Being Fed

Last month I attended the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA. I know what you are thinking, “getting out of Chicago into the sunshine and relax” right…not for me. I absorbs as much from the conference as I possibly can. Workshop and events from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, evening concerts and guest speakers, dinner and crash. But it is exhilarating.

I wish I could be in 10 places at once – each workshop time offers over 25 topics and I want to attend so many of them. This year I was blessed to hear Sherry Weddell, Bill Huebsch, Fr. Daniel Horan, Doug Tooke, ValLimar Jansen, Becky Eldredge, Doug Leal, Tony Alonso, Jeanne Cotter, Bishop Bob Barron, Steve Angrasino and Maria Shriver!

The weekend is an inspiration to my personal spiritual growth and to my ministry for Christ. Each year my love for the Eucharist deeps. The amazing gifts of community, unity, nourishment and overflowing love from Jesus was feel by those I met, which represent a universal church. Almost 40,000 ministers of the church attend this conference.

I bring back ideas to spark a flame within the youth, young adults and adults with whom I am blessed to minister to. My heartfelt prayers are for them to see Christ through my words, actions and relationships with them.

The theme of the conference was Rise Up!

My Rise Up truths…
Rise Up to accompany another on their journey
Rise Up to share the gifts God has blessed me with
Rise Up to center on Christ’s presence throughout my day
Rise Up to inspire others to their call of mission
Rise Up to give of myself in service
Rise up to be present
Rise Up to lay down my life for another
Rise Up to reach out in generosity

I am fed by God’s word and His love. I am fed by others who are Christ in my life and I am fed by amazing opportunities such as this conference.

Rise Up! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
Though darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds, the peoples, Upon you the Lord will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen. Isaiah 60:1-2

Grace embraced through the light of others shining on my life. Help me, Jesus, to shine my light to others.


Feeling good and praying for Yes’s

Tuesday May 23, 2012

Second post-op appointment and going with a positive feeling. I am strong and have been resting, so I am hopeful for three changes…

1. Removal of the final drain
2. Release to drive
3. Release to go to work

Dr. Jaskowiak did say the incisions are healing really well. The surgical strips are off for good and the beautiful scar that I never imagined would be across my chest stares back at me in the mirror. It is almost a perfect line of suntanned skin above of the scar and lighter unsunned skin below the scar, visually cutting the left side of my chest not only with a scar, but with the tone of my skin…it’s very odd to see…but’s its a Cancer-Free sight too and I am learning to love its look. Realistically I know there will be days that I cry in front of the mirror for what is gone, but those days are becoming infrequent. I also think the Vicodin I was taking added to a sadness, almost depressing attitude. So pain management with Advil or Tylenol as much as possible, so that I can think clearly and positively.

The output of the drain is still over 30 cc a day and that’s the magic number…below 30 cc a day for two days…so the hope of drain being removed is gone. The drain stays in for another week. Dr. J humorously stated that if I’m still draining that much next week, she’s putting my arm in a sling to restrict movement. Suddenly, I’m confused. She said after surgery, no lifting, but that I should move my left arm so it doesn’t get stiff. Even though, Kevin would disagree, I believe I have not been doing too much with my arm. So I need to find the balance between moving, stretching and gentle use of my arm while resting and not causing more fluid drain. New goal for the week…Get The Drain Out!

After being discouraged about the drain, I really, really nicely asked if I can drive. I made Dr. J laugh! Absolutely no way will she be responsible for me driving with a drain and limited arm movement. No matter how much I tried to explain how careful I’d be, she was just as adamant about not letting me drive. Two no’s right off the bat!

But I was still hopeful and holding on to the possibility of a positive affirmation for my last request.

Am I able to return to work? Dr. J kindly asked again what my job day entails. Mostly desk work, I answer. She feels that if there is something that really can’t wait and I have someone who can drive me, maybe for an hour or two, if necessary, but only if absolutely necessary and not more than two hours. More of a no than a yes. Since it’s a 40 minute drive to my office, I can’t ask someone to drive me for an hour and half so that I can work an hour or two. Guess it is remote working for another week.

Shot down on all three.

But I have to remember it has only been 18 days since surgery. I’m becoming restless in the house, yet I need to rest to get the drain out and begin to resume a normal life. Well normal for a while, until chemo begins.
Oh, the challenges of a mastectomy patient…or maybe just a challenge for me!

We talked about the discomfort in my underarm, it’s range of motion, goals for reaching above my head and finally getting approval to wash it with perfumed soap and apply deodorant! That is a great news! Because of where the incision under my arm is from the lymph node removal, they did not want anything but gentle soap and water there, being careful not to get the drains wet that are four inches below. Finally news I could embrace!

The underarm is slightly swollen and the scar tissue and muscle is very tender, but it’s getting a scrubbing with Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea body wash tonight!

Dr. J again reminded me to work on resting so that the drain can be removed after Memorial Day. Her nurse, Sheilah, came into the room to finish us some paperwork with my husband and I. She was surprised that the drain did not come out and we talked for a minute on how to accomplish that goal. Then…I can’t believe what happened…

Sheilah opened the exam room door as she said “Janet, listen to your husband”.
Kevin exclaimed “I love you” as the staff in the hallway began to laugh.
I said “You have no idea what you power you have given him” as I smiled and laughed knowing that Kevin now felt more control over my resting schedule.
Sheilah tried to add “only from 9:00 am to 10:00 am”, but it was too late, Kevin was glad for the assurance that he will be doing more for me and helping me rest more.

In a single comment, Sheilah opened up the power of an incredibly caring husband and reminded an impatient patient that healing takes rest and time.

It was a fantastic ending to an appointment that did not go the way I had hoped. Thanks Lord for the laugh, you knew I needed it!
I did go home and rest. Kevin is the perfect caregiver, maybe a little too cautious. (I can carry my own plate to the dinner table, honey) But I am grateful for his love and assistance, since I know many do go through challenges alone.

Grace embraced: Well, I’m feeling good, even though I received no’s for my three questions, I am graced with laughter and love.