Thursday, April 25, 2013

Riding out the storm: Week Two

Post Seven in this series.

(Facebook status from April 10):
Update on Lilly: i apologize if this message is disjointed. We have been without internet for a week which means i am trying to write this on my phone. things have been... Crazy over the past week. On Sunday she rapidly declined out of no where and upon examination at the vet we discovered her gi system has begun to shut down due to the antibiotic. The whole visit with the vet was an incredible God moment that i am still processing, and at some point I'll write about. Needless to say, i know God orchestrated that meeting for his good. The vet gave me a new plan of care along with his personal cell, and has been in daily contact with me monitoring her progress. Lilly seemed to bounce back a bit with the help of her new meds, new diet, and tummy massage multiple times a day, however tonight she began to show signs of extreme illness again. If things have not resolved by morning we will be again visiting our good friend dr bo at country club animal hospital. Please pray she again begins eating and drinking on her own, and that her urine production and bowel movements regulate. I have not a single doubt it was the power of prayer last week that got her through, so I'm calling on it again. There was a great quote from our sermon Sunday, it was a quote from a guy writing about turning his cancer to a blessing. He said "you will waste your cancer if you find comfort from the odds instead of from God". This has been my mantra over the past few days. The odds have been against us since day one, but by the grace of God she has continued on. I really believe deep down that his will will prevail in the end. If that means i lose her i Will be devastated of course, but i will choose to believe there still was a purpose in this all. So prayers for her health and my sanity are appreciated. If nothing else i have a whole new level of respect for my parents at work. If things are this hard for me with a pet, i can't imagine how heartwrenching it is for a parent to make these decisions about their child. I love you all, and promise to be a better friend as soon as the crisis resolves

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You will waste your suffering if...

This post (part of this series) was written on Sunday, April 7, after a vet visit that significantly impacted how I view suffering. The original article was talked about in a church sermon that morning, and while the pastor only touched on a few of the topics I was inspired to read the entire selection. In doing so I felt God asking me to process my experiences and use it as a framework for reflecting on what I had learned (At that point).

Although there is much I could add to my musings (in the two weeks since it's original conception), I've chosen to leave it in the original form. Part of this process has been documenting my reactions in real time (or as close as I can get). It's important to me not to fast forward through the growth process, and to recognize each step along the way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Power of Hope

This is the fifth installation in this story series.
Sunday, April 7 (cont):
For the first time since this entire experience began, I no longer feel alone. I recognize this is largely due to my own unwillingness to reach out and ask for help. If nothing else this experience is teaching me sometimes I need to swallow my own pride and admit that I can’t do it on my own. I’m glad she’s here; I know that she will support whatever decision I make, prevent me from being pressured into making choices I really do not want, and if the worst is confirmed and we have to put her down, at least I won’t be alone.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grace in the midst of suffering

This is the next part of this story.

I have to preface this post by saying it is the one I have been dreading writing the most. I get emotional just thinking about that Sunday. Part of this documentation process, Ive realized, is making myself process and heal from the experience. As I mentioned in the last post, God kept me from writing prior to this point. I instinctively knew it was not time to reflect, and I have to believe it is because he has something else to teach me about it now.. two weeks later. But still, its been more difficult than I anticipated to continually put myself back in those shoes. I apologize if this post is more disjointed and I seem less emotionally invested, it's a coping mechanism.

A conversation with a friend via text:

"I'm blogging and hating every second of it. Not because I don't want to write, but because it's so scary and overwhelming revisiting these experiences... I'm scared to write Sunday, I started hyperventilating just thinking about it."
Her response:

"[Your posts so far] are both fantastic and I love you for having the courage to put it out there!! Keep being brave, it's not only for you :)"

And maybe that's the heart of the matter. I feel overly indulgent writing these posts. It's so personal and raw, that it feels unfair to burden others with the events of Week Two. But maybe that's the point. If one other person can take heart from my struggles, from my vulnerability, then it is all worth it.

So I will write, stop procrastinating, and write, because week two is where the game began to change.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bunny Day Camp and Medications

This is the continuation of a story that first started here. It's incredible to me how difficult it has become to write each post, but I have this gut instinct that it is a story I am supposed to tell. So we continue, one agonizing day at a time:

Thursday, April 4:

(Facebook status update):

Update on Lilly: "We have urine production!" the doctor told me very excitedly yesterday when I came to pick her up. It's a good sign, it shows the kidneys have not totally shut down, but we still have a very long way to go. I dropped her off this morning again for monitoring and subcutaneous fluids, will do so again tomorrow, and then Saturday is the real test to see what her numbers at at. My one source of hope (As dangerous as hope can be) is that her activity and appetite are surprisingly normal. The receptionist yesterday relayed to me that the vet told her he was SHOCKED that she wants to eat, with those numbers she should be on death's door. The girl told me that she then stated "Well clearly she's not ready to go yet, she's a little fighter and she's not giving in." It brought tears to my eyes (which I'll admit is not uncommon these days) because that is the epitome of who Lilly is- she has always been a fighter, singularily stubborn and determined. I've been struggling with finding the line between how hard to push and when to let go and stop prolonging the inevitable. After hearing that, my answer was clear: as long as she has the determination to fight for her own life, I'll fight with her. When she starts giving up and succumbing, I will respect that. But as the vets office told me: "it's not often we see an animal that determined to keep living." So for now I'm trusting, and praying, and even begging God for more time with her. Thank you so much for all the support, at times I get hard on myself for being this upset over a rabbit, but you all haven't let me give up hope and for that, I thank you. Keep praying, for me, for her, for discernment as we move forward.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

When it's ok to tell God "Uncle"

This is a continuation of a story started here. It promises to be lengthy... and difficult for me to write. One step at a time.

Wednesday, April 3

(Facebook status update)

Update on Lilly: We visited the vet this morning (After being unable to go last night) and the results are mixed. Luckily her blood counts are normal, indicating there is not an infection, however her metabolic results indicate that she is in kidney failure. The question remains if this is acute or chronic, as that will influence her likelihood of pulling through. The vet said that his prognosis is guarded- neither grave nor stellar. The one spot of hope is that she is continuing to eat and drink (sparsely); the vet was shocked stating that her levels were so high there is no way she should be feeling good enough to be eating (at which point I informed him that she's no ordinary rabbit and has an unbelievable level of stubbornness, which Im sure she gets from her mother). The plan for now is to leave her with the vet today through friday for subcutaneous fluids and monitoring (I can bring her home at night) and then recheck the levels on Saturday. If she can start peeing on her own the odds are in her favor, but if we can't get those levels lowered then I'm going to have some tough decisions to make. Please pray, for her health, that I can finagle getting her to and from with my work schedule, and that i will have peace throughout this process that I am making the right decisions for her.

Thoughts on Prayer Part Three: Where to go and what to do when you don't even know what to pray

And so it begins. I've debated about how best to detail my experiences, and the best that I can think to do is go chronologically. To allow myself to revisit emotions, and experiences as they happened. Some of these recaps will be taken from actual post drafts that never saw publishing. Some will be taken from facebook statuses.

And for the moment, there is at least one critical storyline that will remain untold. I always aim to be transparent. If people will take the time to read my words, I feel I owe it to them to be honest and open. However, one very critical piece of the puzzle must be held back; I am hopeful that in time it too can be shared, but for now, just know I am giving what I can.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Telling the story of April: An intro

"Everyone can tell when they are in a 'bad time' in life, but why is it we never know the 'good times' until we are out of them?"

A thought from a conversation I had with a great friend about two years ago. I decided then and there that I would make a concerted effort to notice those times, to appreciate them. To recognize that things will never be 'perfect' but to choose to ignore the frustrations and enjoy the overwhelming good.

18 months ago I had such a moment; I was driving in the evening in Miami, don't ask where, I don't remember. What I do remember: driving with the windows down in my new car, a car provided to me by God when my previous car had finally crapped out on me. I had a car I could afford and could trust (At the time!) to get me from point a to b, in a new city, with a full time job, enjoying the beautiful weather and  this song came on the radio:

In that moment I knew things were going well; for once I could recognize that for that moment in time, life was ok. That song then took on new meaning for me as I counted my blessings. Every time I hear it now, I remember how I felt in that moment. And in subsequent weeks when the 'good' was gone, when the cycle restarted and I was almost crushed by stress, I had the pleasure of knowing I appreciate the 'good'.

That song came on the radio again today, and for the moment, I choose to enjoy the peace.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tales from the Kiddos: Hope they aren't rotten

Conversation in playroom with female patient, age 4

Patient: Can I take some toys to the room?
B: Of course, what would you like to take?
Patient: I want to take some of that food (Points to play kitchen)
 (Patient and mom begin to fill shopping cart, mom drops plastic tomato)
Patient: OH NOOOO! Mommy, you dropped the tomato... now's its all squished. It's probably just ketchup.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

An unintentional hiatus

Lack of internet at my house for over a week = Bethany's inability to post. Bear with me

Big, crazy, and stressful things happening on this side of the screen, and I have about five posts either written or written in my mind, but until we have the connection at home, posting will have to wait.

In the meantime, here is a quote from a devotional from work today that really impacted me. It was written by one of our chaplains, Jessie:

Are you currently waiting for the Lord to intervene in some way in your life... One of the struggles we face as Chrisians is trying to understand why our heavenly Father sometimes delays over matters that are so urgent to us... Release your expectations into His hands. The lord is working on our behalf, but sometimes we cling so tightly to a desired outcome that He must wait until we open our hands and let go of our expectations. We need to remember that while we are waiting, God is working. He sees the entire picture and is active behind the scenes, arranging everything according to his will. But perhaps his most important work is the deepening of our relationship with HIm as we learn to love and trust Him in the wait.

Also- if you could say a prayer for my rabbit, Lilly. On top of everything else, I have been dealing with one health crisis after another with her. I am well aware that God is using the situation to teach me, but it's exhausting to keep taking steps backwards after we make giant leaps forward. In the midst of all my other craziness, having her has been such a source of comfort and peace. Prayer has worked miracles so far (major blog post coming soon about it), so I know that it can keep us moving forward. So if you could say a prayer for me and my sanity, as well as her and her health, I would greatly appreciate it!