Wednesday, April 24, 2019

It's all in the timing

The last 10 years of motherhood have changed a lot in my life, including the speed at which I live.  Some tasks are just easier at this point, having done them so many times I no longer need to search for directions or even think about what I'm doing.  Bake the cookies.  Make the pizza crust dough.  Pay the bills.  Call the insurance.  Make the lunches.  Drive to therapy.  I am, by nature, a person who thrives with efficiency and dreads confusion and delay.  There are few things I appreciate more than a completed to-do list, yet there has been one thing on my to-do list for a very long time.  Scheduling Caleb's surgery.

Allow me to rewind a bit.  We were told in January that Caleb's left ear (the ear that has ALREADY had surgery) would need an invasive procedure to reconstruct his auditory canal after clearing out the unhealthy tissue known as cholesteatoma. This procedure (mastoidectomy) was supposed to be scheduled as soon as possible, but first the surgeon wanted to see Caleb's original CT scans from before his initial surgery last fall.  No problem, right?  Wrong.  

There are many things that have progressed in the modern age; however, the way that medical scans are transmitted from one office to another apparently is not one of them.  Caleb's scans had to be put on a disk and physically mailed from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis.  No problem, right? Wrong.  

After a few weeks, I called to see if the disk had arrived.  When the surgeon's secretary said it had not, she contacted the office in Fort Wayne again to have the disk re-sent.  A week later, I called her back.  The disk still hadn't arrived. Weird. So with a smile on my face and my efficiency alarms ringing, I got the phone number for the office that sent the scans and began the process of "helping things along." 

If you fast-forward 2 months, you would see that I am now on a first name basis with both the sweet gal sending the disks and the secretary for the surgeon.  Week after week, try after try, we couldn't get the disk to arrive.  I was just about to physically escort a disk to Riley when I got a call that they found a PILE of mail in the mailroom that just hadn't been delivered.  In that pile were three copies of my child's CT scans. Yay! Problem solved, right?  Wrong. 

Having now seen the scans, the surgeon wanted NEW scans taken at one of his offices.  So 2 weeks ago (yes, 3 months after Caleb's initial appointment) we traveled to Indy to have pictures taken of Caleb's ear canals. And having done that, a week and a half later, surgery scheduling called to put Caleb's procedure on the books.

While all the confusion and delay has been time-consuming and frustrating, it's also been peaceful. Yep. I said it.  Peaceful.  With the timing completely out of our control, we have had total confidence that the Lord was ordaining the days and masterfully planning the order in which He wanted Caleb's surgery to occur.  Not too soon.  Not too late.  His timing. No amount of "helping things along" would budge it.  And in the meantime, our family has walked through multiple complicated and difficult situations that would have been even more challenging had Caleb been recovering from a major procedure.  God has been so faithful and kind!

So we're prepping for May 28, the day after Memorial Day if that helps you to remember to pray. This procedure will be the first of two surgeries to improve Caleb's hearing in his left ear. It's a 3-hour surgery at Riley Hospital, and by God's abundant grace, a friend who is very familiar with Riley is planning to accompany me.  Would you pray for healing, for a successful procedure, and for courage for my son?  Having walked through a painful recovery last fall without successful results to show for it, my justice-minded son is struggling with why this needs to be a part of his story.  That Tuesday is also the first day of his summer vacation so having a week-long recovery of no activity or baseball games also wasn't in Caleb's plans. And if you think to, pray for David and me? We are truly resting in the sovereignty of God, but there are still moments when the delicate reality of what the surgeon will be doing makes my head spin.

You are a blessing to us. Thanks for stopping to ask me how he's doing, what's going on, where we're at.  I can't imagine raising my family without this mighty community both locally and through the interwebs.  You love us well.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Wrapping my kids in bubble wrap... or not.

It's hard to put into words how the last few weeks have wrecked my plans for order, simplicity, and quiet.  How, in some ways, the last few weeks have been better than I could have orchestrated.  How they have been harder than I would have requested.  But what has been... has been.  And I believe with all my heart that the Lord of my life holds my days and my loved ones in His very capable Hands.  That the same Hands that formed the stars also designed my children's bodies and hold my very raw heart.  And with this knowledge, I have hope!

Since my last post, we took a few weeks to coast, enjoy the Christmas season, and play a ridiculous number of board games with our littles.  Since my last post, the dishwasher has bit the dust and the furnace has frozen... multiple times.  Water has leaked through my living room ceiling and my pipes have frozen.  Since my last post, friends have prayed for my sanity, my safety, and the outworking of my salvation.  It's been a January to remember for sure.

On Wednesday, Caleb was scheduled to see a pediatric ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.  Wednesday was also a day for record cold temperatures here in Indiana with the windchill being -50 degrees and below during the day. Leaving David at home with the youngest three (including the two girls with strep infections), Caleb and I bundled up in layers, loaded blankets and water into the van, and drove the hour and a half down to Riley for this specialist's appointment that we had been urged strongly to keep.

By the grace of God, we had no driving problems.  The van started every time!  And even though I wasn't sure of where I was going, we parked in the right place, were able to walk indoors to the outpatient center, and made it to the correct office on the first try.  That alone filled my heart with gratitude!

We met with this new doctor for quite a while.  He and a surgical student took a long look at Caleb's ears and thoroughly processed his medical history and past surgeries with us while also reading Caleb's previous ENT's charting. He was attentive to detail, patient with questions, and great with Caleb. Without batting an eye, this doctor just seemed to scoop Caleb's case up and formulate a plan.

If all goes according to the new plan (and that's a big if), the surgeon will start with the left ear (the same ear that had the previous surgeries). Caleb will have a mastoidectomy to remove his mastoid bone and allow the surgeon to reconstruct his ear canal with full access to remove unhealthy tissue from the ear.  Afterwards, Caleb will have a two-week period of rest and low activity as the beginning of a six-month recovery period in which his hearing in that ear will be negligible. This waiting period is necessary to allow swelling to go down before the surgeon goes back in to correctly place the prosthetic ear bones that will allow Caleb to regain full hearing function.  Three months after the left ear has had time to heal, we'll start looking at a surgical plan for the right which may be similar to the first.

I told a friend today that it feels like we just buckled up our seat belts for a much longer drive than we had originally thought would be necessary.  Caleb is struggling with just the idea of more surgery.  The recovery last time was painful and hard. And even with the surgeries, he won't be swimming for at least a year.  Just typing this makes my eyes water.  Something about jumping into a pool is just so inherent in being 10 years old, living wild and free.

The surgeon plans to do the first surgery as soon as possible, probably within a month. My logical side rejoices that there is hope, another option, and an extremely qualified doctor to walk us through this process. However, my maternal instinct wants to slam on the brakes, pull all of my children into my arms, lock the doors to my home, and never let anyone leave until I am guaranteed that none of them will have to experience pain, especially recurring complicated surgeries. In moments of strength, I can calmly talk my oldest through the problem of pain in this broken world, but my mom heart would really prefer to bubble wrap each of my kids and solve their physical, relational, and emotional struggles with a magic wand. So sometimes we talk about God's strength shining in our weakness, and other times we just sit and cry with our kids and say, "This just stinks."  It's like a pendulum swinging back and forth as we choose whether to trust what we know to be true or what we feel. And as I type these words, I'm just going to admit that my feelings are winning today.

Many days this year I have felt like my dreams and aspirations are buried under grocery lists and laundry piles.  Where the few things I want to do just because I am Krista are the lowest priority because what is necessary for the moment is urgent. Just when I think I'm getting a handle on the housekeeping, a leaking furnace causes me to have to move every plastic tote from my attic to my living room. Just when I think I might be able to finish reading that book, a child walks into my room with a fever or a rash.  Today, just the act of choosing what task to start first caused my anxiety to skyrocket, which is not the norm for me.

As everything feels like it is spiraling out of control, I want to grasp for control of something.  My house. My children. My husband. My church work. My friendships. My food. I have to...have to...have to lay all my hope in the same sentences that began this post.  What has been... has been.  And I believe with all my heart that the Lord of my life holds my days and my loved ones in His very capable Hands. That the same Hands that formed the stars also designed my children's bodies and hold my very raw heart.  And with this knowledge, I have hope!

There's more to write.  More about Ben's progress in vision therapy.  About Laura turning 6. About Emmie Jo starting preschool at home. About new dreams and possibilities for the future. And hopefully I'll have time to write more soon, but it's time to pick up the kiddos from school and then finish a very competitive game of Ticket to Ride.  Thank you for loving our family and caring enough to read through all this!  It's a privilege that we get to do life with each one of you!