I've mentioned my good friend Chuck in the past. I love him and his wonderful wife Judy more than words can say...they're some of the sweetest people in the world. However, they are not on facebook (as many of my other dozen or so readers are), so they've not been keeping up with my quick and more frequent notifications that are easier to post on facebook! So...Chuck reminded me last week that it's been awhile (okay, two months) since I last did an update. Here goes!
Through out the years, I've had occasional problems with my knees. I remember as a scrawny, less than 100-pound teenager (wow, how things have changed!), my knee giving out on me on vacation and my brothers refusing to stand anywhere near me in photos because my legs were so bruised up. Well, my knees have finally given out. Starting in early July, actually during our county fair (which was during my last post!), my knees really started giving me problems. There were times I could barely get out of bed, let alone stand or walk much. I cannot even begin to describe the pain I've been in. I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic specialist who took x-rays and told me his wife's knees were worse than mine, and while knee replacement would have to be done, I was pretty young to have it done...so let's get a cortisone shot, take four Motrin three times a day, and see my primary care physician to prescribe something for the stomach problems that would result. Oh, and get a custom knee brace made. That really infuriated me....yes, I'm young (well, compared to Chuck -- I LOVE YOU, CHUCK!!!), but did he even realize the pain? Did he realize that there are steps all through my house and that there is no getting around going up and down them several times a day (I mean ten steps going down from our bedroom to the dining/living/laundry/bathroom and six steps up from our bedroom to the kids' room which is sixteen steps from the dining/living/laundry/bathroom to the kids' room!)? Did he realize that I am on concrete pretty much all day when I'm at our market...which is pretty much where I am for 9 hours Monday thru Saturday from mid-May through the end of October? Did he realize that my bones not aligning and my knee cap shifting all over the place might not be as bad as his wife's, but it is a HUGE problem when my knee feels like it is going to bend...the opposite way that it is supposed to? And that I could feel my leg bones poking into my knee and my tush?
So...off to get a second opinion from an orthopedic in Fargo. Dr. Nelsen took one look at my x-rays and didn't even do movement tests on my leg...he told me he wanted to schedule me for full knee replacement as soon as possible; partial knee replacement wasn't an option, and he wants me off my feet as much as possible before then, the damage is so bad (yeah, like THAT'S going to happen...although I HAVE slowed down!). And seeing how I have NO cartilage in either knee and both legs don't have proper alignment, I will need to have both knees fully replaced. However, he is hoping that by doing the left knee right away (September 28), I can buy 2-5 more years before the right knee has to be replaced. His comment was that I am young to be having this done, but he can't begin to imagine the pain I'm going thru, that yes, I could delay surgery with cortisone and pain killers and a leg brace by MAYBE a year, but is it worth going through all that to delay for that long? NO WAY!
I have found that I tend to work through the pain and distribute it through my body without realizing it. A couple weeks ago, I finally broke completely. My entire body hurt just to breathe. I honestly wanted to die it was so bad. After sobbing for almost an hour, I called my dear friend Nicole who used to do massage...and she told me she would come over the next day and massage as needed. So, even though she had a friend visiting her from Florida, this dear lady came and did an almost two hour massage. I finally realized how long I'd been carrying the pain all over -- and have limited as much as possible what I am doing now.
My husband, God bless him abundantly!, has taken on many of the house hold chores on top of all his farming. And last Thursday he decided it's been too long since we've had cinnamon rolls at the market to sell (I've not made them since the end of July!), so he volunteered to make them for the Labor Day weekend. I'm still convinced it was partially selfish reasons since not only haven't we sold any...he's not had any to eat! I made up the dough and explained what needed to be done, and this sweet man went to work! At the end of it all, he thought maybe we should be charging more than what we are....but those rolls were GOOD!
Luke and Susanna have also been doing more things around the house. They already do so much to help out, but they're doing even more. Other than putting in the laundry detergent, they do all of the laundry -- putting things in the washer, transferring to the dryer and turning it on, and even folding and putting away the laundry. They continue to set the table and clear it off, help (sometimes) with making meals, and cleaning up. But yet, there are still things that don't get done and it bugs me...because I physically cannot do them and Tony doesn't have time to do them, and it's beyond Luke and Susi. So, if you ever stop in and visit, ignore the dirty floors that haven't been swept, vacuumed, or mopped for awhile -- I hired someone to come in last month and do them, but the daily wear and tear, especially with two little ones, a big one, a market to run, and the countless other things that need to be done, well, it isn't the cleanest place.
One of the many things I have learned through this all is an understanding of why some people are so difficult to be around when they're in pain. It is so easy to just snap and yell at people, only because the pain can be unbearable. And I've found myself doing that at times...but quickly pray that God helps me change my attitude. Because, I've learned, it IS a choice on how I'm going to deal with the pain I'm going through -- am I going to take it out on those around me? Or am I going to grit through it and realize they have no clue what I'm dealing with? And when it gets to be too bad, when I can't deal with the noise of kids or looking at the messiness of the house...I just go to my room for awhile, spend some time praying, reading, sleeping, or calming down by listening to music. I also know what I am going through is NOTHING compared to many, many other people out there....and I have no clue how they can deal with what they have to deal with. It has made me even more compassionate to what others are going through. After all, I see some of my friends -- one who has a two year old twin with a severely broken leg while she herself is pregnant...and has four others as well to take care of; one whose 10 month old baby is barely over 12 pounds and the doctors are doing countless tests to see what is wrong; others who are dealing with problems I cannot even begin to fathom, not just medical and physical but personal issues surrounding family and others. I see someone else who is close who is also young for the heart problems they are going through and the family supporting this person emotionally. And good grief...my problems are so minor!
Meanwhile, I'll update when I can...there are so many fun things going on with the kids -- like Susi who loves to sing "Today is the day, You have made! I will rejoice and be glad in it. I won't "worthy" about tomorrow, trusting in You today...." My kids continue to lighten each day for me (usually). Luke is reading and spelling and continuing his love of math. Susanna is more and more of a drama queen (good and bad!) each day. And Tony, ah, my Tony. He continues to rub Susi's feet when she plops them in his lap...and my back when I finally crawl into bed after wearing myself out enough where I can fall asleep without tossing and turning from the pain.
There are also other things going on -- I took Luke to the ER a couple weeks back with bad stomach pains. Even the doctor thought it was appendicitis and ran all kinds of tests on the poor kid. Thank God it wasn't, but she did run tests for four different tick diseases. Again, thank God they came back negative, but we still don't know why his blood count is off in many different areas and his lymph nodes are swollen (since January).
We're getting ready for pumpkin parties -- and a live feed from Q-FM for our first one on Saturday, September 25. And yes, I'll be at that one, but I'll be MIA from at least the next one and possibly/probably more beyond that. I'm learning to not only set limits on myself but to actually follow those limits!
Here's how you can help. Pray. I know that many of your prayers are what is helping me deal with what I'm going through already. Pray for the pain to be bearable, for a successful surgery, for a quick recovery (good grief...it will take a year to be fully recovered! although much less than that before getting around...but we're still talking serious time for recovery), pray that I don't push myself beyond what I should, both before and after surgery. Pray for the transitions that we'll be going through as we're also preparing to move into the farm house. I know God will provide for what we need, meals, child care, etc., through all this...He always does -- but pray that I'll not be freaking out with impatience as things get lined up for surgery. And pray that we can start our homeschooling and not get to off kilter thru this all!
And you know what? Another reason I love Chuck and Judy so much -- they've been through joint replacements, through major health obstacles, through so much...and Chuck still gave me his cell phone number with the admonition to call him whenever I need help! Oh, buddy, I appreciate you more than you know...what an awesome and genuine gesture that is....because I know you mean it! (wanna come over and scrub my kitchen and bathroom floor? I'm KIDDING!!!!)
So meanwhile, tomorrow is the annual canoe trip down the very crooked Straight River to LaMae's house...I'll be at LaMae's (unless I over do it at the market tomorrow...there are only two of us working the Market Monday and Tuesday), but I won't be canoeing. I'm gonna miss it!
I'm off for now...gotta work on payroll for our awesome employees and work on cleaning up the desk. Again, I'll update when I can, but it's hard to sit at the desk and type now. I have my laptop downstairs, but the keyboard has a mind of its own! I start typing things out and - poof! - it disappears!
If you're in the Fargo area September 28-October 1, pop in to Sanford South University Hospital (the old MeritCare on University) and tell me hi! They anticipate a 3-day hospital stay with surgery.
And there you have it......