"To Everything There is A Season"

I am in a "season". A season of what? I don't know. I haven't yet figured out what the "purpose under heaven" is yet. Trial, I guess; a season to be strong. This is not a sympathy post. It's a post that's been a long-time coming, though. I can finally sort-of articulate my thoughts. But...where to begin?

I guess at the beginning: Christmas! Actually, Christmas was great. We had a peaceful, happy Christmas. But it was busy leading up to it, like it is for everyone. So of course we went into Christmas with me being behind on a lot things I felt like I needed to accomplish. But I figured with the new year I'd make up for lost time.

The problem is that the time I thought I'd get to accomplish those goals never came. The day after Christmas we woke up to a flood. Not just a little flood - Our kitchen was RAINING - POURING! Our upstairs bathroom flooded and the water spread out across the upstairs bedrooms and down through the walls and floor. Our kitchen, garage, and all the upstairs bedrooms had to be torn apart so the insulation, heating, and lots of sheetrock could be replaced. Our house was declared "unlivable" and the people that our insurance company sent to dry out our house told us to leave. We'd be out for four-six weeks. It was CRAZY. We packed up the kids and sent them to Utah with my parents. Then Cameron and I packed up what we could in the house and started the tasks of finding a place to stay for a month, meeting with our insurance to find out what would be covered, choosing a contractor to get the repairs started, and lots and lots of other things. We moved everything we could into the dry rooms and I spent some time wandering around in circles, not sure how to proceed. It was overwhelming.

BUT we made the best of it. We stayed on base and had as good a time as we could when we weren't meeting with sub-contractors, installing our new tile, or endlessly moving the stuff that was still in the house from room to room as the workers worked on each room.

We also spent some time in Utah. Cameron and I are very blessed to have wonderful families.

We moved back into our house on February 7. I spent those 42 days meeting all my weaknesses head on, at once (at least I felt that way). It was tough. Our house is in much better shape than before. And I do love the upgrades we were able to make to it. It was a time of trial, though. In retrospect, not that big of a trial. I was constantly aware of our blessings (insurance was a big one, for sure) and the fact that things could have been much much worse.

I spent the next two weeks unpacking our boxes and putting the house back together. As I type I still have a few boxes to go through. It is as if we moved out and right back in.

February 21 Cameron and I headed to Denver. I had cancelled my appointment with the neurosurgeon I wanted to have a consult with for my Chiari Malformation because of the house. I was anxious to see a specialist but, since he only does surgery for 1 in 100 patients, I fully expected him to send me home with medication or some other conservative treatment.

Instead, as he went through my MRI scan with Cameron and I we realized that the only way to fix my health is surgery. My brain is "herniated" into my spinal canal and rubbing against my skull. It should have a layer of fluid around it to protect it but there's no room. I also have a crooked bone in there compressing the cerebral tonsils of my brain even more. The doctor described it as a cork in the neck of a bottle. Every time my heart beats, my brain pulses and there's no room for it to contract with the pulsing. So, basically 100,000 times a day that part of my brain is being shoved into my skull with no cushioning. NO WONDER I have a headache!!

I'm going in for surgery a week from today. I am anxious and nervous but also very peaceful. I know that this surgery will increase my quality of life. I won't have to worry about the prospect of paralysis or nerve damage due to cramped nerves in the spinal canal. I will be able to look up and down without shooting pains in my head. I'll be able to drive without my legs bothering me. I won't get lightheaded all day long. I will be much less tired. I will FINALLY know what it feels like to be pain-free and feel good.

I have a long ways to go still, though. The surgery is major. It will be 6 weeks before I can take care of my family, and even then I will need help. I won't be able to go on a walk for 4 weeks. I won't be able to pick up my kids or clean or grocery shop for about 3 months. I might tire easily for up to a year. It's going to be tough, on all of us.

Through out this time I've learned to more fully depend on Heavenly Father. I've been humbled. I have been blessed. I have {probably just begun to} learned what it means to "partake in the atonement". I have told Heavenly Father {and meant it} that my life is in His hands and not my will but His be done. I have learned to depend on His guidance for the simplest of decisions. I think I will continue to learn even more about all of these things.

I am very blessed. Cameron and I have such support from our families. I have many friends and neighbors who have helped me. I have had many many teeny tiny little miracles that have made my life a little easier, from a grocery clerk allowing me to take my FULL cart through the express line so I didn't have to wait in line just when I was feeling very lightheaded and my headache was intensifying rapidly, to a neighbor who picked up my boys and took them to scouts every week we were living on base so I didn't have to make the twenty-five minute trek twice in an hour.

And the greatest miracle in my life of all: Just being able to make it through each day. Since about last August my headaches have increased to a point that not even narcotics take the pain away. Also, I can't take care of my kiddos on narcotics. I have prayed EVERY SINGLE DAY {sometimes many times a day} for the Lord to strengthen me and help me do the things I need to do each day. I have prayed EVERY DAY for patience with my kids, as the normal kids sounds can make my head feel even worse. I KNOW that I would have fallen apart a long time ago without the help of God. And I love Him and am thankful to Him for helping through this time.

There has been some tough times trying to "convince" doctors that I needed a specialist. For a while I thought maybe I truly was a hypocondriach. I didn't understand how I could possibly be making this up. The doctors, though, wanted to treat me very conservatively. I tried a few medications. There were times I felt very very alone. I second-guessed myself. I didn't know how to proceed. I am grateful for prayers that were answered; that I was able to get into a doctor that can help me. {there is a song by Safety Suit called 'These Times'. Look it up on I tunes, if you want. I love it. It describes these feelings perfectly}

As I look forward to this next chapter all I can do is continue to hold on to my faith. I am scared of being away from my kids for so much time {I will recuperate at my grandmas house while my mom and mother in law help Cameron with the kids for the first 3-6 weeks}. I know I'm not dying but I feel like it a little in the sense that I keep wondering, "have I taught them enough? have I played with them enough? have I hugged them often enough? do they know how much I love them? what about the leprechaun that comes every year?! and Easter? and Isaac needs new jeans, if I can't get to Boise before next week who will buy them for him?" Crazy thoughts, I guess, but still. It's just a little nerve-wracking. That is why I cling to my faith in God. I know He has a plan for me and my family. He will watch over them when I can't and He has given me an amazing family that can take care of my precious babies when I can't. Thank you, Mom and Sharlene, and Grandma. I love you.

This is a long rambling post... I know.... I'll leave it here... but remember no sympathy, it's all good... just gotta get through this hard time and then better health, no more headaches... this "season" will end and new one will begin...


shay said...

I've been thinking about you lately and knew something was up when I saw your facebook post. You will be in our prayers! I really wish I lived closer to you so I could help you out! Good luck with everything. You are an amazing woman! I'm glad you found a reason for your headaches, I'm glad you will get relief! Let me know if I can do anything from clear over here! Good luck!

Adri said...

Oh, Kendra! Colleen filled me in on some of these details, but, wow, you have a lot going on. I know you don't want sympathy, but how about prayers? Mine are headed your way!

Hillary said...

Oh my gosh! I am so sorry! You will be in our prayers. Good luck and we will be thinking about you!

[BrookeO] said...

Thinking of you. Love to you my friend.

Kasey said...

Just left a big long comment and not sure where it went. Just know that I LOVE YOU to pieces. I so wish I could think of something to help you out during this time. I know it'll be hard, but so worth it for you to be out of pain.

Colleen said...

You are amazing, Kendra! We all have so much we can learn from you, so perhaps this is not only a season for you to be strong, but one where you can teach your friends about trusting in the Lord and facing adversity with incredible strength! I am praying for a safe surgery and quick healing! Love you!!!

Beth said...

Please know that you, Cameron, and the kids are in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time. You are such a strong woman and I know you will come out of this better than ever. You have such a beautiful family and I miss our days together back in Tiffin with the kiddos. (I think I secretly hoped that Landon and Kloe would someday get married--they were so cute together!) Please keep the faith and know that the Lord will be with you, as will all of us!!

Love Always,
Liz, Kloe and Marin

Nancy K said...

We'll keep you and your family and the surgeon in our prayers. You are incredible. Hang in there!!!

shauntelle said...

i am glad you ramble every once in a while...that's my favorite part of your posts :) your last paragraph here pretty much sums up every good mom's feelings and desires to do all she can while her kids are young. the difference between you and most of us other moms is that your photos and entries prove that you play and hug and teach and love. you are truly an inspiration to me. thanks for being you and here's to the new season!