Friday, August 9, 2013


It certainly has been a summer of "firsts".

Due to a medical condition inherited from my father, I have undergone some medical tests and procedures that I have never done before.

HHT is an unusual bleeding disorder that doesn't involve clotting factors or the normal bleeding disorder factors. Basically my capillaries decide to make detours in some of my veins and since they are independent little suckers, who didn't think through this plan, they have nowhere to end up. So they decide to show up in your lips, your hands and feet, and often times cause some malformations in your brain, lungs and liver. 

Following a painful foot bleed, I decided to check in with the doctor at UCLA Medical Center who I have emailed for a few years. After a few email exchanges, it was decided that I needed to have a further work up done and made appointments for some medical tests and a clinic visit with him in June.

I was an RN in the Bay Area for 31 years before I moved to Woodleaf. I have ordered labs, tests and procedures for patients countless times over they years, but this summer I got to experience them as "THE PATIENT". It was quite an eye opening time.

My morning began with a brain MRI.
OK so I've had an MRI before, but NOTHING like this. 
I was strapped in and then rolled into a metal cannister type helmet which was directly, and I mean DIRECTLY -as in 2 inches from the MRI apparatus. I was perhaps inside this machine for 25-30 minutes and I have never felt so constrained, so cramped, so stuck in all my life. 

I then was ushered into the CT scanning room for an exam of my lungs and abdominal area. This test was done with and without contrast. An IV had been earlier inserted into my arm and when the dye was injected into my veins, I was told to let them know if it burned or I felt short of breath or dizzy.

"Excuse me?? I might feel burning or dizzy or short of breath" Is this usually when you tell all of your patients? Just as the dye is going IN? " So screamed my mind.

Then i had a delightful appointment with Dr McWilliams and his capable Nurse Practioneer, Melissa. I was told that I had numerous spots on my liver, but my brain and lungs were completely free.
 So I guess that's better than having them on my brain and lungs.

These little spots are the ones I need to watch out for because they could open up at anytime and I could bleed internally.

OK, so I will watch out for them. Umm how do I do that since I can't see my liver?? Oh I get it, when I have horrible pain, i should probably go to the Doctor or ER right away.
Comforting thoughts.

I was then informed that I should have a thyroid ultrasound at home because a nodule was seen on my thyroid and also I should get an echocardiogram just to make sure things looked good in my heart since I had a history of rheumatic fever as a child.

I made an appointment with my doctor who then ordered the tests.
Last week I had both of them and was told I needed some extra tests because: 1) my thyroid nodule was actually two, and I would need a biopsy and 2) my echo showed that my mitral valve prolapse had re-surfaced after mysteriously disappearing for about 6-7 years and that both my mitral and pulmonic valves were leaking.

Oh gimme a break. This body is acting OLD all of a sudden. I guess in years, 60 (well almost 61) isn't a spring chicken, but I feel fine and I exercise religiously at least 4 times/weekly. 

Yesterday I had my thyroid biopsy and I think I was nervous for the first time. I mean, someone is going to put a needle -or 4 to be exact in your neck. For some reason, this caused anxiety.
I called my friend Tommi, who was on my summer staff 2 years ago, and had undergone this procedure to find out what is was like.

It turned out to be just wierd. Numbing your neck is like going to the dentist for some dental work EXCEPT for the fact that it felt like the doctor was putting a golf ball inside my neck. He did a fantastic job that didn't need to be repeated!(almost 50% of these need to be repeated because they don't retrieve enough tissue cells). THANK GOD for small favors!

I was in the middle of my time with the LORD the beginning of this week, contemplating what was going on and had this clear, precise and defining word that : "YOU WILL BE OK."

I can't say for sure, but I truly believe this was God telling me not to worry or be concerned. That whatever the outcome of all these tests, that I will be OK. It was the peace  that enveloped me that led me to believe this was a Word from God.

When I got home from yesterday's procedure, I immediately was reminded of the verse from Hebrews 10:23 that says:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is FAITHFUL.

What about you? 
Is there something going on in your life that is causing you some anxiety? Something that might even terrify you?

Have you been laid off work?
Or promised a job that didn't materialize?
Have you received word of a diagnosis you never expected?
Or someone you love has heard that diagnosis?
Have you lost a dear loved one? and can't imagine life without them?
Do you have a child who has gone away? from you?
Are you agonizing over having your child leave for college for the first time?
Or scared of being an empty nester?
Has your spouse cheated on you? Or even left you for someone else?
Do you have any idea what to major in?
Or what you will do after you graduate?
Are there some just unknowns in your life that are scaring you?

Life is full of uncertainties.
We can plan as we may, but often times, our plans fail or don't materialize. We spend so much time worrying over things that never happen and that really gets us nowhere.

One thing is certain: We will not be alone. Whatever we may be going through, God is with us.
He tells us a few times in the Bible that

"I will never leave you or forsake you."
"I am with you always, even to the end of time."

Those are some of THE MOST comforting words in all of the Scriptures to me. I won't be alone, I don't have to face this by myself. God will be my ever present companion.
And He will be yours too.
So no matter what you might be going through right now, my prayer is that you too will know:

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