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!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One of the last

So, this is one of the last blogs I'll blog in this chapter of my life... hopefully. I did want to share those verses I was talking about yesterday, or whenever it was.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Matthew 6:33-34.
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the hills—

where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

Romans 5:1-4
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 8:17
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Maybe something there spoke to you as well. My sister and my niece are here to take me home. I have not been home in SIX weeks. That's CRAZY! The most I've ever gone was 3 weeks. I'll get to see my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews. I'm really excited about that!!! I go to Huntsville Hospital at 11:00 in the morning to be zapped and rid of my thyroid and cancerous cells forever. Bye-bye thyroid! It's been nice knowing ya! ...or not.

Thanks for praying for me! Please continue to life me up. I'll be back in a few days after I've been neuked. :D

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's a go!

OK. I failed to blog yesterday. It's been crazy. I waited yesterday morning with my stomach in knotts on that phone call. FINALLY at about 11:30 (maybe?) the nurse called to let me know my numbers are high enough to proceed with therapy! YESAH! I cried for a few seconds when I hung up the phone. It was not a sad cry. It has been a long time since I've had a sad cry. Dad, in January, was probably my last sad cry. It was a "Thank you, Jesus! I am SO relieved" cry. Then I got to calling/texting/emailing. Yep. Forgot to blog. That's OK.

My mind is going 90 to nothing. What does one pack for such a trip? What's the weather going to be like the day I am released from that prison cell of mine? ;) I obviously won't need clothes for my time in the hospital, so packing will be light for the next week. Hmmm...

What if I forget that stack of magazines I've piled up and up and up for months? What if I forget my Lemonheads? What if I forget... well, there's not much else TO forget. Ha! What if I forget Ace? Nah. He won't let me.

So, I'm actually letting my sister and niece come and pick me up tomorrow to take me home. I had to go get my oil changed today and felt strange. I can't explain it. Not really light-headed, but not really "all there", I guess. In la-la land. (That was NOT an opportunity for ANY of you to make fun of me!) I don't know if it would be safe for me to drive such a distance. I don't know if it would be safe for OTHERS for me to drive such a distance. I'll back down and play it smart.

I was talking to my brother earlier this week and he said that they were going to come and get me. I said, "We'll see. I may not need them to." He said, "Well, if you need them to, then LET THEM." I said, "I will". Then he said, "JAMIE!" That's Dad. He's gotta be where I get my "I don't need your help because it would make me feel bad for you to go one single step out of your way to do something for me" attitude. I am not a stubborn person otherwise. I have learned the last few months that it is difficult for me to give in and let someone do something for me. I don't know why. I mean, I really enjoy doing things for other people. I just think, "Why would you go out of your way to even THINK about doing something for me? For ME?!" Anyway... I said to him "YEOUCH!" It's fun being independent.

Rachel and Maw-Maw came by tonight. Rachel's Maw-Maw is the closest thing I have to a Maw-Maw. My mom's mom passed away when I was 13. My dad's when I was 16. Rachel's Maw-Maw is precious. I call her Maw-Maw, too. They were going to go to Gulf Shores or Gatlinburg or somewhere for the DAY today. Gulf Shores for the day isn't Gulf Shores to me, but whatever. :) I have done the Gatlinburg thing in one day. LONG day. Anyway, we had a nice visit. I wasn't worth much, but it was nice to have visitors. That doesn't happen much. They went to Florence because Maw-Maw had never been and Rachel's been with me several times, so she (KINDA) knew her way around. (Love you, Rachel!) ...she doesn't have the best sense of direction. She'll be the first to tell you that. She's amazed at how well I learn a new place.

So, we're talking about the subject that anybody and everybody, including myself, that has been around me for the past few weeks is absolutely sick of hearing about. Food. She was asking when I could eat "real food" again. I said after my hospital visit. I said, "What's today? April 18? It's been EIGHTEEN days since I've had cheese!" She gasped for air. HA! She said, "So, what have you had today that was decent?" I said, ".... well... um... I don't know! I can't remember what I've had!" My stomach was ookey today, so I hadn't much interest in food period. Then I remembered that I had 2 boiled eggs minus the yolk this morning. I cooked some hashbrowns with onions and couldn't eat it. I don't know if it's nerves or what. My stomach has been ookey for most of this diet, so it's probably a combination today. I ate a couple of bites of the hashbrowns and felt sick. I chunked the rest. I said, "Then for lunch... um... I had... what DID I have? ... I forgot to eat lunch." I hadn't even thought about it and had not had supper at that time, either. It was around 8:00. Strange. I don't not think about meals. HA! Lunch didn't even cross my mind though.

But you know what absolutely stinks? I have eaten more fruits and vegetables in the past 2 and 1/2 weeks that I probably have my entire life. I've skipped meals, had small meals, had no meals and the scale has barely budged. UGH! For the LOVE! I have retained a LOT of water. My fingers are so puffy I can't wear my rings, so maybe that's a lot of it. My face looks bloated (even more than it usually looks bloated). He he he! I'm hoping and praying that after all this mess, getting rid of my thyroid completely will help with the weight issue. I have been told it will. My next purchase? A treadmill. Yep. Don't know where I'm going to put it, but exercise has to become a must if I want to live to see 40. Maybe that's being dramatic. I want to live to see a healthy 40. 30 even! 29 and 1/2! I've tried and tried to lose weight, have lost some over the past year and 1/2, but maybe all this is an answer to that prayer as well. We'll see.

OK. THAT was personal. Who cares. It's not like this big secret that I need to lose weight! Hello?! IF I were an elephant, I'd be underweight. HAHAHA!!! You know you wanna laugh. Go ahead. I like to make people happy.

So, I go in at 11:00 Monday morning to begin shooting sparks, glowing in the dark, however it is YOU choose to make fun of me at my expense. :) It's all good. I don't know how long I'll be there. I talked to someone in Radiology today and she was super nice. I'll meet her Monday. She'll be part of my team. She answered questions that I didn't even THINK to ask. I had called to ask about taking an old cell phone with me. Anything I take in with me can't come out. She told me I MAY be able to take MY cell phone with me, that it may not hurt a thing, that we'd ask the Radiation Safety Officer about it. She even told me that I've probably been told to take multiple showers a day, but I don't have to worry about that. She said about 90% of the Radioactive Iodine will be absorbed into the thyroid/cancer tissue that I have left and zap it. That leaves only about 10% that will come out through bodily fluids, most of what will come out after I drink a lot (to put it nicely), that they set those guidelines before they had their new Radiation Safety Officer. They did that as a precaution for the nurses and clean-up crew. They will still wrap the room in plastic and more absorbant things will become contaminated, like books and magazines and such. Those things cannot leave. Interesting. So, I'm wondering, can't they save all this stuff that people leave behind for the next patient that will become radioactive? It's like "Here. You're going to be Radioactive. Have some Radioactive stuff". There are different levels though, so maybe that's why. I will still have to suck on sour candy every 15 to 20 minutes and drink, drink, drink, so that it can come out of my system. I also found out that I DO have Thyroid cells left or I wouldn't be going through this process. A test sometime or another read Thyroid cells. Not sure about the cancer part. I aint skeert. If you remember from one of my previous blogs, it's not necessarily that a surgeon doesn't do a good job. It's mostly procedure to go through this therapy because the Thyroid is attached to other things in there. Did you know you can feel your Thyroid? Yep. Mash around in your neck and it's there. Unless, of course, you're me. :D I ain't got no.

They keep mentioning throwing up while I'm there. Great. Maybe I won't. I have to notify them IMMEDIATELY if I do. I will be THAT potent. :)

I've been wondering how they'll know when I'm ready to do. I found out today that the Radiation Safety Officer will come in every day and measure the room and myself with a Geiger counter. Cool! They want my level at a 5 before I leave. It'll start somewhere around 40. If I'm down to 20 on day 2, that's great. She said there was lady that came in and was a seven on day 2! She did say, too, that since I'm young, it may not take too long. We'll see. I'm just glad it's Spring Break and I won't have to take any more sick days. I WILL be feeling fine shortly after this therapy. The doc said it'll take a few weeks for me to start feeling back to my normal self (again, not an opportunity for you!), but I plan on feeling FINE the day I leave the hospital. :)

About the phone... I'm thinking about not taking it. I'm going to pray about not taking it. Sure, it'll be an outlet, but this could be an amazing time for me to spend with God. How often do we REALLY get to shut out the outside world? Like tonight, there was a House marathon on. I SO planned on watching from 4:00 to 10:00. Maybe with a few interruptions. Know how many I watched? Zero. Zilch. Nada. The TV didn't even come on tonight. Anyway, am I that strong of a Christian? I kinda doubt it, but wouldn't that be awesome? I'm going to pray about that decision between now and then. If I get claustrophobic, I can turn to God, right? If I get stir-crazy (there IS a difference!!!), I can turn to God, right? If I get lonely, I can turn to God, right? Right. I think He put that in my heart 'cuz it sure ain't coming from me, folks!!! I'm already feeling a panic-attack coming on!!! "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13. I can. I Can! I CAN!!!

I have a fairly new CD. I decided I'd play it tonight as I blogged. I've started it a few times, but never finished it. So, I decided randomly to start on #8. Had no idea what it is. 8 is my favorite #, by the way. It's very well-"rounded". HA! There is no reason why. I just like it. It's nice and even, even in its shape.

So, I've been thinking lately (I'll get back to that last paragraph in a minute) that I really need to pray about keeping my focus on God after this is over. I've prayed and prayed, yet still not enough. I've talked and talked to God, but still not enough. I've dug into His Word, but still not enough. I don't want to get through this smoothly, then forget about God because I've been healed. I don't want to forget about God because there's not something crazy about to happen in my life that I'm anticipating. I want to keep praying and becoming closer and closer with Him and leaning on him. It's up to me. My pastor, Alan Beasley, who has been absolutely unmeasureably amazing to me through all of this said it all a few months ago in a sermon and, thankfully, those words continue to run around in my head. Talking about becoming closer to God, he said, "It's not gonna just happen!" It's up to me. I have to continue to talk and pray and listen and dig. God's there. He's always there. Always. Even when we royally mess up. He is a jealous God, but He is also a forgiving God. He loves us more than we could ever imagine.

So, the song, track #8 is "Forever" by Chris Tomlin. Here are the lyrics:

Give thanks to the Lord
Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good,
He is above all things
His love endures forever

Sing praise, sing praise

With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
His love endures forever
For the life that's been reborn
His love endures forever

Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever and ever

From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
By the grace of God
We will carry on
His love endures forever

Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

Yeah Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
And ever and ever ....

It's 11:29 and I have done NOTHING to prepare to go home tomorrow. I was going to have that all done this morning. I had nice nap today and other things have just come up. Had to go to Wal-Mart and get my oil changed. I'll have you know I did NOT shop otherwise. I actually thought about it, got to the videos, then turned around and went back to sit in the waiting area until my car was finished.

I will try to get back on here tomorrow and post the lyrics to those songs I was talking about Thursday (I think it was). The verses are too perfect to not, but my brain is turning to mush (which is seriously a side-effect of being off of my medication) and my eyes are getting heavy. If you know me, you know 11:30 is early on a Saturday night, ESPECIALLY with a nap today, but I'm about to retire for the night. Church calls in the morning. It has been my goal all week to make it. I will. Regardless.

Goodnight, bloggy blog. THIS? Is one of my LAST blogs in the RAI-therapy chapter. HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's appointment...and then some.

Today was my appointment to see if my TSH levels are high enough to go through therapy next week. Before you get all excited, I don't know yet. I'll find out in the morning. Why are you reading this? You must be bored. Read all you want. I really shouldn't be doing this so late, but my mind races at night. Kinda drives me nuts sometimes. Outlets are nice though and this has certainly been the outlet I hoped it would. Actually, I was thinking earlier today that I thought it was going to be a gripe fest. I thank God it hasn't been. Well, not too much anyway.

I LOVED my appointment today!!! Seriously! It was a blessing in several ways. It brought me a step closer to being done with this thing, even if my levels aren't high enough. I walked in, they looked at me and said, "Come on in, Miss Morgan." This makes three times I've been there and they already know me by name. Sure, they were expecting me, but it made me feel good. I got there a few minutes early, so I went to potty. Hey, you're the one that decided to read this. I did down a lot of tea on my way. (Milo's to be exact. Yum E!) When I'm on a normal person diet, I don't get tea, so it's been awesome. Anyway, I came out, sat down, grabbed a magazine and the nurse said, "Come on back with me." She prepped me to take my blood and let me tell you that the last time she drew blood, I didn't even feel the needle go in! I didn't know that was possible. I felt it come out, oh yea, and it left a terrible bruise. I felt it this time, but no big bruise... yet. I do NOT bruise easily. I NEVER bruise. Strange. Anyway, she said, "How are you feeling? Pretty terrible I imagine?" I said, "Well? ...yea." She laughed and said she liked my hesitation because most people start in griping right there. I told her how I felt worse a couple of days ago and a few really rough nights, but that for some reason the last couple of days hadn't been so bad. She said, "That's good! Most people that come in say they've been hit by a Mac truck!" I said, "I just feel like I've been hit by a little one." She laughed and told me she liked my attitude. I told her it was much better than sitting around feeling sorry for myself. She said, "and knowing that this is almost over has to help." I said, "EXACTLY. I'm almost done... I hope". By that time, the blood was drawn and my Carebear Band-aid was on. Just kidding. It was a plain, regular, boring adult one. She was putting my blood in it's little nook and said, "MOST of these come back fine". I said, "Good! Any chance I'll know today?" She said, "No. Sorry. It'll take it until about 7:00 to be ready and I won't be here then." So, she said call me in the morning between 8:00 and 10:00. Surely they're high enough. I have been SO good! Not bragging. I was just worried I would really stink at this diet, but it's not been quite so bad. She asked me more about how I felt and I told her I was achy earlier in the week and that my right knee hurts, I'm sluggish and weak, but not a lot of pain. She said lots of people come in with terrible pain and said a couple have even ended up in the ER it was so bad. GAH! I knew I was blessed, but WOW! I just feel really, really BLAH. I went to bed last night with hardly any pain to speak of. Praise the Lord! That is my only explanation! See, if you seek Him even in the storm, He's there. He NEVER lets go. We're the idiots that let go of HIM. There are so many verses I read tonight watching a couple of songs on youtube that I'll share in another blog that really are perfect for me right now. I heard three songs specifically today that were meant for me. I'll share them in the next blog, too. This one is already doomed for you not finishing it... if you've gotten THIS far. Bless your heart!

So, my appointment was finished and I walked out the door without even having to make a copay. What's up with that? There are not a lot of things in this world that I can truly say I dislike, but writing a check for my copay to "The Center for Cancer Care" just gives me the heeby jeebies (is there a correct way to spell that?). *Shiver*. I don't like it. BUT THEN AGAIN... I'm thankful for it. I was thanking God today for giving people knowledge to even KNOW about cancer, much less find it and treat or cure it! It's amazing! How do they know?! Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible and many many many many many other things tell me so. Sometimes I call my scar my "Jesus loves me scar". That's another blog for another day.

My appointment was seriously like 3 minutes long. I've never had to wait long in there. I heard on the radio this week that the Radiology Department at Huntsville Hospital just won some kind of 1st place award in the state. Makes one feel good that is about to be dealt with by them (notice I didn't say "deal with them"). I'll try to be a good patient, I promise. I won't ask for much!

Which reminds me... my sister was going to come and get me today just to take me to my appointment. She insisted. I insisted she didn't, especially until we knew how I was feeling. Not great, but not too bad is how I felt. I just couldn't justify her driving 2 hours here, then an hour + to Huntsville, that hour + back, then another 2 hours home. Sure, she could have spent the night tonight, but still, that's SIX plus hours for 3 minutes. NOT gonna happen. She insists that she and my niece are coming to pick me up on Sunday. I doubt I'll let that happen unless I'm truly feeling terrible. I will NOT feel terrible. I will NOT. I really want to go to church. I probably won't be able to sing, but I don't care. I'm so sluggish and run down that it has taken a toll on my voice. I have no congestion whatsoever, but it sounds like I have a horrible case of... something. I don't know what. My body is just so tired and fatigued that I sound super froggy. It's annoying. I try to clear my throat and nothing happens because there's nothing there to clear. I try to sing and it ain't happening. THAT has been a hard part of all of this. It'll come back though. It's just NO fun not being able to sing. UGH!

After my appointment (SERIOUSLY? Are you STILL reading?!), I went to The Fresh Market. I swore I wouldn't go back to Wal-Mart. Well, I did, but that's beside the point. I thought while I was there, I'd see what the hoopla was all about. That place was awesome! Ex-PEEEEEN-SIVE, but awesome. I saw the most gorgeous tomatoes I've ever seen. They must have weighed like 10923807 pounds each, too! Here, I took a pic. Call me crazy, I don't care.

Fresh fruit out the wazoo. I wish I were more experienced with fruit, like star fruit and some other exotic one's that you don't usually see in a Russellvillian/Albertvillian grocery store. Fresh rhubarb? What the heck? Sun dried tomatoes, freeze dried strawberries, fresh something I've never seen. Looked like white blackberries. Anybody want to take a guess on that one? They had these kabobs. I HAD to buy one. It looked gorgeous. Expensive, like I said, but what the heck. You only live once. It has fresh mushrooms, bell peppers (I don't usually care for, but I can take 'em or leave 'em), tomatoes, purple onions (YUM!!!) and maybe some other things. Non-seasoned, mind you. I wish I had a grill to cook them on tomorrow night. :( Oh well. Why would one person need a grill? I almost bought some fresh beef, but I'm about sick of beef. I did buy some naked wings. They were SO good. Already ready already, too. That was supper on the way home. I also found unsalted mixed nuts. Grabbed me up a bag. Have you priced nuts? GAH! Highway robbery, I'm tellin' ya! I also found unsalted pretzels, which quite remarkably resemble the taste of cardboard. So, if you like cardboard, I highly suggest unsalted pretzels. Maybe I could put them on my imaginary grill with my veggie kabobs.

THIS is SO funny... I just LedOL thinking about it again!!! I was asking the chick about how the "Natural Chicken" was cooked and all. She was telling me and even offered to get a label so that I could see it before I bought any. How nice! A lady came up beside me that must be a regular there. She was talking about wanting a split-breast BBQ style. So, the chick said to me, "I'll be back with you after I grab her breast". HAHAHA! She looked at me and her eyes got big. She embarrassed the snot out of herself, so I just pretended I didn't take it that way. I had to look down in my buggy and compose myself to not howl! It was hilarious! One of those moments where you REALLY want to laugh but know you shouldn't! Poor chick. TOO funny!

THAT was the highlight of my day. Week. Maybe even month.

I really enjoyed my first trip to The Fresh Market. Seriously? I may want to go there for supper/lunch/breakfast, whatever it's going to be when I get out of the hospital NEXT WEEK. They had 9238470180195801987340987098 different kinds of cheese. I know. I counted. I wanted to cuss. It all looked so yummy. I haven't had cheese in... sixteen days? THAT, my friends, is a first by FAR. What I did NOT like about it was my total. Cha-CHING! Gah. I got WHAT??? Whatever. It's not an everyday thing. That may be the first and the last.

I must admit that I had a bit of road-rage today. I used to be horrible about that. I had to be the fastest thing on the road. Oh my gosh. It's 12:41 AM. Anyway, after a few speeding tickets, I slowed my tail down and realized it'd still be there when I got there and it was OK for people to pass me. So, I'm pulling out... somewhere, merging in Decatur, I think. That's irrelevant. Anyway, I had to look to switch lanes and this guy had a nutty butty. You know the store-bought ice cream cones with chocolate and nuts on the top? I said, "Jerk!" because I can't have one. Then I apologized. He didn't know. (He didn't see me say it).

I asked God to show me something today. Not specific, just to show me something. I saw and heard several things, but one was a beautiful sunset. I pulled off the side of the road and took a pic of it. Then, just a few minutes later, a herd of deer crossed the road. I couldn't get a pic of them. I tried, but they ran into the woods. There were probably 6 of them. I LOVE wildlife. Checkout my up close and personal pic of a mama bear and her 2 cubs on my MySpace sometime. Anyway, I said, "Thanks, God. That was pretty awesome!"

And just for fun, here's another pic I took last week. I just couldn't resist when I saw it shining in the sun and the skies were SO blue!!!

Isn't that pretty? Aren't you glad I learned to add pics to my blog? Not very customized or framed, but it's there!

Goodnight. It's late. More later. Like everyday this week, I'm going to get up as usual and see how I feel. I hope to make it to school tomorrow. Sure, some say it's Friday, and not just any Friday, but the Friday before Spring Break. Why go? I say "because it's one of my few, precious sick days". I did find out that I have enough sick days to not have to borrow from the sick bank. I don't know HOW I managed THAT. It's a God thing. Now, off to bed I say!


Anxious I am for my appoitment today.
Anxious I am for high (TSH) levels, hooray!
Anxious I am for all of this to be over.
Anxious I am to find that four-leaf Clover.
Anxious I am as I sit and I wait.
Anxious I am to know God's loving fate.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bow the Knee lyrics

I go tomorrow to see if my TSH levels are high enough to proceed with my RAI Therapy on Tuesday. Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow.

I got choked up with the lyrics of a song (2nd verse specifically) we began working on at choir practice tonight. Well, we looked at it. We didn't work on anything, really, the 20 minutes we were there. Not many people there tonight, but that was fine. Rehearsal was short and sweet and I needed it that way.

I don't want to talk about myself anymore. Here are the lyrics. I pray you get something out of them!

"Bow the Knee"

Verse 1:

There are moments in our journey
following the Lord
Where God illumines every step we take.
There are times when circumstances
make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes.
When the path grows dim
and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.


Bow the knee; trust the heart of your Father
when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven
and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don't understand
the purpose of His plan,
In the presense of the King, bow the knee.

Verse 2:

There are days when clouds surround us,
and the rain begins to fall,
the cold and lonely winds won't cease to blow.
And there seems to be no reason
for the suffering we feel;
We are tempted to believe God does not know.
When the storms arise,
Don't forget we live by faith and not by sight.

...then it goes back through the chorus a couple of times. Wow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 14, A Better Day

So, yea, I got up last night and griped. I hurt! I did end up laying my arm in a sink full of hot water for a few minutes. It helped! I also took some more Tylenol. It kept hurting, but I was finally able to get to sleep. In my bed. Woke up several times with it hurting and uncomfortable, but I got more sleep than the night before. Got up this morning and wasn't feeling well. My stomach was ookey. GAH! Maybe that's been a good thing. I realized today it's helped me to not crave anything. I eat because I know I need to. It would not be a good thing for me to dehydrate, much less pass out!

I don't feel great, but I do compared to the past several days and this morning. There is no explanation. I haven't taken anything since about 10:00 this morning, when I officially got up. I took a nice, hot shower later this afternoon and that made me feel lots better! I got a lot done today from home school-wise. We're going on a trip soon and I was organizing some last details about it. I think I might actually make it to school tomorrow. I really don't want to miss church either. I'll just have to take it easy.

I went up to the school today for Show Choir practice to leave some CD's. From there? Wal-Mart, the cursed. I love Wal-Mart otherwise. What one place can supply one's needs so effortlessly? I had to get material for Show Choir. I had to get some Sprite and Pepto and Aspercreme. So, on my way in, cashews catch my eye. Of course they're salted. Hmmm... wonder if they have any that aren't. The nuts are close to the cokes, so I take a gander. Why not? I need something crunchy to snack on. Celery and natural peanut butter is getting old. I don't really even like celery that much. No nuts to be found without salt. Oh well. So, I turn around to go the other way and something catches my eye. WHAT? I looked for that BOTH times I spend three + hours reading labels! Unsalted potato chips? You've GOT to be kidding me! It was THE only bag. It was sitting in front of other bags, but no other unsalted potato chips to be found. Period! So, what then, can you eat with unsalted potato chips? Not salsa. Although it's good for me, it's loaded in salt. Guacamole? Let's see. "Ingredients:" Oh gah. Here we go. Not again, but I've just GOT to have something to go along with my newly found treasure. I rarely ever snack, and never on chips if I do, but when you can't have this and can't have that... you get the point. "Ingredients: blah, blah, blah, blah, contains 2% or less of the following: blah, blah, blah, blah salt, blah blah blah". Less than 2%? I'm game! It was decent. I was not about to read any more labels.

So, I go on with my list. Milo's tea, check. Material, check. Uh oh. Clearance. I feel a little weak. Maybe I should skip the clearance this time. I am now the proud new owner of a lamp. Soap, check. Aspercreme, check. Pepto, Hey! Here's a 75 cents off coupon. Cool! They have a new cherry flavor and it doesn't have Red Dye #3. Cooler! I have been wanting a lamp and picky about it, so it wasn't actually an impulse buy. $35.99 marked down to $9.99. I'll take it! AND I like it! Mt. Dew, I don't usually drink you. You are bad for me, but I can have you right now. $1.38 for 20 ounces? GAH! Ok, whatever.

I got out of there with just a few things that weren't on my actual list. It's OK. I didn't go overboard like I sometimes do.

So, I'm wondering why I'm not hurting. It doesn't make sense. I felt ookey this morning, but have felt much better since that hot shower. My arms were fine. My legs didn't feel too badly walking around in Wal-Mart. Strange. The past few days I've had trouble just walking around the house. I had even planned for someone to go with me and get the things on my list while I got material (had to use a Purchase Order from school, so nobody could do that for me). I told her nevermind, I'd do it. What has made me feel better so suddenly? There is no explanation. I haven't had any Tylenol since about 10:00 this morning. My arms did start hurting a little while ago. I rubbed some Aspercreme on them and it's like magic. My right arm hasn't bothered me to much today at all. Maybe I shouldn't question it. It's just baffling. I haven't done anything differently. Maybe it was all those veggies in the soup I had yesterday? God is pretty cool. I kept thinking, "It only gets worse from here", but I got better. I'm not sure that's supposed to happen. Sure, I'm sluggish and I really have to tell my fingers what to do, but compared to how I've felt the past few days, it's hardly anything. Woohoo! I'm anxious to know how I'll feel tomorrow. If I feel this well, I'm going to school and church without a second thought. YAY! Still taking it easy, of course.

I posted a link on my Facebook page last night of a song that I think is beautiful. I just posted it because I like the song. On the side was Psalm 91. I didn't even read it before I put it up there and someone commented on it. I read Psalm 91 and it was an awesome read! God shows you things when you least expect it. I am loving the way He uses other people to show me things and teach me things. He is my comfort. I know this "battle" will not last much longer.

I watched Yes, Man tonight. Got it for $1 in the Wal-Mart vendy thingy. Why didn't I think of a DVD vending machine? Anyway, it was pretty good. Not a very long movie, but it took me forever to watch it. You see, God has blessed me that I have people that care about me that I had to pause or keep rewinding it due to calls and text messages. Not many people. I'm not a person of thousands of friends, but it was nice to get a little aggravated and then realize, "Hey, there are people out there that care." How are they supposed to know I'm trying to watch a movie? God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve. HE is the only explanation that I have felt the way I have the latter part of today. I have done nothing differently than other days. Maybe I'm just getting used to feeling like this, but if so, that comes from Him, too. Pretty cool.

Here's hoping I'm able to get up and go to school tomorrow. Hopefully I can make it. My stomach still feels gross. Maybe God has given me that sensation so that I don't care anything about running to Taco Bell for a Mexi-melt right now, or craving one of those places I mentioned last night, or whenever it was. My last couple of days are running together. I can't explain the not craving things besides God's help either. OK. Maybe I've craved Pizza Hut a little, but really, I can't think of anything else I'm craving. The kids are going to do a Pizza Hut fundraiser, so that's probably why. It's been on my mind, but still, it's not a maddening craving.

Two weeks from today... WAIT! ONE WEEK from today... WOW!!! ... I will be spending my first overnight stay in the hospital (except for when I was born. Seems like I was only there for 2 or 3 days then anyway). I'll be killing some thyroid/cancer cells right about now. My throat may hurt, I may get really sick to my stomach and I will probably be sick of taking showers, drinking, peeing, and eating Lemon Heads (which I should probably get my hands on more of between now and then), but that's OK. It'll be here. It'll be real. It'll be closer to the end of this! Praise God! Wow, I really was thinking it was still 2 weeks away. Tomorrow will be 2 solid weeks I've been off meds and on this diet. Time FLIES! I was so occupied with other things, awesome things (church services) last week and the week before for that matter that it has flown by.

I enjoyed seeing some... what are those called? Oh yea, people today. Hadn't seen a face since Sunday evening. That's not fun sometimes! Yikes. I better get used to it. Maybe next week will go as quickly as these past 2 have. That's all for now. I'm going to go to bed now and have a great day tomorrow!

God is amazing all the time. All the time, God is amazing.

Peace, love, and fried chicken fingers.