Sunday, August 31, 2008

Three Years Ago (Hurricane Related)

Three years ago I was about three weeks out from colon cancer surgery. I'd been home from the hospital for about two weeks and was still adjusting to having a colostomy. (THAT'S an understatement!)

I was not in school due to the surgery, upcoming chemo, the colostomy, and a "woe is me" attitude.

However, I was thanking God every moment for my wonderful husband who was doing his absolute best to see our family through this situation. He waited on me hand and foot. He held me when I cried. He fielded phone calls. He took me for rides when I needed to get out. But above all else, he changed my colostomy appliance each and every time it needed to be done for the first month, until I felt confident enough to do it myself.

An appliance is supposed to last 5-7 days before it needs changed. There are a bunch of steps to do it properly, and it can irritate your skin unbelievably. The first time he did it, it took almost an hour. By the time I had my surgery to reverse it (six months later), it was only a 20-25 minute procedure.

Unfortunately, my skin seemed to reject the adhesive that was used. We tried several different kinds, and none of them really worked. That meant that the appliance leaked. And had to be changed. Often. Instead of lasting 5-7 days, mine only lasted anywhere from 12 hours to 2 days.

My skin where the adhesive was supposed to be sticking was raw, and bleeding. There is a little wipe that is supposed to be used before applying the adhesive, so that it will stick better. When that went over my raw skin, it sent me through the roof with the burning.

I was feeling sorry for myself.

Very sorry for myself.

Then Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans coast.

Because Ted was back to work and Joey and Alex were both in school, I was home alone for most of the day, watching TV.

As I watched the horrendous conditions brought on by Katrina, my outlook began to change.


I knew that within a year or less I would be finished with chemo. I would also have gone through colostomy reversal surgery. I would be back to my regular routine. My cancer would be over and done with.

So many of the lives of people affected by Katrina would still be in upheaval a year later, with no end in sight. Their problems would still be raging on.

My problems were insignificant compared to theirs.

So with Hurricane Gustav threatening the New Orleans area again, I'm reminded of how truly fortunate I am. I thank God for that every day.

And I've added everyone in Gustav's path to my prayers.


Jen said...

That is a very good outlook. I am hoping the Gustav decides to miss New Orleans completely.

PERBS said...

While you are praying, say one for the government who won't help them to the extent they need to completely recover from the last one.

edbteach said...

This is off topic of your post but . . .

Thanks for looking at my classroom pics.

I started using Soar to Success a couple of years ago (I didn't really get to use it much last year due to some other conflicts)

I use it in my small groups instead of picking lower guided reading materials for that group. For my higher kids I move up in the program.

I don't get to work with them the full 45 minutes but I think that it is an effective program. It really teaches the teacher how to work with the kids. The teachers I work with call it Guided Reading for Dummies!

Thanks for the compliments!

Leeann said...

That's the beauty of life, when people take the time to find it. Life, living, joy and pain are a continuum. We are living our best life when we take our focus from ourselves and apply it to others. You definitely went through major challenges and in them you became even more empathetic. What a gift!


docgrumbles said...

NOLA is doing quite well, but Houma, Baton Rouge, and other less well known areas are really hurting right now. I hope the news media starts to pay them some attention, too.