Saturday, July 13, 2013

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

In my last post, I mentioned about the bleeding issues I've been having.  I called my regular doctor and she told me to come on in for my yearly exam in her office instead of going back to the OBGYN from heck. 

SHE had no problem doing a pap while I was bleeding, and even performed an endometrial biopsy at the same time.  I researched what that was, and was prepared for some serious pain.  The night before my appointment I ended up having killer cramps, so I popped some Aleve and hoped for the best.  I had been having serious cramps on and off with all of this bleeding, so I was hoping that the biopsy wouldn't hurt as badly as some women reported.

When I had the test done, there was some discomfort, but honestly, compared to the cramps I'd been having, it didn't hurt at all.  Of course there was bleeding, but since I was already bleeding heavily, I don't know how much could be attributed to the biopsy.  My doctor said it was one of the easiest she'd ever done because my cervix was open from the bleeding. 

My blood tests showed that I was anemic (what a shocker, huh?), and the biopsy came back clear--so no endometrial cancer.  But what was causing that mystery bleeding?  I had to have an ultrasound for that answer.  (And of course, there was all sorts of drama with that, as well---I swear that nothing ever happens the easy way for me)

The results:   I have a fairly large (large enough for surgery) fibroid tumor in my uterus and a suspicious cyst on my right ovary that they want to re-examine in six weeks.  Based on my own research, I'm fairly certain the tumor is a submucosal one, and my doctor told me that it is taking up 2/3 of my uterus.  Right now it is 1 1/2 inches by 1 inch, but since it's causing all of this bleeding, pain, and infertility, it needs to be surgically removed.

This means no FET until I get this taken care of.  And since I'm limited in my area as far as specialists go, I am at the mercy of THEIR scheduling...I'm still in specialist limbo, which as far as I'm concerned is a special level of purgatory here on earth that I'm hoping will result in a few extra jewels for my crown up in heaven. 

What I really need is another miracle.  Like the woman in the Bible story, I long to just touch the hem of Jesus' robe and be healed.  With my family history, leaving this tumor in place is not an option.  It will eventually lead to cancer---my aunt's oncologist told all of her female relatives this, so we've all been really proactive when it comes to gynecological issues.  I just need a miracle where a doctor will see me and perform the needed surgery ASAP.  I'm hoping that I can have the least invasive option, but if I have to wait for several months, the tumor could grow large enough that I might lose my uterus.  I don't want that, obviously, but I'll trade my chance at motherhood for a longer life with my family and husband. 

So, prayers would be appreciated.  I'm not even sure what to ask you to pray for, but God knows the best thing for me.  I guess just pray that I will be able to accept His will.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Saga Continues

What I hadn't mentioned in earlier posts was this one teensy, tiny, almost so small that it was missed, blip on the radar (AS IF!). 

Actually, it's been a HUGE issue for me.  It has actually been an issue since the miscarriage, but has gotten so much worse in the last 12 months that I finally broke down and told my doctor that I couldn't deal with it anymore.

There is a story in the Bible about a woman with "an issue of blood" that she had dealt with for 12 years.  She approaches Jesus in a crowd and has the faith to believe that if she just touches the hem of his garment, she will be healed.  This was a BIG deal, because a woman with her problem, i.e. "bleeding", was considered unclean, and therefore, would avoid crowds where she could accidentally "contaminate" others.  Jesus, of course, immediately knew when she touched Him, and when she admitted she had touched His hem, He told her that her faith had healed her.  Then He said, "Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."  (Mark 5: 25-34)

Suffering.  That's the best way to describe it.  I believe that I've mentioned that monthly cycles are somewhat of a mystery for me, have been since I've had them.  It's a function of my PCOS that they can be between 4-8 weeks apart.  Usually.  Since my miscarriage, they have grown more erratic, and when I visited the specialist's office last year, I had some serious concerns about the fact that they were changing to 8-12 weeks with 2+ weeks of bleeding each time.  I was told by the nurse practitioner that (and I am totally not joking, exaggerating, or making this up), "Well, when you don't ovulate, that makes your cycles a little longer.  You get your period when an egg doesn't get fertilized (yes, she really said it!).  If your cycle lasts longer than 6 weeks, then you'll bleed more and more heavily."

  I mentioned the whole "clots" thing, and she just told me it was because I was too overweight.  I needed to lose 20 pounds, and that should restore my cycles, and then needed to lose 70 pounds before she'd let me begin using Clomid, but she was just *sure* that losing weight would make my problems disappear and my PCOS wouldn't interfere with my fertility.  "Well, you can't get pregnant if you don't ovulate, and your size is keeping you from ovulating." (yeah, she told me that, too)

Needless to say, I was. not. under. ANY. circumstances. going back to that office because they weren't going to let me see the actual OBGYN, but be stuck with THAT thing. 

However, since my kidney surgery, things had accelerated.  I started having shorter cycles, but I was bleeding for 3+ weeks.  I bled from December 15-January 5, then while I was working at losing that weight and walking/working out, I had about 4 weeks of feeling super.  Then, I started bleeding on February 10, and continued until April 22.  By bleeding, I mean BLEEEEEEEDDDDDDIIIIINNNNGGGG.  I was going through almost a regular-sized box of pads every two days.  Lots of clots, lots of gushes when I stood or got out of bed.  It was NOT pretty. 

 I was so relieved when it stopped.  I was planning on going back to my GP, Dr. Wonderful, for my annual exam as soon as school was out.  I went back to walking again, because I wasn't losing so much blood that I was turning anemic.  Then, on MOTHER'S DAY (of all days, right?), the flood came back.  It lasted until FATHER'S DAY (still ironic, huh?), then took a 3-day break before starting again.  I was about to start buying adult diapers to prevent embarrassing leaks in the car and in public.

Sooooooooooooooooooo, what's causing all of this?  Stay tuned for Part Two, tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Miracle of Miracles

Right now I'm neck deep in a community theatre production of "Fiddler on the Roof".  I was picked to be the musical director, so I'm teaching all the songs, working with the soloists, putting together a mini-orchestra, and working with the's a ton of work, but it's so much fun!!!

Anyway, the title of this post is the title of one of the songs from the musical.  The song is basically a recounting of all of the big stories in the Old Testament where God shows Himself to the Israelites in a miraculous way, and the character singing the song equates getting to marry the girl of his dreams to those big miracles of long ago.

Wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll........I can totally agree with that character.  We have been given an opportunity that is no less of a miracle, and if God continues to keep this door open, it will give us a chance to grow our family.

A very dear friend of mine from college, someone I always admired, but never felt in her league, has offered us a miracle!  This friend and her husband also slogged through the marshes of infertility, thankfully not with PCOS, but an exhaustive and brutal journey nonetheless.  Through the miracle of modern-day medicine and IVF, they have been blessed with three of the most. adorable. children. ever.

She contacted me about a month and a half ago with a dilemma they had. (I use the word dilemma, but in reality, it was a blessing!)  They still had two embryos that were frozen from their last transfer.  Their clinic would let them donate those embryos, and they did not want those teensy, tiny lives to perish, but they also wanted them to go to someone they knew.  Enter me and my husband.  I was asked if we would consider this as a path to parenthood.

Talk about a miracle!!!!  My husband and I stayed up until the wee hours of the night (OK, it was midnight, but since I had to get up at 5 in the morning to go to work, that counted as "the wee hours of the night"!) discussing and praying and hoping and praying and discussing.  We were at an iron door in our pursuit of parenthood.  We did not qualify for fostering/adoption because of where we live, my body was still refusing to work, and we had no options of moving to a better location.  We had just been treading water, barely keeping our heads up, living without LIVING.  It was kind of a forced resignation; I was in a holding pattern--the same holding pattern I have been in for the last 4 years.  If you were to see me in public, you'd probably comment on how I have adjusted to child-free living and how it's such a shame I don't have any little ones because God has blessed me with a "mother's heart" (Yes, I still have people telling me these things--I've learned the smile and nod technique quite well)

Anyway, I contacted my friend again and practically screamed (online, anyway) YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!  Words weren't right for this---how do you put into words the fact that my husband's eyes lit up with hope for the first time in years; that I felt like every prayer had been answered; that I was seeing the world in color again?

So here's where we are:  I'm going to meet with my friend to go over what exactly everything will cost; if we can go through with this, it will require a trip to Illinois, which we could pull off over Christmas break; if we can't do this in the next 8 months, we will need to help them pay the $500 storage fee; I have GOT to get all my body issues straightened out and talk with my GP about what all has to be done here so I can have this opportunity; and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...

Miracle of miracles, indeed!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Healthy (er) Living

So, what's a girl to do after being so sick that the doctor thought it was touch and go?

Well, you re-evaluate your life,(especially when one of your closest friends tragically dies during this time) you change your habits, and you set goals.

Before my health scare, I weighed 270 pounds.  It just happened.  If you'd have asked me in high school, I would have told you that I would do whatever it took to not ever weigh over 200 pounds.  I'm five foot tall, for crying out loud!

But PCOS takes good intentions and throws them out the window.  I will admit that my eating habits weren't the best in the world.  I could have eaten more vegetables and drank less soda, but if you were to compare my diet with other women, you'd have been surprised that I constantly gained weight.  My husband has been continually surprised at the fact that I gain weight with the amount of food that I eat---even when counting calories and sticking with a 1,500 calorie/day limit, I gained weight.

So, I lost 15 pounds in that month between surgeries.  I felt like crap, plus I was on super high-powered antibiotics, so nothing tasted decent.  When I was admitted after my second surgery, the hospital sent a dietician to talk with me about that "drastic" weight loss.  I was all "Whoo-hoo, at least SOMETHING good has come out of all of this", but the dietician was concerned that I was losing muscle mass--as if!  I was really weak, but considering what my body had gone through, I expected it.  I was on really severe restrictions for another six weeks after my stent was removed.

So, as of today, I am down to 236.  I need to lose another 100 pounds from here, but it's a start.  I actually was down to 230 by February, but I'll explain why it's not gone down in my next post.

How did I do it?

1.  I've been methodically eradicating HFCS from my diet.  I'll use products that have regular sugar instead.

2.  If I can make it myself, I'm doing that instead of buying processed food.

3.  Lots and lots of fresh spinach---I even turn it into pizza dough--hubby likes it too, and he's not into ANYTHING that looks vegetable-ish at all.

4.  I've cut out soda.  I will have a couple of swigs to clear drainage in my throat, and we still have our Soda-stream machine that makes HFCS-free soda for hubby, but in the last 8 months, I have maybe had the equivalent of 3 sodas.  I was so sick that I went cold turkey for that month, and then the meds I was on made all soda taste like vinegar, plus I didn't want to throw up ANY more, so I just avoided them.

5.  Daily exercise---I was up to walking 10-15 miles every week, which sped up weight loss.  Now that it's summer, I'm trying to ride my bicycle around town to run errands.  This gives me a two-fold savings: health benefits and reduction in gas for my car!

6.  Adding fish to my diet.  I've been trying to eat fish with at least one meal a week.  If I'm doing really good, I'll have 5 meals with fish  in the week.

7.  Per my surgeon's orders, I've been drinking LOTS of water, lemon-water, and even lemonades (like lite raspberry lemonade--double the water per packet).  According to his testing, I am to be drinking 1.5 to 2 gallons of water/tea/citrus drinks a DAY.  I haven't been able to do this during the school year (um, I don't get that many bathroom breaks because I am always responsible for students), but I've worked my way up to that amount since I'm on break.  It's a chore to drink that much water a day.

So that's what I'm doing.  Stay tuned to find out what ELSE is going on as I now have time for daily blogging!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wrapping It Up

Yeah, it's been a while since I've updated.  I thought that some of you would want to know how things turned out.

Item 1--Surgery
I finally had my second surgery and it was a success.  However, I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and had to stay overnight.  Then, during the night my IV failed and I ended up covered in IV fluid (and blind, as I hadn't put in my contacts before I went to sleep because I was so out-of-it from the surgery and reaction to the surgery).  The nurses (and these were the ONLY nurses who were like this) pooh-poohed it and told me that my racing heart (which was the reason for the overnight stay) and the leaky IV were nothing to be concerned about.  I was shivering almost uncontrollably and was told that it was just a figment of my imagination---so I asked for a cup of hot chocolate.  I was able to control my shivering long enough for my hubby to sign me out.  He took me out to lunch, where I ate two bites before the shivers returned and I began feeling horrid.  I crawled into the back seat of the car and tried to sleep the entire trip home (1 hour), but I was freezing.  I put my jammies on and crawled under the covers---only to shake them off within five minutes.  I felt so bad that I called hubby in.  He checked my temperature--102.  (So I wasn't "faking" it when I told the one set of nurses that I felt awful!)  The surgeon told him to rush me back to the hospital---another hour-long trip--and when I got there, my temp was up to 104 and I was almost having convulsions.  I was re-admitted and kept on high-powered antibiotics for another 4 days.  I had so many antibiotics that I developed some sort of fungal infection that required a different medication.  Oh, and on my last night there, at 2 in the morning, I was transferred to another floor because my roommate apparently developed staph and the room needed to be quarantined.  Lots of fun.

Item 2---Stent removal

I had to have a second stent put in with that kidney-stone surgery, or the trauma to my urethra would have caused it to swell shut (oh goody!).  But the downside was that I would have to have it removed during my final office visit.  I got to the office well in advance of my appointment because I was told that I had to have lab work AND x-rays done.  I brought my mom with me to be my driver on the trip home, and she insisted that we take her vehicle instead of mine because she wanted to be comfortable (she's a wonderful woman, but in this instance, I should have put my foot down harder or picked someone else).  This will be important later in the story.   

Anyway, as I checked in, I was told that I was *obviously* mistaken about the labwork, and that I would just have to wait the hour until my appointment.  I even stepped over to the lab check-in area and double-checked, and they told me that I wasn't anywhere on their list for the day.  Sooooo, upstairs I went, where I waited for over an hour.  Then the surgeon's nurse came out and told me that even though it was time for my appointment, the lab results and x-rays hadn't come in yet, so they couldn't take the stent out.  When I told her what had happened, she said, "THAT is never supposed to happen!  Every patient we have has lab work before they are seen.  I WILL take care of this."  Sure enough, two minutes later, she printed off an official-looking sheet that showed the orders HAD been placed that morning.  So, off I went back downstairs.  I got in and out of the lab---I had to show them the special sheet AND use my "no-nonsense" teacher voice, but I got in and out.  I walked across the hall to the x-ray, where the receptionist told me that she had put me in the system and that I would be right in.........30 minutes later, EVERYONE else in the waiting room had been seen and I was still sitting there.  I was in tears, and my mom called because the surgeon was concerned that I hadn't come back.  Mom told that nurse, and they made another call to radiology--meanwhile I tiredly tromped back to the receptionist and tearfully explained that I had been sitting for over 30 minutes back there and that I was now an hour late for my appointment, that I had arrived an hour early, and that it was almost closing time, and that I lived an hour away and didn't have any more sick days at work to take. 

After that production, I was FINALLY taken back to x-ray.  The x-ray took all of 1 minute, and the tech was apologizing for everything, but I felt so awful that I just kind of like, "Fine, whatever.  I've been yanked around by this entire office today, and I haven't been treated like a human by any of you."  I am not normally like this, and I understand that mistakes happen, but in this ENTIRE two-month ordeal, I had heard, "We're sorry, stuff like this just doesn't happen around here" so many times that I could have just recorded it and played it back each and every time I entered a doctor's office in the big city.

When I made it back upstairs, it was almost 5:00, a full two hours after my appointment.  I was ushered in for the stent removal.  If anyone EVER tells you that this is a "mildly discomforting" procedure, they are a liar.  I was put into a reclining chair with stirrups--not comfy if you are five-foot tall!  Then, they laid me back and applied the topical anesthetic, which was as effective as water---it actually felt like a syringe of aloe vera gel being applied.  The doctor arrived for the actual procedure and tried to insert this little grabby hook in to grab the end of the stent.  Once again, I was too short for him to get the proper angle, so two additional nurses were called in to hold my legs up in the sky (beyond embarrassing) while he did the removal.  Now I was already cranky, tired, and teary-eyed from the previous three-hours of crap, so I was on the verge of a breakdown before he called in the nurses.  The tears started flowing at the embarrassing predicament and even though he was really nice, they didn't stop. 

"You might feel a bit of discomfort." ----words uttered by someone who has NEVER had a 10-inch long straw stuck up their body between their bladder and a kidney.  I was in agony---it wasn't a long period of time, but it was agony.  The topical stuff didn't touch this pain.  I felt every inch of that sucker as it was taken out.  But it was out.  FINALLY.  I laid down and sobbed for about five minutes before the pain leveled out and I could both sit up and put my feet down to walk.

They told me to lay down and not sit for the next few hours so that everything would heal.  But of course, my mom needed her comfort and we had taken her vehicle, which had two car seats in the back.  No laying down, and her car seats are not comfortable at all, so I endured an hour-long trip in agony, then crawled into my bed, took some heavy-duty pain meds that my doctor had provided, and slept.  The ordeal was finally over.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

Hello there, world.  It's me again.  With yet another story about the unexpected journey that I'm on.  I've left the journey of an infertile woman for a bit because my life as a "normal" person interrupted and has pulled me off the path that I've been wandering for the better part of four years.

You're probably tired of hearing about my little kidney stone drama, and I quite frankly am tired of living it, but so much off-the-wall stuff has happened that I'm compelled to share.  If for no other reason than this:  when I'm 90 and in the old folks home, I want to be able to read this blog and go, "Well, wasn't that an exciting month!"  (Hopefully I will see it that way, because right now, it's a month that's lasted about 6 months!)

So here we go with installment 5,6, 8 zillion...

Last Saturday I went in to have some FINAL pre-op labs done.  I was told that I HAD TO HAVE THEM DONE or I wouldn't be able to have the surgery.  So like a good girl, I headed up to the big city (1 1/2 hours away--this is not just a trip to the grocery store--it's an all-day thing!).  I had to have blood drawn and do a urine test.  Since I was told that it was a full metabolic panel, I knew the drill (thanks to all my PCOS bloodwork, I knew that phrase QUITE well) and didn't eat or drink anything but water after 8:00 on Friday night.  Because this stent won't allow me to "hold it", I have to go to the bathroom every 60-90 minutes.  So before we left the house, I went.

We get to the hospital and go to check in...and the little girl checking me in says, (and I quote) "I don't have any record of you needing to come in today for labs.  Did you get the wrong date?"  (By this time, I was doing the potty dance in my chair and crossing my legs AND praying for patience and grace so I wouldn't go across the table)  Then she says, "I'm sorry you made such a long trip, but it's not in the computer so I can't send you to the lab.  Who's your doctor?"  I told her everything that I was told, who told it to me, and when they had told me to arrive.  Finally, she told me that she would look at the fax machine to see if the orders had been faxed in.  I thought that was weird, because her department was the one that called me, but hey, what do I know?  Another 15 minutes passes...which seemed like an hour because I.HAD.TO.GO!!  She couldn't find the orders.  She was in a quandry--I would have felt sorry, but I was ticked that they kept giving me conflicting information and I still had to use the restroom.  She FINALLY looked in the department inbox where everything was and found the orders.  By this time, hubby and I have been sitting there for 30 minutes (2 1/2 hours w/out a bathroom by this point, so I'm almost in tears of pain).  After 10 more minutes of correcting my personal data (for the 5th time), she finally sends us to the lab. 

You'd think the lab was close, right?  Nope, not a chance.  It's a quarter of a mile down the hallway (maybe not quite that far, but we walked from one end of the hospital to the other).  I'm almost doing a duck walk to keep from peeing my pants--it did not look graceful and I was so glad that we didn't see anyone I knew.

I get to the lab and check in...and they are in the middle of a shift change. (of course they are--we are talking about my ability to not ever get the easy pass!)  We wait for an additional 20 minutes. (In case you're keeping count, it's now been 3 hours w/out a bathroom, 20 hours without food, and 24 hours without any pain medication of any kind--I was almost crying, I felt so bad)  Then I am called up to the desk where the nurse confers with me.  You see, according to her computer, I had already had these tests while in the hospital and at my surgeon's clinic, and on the paper under her orders it said that if these tests had been performed within 30 days, they didn't have to be repeated. (ARE.YOU.KIDDING.ME?) After I told her about our long trip, the fact that I was told I couldn't have surgery w/out them, and the fact that everyone and their brother at the hospital kept telling me different stuff, she went back to call my surgeon's office and see if he really meant for me to have the tests done. (If I wasn't about to turn yellow from lack of peeing, I would have appreciated the fact that she didn't want to cost me more $$$ by performing unneccesary tests).  

Lo and behold, she can't get ahold of my surgeon--but he had an associate who was on-call in the ER.  So she called him.  Then she looked at me leaning feverishly against my husband and told me that the on-call doctors always call back quickly and don't leave you waiting very long. (Oh goody!)  In hospital time he didn't wait long, but 10 minutes is a really long time when you've gotta go to the bathroom.  He told the nurse that the tests wouldn't hurt and that I could have the clinic credit my account if they really were unneeded. 

She handed me that specimen cup, and I practically crawled to the little bathroom.  On a side note, doing the old person shuffle is easier than trying to walk with your legs crossed!  I get in the bathroom and find that there is an 8-step list to follow just for a sample--WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I was about to pass out, I hurt so bad, so I skimped on about 5 of the steps.  I couldn't bring myself to "cheat" by skipping them, but there was no way under the sun that I was going to be able to do them properly (like cleaning yourself for 30 seconds then standing and washing your hands again for 1 minute before sitting again---totally not happening)  I'm pretty sure that some man wrote the instructions because I do not know of any woman who would put other women through such torture.   Anyway, I was finally able to feel some relief and was able to stand all the way upright when I walked out of the little powder room to have my blood drawn.  The blood part only took 3 minutes, so the whole actual lab time was only 6-8 minutes.  (Now if I was a scheming type of person, I'd send the hospital a bill for the 3 1/2 hours of my time that they wasted---which I won't do, but for petey's sake, you'd have thought that such a simple procedure could be accomplished more efficiently.)

The up side to all of the waiting and the hurting and the fevering?  Hubby took compassion on me and took me out to a steak dinner!  Then we ended our romantic evening with him pushing me in a wheelchair through Wal.mart (b/c my stent was hurting so bad from the pressure of waiting so long) and buying surgical soap at Wal.greens so that I could follow the rest of the pre-op procedures.  

So how am I doing today?  You'll have to find out by reading the next installment of this never-ending saga entitled "Ranae starts believing the medical profession is out to get her", or "A Comedy of Errors and the Death of Common Sense" *

*ok, these are not the titles of the next blog, but they're closer to the truth than you might think!  

Monday, November 5, 2012

If the Worst Happens, Is It Really The Worst?

As I sit here, there are just about 60 hours left until my next surgery to remove the epic-sized kidney stone.  I'll admit it---I'm mildly terrified.

Don't get me wrong, I want all of this behind me.  I'm not even worried about dying during surgery--which is such a remote possibility that I shouldn't think about it--but when you almost don't make it through a very minor procedure and you lose your best friend 45 minutes after saying goodbye to her, things like this kinda stick with you.

I guess what I'm worried about is the stuff I've left undone...becoming a teacher again, having a baby of my own that's alive, telling everyone I know about my Savior, being completely debt-free, owning a real house, not getting to hold the nieces and nephews, leaving my family and friends behind...I want to say that I've lived a life with no regrets, but I do have some---those times when I was not the person I was created to be.

I don't think I'll die on the operating table, mostly due to the fact that I'm going to owe the hospital so much money that they won't allow me to pass away!  But since NOTHING has gone the way they told me it would and nothing seems to have gone right since I've been home, I think I'm safer to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So what would I have to gain if I don't wake up?  EVERYTHING.  I will be reunited with loved ones.  I'll get to hold my daughter in my arms for the first time.  I don't know if she'll be an infant, a toddler, or a grown woman when I see her, but I can't wait to touch her, to see her, to hear her voice.  We will spend eternity together, and I'll probably want to keep her right by me for about 1,000 years.  I'll get to see my Savior, my Creator, my Life.  I'll probably be so in awe of Him that I won't be able to speak for a millinea, but when I do, I have a list of questions for Him.  I know that in heaven I'll understand everything and nothing will be a mystery.  I'll know exactly where my wedding ring has disappeared to, why my body refused to work, how it was that it seemed like all my dreams were killed, why it looked like evil always know, those simple, easy questions...

I don't want to leave this earth yet, though.  I have so much I want to do, to be.  I want to tell everyone I know about my Christ, about how to be that kind of person who inspires others to be their best.  My husband tells me that I'm already that kind of person, but I feel that I fall short so very often.

So, as I await this final surgery, I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I am prepared to close my eyes here on earth to open them in heaven.  But on the other hand, I really want to wake up to see my husband smiling at me here and feeling good enough to be able to lose this weight and meet my goals.  I want to live intentionally and purposefully--to be the woman that God wants me to be.  I'm gonna need all the help I can get.