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GIVING THANKS for a VOICE!

Turn-negative-into-positive-quotes

Recently I heard this quote and was taken aback a bit.  I, so often need to be reminded of this valuable perspective.  Recognizing the good blessings in our life amidst the burdens and trials really do strengthen our hearts. When the Bible speaks of our blessings, they are more numerous than we could ever start to count! Thankful for each trial.

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We had a doctor’s appointment yesterday.  It was a fairly short appointment.  However, Rachel and I both trudged into the hospital.  Tired, weary, and working hard to be grateful to be there.  You would think that we would dance in there elated that we were one of the blessed ones to participate in this trial.  AND WHILE WE ARE BEYOND excited, it is still hard.  Hard to know the day has the potential to be very long.  It will have pokes and prodding, and that there are things done to my girl that I, as well as anyone, would rather just avoid.  Who likes to get blood draws????  Not me!

It has been a mixed blessing watching my girl mature and grow in understanding and owning her disease.  Lately, we have tried very hard to let her talk to the doctors.  It is her body after all.  She is the one that knows and feels her body best, or if not quite yet, she will be, with a little guiding.  She will find her voice.  When we check in to procedures in the hospital, we stand back and allow her to tell her name (complete with spelling) along with her birthday.  She has gained a confidence and a stronger voice from these little matters.  She used to be pretty timid and a bit shy.  But as of late, she walks up and boldly proclaims who she is, and why she is there (whether a blood draw, X-ray, ect.).  I LOVE IT and feel a special sense of pride through my sorrow tinged heart.  Doctors and hospitals are a big part of her life and world, and she will need to learn to advocate for herself confidently.

In the process of waiting for the blood draw yesterday, we were guessing which phlebotomist we would get.  Usually we request one of our favorites, or at least one that we have had a good experience with (and truly there are only a couple that have provided less than stellar aka more painful pokes), but didn’t see any of them.   As Rachel’s name was called, it was a new lady.  She whispered, “Is this one good?”.  I honestly had no idea, but in an attempt to give her the edge of confidence she needed, I whispered back, “I think so!”.  The phlebotomist asked me upon entering the room, “Does she do good?”  motioning towards Rachel.  I surprised myself in how quickly I retorted, “She does awesome, if you do your job well!”  I kind of felt snarky, but at the same time something inside struck a chord.  We have spent hundreds of hours in the hospital in her short 10 years of life.  As awful as it is, she will need to be empowered and secure in this environment the rest of her life.  SHE NEEDS TO KNOW SHE HAS A VOICE!!  I have not spoken strong enough into this aspect of her life.  I realized in that moment that I need to remind her EVERY. SINGLE. TIME we go to the hospital that her opinions, comfort, and desires matter.  While she sat there, I noticed that the needle that the clinical study provided was the one that she did not like. (Last month it gave her a huge bruise due to the way it retracted, and hurt for about 3 days after the poke.) I asked Rachel if she wanted that needle or would like to try a different one.  Rachel looked a bit sheepishly at the phlebotomist and the nurse tried to reassure her it was the same exact thing.  I looked directly into my beautiful girl’s eyes and told her she did not have a choice of getting a blood draw, but if there was something that she knew would make it better, or even had the chance of making it better, that she would need to speak of it.  I realized this has been a journey of teaching her and parenting her in ways that I have not had to do with my other children.  We have worked to teach her the “hospital” vocabulary that most kiddos merely have read in a book, or watched on tv.  Hoping and praying that this tool would someday provide a level of confidence and familiarity knowing what she may encounter (tourniquet, butterfly needle, retractor, phlebotimist just to name a few.)   The phlebotomist seemed to understood what I was doing, and thankful encouraged her alongside me.  Rachel had a good stick and was smiling again under her mask by the time we left the lab.

The conversation we had during the rest of the visit and on the way home included a lot of reassurance to my girl.  She has a voice.  A BIG VOICE!  It is her and her alone that will learn to know her body better than anyone else.  CF is such a strange disease in that somedays are bright and sunny with not a care in the world, others cloudy and still others a turbulent storm! We have been guiding her for years to understand her body.  But, I realized yesterday that we are making a transition to not only listening and knowing her body,  but to also being able to express what she feels to those around her.  Me.  Dad. The doctors.  It was such a good reminder to be thankful for where we are and for the hopeful, long journey ahead.

On the way home, I promised Rachel that I would be by her side in whatever way that the Lord allowed.  I also promised her that I would fight dilligently to make the tough stuff as easy as possible.  But, with the reality that this disease, and really in life, there are just times when we must walk through harder situations.  During those times, she would need to depend on the Lord for her strength and her voice.   She may be a child, but she is God’s child!  And, her voice is worth listening too~

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I love this verse from 1 Thes. 5:18!  A charge to be people of gratitude!

~Lord, may I ever thank you for the many blessings you have given.

I challenge you to try to count all of your blessings today, I bet you get tired, or distracted before you could possibly finish counting them ALL!  Try it!  And, remember to thank God for each one!

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