Saturday, August 6, 2011

Part 4....

July 5 finally arrived. We had to leave our house by 3:15 a.m. to make it to the hospital by the 5:30 a.m. check-in time. I was feeling nervously calm...does that make sense? I knew that my surgery was in God's hands, so I was calm....but nervous. :) We arrived at the hospital and did all the pre-surgery stuff....and was wheeled back to surgery right at 7:30 a.m.

I remember moving to the operating table. I remember seeing pictures of my scans on the wall and asking "Are those mine? See....I do have a brain...wait until I tell my brother!" :) A mask was put on my face....they said, "Just breath normally. You'll be going to sleep." I said, "Okay, I'll just close my eyes then." The next thing I remember is a moment in the recovery room....another moment in the recovery room....they told me they were taking me to my room....and my husband walked in. The meds really knocked me out...I was in and out of it for hours....mostly out. :)

When I finally woke up I was told that the tumor wasn't as bad as the scans had fact, the tumor was NOT on my jugular bulb, but next to it. Now, I wonder WHO could have moved that tumor??? :) Because of the different location, my incision was 'only' behind my ear and not all the way down my neck. Originally I was going to be in ICU for a day, but went right to a regular room. Praise the Lord. I wasn't feeling horrible, but the first time I got up I did get sick....yuck. To hold protect the incision site and to keep my ear stable, I had to wear a 'muff' on my ear....I call it the "VISE OF DEATH" was sooooooooo tight. It strapped around my head - coming together on my forehead, and on my other ear. It was awful. I ended up with blisters on my forehead and on that ear. ouch. The doctors came in the next morning and told me I could go home! Really??? I had surgery less than 24 hours ago and now I am okay to leave??? We waited until later that afternoon before we finally decided that I was ready to go, and then at about 5 we went.
To my family.
To recover.
To marvel in the miracle that God had done for me.

I learned soooo much through this tumor trial - and I'll share that next. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

my 'tumor tale' part 3

The Lord knew that my nerves were almost worn out, and He allowed the CAT scan to be scheduled within days. Throughout all these tests I kept thinking, "Praise the Lord we live in America and NOW in our history....all these medical tests save lives!" The CAT scan was smooth - except for the moment when the nurse said, "I will need your signature on this release form. This form simply states that I have informed you of the dangers of a CAT scan. The iodine we will inject in you has been known in very rare cases to cause severe reactions...even death."

Well, okee dokee then...where do I sign? :)

We waited just a few days and I received a call from the ENT doctor informing me that my tests were still unclear to him. Because of this, he was taking the scans to a 'tumor clinic'....a meeting the best doctors and surgeons have to discuss tumors. Should I be proud? :)

After all these great doctors looked at my scans, it was agreed that I did have a glomus jugulare tumor. My ENT doctor recommended that I see a surgeon at the University of Wisconsin hospital. "He is the best", my doctor said. Unfortunately, because he is the best, he was also very busy. These scans took place in March, and I was unable to see the surgeon until May 23. I was sure that I would need medication for my frazzled nerves by then.

May 23 finally came and we met with the surgeon. He was kind and thorough. He talked my husband and I through our options, all the while knowing that surgery was really the only route to take. Surprisingly, I left his office feeling better than when we entered. I had my answers. I felt somewhat prepared for the things to come. I knew what was coming.....and while it wouldn't be fun or easy, it was manageable.

His nurse called the next day and my surgery was scheduled for July 5....waiting again. :) (could it be that patience is one of the lessons God wanted me to learn?? :)) I was still feeling calm about the whole surgery....AND THEN.... :)....I started looking on-line. Oh boy. I wanted to find a first hand account of what I was REALLY in for. I wanted to know. Well, I found it.

And I cried.

I found pictures. I found stories. I found it all.

It was bad.

In my emotional state, I allowed myself to get really worked up. My doctor told me about MY tumor and the stories I was reading were not ME. Mine, in God's mercy, wasn't as bad, or in the same location, as all of the horror stories I was reading. Was it going to be fun? NO.
Was it going to be easy? NO.

Again, I claimed the verse, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Is. 26:2

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Glomus Jugulare Tumor Part 2

We live in a small town, so we do not have an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) available every day. In my small-town clinic, the ENT comes once a month. After my doctor recommended that I see him, she noted that 'luckily' he was at our clinic that very day. Unfortunately, he was unable to see me that day. My appointment with him would not be for six long weeks. Those weeks of waiting were looooooong. I didn't know what was wrong with me, and despite my doctor's assurances that nothing major was wrong with me, I was still very nervous. I didn't know what was wrong - serious or minor - I just knew that whatever the 'spot' was, it would have to be removed.

When I met with the ENT those weeks later, he was great. He took a lot of time looking in my 'good' ear (which he declared to be 'beautiful'. HA) and then in the ear that was aching. After the exam he told me what he thought I had.....a glomus tumor that is easily removed by laser. You lift up the eardrum, laser the tumor out and you are good to go. He said I would have to have a MRI to confirm this first, but really, no big deal. He also said, almost in passing, that there is another kind of glomus tumor - a glomus jugulare- that is really would be hard to remove and could possibly cause of lot of issues, but really, not to worry about that kind of tumor because it is so rare.

So, my MRI was scheduled for the next Saturday, and I left the doctor's office feeling fairly calm, knowing my issue was really no big deal.

Have you ever had an MRI? I hadn't. In fact, I had never really had ANY kind of medical testing. The MRI was uneventful - I didn't panic, and it went quickly. I saw pictures of my brain....yes, I have one. :)

On Monday morning I was getting our son ready for school and he and Andy were just about ready to walk out the door when the phone rang. It was the ENT doctor.
"So Debbie, I'm looking at your scans from the MRI. They didn't get really good pictures, but it looks like I am seeing a hint of a glomus jugulare...." He kept talking but at that point I started to get light-headed and had to sit down. The doctor wanted better pictures so he was going to schedule a CAT scan. He told me not to panic, just to wait for the results of the next scan.

Andy and I talked for a moment - both of us in a bit of shock- and then he had to leave. Fortunately (and a rare occasion) the girls were still sleeping. When Andy walked out the door I fell on my knees and started to cry....I was praying, but no real words were've prayed like that before, I'm sure. After a few minutes I stood up and walked into the kitchen. I looked out my kitchen window, and on the hillside behind my house were 2 deer. Now, that might not be a big deal to most, but for me, that is one of the ways that I know God is showing His love to me....when I see a deer I hear "I LOVE YOU, DEBBIE" from Jesus.

I saw those 2 deer and was reminded by Jesus, "I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE NOT ALONE."

Glomus Jugulare Tumor Part 1

I promised God that when this 'adventure' was over I would give Him the praise - NO MATTER WHAT. So, in attempt to give Him just a small amount of the praise He deserves, I will tell a pretty detailed tumor story.

When I was first diagnosed with my tumor I looked on-line for any information I could find about it. There was little to no information to be found. This is a really rare tumor. So, if you are one of those 'random google-ers' who found this blog and are feeling put off by 'religious' talk - don't let that stop you from continuing to read...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find. :)

I don't know exactly when my ear first started feeling strange, but around Thanksgiving of last year is when it got really noticeable. I felt a 'pulsing' and slight pressure from time to time in my left ear. I ignored it, thinking it was probably an ear infection. I don't like to go to the doctor, so I waited - hoping my ear would heal on its own. Finally on a Sunday afternoon in January, I went to a walk-in clinic for antibiotics. Quickly diagnosed with an ear infection, I went home armed with Amoxicillin and the knowledge that I would feel better in 10 days or less. The 10 days went quickly, but I felt no improvement. I waited a few days longer and then went to see my own doctor. She looked in my ear for a long time.....and then she said, "You have a small spot. I want you to see an ENT."

My heart sunk. Suddenly, I was very nervous.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Hello?????? Yes, I am still alive.

No, I did not fall off the edge of the least, I don't think I did. :)

So much has been happening lately - does life ever slow down? No, I don't think so. Most days I feel as though I am clinging to the day by the coat-tails and just holding on for the ride. I wouldn't like to be bored, though - and I am not.

I won't even attempt to try to catch up on the last few months - there is just too much. Suffice it to say, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!! Good days - bad days....GOD IS GOOD.

I am going through a health trial right now - don't worry, I won't turn this into a health blog, but I would like to ask you to pray for me. I will be having surgery on July 5 to remove a very small skull-based tumor. Yes, I am scared and worried - and I am not a worrier. God knows all about this - it is not a surprise to Him. After the surgery I will be writing a longer summary post about this trial - not because I want to have pity, but for this reason alone: as I was looking on-line for information about my issue, I found very, very little. My tumor is a rare one. After MUCH looking, I found one blog entry about it.....perhaps when God has brought me through this storm I can blog about it, have someone read it and they will see Jesus through it all. I want Him to be praised.

So, until next time - thank you for praying! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thank you for your investment

Tonight my 5 year old daughter walked up to me and said, "Mom,do you know what is so special about God?"
Of course, I wondered what she would come up with.....I said, "Tell me - what is so special about God?"
She replied, "You can talk to Him anytime!"


You just never know what these little ears hear and absorb. My daughter is high-energy (code for 'naughty sometimes' :)), and OFTEN I wonder if she hears a word I say.

Sunday School teachers, Junior Church workers, nursery workers and ANYONE who works with kids....DON'T QUIT!!! Don't get discouraged when the wiggle worms wiggle to the point you wonder if they heard a single word. THEY DID!!! THEY HEARD!

Thank you for your investment in my child!

Friday, January 21, 2011

If you can't say something nice....

....don't say anything at all.

We've all heard that phrase, haven't we? Unfortunately, it is very difficult to practice. In 'real' life I struggle with it, but trying to practice it in my 'blog' life would explain my silence in the past few months.

If I am perfectly honest I would have to admit that I have been struggling.....

I have been struggling with people.....working with people, being kind to people, being used by people and being 'abused' by know, the ministry. :) My struggle isn't over, but there is a gleam of light at the end of the tunnel.

I will be the first to admit that I am spoiled....I have a wonderful husband, 3 healthy children, parents and in-laws that love me, a wonderful home....the list could (and should) go on and on. God is so good to me. Because I KNOW how good He is, I struggled with the fact that I was struggling. Does that make sense? How can I struggle in this Christian life KNOWING full well how good God is to ME!?!?! HOW??? What kind of horrible person am I? How can I call myself a 'good' pastor's wife if I struggle with people....with the ministry and other things?

So, I was struggling with the ministry and then I added the burden of guilt to that struggle.

I was reading my Bible one day when I came to Psalm 31. (Oh how I love the Psalms!!!!) As I read the chapter it dawned on me that David, the man after God's own heart, was STRUGGLING!!!! He was telling God how rough he had it (vs 9)....
how people hated him(vs 13)....
how he was consumed with grief (vs 9)....
how he felt forgotten (vs 12).
He went on to encourage himself and remind himself of how good God is.

vs.19: "Oh how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; (ME!!!!)

vs. 24: "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." (ME AGAIN!!!)

What an encouragement this Psalm was to me.

My struggle hasn't ended overnight, but I am more convinced than ever that God cares about me. He loves me. He will answer me when I call (CRY!!) to him.

He will guide me through my struggle.