Sunday, November 23, 2008

Countdown to D-Day and Happy Thanksgiving!

So Tuesday is the day. I go into the hospital at 6:15am and surgery is to begin at 7. So far I'm at the top of the list. Barring anyone with complications (diabetic, pediatric emergency, geriatric emergency or heart patient) I'll be the first surgery Tuesday morning.

To say I'm frightened is accurate. I'm oddly at peace with this. I'm a little bit apprehensive, which I think is completely natural, but other than that I'm looking forward to the relief. I know that all surgeries have pain associated with recovery. I've had enough surgeries to know that. But I have to believe that the recovery is going to be minimal compared to what I've been through the last three weeks.

All in all, I'm looking forward to being in there and getting this done. Not to mention the peace at night to sleep unbothered by anyone calling, needing me for something etc. To think that my family is going to step up and do all my normal chores for the next 90 days is absolutely laughable. I know better than that. The doctor says no lifting, bending, squatting, slouching, reaching, pushing etc for 90 days. I'm not allowed to drive for 2 weeks. I will NOT be cooking Thanksgiving dinner nor will I clean it. I will not be taking the laundry tot he garage to do, cleaning the bathrooms, emptying all the household trashcans, getting the recycling to the curb, etc. I won't be vacuuming, waching the tub, mopping the floors, sweeping, cleaning the cat box. I will not be driving out in the middle of the night to pick up the oldest from work. I won't be hauling in the grocery bags or raking the yard. I won't be picking up little boy. I won't be playing in the snow (if we get it). I won't be helping him with his bicycle. I won't be pulling his games off the shelf or putting them away. I won't be sitting and playing his games for hours and pretending that the 9th round of Monopoly is actually fun.

I will be fretting over all the above not getting done. I will be walking. I've been told to walk walk walk. I'm looking forward to that part. Not keen on the 39 degree weather we've had for the last three days, but walking is good! I wish I could get something done with my knee that would allow me to walk pain free but that's for another time.

While I have to walk with someone for the first few weeks, after that I've been encouraged to walk as far as I can, as long as I can. I can do that! I'm looking forward to these long treks. I'm looking forward to journeying through my neighborhood to see the decorations, to pet all the dogs and cats, to enjoy listening to the laughter of the children playing in our park. I'm looking forward to meeting the school bus once again. I'm looking forward to feeling like I'm really living again instead of watching life from a distance.

I"m looking forward to enjoying the meal that my kids will cook on Thursday. I"m looking forward to all the blessings I know are in store of us. While this may be tough, I know there are many blessings to come from it. I thank God for the opportunity to go through this and come out on the other side.

In case I miss you on the other side, I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. Take some time to remember how blessed you are, to find the goodness in what and who is around you, to snuggle with your children on Thanksgiving day while watching the Macy's Day parade and smelling the turkey or ham cooking in the oven. And if you're having a tough time this holiday like so many of us are, I wish you many blessings, a day of love, thanks and goodness. I wish you a day of joy, a day of gratitude and a day of abundance.

Great blessings to all of you, where ever you are, whom ever you are.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Well, I got tagged by a good friend of mine a while back (Hi Jodi!) and I've neglected to do it. (sorry... tucking tail and walking slowly away...)

I'm really no good at picking 7 random facts about myself. I've pretty much been an open book my whole life so it's hard to choose 7 things about me that haven't been shared...

Let's see...

1. I love Pomegranates. They are my second favorite fruit behind strawberries.

2. I am terrified of blood and needles. Despite how many times I have my blood drawn (every 6 weeks!) I will NEVER EVER watch or look at the different vials of blood they take from me!

3. I have a secret passion for Redi Whip shot straight into my mouth from the can.

4. I have only recently discovered how much I like Capri Pants. Surprisingly, they look pretty cute on me!

5. I have lost 32 pounds and I have no idea how.

6. When I was 22 in the summer after I graduated college, I worked three different jobs, not because I had to but because I liked working.

7. I was a district manager for Photo Hut when I was 18 and supervised more than 10 stores. I never saw the inside of any of them other than my home store!

Now, I'm supposed to tag 7 other people and leave them a note on one of their posts that they've been tagged. However, I can't think of 7 people who haven't been tagged by this already so I'll leave it up to you! If you do this, leave me a note won't you?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Well well, two posts in a singel day? Whooeee!

I know the election is over and I know there is nothing I can do now but pray for our new president elect to have the knowledge, guidance and proper direction when he takes over as leader of the most powerful and greatest nation in the world. I am praying for the Lord to be with him through each step.

That said, I received this in my email today:

"Things are heating up..."

You Tube Video.

Now, I went to that youtube video and watched intently while yet another person pounced on Obama's lack of sharing a credible birth certificate. I decided to do a little digging on my own.

Since then, I decided to dig a little further. says they have seen, touched and validated his Honolulu Birth Certificate. So on this point I feel as though to argue his birth right as a naturl citizen is mute.

There are however more questions. Apparently there is question now as to whether, as a result of Indonesian adoption, he is now a "Naturalized Citizen" rather than a Natural Citizen.

Apparently, his step father (who is Indonesian) adopted him, after his mother's marriage to his step father, when he arrived in Indonesia . He says he immediately started school on arrival. At that time, (January 1, 1968) the only way to attend school there was to be either born in Indonesia or to have become a citizen in Indonesia. For a child, this means the parent (or step parent) has to either have the child in country, he/ she has to be adopted or the step parent has to Acknowledge (verbal adoption that is legal in Indonesia) the child.

The enrollment records, a legal document, show the following information. Barack Obama's name is Barry Soetoro. He was born August 1, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His nationality is Indonesian and his religion is Muslim. The Indonesian government issues all children an identification card with the child's name and information. As a matter of legal record, Obama's name was Barry Soetoro. There are NO American or Indonesian records showing a name change BACK to Barack Hussein Obama.

As a point to be made, (however mute this entire argument seems to be), in Indonesia, it is illegal for one faith to try and convert to another. For example, it is illegal for a Catholic to try and convert a Muslim to Catholicism. Proselytizing is illegal in Indonesia. The school in which he was enrolled was a Roman Catholic School but, since he was listed as MUSLIM the school was required, by law, to teach the Koran and the facts about the Muslum faith. They HAD to teach him the Islamic Faith. It would have been ILLEGAL to have taught him anything else. This is why his faith is listed on the school enrollment form.

Obama claims, even today, he has NEVER been and has never practiced the Muslim faith. He was 7.5 years of age upon his enrollment in this Indonesian school as a first grade student. While as children we do as we're told by our parents from school to church to play, and he may not have had a choice as to which religion his family practiced, it would seem to be far from accurate to say he has never been nor practiced the Muslim faith. He was seen on Larry King clearly indicating he wasn't raised in a Muslim Home. How can he refute Government documents that show differently?

Additionally, at the time of his school enrollment, Indonesia did NOT have a dual citizenship agreement with the US. Therefore, upon his return to the US, he would have become a naturalized citizen, rather than a natural citizen as a matter of LEGAL record.

Truthfully, I really don't care if he was a natural citizen, became Indonesian and then returned to the US and therefore, legally, he is a naturlaized citizen. Honestly that's splitting hairs. My concern is this. If a man who is to lead our nation out of recession and into prosperity, who has such grand ideas of "Change" why would he feel it necessary to lie about something as simply as his home's established religion as a child. Many of us experienced church school in one religion and have since converted to another. Some of us were raised Catholic and converted to Judaism. Some raised Baptist and converted to Muslim, some Protestant and became Catholic, some Judaism and became Christian. Being Muslim does not mean he's less worthy as a president. I have no qualms with his religion. I do have concerns with the political and ethical ramifications it will have with regard to his dealings with Iran and the Middle East.

But why lie? Why keep this a secret? If you'll lie about something like this, what else will you lie about? What else will you keep from your country? As our parents used to say, even things you fail to tell us when revealing the "whole story" or the "whole truth" is still a lie by ommission. What does this say about our President Elect?

I am not comfortable. I have some serious concerns about the safety of our country, of our troops that are overseas, about the economic well being of our country (now and future) and I'm not feeling like I have a big reason to believe in Obama being the one to pull us out of anything, much less recession and war, with any semblance of strength, position or sense of well being as a country. I really don't know how to feel.

The only words that come to mind are fearful, fretful, confused, bamboozled, scared, unsettled, wary, leery.

Anyone else?

Blessings and love,


I saw the Neurologist yesterday who has recommended immediate surgery. I see a surgeon tomorrow.

I have four bulging discs in my lumbar spine and the last one (the fifth) has, as the doctor put it, "blown up". There is a fragment of the disc compressing the sciatic nerve on the right side creating intermittent "tingling and loss of feeling" in the right leg. The disc has protruded so badly on the left side it has compressed the sciatic nerve flat against the bone. As a result, I have no feeling in the back of the leg or in my left foot but severe pain deep in the thigh and throughout my "nether regions" (for a lack of nicer term to use!).

My hope is that I will not have surgery until after Christmas but I have to leave that to the discretion of my surgeon. Apparently I'm in danger of creating permanent damage to the nerves. As I am currently still battling a sinus infection, I know it won't be until I have gotten this out of my system, and I am opting to have this done in Richmond, if possible, at MCV (Medical College of VA) by a guy who is one of the top 5 on the East Coast. I'm very very nervous about this decision. Not because he's not good. He's one of the best.

By having this in Richmond, I'm not going to be where my family can see me easily. I"m going to be where my Dad can get to me but not my children or my husband. I'm not sure how long I'll be in the hospital, but with my autoimmune problems and the fibro and thyroid too, I feel like I need to be where the best teams possible will be there to accomodate each and every possible complication.

The ride back to Williamsburg will not be an easy one. It's approximately 50 mins from the hospital to Williamsburg. My best friend has a wonderful van (many thanks to her daddy) that will be a PRIMO ride back to town and she's already offered it. She, Lori and Shell have all stepped up and said they'll do whatever they can to help wtih Dalton and school. Reaves has said he'll do his best to help with the house and with making sure Dalton eats. (Kev's not always really good about remembering that little guys have to eat a NORMAL meal at a NORMAL time and has to go to bed at the SAME time each night - with a bath - and poor little Dalton complains that he's hungry most all the time when he's in Daddy's care.)

Taylor will do what he can, when he can but he'll be a school and it will be more difficult for him to help out.

Needless to say, by doctor's orders, I am confined to a chair, walking with a walker when necessary and doing exactly as the doctor says which is positively nothing. I'm bored out of my mind to be honest but my fear of never walking again is outweighing my boredom.

Please, if you're so inclined, would you keep my family and the doctors and caretakers in the hospitals in your prayers?

Many blessings,

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A new place for me

There's been something on my heart for a long time and I've prayed on it, thought about it, and I finally just did it. I decided that as long as I've wanted to be a minister (more of a pastoral counselor really) I should just do it! Most of my friends look to me for guidance like this, which is how it's been most of my life. So, I just took the plunge and did it. My new name is Pastor Elizabeth Ballard! I have been ordained as a minister (non-denominational faith).

As you can imagine, with this comes some personal responsibilities that I have put on myself and typical of most blessed decision, things like this come with great tests. Not in any way do I feel as though I'm being tested by God, but I do think that evil can and does come in many forms for many reasons. It's like how you'll always find the devil fighting you hardest on Sunday morning, just when you're getting ready for church. If anything can go wrong it will, if anyone is out of sorts, it will be Sunday morning they'll choose to unlease their frustrations. The devil loves working on people on Sundays, particularly in my house.

Well, wouldn't you know it as soon as I took on this new responsibility (and yes, I do feel as though this is a huge privilege as well as carrying responsibilities) the tests came. A hospital trip with no feeling in my left leg, tremendous pain from my waist down and the need for a walker of all things was the first trial to hit me. This was quickly followed by a sinus infection and bronchitis. Not to mention how this has affected my family members and their responsiveness to my being completely incapacitated. I've been told to not drive, not lift, not walk unless with the walker, not cook, not clean, not vacuum, not not not... You can imagine how well this has gone over with my family. Their attentiveness has been overwhelming. (Do I detect sarcasm?)

But in all of it, I know there is much to be learned. There are many lessons I must learn here with my family in communication, thoughtfullness, attentiveness, preparedness, how frustration can infest your heart and become resentfullness and how this must be overcome. It is imperative I learn through this so I can help all of us work through it and grow. So, until I complete these lessons, I'm sure there will be plenty of tasks to come. Until the devil learns that I won't be swayed, until my family has turned round to a brighter more healthy and sincere focus of positive energies for the benefit of the family (and not the benefit of the one or few), and until I have come to a place of peace with all of it, I'm sure there will be plenty of fire. Keep us in your thoughts if you will.

I know that He has taught me well. I know that with Him all things are possible. I know these adversities are temporary and this too shall pass. I know that if I am supposed to be healed in my body He will bring my healing. I know that when I remember that it is not my life but HIS, and stop trying to control things too much there will be difficulty and until I learn to keep the communication flowing 24/7 there will be resentment.

I also know that I cannot make people change and I can't change people. I have to accept folks for exactly who they are and what they are and not expect anything different.

I'm excited about my new future. I'm excited about the new possibilities. I love how enriched I already feel and how much more I know is in store for me. I am thrilled about the new places I go in my heart and I'm already enjoying the new things I"m learning. I pray that I will never fail this new responsibility, I will always live up to what this new responsibility will require of me, of my heart. I pray He will always find me deserving and I hope that He will continue guiding me through my journey to becoming the counselor He wants me to be.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Well, there's never a dull moment...

In my world, things can change at the drop of a hat. In my case the drop of a hip! LOL.... A little background, (you KNOW I have to give you background... I'm a woman of so few words HA!)...

About two weeks ago now, I was kissing Dalton on the cheeks, our favorite morning ritual, to wake him up and couldn't stand up. My back felt like someone stuck a knife into my tail bone. Kevin came in, got me upright and I decided to take it easy for the day. Ice on the back, 20 on 20 off etc. Took a nice looooooooong shower and it seemed to get better. Unfortunately, it seems it just took on a life of it's own and by Sunday (this Sunday past) I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe, my legs felt like they were on fire. It was strange. Above my waist was fine, below the waist was hell.

Off to the ER we go. Now, I'm not one of your typical patients. I don't - DO NOT - want a pill that's going to make it all better. I'm fed up with pills. I take them all day every day and I'm not about adding one to the pile. When I got into a room, the first thing they did was put in an IV line. I asked what it was for and with a very sour note, the nurse says, "Well, you want pain meds don't you?"

to which I replied, "Not really why I'm here..."

She copped an attitude with me and got the doctor. He comes in, hears my 8 year history with all this crap, says, "What medicine does Dr. X give you for breakthrough pain?"

"I don't have anything for breakthrough pain. I've never experienced anything like this before."

Thirty minutes later, he hands me release orders along with three prescriptions - pain killer, muscle relaxer, and steroids - and the nurse is administering pain meds through the IV with instructions not to drive under any circumstances. I'm also told to use my wheelchair or walker, which ever is best for me but not to put much weight on the left leg until we know more. (The driving call was a total duh moment... I was asleep before I left the parking lot.) He says, "Follow up with your primary this week."

Ok, first of all my primary doesn't treat me for this, which you should have realized through our conversations. I already have appointments scheduled for my pain management doc and my rheumatoid doc this week, so I'll follow up with them.

The rheumy says she's worried about the leg - I can't feel anything from the hip down on the back of the leg. My foot is completely asleep and I wish it didn't feel like it was completely asleep. My right leg isn't bad. I can use it fine. She's sending me for an MRI of the lower lumbar (where I have two herniated discs already) and the SI joints. I called my neurologist who wants me to come to his office immediately following my mri and he'll interpret my results right away. My pain management doc thinks it's time to see the neurosurgeon again but wants to see the MRI results first.

The primary doc said to see the others.

So, my walker and I are getting familiar, my house is a wreck, I've not eaten a decent meal in days and I wish with all my heart I could go to the potty but the Vicodin took care of that for me. (I know, TMI...) My bed and I are getting close and I've read two books and am nearly done with the third. I do suppose there are silver linings. I've been wanting to get back into my reading!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day, Happy Birthday Momma!

This is just about the best prelude to Election Day I've seen... Love it!

Happy Election Day...

Today is my mother's birthday. Were she still with us, she would have been voting proudly today, musing about how it is our civic responsbility etc. So, knowing all that, I proudly got up today and my husband and I went with our little guy (7) to the polls.

The school where we vote typically is very unorganized with the entrance into the gymnasium. Today in the rain (always fun to stand in the rain in line to vote...) they switched up the line to form under the MAIN entrance to the school, thus allowing for long lines to form under the wonderful "tunnel" leading into the front door. This will alleviate many many difficulties with people coming in and leaving by the same door as it's been in recent years. In a neighboring city they've had trouble with the ballots being accepted by the mean green ballot eating machine because people were so wet the paper was just too mushy to go into it. The advice of the election officials in their town said, and I do quote, "You must dry yourself off before entering the voting area." Great, no problem! It's pouring down rain but if you supply me with the towels, I'll dry off before attempting to vote!

Rain not withstanding, typically handicapped folks such as I, go to the front of the line so we don't have to stand longer than is necessary (those of us who aren't confined to chairs quite yet). Not so today. Thankfully Kevin was there to help me stay upright! I got my pen and my big long ballot with the great big letters so those of us who are half blind and don't have glasses can read it, went into my voting booth, voted in all three categories and quickly bent my ballot (not creasing it, just gently bending it) in half. I did this so when I walked with my walker to the electronic box (that somewhat obnoxious contraption that both reads and sucks up your ballot quickly rather like jerking it out of your hand ungratefully so you have no time to change your mind), no one would be able to see my votes. Now mind you I'm not ashamed. However, I do believe that my vote is MY vote! It doesn't matter that I have a presidential candidate sign in my front yard. It doesn't matter that I've spoken openly about my choices. What matters is that in this place, this "sacred" voting place, aka the elementary gymnasium, my vote is secret.

Now why this old codger decided he needed to peek inside my folded ballot, rather blatently I might add, is beyond me. Furthermore, I find it downright amusing. How many years have I heard from the older generations that "your vote is private and it's your vote. It's no one elses business for whom you vote but yours." Well, so much for privacy.

I nearly stopped dead in my tracks and asked him did he want to see it! As I approached the ballot eating machine there sits another old goat who blatantly does the same! As I manipulated my ballot to be accepted and read by the box, he all but broke a vertebrae trying to see my presidential vote! At that point it was downright funny. I asked him in my best honey dripping southern belle voice, "Did you see what you were trying to see?"

With a red face and a duck of his head, he simply replied, "Thank you for voting."

So, go people, wear your best red white and blue, put on your poker face and vote. And when all those old codgers try and get their peeks, ask 'em if they'd like to put it in the eating machine for you!

Happy Birthday Momma!