Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More than conquerors

I needed this reminder today, so I thought I'd share it ...

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble
or hardship
or persecution
or famine
or nakedness
or danger
or sword?
No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
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.
Romans 8:35, 37-38

That phrase "more than conquerors" could also be interpreted "gaining a surpassing victory." Pretty cool.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My funny husband

When he viewed the new blog layout:
Lee: So what's the ribbon on the side for?
Me: Just pretty embellishment.
Lee: It doesn't do anything?
Me: It looks pretty!
Lee: Oh. [Looks confused.]

As we were getting out of the car at a store today:
Lee: [turns off car, unlocks car doors using the remote on the keys]
Me: Did you just unlock the doors with the remote instead of reaching over to press the button on the door?
Lee: [pauses, looks at the keys, begins laughing] Um, yeah, I just did. Wow, I'm lazy!

He's not really lazy, but he is funny. Not funny like Horner, though. ("Funny like Horner" is a standard for humor in our house that came about one Sunday morning when Pastor Horner said something funny. I laughed pretty hard, and Lee teased me that I never laugh that hard at his jokes. I immediately responded that he just isn't funny like Horner. So now we rate humor as "funny like Horner" or not. But, going back to the first use of the comment, no matter how funny Lee is, he never gets to be "funny like Horner." Don't ask why; that's just how it is. And now that I've explained the saying, it probably makes no more sense than it did before my explanation. I'm okay with that, though!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Marbles on Jocelyn's birthday

(Quick pre-post update: I'm starting to feel more like myself and be able to eat normally but the whole MRSA thing still has me pretty wiped out. The combo of being pregnant, having two autoimmune disorders, and getting over an illness is tough! Plus any illness kicks your body's immune system into high gear to fix it ... which, in my case, also means that the disfunction of my immune system also kicks into high gear and that for a week or so post-illness my joints swell and ache. Please continue to pray for my energy to return and for my current arthritis flare to be short-lived. Thanks!)

On Jocelyn's birthday a couple weeks ago, my mom and I took her to Marbles. She loves that place!

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

From January 2009

It's interesting to see what interests her as she gets older. We now spend more time playing upstairs (in the big kids exhibits) than in the past and less time downstairs (where it's more geared toward little ones).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brief update ...

Hey friends! It seems that the staph infection is now gone, thank goodness! However, the antibiotics I was on made me incredibly sick. Thankfully, I finished them early yesterday morning, but I'm still feeling pretty awful (along the lines of having the stomach flu). I spoke with one of the nurses at my doctor's office and will talk to the doctor tomorrow morning (she was out today), but their best guess is that it's still the antibiotics wreaking havoc on my system because this antibiotic is designed to stay in your system and keep working for a while after you finish the pills. So please keep praying, and thanks for your prayers so far!

Also, check out a new devotional blog, Celebrate!, that I contribute to. It's a spin-off of the Celebrating Christmas! one (if you ever ventured over there). We're publishing on Wednesdays, and today's post is from me about some of what God's been teaching me in the midst of all this crazy health stuff. The other gals over there - Norma, Karen, and Sarah - are wonderful ladies who I feel honored and humbled to work alongside, so it'll be good stuff! We'll be posting each Wednesday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some snow pics

From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009

And a sweet daddy/daughter snowball fight video ...

From January 2009

Smiles

Here's a cute picture of Jocelyn and me a week and a half ago. Poor Jocelyn is wiggling out of the frame and has her eyes closed, and the lighting isn't great, but for some reason I still like it! :)



And another smile-y thing to share: I love my doctor. She just called to check on me before she left the office for the weekend. Little things like that make me smile!

Newspaper junkie

And, no, I'm not talking about myself! Take a look at the little girl who loves to point out letters (specifically in headlines, since they're big letters) and balls (thus the sports section being her favorite) ...

From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


From January 2009


And then she stood up, saw the snow outside (since these pics were from a couple of weeks ago ... I'm a bit behind on the blog!), and was done with the paper.

From January 2009

Pictures of us outside during the snow are coming soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A few more prayer requests ...

Hi again, friends! I'm blogging right now to procrastinate getting in the shower because I know I have to change the bandages on my leg when I get out of the shower. I'm not usually queasy about medical stuff, and I can handle just about any image House or other shows throw my way, but there's something about the wound and infection on my leg that makes me feel truly ill. So that can start off the list for today ...
  • Please pray for the bandage-changing times (morning, early afternoon, late evening). In addition to the gross out factor, it also hurts a little more than usual during and after bandage-changing times.
  • I've just started the new antibiotics. Pray that they do the job and that they agree with my system (often antibiotics upset my stomach). If these don't work, I think the next course of treatment will be IV antibiotics at the hospital.
  • Pray that I'll be able to figure out a good schedule for taking the new pills. I'm supposed to take one every six hours or as close to that as possible to keep a constant amount of medication in my system at all times. I think I'll be taking them at 9am, 3pm, 9pm, and 3am (since I get up to use the bathroom then anyway at this point in pregnancy!). This also shouldn't throw off my other meds' schedules either, since I take my prednisone around 9am and my prenatal vitamin around 9pm. My thyroid meds come earlier in the morning since I'm not supposed to eat for an hour or two after taking them, but my sweet husband gives me those when he wakes up since I sleep longer than him and like to eat breakfast as soon as my feet hit the floor!
  • This one is going to be tough to put into words, since it's actually two somewhat conflicting requests ... first, pray for me to have enough energy to do the things I need to do. Being in pain and monitoring this infection to make sure it doesn't get worse is exhausting. But, also, pray for me to get the rest I need, since pushing myself too hard could provide an opportunity for this bacteria to spread. I guess another way to word the second request would be to pray that I would be able to rightly determine what things need to be done and what things need to wait so I can rest.
  • Pray for Lee. He is doing SO much right now and, at times, being both mommy and daddy to Jocelyn in the evenings. He doesn't complain or grumble, but I know he's tired. I am so blessed with a man who loves me and cares for me like Lee does.
  • Pray that I will be able to eat enough. The combination of the pain, the grossness I mentioned earlier, the antibiotics, and the exhaustion is affecting my appetite, and I've caught myself feeling a little lightheaded from not eating enough a few times in the past few days.
  • Pray for my heart, particularly if anything changes again. I like to have a plan, so I was feeling good about everything yesterday morning as I left the doctor: finish antibiotics, change bandages three times a day, pay attention for these signs of it getting worse, and so on. When I got the call yesterday afternoon that it was MRSA and the plan changed a bit, it was tough. There's still room for the plan to change again, mainly if these antibiotics don't work for me or if the infection doesn't continue to improve.

Thanks, friends! I have been so encouraged by your comments, emails, and calls ... I am so blessed to have you as my friend!

Monday, February 2, 2009

It IS indeed MRSA

The culture came back, and this infection is MRSA, which is a nasty and mostly drug-resistant form of staph. We're switching antibiotics to one that usually isn't prescribed during pregnancy but should be fine given how far along I am. Having an active MRSA infection during pregnancy is incredibly uncommon from what I've been told; this lines up with my search results in all the medical journals available online through ECU, in which there were a whopping 7 results of articles about both MRSA and pregnancy (and five or six of those were about colonized MRSA infections rather than active ones!). So, to a certain extent, my doctors are having to figure this out as they go. Lee joked that there's eventually going to be a medical journal named after me, and Jenelle thinks that they could do at least half a season of the show House based on me. Goodness gracious!

Please continue to pray! It's totally a God thing that the infection has been healing well, since the antibiotics that I've been taking orally are no help against MRSA. (The ointment they prescribed does work for MRSA, but I wasn't supposed to use it while the drain was in, so I only have used it Thursday evening and Friday prior to the surgery and then starting again this morning, so I haven't used it enough for it to have made the difference.) It is true that draining infections like this with the surgery I had does usually help, but not typically this much against MRSA. Isn't God good? Modern medicine is a blessing, and while I am thankful for it, I am so much more thankful for our faithful and dependable Healer and His answer to our prayers in all this!

Thankful

I returned from the doctor not long ago, and the news was what I had hoped for! Thankfully, the infection was looking improved enough this morning that they were able to remove the drain and packing and that they decided that no further incisions or forced draining was necessary. We'll get the culture back tomorrow or Wednesday, but it's looking so much better that they don't think it's MRSA, which means they don't think it will be necessary to change treatment. I am still in pain, but it's more manageable and I have been able to avoid the Tylenol with codiene so far (which they prescribed in case the pain became unbearable again but recommended against taking if possible, for Robbie's sake). I still haven't had a fever or any other signs that the staph infection has become systemic, which is a huge blessing! As long as it stays localized, it won't affect Robbie. So please continue to pray that the infection will stay localized and continue to heal. Also, the wound itself will take several weeks to heal since it's about 1.5cm in diameter, so please pray that I won't have any additional infections as it heals, since we know that I'm susceptible to them.

Oh, and to answer a couple questions that have been asked ...
-No, this isn't related to my sprained ankle. It's the same leg, but the sprain and the infection aren't related. My ankle is still tender and still swollen from the sprain, I think (hard to tell since the entire leg is swollen from the infection right now), but it's stable and not painful most of the time. Please pray that I will not re-injure it, since the infection-related swelling makes it incredibly uncomfortable to wear the brace so it's not currently wrapped.
-Is this related to my rheumatoid arthritis? Maybe and no. No, it's not directly related to RA. However, prednisone - the only drug I can take for RA while preggers - can supress your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections, so it may have played a role in this. That said, pregnancy itself supresses your immune system (so that your body doesn't reject the baby as a foreign object), so it might not be prednisone-related.

Thanks, friends! I'll be posting snow and birthday pictures later this week, so my next few posts should be cheerier! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Calling the husband before surgery and other lessons from the past week...

I promise a post with photos of Jocelyn's birthday and celebrations will be coming soon, but trust me when I say that you DO NOT want any pictures along with this post!

I apologize for not posting in a while, but I have good excuses! A few weeks ago my skin began itching like crazy due to some pregnancy-related rash (one of my OBs said it was PUPPP, another wasn't sure - either way, something about this little boy made me want to tear off my own skin!). That's when the blog first went quiet. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the story, and it was the easiest part of it ...

A little over a week ago, a small cut formed below my knee from my scratching at the rash. It started to look a little reddish but not too bad ... until Monday, when it became painfully, bright red, and swollen. It got increasingly worse over the next couple days and - long story short - turned into a nasty staph infection. To treat it, I'm on strong antibiotics and was given an antibiotic ointment, but by Friday it was bad enough to warrant a minor surgical procedure called an I&D (incision and drainage). I go back to the doc tomorrow morning for follow-up, and we'll find out the results from the culture they did of the bacteria by the middle of the week, at which time we may change antibiotics if this strain of staph is resistant to the ones I'm on now. (Please pray that will not be necessary, since the current antibiotics are safe for Robbie, while the ones I would have to switch to may not be.)

Things I've learned:
-That Lee expects me to call him before I have surgery. Seems like a logical request, but it didn't occur to me to call him until after they did the procedure on Friday. Oops!
-That local anesthesia isn't as effective when you're pregnant as it is when you aren't. Ouch!
-That being limited to Tylenol for pain in these circumstances is no fun. Yikes!
-That when sweet friends - like Norma and Heather - suggest that I should rest, I should listen. I overdid it in my refusal to postpone or cut back on Jocelyn's birthday celebrations (which were on Saturday, beginning about 16 hours after my minor surgery). Once again, ouch!

I am now resting and haven't left my bed since about an hour after we returned from church. I don't think we'll make it to the Sunday school Superbowl party, but I'm okay with that. Thanks for your prayers!