Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pre-Op Regimen

At noon today I began the pre-op regimen...I'm not sure what stinks more, the thought of surgery & recovery or all the pre-op stuff they're making me do (blood work, flushing my system, etc).

Kidding, I realize surgery will be worse, but still today's regimen is not pleasant either.

Interviews for Publishable Paper

I have now completed the six interviews needed for my publishable paper requirement.  I believe I have reached saturation (I'm hearing the same things over & over again).  Once they've been transcribed I can begin coding them and finding themes...from there I will write up my paper, defend it, and then begin working on the other little project (the dissertation).


Friday, September 9, 2011

Research Progress!

Today was beautiful!  The temperature was 80 degrees and a light breeze.  Just wonderful.

On top of that, I have been working on my research (faculty-student interaction) since I started this PhD process.  However, since the end of January, I began trying to make significant progress.  I was using one woman to try and solicit participants...and after months of trying...I decided to change my targeted population.  After working with one of the student workers in my office, she gave me names of students who would fit my new criteria. 

Since my research project is qualitative, I only need six to eight students to interview.  Well...after today, I have four of the six completed...and another scheduled for Monday afternoon.  I am really hoping that I can find and squeeze another in before surgery (it would be ideal).

So today, after months and moths of standstill, I made a gigantic leap forward!

Coupled with the beautiful weather and getting to walk a dog (pets are great therapy), today was a good day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Major Life Change #3.2

On Tuesday I had a pre-op appointment for my upcoming surgery.  Yes folks, it's official.  September 14th at 10:30am (EST) I will be having surgery to remove my left ovary.  The pre-op appointment lasted four hours (yes, I typed that right).  During that FOUR hour appointment I had my finger pricked for iron, peed in a cup (twice), had three viles of blood drawn, a chest x-ray, and an EKG.  They also had a nice woman (Maggie) come in and present me with a goodie bag.  The goodie bag is filled with four different types of things to 'flush' my system the day before...fun. :/  The highlight of the appointment was the anesthesiologist...he was cute.  But not cute enough to discount all the other discomfort I went through ;)  But gotta look on the bright side, right?! 

So I will go into the hospital at 9am on Wednesday morning...oh and I can't get sick between now and then (and everyone seems to be getting sick).  From there they'll prep me for surgery.  The anesthesiologist said I may be under general anesthesia or maybe a spinal (like an epidural), but that will be decided on Wednesday between me and the dr.'s.  I will stay overnight in the hospital at least one night, maybe two.

The doctor seems to think I will be just fine to travel 10 days later for my grandpa's memorial service.  I am hoping and praying he's right.  The doctor said that part of recovery is mental and that I need to prepare myself for the pain.  To be honest, I don't know that I have much mental capacity right now.  Thus, this is a great opportunity for God to show up in a big way :)  Here is my list of prayer requests:

Wisdom for the doctors during the surgery
That my other ovary is perfectly healthy (no cysts, no nothing)
Pleading with God for strength (mental & physical) to make it through this
That I will feel peace leading up to the surgery

I am sure there are others too, and I covet your prayers during this time.  I know I serve a God who is bigger than all of this (death, grief, surgery).

Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 22:24
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from her but has listened to her cry for help.

Matthew 6:25-34
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Major Life Change #2.2

So after almost six months of grieving the loss of my relationship with Shelton, with lots of prayer, love, and support, I felt like I was in a decent place...and then I got a call from a dear friend.  She started asking unusual questions about where I was, who I was with, how long I'd be there...you know the kind; the kind that mean something has happened and your friend wants to know that you're in a place to hear it.

Well, I finally made her spit it out.  My gut blurted out, "does it have something to do with Shelton, is he dating someone?"  She paused and then replied, "well, he's engaged." 

My heart sank.  What?  Really?  There weren't many other details she knew other than he had been dating her 'on and off' for seven years.  Questions filled my mind and my heart hurt.  I was confused, a bit angry, but really more hurt than anything else.  Hurt because the timeline seemed so quick, hurt because he didn't have the decency to tell me, and really hurt because in the back of my heart, I had secretly hoped after some time, he would realized what a great thing he had lost in me.

Ironically enough, the morning before I got the news I was in the shower crying and pleading God to take away my desire for him.  Not that I believe God orchestrated this (fill in the expletive) situation, but I do believe (and cling to) that he works all things together for good (hopefully my good included).  Additionally, I just heard a MercyMe song, that is now on repeat.  The lyrics are my prayer.  Please continue to pray for me as I wrestle with so many emotions (hurt, doubt, fear, frustration) and also as I seek to find closure and healing.

Move by MercyMe
I'm not about to give up
Because I heard you say
There's gonna be brighter days
There's gonna be brighter days
I wont stop, Ill keep my head up
No, I'm not here to stay
There's gonna be brighter days
There's gonna be brighter days

I just might bend but wont break
As long as I can see your face

When life wont play along
And right keeps going wrong
And I cant seem to find my way
I know where I am found
So I wont let it drag me down
Oh, I'll keep dancing anyway

I'm gonna move (move)
I'm gonna move (move)
I'm gonna move

Ive got to hold 'er steady
Keep my head in the cage
Everything is about to change
Everything is about to change

This hurt is getting heavy
But I'm not about to cave
Everything's about to change
There's gonna be brighter days

I just might bend but wont break
As long as I can see your face


No matter what may come
Gotta move to a different drum
No matter what life brings
Gotta move gotta move to a different beat [x2]

I just might bend but wont break
As long as I can see your face

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Major Life Changes #1-3

Lord, help me to believe in beginnings.

The last 416 days have been a struggle.  Although there have been some high moments, they have often been accompanied by sadness, grief, loss, and pain.  I know this PhD journey is a long and treacherous path, but if the next two years are anything like this last one...with all the major life changes (MLC), I think I may throw in the towel. 

And yet, most of this pain, sadness, grief, and loss have nothing to do with the PhD program.  When I first moved here, I went through the normal transitional issues (loosing professional identity, making new friends, becoming a student) not to mention the struggle to simply get out here (remember this?).  From there, my grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer in early August.  (MLC #1) This was hard for me to reconcile.  I was angry and frustrated with doctors who didn't find the cancer earlier.  The Lord, however, was gracious and gave many opportunities to visit with my grandpa before he went to be with Jesus in July.

As I mentioned earlier, there were also joys throughout this last year.  I moved to Athens in a committed relationship to someone I worked with and had been seeing during my last semester at Baylor.  During that time of transition he was extremely gracious and supporting.  Although we knew distance would be a struggle, we were both committed to the relationship.  However, in November, I felt like our communication began to suffer.  It was difficult to connect, but when we did, it was good!  The holidays brought more challenges as he was in Texas and I was in California and Oregon.  Shortly into the spring semester, we had some good conversations about the direction of our relationship.  Although I was feeling the stress of distance and other factors, he was quick to affirm me and the priority that both I and our relationship held....then February came and things crumbled very quickly.  I wanted so desperately to believe his intentions, but his actions and words didn't align.  It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but I broke up with him while he was out in Atlanta for a conference (MLC#2).  The months after were somewhat disastrous.  It was hard to focus, hard to concentrate, and hard to grieve the loss of a long-term relationship that had marriage potential. 

Then a few weeks ago, after my tests to determine my tailbone pain, they discovered a dermoid cyst.  The cyst (most likely) has nothing to do with my tailbone, but is serious enough to put the tailbone pain on the back burner.  The cyst is about the size of an egg and resides in my ovary.  The most recently doctor I saw wants to remove my entire ovary (MCL #3).  At word of this, I began to cry.  I asked him about chances for getting pregnant in the future.  The conversation went like this:

Me:What does this mean for having kids?
Dr: Are you trying to get pregnant?
Me: No
Dr: Are you married?
Me: No
Dr: Are you just thinking long term?
Me: I just wanna keep my options open

Although this conversation makes the Dr. out to sound insensitive, I think he was actually trying to be understanding.  From here, he said that my other ovary should kick in and I should still have no problem getting pregnant (minus other factors; thyroid, age, etc).  We talked about lots of other medical type things and scheduled the surgery for September 14th (as of now).  This may change as I am suppose to be on a plane 10 days later for my grandpa's memorial service...I should know more after my Tuesday appointment.

All this to say, this year has been rough and filled with many major life changing moments.  And through it all, there are many songs and verses that have been reminders of God's faithfulness to me throughout this extremely trying year.  I know and believe God will work all things together for his good, and yet...I am SO ready for this year to be behind me and to welcome in a new one. 

Lord, help me to believe in beginnings.