Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Reflections

I know that this blog is a little early but I have been sitting here reflecting over the past year (2011) before the new year starts (2012).  I have been reflecting on all of the good and the bad that has happened this year and wondering what 2012 will bring for my husband and I and what new adventures we will have in our life together.

Our year did not start off on the best note.  We ended last year with not knowing if I had cancer, they had attempted to do a bone marrow biopsy on me but had been unable to attain a sample.  So we had to wait and worry through Christmas and the start of the new year to find out what my diagnosis would be.  My doctor at the Cancer Center was able to obtain a biopsy from me the second time around.  That is right, I had not one but two bone marrow biopsies in a span of a month.  The second one was obtained in January, so then all we had to do was sit and wait for the results.  All I could think about was please Lord, not now, my husband and I had not been married for even a year yet.  During this time my husband's father was diagnosed with cancer and the outlook was not good, the cancer had spread all throughout his body and they did not give him long to live.  It was very hard to watch him suffering and to know that I might have cancer as well.

Unfortunately we lost his father at the end of January; he went home to be with the Lord.  Thankfully my husband was there with his father his last night, even though he was not coherent.  I would like to think that he knew his son was there sitting with him and I know that it gave my husband the peace that he needed.

His father's memorial service was held in Ava, IL, so we headed out of town to attend the service to gather with family and celebrate the wonderful life that his father had lived.  It was a beautiful service and a wonderful tribute to my father-in-law's life.  We will miss him but we know that he is in a better place and for that we are thankful.  Did I also mention that this was a day or two before my birthday?

My test results had finally come back and it was not cancer.  Praise the Lord!  I was so thankful and relieved. The diagnosis was Immune thrombocytopenic purpura  (ITP).  What a mouthful right?  Not the greatest diagnosis, but at least we had a diagnosis and it was not cancer.  I will not go in to everything that ITP encompasses because I could write another blog or book just on this subject.  The short of it is that it is a rare bleeding disorder/auto immune disease.  There is no cure for it, only treatments but at times it can be maintained without any sort of treatment. As long as you monitor your platelet levels and get treatment when it is needed you are able to maintain a normal life.  It is kind of scary and it was hard to absorb that this is something I will have for the rest of my life but I have come to terms with it now and have accepted it.  I do not worry as much about it as I used to.  I will also mention that I did have to go through 8 weeks of treatment, once a week, because my platelet levels had fallen so low and I was battling fatigue.  The treatments that I had are called IVIG and this stuff is liquid gold, figuratively speaking.  They try to charge the insurance company around $17,000.00 per a treatment, I think the insurance company ends up paying around $12,000.00 - $13,000.00 a treatment. See what I mean when I say they call it liquid gold? Thankfully we have wonderful insurance!!!!

Okay, so I know all of the above sounds bad.  What a way to start the year right????  However, it was not all bad, there were positives to everything listed above.  I did not have cancer, my husband's father is no longer suffering, we were able to spend time with his family at his father's memorial service (everyone is so spread out), I found out how great our insurance is ( I have the right to retract this statement at any time) and I have learned to manage my ITP.

Speaking of how great the insurance was, my husband had to have surgery on some of the veins in his legs.  When we switched to a new insurance company at the beginning of the year they approved his surgery right off and he was able to have his surgery in February.

Let's move on to some of the other positives that happened this year.  This is one of the reasons that I started my blog, to encourage us to get out more and enjoy life.  Life is to short and we have to live and enjoy it!

Like, I said my husband had his surgery and it was a success.  We celebrated our first wedding anniversary and we still are getting along.  :-)

This year I would say that we have really started settling in to married life and to our life in the Indiana/Kentucky area.  We started exploring the local area more and also explored outside of our area as well.  If you have followed my blog at all this year, you will see some of the different things that we have done.  We enjoyed a trip to Bowling Green, KY, visited the Corvette museum while we were there and also stopped in Horse Cave on the way home to visit one of the caves.  We were able to take a vacation to Gatlinburg, TN this summer and really enjoyed ourselves while we were there.  There have also been a couple of overnight stays in downtown Louisville, our little staycations.  And of course trips up to the central Indiana area to visit family and friends.

We have found a church that we enjoy attending and have also reconnected with my cousin and his family.  My cousin is the Associate Minister at the church we attend.  I enjoy going to the women's Bible study/book group that is led by my cousin's wife and we also love spending time with their three little girls.

My husband has started back to school working on his associates degree and he is really enjoying it.  The downfall is that some of his classes are two hours away, so this makes for some late nights for him.  It is all for the greater good though.

Now we come to the end of the year.  Right before Thanksgiving my husband's mother passed away during surgery from heart complications.  This was quite a blow and something that we were not expecting.  I could not even imagine losing two parents in one year and my heart ached for both him and for his brothers.  Not only did they lose one parent at the beginning of the year but they lost another parent right at the end.  I know that she wanted to join her husband and was really missing him, so I am glad that she is at peace now.  Unfortunately, we were not able to attend the memorial service because of my husband's finals.  Her memorial service was in December.  We were able to take off and head down to Poplar Bluff, MO and assist in getting some arrangements made before the memorial service.  We did this in November, right after she passed away which was during Thanksgiving as well.  My husband and I ended up eating at Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving and it was actually very good!  It was something a little different, for the most part I am used to a big Thanksgiving with family and friends at someone's house.

This year I am sure that Christmas was a little sad for my husband, with losing both of his parents this year and not being able to celebrate it with them.  We enjoyed spending time with my parents and some of my other family on Christmas up in central Indiana.  The trips up there are usually short ones and I am always sad to leave but am thankful for the time that I get to spend with them, even if it is only for short periods.

Even though there is always bad that happens in life, I do feel very blessed to have a wonderful husband, family and friends. There is much to be thankful for and I look forward to what the new year will bring.

I will not make any resolutions this year only goals.  My goals are to continue to be the best wife and daughter that I can be, to be a great friend, to continue to lose weight, to eat out less and to continue exploring and enjoying life.

So here is wishing you and your family a Happy New Year! I hope you will join me in looking forward to the new year.

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