastover is in riding the ferry over to that area. My youth group always thought it was fun to hold crackers or pieces of bread and wait until the seagulls would swoop seeing if they would be brave enough to maintain holding the food until the bird snatched it. Lots of screaming and laughter filled those moments.

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We would ride the ferry to an amazing retreat facility called Eastover. This is a beautiful dorm style facility set in a rural area. It is gorgeous with the crunchy leaves on the ground. Our days were crammed with Bible studies taught by various leaders, and many active relay races (I learned in youth ministry that this was to tire the youth out so they could focus on the lessons…sneaky…sneaky).

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Between all of the sessions I realized that I was opening my heart to believe about the things that were being taught about this man named Jesus. That night at the culmination Bible message (being taught by my future leader to Brazil) they offered an altar call for those who wanted to dedicate their lives to Christ. I remember standing there knowing that I wouldn’t go to heaven if for some reason I died…honestly, I was thinking that if Christ came back my boyfriend at the time would go to heaven and I wouldn’t. I remember wishing “just let someone else go first, just let someone else go first” Then, the Pastor said, “okay is there anyone else who wants to come forward” and I beelined to the front to pray with my youth director and accept Christ into my life!

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Afterwards, I remember praying at the front of the room with my boyfriend at the time. It was funny because I really had no idea how long I was supposed to stay there on my knees. We stayed there for awhile as everyone began to clean up the room, and head out to the bonfire under the stars. Finally, I decided to stand up, and I remember that my legs felt numb from resting on them so long, so that it felt like I was a newborn lamb walking on my legs for the first time.  It was a neat thought and metaphor for my new life.

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Walking out to join the youth group, I was quiet an somber, struck with the giantness of the heavens above me, of the beautiful starry skies above, and how I was going to live up there one day.

That night I shared with one of the girls near my bunk bed, my decision. She informed the rest of the room, and they did one of the coolest things that I’ve ever experienced…they began to sing “Happy Birthday” to me.

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Therefore, Eastover still holds a special place in my heart. I attended each retreat even through my college years, returned to lead and teach sessions to the youth! The final year that I went, my husband and I were invited to attend together! It was one of the coolest things we’ve done as a couple. Surprisingly, I know I took my camera (there are pictures of it around my neck) but I can’t seem to find the pictures anywhere! Instead, I’ll fill this post with pictures from my 2008 visit.

It is cool to share this milestone with you. I’ve done so much growing from that moment, from mission trips, from personal failures, from witnessing God’s victories, from quiet seasons, from times where God’s providence has been so obvious in my life. I can truly say that no matter what the season is, that God has proven that He will always be there for me. Here’s to the next few decades of living my life for Christ…I cling to the promise that He will finish what He has begun in me. Philippians 1:6.

Random fact…I haven’t looked at these pictures in years, and they are prime example of my need to sort and edit my photos! But, it is neat to see that these pictures from 2008 are definitely in the same style of the pictures I still take today five years later. Its neat to thing that I have similar things that I tend to capture photographically.

Fractured My L3 Vertebrae

Remember how excited I was about taking pictures of the youth’s local mission efforts, and being able to travel with them to D.C. at the end of the trip…well there is a reason that the Bible warns us about boasting about tomorrow and always phrasing future plans with “Lord willing”, because none of us ever knows what is ever going to happen. Sunday afternoon this was proven to me.

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It was a typical Sunday, going to our Sunday school class and meeting for lunch afterwards. The youth group was going to be hosting a VBS at a low income housing area. I decided to show up later, in order to grab lunch, knowing that there were a few more VBS days that I could vary which times I was there for different pictures.

Then, I needed to take a left hand turn from the highway I was on, to another highway, across several lanes. The problem was there were two vehicles on the shoulder blocking my view of oncoming traffic. I found out later that one vehicle was jumping the other. I did stop at the stop sign (despite the false video report), and decided to count the vehicles that disappeared, ensuring that they had driven past me. I don’t detail what I did as an example for others to do, and trust me I’ve questioned each move I’ve made since the incident, but what happened is what happened. My car was squarely t-boned on my side of the car, and was pushed about 15 feet away from our collision.

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I felt surprisingly cognizant in the moments after the crash, I never lost consciousness. I remember emitting a weird yell convulsively. My husband said this was a natural instinct to get other’s attention. After a few seconds I calmed down. One of the first things I did was turn the engine off, as the Christian radio station was still playing. I could hear the lady in the other car saying, “She just pulled out in front of me!” and that she was having trouble breathing (likely due to an air bag deployment).

Sitting in the car I assessed the situation around me. My prescription sunglasses were long gone. I was missing a flip flop. There were small cubes of glass around my legs. My other glasses were in the case that had been flung and pinched in between the door handle on the other side…too far out of reach. My cell phone was nearby and I tried to call the husband a few times. Surprisingly, my DSLR was sitting pretty on the seat, didn’t look like it had moved at all! (I hadn’t even transported it in a camera bag this time). Pain wise I felt discomfort, like I needed to move myself to find a better sitting angle. In beginning to move I realized that I did have pain in my lower spine, across from my belly button. I could move my arms and legs/toes, so I didn’t panic but understood the importance of refraining from future movement.

There was a random nurse who’d come out to see if she could help. At least I guessed she was a nurse based on her scrubs. At one point I asked her if she could get my glasses for me. She walked over to the passenger side door, and I realized it was locked. I turned to use the electronic unlock, only to discover that the panel was unattached loosely displaying its wires.

Looking at pictures later it is surprising that I didn’t feel cramped inside the car. The metal was pushed in at least a foot inward. My husband (later at the car impound) tried to sit in the seat and couldn’t. The pedals were pushed into the engine area, the seat was about a foot wide, and the bottom of the seat was level with the floor of the car.

Emergency crews showed up very quickly. The first thought on my mind was getting someone to call my husband. I hoped to be able to make that call myself so he’d know I wasn’t as bad as it all sounded.

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My second thought, as the EMT’s approached, was the importance of communicating that Jesus had specifically spared my life. I wasn’t sure how to do this and have it sound sincere…as I figured many people must make those kinds of statements afterwards. But I did get a few “Amens!” Other than that I tried to stay as positive and cheerful as possible. The situation sucked, but I was alive. I was in pain, but I was going to get checked out. I just needed to be calm and go with everything.

All of the EMT’s introduced themselves to me and kept asking me the same questions, like my name and birthday assessing my mental faculties. At one point one of them introduced themselves and asked how I was. I cheerily automatically responded, “I’m good, how are you?” They all laughed. I teased them that they were taking me to my chariot, as they were turning me to place me on the stretcher and pull me out of the passenger side door. I don’t remember many of their names or faces, as I was placed in a neck brace as a precaution. One thing I specifically remember is trying to be as pleasant as possible, telling everyone how much I appreciated what they were doing on my behalf.

Throughout the move from the car and ambulance I was filled with peace. They warned me that the stretcher would feel bumpy, but I felt completely secure.

My ride in the ambulance was quick and filled with entertaining conversation with the EMT named Jeremy. He began checking my vitals, which he warned me would involve removing my shirt. I began to protest saying “This is really silly and unimportant…but is there anyways that you could…nevermind, don’t worry about it.” He filled in, “This is a special shirt, and you’d like me to cut it along the seam?” I replied “yes please” and sighed as another one of my Xtreme Impact shirts would not be wearable. I don’t remember many specifics about our conversation, but I remember laughing…which was also painful.

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He later picked out my husband based on my description of him. He said, “You must be the infamous Mr.” Jeremy showed him a picture of the squashed car, and told him how lucky he was to have me with him still.

He covered me back up with a blanket as we were preparing to leave the ambulance. I laughed, realizing that modesty was the last thing I cared about right now. I said this, and that I normally did really care, so it was really sweet of him to care about it form me right now when I couldn’t.

He laughed with the other EMT staff as they rolled me into the building. I heard them teasing him as he wore my purse into the building. He joked that it was the new emergency gear. It really helped to be around such camaraderie. It was weird in the building staring at the ceiling as people were introduced to me.

At this point some of the order of what happened is kind of fuzzy. I remember being insistent that I call my husband. As far as I knew he didn’t know about the incident. Someone helped me use the phone attached to the bed and I left a message. I found out later I actually left a message on my own cell phone…fail. My other only weird mess up for the day was I kept telling everyone we’d be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in October instead of our 4th.

Suddenly, some of the emotional stress began to get to me. The nurse, ¬†Kim was there still assessing me and getting me ready for all the tests they would run. I began to tear up. I said that it was really silly, but that I really missed my husband. She laughed and told me that was normal, and not silly at all. Its weird to explain, but in that moment I just needed to see him. Despite the fact that I was the one who’d be in the accident, I had this intense need to know he was okay. Kim explained this to me that, I needed to know he wasn’t freaking out due to the news.

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After all of my pestering, the Dr. finally told me that she’d left him a message (at 3pm one hour after the accident) as I was wheeled towards my first X-rays. She said he was on his way; I was elated. My first tests went pretty quickly. Being wheeled back I finally heard/saw my handsome husband. He began taking care of all of the information and contacting everyone who needed to be contacted.

A few of our guy friends were with him, as he’d been at their apartment when he’d received the call. These friends had driven him, so that way my husband didn’t have to drive in a frantic state. I was suddenly aware of the lack of clothes I didn’t have with my hospital supplied gown, and I pulled my blankets higher up. I was grateful for them being here to help support us.

My next step involved a blood test to ensure that I wasn’t pregnant before they could do a CT scan. The guys of course left the room, and in the end we used a catheter :-/. I told Kim that these kinds of things were why I could never be a nurse. She said that she was able to sort of zone it out, to do what they needed to do. I really enjoyed chatting with her off an on throughout the day. She’d started off at my school, then gone to another school, I think back home? I told her about my counseling internship, and she affirmed the need for mental health services, especially from what she could see in the hospital.

Once the blood work was assessed, I was wheeled to the CT machine by a young man named Chris. I didn’t know this at the time, but they told my husband that they’d found blood in my urine sample, which could indicate internal bleeding. The CT scans were used to determine if this was the case. I was most afraid of internal bleeding due to my sore abdomen, and my previous car accident injuries of a lacerated spleen and liver.

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I cannot recall what position Chris was, as I know the name of my technician was Jenna, but I know he worked with the CT and X Ray machines. He was really friendly. He asked me about my husband, and how long we’d been married. I found out that he was getting married in a month, and was so relieved because they’d just gotten out of debt. We talked about the fears of getting married young, and how the important thing was the couple talking it over with God.

Then, the waiting began, to be informed what the scans said. I was beginning to crack again. The morphine they’d originally given me was wearing off by this point. I felt agitated, impatient, and in pain. I was sick of being confined…I needed to move around. I alternated between being grumpy and feeling guilty for my bad attitude. I felt bad that our guy friends endured the worst of this grunting and complaining.

After a few hours those friends left only to be replaced by the mission trip TL’s whom I was supposed to meet to do photography for. They are also the former leaders of Xtreme Impact, and our current Sunday School leaders. It was sweet of them to stop by with their busy schedules, especially in the middle of the local trip! I’m so grateful they did though. When they first arrived my pain level had reached a 7.5 or an 8…I was just about ready to beg for another dose of morphine, because I couldn’t think about much else besides my physical situation.

However, they arrived and we talked for what felt like hours (I really had no sense of time). We talked about the mission trip team members, the team’s ministry, other aspects about the church, our counseling jobs, photography, former jobs, and many other things. Engaging in ministry discussions helped give me a purpose to think about, like I was still on the team doing the work. They also sweetly brought us a phone charger, and bags full of snacks! We hadn’t eaten anything the entire time we’d been there, and it was probably 6 or 7pm by this point. The bags were filled with fruit gummies, teddy grahams, granola bars, water bottles, and apples!

I wasn’t particularly hungry, but her 6 month future mom self encouraged me to go ahead and eat the soft gummies (which are my favorites anyways), as this would increase my blood sugar, and make me feel better. I ate two packages and one of teddy grahams. Eating the teddy grahams made me sad. I explained that my youth group back home had a tendency to eat them with cake icing on church retreats, and I’d been looking forward to doing that with my portion of the overnight trip in D.C. with the mission trip youth.

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They informed me that they hadn’t purchased the theme park tickets yet. We discussed the pros and cons of riding a 3.5 hour van ride, plus walking in D.C., then walking around a theme park, and that likely that would be too much for me.

While they were there we were finally told the results of the scans. The CT revealed a fractured and dislocated L3 Vertebrae in my lower spine. Surprisingly, this just meant that I would need to rest and heal naturally over the next 4-6 weeks. Though a back brace may later be suggested.

I told my friends that I still wanted to finish out some of the photography, that I felt fine enough to do it. I figured that I could at least do photography sitting in a chair. I’m pretty sure they new I was crazy, and got me to agree to at least rest one solid day, though I believe they knew I wouldn’t be able to help out at all anymore.

I discovered more of my pain when I was asked to get some standing up X Rays to give to the specialist I’m going to see tomorrow. However, I didn’t really realize how bad I was, how slow these next few weeks would be until leaving for home. We left the hospital around 9pm getting a ride from another friend. He was able to drive up the lawn to our front door…but this still painfully meant walking down the stairs. Those slow moves secured in my mind that I wasn’t leaving the apartment until I absolutely needed to.

IMG_4547

The past two days of slow rest and recovery have been a cycle of these things: more friends discovering and offering help, realizing things that I won’t be able to do again for a long time, and realizing how easily I could have died or been permanently crippled.

I keep having moments where I cry about not being able to finish with the youth group. I was just learning their names and personalities, I really wanted to be a part of it all. The Pastor made me feel better, saying that they would be planning more of these trips in the future.

Another sad fact is that I’ll have to post pone the rest of my couch to 5k plans…instead I’m working on a couch to pillow plan…really training on being a couch potato. My mom thinks that running may have helped me survive this better, as muscle supports bone better than fat does. Also, my awesome five fingers helped give my feet more balance.

Another interestingly timed thing, is that fact that my internship is sooo slow right now. This means that I’ll have less sessions to report to and more time for healing. God’s timing was really perfect.

Through all of these I’ve just felt such love and support from everyone. I process things verbally, so I keep repeating a lot of it to everyone, I apologize if that is annoying. For me I need to verbally say the scary things…like how my car’s tough steel bent so easily in the picture. Its incredible to stare at the picture and know the car was struck perfectly on the side beam to minimize damage to myself. It blows my mind, and I know it is because God graciously chose to not only save my life, but protect me from serious injury. And so far, it seems as long as I take this first week easy, I shouldn’t have any permanent damage.

Right now, I walk around moving my limbs in slow motion, as I tenderly transfer the weight from one segment of my foot to another, much like that of a timid grandmother. But, (Lord willing ;0)) I should be able to run again some day…I hope I never take that gift for granted again, but I know its a miracle that He ordained.

The thing that I am most grateful is for the wonderful godly husband God’s given me. I teased about how I didn’t like him the first time I met him.¬†But, seriously, he’s so much better than I ever could have imagined. He’s been patiently walking me around to the restroom (even at 3 in the morning), carrying everything to me, being my secretary and telling everyone about the accident for me (so I didn’t have to worry about what to say), dealing with insurance and other details, let alone he’s the only one allowed to do chores because I can’t bend over.

He feels silly when I post my thanks about him publicly on my facebook, because he doesn’t want people to think he does those things for my boasting to them. Instead, he’s just a godly man who takes seriously his role as a husband to care for me in sickness and in health. :0)

Never Have I Ever felt so blessed in all of my life.

 

 

Reflected on Cicadas

A short while ago we were getting reports on these giant bugs who were last seen above ground 17 years ago. I didn’t notice them until this past weekend, when my husband identified their whirring buzzing to me. Now, I keep seeing these GIANT flying bugs EVERYWHERE.

Vaguely, I remember my mom showing me a clear amber exoskeleton in a beetle shape, and I realized that it must have been the last time these cicadas were around, in 1996!

Cicada-exoskeleton

If you want to be really grossed out here is the molting process:

My nerdly self was curious and decided to research more about these bugs. For 17 years they live underground in their nymphal form getting their nutrients from roots, then they emerge, molt, mate, and die after about two months! How crazy is that?!

I did the math today and I realized the next time that these bugs emerge above ground in !!!2030!!!!!, ¬†I will be 43 years old. I daydreamed for a moment realizing what that would mean: Likely, we’d have kids, kids who would be in their early/late adolescence! Husband and I would be celebrating 21 years of marriage!! It is crazy to think about how life and myself could be different in that many years.

When I was a child/teen I eagerly awaited being an adult. You look forward to those days where you have freedom, you have privileges, etc. For me, I remember sitting in church pews staring at the middle aged ladies singing in the choir. I envied them. I felt like they’d arrived. In my teens my life was so open-ended. But them, they knew who their “soul mate” was. They understood themselves, knew who they were, they had “arrived.”

I’m 25 now, will be 26 by the end of the year, and I still don’t think that I feel like an “adult.” I’m guessing this means that in some ways I’ll never “feel” like an adult. At least if we are equating “perfection” and “arriving” on the same level as “adult.”

In contrast to these cicadas, we have a long larval life as well (approximately 18-20 years), but then we have 60 years of living as an adult. A wise woman brought this to my attention this past week, the idea that we have 20 years to grow and quickly develop, and the rest of our lives to get over it/work through it. We only have 20 years of “preparation” until we are to live out potentially 60 more years. And we wonder why adolescence is marked with such tumultuous feelings?

So I guess that means we should all be a little more patient with ourselves. It is going to take more than 5/6 years to begin to adapt as a “young adult.” It will take more than a few years to be a good wife. It will take more than 4 years to build a great marriage. Things take time.

I struggle with this because I worry if something isn’t “correct” now it won’t necessarily be correct later. However, I think the idea is to have a clear and good direction that you are traveling, staying on course so to speak, but knowing that the destination is decades in the making. A plant isn’t going to grow any faster by staring at it, and definitely not by pulling the stalk up with my fists. Instead, we have to balance the concept of daily active growth while knowing the harvest is eternal.

Think about it, in 17 years I’ll be able to reflect on the changes since the last cicadas graced us with their presence! See ya there! Yes, I’ll still be blogging when I’m 43 ;0).

Grounded Myself in God’s Victories

Internship Outfit Week # 6 and here is my hours count: 12 Face to Face, 2.25 Individual Supervision, 2 Group Supervision, and 37.75 Related Activities, for a grand total of 54 hours. It is progressing slower than I realized. I currently only have 4 clients and several are taking off this week, I keep trying to remind myself that slow is normal and okay, but it doesn’t always work.

The slowness of the week, the coldness of the weather, frustrations with communication struggles in my martial relationship, all combined to not make me want to get up and go in for my individual supervision today. It is silly that I feel so insecure about those meetings, however that rationalization does not stop those fears. I just feel like I trip over my own words. I hate the idea of doing something new; I hate the idea that I’m not perfectly experienced at this yet. I feel like I never have the right words to explain what I’m doing in session etc. Husband tells me that I need to be patient with myself as this is a learning experience. Instead, I do what I always do when I get insecure/afraid I toy with the idea of running away. I think, “it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to get the Human Services degree instead, would it?” (For the record, my supervisor is awesome and I’m just being irrational).

I miss having the classes, I miss the text books, I miss the research papers. I was immensely good at ALL of that stuff, I’ve always been good at school. One year in school they tested our learning styles. It was determined that I have a “Mastery Skill Level.” This explained why, in math class I enjoyed being taught how to do the problem and then having 100 examples to do in the homework that were exactly the same way. I enjoy Mastering things.

I enjoy the subjectivity of counseling, in theory. I like that I am unique and that as counselors our personalities and approaches are all different, and that is a good thing. However, it is easy to become insecure knowing that I have to practice with people (which sometimes already give me anxiety) in order to learn. Smeh.

While journaling and reading my Bible, and it became very apparent that my feelings were based on my own emotional funk and likely spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want me to be a counselor, serving God and setting the captives free from their bondage of sin and dysfunction problems. He would rather keep them tied down so that they never reach their potential and they never glorify God.

Hebrews 2:1 “We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away”

Instead of running away from my fears I need to face them. God will help train me and bring me through this process that HE has CALLED me too. My life is about glorifying Him, and that means that this internship is about Him too.

I want to ground myself in this passage Isaiah 61:1-4

“The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him; they will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former¬†devastation¬† they will renew the ruined cities, the¬†devastation¬†of many generations.

If that doesn’t get you pumped, then maybe you need to listen to Desert Song by Hillsong. I encourage you to dedicate yourself that no matter how you feel, that you won’t waiver in whatever calling that He has placed on your life. There will be times of discouragement, those are the times that you need to show verses of His faithfulness and your calling to yourself and push onward.

In other news my former supervisor (from the missions agency I worked with) is now working at my site as an MA counselor!! I’m beyond excited!! Soon, we are planning on running some groups together. If you have any ideas for good group books, post and let me know!

Solved the Gun Massacre Problem

This post originates from a random tweet that I came across a few mornings ago from a twitter account about Italy (followed because I miss Italy and like to stay updated about it!)

Because I have become so educated about these types of arguments, and they’ve become common place in my life…I actually decided to respond. This was probably not the wisest decision of my life, as arguments on the internet rarely amount to good. I, at least, always tend to get involved in them with people who don’t really care about listening to your side of the debate and throw it in your face. :-/

This back and forth on twitter quickly degenerated to:

At that point I was beyond frustrated, but realized that pointlessness of that specific conversation. It was difficult that this person decided to push this terrible tragic problem back in my face when I was already proposing a solution, reminding me that precious young lives were taken unfairly.

So, that person wanted me to provide solutions? Well, here they are, here are my individual personal solutions for America’s Gun Massacre problem. This problem is so widespread that it often feels like a single person cannot make a dent in such tragedies. However, this is my attempt.

1. Pray. I will pray for those families, for that community. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of pain that they are suffering through right now. Likely, those parents were probably having a busy morning, just trying to rush to get their children to school or to the bus stop, and had no idea those rushed moments may have been their last with their kindergartner. It breaks my heart. I pray for all of the parents who have to explain to their children that such evil exists in the world, and to try to learn how to make them feel safe and secure again.

2. Understand that evil will always exist in the world. Unfortunately evil is in the world because humans sinned. Our world is broken, and the human heart has a propensity towards awful things. I will pray that God can bring more people to Himself, and change those hearts. I will live my life as a witness to Him, sharing His hope and salvation everywhere that I go, in as many of my actions as possible. Unless we deal with the root issues about the desire of violence and destruction anyone can use any tool to hurt anyone else.

3. Learn about mental health. I am specifically gaining an education to be able to help those who are stressed, distressed, or mentally ill in this world. However, we can all do our part. We can reach out to those around us, to create fewer alone people. Also, we can make mental health check ups and counseling seen as a normal process. If it were less¬†stigmatized¬†I think that more people would go to counseling and get help. I would also weep with those who weep. Those people affected by this tragedy don’t need to hear your words, or how “you know” how it feels, because you don’t. Unless in that specific situation we’ll never completely feel or understand their pain. When those around us are in a crisis we need to shut up and simply be with them, let them know that they’re not alone, and allow them the freedom to grieve at their own pace.

4. Point out logical fallacies. Unfortunately  we tend to not care about issues as much until they are personal or tangible to us. Therefore, the prime time to discuss this and make decisions about how to prevent such tragedies in the future is when such tragedies have just occurred. It is important that this be attempted as sensitively as possible, but is necessary for us to process this tragedy in our action oriented minds to progress towards prevention in the future. This includes: awakening people to the evils of the millions of abortions in this world, as well as the fact that our government uses drones overseas and destroys school houses filled with innocent children. To be logically consistent we need to believe that all life is precious and sanctified and work to protect it.

5. Protect one’s self from evil. Personally, my husband and I (and several of our friends) means that we’ve decided to carry a firearm daily in order to protect our lives, our future children, or others around us from such terrible acts of violence. I pray to God to never have to be in a situation to use my firearm, but have that tool in order to protect against the inevitable evil in the world. Much like Christian author and missionary Charl Van Wyk who was sitting in a church service in South Africa, and was able to defend his congregation against a terrorist attack, minimizing the effects of the terrible shooting. His accounts are recorded in an excellent book entitled Shooting Back: The Right and Duty to Self Defense. I would highly recommend it, and book review is located on my book blog!

6. Train yourself to be able to defend yourself in such horrific situations. Its not enough simply to own a gun or defensive tool (like martial arts, a baseball bat, a knife, or pepper spray) you need to know and feel comfortable enough to use it if necessary. One way that I train is to participate in local gun club competitions that simulate real life situations. International Defensive Pistol Association is a great example and you can read more about my experiences with that.

7. Get involved in local politics to defend your right to defend yourself. Sadly, after these debates instead of focusing on the the tragedy, it is used to highlight agendas citing that handguns equal violence and we should remove them all. However, logical fallacy again…those who were ruthlessly murdered were in a “safe” gun free zone. I really hope this is the last brutal massacre that we need to convince us that our current laws and restrictions aren’t working about guns. When citizens do not have access to guns, criminals, and mentally ill people know that they will not be unhindered in their cruelty. Some of the ways that I work to protect my legal defense rights are to participate with Virginia Citizen Defense League. It is a wonderful organization that works to show the state legislature how the gun owning community feels and represents us well. One of their main events is to head to Richmond for Lobby Day.¬†Here we meet with our¬†representatives¬†while openly carrying our legally held firearms and discuss the policy that is being proposed for the next session.¬†¬†Previous to that experience I’ve always hated politics believe it to be an inefficient process. However, meeting with my state representatives gave me a way to be actively involved in the process.

Specifically, what I would love to see happen is a law passed that enabled teachers and administration to be able to legally carry concealed weapons within a school. This would not prevent tragedy, but at least would offer some level of defense against such an event. One day I’ll be a parent, and right now I would have a hard time wanting to sent my child to a school outside of my own home, simply for their safety. Interestingly enough, these massacres are not only a US problem, but killing sprees are happening all over the world. I just discovered this article from 2009 about a recent mass shooting in a school in Germany following other such massacres in 2002, and 2006. This article shared the fact that teachers in Israel have been carrying weapons since the 1970’s and that in 2004 Thailand adopted a policy that allowed teachers to be issued firearm licenses if they desired. The article quotes:

The report stated that though Thailand’s government was extremely hostile to gun ownership in general, it recognized that teachers ought to be in a position to safeguard themselves and their students.

Even more recently the Virginia Governor and a former NYPD police detective are advocating teachers and administration be allowed to carry read further here, and here respectively.

8. Remind yourself that there is good in the world and appreciate life. Reports of this nature are devastating even for those not affected by the tragedy. Twitter and Facebook are filled with comments from parents of young children who were unable to sleep well. I think to work through this besides what I’ve listed above, it is important to enjoy life and to realize anew how much each moment is a gift. We are not guaranteed one more second on this earth. Therefore, hug your children close to you, spend time with friends and loved ones, reach out to those around you. Be kind to those in need, and “Pay it forward”. Live out your faith, and share His perfect love.