Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Something Beautiful

I've loved this song for a long time.  It has been appropriate for so many situations in my life.  This morning when it came out of my speakers from my ipod it reminded me that no matter what we are experiencing in our lives, God can make something beautiful out of it if we just submit ourselves to Him and lift up our open hands to let Him do the "making".  Here are the words you can listen to it below:


Make Something Beautiful
Words and music by Laura Story and Ed Cash
copyright 2007 New Spring, Alletrop Music, 

When I'm at the point of breaking, at the place where I resign

And I'm at the stage of shaking my head as I look back on my life

When I'm halfway through the grieving, but not quite through the ache,

When I cannot see the ending or which road I'm supposed to take

All I know to do is lift my hands to You.

Take all of my life, all of my life,

And make something beautiful.

I open my hand, trusting Your plan.

Make something beautiful, so all will see

Your work in me as You make something beautiful.

When I'm tired of pretending and I can't recall my lines

Do I say I'm barely breathing or just say I'm doing fine?

I admit there is a yearning for the hurting to subside

But not at the risk of missing

What you're doing in my life.

And all I know to do is lift my hands to you.

A Shield of Love

"For you bless the godly, O LORD, surrounding them with your shield of love."
Psalm 5:12

The above verse has had a special meaning for me in the past several weeks.  I was directed to it through one of the devotionals that I have been reading and the phrase "shield of love" stuck with me. Many times at night when I pray with Adam before I leave him to go sleep at the hotel I will just say a simple prayer and ask God the Father to protect him with His shield of love. Yesterday that phrase took on a whole new meaning for us.

Last night our church family hosted what they called "The Polson Encouragement Cookout" for us and we were beyond blessed!  Several dear families and ladies in a serving unit prepared delicious food for anyone who wanted to come and bless us with their love and encouragement.  Craig, Zach, Katrina, Anna and I were all able to be there and experience the rich fellowship of our faith family. To say we were blessed does not do the word justice.

Then when we got home we opened up the many cards and notes that people had left in a box for us at the cookout and we were left speechless by the generosity and love that was expressed in them.  To just say thank you would be such a feeble offering for such extravagant love and yet it is the very heartbeat of our souls--THANK YOU, NORTHRIDGE FAMILY!!!

I especially was humbled by our church's outpouring of love for us because I will admit here that there have been times over the past few years that I have felt distanced from the fellowship of believers.  Just the many miles we live from our church alone makes it difficult to always "feel" included in the mission and fellowship of church life.  Also, we have not been involved in a small group for YEARS and that has taken its toll on me.  That, together with some other personal mid-life issues has sometimes made me feel like I didn't "fit in" at my own church.

But God is good and His people are the flesh and blood of His heart wherever they live.  We experienced this 17 years ago when Adam had his liver transplant and here we are needing to learn it all over again!

Last night I got to spend time with many people--some are very close friends, some were people I am just getting to know better and some are people that we don't see except at church but who are friends just the same.  I also met some people that I had never been formally introduced to before and yet they were there loving us because of Jesus.

I mentioned to a few people last night that when I come home from being with Adam at the hospital I feel a bit shell shocked.  When I first get back in the area if I run into you somewhere I may seem like I don't know how to talk or what to say.  Honestly, it is hard to transition into the real world of life after being cooped up in the bubble of a hospital setting.  Many of you know exactly what I am talking about.  That is probably why this blog is the best way to express what is going on with us.

Our pastor and friend, Charlie told us not to try to write individual thank yous to all of you who came out last night but to just thank you corporately.  I hope that those who came out will understand that and that you will know that we are SO appreciative and humbled by your generous gifts and words of encouragement to us!!!!  THANK YOU again!!

For everyone reading this blog (which I found out last night is a lot more people than I ever imagined) we thank you for your prayers which are more precious than gold to us!  Some friends I knew long ago in a lifetime far, far away had a son who was seriously ill and they said that the prayers of people were "the energy we walk on" and we have felt that same sentiment to be true for us.

Thank you, fellow believers, for being God's SHIELD OF LOVE for us!!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

All I Can Say

Psalm 34

"I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD:

Let all who are discouraged take heart.

Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness; let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears.

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

I cried out to the LORD in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears.

For the angel of the LORD guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!

Let the LORD's people show him reverence, for those who honor him will have all they need.

Even the strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will never lack any good thing.

Come, my children and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD.

Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue!

Keep your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others.

The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.
But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth

The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous face many troubles, but the LORD rescues them from each and every one. For the LORD protects them from harm--not one of their bones will be broken!

Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. Everyone who trusts in him will be freely pardoned."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Praise God for His Goodness!!!!

Happy Father's Day!!!

I want to take this forum that I have and give thanks for my husband for his steadfastness and faithfulness to me and to our children.  He has always had his hands full being married to me but he has stood up amidst all of my failures and been a good husband and father.  

But especially in these past four plus months, I have been blessed to have him by my side and by our son's side.  Craig has quite literally "put his life aside" in terms of work and his own desires to be with Adam every step of the way and for this and many other things I am so thankful!! Love you Sweetie!!!

And now for some amazingly GREAT news!!!!!!!

Almost instantaneously  after I posted the specific prayer requests yesterday God started to answer those prayers in miraculous ways!!!!

Craig has been pushing the docs this week to try a new method of getting the infection out through the drains because they have NOT been working right this whole time.  The way they are set up is just so slow and let's just say so very messy and uncomfortable for Adam.

They started a new method yesterday and the results were phenomenal!! 

The  amount of infection they were getting out in an average 24 hour period was about 100 mL.  After the first try at the new method they got 1000 mL out.  Almost immediately, Adam's heart rate started to come down to a normal one for the first time since all of this began.  Craig said that this morning the dressings were basically CLEAN which is a true miracle.  He told me that when he walked into the room yesterday he could literally smell the infection in the room.  Katrina and I were well aware of that ourselves before we left.  Now Adam is no longer lying in a puddle of evil infection but can let his skin begin to heal as well.

His white count has ranged from 15,000 to 45,000 during different periods of ups and downs and this past week it had gotten back up to 28,000.    OVERNIGHT it has gone from 23,900 to 14,700.  The nurse said she had NEVER seen that happen so fast.  

Literal walls of infection are falling down and they are able to pull from one area and get what was formerly a walled off area with one drain to come out another drain area.  Our Nathan had shared a sermon that had meant a great deal to him months ago which was about Joshua and the walls of Jericho called "don't stop on 6".  It is about not stopping on 6 times  marching around the walls but to persevere and keep marching until God knocked them down.  He mentioned before he left the hospital last week "Mom, don't stop on 6".  I'm so thankful for the prayer warriors who are holding up our arms in this fight!!!  We're not stopping on 6!!!

Thank you doesn't hold enough weight to say to all of you who are praying but our hearts are SO truly thankful to you for your prayers!!!  Please continue to hold up Adam and all of us and GIVE PRAISE TO GOD ALMIGHTY FOR HIS WONDERFUL POWER AND MERCY!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It's Not Fair and Specific Prayer

Those words.  Every mother has heard them and said them herself as a child.  We've probably all said them as a adult as well.  It's not fair.

If I'm honest, I really don't recall my children saying those words very often if at all.  Maybe growing up in a house full of kids makes you realize that nothing is fair early in life so you know better than to say it.  Or maybe I've just blotted it out of my memory in favor of all the good things I remember from my kids' childhoods now that they are mostly all grown up.

As adults we become so jaded and have full knowledge that life truly is, not fair.

Last night Katrina and I left the hospital around 8:00 but we didn't stay in town.  We headed home so that we could have a full day here to catch up before Sunday and then going back on Monday.  

I cried all the way home.  

Adam had a really tough couple of days and nights these past several days.  It is torture for me as a mom to watch my child suffer in pain and discomfort on and on with seemingly no end in sight.  To have to hold your adult son as someone causes them horrific pain (and yet not really be able to hold him because of all the wires, tubes and dressings) is something I do not wish upon anyone.  But we are living it.  It's not fair.

My son cried out to me to please don't let them hurt him and to ask how can he take it any longer and my heart cries while my eyes stand strong in order to encourage him to hold on to hope.  It's not fair.

I long to have the worst thing in my life be a busy schedule or a lot of work to do.  I see pictures of people enjoying the things of summer and I want for that to be my son's face doing fun things instead of spending his days wondering if he can take the pain anymore.
It's not fair.


But it is happening.  

This morning as I was looking for something for Jesus to speak to me I was reminded that we have had many answered prayers in this journey.  A friend sent me a prayer journal and it brought to mind that we have asked over these many months for friends to pray specifically for things and we have seen answers to those prayers that were so stunning and wonderful.  It is easy to forget those things when you are feeling stuck in the rut of pain and suffering.  

So it feels like God has prompted me to give you some very specific things to pray for in regards to Adam.  He is able.  He is powerful.  He is merciful. He is healer.

  1. Please, please pray for them to find a way to get the infection out of him because the way they can do it is so SLOW.   Along with this, pray that the tubes could be made more efficient because they leak so badly and it is breaking down his skin. 
  2. Pray for them to find the best, least hurtful way to dress his wounds around his drains so that they don't have to be changed so often. ( Pray request number 1 again)
  3. Pray for him to be able to sleep and rest during the night.
  4. Pray that he would be willing to go back to a different pain med that makes him less confused and anxious.
  5. Pray for his heart, mind and spirit to be encouraged daily by Jesus.
  6. Pray for complete healing in the areas that need it so that surgery can be done in due time and he could be on the recovery side of this illness.
  7. For greater wisdom for Adam's doctors to know what is best and right for him and also that they would fully communicate with each other to be moving things along.

I cannot express enough thanks to you who are praying because I know there are virtually hundreds of people praying and that overwhelms my soul.

But we thank you.  Your love for us isn't fair, but we are so humbled by it and grateful for it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tough Day

Today was a long, tough day.

My mom and sister came yesterday from Illinois so we had decided to go over to the hospital a little later than I usually do.  Nothing was going to be happening this morning anyway. Or so we thought.

After the procedure yesterday, Dr. G said that he wanted to let Adam have a resting day where he was able to get his full nutrition so he cancelled the previously scheduled visit to IR.  But early this morning I got a text from Craig saying that though the orders for the IR had been cancelled it was not showing up on the computer that way. Besides, the doctor that was to perform the procedure would be here today but NOT tomorrow.  So it was a God arrangement.

When we arrived at the hospital Adam was still down in the IR so we waited for him to be returned. One of our friend nurses had a patient leaving today and offered the nicer corner room to Adam so after his return upstairs he was to be moved to a room with a much better view and more sunlight. When he was brought upstairs to his unit he was sound asleep and remained so while we were moving to the new room.  So when he woke up, he was in a different room.  He was a bit confused by that.

During a dressing change with his new nurse (because he changed rooms) some of the infected fluid in him just started to come out of him through his skin which was kind of a strange surprise.  They had to figure out a way to protect him from having that damage his skin and also contain the liquid without putting in another new drain.  The prospect of that was so discouraging to Adam.

They put out a call to the med team and the surgeon to see what they suggested to do with this problem and we saw the med team doc and eventually the surgeon.  This is the man we have been wanting to talk to for a while but he has been in surgery every day recently doing transplants. We finally got to have a good consult with him although what he told us wasn't exactly what we wanted to hear in terms of speed of recovery.

Dr. K feels very strongly that surgery at this point is still far too risky and does not recommend it to be done.  Going in and trying to "scoop out" the areas of infection sounds like a quick and easy plan for moving along the recovery process but it is not without chance of great risk of dangerous complications and even death.  Naturally we don't want to take these kinds of chances just to hurry things along so we agreed with him that we should prudently wait.  Seemingly not what we wanted but I have to confess that in my gut I have felt surgery was not a good idea yet for a while now. Two of Adam's other doctors whom I respect greatly have shared those feelings.  So as much as it would be great to have a shortcut to better health for our son,  it is not a safe path.

Through our talk with Dr. K he suggested that the nurse put an ostomy bag on the leak that had recently sprung and she did with great success.  One problem solved.

I need to say here, too, that the scope that they did yesterday showed that there were no holes in the area that they checked and things are healing in there.  That is good news and we are grateful for it.

But the reality that he will have to continue to wait and see how things work themselves out in the manner which they are now is very disheartening to Adam.  He feels like he will be here forever and that his life is horrible this way.  I don't blame him.  It is hard.  He suffers a lot of pain and having been dealing with this for 4 months as of today it is hard to imagine that he will ever get better since it is so slow and difficult.  Saturday night he had a couple blood clots in his leg.  It seems like there is something new all the time and yet we make minuscule steps forward.

Please pray for his mind, his spirits, and his heart to be able to work at the things he needs to do to slowly get better.  We appreciate your love and concern for us.  Life is hard, but God is good.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tears and Fears

There have been quite a few tears and fears this week in our family.  

Monday morning when I got in to check on Adam and start one of his antibiotics I saw that a couple hours before, Craig had charted a temperature of 100 for him.  So, I took his temperature again and it was 101 degrees which is to be reported to the home health nurse and doctors at KU.  I didn't really want to make that call but I knew that I needed to do it. When HH contacted us back they said that we needed to get Adam to the ER at KU as soon as we could which meant that we needed an ambulance.  I'm pretty sure that was the first time in my life that I have actually called 911 myself.  

In literally just a few minutes the Axtell ambulance was in our driveway and things shifted into high gear.  Since they cannot transport directly to KU unless it is life threatening, they took Adam to Sabetha and he was evaluated there.  Then he got into another ambulance and I got to ride with him to KU Med.  It was a bumpy, painful ride for him since the roads are pretty torn up with construction. But he had two friends from his work taking him on the ride so it was comforting, in a sense to be "carried along" by people who care about him.

When we first got settled back on Unit 64 he was not too happy that we were there because his temp at that moment in time was 98.6 degrees.  But he needed to be in the hospital and I think that was the only way for God to get us there.  

The doctors had hoped that he could get 2 weeks of respite away from the hospital without incident but we only made it 10 days.  So now he is back while he waits for the surgery that he needs to get him on the mend and hopefully back to a normal, healthy life.  

I came home Tuesday night because I had an appointment on Wednesday morning in Manhattan.  When I got ready to walk out the door Wednesday, Katrina came downstairs and asked me if  I was really leaving that early.  I said yes and then she had to confess that my family had cooked up a surprise for my birthday (the following day) in which my dear friend Vickie was taking me down and after my appointment would take me for a pedicure as a gift from my mom and my sister.  It was a great surprise and a wonderful time for me to relax and be able to talk out all my feelings with my sweet friend.  

After getting home that afternoon we got the house straightened up and clothes washed so I could pack to go back down to KC.  It was such a joy to spend my birthday with most of my family and to get phone calls of love from my 2 boys who were working far away.  

But it was a teary day for me.  For one thing, it is really hard to be so loved and cared about when you just want to love and care for everyone else.  My husband surprised me with a lovely gift and card filled with words that were stretching my attributes a lot.  My Katrina gave me a sweet card with words that caused me to cry.  My mom's card made me cry.  My sweet boy in the hospital had a vase of roses for me and a sweet, loving card.  The nurses on Unit 64 even brought me some flowers.  My birthday buddy, Jan had left me some flowers the night before.   Everyone was so sweet to me and it was quite overwhelming.  

And then they told us that we would be meeting with a couple of docs and the surgeon to talk about surgery so there were tears thinking about all of that and possibly feeling a bit sick to my stomach about it as well.  

The meeting of "the 3" never happened but one doctor did come by and mention that he feels that surgery is a necessity and should happen soon by his account.  He is not the one who gets to ultimately decide but he is Adam's doctor so he knows.  The elusive surgeon has never made it to talk to us but that's because he has been doing liver transplants right and left.  He did 3 on Friday and 1 this morning.  He's a little busy.

There were some other incidents that I will not go into detail about here but they were a little distressing at the time so fears and tears happened again.  

We would certainly appreciate your prayers for Adam as he waits for surgery.  He wants it to happen soon, of course, because he hopes it will get him on the path to recovery more quickly, as do we.  But we want it to be in God's timing and with God's direction.  Please also pray for Dr. K, the surgeon, who will be doing a very difficult and complicated surgery to put things back together and to make decisions in the moment that will affect Adam's future.  Please pray that Dr. K would be rested, that he would feel confident of what he needs to do and that he would be wise.  Also,please pray for his associates, Dr. S and Dr. J. 

I would ask you to pray for our whole family as this is a difficult time for all of us.  Anna will be away at camp this week and she came to me a bit ago saying that she is a little sad about leaving during this unsure time for us all.  We want her to be able to get away with her friends in youth group and have some fun after all of this stress this past many months. Pray for Craig as he has had many claims to work that have gotten delayed by the rain which has been nice, but he does still have all of that work to catch up on and it weighs on him.  Pray for my other boys Nathan and Zach, who are away from the rest of us, that they could concentrate on their work and be able to rest in the Everlasting Arms of our Savior as they wait for word on the surgery.  Pray for Katrina, who will be with us in KC that she will be held up also by those same Everlasting Arms as she is a very great comfort to Craig and I.  Pray for me, as I watch my precious son, whom I carried those many years ago and whom I placed into the hands of surgeons nearly 17 years ago, that I will feel that same Grace that steadied me then, now.

We are so grateful for the MANY friends and family who continue to daily lift us up before Jesus for healing and strength!!!