Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Well, its pretty much almost official. March 6-14, 2011, I will be in Kolkata, India. Home of Mother Teresa. Home of where she worked, prayed, and loved on the people of India. Home of her orphanages, infirmaries, and schools. Home of a church that my team will be going to serve and work alongside through Compassion International. Can I tell you how excited, nervous, scared, and completely shocked right now? Missions are something that are a huge part of my heart, and for the past few years I have been a little out of touch with- not for lack of trying, but due to life's changes it wasn't a priority and wasn't my immediate focus. I really felt like over the past few months God was saying 'Katie- its time again....' And so here came my open door- India.
Now I'm excited about it don't get me wrong but I'm also a little terrified- when I think missions and goal and heart has always been in Africa. So when it was India, not Africa...I was a little apprehensive. Secondly- it is not a medical mssion trip- something I have also felt called to. After a lot of soul searching, praying and conversations with friends and family- I came to the conclusion that I don't need to question the doors that the Lord opens for me, I simply need to say "Yes. I will go."

So I'm going! Pray for my team, that we build each other and strengthen each other rather than tear each other down. Pray for the people we encounter in India and their hearts that they are prepared for us and ready to learn and be loved. Pray for safe travels. Pray for financial provision to get us there. Pray for my heart- that it be prepared and open to the people of India and what the Lord is ready to teach me. PRAY! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today I went to work. I clocked in, I got my assignment of rooms 1-5, I got report from the night shift nurse, and I started my day.

My patient in room 1 is a mid 50 year old woman who has AML a type of Leukemia and is in remission. She began running fevers and came to the hospital because she was neutropenic (meaning her white blood cell count was dangerously low and she was at high risk of infection). She had a good day today.

My patients in rooms 2 and 3 are both AML patients who are in for chemo treatments, they are also in remission, doing well and coming in for 'maintenence' chemo to keep the cancer at bay. I discharged my patient from room 4, who survived the first round of chemo and successfully put his cancer into remission for now- and then got a new patient late in the afternoon.

My patient in room five however was not so fortunate today to find out his cancer was in remission. He does not have leukemia. He is 39 years old, married to a wife of 11 years with two children ages 8 and 5. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a brain tumor in his frontal lobe. A couple years ago one formed, they did a craniotomy and were able to successfully get the tumor out with minimal side effects and a great recovery. His main side effect was personality changes and mood swings- but overall was able to live a great life. Until this March- when he found out that a new tumor had grown and the glioblastoma was back.
He has spent the past week at Baptist Hospital waiting for doctors to decide how they will save his life. Waiting for his miracle. He stays 24 hrs a day in a pitch dark room because he is so sensitive to light and sound it is painful due to his tumor. How do you explain mood swings, anger, personality changes, and the fact that dad can't come out to play to an 8 and 5 year old? At 1830 this evening, the neurosurgeon came in to see him and his wife and discuss the options they had of tackling the tumor.
Option 1. is to do the surgery again. which will be very difficult, will not be successful in relieving any of the symptoms of photosensitivity and sound sensitivity that he is experiencing, will require a very extensive recover of up to 8 weeks, and will not give him back his life he had before. It will not cure him. The risks far outweigh the benefits. And in the end they will be back to the original issueThe neurosurgeon is completely against the surgery. He does not want to do it but says he will do it if it is truly what they want and believe is best for their family.

Option 2 is Gamma Knife. Which is very focused radiation on the tumor itself that will shrink the tumor, alleviate some of the pressure and pain but also, will not cure or fix any of his symptoms. It is less invasive and has a much easier recovery.

The doctor explains all of this to the patient and his family, to which the wife promptly responds 'We disagree with you, we believe that the surgery is the option, it will get the tumor completely out and he WILL be back to normal without any suffering from the symptoms.'

This debate continued for a good thirty minutes. I was asked to be there with the family by the wife of the patient. And I walked out emotionally spent. How do you tell a woman that there is no best option- there is no cure, her husband will never be the same again and will never live the way he did 3 years ago. I'm not even sure I can convey the emotion that was in that room.

As much as the neurosurgeon tried to tell the family that the surgery would not give them their miracle- it would make his life much more difficult, assuming he survived the surgery, they would not listen. They needed to believe in their miracle. They needed to believe that dad could be the same again. The wife herself said "The man I married died 3 years ago and this person is totally different, if you do the surgery there will be a new person." What guts it takes to say something like that infront of your sick husband. She also said that due to the mood swings and personality changes from the brain tumor, her kids were afraid of their father, they did not understand what was going on or why he was so hateful towards them. What a sad situation.

As I sat there and listened, part of me was frustrated. The nurse/science mind that I have wanted to scream "LISTEN TO THE SURGEON!! HE'S RIGHT! There is no cure, there is no possible way the surgery will 'fix' your husband, it will just get worse from here" The other part of me, my heart I guess, was amazed at the belief and faith that the surgery would give them their miracle. How does someone have that much conviction that they will not back down from their belief? Is it denial of the actual situation? Or is it truly a belief that she has?

At any rate, I came home exhausted emotionally and sitting there saying 'how in the heck did I get put in that situation.' It amazes me what I encounter on a daily basis....and I am so thankful I am just the nurse, not the patient or family. SO thankful.

Monday, July 12, 2010

here's to vacation...

so...just to support the fact that i feel like summer should be one big vacation- here's an article from self magazine to further my sentiments :)

Why Not Taking a Summer Vacation Could Jeopardize Your Health
Monday, July 12, 2010 at 4:24 PM | posted by Jenny Everett
This week, the Healthy SELF blog is being written from the beach, as we are taking a much-needed vacation. Like most Americans, we have a hard time letting go of work -- according to a study by the Families and Work Institute, less than half of us take the full vacation time available to us (on average, 12 days per year in the U.S.).

Thing is, health-wise, vacation is as much a necessity as it is a luxury. Here's why we're taking a week to chill, and why you should too:

Believe it or not, there are scientists whose job it is to study the health of vacationers vs. non-vacationers. According to the experts, vacationers:

* Are more satisfied and find more meaning in life
* Are more spiritual and have a lot of support from family and friends
* Have lower blood pressure
* Have lower levels of stress hormones
* Have smaller waists
* Outlive non-vacationers
* Are more satisfied with their marriage
* Suffer fewer mental illnesses -- and are just much happier in general!

And the list goes on.

Gratitude 56-83

56. learning, constantly.
57. my job- and that i get to take care of such incredible people
58. being there to help a woman and her family as she passes away- what a precious moment.
59. a day with my parents
60. Pie in the Sky pizza
61. jeeps- namely my dad's new one!
62. the new boat John and I bought, Pirate's Life
63. a few days away at the beach
64. the provision company- the view, the food, the laid back atmosphere that does my soul so good.
65. driving the boat over to bald head island for the day
66. bald head island
67. a lemonade stand
68. the carolina coast
69. my in-laws keeping my doggy so we could go away.
70. the means to travel
71. a good book, beach chair, ocean breeze and incredible view
72. blue skies
73. 2 days of rest before going back to work
74. my sweet Josie dog- I missed her so much while we were gone!
75. Getting to snuggle with Josie in the bed this morning after John left for work
76. John- and how excited he gets about things in life
77. pictures and a website like shutterfly to help me document all our memories
78. an unexpected email from my former Young Life leader
79. a great deal on ebay
80. planning a camping trip with friends on the lake
81. a cool cloudy day today so i can get things done inside and not feel like i'm missing something outside
82. a summertime baseball game- and 4th of july fireworks
83. my health- and that i don't have to spend the holidays in the hospital

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