Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Latest Valley

It's been a while since I blogged! Maybe there's a reason to that. I don't know.

I just had to jot down some thoughts because I don't want to forget them.

Let me just say that besides the entire reason this blog was created, I just went through the lowest valley of my life. BUT, it has brought me closer to God. Praying, pleading, knowing people are praying for me and in return praying for them. Studying, digging into the Word, etc. Anyway, when I would think about worldly things, it was NOT fun.

I was pink-slipped my third (tenure) year at RMS in May 2009 due to educational politics. I thought I was going to die. It hurt. Horribly. My self confidence went for a tumble. Everything about me seemed to begin to crumble, but I knew God would bring me through it. Thankfully, He took me to an amazing group of people right at a year before that... The people of First United Methodist Church. I found the lump in my neck right before I took the job there. It was diagnosed just a few months after. Coincidence? I think not. Before my FUMC days, I lived an even more solitary life. God gave me a support network and I will never. ever. ever. forget it. They have definitely been my trampoline. I can't begin to name the ways, but they have.

I got a part-time job teaching music at a county school here. They were good to me. In May, I found out that they might not be able to hire me back in August because of funding. I wasn't going to apply for unemployment because I knew I'd find a job and felt like that was mooching. Do not EVER think you'll just find a job, and it's OK to be on unemployment because you've paid into it. I had a few interviews at schools. Nothing. Oh, I did decide to apply for unemployment the last day of school. Denied. Because I was a teacher. They thought I was getting paid during the summer. Appealed. Denied. When I found out that was denied as well, I freaked out. It was a very dark day in the life of me that I hope to soon forget those feelings. I didn't know where to go. I did not want to give up my church job, but I called home saying, "I HAVE to move home next week. There IS NO OTHER way around this." I had used all my savings to survive the summer. My family(ies) helped me out. My plan was to move home and drive back and forth to church for as long as I felt God wanted me there (or honestly that I could stand the drive). Every time I thought about leaving FUMC, I cried. Not just a couple of tears, but boo-hooed. It just wasn't right.

Anyway, I didn't know what was going to happen. My latest plan was to get through the cantata, move home, then keep trying to find something while driving back and forth to church. Sure, part of me wanted to go home. I don't to get to see my family often. I've lost touch with friends. I had no money, so going out with friends here wasn't an option, so I wouldn't dare ask. I was pretty close to miserable.


I KNEW God would see me through. I KNOW He has a plan for me. I never thought I'd be doing anything but teaching music, but if you know me well, you know my heart and what my next step possibly is. That excites me to no end, but the timing isn't right just now.

I was singing a song and praising God tonight and it's pretty much been my theme song. I thank God for showing me that when you go through rough times, He's there, too, and if you stay on track and don't give up, you'll know Him more and be closer to Him. That is so cool. The song is my motto. My life. Whatever you want to call it. It's "If You Want Me To".

As I sat down to write this tonight, I clicked on my drop-down menu bar and I saw and Mark 11:23 popped into my mind. I'll write the lyrics, then I'll tell you that verse. It honestly freaked me out!

Here are the lyrics:

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
and I don't know the reason why you brought me here,
but just because you love me the way that you do,
I'm gonna walk through the valley if You want me to.

'Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step
and I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet.
And if all of these trials bring me closer to You,
Then I will walk through the valley if You want me to.

It may not be the way I would have chosen
Well you lead me through a world that's not my home.
But you never said it would be easy!
You only said I'll never go alone.

So when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
and I can't hear You answer my cries for help.
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through,
and I will go through the valley if You want me to.

On the other side of Jordan I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna shout!
I'm gonna look in Your eyes and say "You never let me down"
so just show me the pathway that leads right home to You,
and I will walk through the valley if You want me to.

...those words are so amazing and so perfectly have fit my life many times. Sometimes a short period of time, sometimes months. Sometimes a year and a half.

Mark 11:23 says "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

See why it freaked me out? God is ALWAYS good and He is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS.

Last night was incredible. So many of Chris Tomlin's lyrics reached in and grabbed my heart. I found out I had a job the same day I saw Chris Tomlin. :) THAT was an awesome day! "Amazing grace, my chains are gone." "He has done great things for me." I could go on and on! I had to stop singing a few times because I got so chocked up. It was like God was right there singing directly to me through Chris at times. So cool.

I really think I'm going to like my new job. I met a ton of people today and I've never worked closely to anyone (co-worker-wise). I've always been in my own little place with my own little students and the other teachers elsewhere. Even though I won't be using my degree for this job, life goes on. Maybe some day I will again. Even though I won't get to see my family much, life goes on. I'll treasure them more and hug them a little tighter and a little longer when I am blessed to be able to spend some time with them.

God knows what He's doing, folks. I don't want to go through that again, but if it brings me even closer to Him, it's because He has something better in-store for me. There were some dark, dark days, and I delt with a bit of depression, but I knew God was with me. He never left me. I just hope I didn't disappoint Him.

It would have been SO easy to give up, but really? When you think about it, it's SO much easier trusting God and having faith that He will bring you through your valley. The alternative? I'd be a mess right now. How do people have hope without Him? I don't want to think about a life without clinging to God.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 15, 2008 was a scary day for me.

First off, it's been a crazy year. A lot has happened. I praise God that I have made it through everything and I'm still in one piece! I thank God that I am a Christian. I honestly don't know how I would have made it through a few hurdles this past year without Him and without His people. I have learned a lot about myself and about other people. They say, "Times like these, you learn who your TRUE friends are" and that is SO true!!!

One year ago today (day-wise, it was a Monday), I went to the doctor for this irritating rash on my arms. It wasn't too bad, but the itching was seriously about to drive me insane. It would itch and keep me awake at night and burn so badly in the shower. It had spread. It ended up being Poison Ivy, which I'm obviously not very allergic to, or it would have been MUCH worse! I had found a lump on my neck before and not had it seen about. I mentioned it to the school nurse and she didn't seem alarmed, so neither did I. I put it off and put it off. Stupid, I know, but it didn't grown and it didn't shrink and more importantly, it didn't hurt. I decided to ask the doctor about it. She said without hesitation, "That's your thyroid." She said I immediately needed to have it checked out. She told me that it was either "hot" or "cold". Basically, if it was "hot", it was functional. If it was "cold", it wasn't. I decided to keep to myself and not tell anybody what was going on until I knew more about it. MISTAKE! One of the things I've learned is that we NEED people to pray for us, even if we don't know what's going on (especially our parents). I just didn't want the attention... didn't want anyone to worry about me.

I was on Facebook (imagine that!) later that day. A saint that I know popped up and we began to chat. I had debating telling her and her husband and asking them to pray for me. They are awesome and I knew they'd keep my secret safe. I couldn't decide. We talked about weight and dieting and she asked, "Have you had your thyroid checked?" THAT was a God thing! I really think that God put her right there right then so I could talk to someone about it! I'll never forget that! I really began to pray. I was a little worried.

So, a few times over the next couple of weeks, I had a few appointments. 7th period was my planning period. Sometimes I'd have to get someone to cover my 6th period class so I could make it to an appointment, so I'd sign out "doctor" and be on my way. I'm glad 7th was planning! I didn't have to get a sub and I really didn't have to explain anything to anyone.

The next day, I went to the hospital and had a sonogram done on my neck. Not real fun, and when she pressed on it just right, it hurt. That scared me a little more. I prayed a little more. They couldn't tell enough from it, so my instructions were to "Go back to the hospital Thursday and go to Radiology for another test." They did a Thyroid Iodine Uptake Test. THAT was NO fun! The doctor injected iodine, which I have learned a LOT about! I had to be perfectly still for 5 minutes. They did about 5 scans. If my thyroid was "hot", the iodine would show up in my thyroid. If it was cold, it wouldn't. Oh yea, "cold" also meant that it would most-likely have to be surgically removed. YIKES! I ended up with the biggest bruise I've ever had in my entire life on my arm where blood was drawn and iodine was injected. (It didn't hurt). Students would ask, "What happened to your arm?" I'd say, "I just had blood drawn" or something like that. I went home that weekend and Mom saw it. I gave her the same response. I just didn't want her to know until I could tell her more. I went to all these appointments alone and nobody knew it. Mom would have wanted to come to Russellville and go with me, but I didn't want her to worry, and besides, she'd have to make arrangements for someone else to keep Kaden, my nephew. I think it's stupid now that I didn't tell her (or anybody else for that matter).

The next Tuesday, I had an appointment with what I thought was an Endocrinologist at another hospital. A $20 copay for him to ask if I had my X-Rays. UGH! I was SO anxious to find out if this thing was hot or cold! Why would IIII have the X-Rays? So, the next appointment was a little more successful. The "Endocrinologist" ended up being a surgeon. He scared me to death. He told me that it was, indeed, "cold" and that it would possibly have to be surgically removed. He would either to an open biopsy or a needle biopsy to see if it was malignant or benign. (I feel sick at my stomach thinking back about all this). He said that if it were malignant, obviously, it would have to be removed. If it were benign, we could possibly treat it with medication.

On the way home that day, I hit a huge dog. It was weaving in and out of traffic. It didn't know where to go and ran right in front of my car. I killed it. I cried. Not too badly, but I cried. I must have been emotionally numb because the tears were soon gone. I felt terrible about it! I thought about crying because of what else I was dealing with, but I decided not to. Mom called. She could tell something was up, so she asked what was wrong. "I just hit and killed a dog", I said. Shew! I didn't have to say anything else! (Stupid me!)

Fast forward.

He decided to do an open biopsy and if it were malignant, he'd remove it right then and there. I prayed more. He said there was no reason to do a needle biopsy and that if he opened me up, there was no reason to come back and do surgery later. Understood. He told me about the incision I'd have if I had to have surgery, pretty much going from one side of my neck to the other. He said that I'd be out of work for at 7-10 days. He said I'd stay in the hospital at least one night. He said I'd have a drain. I had a Christmas Concert with school I was preparing for and a Cantata at church coming up as well. I couldn't miss school or church. I just couldn't. I had not cried. I had not shed a tear about this entire sitation. I knew that God was on my side and that I was going to be fine. I really wasn't THAT worried about it. Worried? Sure, but not too badly. Then he told me, "I do have need to be upfront with you because of your career and what you do." I said, "Ok" and I felt my eyes get big and glue to him. He said, "You're probably... chances are... you're most likely going to be hoarse for the rest of your life after this surgery." It hit me. Like a ton of bricks. Tears came to my eyes, but I was NOT going to cry. I'd be fine. For a split second, I thought "Forget surgery. I'll keep it!" I am a teacher. More than that, I am a musician. My voice is my career. I prayed more. He scheduled a day for surgery. I asked if he could do it after Christmas and he said the sooner, the better, so he picked a day. I didn't like it. He scared me. He made me feel uncomfortable. I couldn't let this happen if I had anything to do with it.

I went home that day and bit the bullet. I realized it was not something I needed to bottle up anymore. It was serious. It wasn't something that was just going to go away and me not have to tell anyone any more. "What's that gaping hole in your neck?" "Uh... uh... um..." Yea. Not gonna happen. I called Mom and told her everything. I didn't make it a big deal. I did so well that she didn't even cry! No, no. You don't understand. My mom cries at EVERYTHING! I know that God gave me the strength and the words to say to her that day. She would go nuts thinking I was terribly upset. Part of me was scared to death. The other part knew everything would work out just fine.

I began to pray for the right surgeon. Someone that didn't scare the bajeebies out of me. I sent out an email telling everyone what was going on and that I was praying for the right surgeon. Word got out and many, many people mentioned different doctors. I was confused. I didn't know who to use. I asked God to show me. I would say probably five or six people told me about a doctor at UAB that either they had used or that someone they knew had used, Dr. Glenn Peters.

I met with Dr. Peters (WITHOUT A REFERRAL) and he said, "We need to do this. We need to do this soon." He was so calm and collected and I knew he was the doctor for me. There were 2 assistants in the room with him. I had told him (tactfully) about the other surgeon and that he just scared me. The tone of the other surgeon's voice scared me even. Anyway, I mentioned that he said I would probably be hoarse for the rest of my life. They all three stopped what they were doing and Dr. Peters said, "No. That's not going to happen." He was confident. He said that yes, there was a chance because the nerves that operate the vocal folds lie right against the Thyroid, but he was confident that it wouldn't happen. I felt better. He said there may or may not be a drain. He said I'd go home that day from surgery. He said he'd do the surgery on a Friday and I could be back at school on Monday if I felt like it. Again, people mentioning him to me was a God thing. I never knew of anyone that had thyroid surgery and you'd be surprised at how many people that you know take Thyroid supplements or that have had thyroid surgery or know someone that does or has! How else would I have known of Dr. Peters at UAB? I wouldn't!

So, he scheduled the surgery for the next Friday, October 24th (the birthday of the saint of a lady I mentioned before that asked about my thyroid. Weird!). I was scared, but I was ready to put surgery behind me. Not too long before that, one of our associate pastors was preaching and he said, "You're still here because God's not done with you yet." Of course I worried about my voice, but I had faith that I'd be OK. I trusted God. That was reassurance.

OK, I'm really getting tired of typing. I'll finish up later...


OK. Where was I? Oh yea. Once word got out about me having to have surgery, I could tell people were praying for me. There were a couple of things that could have been devastating that I will not say here that ended up good instead of bad. I don't understand why the outcome was what it was! The only answer was that I was in God's hands! I just remember feeling a sense of peace and it was like I could feel the prayers. It was an overwhelmingly awesome feeling!

October 22nd rolled around and I packed my bags. I would leave the next day immediately after school and go home to Mom and Dad's so that they could take me to UAB for surgery that Friday. It was the right side of my thyroid that was enlarged, so they would remove the right side only, biopsy it while I was asleep and take the left side out if it was malignant. I was scheduled to go into surgery anywhere from 7:30 to 8:00. It seems like we had to be there by 5:00 to check in and all, so we left home at about 3:00 that morning. Yuck! The nurse must have told me five times "I'll go get your family". The Anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. He said since he would use a smaller breathing tube to help protect my voice. Thank you!!!

They FINALLY rolled me back at about 20 'till 12! GAH! I remember people telling me that I would wake up and wonder what happened from surgery, that I would have no idea time had lapsed. They were right! While I was waiting hours for the nurse to get my family, I'd doze off and wake up thinking, "AM I DONE?!" and then I'd realized I hadn't been anywhere yet and doze back off (repeat several times). My previous pastor and my current pastor, who I BARELY knew then, were there bright and early and stayed until they knew I was OK. I will NEVER EVER forget that! They also came in when my family did and prayed for me. SO sweet! Believe me, I was praying, too! Oh yea, and Mom cried. :) So, they rolled me back to the OR after starting my IV 12 hours before (j/k). It was FREEZING in there. If I'M cold, IT'S COLD, folks! I mentioned it and they said Dr. Peters liked to hang meat in there. He could have! So, they got me some warm blankets after they got me situated. I was scared. They were going to do WHAT to me?! MOVE me to the operating table?! NO THANKS! I'll get up myself and do it! Yea, right. Just like they didn't let me keep my clothes on. Stupid hospital gowns! Ugh! :) So, they hoisted me over on the operating table and got me situated. I had always heard of people saying they make you count and you don't get very far before you're gone. I remember couting to seven and I was out. They told me surgery would take about an hour. I woke up just a few seconds later and it scared me because I knew I wasn't supposed to be awake! Dr. Peters and several people were hovering over me. He started saying, "Miss Morgan, Miss Morgan. Wake up. You're doing fine! Just keep breathing! Breathe!" Then I realized I surgery was done. I asked, "Is it over?" Dr. Peters said, "Yes, and you're doing great! Just keep breathing. Your thyroid was bigger than we thought" (they had said it was golfball-sized) "It was about the size of a baseball". No wonder I could feel it in my neck! The nurse asked about pain on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the worst. I said, "Maybe a 2?" It hardly hurt! I found out later that Dr. Peters was pretty sure it was benign because of the consistancy of it.

If you're still with me, you must be bored. I'm beginning to realize I'm really writing this for myself because I will forget most of it if I don't, but if you want to keep reading, read on!

My mouth was SO dry! My voice was REALLY raspy, but I could tell it wasn't really hoarse. PRAISE GOD!!! I thanked Him!!! I begged for something to drink. They gave me ice. I told 'em to keep it coming! The nurse was really sweet. I have no idea what she looks like because I couldn't turn my head, but she talked to me about whatever and made me feel like a person, not a patient. I really liked that.

They rolled me back into a room. I drank a Sprite, did fine, no nausea. That was the best Sprite in the world! The nurse told me when I felt like I could that I could put my clothes back on and head out. I didn't feel too bad! Just a little weak and couldn't turn my head too comfortably. I reached down and couldn't feel where the incision was. It was lower. I expected to feel all kinds of bandages. Nope! There was nothing on it! I had be teased about being super-glued back together. That's pretty much exactly what they did! People asked me what the worst part of that surgery was. I can still honestly say the ride home on I-59 N. That road is SO bumpy! It hurt! We drove my car and Dad wasn't used to the brakes, either. UGH! I went home to Mom and Dad's and slept. Lortabs knock me OUT! I remember being really week for several days. I had to learn to sleep on my back because I couldn't turn my head very well, or raise or lower it too much without feeling like my head was going to fall off. I really thought my incision was going to rip open a few times! Eeew! Dr. Peters started me on Synthroid which you have heard of if you take any kind of thyroid medicine. It's very common. I was to take it and eat 5 Tums 3 times a day for the Calcium. Interesting. I remember getting cramps in my legs, then after those Tums, I'd be fine. Strange!

I went back to school that next Wendesday, I believe, then to church that night. I was weak as a kitten. My post-op appointment was that Thursday, October 30.

I just remembered... when I saw Dr. Peters the first time, he told me they were going to run a scope up my nose and take a look around at my throat when he was telling me about surgery. So, his assistant comes up with this thing and I was like, "OH! You mean NOW!" So, he said, "This may hurt a little" and ran that thing up my nose. It DID hurt! Made me want to sneeze! Anyway, that was funny because I thought he was talking about during surgery.

So, I went to my post-op appointment from Russellville. Mom had talked about meeting me, but I figured there was no sense in it. Dr. Peters just wanted to look at my incision and make sure everything was going well. So, he comes in and looks at my neck. He said, "Wow! Your incision looks really good!" I said, "I KNOW!" I could NOT believe it hadn't even been a week and it was healing SO well! He said, "Well, surgery went well..." I said, "Yea, I thought it did, too!" It was SO much easier than I thought it would be!!! I never imagined it would be that easy to do and to recover from! He said, "It went so well we're gonna do it again." I said, "Are you serious?" He nodded and "Yea. The biopsy showed some malignant cells and we don't want this cancer to spread, so the left side needs to come out, too" or something very similar to that. I don't really remember much more about that visit other than him saying, "...and I want to do this Monday. I want to get in there before you heal much more." My voice was fine. The breathing tube made it a little scratchy, but it was fine. I prayed some more. The fear of losing my voice came back. Did I really have to go through all that worry again? I just kept telling myself that if Dr. Peters could do it once, he could do it again. I had faith that I'd be fine. Why would Got put me through one surgery and have me worry so much to put me through another sugery only 10 days later and repeat those same worries that I didn't need to worry about in the first place. There was no logic there, so I knew I'd be fine. I really was. The thought crossed my mind a lot, but I knew like the pastor said, "You're still here because God's not done with you yet" and I hadn't done ANYTHING but go to school ONE day since my first surgery.

OK, so I had to call home and tell Mom and Dad. HOW in the WORLD was I going to tell them this?! Over the phone at that! So, I devised a plan. I'd come up with good news to go along with the bad news. So, I called and said I had good news and I had bad news. I asked Mom what she wanted to hear first. She said the good news. Shoot! I hadn't come up with anything yet! What IS the good news?! OK, well, I had to take a pregnancy test before surgery, so I said, "I'm not pregnant!" She laughed. I wanted to cry (but I didn't). So, I told her. I guess no mother ever wants to hear their child say, "I have cancer". You don't stop thinking there, trust me. There was no way to tell how long the mass had been there. There was no way to tell what caused it. There was no way to know if it had already spread. You don't just think, "Oh. I have cancer. I'll have this surgery Monday and it'll be gone." It goes further than that. What if it was all in my lymph nodes like those poor people that I mistakingly saw on the internet while looking up "thyroid surgery". Let's just stop right there. I think letting Mom know Dr. Peters said it was "minimally invasive" helped. It helped me, too! Again, I sent out an email asking people to pray. I was SO blessed with the responses! I was blessed with cards and phone calls and food and emails and all kinds of people letting me know they were thinking about me and praying for me while I was recovering from my first surgery.

Rachel and I had tickets to see Wicked in Atlanta that weekend. Mom asked if I was still going. "YES!" I let Rachel drive. Wait. I asked Rachel TO drive and we went on about our bad selves and saw Wicked, which I HIGHLY recommend to ANYONE who enjoys musicals. It was INCREDIBLE! We went back to Albertville late that night, then I drove to Russellville for church the next morning, then back to Albertville so Mom and Dad could take me to UAB for surgery the next morning. Sounds familiar, huh? The good thing this time was that I didn't have to be there until 6:00 AM, so we didn't have to leave the house until 4:00 AM this time. :)

Same as before, but they got me back a LOT quicker and they gave me a Prilosec for nausea just in case. I think it was about 9:30 when they wheeled me back. The Anesthesiologist was a different guy, so I mentioned using my voice a lot and the smaller breathing tube to him and he said he'd definitely use it. YAY! My pastor was there AGAIN. I could NOT believe it! He stayed again until I was out of surgery, then my previous pastor and his wife came I guess while I was in surgery. Again, I will NEVER forget that!!! My previous pastor lives in Trussville, but STILL! My current pastor? It's at least a 4 hour round trip! GAH!!! WOW! I am blessed!!! I woke up and again all I wanted was ice. The pain was worse. They gave me more meds at least three times. I had a gash in my lip. I'm assuming maybe it was when they put me back on the bed and I bit it or something. It hurt SO badly! They gave me dental paste. It helped. I was in the recovery room for a while that time. I'd doze off and the nurse would say, "Keep breathing. Just keep breathing." I'd doze off and hear a beep, then she'd remind me to breathe again. I guess I was forgetting to breathe. :)

They wheeled me back into a room and the nurse came in. He stopped and said, "Wait. Weren't you just here?" It was funny. We said, "Yep! Just last Friday! 10 days ago" and explained. He was Mr. Super Nurse. He was incredible! He got me some Sprite, but it didn't go nearly as well as it did after my first surgery. I was SO nauseous! I tried to sit up and couldn't. I was SO weak. I could hardly lift my arms up to the bedrails. I decided to chill for a little while. I thought it was so ironic that they didn't give me a Prilosec before my first surgery and I was fine, but did the second one and I got so sick! I guess it was because I kept asking for more pain meds. That's the only thing I can figure out. I do remember Dr. Peters coming in and saying everything went great and that it was a little more difficult because I was still "soupy" from my first surgery. Gross! HA! He also told me that I had a drain this time. SO gross! I could NOT stand that thing! Dad had gone to get the car and bring it to the back door so it'd be really close. I finally mustered up enough strength to put my clothes back on. They had to tell Dad to wait because I just couldn't go anywhere yet. After the first surgery, I went to put my clothes back on and I made everybody leave. The nurse came back and freaked out because they left me in there by myself. HA! So, we didn't do that the second time. I had to have help with that stupid drain anyway. I finally was feeling like I could walk out the door. They wouldn't let me. Ugh! Here Mr. Nurse Man comes with a wheelchair, but then Dad comes in and says we weren't going anywhere because my car battery was dead. Lovely. I'm FINALLY ready to go and can't go anywhere. The UAB PD came and jumped the car off and we were on our way home. I-59 was NOT my friend!

It took me longer to recover from that surgery. I assume it was because I had not completely recovered from my first surgery, but still, it wasn't a difficult surgery to recover from. I was anxious to get home and let everybody know that once again, my voice was a little raspy, but that I could praise God knowing it wasn't hoarse and that I was fine! I'm SO thankful for all the people that prayed for me! I'm thankful that God put certain people in my life and certain people in their lives! People were telling me I was on their prayer list at church or that their Sunday School classes or Bible Study groups were praying for me. People I didn't know were praying for me. It was amazing. GOD is amazing!!! It took me a couple of months to be able to say that I felt like I was regaining my strength. Dr. Peters prescribed Cytomel to me, a cousin to Synthroid, a thyroid supplement, until I would take the next step and say hello to Radioactive Iodine Therapy.

That's enough typing for tonight. I think my fingers are going to fall off. There's more to this story, and I'll get back to it later. The most important thing is that my voice was FINE. The school Christmas Concert was a success as was the Cantata at church. I even sang a solo! To GOD be the glory!!!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Doc appointment #3 since therapy

I went back to the doctor on Thursday. He was the Oncology Radiologist I was referred to after surgery. We decided a while ago that I will stick with him rather than seeing an Endocrinologist for my follow-up appointments. The Endocrinologist I saw before I met Dr. McCarty I did not like... not as a person, of course, but as a doctor. He had no idea why I was there and was telling me all about my thyroid problems. I had to stop him and tell him that I no longer had a thyroid. He shall remain nameless. Anyway... I really like Dr. McCarty. He is SO personable. He's funny and really takes time to dig into reasons and does a really good job answering my questions. He is very educated about the thyroid, though he is an Oncology Radiologist. I just really like him a lot and thank God that I found him. It is, however, a little eerie to see him. My copays are written out to the "Center for Cancer Care". I guess it's a reminder for me. A reminder for me to be incredibly thankful. I see people in there who are battling cancer. I saw a lady whose hair is growing back Thursday. I saw someone wheeled out on a stretcher, which was a little disturbing as I was in a doctor's office. That must have been a case that had to be taken care of right then and there. I am very fortunate that I didn't battle cancer. I didn't have to go through all that grief and torment that you usually hear coinsiding with cancer. You yourself will never know how amazing that is until you're told "You have cancer" and then you're told "You're cancer-free!" I am lucky. I am blessed. I praise God. I don't know why I had cancer... why God chose me. I'm still trying to figure that out, but I can glorify His name because I AM cancer-free!!!

So, the nurse comes in and checks my vitals. I don't ever remember my blood pressure being as good as it was Thursday! THAT is some relief right there! The last few times I've been to the doctor, they check my blood pressure and ask if that's what it usually is, indicating that it's a LITTLE high. I tell them it has been a little since surgery and they follow that with "Well, you're probably a little anxious, too". I've been walking and I really think that has helped! There's nothing else that makes sense that would have brought it down.

We talked about weight and I told her I'm having trouble losing like I want to. She said my body is still getting used to a lot and may still be in shock from everything that's happened to it lately. She said stop trying for a couple of weeks, then try again. OK. Halt. I have NEVER had ANYONE tell me to STOP trying to lose weight. HA! I can do it. I can. I just have to stick to it. I am not giving in to any kind of surgery for THAT! No way, Jose!

So, Dr. McCarty comes in and tells me that my thyroid tumor levels are at zero. I'm pretty sure that's what he said. Tumor? It's gone! He laughed and said, "That's a GOOD thing! That's EXACTLY where we want them!" The not-so-fun news is that my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels are still too high, so he is going to increase my doseage yet again. In the long run, it will make me feel even better. I still feel a little strange... a little more sluggish than I feel like I should. The first medicine he put me on after therapy made my skin terribly dry and my hair fell out in clumps (thus the hair cut to give it a thicker look). He increased the doseage and that helped, even put a stop to my yucky dry skin and hair falling out. This is the part that worries me... after I changed meds last time, I was an emotional basket case for about three weeks. I had been told by a friend that has also gone through this that I would be and she said "I cried every day for three weeks". I thought, "Nah! I'm not a crier! I don't really get upset." WRONG! I REALLY don't want to go through that again, but if it means feeling better in the long run, then I'll make it. Ironically, Dr. McCarty asked how many more pills I had left of that doseage and I said, "One." I don't know how the timing was so perfect. My TSH levels last time were at an 8, which is pretty high. This time they were at 5. He wants them less than 1, so we've still got some work to do medicine-wise. Once it's regulated, which may take a while, I will feel really good. So, I start my new medicine today. You may not want to talk to me for about three weeks. You have been warned. :P The good thing is that he said this new medicine will most-likely supress my appetite and give me more energy. GOOD!

He did ask about my energy levels. I told him they were up from last time, which is an understatement. I actually met my exercise goals this week! I don't know if I've ever done that before! Sadly, I'm not kidding. It feels good! :)

Thanks for reading. I've had several people ask about my numbers and how my appointment went, so if you're one that asked, that's the gist of the appointment. More numbers were talked about, but those are the main one's. I plan on being happy. I'm going to try really hard! Next appointment: 2 months.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Randomness Plus Emmaus Walk

OK. I just got back from seeing Taking Pelham 123. I don't understand why movies have to have such language. It could have been much worse, but GAH! Anyway, I have a stinkin' sinus infection and was trying to do something tonight that would make me feel better. I will inevitably be made fun of for going out tonight somehow, some way. You just wait and see. I layed around the house all day yesterday and slept when I wasn't watching TV. I NEVER do that! I always feel like there's something to be done. I got up today after going to bed extremely too late (early) last night (this morning). I did go to the doc and got shot and some antibiotics. They pretty much knocked me out today. I was freezing. In the dead of summer? I'm sick if I'm freezing in the summer. I was so tired, so I got back in bed under every cover that was on my bed and tried to get warm. I finally fell asleep and woke up sweating. NOT fun. I must have had a fever and have felt better since then. I really don't know why I'm sharing all this. I just felt like blogging. I'll be better soon. It's 11:35 and I'm incredibly sleepy. I'll be gone soon.

On a lighter note, a MUCH lighter note, I participated in the Emmaus Walk a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing. The first couple of days, I honestly wondered why I was there. I wondered if I was heartless because I was the only one that didn't cry. God showed me a lot on that journey and I would encourage anyone and everyone to go if you ever get a chance. God has a way of working out timing so that it's perfect. It was perfect timing for me. I kept waiting for God to reveal this huge thing to me, but that wasn't the way it worked. Sure, it was wonderful to be there and to hear people's stories and how God was so alive in their lives, but why was I there? What was the purpose? Pieces came together and by Sunday afternoon, I had cried all day. Sunday was for me. Thursday through Saturday were for me, but Sunday was the day. Actually, halt. Back up. Saturday night was when the tears began to flow. Tears of joy, not tears of sadness, but an amazing, overwhelming feeling of love that I had never realized before was so present, then it snowballed from there. In particular, a lady spoke of her job situation. She had a very prestigious job, but she and her boss didn't get along. She had to travel with him a lot. She was afraid of him. He was not a Christian. She prayed for him and prayed for a way to reach out to him. They were off somewhere and he had to get back home quickly. He had her book the flight home. She was stuck with him for 2 and 1/2 hours on that flight back home. She knew this was her opportunity to talk to him about God. She finally mustered up enough courage to talk this man she worked for but was so afraid of. Had to be very difficult, don't you think?! Soon after their talk, he fired her. Bottom line? Because she was a Christian and shared our God with him. How heartbreaking! Here's what got me... she found a new job. A huge paycut, a downscale from her previous job, but said she wouldn't trade it for the world. God blessed her socks off when He put her in her new position... a beauty consultant, which she never dreamed of being. If you're reading this, you most-likely know that I was up for tenure this year and got pink-slipped. God has something out there for me. I just have to find it. He will not forsake me. He will not let me go. I have to trust in him and not only believe IN Him, but believe Him period. It's hard. It's REALLY hard. I have no idea where I'll be in the Fall. Music jobs are SO hard to find. How else would I have ended up 100 miles away from home? From all I had ever known? I am extremely blessed at my church job, FUMC, Russellville and it breaks my heart every time I think I might have to leave there soon. I don't think I've EVER been so loved by a church!!! I bought a house last summer at that weighs heavy as well. I do know that if God wants me in Russellville, that I'll still be here. If not, I won't. I know there's something out there. I'll just go ahead and say that it might not be teaching. It may be something totally different, but God knows what He's doing and I should remind myself that every second of the day.

My Emmaus Walk taught me other things, too. Some other things are too personal to share with the blogging world, but amazing? Yes! You betcha! 1 John 4:8 rang in my ears that weekend. I had a friend tell me "I don't think I'm spiritual enough to go." You do not HAVE to be "spiritual enough" or "religious enough" or whatever enough to go to Emmaus!!! If you have the opportunity or a nudge in your heart to go, do it. God will send you when it's YOUR time to go. I was asked to go forever at my previous church, but the timing wasn't right. There are SEVERAL reasons I KNOW it was my time. I didn't know it, but God did.

So, I guess this blog was mostly about Emmaus. It has nothing to do with my RAI Therapy (which I'm feeling MUCH better BTW!), but I don't know how to go another blog within my blog. Didn't want to take the time to figure it out, but if you want to teach me, I'm all ears. Or, eyes on the internet. :)

I hope God is blessing you. I have been blessed and I need to wake up and smell the coffee. I'll find a job. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Pretty strong verses there!

Good night!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Glad I Interviewed for the Job

Where to begin?! Well, today marks my one year anniversary of being the Music Director at First United Methodist in Russellville. There is a lot I could put here, but will do some basic skimming of my life over the past year.

I moved to Russellville in late July 2006. I was hired late and had little time to move, but did it. New Teacher Orientation had already started, but praise GOD I found a job!!! The first couple of years I lived here, I had my own voice/piano studio of students at home in Albertville. I'd be here one weekend, then go home the next to teach lessons. I eventually gave that up because it was too crazy getting everyone in those weeks I was home and I wanted to continue my education, being in classes on Saturdays (obviously decided to put that on hold for now). So, I'd go home and I'd go to church. What did I do while I was in Russellville on Sundays? Nada. I was too scared to really get out and visit churches. In person, I am a pretty shy person. Get to know me and I'll open up, but I'm still shy at times. Gets on my nerves, actually. AND I really didn't want to put up with "IT'S MISS MORGAN!" at church. Sounds bad, I know. I guess I was afraid of commitment and didn't want people to point fingers if I wasn't there but every other Sunday or if I missed a Sunday for them to wonder where I was. "Asleep", I couldn't say with confidence. I just really didn't feel like I'd fit in anywhere either. So, on Russellville Sundays, I'd get up whenever I wanted, read my Bible and do whatever I wanted for the rest of the day which usually included a whole lotta nothing.

I didn't fit in because I didn't try. I didn't find a place God wanted me because I didn't try. The problem? I didn't seek God. I just lived and came across Him when I came across Him. A Christian, yes! I went to church every time I was home and really enjoyed it. Wasn't involved in much besides singing in the choir and teaching children's Sunday School, but I enjoyed it. I visited First Baptist and Tharptown Baptist here in Russellville a couple of times and really enjoyed those services as well.

About a year ago I was talking with the principal at PACA (Pan American Christian Academy) in Sao Paulo Brazil about being their music teacher. I would live close to campus and teach K-12 music. I was really excited at the opportunity. REALLY excited. They had no one else for the job so I figured it was mine if I wanted it. The Julians live in Sao Paulo and all their kids went there at the time. I could work with the Julians, too, and that would be awesome. That's not what God wanted. Hind sight is 20/20. I see now that God wanted me here. For various reasons. Dad came off the road for 6 months last year. We thought we were going to lose him in January. I would have been miserable in Brazil knowing that. I probably would not have gone to a doctor to have my thyroid seen about in Brazil. I needed to be in the states. God knew that. I just didn't have a peace about going so I didn't. God knew why. Now I partly know why.

I was asked about a job playing and/or directing at FUMC here in Russellville. My immediate thought was, "No way, Jose! Not me!" I am SO thankful I decided to go ahead and interview for the position!!! I had a church job experience before that was not what anybody should experience in church. Wait. I had a church job experience before that was not what anybody should experience. I said I'd most-likely never do it again.

I decided I'd interview for the job and let God's will be done. I didn't care either way. If they didn't want to hire me, it meant someone else was more fit for the job and God wanted someone else there. If they did hire me, I was supposed to be there. I really wasn't leaning either way. I left it up to Him. He knew what he was doing.

I could have NEVER made it past this year without the relationships and the bonds I've made with people at that church. I would have sat at home and cried myself sick many nights without them. I have cried more times in the past six months than I have my entire life, but most of those tears have been tears of joy and of thanksgiving to God. I can't imagine not having the church family I have found at FUMC and gone through what I've recently gone through. I would have seriously driven myself nuts. The thoughts of being here alone without that church family make me cringe. They have built me up and built me up. I have become closer to God through all of this and would not have had it not been for the people at FUMC. I'd be a lost cause right now. Seriously. God knows what he's doing in our lives and it's up to us to let Him. His love is constant. We can love him more and more and we can put him on the back burner and forget about him, but he never loves us less, and he never loves us more, I don't think. His love and His grace and His mercy amaze me. Where would I be without Him and without His people right now? I have had an ARMY of people praying for me. I have felt those prayers and it has been overwhelmingly amazing.

I'm glad I interviewed for the job. It's not a job anymore. I honestly used to go for what I had to be there for... the traditional service at 11:00 where I directed the Chancel Choir anthem. I kept waiting for the friendliness of the people and the excitement to die down. I thought, "I'm new. They'll quit being so friendly soon." It's been a year and the friendliness has grown and grown. I have relationships with people there that I would never imagine having. They are on fire for Jesus and that is apparent from the time you walk in the door. Anybody that has visited with me has commented on how nice they are and welcoming. They are such a loving bunch of people. It's overwhelming to be there. Every Wednesday night and every Sunday I feel inadequate. Why me? Why am I put in a position to be so blessed? Shouldn't someone else be here? I'm not good enough for this. I don't deserve this. WOW! What a year!!! I LOVE my new church family. I'm still getting to know many of them and still ask "what's his name?" like I did tonight.

God knew EXACTLY what He was doing when someone asked if I'd be interested in interviewing for the job. He knew I needed these people because let me tell you, they don't need me! I need them. God knew that.

It's only been a few months that I've been close to them, but those few months seem like longer. For the first few months, I don't think I really even talked to anyone. I've opened up. They've opened up. It's grand. I love it. I wouldn't trade it for the world. God knows what my next step is and that is comforting. I can't begin to tell you all of the blessings I have received while being at FUMC, but you can see a few. I am blessed. I don't know why. I don't deserve it, but I am terribly blessed. God and his people are amazing.

I'm glad I interviewed for the "job".

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pizza Hut & Jesus

I mean, Jesus in Pizza Hut.

OK, so I had to go to Florence today to get some material for Show Choir. I really didn't want to go, but nobody else can do it and it needed to be done. The doc said I could go to school today, but I'd have to keep my distance from my students. I was really freaking out about that, so I prayed about it, have some days, and decided to take one last day. I'm still potentially dangerous until after the 8th day that I took the pill. Tomorrow will be 9 days, so back to school for me tomorrow! I'm actually excited! I'm SO ready to get back into real life! It's strange though. It's like getting ready for the first day of school. It's been over 2 weeks. AND the last time I went to school, I wore WINTER clothes! What's up with THAT?

Anyway, I have been feeling better today, thank GOD! (I literally have!). Still weak, but better. I wanted pizza and not just any pizza. I wanted Pizza Hut. So, I decided to do the buffet thing in Muscle Shoals on my way. I NEVER go in anywhere alone. That's just not me, but I decided to. Nobody would know me in Muscle Shoals anyway right? Right. Except...

Jesus. :)

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. EVERYthing. We may know why immediately, we may know why later, or we may never know why, but EVERYthing happens for a reason.

I was sitting there all by myself, minding my own business. This woman comes in. Sits close to me. I'm thinking, "Come ON! Why do you have to sit THERE? Well, maybe she'll at least turn her back, or side to me and not stare at me while I eat. Ugh. Are you SERIOUS? You're really going to sit there and you're really going to face me? Any other seat at that table and you wouldn't be facing me. COME ON! WHATever. Sit there and enjoy your lunch, too. It's a free country and you don't know you're bothering me." A few minutes later I notice her shirt. It says "JESUS". I felt bad. I was like, "oh. I was supposed to see that." So, then the thought runs through my head "Should I tell her I like her shirt? Am I supposed to? What if she needs to hear that? What if she doesn't? Is there anything I'm doing to tell anyone in this restaurant I'm a Christian, too? I should tell her. OK. When I leave, I'll tell her. I just have this gut feeling I should. I don't know why, but I should. Or should I? It's a gut feeling. Do it, chicken. What if she leaves before me? I'll tell her still. Will I really chase her out the door? I'll leave before she does. I came in before she did. But, I AM the slowest eater in the world. Hmmm... OK. She's talking to the waitress. She'll be a little while I'm almost done."

So, I finish up and walk over to her to tell her I like her shirt. She says, "Oh, thankyou!" I said, "Wait. What else does it say?" She said, "Oh, it just says 'Jesus heals'." I said, "Oh! Cute! He certainly does! OHHHH! AND JESUS is written in band-aids! Too cute!" "Thank you!" She said.

See the reason? I did... eventually.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hospital stay blog to come

I'm home!!! YAY!!! The worst part is BEHIND me now!!! Strangely, I have felt worse today than any other day. I haven't experienced any pain, but have felt horrible today. Nauseous. All day long. The thought of food is literally sickening to me.

I wanted to get on and blog about my hospital stay. I jotted down on envelopes my random thoughts and thinkings to share later. I am having a really hard time even thinking about it though. It's very uncomfortable playing it back in my head. I get VERY uneasy thinking about it. So, I'll do it later. It may take some time, but I will. A lot of interesting things went on and I would like to share, but I just can't right now. Ugh. Me no likey.

BUT, like I said, the worst part is behind me. It's downhill from here. Got my new prescription filled today and my new meds will start kicking in in a couple of weeks or so. Maybe I'll feel much better tomorrow. We'll see. Please pray. We'll talk about the hospital visit later, OK?

Gonna go see if I can find something worth watching and veg out in front of the idiot box. Much love! Sorry to be disappointing!