Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Back!!!

I've actually been keeping up with everyone's blogs for the past two weeks. Except that anything I read the first few days I had to re-read because of all the meds I couldn't remember what I had read. I can't type for more than a couple minutes before I'm hurting. So this post might take all day to write, a little at a time.

Isn't my husband awesome?! I loved reading (and re-reading) all his posts. They were just like him. A mix of serious and humor. I actually think he enjoyed it but probably wouldn't admit it.

I am so incredably thankful that my valve was repaired. The agony of choosing a replacment option was truly awful and I'm so thankful we didn't even have to go there. I really do thank God every day for the repair. And the surgeon said it's a great repair despite running into a lot of scar tissue from my first surgery. I'm on Coumadin (blood thinner) for 3 months and having to get my levels checked about 3 times a week. It's rough. I feel like a pincushion. And now my veins have literally gone into hiding. The ones on my arm are hiding and rolling, the ones on the backs of my hands are deflating. I'm running out of good veins. I'm so tired of the needles but honestly it's become so routine that they don't hurt too much. I will be thankful when needles hurt again because that means I'm far enough from recovery that it's not routine.

My pain varies from bad to awful. OK, I do have a few hours now and then that are pretty good. Plus, I have been able to sleep at night and that's good. I have to sleep in a recliner because the few times I tried to sleep flat I woke up in very bad pain. I hate starting my day with a couple Oxycodone. Most of my pain is from a muscle on the right side of my chest that was apparently severely pulled during the sternum spreading. It's even painful to the touch.

I have a few new scars. I obviously already had the one down my chest and so they went in right on top of that one and you can barely tell the difference. I now have about a 4 inch scar on my leg that crosses my pantie line where they had to go in with the heart-lung machine. It's awful looking. It's not painful anymore but I swear I was cut and stitched by a high school student. You'd think with a 10 inch scar down my chest that the 4 inch one wouldn't but me but it does. Then I have a tiny scar on my neck from various tubes, including the other end of the heart-lung machine. There is no way anyone could have ever prepared me for how hard recovery would be. No one could have told me unless they'd been here themselves. Not their dad or aunt had the surgery, but them. That is the only way anyone could relate. Yet, at the same time I know that 6 months from now this will be a thing of the past. I will be healed, off meds, pain free, able to lift my children, and this will just be a horrible memory. In that sense I am incredibly blessed.

We did get the kids back after them being gone for 3 weeks. Thankfully for almost all of those 3 weeks I didn't mind them being gone. I just wasn't "with it" enough to miss them to much. Now that they are back I'm so thankful. I think it's great for my emotional well-being even though it's now harder on my physically. My mom and sister are a big help when TVB is at work but I still find myself trying to do more with the kids. My sweet girl is walking all over the place. She's not too steady but getting around. She started blowing kisses yesterday and she just melts my heart. I can hold her when I'm sitting but can't lift her and that's tough. My son has been amazingly gentle with me. I'm shocked by how sensitive he has been to the situation. He's still a little boy and forgets sometimes but overall is gentle with me. And that's a big deal because he's a miniature tornado. I was worried about him hurting me but I think I'll be OK. Again, it's hard to not pick him up and hold and wrestle with him but we do get to snuggle lots on the couch.

I just can't fully tell you how much your prayers and comments have meant to me. Many of you have posted about me asking for prayer and I have been so touched by the outpouring of love from you all. To think that I started blogging just for fun and it has turned into so much more. A community of prayer warriors who have been there for me when I needed you. A hundred Thanks to you all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Heart Pounding Season Finale

Shannon does nothing by the book. This time is no different. One day away from being released from the hospital, she starts wincing from the excruciating pain radiating from her chest. Several doctors were called. She was given an exotic cocktail of narcotics and other pain-killing chemicals, which only served to dull the pain. A sonogram was preformed on her legs to look for deadly blood clots. A monster-sized, portable x-ray machine was brought into her room to get a look at her chest, and if that weren't enough ... she was wheeled away for another round of contrast dye and another angiogram. When all the dust settled, and all the really bad possibilities were ruled out, they said must have been transient muscular/skeletal issues. I think it was a final test for me, and boy was it a doozie!

Well, she is feeling much better now. Of course she is on some powerful stuff! We will see in the next few days how she feels (at home) ... at home ... oh yeah ... we will be heading home tomorrow (Thursday). I am looking forward to seeing my kids again. Oh, I didn't know this was supposed to be "wordless Wednesday" ... too bad ... I didn't just type this whole paragraph for nothing ... you'll just have to read it, and like it. This is my last post on Shannon's blog. It hasn't been too bad. Though I don't see myself doing it on a regular basis. I am glad to have been able to keep everybody informed. Nothin but love for ya!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

In Her Own Words

In her own words ..


Friday, January 9, 2009

I look like a Hobbit!

Today, Shannon has been more alert than ever. She asked me to read her blog out loud to her. Kinda weird since her mom and sister were in the room. She was loving the LOVE from all of you.

Her humor is back again. She noticed her hands for the first time post-surgery,and because of some "minor" swelling ... she exclaimed "I look like a Hobbit!' Very funny. You just can't script this stuff.

Well, that's all for now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

She Loves Me

Shannon came off the breathing machine. Wonderful news. She was awake, but only marginally lucid. When I entered ICU to visit her for the last time of the evening, I said "you probably don't remember who I am." She responded in a very labored voice "Fabio." Her eyesight is as sharp as her wit!

I have had about an hour's worth of sleep in the past 36 hours, so I am tired and am going to sleep a long, deep sleep. I'm not whining though ... compared to what Shannon has been through, I've had a walk in the park (the kinda park that you got mugged, stabbed, robbed, and beat down in ... but a park none the less).

Oh yeah ... the best part of the evening. When I was leaving, Shannon said to me . . . . . . "I LOVE YOU." . . . . . . . . . . My heart is whole again!

Good night.



Shannon is out of surgery!

Her valve was repaired!

The surgeon said he was able to repair the valve, and that it went well. They will be watching her closely in ICU for the next few hours and days.

No replacement was necessary. What awesome things the Lord Has done! I know Shannon will be happy when she finds out that they were able to repair it instead of replacing it.

More details later.


So It Begins

Shannon is in surgery now. I am in the waiting room with family and my pastor and is wife. I slept a total of 1 hour last night. Shannon and I awoke around 04:30 this morning and came immediately to MUSC for the big event.

After Shannon was taken back to be prepped for surgery, we were able to see her one more time before she was taken to the OR. She was still smiling and happy. It was difficult for me to walk away from her. I tried not to think about the possibility of this being the last time I would see her.

I'm thankful for being extremely tired right now. Being emotionally drained has it's benefits in moments like these. It keeps me from being a basket case. I'll keep you updated as I am able to. Thank you all for intercession on Shannon's behalf.

On the lighter side of things ... even in the highest class hotels (Marriot Charleston), a little redneck must fall. Can you say "jiggle the handle"?


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We're here!

My first blog ... ever ... If you haven't guessed by now, this is not Shannon. I am code named "Tall Vanilla Bean."

'Tall," because of the greater than normal vertical distance from the ground to the top of my head, or perhaps for my imposing, iconic, almost super-human, chiseled-from granite stature.

"Vanilla," because of my nerdy 'whiteness.' Yeah, that's pretty much right on target.

"Bean," because of similarities to Mr Bean. Well ... actually it's just a beverage at Starbucks ... but a fellow can dream ... can't he?

Now that introductions are out of the way. A long drive to Charleston is behind us. We are now at the hospital. Shannon has left me here in the waiting room to get her a venti-mocha-angiogram (extra hot) with two pumps of contrast dye (and a side of whipped cream). Thanks everyone for your prayers.

That's it for now.


Monday, January 5, 2009

A Giveaway

OK blog friends. I'm finally having a giveaway. It's not the one I originally intended, but that will have to wait. This giveaway is somewhat self-serving. See, in order to be entered you will have to post about me. Nothing big. Just a "pray for this gal, she totally freaking out about her surgery" kind of thing. My goal is really to have lots of prayers for me and I figured a giveaway could help things along. I truly believe that if I just asked you all to post on your blogs for prayer, you would. But this is fun too.

Honestly, I'm not totally freaking out about the surgery. Yes, I'm worried, scared, and anxious. But God is helping me to not be a major basket-case. My hubby will post for me after surgery. Might not be too soon after but he will update you all.

Just leave me a comment and let me know when you've posted. Oh yeah, since I'm really loving some prayers right now, the giveway will end the first time I get back on to blog after my surgery. Me, not my hubby. So if you're reading this and it's already past Jan 8th, you could still have time to win a mystery gift. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Tonight is my last night with kids before they go to Grannys for a couple weeks. They are tucked in bed now, but we crammed in some fun time tonight. A couple weeks ago we got a gingerbread house to make but it was pretty much demolished by a 3 year old before we ever got to decorate it. The icing was just too tempting and in the process of trying to eat the dried icing, the whole thing was broken. After Christmas I found one for $2.00 and thought we'd give it another try. It was a success. Obviously decorated mostly by a 3 year old but beautiful none the less.

What's interesting are his windows. Ummm....remind you of anything.

I guess the interest starts early in boys. :)
We had a nice night. I'm feeling a little melancholy. When I was playing trains with my son, I cried. Watching my daughter give my hubby kisses, I cried. I can't help thinking, What if something happens to me? What if tomorrow is the last time my children see me? I know the odds are so slim that anything will happen during surgery, but you can't help but wonder. Honestly, I'm not as worried about dying as I'm worried about the impact on my family. Because if I die, I'll be in Heaven. I won't know the pain they are going through. So I'm scared for them. Have you ever thought about the letters you would write your loved ones if you knew you were dying? My situation is different because I don't know I'm dying. I'm probably not going to. In two weeks I'll probably be on here blogging about how stupid I was for being so depressing. But still....I will be writing the letters. And I hope to come home from the hospital and put those letters away and laugh about it. But just in case, I want to write them.
Thanks to AmyB for giving me the encouragement, through her blogging, to Keep it Real!