THE DIFFERENCE

I was looking for a poem this morning called “The Difference”. I found several good pieces, including what I originally set out looking for.

I think it’s important for people to know what makes a difference in their lives. For me, the difference in my life is made by several things, including:

  • My relationship with God
  • Prayer
  • My husband
  • My children
  • The rest of my family
  • Friends
  • Books
  • Photography
  • Nature (especially the mountains)
  • Writing
  • Watching sports with my hubby

These are the things that really touch my heart. Each holds a special place in my life, they are my loves. They make me who I am. Some of these I would find it very difficult, if not impossible to live without. Some of them I can imagine my life without, but my life certainly wouldn’t be as rich as it is now. They are the difference to me and in me.

Below is the poem I was looking for,  followed by a couple other finds that I think are good examples of “The Difference” that I was thinking about this morning.

The Difference

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t take time to pray.

 

 

Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task,
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered. He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

 

 

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn’t show me–He said, “But you didn’t seek,”

 

 

I tried to come into God’s presence; I used all my keys at the lock,
God gently and lovingly chided, “My child, you didn’t knock.”

 

 

I woke up early this morning, and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

 

–Author unknown

 

This is a story I found on YouTube…very touching. It’s made the email rounds many times, but I don’t think the message is ever too old.

Who I Am Makes A Difference

 

One more poem:

The Difference Between Strength and Courage

It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pains,
It takes courage to show them.

It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

 

 What is it that makes you who you are?  What is it that touches you? What is “The Difference” in your life?

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Personality Profile

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I received this little “test” last year from my cousin, who, I think, posted it on her blog. I was going to link to that, but haven’t found the post, yet.

Anyway, it’s fun, and interesting to see what your personality type and Multiple intelligences are, so if you like taking tests that you can’t fail, this might be for you. I’d love to see what you come up with!!

Here are a couple of links to pages that tell you about my personality type:

http://www.mypersonality.info/personality-types/infj/
http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html

Tag…You’re It!

No, this isn’t one of those posts where I want you to respond by doing what I’ve just done.

This is a story about friendship, a story about Barb and me.

Barb and I have been friends since we were 17 years old. We’ve been through thick and thicker together. We’ve laughed, cried and prayed together.

Tonight we laughed! I laughed so hard that I nearly lost control of my bodily functions.

Earlier today Barb called and left a voice mail on my cell phone. It went something like this:

“Hi, Lynda, this is your friend. I’m just calling to see how you’re feeling and I haven’t called you all week and I feel kinda bad. I hope that you’re feeling good. I saw that you went back to work on Monday. I’ll talk to you later, I love you bunches.”

So, when I got off work I called her back, got no answer and left her a voice mail:

“Tag, you’re it! I’m feeling pretty good, still kinda sore, but not too bad. Yep, I’ve been working all week. Give me a call when you get this. Love you, bye.”

Tonight after we ate our dinner my hubby and I went to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I guess that’s about the time that Barb called me back. When I got home I saw that I had a missed call from her. But there was no voicemail…Hmmmmmmmm, curious.

So I called her. I forgot it is an hour later in Wyoming (9:00 PM) than it is here in Arizona (8:00 PM), but she was still awake and answered.

Me: “I saw you called.”

Barb: “Yep, and I was going to leave you a message…but…well…I couldn’t.”

Me: “Why not?”

Barb: “Well, I was in the bathroom at the bowling alley all alone when I called. Then some lady came in and sat in the stall next to me. When your voicemail came on I just couldn’t bring myself to say ‘TAG, YOU’RE IT!’

Me: UNCONTROLLABLE LAUGHTER!!!

My Thyroid Surgery Experience – Part 3

I woke up around 6:00 on Tuesday morning and was ravenous. I ordered some breakfast and turned on the television, to our local channel 3. It was good to see familiar faces, comforting to feel like I was back (almost) in the real world. Kristen came in with my Synthroid, Calcitriol and Tums. It hurt to swallow even these tiny pills. It hurt to swallow water. I wondered how I would fare with my breakfast.

The dietary worker arrived with my cheese omelette and sausage and I was able to get it all down, one painful bite after another. I was so hungry that my appetite overruled my sore throat and I kept going. It was truly delicious and it seemed to get easier to swallow with each bite I took. I think the hot tea I ordered helped some, too.

I had a nasty cough that was probably caused from the anesthesia in addition to my constant allergy issues, and it really hurt to cough. I’m still coughing some, but it is far less painful a week and a half out from surgery than it was the day after! I laid in bed, waiting for more pain meds and water. At 8:00 someone came in and delivered my pills and refilled my handy-dandy 32 oz. mug with the hospital logo with ice and water! Hooray!!

Kristen came in a little while later and removed the dressing from my incision. I still had the tape, but the larger bandage was gone. I was much more comfortable once I saw the taped incision. It didn’t really seem all that bad. It was swollen, but that was expected. And it hurt some, but it wasn’t too awful. The pain from my sore throat and upper shoulders and back of my neck was worse by far than the incision site.

I had residual stickiness from the tape that held my dressing in place. Yuck. I’m slightly sensitive to adhesives like that anyway, so it was red and itchy as well as being sticky. I went in to my sink and tried to remove some of the mess with a little soap and water on my washcloth. It helped some and I felt better. I washed my face and sponge bathed the rest of me as I wasn’t allowed to take a shower until Wednesday. Aunt Flo was still visiting, but was much more manageable than the previous two days. I was still cursing the timing of THAT event. I mean seriously, 6 months of NOTHING, and then the DAY BEFORE SURGERY!!! UGH. (Sorry guys, I know it’s gross, but women deal with it, and it’s relevant to my experience, so I’m writing about it.) It definitely brightened my morning to feel a little fresher and cleaner.

Hubby got to the hospital around 11:30, just about the time my lunch arrived. I ate my lunch, he ate his Subway sandwich that he brought with him, and we chatted. He said I looked a lot better than the day before and I think he felt better seeing me feeling more like myself. The nursing staff was awesome (well except Robin, but she’s an aide, and I’m still not sure she was all that bad) and my daytime nurse came in with more pain meds. I was definitely ready! About 30 minutes post drug I was ready to fall asleep again and hubby decided he’d run home and take a nap, too. We were both bone weary with all the hullaballo surrounding this surgery and I think it had just caught up with us. We kissed, he left, I slept. I slept for 4 hours! Then it was time to take my vitals again.

Everything looked good according to my vital signs. I was no longer on oxygen or the constant blood pressure  monitoring and was a little more free to move around. I was able to go back and forth to the bathroom at will, which is good because between the IV and the copious amounts of water I was drinking I was in there a lot! I was bored with television so I decided to order dinner.

It’s pretty cool, this restuarant/room service type system of ordering your food at this hospital. And the food, it was delicious! I ordered a chicken dish and some apple pie for dessert with milk to drink. I tried using the ordering thing on the tv…but after an hour of no food I realized that I had botched that order up somehow and called in my order instead. They could see that I had ATTEMPTED to order an hour earlier, so they put a priority on my meal and I had it in about 20 minutes instead of the usual 45. It was 6:10, and I was starving. It was still hard to swallow, but not as hard as it was the day before, or even earlier that morning. I chewed carefully and swallowed slowly, following up each bite with a sip of water.

Hubby showed up shortly after I ate and we watched television, a baseball game, I think, while we yakked and waited for the doctor to come in and, hopefully, tell me that I could go home. Dr. VLR showed up around 8:30 PM. After reviewing my bloodwork and charts he said that if I felt like going home I was free to go. Yay! He filled out the release paperwork, the nurse filled out hers and I left with discharge instructions, three prescriptions and orders to get another blood draw to check my calcium levels in 7 days (ooops, it’s been 10 days and I still need to get in to do that!).

We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and went back an hour later to pick them up. I slammed down two Percocet the minute I walked into the house, and then checked my email and my blog. I was too tired and sore to do anything but read, so I spent about 15 minutes just sitting there staring at the computer until the meds hit me and I went to bed.

On Wednesday morning I got up and started to go downstairs to do some things that I normally do…like bringing my hubby his first cup of coffee. I do this because I love him, and I like to do something that shows him how special he is to me. But this particular morning he was having NONE of it! I was told, in no uncertain terms, to get back up there and get in bed and to let HIM take care of ME for a change…dammit!! So I did. 🙂  I spent most of the day in bed, scarfing down pain pills and moaning while watching baseball and basketball!

Now I’m 10 days past my surgery. My tape is gone, my incision is healing nicely and the swelling is going down more each day. I feel pretty good for the most part. It still hurts to cough, or sneeze, and I’m a little tired, but that’s improving each day as well. I haven’t slept well since the surgery until last night but I don’t really know why. My pain is nearly gone other than when I cough. My back and shoulders are still a little stressed and I’m taking Tylenol at night to help with that. Our hot tub has been wonderful for helping with the back pain! 

I’m acclimating to taking a pill every morning (Synthroid, which I will take for the rest of my life) and have my post operative appointments scheduled with the surgeon and endocrinologist. I’m back at work and have been able to put in full days all this week. So I’d say I’m doing pretty darned good!

I’m relieved that the pathology report did not show any other cancer whatsoever. None on the right side of my thyroid, no more than what we already knew about on the left side, and none in any of the lymph nodes  that were removed during surgery. I won’t know about having to go through the RAI treatment until I see my endocrinologist later in May.

I’ve only had a little bit of trouble with my voice, kind of like a 13 year old boy going through puberty. I crack and squeak a little at times. I can’t yell but I’m not much of a screamer unless I’m watching sports. I’m grateful because I know sometimes damage to the vocal cords and/or nerves is unavoidable during this kind of operation. I think having a skilled surgeon who has done over a thousand of these procedures was key to coming out of this with very little damage to my voice and to my parathyroid glands. I’m very grateful for Dr. VLR.

I’m grateful to all my family and friends who have supported me with their words, their prayers and their phone calls, emails and blog comments.

I’m very grateful to my aunt and uncle who were here with me while I was going through the FNA biopsy  and my CT scan as well as several doctor’s visits that they attended with us. They took us out to dinner the night that I got the first pathology report that indicated that I might have thyroid cancer. My aunt went to bat for me with my insurance company and got some things straightened out that there was serious confusion around.  My uncle was traveling here to be with us for my surgery when he hit a patch of ice in the mountains of New Mexico and rolled his truck. I’m so thankful he wasn’t hurt badly, but I’m so sorry that he was hurt at all. Both of them have given my hubby and I so much support through this and  we love them very much!!

I’m extremely grateful to my husband for taking excellent care of me throughout this whole last week, despite the fact that he’s been sick. He took a week of vacation time off from work to be there for me whenever I needed him. He took me to two baseball games and yelled for me when I couldn’t yell for myself! He’s been there for me every step of the way through this whole ordeal, from October of 2007 through today. Thank you Honey!! You’re the BESTEST!! I love you more than life itself!

 

My Thyroid Surgery Experience – Part 2

I finally woke up enough to have a semi-intelligent conversation with my hubby around 7:30 PM. He told me that Dr. VLR came by the surgical waiting room to see him after I was moved into recovery. The report was good. The cancer was small and encapsulated. He was certain they got it all and it was safe to consider me “cured”. He also told hubby that he didn’t know if I would even need to go through the Radioactive Iodine treatment. He really didn’t think it would be necessary. But it is up to my endocrinologist to decide that…but whew. They got it all! Praise God!

I was getting pretty hungry and the ice wasn’t doing it for me anymore. My hubby reached for the menu and checked out the After Hours Selections, page 4. My throat hurt so I knew that a burger and fries was out of the question. He read through several items before he came to Broccoli Cheese Soup and Chocolate Pudding Parfait, for dessert.  I selected this as my dinner choice and he called it in. He needed to run home for a bit to take care of our animals but promised he’d be back soon. About 20 minutes later my feast arrived. I can’t remember anything tasting quite as good as that soup, until I got to the pudding, that is! Dang it was good. I was a little nauseated, but was able to deep breathe my way through both the soup and pudding without any disasters.

Hubby came back about 45 minutes after I finished my dinner. Then my wonderful nurse, Kristen, came in offering the gift of pain relief. “Lynda, you have a choice. You can continue to take the morphine, which is faster acting, but doesn’t last as long. Or, you can switch to Percocet. It takes a little longer to go to work, but lasts several hours.” My shoulders and back of my neck were still hurting pretty bad so I opted for the morphine. I was all about fast relief at that point. My hubby looked at me and smiled, “You know that morphine is going to make you puke, right?” I said, “I’ve had it four times since getting out of surgery and I hadn’t been sick yet.” HA! Kristen came in, injected the morphine into my IV and left.

I had to pee (thanks to my constantly running IV) so I unhooked my sensors and took my IV stand with me into the bathroom. I came back out, sat on the bed and hooked the oxygen saturation/pulse sensor back up. I looked at my hubby and said, “You know what? You were right…I don’t feel so good. I’m getting sick to my stomach.” I took a couple of deep breaths and knew I was in trouble. I unhooked the sensor again and made a mad dash for the bathroom. I slammed the door, but couldn’t find the potty…I forgot to turn the light on!! DANGIT! I felt around for the light and flipped it on and threw myself at the porcelain bowl…heaved four times, and then…I was all better! I brushed my teeth and went back to my bed. I attached the sensor again and swore I was taking the Percocet the next time! I think my hubby was laughing at me, but he didn’t say “I told you so!” until the next day when we could both laugh about it.

I was needing sleep and my hubby was wiped out as well, so he kissed me goodnight and told me he would get some things done around the house the next morning and he’d see me about 11:00. If I needed him sooner I could call. I was probably asleep before he got to the car.

Kristen, my nurse and Rome, my aide only popped in occasionally, as needed. I rang for water about 1:30 AM and Kristen came to my rescue. She also offered me more pain meds if I needed them. I assured her I did and told her I would like to switch to the Percocet. “One or two?” she asked. “Two, please.”

It took about 45 minutes to really feel better, but I slept soundly until 4:30 AM when the vampire (aka: phlebotomist)  came to draw blood. They needed to keep a close eye on my blood calcium levels because the parathyroid glands (there are four) are attached behind the thyroid and are disrupted, and sometimes damaged, during thyroid surgery. Hyperparathyroidism is a bad, bad thing.

The parathyroid glands’ main job is to enable your blood to carry calcuim throughout your body. If they don’t work…it’s really not good. The hospital/surgeon always supplement you with medication right after surgery and for a month or two post surgery. I’m taking Calcitrol once a day and 3-4 Tums three times a day or more. I’ve only had symptoms of low calcium once since coming home. But I took some Tums and they went away within an hour. For more information on the parathyroid glands you can click here: http://parathyroid.com/parathyroid.htm.

My Thyroid Surgery Experience – Part 1

Okay, I’m a week past this whole ordeal and I’m able to sit at a computer for a while and actually type something so here is my story:

We woke up around 7:00 the morning of my surgery. I actually slept pretty well, which kind of suprised me. I wasn’t expecting that. I threw some clothes on and gave Beerd (aka: Sassy) her insulin shot and her antibiotic. She doesn’t mind the shots anymore, but the antibiotic…well, that’s a whole different story! We battled. I won. Eventually.

Of course I’ve been NPO since midnight – nothing to eat or drink. At all. Period. And I can’t have anything until after surgery, so I resisted the urge to sip just a teeny bit of water and went upstairs to clean up and get ready for what was ahead. I brushed my teeth while the water was warming up and then crawled in for a nice, long, hot shower. I shaved, I shampooed, I soaped. I stood there for a good long time…taking it all in, the warmth of the water, the fragrance of the shampoo (kind of grape-ish, I guess) and the time alone to pray and ask God for a good outcome.

Knowing that I had to check in at 10:00 AM at the hospital surgical registration desk, we left at 9:00. The hospital isn’t terribly far, and when you’re not dealing with rush hour traffic it doesn’t take that long to drive there. But alas, it’s still kind of rush-y and busy so we left early. And we arrived early, but only about 15 minutes. Better safe than sorry, right!

We drove around the crammed parking lot twice before deciding that we would utilize the “free” valet services offered at the front of the building. I wasn’t sure why we didn’t just take the car straight to the valet, I mean it is free! Well, except for the tip, of course. Once we parked at the valet station we got my overnight bag and my hubby’s computer case (along with SIM games and magazines) and headed inside.

The volunteers at the front desk were very helpful and assured us that the registration people would be right with us. We hadn’t even sat down yet when Don came to get us. He was wonderful! He talked to us about how he moved out here to be closer to his kids when he retired from his dental practice and explained how he had to have a major surgery and that he’d been given excellent care in this hospital. So, when he got out and was feeling better he realized he was bored and decided to apply for a job there. He missed talking to patients and that makes this a good 2nd career for him.

Once Don finished up all my paperwork he sent us back out to sit and wait for a volunteer to take us up to the surgical floor. We had hardly sat down again when an older man, with his arm in a sling wearing a blue volunteer shirt, came up asking us to follow him. We did.

On the surgical floor we went to one of the waiting rooms (there were two, both packed with people) and sat down again. A nurse came to get me, but told hubby that he’d have to stay there for a little while, she’d come get him when it was okay for him to come sit with me.

I was taken into a large room, with many beds and curtains for walls between the beds. I had bed three. The nurse got a package from a large box and handed it to me. I was to get undressed and to put this “gown” on. This thing was AMAZING! I put it on and tied it up. It was pretty modest. And there were even a pair of tube socks with the non slip soles to keep my tootsies warm! No, that’s not the amazing part! The amazing part of this gown is that you can hook it up to its own little blow dryer thingy and it inflates in the front with warm, comforting air that makes you feel all cozy, even though you know you’re on your way to getting your throat slit!  If you want to see them…click here: Bair Paws Gowns

Then a nurse with red hair like mine came over to start my IV. She showed me her cool thyroid surgery scar and informed me that Dr. VLR did her surgery, too. It had only been a year and her scar was barely visible! HOORAY!! She attempted to put the IV in my forearm but my veins didn’t cooperate. So she went into my left hand and that worked. I’m not terribly squeamish about needles or blood.

Once I was hooked up with the IV they let my hubby come in and sit with me. He got to watch them hook up my warmer onto my gown and I think he was a tad jealous! It was pretty cold in that pre-op room…brrrrr. My sister-in-law came up to sit with my hubby during my surgery and to keep him laughing. They always have a great time cracking each other up, and I’m so grateful she was there for him during that 5+ hours! She got to come in and sit with us in the pre-op before they took me away.

The anesthesiologist, Dr. P,  was the first of the operating room team to come see me. She explained some things to me, asked if I had questions (I did) and then I told her that I’m a tad bit claustrophobic and that I HATE those oxygen masks they have on you when you wake up in recovery. She told me that the masks work better than the cannula, that just fit into your nose, for delivering oxygen to a patient who is coming out of anesthesia and that they would leave that on as long as they can but would try to replace the mask with the cannula before I woke up.  She hung out with us until the OR nurse came in.

My OR nurse was a young Asian man with a thick accent and a heart for nursing. I had to explain to him that I had my first real “visit from Aunt Flo” in SIX FREAKING MONTHS and that it started yesterday and that I was really worried about how heavily I was flowing and that I was freaking out about being in surgery for 4+ hours because of that.  He patted my hand and said, “Don’t worry, I will take care of everything. You will not wake up a mess. I promise.” I relaxed a bit and smiled and thanked that nice young man. He kept his promise, too.

I remember Dr. P giving me something in my IV, but I had no idea what. I remember my surgeon, Dr. VLR, popping in very briefly, I know I saw him. And then I was out. I don’t remember my hubby or his sister leaving. I don’t remember the ride into the operating room. I don’t remember anything until I sort of woke up in the recovery room with that damned mask over my nose and mouth. I reached up to pull it down over my chin and then recalled Dr. P saying that it delivered more oxygen so it was better for me in that way, so I left it and drifted off into oblivion again. I remember someone asking three different times while in recovery if I needed pain meds…HELLO!?! I just had my throat cut open and body parts removed! YES! YES, I do need pain meds. NOW! Three times they delivered morphine into my IV. Ahhhh…sweet relief.

I don’t remember the ride up to the 5th floor where my room was. But once I got there I vaguely recall nurses scurrying around to hook up bags of antibiotics, calcium, saline, and one other thing that I can’t remember, to my IV. Then my hubby showed up!! And his sister was right behind him! I was hurting bad, but I was happy to see them. The aide, Robin, asked me if I was in pain. The fact that I wanted to rip her thyroid out testified to how much pain I was in when she asked me that ridiculous question. “Yes”, I said, more meekly than I felt. She asked me when the last time I had pain medication was…”I don’t KNOW!”, I cried. My shoulders and the back of my neck burned like I’d been pressing 500 lbs over my head for four hours. My throat hurt worse than I’d ever felt in my life. I wanted relief. I didn’t want dumb questions to which I had no answers.

My husband didn’t take too kindly to her asking me when I last had pain meds. I was still waking up from anesthesia. He asked her, “Don’t you have a chart that TELLS YOU when she last received pain meds?” “Um, yeah, but that would mean I’d have to walk down to the other end of the hallway”, she sarcastically replied. “YEAH?”, he spat back. I got my morphine pretty quickly after that.

He thinks she was trying to be funny, to lighten the mood. He wasn’t the least little bit amused. He was scared. He told me that in the 8 years we’ve been married he’s never seen a look like that on my face. He knew I was really in agony. He wanted it fixed. Now.

They offered me ice. I accepted, gratefully. It had been 18 hours since I’d had anything to eat or drink. When the aide brought it, in my sister-in-law started spoon feeding me ice from a styrofoam cup with a black plastic spoon. My hubby quickly took over. He was worried about me and he was determined to do whatever it took to make me feel better. If he had to stand there shoveling ice into my mouth all night he was going to do it!

I was in surgery about 4 hours and in recovery about an hour. I felt like it had been days, really. I was sacked from the pain and the remaining anesthesia drugs. I drifted in and out. My sister-in-law went home and my hubby hung by the bed, spooning ice into my mouth whenever I opened my eyes.

 

Prom Day In “The Hood”!!

Just when you think
you’ve seen it all!

Prom Day in ‘The Hood’ !!



Jar Jar, Lord Fauntleroy and Gunga Din … take note of the numerous police vehicles and the ambulance!

Prom dresses sure have changed since I was in high school !

What is that around her neck?

Why all the ‘POleece’ in the background?

There is a Buick with missing seat covers somewhere in The Hood.


He stole that hat from Boy George …


Do these dresses make our hiney’s look fat?

(No, your hiney’s make these dresses look fat!)

What’s holding those up?


No comment ..

Who’s Yo Daddy?


Yikes!!

DOUBLE YIKES!!!!

The token white guy.

Oh…My…GAWD!!!!!


 

Yes, that is a helicopter on her head…

And, last but not least: