Part 3: My Blogging Break – Hubby’s Hospitalization

(Links to Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series.)

During my blogging break, Hubby and I were blessed to spend quality time with our two granddaughters who were visiting from Wisconsin.  They were the distraction we needed to release some of our tension and anxiety as we awaited Hubby’s surgery scheduling date.

Hubby’s Medical Condition

More than seven years ago, Hubby was diagnosed with, Trigeminal Neuralgia, a very serious chronic pain  condition.  Despite different health care interventions and prescribed medications, his pain levels elevated to the point where they were no longer tolerable.

Hubby felt his only remaining option was the Microvascular Decompression Procedure, “an invasive brain surgery offered to patients who are in reasonably good health and are not to advanced in age.”

Hospitalization and Surgery

Hubby had the surgery on Monday, May 18.

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Pre-Operative

My stress level lessened during the surgery once I made the choice to wait outside on one of the hospital terraces, rather than the dark and poorly lit surgery waiting area.  I even took a few photos:

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Nature’s beauty brought peace and harmony into my space; and, thankfully my cousin, who was visiting from Mississippi, was at my side to support me.

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Cousin, Sharon

The afternoon Florida heat forced us to look for another tranquil space, preferably one with air conditioning.  We found just that in the Walt Disney Room leading to the children’s wing of the hospital.

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For years, I have used distraction as a self-management tool to control my chronic pain condition.  And, it was a blessing to have this skill-set in my tool chest as I went through Hubby’s first-time hospitalization and surgery.

The surgery was successful and four days later, Hubby was discharged from the hospital

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Last Meal Before Discharge

Expressing Gratitude and Thankfulness

Hubby’s recovery is going well and he is scheduled for his first physical therapy session next week; and,

  • I am Thankful to all those who sent uplifting messages and prayers during this trying time in my life.
  • I am grateful, beyond words, for the healing hands of the neurosurgeon who performed Hubby’s surgery.
  • I am thankful and grateful to God for answering my prayers to relieve Hubby of his excruciating and debilitating pain.

 

 

My Blogging Hiatus Experience

In an opening scene of the 2013 TV series, Revenge, “Emily Thorne says:

“They say the best-laid plans often go awry.  Because no matter how detailed the preparation, a plan will always have a WEAK SPOT…..”

Blogging Hiatus Plan

In anticipation of our two granddaughters visiting over spring break and Hubby and I celebrated our 55th Wedding Anniversary, I went on a 3+ week blogging hiatus.  I devoted the first week to scheduling and organizing:

  • exciting activities for the granddaughters during their seven-day visit; and
  • interesting places for Hubby and I to visit over our four-day mini vacation.

“Weak Spot”

Days before the grands arrived, Hubby’s trigeminal nerve pain flared-up.  He has lived with this condition for more than five years and the pain usually resolves on its own. But, in the last six months he has undergone several outpatient surgical procedures with only temporary relief.

Hubby’s severe pain flare-up was the “weak spot” in my family planned activities during this “blogging hiatus”.

Self-Trust

Rather than push the panic button when my “hiatus plans” hit a “weak spot”, I went to a space of stillness, quiet, and mindful breathing.  In silence, Self-Trust emerged and I was able to re-direct and focus on creating a new plan, which gave me the Self-Confidence to:

  • Stretch – I went outside of my comfort-zone to overcome a long-time fear of driving on two-lane highways, tollways and interstate highways. When faced with the choice whether to disappoint our granddaughters or overcome my fears, it was a no-brainer.  The granddaughters left eleven days ago and since that time I drive, solo, all over the City of Orlando and its suburbs.  Getting to places where I like to go, without bugging Hubby, and enjoying every moment of this newfound freedom.
  • Let Go of the planned mini-vacation until Hubby’s pain condition is under control.  Instead, I spent time reading, exploring, learning and relaxing.

Blogging Hiatus Experience

Through this “blogging hiatus experience”, Self-Trust emerged and strengthened my:

  • Self-Esteem to step outside of my comfort zone;
  • Inner Strength to move beyond the “weak spots” that cross my path; and
  • Self-Confidence to rely on my “inner voice.”

 

 

 

Spread the Love Challenge

Thank you, Rebirth of Lisa, for the invite to take part in the Spread the Love Challenge.

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The rules are:

  • Write 10 four-word sentences about love.
  • Share your favorite poem filled with love.
  • Nominate 10 more bloggers to spread more love.

My Ten Four-Word Love Sentences

  1. Love uplifts the spirit.
  2. Love begins and ends.
  3. Love supports and protects.
  4. Love heals the heart.
  5. Love brings you together.
  6. Love your children unconditionally.
  7. Love yourself before others.
  8. Love will hurt sometimes.
  9. Love leaves and returns.
  10. Love cherished is forever.

My Favorite Love Poem

“You and I are the best team of all.  You are my best friend and the love of my life, my heart, my soul, the one I want to be with each and everyday.  You are the one I want to cheer me on through my life.  Your arms are the ones I want to comfort and support me.  I love how when you and I work together we can do anything. (Karen Rostyla)

This is not my favorite poem, but these are the words I needed to express today.  Because, tomorrow, I face a biopsy exam and If it shows a breast cancer recurrence; I need the team member who was by my side seven years ago as I went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.   While I refuse to succumb to fear, I am thankful that Hubby will be at my side every step of the way.   I know that “together we can get through anything” because that’s the way its been for us these last fifty-five years.

Now back to the “Spread the Love Challenge.

My Ten Nominees are:

  1. Living, Learning and Letting Go
  2. Second Half Woman
  3. A Life Less Physical
  4. Our Rumbling Ocean
  5. Imanikingblog
  6. My Eyes Are Up Here
  7. Sincerely Jess
  8. Pearls Before Swine
  9. Understanding Dee
  10. Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

2015: Blogosphere and ME

It’s A New Year

I am excited to begin 2015 focused on:

  • improving the quality of this blog, and
  • uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Blogosphere

Because of the holidays, family member illness, and the death of Hubby’s last remaining aunt, I had to step away from blogging for the past several months.  Life is getting back to normal and I am happy to reconnect with my blogging friends.

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This month, January 13, I will celebrate my second anniversary as a blogger.  This blogging experience has opened the door to new experiences, new places and new people both in this country and other parts of the world.

Virtually, via blogging friends, I:

  • traveled to other countries as well as different places throughout the United States;
  • received helpful information on nutrition, meditation, exercise, alternative health care; and
  • entered a new world of books, poetry, religion and music.

Thank you, blogging friends, for uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically these past two years.

Finally, thanks to the information shared in a WordPress recent post,“Make 2015 A Great Blogging Year,” I have the tools to take my blog to the next level.

ME

Hubby, family, friends, and bloggers have all served to improve the quality of my life.  I am grateful.  But, recent acquired self-acknowledgement and self-awareness skills, guided me to the recognition that this responsibility is solely mine.

To improve ME in 2015, I will:

  • Nurture my Healing Container Garden as it brings peace, bliss, and tranquility into my space.

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  • Write daily notes to place in My Gratitude Jar, to express gratitude for the good things in life.

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  • Seek out those things which serve to keep ME grounded and directed in a positive way.

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  • Hone my photography skills because it is always good to learn something new and interesting.
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Camera Purchased Two Years Ago – Still a Work-In-Progress
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Upgraded Camera – Gifted to ME – Christmas 2014
  •  Incorporate healthy recipes into my menus and “go to” the healthy eating cookbooks purchased over the past five years and are never used.
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A Small Sampling of Healthy Eating Good Books
  • Research and explore different options to address my health issues.

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  • Continue to value and appreciate the love of my life, Hubby, as we approach our 55th Anniversary on April 11, 2015.

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  • Remember there are always new things for ME to explore.   

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2015, Here I Come Ready Or Not!

Gratitude Sunday – September 13, 2014

Saturday Morning Date

I express gratitude for all that enters my space — whether it brings me:

  • happiness or sadness;
  • order or turmoil; 
  • panic or serenity.

Because, I believe everything is in accordance with God’s Plan.

Today, I am grateful for yesterday; and, the early Saturday morning outing with Hubby.

Our Saturday Morning Date begins with a stop at Panera’s Bread:

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Our order is the same week-after-week — decaf coffee and a cheese bagel.  The bagel (33 carbs/330 calories) is our weekly treat.  While, it violates the healthy eating low-carb, low-cal diet plan that we follow during the week; we, make this choice without guilt.   After all, we could have had:

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When we finish breakfast, it’s off to the Neighborhood Y to fulfill the last of our four-day per week exercise program commitment:

 

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We arrived when the doors opened at 8:00 a.m.; and, surprise our Friendly Greeter, who normally welcomes us with a beautiful smile at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays, was staffing the Front Desk.

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All checked in and ready to workout.  My first stop is 20 minutes on the Pre-Cor, followed by circuit weights, and ending with 20 minutes on the stationary bike.

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Hubby deviated a bit from his normal workout, which includes 20 minutes on the bike.   Instead, he did 20 minutes on the treadmill; and, then allowed the extra time for weights — circuit and free.

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After our workout, we chose to relax and rest for the rest of the day.  He watched football; and, I wrote the first draft of my weekly Monday morning post.

I am grateful for my wonderful Saturday Morning Date with Hubby.  Though some may see this as an ordinary Saturday morning; for me, it was an extra-ordinary morning.  Even after almost fifty-five years of marriage to my teenage sweetheart, I treasure every moment spent with him.

Today: Pain and Happiness

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I woke up this morning in pain.  It’s been a long-time since I experienced the long lasting, penetrating, stabbing and burning pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  But, I was determined to stick with my “routine” – 5:00 a.m. morning meditation, inspirational/spiritual reading, and quiet time.   While this was spiritually and inspirationally uplifting, the pain remained.

So, I returned to the bedroom, looked at the unmade bed, and crawled under the covers.  This lasted for no more than five minutes; I hopped out, made the bed, and said “not going to let this happen.”  I began thinking back to those days when I allowed pain to control my life.  The many days of lying in bed, the darkened room, the heating pads/ice packs and receiving no relief from the prescribed medications.   These memories were enough to get ME up and moving for breakfast.  Even though the pain was more severe with walking, arm movements, sitting down, and getting up, I joined Hubby at the table.

After breakfast, Hubby encouraged me to at least lie back on the recliner chair in our bedroom.  Within five minutes, I was asleep.  One hour later, I woke up.  The pain was still there, but bearableBearable pain, for me, is doable painI can function.

Dressed in outdoor work clothes, I began the long-delayed job of cleaning out our container flower garden area around the pool.  The pruning, cutting, and bending, though far from pain-free, distracted ME from focusing on the pain.  When finished, I immediately cleaned up the area, stood back and admired MY work.

Following lunch, I was geared up to complete the remainder of the job; but Hubby said, “let it wait until tomorrow.”   I took his advice.

I am thankful for a Hubby who reminds ME to stop, rest, and pace as I carry out these many different projects that I proclaim will make ME happy.

I learned today it is not necessary to “finish” a “happiness” project.  There are times when happiness will come from just “doing” the project.

The movement today as I gardened brought pain relief.  The distraction of gardening brought ME pain relief.  Just the “doing” of gardening brought ME happiness.

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Fifty-Three Years and Counting

 

Fifty-three years ago, the odds were against the survival of our marriage.   Why?

  • I was a recent high-school graduate, unemployed, 17-years-old, and pregnant.
  • He was an 18-years-old, unemployed, high school dropout.

Back then, like it probably still is today, most teen marriages ended in either a permanent separation or divorce.

Though our parents agreed to the marriage, they were disappointed and wondered whether this was a “failure waiting to happen.“   We tuned out the naysayers and doubters.

On April 11, 1960, JT and I exchanged vows at the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois.   Our mothers were the only guests; and, they definitely were not beaming and handing out congratulatory words.  Out of love for their children, they both agreed to show up and sign the papers to authorize our underage marriage.

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I did not have the wedding that most young girl’s dream of.   It was the extreme opposite.  There was:

  • No Church. 
  • No Music. 
  • No Rings. 
  • No Reception. 
  • No Photos
  • No Wedding Dress. 

Our one and only wedding gift was a crisp $20.00 bill from my mother.

Married without money or a job, our only available housing option was to live with my parents and occupy the bedroom I had slept in since the age of 12.

Soon recognizing our young age, educational deficiencies, and lack of work experience limited employment opportunities; JT enlisted in the Army.   In the military, he could earn his high school diploma and our family would have a guaranteed monthly income and health care coverage.

My young girlfriends as well as many of my relatives’ prophesized and warned us that his volunteering for the Army meant “the end of our marriage.”   Prepare yourself, they cautioned, “long separations” oftentimes turn into “permanent separations.”  When JT departed for basic training on April 25, 1960 the tears flowed, but I withheld talking to him about my fears of abandonment.

We endured the six-month separation through daily letters, occasional phone calls, and his two short military leaves to visit with me and our new daughter in Chicago.

On December 8, 1960, I truly entered the adult world.  Only three week after turning eighteen, I left family and friends to join JT at his new military assignment in Wackenheim, Germany.

His rank as a Private-First-Class, did not meet the eligibility requirements for us to live on the base in military family housing.  So, JT secured a one-room efficiency on the third floor of a private home.

As I recall the rent was $20.00 per month.  The landlord lived on the first floor and their son, his wife and baby lived on the second floor.   They did not understand or speak English.

In the efficiency next to us on the third floor, we shared the bathroom with two young women.  They understood a little English, worked nights and slept during most of the day.  Later, I learned they were prostitutes who serviced men in the military.  Once I overcame my biased and judgmental opinions, I found two very friendly and supportive neighbors.   They would come over to check their clothing, makeup and hair in our full-length mirror before heading out for the night.  Our Toddler Girl loved to imitate.  She would stand in front of the mirror, twirl, pull, and adjust her clothing.  Then, pout her lips and attempt to swing her hair.  Toddler Girl, now in her early fifties, is embarrassed when we share this childhood memory of her.

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In Germany, I was on the fast track to adulthood.  I had to manage our money and soon learned how to feed a family of four on an income of about a $140.00 per month.   There was always a nourishing meal for the Toddler Girl and the Baby Boy; but there were times when JT and I ate only smothered potatoes and onions for breakfast, dinner and lunch.  Both of which were free and readily accessible.

Our landlord was a farmer and these two vegetables were stored year-round in the cellar.  Though, they always encouraged us to take whatever we needed; sometimes, I was just too embarrassed to ask.  Every now and then, on the pretense of getting coal from the cellar to build a fire in the stove, I would hide a couple of potatoes and onions in the bottom of the bucket.  Of course, I now realize the smell of smothered onions and potatoes no doubt spread to lower floors of this small house.

I soon adjusted to my new life as a young wife, with two small children, on a limited income, living in a foreign country.   Out of necessity, I also quickly learned to:

  • build a fire in the coal stove
  • heat water for bathing and washing clothes 
  • cook meals on a two burner hot plate; and
  • live without television and rhythm and blues radio stations

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The two years, I spent with JT in Germany strengthened our marriage.  We both had to grow up and assume the responsibility of making our marriage work as well as parenting two small children.   Absent friends, family, and the other American amenities we were forced to depend on each other for friendship, entertainment, conversation, and support.  If we disagreed, it didn’t last long.   We couldn’t call a friend to complain or run to our parents for comfort.   We had to work it out between the two of us. 

Those early experiences as a young couple, struggling and relying totally on each other, established the foundation for our strong and long-lasting marriage.  Collectively working as a team, we were determined to build a better life for our three children.

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Marriage is not easy.  It’s a commitment that takes work.  There will be ups and downs, but we have to:

  • learn to compromise
  • spend quality time together
  • consider each other’s feelings
  • listen to each other, and most importantly,
  • laugh together

Through God’s Grace, we reached our educational and professional goals, educated our three children, and now enjoy living the life of retirees.

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April 11, 2013 – Fifty-Three Years and Counting. 

Happy Anniversary to Us

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