Tuesday, October 31, 2006

When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

This is a love letter to Chapman's adopted children. It's a poignant and beautiful song, which mirrors my thoughts and feelings about my daughters and about God's love. November is National Adoption Month, so I wll be posting about the miracle of adoption.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

This Month Slipped Away. . .

Where did this month go? I had every good intention of writing a series of articles about Lupus, and I only did one. Mea culpa. Life got in the way, and I couldn't face that daunting task. However, I plan to write at least one more post about it.

November is National Adoption Month, so of course, I will be discussing that topic as it is near and dear to my heart. Don't even get me started, though, on the Madonna adoption.

In the meantime, please keep Jeff's Gramps in your prayers. Please visit Jeff at www.thinksink.blogspot.com and let him know you're thinking of him.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mercy Me - Homesick (Live)

This describes how I've been feeling lately. I'll be back to a regular blogging schedule in a couple of days.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Many Thanks

Many thanks to all of you who have lifted me up in prayer over the past few days. I have also received many e-mails from my "blogging buddies". I've been overwhelmed at all the concern and love and support from all of you. I'm doing better, if that's what you want to call it. I have to learn better ways of coping with certain situations, that's for sure. At the present time, I have decided to not go into the details which brought me crashing down - but suffice it to say that a mother's heart bruises easily.

This has caused me to reflect on the events of the past five years. Ever since 9/11/01, so much has happened in my own little family. My husband was laid off in December of '01, and the effect of that situation still has ramifications. There have been a series of job changes since then due to the nature of the IT business - and that has been very stressful on all of us. I tried to start up a new business of my own in 2002, plus keep on in my private practice - but I found out that I couldn't work two part-time jobs plus be available for my family. My youngest had great difficulty at a private school, where there were incidents of bigotry and racism which the administration failed to address, resulting in a lot of pain within our family, especially for my daughter. My oldest was diagnosed with Lupus nephritis in April of 2004, and while the disease is in remission now, it's been a long and exhausting experience. You may recall how gravely ill she became last November. Since that time, there have been smaller "crises" which our family has weathered.

I think I have just lost some of my ability to cope under the constant strain which I have been under for the past five years. I do well in a crisis - I'm able to handle the situation - but then I usually crash afterwards for a period of time in order to get my energy back and heal. Unfortunately, over the past five years, there hasn't been the opportunity to crash at all, because there has been one crisis after another. So, I think my body and mind and soul have brought it to my attention that I need a break, or else. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that - but I've been spending a lot of time thinking and praying these past few days in an attempt to discover what I need to do and how to go about doing it.

Again, thanks for all your prayers! As always, each and every one of you are in mine, everyday.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Prayers Please

A lot has been happening the past couple of weeks in my life. To make a long story short, I am very depressed over the current situation in my life. I am at a loss as to how to fix this mess, because it is one I never, ever thought I would find myself in. What I believed to be true is now based on lies. I am hurting horribly, and can't figure out what went wrong to get this situation to this point.

All I can ask is for you to pray. My heart is breaking.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

After a While

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and sharing a life and you learn that love doesn't mean possession and company doesn't mean security and loneliness is universal.

And you learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises and you begin to accept your defeats with your head held up and your eyes open with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build your hope on today as the future has a way of falling apart in mid-flight because tomorrow's ground can be too uncertain for plans yet, each step taken in a new direction creates a path toward the promise of a brighter dawn.

And you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much so you plant your own garden and nourish your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that love, true love, always has joys and sorrows that seem ever present, yet is never quite the same becoming more than love and less than love . . so difficult to define.

And you learn that through it all you really can endure that you really are strong that you do have value and you learn and grow with every goodbye you learn.

~Veronica Shoffstall~

For my beautiful Princess - I love you!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pro-Life Petition

Julie, over at www.happycatholic.blogspot.com brought this to her readers attention yesterday. You know that magazine article published by Ms. Magazine who told the whole world that they had abortions? These signatures are being sent to Congress, the White House, and state senators. Now, there is a woman who has decided to focus on the real victims of abortion, the unborn, by getting a petition signed by those of us who think women (and the unborn) deserve BETTER than an abortion. The petition can be found at Amy's blog, located at http://moderncommentaries.blogspot.com/2006/10/battling-ms-magazine.html . This petition, too, will be sent to Congress. She is also looking for stories from women who considered having an abortion but decided against it. Please go over to her blog and read her thoughts, and consider signing her petition. As an adoptive mother, I am eternally grateful to two young women who had the courage to not abort.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lupus on "Good Morning America"

Here is a segment about Lupus which aired on GMA on August 31, 2006. It's six minutes long, but it's a compelling video of a young lady who was diagnosed at about the same age as my daughter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In Retrospect

Lupus just kind of gradually took over TP's body - it happened over a period of months without us being aware of the insidious and silent destruction that it was wreaking on my daughter's kidneys.

It started out with swollen ankles at the beginning of her sophomore year. No big deal - I thought it might be due to TP's cheerleading duties, or perhaps even her menstrual cycle. During the Christmas season of 2003, she wound up in bed for most of the two week school break. She came down with a cold, and it grew quickly into an ear infection, pink eye, a sinus infection, then the stomach flu, and finally, the regular flu. Her poor body just couldn't fight off all of these infections, and she slept continuously and ate little. Her eyes were sunken and her face was white - she looked so frail.

But, she recovered in time to get back to school after New Year's. She'd get tired quickly when cheering at a game, and her ankles would get swollen off and on. Again, I thought she was tired because she had been so ill over the holidays, and the ankles weren't swollen all the time, so I figured that she'd grow stronger as time went on. And she did, to a certain extent. She was able to keep up with her studies and her extra-curricular activities.

Her spring break coincided with her 16th birtday in March of 2004, and my husband's parents visited us. They commented on how much TP slept during the few days that they were here, and I just attributed her sleeping to just being a typical teenager and her hectic schedule. Then, in April, her ankles became even more swollen than before. TP was experiencing a general malaise that I had never seen before. So, I then decided to take her to our family physician. After taking some blood work and a urinalysis, he came back with a diagnosis - a kidney infection with a huge amount of blood in the urine (microscopic - we couldn't see it) as well as high levels of protein in the urine. He said he wanted to send her over to the hospital for an ultrasound, and he was going to send the bloodwork and urinalysis on for additional testing.

Okay, I thought - a kidney infection we can handle. She started on a huge dose of antibiotics, and we went home so she could rest. The ultrasound was scheduled for a day or two after our appointment with the doctor, and that showed nothing abnormal.

Our doctor called me with the results from the bloodwork and urinalysis and ultrasound when I was grocery shopping. He said that he wanted to do additional tests on Sara because he thought something more serious than a kidney infection was going on, but he wasn't certain what it could be. I don't like it when a doctor tells me things like that! He wouldn't even hazard a guess - but I suspect he had a couple of ideas, he just didn't want to share them with me. So, we had the additional tests, and I'll never forget the phone call I got from him that sunny yet cold April afternoon as I was taking the girls to their piano lessons. He told me that he needed to refer us to a kidney specialist as something was seriously wrong with TP's kidney functioning, and he wasn't sure what it was. What he did know that it was very serious, so the sooner we could get in, the better. He was able to set us up with a doctor the following Tuesday at Children's Hospital (it was Friday at that time), and he asked me to keep him informed. He has been our doctor for 15 years, so I knew he was very concerned. Of course, when I got home that evening, I did tons of research on WebMD and other health related sites. I certainly didn't like what I was discovering, and I tried to keep my anxiety level from peaking as I read more and more articles.

My next post will deal with TP's first hospitalization at Children's Hospital.

Here is a list of symptoms (found at www.lupus.org) which occur in in lupus patients (next to it is the percentage of patients in which the symptom occurs):

Arthralgia (achy joints) ~ 95%
Fever of more than 100 degrees ~ 90%
Arthritis (swollen joints) ~ 90%
Prolonged or extreme fatigue ~ 81%
Skin rashes ~ 74%
Anemia - 71%
Kidney involvement ~ 50%
Pleurisy (pain in the chest on deep breathing) ~ 45%
Butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose ~ 42%
Photosensitivity (sun or light sensitivity) ~ 30%
Hair loss ~ 27%
Abnormal blood clotting problems ~ 20%
Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers turning white and/or blue in the cold) ~ 17%
Seizures ~ 15%
Mouth or nose ulcers ~ 12%

TP has had all but 3 of those symptoms over the past two and a half years, plus additional problems related to lupus which will be discussed later. The 3 symptoms I'm not aware of her having are Raynaud's pheonomenon, seizures (although she did have a febrile seizure when she was 18 months old related to a high fever), and mouth and ore ulcers. As a child, she was always spiking high fevers. She always had strong reactions to vaccinations - sometimes getting quite ill from them. She was diagnosed with anemia when she was in second grade, and would have nose bleeds frequently. Sometimes, when she'd be out in the sun and playing or working, she'd get sick to her stomach and throw up and get overheated quickly. So, it makes me wonder that if, over the years, her immunse system was slowly going haywire on her, until it eventually began attacking her kidneys.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Been Awhile, I Know

Yes, I realize it's been a week since I last wrote anything. There is a good reason for being AWOL. In fact, there are several. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I hate it when a deer hits a car. My husband is okay, but the car is no longer functioning. TP is doing well at college, but I'm still sorting through this change in my life. DQ's interim reports were not good at all, so we've had to restructure the homework routine. I'm being pulled in many different directions right now, and I'm just trying to find a life rope to hold onto. Blogging will get back to normal in a day or two - but right now, I'm pretty tired. God bless, my friends - I'll be back to a regular schedule soon.