Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Almost A New Year!

WOW! Can you believe that 2011 is almost behind us? Where in the world did the time go? It seems the older I get, the quicker time goes by. As I sit and think about the year gone by, I have so much to be thankful for (in no particular order): (1)James and I have been blessed with the most amazing little man (even though we may want to ring his neck sometimes)! His desire to know more is inspiring and his love for others is overwhelming. He really does have a sweet heart. It melts my heart to hear him tell me that he loves me. (2)My health. Even though it seems as though we made LOTS of visits back and forth to doctors offices, it could have been a lot worse. My epilepsy has been controlled and for that I am so thankful. (3)Our families. Without them we would be lost. From last minute babysitters, to lending much needed advice, they are always there. Family is so important and I hope that is one thing that we are able to teach Evan that he will carry with him forever. (4)Our amazing friends. They are the ones that we cry out to when we need someone to pray. I am so thankful for my "oldies but goodies" and my new found friends all the same! I firmly believe that God brings people in and out of your life to fulfill pieces that you never knew you needed. Sometimes, we get lucky and those people stick around for a while. We love you guys! (5)Our jobs. The economy is still having a tough time and there are still so many without jobs. I am so thankful that James and I are both able to work. (6)Touch of Talley Photography. This hobby turned part-time job has been such a release for me! It has allowed me to explore my creativity, make new friends and help others make memories that will last forever! Thank you to my clients for helping me make this dream a reality. (7)Our wonderful church and church family. This year, they have ministered to our family in more ways than we can count. The endless prayers, the meals, the hugs, and the visits have warmed our hearts. I don't see how people make it through difficult times without a church family to lean on. The people of First Baptist Wetumpka are the greatest! (8)Our salvation. Without Jesus we would be lost. He is the rock that we cling to and the light that we look for at the end of the tunnel. He is our saving grace. Jesus has brought us to where we are and I know that He is guiding our path. My prayer is that we will continue to seek His will and follow with an open heart. (9)And last but not least, each other. Well, I am thankful for James and I hope he is thankful for me! He is my best friend. At the end of the day, he is there for me. I love to see his face as I close my eyes to sleep and feel his kiss in the morning light. How lonely would this world be had God not created us for one another? It was His intent, His plan and for that I am so THANKFUL!

Over this past weekend, we celebrated the birth of our Savior, grieved with friends over the loss of their loved one, pondered over what is to come and hopefully (at some point) remembered to thank Jesus for all He has done. My God is great and I feel so blessed to be able to praise His name.

I pray that your 2012 will be even better than your 2011. I pray that you find peace with Jesus and yourself. I pray that all the "lessons needing to be learned" come quickly-maybe I should say, I pray that you learn those lessons quickly. God has so much to teach us; things to make this life better than we ever dreamed. Share your hopes and dreams with Him and watch Him make them a reality. Love on the ones you hold dear. Tell people that you love them. Give hugs and kisses while you can and never stop believing that God is great. Just remember oh how He loves us!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Little Update

Greetings All! I did not realize it had been so long since my last post. Things medically are going really well. I had a few episodes of some headaches and return symptoms several weeks ago, however we discovered that I was being over-medicated. How about that?! It is strange that you have a condition that has these symptoms and the medication they put you on also have those as side effects. How in the world are you supposed to know the difference when they are exactly the same?! Fortunately, my great Dr. V did. After one phone call, he felt confident that "too much medicine" was my problem. He decreased it by half and placed me on a small dose of a migraine medication at night. It was crazy at how quickly those symptoms/side effects went away! Praise the Lord!

This quick fix was an answered prayer of mine. I was fearful that I was going to have to undergo another spinal tap and have to be off work for an extended period of time. Dr. Troglen has been so good to work with me and support me when I needed to be off. Here is yet another answered prayer.

Those of you reading and following my blog may think that each and every time all I do is say "this is an answered prayer..." but that is truly what this whole experience has answered prayer after another. Our God is so faithful and true. He never leaves us and oh how he loves us!

Most of you know I was told that losing weight was going to be a huge factor of treatment for me. The Dr. wanted me to lose 10-15 pounds and to date, I have lost 15. This is huge for me seeing how I have no, I mean NO self control when it comes to my favorite foods!!! :) My taste buds have changed due to the medication, so that has helped a great deal, but I also know I have had a lot of people praying that I would be able to do all that was necessary to lose the weight and control the side effects of the pseudotumor.

I am so thankful for my family and friends that have rallied around me to support and love me through the diagnosis and beginning stages of treatment. There was so much that we just did not know for a while. Now, I am glad that I can say with a smile on my face that I am finally feeling like Heather again!

Some have asked about James and me having another baby. With this medication, being pregnant is not an option. I go back to see Dr. V in January and I am very anxious to see what he has to say about me staying on the medication. He is not one that feels that medication is the answer and for that I am thankful.

Prayer Requests:
Please be in prayer that James and I will be open to hear all that Dr. V has for us in January and that I (mainly) will be ok with staying on meds if that is what he feels is best for me. Also, please pray that I will be able to continue with the weight loss. From what Dr. V has told me, the more weight I lose, the better my chances are at keeping the side effects away.

Thanks again for your continued prayers, love and encouragement.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Unexpected Surprises...Expected Answered Prayers!

We made it through the weekend without too much talk of "Next Tuesday." Jesus and I talked a lot this particular weekend. I know that He knows our hearts, but sometimes (always) He wants to hear from us just what it is that we want. So, in true Heather form, I began to tell (ask) Him. I had not been scared about any of this until I was sitting in that chair looking across from my dr. unsure of what he was about to tell me. So, I prayed about my fears. Over the past 4 years I have learned that I don't do fearful very well. I like to be confident. I like to feel confident in decisions, I like to feel confident in others, and I like to feel confident in myself. I was missing that. So, I prayed. I needed for Him to take that fear and wash it all away...I could not do it. I needed for Him to restore my vision that seemed to be getting worse with each visit and test. It was obvious that there was nothing I could do about that either. It had to be a God thing. On the way home for church Sunday morning, WE had church in the Talley Durango! These words rang through our speakers and tears began to flow down my cheeks. It was just like He knew what I needed to hear in that very moment!
"When I call on Jesus! All things are possible! I can mount on wings as eagles and soar!
When I call on Jesus! Mountains are gonna fall! Cause he'll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call!!"
Now, I call that a true Jesus moment! He was making sure I knew that all I needed to do was call on him. In that moment, it was Jesus and me! He calmed my heart, my fears and mind. Once I dried my tears, I looked back and see my sweet little man sitting in his car seat with the sweetest expression on his face. He caught a glimpse of me and said "I love you, Mommy!"

Well, as days tend to do, day turned to night and night to day and we found ourselves on the eve of Tuesday, October 18. James was not going to be able to make and neither could my mom. So, what did I do? I called in my adopted Wetumpka grandma...Mrs. Jean! She and Mr. Fred have been so sweet to me and my family since we joined FBC. Being able to have them as part of our lives is another reason why I feel the Lord led us to First Baptist.

Mrs. Jean agreed to meet me at 6 am and off we would go. Little did we know that this "short trip" would end up being an all day event!

When I left the office last Thursday, Dr. V. told me I would need to come back and re-take one 30 minute test and then be on my way. Well, when I got there, there was paperwork to complete (I feel like these sweet girls know everything about me by now) and an eye exam. After the eye exam, I went in for the field vision test (this is what I was really there for, the test that I failed so miserably 5 days before). I had to wait 30 minutes in between taking this test (they wanted me to take it twice), so I re-did a pregnancy test (which was negative) and hung out with Mrs. Jean. After taking the test, I was taken back to the case study room to wait on the results to see if I now qualified for the study.

Let me interject here by saying that I asked the Lord to make this decision and path really clear. I needed to be certain, one way or another, that I was making the right choice...the one that He had for me. It was then up to me to listen and respond.

After sitting, for what seemed like forever, Ashley (the case worker) came in and told me that there was something a bit strange with my vision. It appears as though my blind spot is a lot lower than the average persons. I was seeing blinking lights and was clicking the button, which would cause the machine to shut off, since the machine knew I was not supposed to be seeing the lights (this is why they kept saying, only click if you are certain you see a flashing light). Sign from God #1. She asked if I wanted to re-take the test again and see if the results would be different or if I just wanted to proceed with treatment. I was a mess. I asked if I could call James and see what words of wisdom he had for me. He told me that it was up to me. He felt like I would benefit from the study, but the decision was mine. He would support me either way (altogether now, aww, how sweet--haha). By now I am a little tearful and feel like maybe my mom can help, so to the phone I go! I called her and once again, it was left up to me. She did voice that she would feel better with me just going ahead with treatment. I just could not find ease. By now, tears are starting to fall and I looked at Mrs. Jean and said, "I have prayed that God would make this clear to me and I just don't want to not listen." This was a FLASHING light from God, I just was not paying attention. Sweet Mrs. Jean gave me a pat on my shoulder...I knew she was praying.

Ashley came back in to the room and explained that I did not qualify for the study but it was not because of the blind ready??? My vision had improved too much to qualify! Now! How about that! SCREAMING VOICE OF GOD!! I fell apart at this point and began to apologize. I told her I did not know why I was so emotional, I just felt completely overwhelmed. There is something about seeing your prayers be answered. My God is amazing! He does this every day for every one! We just don't take the time to see the answered prayers before us! Mrs. Jean spoke up and said, "Well Heather, we have all been praying and this is what we have been praying for!"

Ashley immediately began to think she had given a false hope that I was all cured, but I quickly explained to her that any improvement was better than none and most certainly better than a decline. I told her that I had prayed and this was what I had asked for. God had heard my cries. Well lo and behold, she started to tear up! The Spirit was definitely moving in that room that day! Dr. V. came in and was not giving up on me participating in the study. I simply looked at him and told him that it was ok and that was the way it was supposed to be.

He sent us away for lunch while he tried to get it approved for me to be included (you had to fall within a range and I was like .01 "to good" to participate). He sent me away with a prescription for the drug, in case they would not let me participate, and an appointment to see him again. I was in the car calling James and my parents and Shareka (case worker) called to let me know they were not letting me in...answered prayer. I thanked them for everything and told them I would see them in January!

Mrs. Jean and I stopped for lunch after leaving and tried to digest all that had happened. I am so thankful she was able to go with me. I would have been fine being there alone, but there is something powerful about a praying woman! I know that she prayed for me that day. Words will never be enough to say thank you Mrs. Jean!

I filled my prescription that afternoon and started my first dose that night. The side effects are interesting. There is a tingle in my fingers (that has now moved into my hands) and toes (that has now moved into my legs to my knees) and also my lips...try kissing with tingly lips...thats an interesting one! My mouth stays dry most of the time and my appetite has decreased. Since my first dose of the new medicine, I have lost 6 pounds (answered prayer). You all know weight loss is something I have to do as part of my treatment plan, so this is not so bad. The worst part has been that my taste buds have changed-not for foods, but for soft drinks. I have not had a Mt. Dew since the 18th!!! Oh my goodness!!! I would give anything to have one! Thank goodness I can still have sweet tea-answered prayer!! I can still have any food that I want, those taste buds have not changed, so that is a good thing.

Prayer Requests:
1) That meds will continue to work as needed 2) That I will get some energy back 3) That I can continue to lose the weight as needed 4) That I can learn to live without Mt. Dew!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A long, long day!

Friday, October 14 meant it was time for us to travel back to Birmingham for a visit with Dr. V and his staff! Since my eyes were going to have to be dilated, I did not think it would be the best idea for me to travel alone and have to drive back by myself. James could not make the trip, so my mom was able to meet me in Calera and ride with me (thanks Mrs. Betty!) and then drive Evan and me back to their house. It was homecoming at Bibb County, so I was excited to go to the game and see old friends! The appointment started right on time and with some of the same stuff. I had to go over paperwork and do a pregnancy test (this has to be done each time to ensure that I am not since I CAN NOT be pregnant while on this medication). Once these things were done, it was time for the eye exams!

The eye exams were fine, not much had changed...not too much can change, I don't guess, when you already can't see! haha! From there, I went to do my field vision test. It was the strangest thing! She kept saying, "Only press the button if you are sure you are seeing the light." My response was, "I am only pressing the button when I see the light." Come to find out she could not find my blind spot. Now, we all know that everyone has a blind spot. I completed those tests knowing that I may have to redo them. What joy!

I moved from there to have images made of my eyes. This was pretty cool! They took me to a machine that got really close to my eyeball and had me hold my eyes open really wide. When she took the image, it was showing all of the veins and vessels in the eye. It was pretty cool to see, not to mention my eyelashes looked amazing (haha!). The tech was very sweet and very patient as she could see I was a bit anxious and tired. By this point, we had been there for a couple of hours and my eyes had been dilated 2 times.

From there, I repeated the field vision test. It was more of the same...see the flashing light, click the button and once again I was hearing, "Heather, only click if you see." By this point, my flesh was wanting to surface, so Jesus and I were having a little heart to heart! It is amazing how calming that can be! What if every time we felt our 'flesh' begin to surface we did that! How different would our responses be? What would others see in and through us? Hopefully the love of Jesus!

After the vision test, it was time for more pictures. By this point, I was DONE! Do you hear me? D.O.N.E!! It is 4:45pm and we have been at this since 12:50 pm. My sweet Evan has been so good, he has not complained and my poor mother has been dragged all over! The tech begins the test and the more she tells me to open my eyes and not blink, the more I want to blink! UGH! She kept asking if I wanted a break and I would simply answer with a "No, let's get this done!" I did not notice that she made a phone call in the middle of the test, but this will be important later in our day. This test seemed to go on forever! We finally wrapped up about 5:15 and the tech got a page. We thought we were on our way home when she looks and says, Dr. V needs to see you again.

When we got upstairs, I saw my case worker, Shareka and she had a very serious look on her face. Once in the exam room, I told my mom something was wrong. She provided comforting words, but for the first time since all of this came up, I was scared. There was Evan. My little man. My love- looking so much like his daddy, the man I had given my whole heart to. I didn't know what to do. I began to pray. Dr. V came in rather quickly and sat down in front of me, behind his equipment and told me that they had detected something in some pictures and he needed to take another look. I told him I was scared and he told me that he knew, but he needed for me to relax. For the 3rd time- my eyes were dilated! Whew! They needed a rest!

Once he finished he said that he had called in back-up from the hospital and he wanted Dr. Shaw to take a look. He came in, looked and said that he felt comfortable saying that whatever they saw in the images was not really there and that my eye (right) appeared to be ok. Dr. V said that it looked like the bottom half of my right eye was black and that would have been caused by head trauma/bleeding behind the eye. That would not have been a good thing! Since they both felt like I was ok, Dr. V told me he would keep a watch on it but I was free to go home. He did inform me that I had failed the field vision test really badly and that I needed to come back to re-take the test. So, I scheduled my appointment for the following Tuesday. I think I have learned every crack in I-65 by now!!

Once again, God shown His faithfulness to me. 1) He helped me to get through all of the testing even though I was so tired 2) He helped keep my little man peaceful and at ease while he waited 3) He made it possible for my mom to be there so I would not have to be alone 4) He sent wonderful people to work with me throughout the day to bring encouragement and 5) He was there holding my hand when possibly really bad news was to come. I felt the Lord there with me, with his arms wrapped so tightly around me. No words could ever explain how that feels. The power of God is amazing and I am so blessed to have been able to experience it firsthand! I pray that I am eager and open to share all He has done for me when He provides the opportunities!

Until next time...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back and Forth We Go!

On Tuesday, October 11, James and I traveled to see Dr. V to hopefully find out something about the LP that I had done the week before. I met with my sweet case workers, completed my eye exams, had a field vision test and then saw Dr. V. After this visit, we were to go to the Kirklin Clinic to visit with my neurologist for my 6 month visit. Whew! It was going to be a long day!!

My case workers, Shareka and Ashley were so sweet! They took the time to get to know James and me! It was such a blessing to know that we (or I) was much more than just a case number! They had to ask all sorts of medical history questions and even got some information on how sweet our Evan is (we didn't make them pay for that!). Frankie was the lady that would conduct my eye exams. She was very friendly and worked to make sure I was comfortable. The eye exams were a little frustrating because I could tell that I was not seeing what she was wanting me to see. My sight is just not what it used to be (and thats not saying much, cause it has never been good!). The field vision test was not one of my most favorite parts of the day. They stuck my head in a machine and asked to me click this button every time I saw a flashing light. Well, every time I saw the flashing light she would question me and that would make feel like I was really messing this one up! I continued on and then saw Dr. V. He was great- as usual! He conducted my exam and made sure all of our questions were answered. It is nice to have a physician that you feel truly has your best interest at heart!

All in all I would say that our visit to the Callahan Eye Foundation was a was long, but I think it was a success. We did have to schedule a revisit for that Friday, but we knew to expect frequent visits in the beginning.

From there we went for my regular 6 month check up at the Kirklin Clinic. We were meeting with a lady who specializes in women with epilepsy. When we made this appointment six months ago, we felt like we may be ready to try for another little one and just wanted to hear from her about side effect on the fetus, statistics and all, and any other information she could give about my current medication. I felt the appointment with her put our minds and hearts at ease. Now, no, we are not ready to begin the process of having another baby. This new diagnosis has somewhat thrown a kink in that, but we are trusting that when God shows us that the time is right, that even though I have to be medicated and on this medication specifically, that all will be ok. Now, with that said, we will be calling on our prayer warriors! With any pregnancy comes the chance that something may go wrong or that birth defects could grow, but the medication simply increases those chances. I know and I trust that with God we can beat those odds. My God is bigger than any statistic or percentage!!

Once we left Birmingham, we met my parents for dinner and picked little man up after an extended stay in Centreville. Man was he rotten! I think he would have been ok having dinner with us and then going back with Nana and Big Daddy. You know he has figured out that he gets to do whatever he wants when he is there. I am so thankful that he was able to go and spend some time with them! I am sure it was just as good for them as it was for him!

God continues to answer prayers! How many times can I say how faithful my God is? He is always there and always comes through! He is able and oh how he loves me!!

Until next time...

With a Lumbar Puncture comes R.E.L.I.E.F!!!

On Monday, October 3, James and I made a trip to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for me to have my Lumbar Puncture (LP). It was difficult for me to leave town since when we woke up, Evan was running a temperature. It broke my heart to leave my sick baby, even though I knew it was something that had to be done. I knew his Papa would take good care of him, but there is nothing like having your mama when you don't feel good!

We made it there safely-which was answered prayer number 1! For those who may not know what an LP is, it is where they place a long, skinny needle into the spine, more specifically, the spinal fluid sac, to retrieve fluid. They will draw off what they need and then simply place a band-aid. Sounds easy enough...right? The pressure that comes with this can be painful. The pain is not always so much during the procedure, but afterwards. Previous to this one, I had had two before. The first was a terrible, I mean terrible, experience. The Dr. could not get the spinal in and was not very patient with me and my nerves. I was scared to death! Try knowing that you need to lie still, however knowing that there is a needle being injected...not too easy to be still! The second, on the other hand, was the complete opposite! The Dr. was patient and put me at ease. He told me "I need for you to lie on your back..." and I was like "Are you done?" It was the best experience! On a side note...the people at Brookwood, were so helpful and nice. From the sweet lady that checked me in, to the insurance filing lady, to the gentleman who took me to the waiting room, to the tech that assisted the Dr. to the Dr. They were so accommodating! This was answered prayer number 2! Thank you Lord for sending kind people to ease already anxious nerves!

At Brookwood, they use the X-Ray machine to find the tiny space where they need to enter. This was different, but I must say I think it helped! I only felt the numbing stick and then no more pain. The pressure was intense at times....even causing me tingle in certain places from time to time...but there was no pain! PRAISE THE LORD! This was answered prayer number 3 for the day! Our God is so good!

Once the LP was complete, they sent me on my way. I think this is where the end of the week troubles began! When James got me home, to bed I went and there I camped out until Wednesday. Some days were better than others, but that comes with having any procedure. God gave me the best husband. He took wonderful care of me while I was "bed-bound" for several hours!! God has blessed our family with a wonderful church family. They have rallied around James and me and poured out prayers on our behalf! They knew the that I would be unable to be up and about for several hours, so they made sure that we had meals! No questions asked! What an amazing group of people we have been blessed with! Some people take this for granted, but please trust me that I do not! I live in a town away from my parents, grandmother and aunt. It means SO much to have people surround you and truly love you for being you. They don't question you, don't talk about you, they just love you and take care of you. For that I am so thankful! My God is so good and once again he has proven oh how He loves me!

Wednesday, I noticed I was having a headache that made me feel as though I either wanted to throw up or pass out. After my lunchtime nap, it was gone, so I did not think much more about it. James and I talked it over and I decided to go back to work the next day.

Thursday, I got up and dressed, ready for my day! While putting my make-up on, I sat down on the toilet and noticed that made my head hurt really badly, so I stood up...and just like magic, the pain was gone! I got Evan in the car and we headed to Amy's!! The moment I sat down, the pain rushed to my head and caused me to shake! I called James immediately and told him something was wrong! He asked if I had called the Dr. Since I had not, I decided now may be a good time. I called and left a message, told them my symptoms and asked that they call back as soon as they could. Well, as it always is, when I stepped away from my phone, they called! The minute my feet hit the ground, the headache was gone. Once inside Amy's, I asked to lie on her couch and the pain was relieved even more being flat. This was the strangest thing I had ever endured (and the worst pain while sitting--and I have had labor contractions!).

I called Dr. Vaphiades back and told me to go straight to the ER to have a blood patch done. Dr. V was going to call ahead so they would be expecting me. I called James and he met me at church. We left from there and headed to Jackson, thinking a simple ER visit would be all it would take. Well, by the time I got there, the pain was so bad, I began to vomit. I must confess, I have never had pain be so bad that it made me do this. James looked as though he felt so bad for me, but he did look cute with his suit and my purse!! :)

After about 5 minutes, they tell us that they can't do the procedure in the ER, they are sending me to the OR! Well...that was not in the plans for the day!! Thank you Lord for a little Thursday morning surprise!! God's hand was in all of this from the beginning. He planted people throughout my day that provided such encouragement and were so kind! That is really something I am striving to be each and every day....more and more kind! Maybe this was a lesson for me!! Anyway, a blood patch is where they take blood from your arm and place it near or directly in the injection site from the LP and fill the space where the fluid is leaking. Sounds a little gross?! Sorry! Whatever it is called, or whatever it does, it is FABULOUS! It worked immediately!!! There was no pain...not even sitting up!! AMAZING! I am so thankful for the sweet people that took such wonderful care of me while in the holding area and then during the procedure. They were all so nice!

We were headed back home and I was headed back to bed and that is where I camped out for the next 2 1/2 days!!! Now, I have been in bed all week! Not as much fun as it may sound! My parents came for a visit, which was wonderful and decided to take Evan home with them so James and I could rest for a few days. Man was our house quiet. I don't think I liked it!! Four days is too long for me to go and not see my little man's face!

Some things I learned while being flat on my back...
1) My ceiling fans and walls really need to be dusted!! 2) God is so faithful to provide the things that we need, even when we don't think we really need them 3) God loves us so much that he makes sure that we have the right support system in place to help us through difficult times 4) God never leaves or forsakes us! He is always with us 5) God brings a sense of calm and peace! 6) God answers His children's prayers!!

Thank you for praying and thank you for loving me!

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Now We Wait...AGAIN!

The Dr.'s office called this morning and they said we were not going to be able to do the Spinal Tap tomorrow because there was more bloodwork that needed to be done. Well, that just did not sit well! I explained to the sweet young lady on the phone that I felt it was important that we go ahead and pull this fluid as soon as possible...I have already waited a week and did not feel that waiting another week was what I needed (or wanted) to do. She agreed and promised she would talk with Dr. V and get back with me. I did not have to wait too long to hear from Dr. V. He called me and assured me that he wanted me to have this done asap and that he was calling to get me in with another facility tomorrow.

I got the call and he told me it was on for tomorrow at Brookwood, 11 am. I was so excited and began to make plans. Well, that was short lived! He called me back and told me that Brookwood had called him and the original day/time was not a "true time." What in the world does that mean? Well, for me it means that I will not be going tomorrow for the procedure.

I am scheduled, however for my Spinal Tap to be completed on Monday, October 3, 10:30 am at Brookwood Hospital. I am trying to help myself remember to take deep breaths!!

I was out and about when I received these calls, so all the way back to the office I rode in silence and listened for God. I've been doing a lot of that lately. All I keep hearing was my voice repeat over and over, "God's timing is perfect!" At this point, other than His love and faithfulness, that is what I am clinging to! So, for now we wait! We pray! And we listen!

I know for sure that He is protecting me. I know for sure that He has me in His hands. I know for sure He only wants what is best for me and oh how he loves me!

For those of you who know me, know that waiting has not always been the thing that I am the best at. I tend to get impatient and try to rush things. God is teaching me some valuable life lessons. Please pray that I fully rely on Him to guide me (and James) through this process. Prayer requests remain the same from yesterday's post (see below). Please know that I am thankful for each of you who read this and pray!

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We Have A Day!

After much waiting, I received the call today that my Spinal Tap (LP), will be done on Thursday. James and I will travel to Birmingham on Thursday morning and meet with the Dr. and his "study" team at 9:00 am. The girls from the team will escort me over for the LP once a series of tests and paperwork are completed.

It is one thing to talk and pray about having this procedure done, but to know of a set day and time makes this all too real. I have been kind of surprised at how calm I have been through all of this (I know it is because you all are praying). I just pray that the same sense of calm stays with me.

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, the flowers, phone calls just to check on me, but most importantly your prayers. You will never know how you have touched me. There are not enough words to express my gratitude to each of you! I consider each of you blessings from above. Please know that my life is richer because of you!

Many have asked how I feel. Most days I feel good. The headaches seem to have slacked off and do not occur daily. For this I am grateful! I have a lot of days where I just seem to be sluggish and want to be lazy. I am ready to feel like myself all of the time! James and Evan need for me to be myself! Today has been a great day! I have had energy and have been very productive (I know Dr. Troglen (my boss) is thankful for that). I praise the Lord for days like today!

People ask what the headaches are like. They really are not too bad, not like you would think. They just drain the energy from me. The most frustrating part is that they originate right behind my eyeballs and are constant. The good thing is, they usually subside by noon or early afternoon! Another answered prayer and for this I am so thankful!

I am not sure if Dr. V will place me on the medication or not Thursday. He may wait and see what the LP results show. The LP is being done to measure the amount of pressure in the spinal fluid. I am hoping that with the removal of this fluid, I will begin to feel normal once again.

James and I have talked about it and prayed over it and I have decided to allow them to use my information for the study. With that, comes the chance that the medication they give me is simply a placebo. That scares me a little. The study is being conducted to determine if weight loss alone will help reduce the effects of Pseudotumor Cerebri (PC) or if the medication is needed as well. We will all be placed on the weight loss program, given a weight loss person (that's what I need-someone to hold me accountable) and will all meet with the physician regularly. My only concern is what if I am not placed on the medication and my symptoms get worse. That is one thing I am going to discuss with Dr. V Thursday. Surely they will make a change if they see that things are not improving.

We are looking at being on this medication for one full year. They have told me there is NO way I can become pregnant with this medication because of the side effects it would have on a growing fetus. I don't understand God's timing, but I know and am trusting that it is perfect. He has taken care of me so far, I know He is not going to fail me now! While I don't fully understand, because for those of you who know me, know having babies is what I dream of, I simply must TRUST!

I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has me in this place for a reason. Do I know why? Nope! But I know He is faithful and able. Oh how He loves me! He created and formed me. He saved me! He loves me!

Please pray that we will have safe travels Thursday. Please lift up Dr. V and his staff. I am not sure if Dr. V will perform the LP or not, so say a special prayer for the one performing the procedure (I really hope they will only have to stick me once). Please pray that God will wrap his arms around us and calm any fears that may arise. Please pray for those who sit and wait on the Dr. to say "We are done and all went well." Sometime waiting is the hardest part.

I have the most awesome prayer warriors! I love you dearly!

Until next time...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ask And Ye Shall Receive!

"Cast all your cares upon him; for he careth for you." 1Peter 5:7

It brings such joy to know that I can go before the Lord and make my requests known and He will listen and answer them in His perfect time. Thank you so much for those of you who have lifted James and me in prayer this week. Your prayers have been felt and praise the Lord they have been answered!

James, my mom, Shelby and I traveled to Birmingham yesterday morning-not really sure what we were to face. The staff at the Callahan Eye Foundation were so helpful and nice. That was answered prayer number one!! After a series of testing (normal eye exam, checked my eye pressure, field test, neurological test), Dr. Vaphiades (Dr. V) confirmed the diagnosis from Dr. Parma. Pseduotumor Cerebri. We talked over causes...they are not really sure what causes it and we talked about a treatment plan (this is where I started to get a little nervous). Dr. V feels like we caught this early enough that with some weight loss (isn't everything related to our weight, ladies?!), only 10-15 pounds, and a medication that I would be ok. Answered prayer number 2!!

I will have to undergo a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) sometime in the near future (waiting to hear from them...thinking next week), which will let them know how much pressure is in my spinal fluid. There will be some travel back and forth to Birmingham, but we will work it all out!

Dr. V did tell us yesterday that there is no way I can be pregnant and take the needed medication, so that was a little disheartening. Lord knows I want a sibling for Evan! I must remember that in His timing all is made perfect! For now, we make sure that I get better and we deal with the rest as it comes. He will provide the strength I need on the days when it gets hard.

There is a study being conducted on this that they are anxious for me to take part in. We are still praying over this decision.

On to the prayer requests: Please pray that the spinal fluid will give the doctors the answers that they need and that I only have to be stuck once (that last one may seem minor, but have you ever laid your eyes on those needles??). #2, please pray that the weight will continue to come off at a healthy pace and that I will be able to do what is needed to support a healthy diet (basically self control...I LOVE to eat!!). #3, please pray that there will be few side effects from the medication and that those that I must endure will be slight bumps in the road for everyday functioning- I do have a 3 year old to take care of!! :) #4, please pray that James will be understanding on the days when I just don't feel too good. He has been so good to help me when I have needed it (bad headache days). He is my helper! I don't know how I'd make it without him! And lastly #5, please lift up my family, especially my parents. It is hard for them with us being 1 1/2 hrs. from them. They can't see me every day and know that I am ok. That makes it difficult for them.

Thank you prayer warriors for your unending love and support! I know that ALL things are possible with God and this is just a little something that I must endure. He is FAITHFUL and oh how He loves me! We could have received more disturbing news than this yesterday! God is good! I am trusting that God will make His path known...I then must have the faith to follow!

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today Is A New Day!

I have had last night and most of the day today to process what I was told yesterday... Pseudotumor Cerebri. HUM...well, as I told someone today, with everything new, comes fear of the unknown, but I know one thing for sure...God is holding me in His hands. James and I are prepared for what we will hear Thursday morning (as much as we can be, I suppose). I have read about causes (not really any sure answers on this) and I have read about treatments (some more scary than others). We just wait and see what the Dr. says and then we go from there!

I ask that you join me in prayer! Please pray for the physician and staff members that we will meet Thursday. Pray that they will exude great bedside manner and that our fears may be calmed by working with them. Pray that we will have open ears to hear the good, bad and ugly and that we will be able to handle the news delivered...whatever that may be. I pray that will see Jesus through us! Please pray for our families. As you can imagine, they are worried.

I have had some headaches today and some vision stuff, but there has been a little stress added to my life, so I think it could be a combination of it all. Mornings seem to be worse than afternoons.

God began a work in my life 29 years ago. He has a plan and He is not finished with me yet! He allowed so many people in my life that have provided words of encouragment, support and most importantly those who have loved me through it all! At the age of 16, when epilepsy struck, His love and faithfulness proved strong and true. At the age of 25 when we struggled to have a baby, once again, His faithfulness was what got me through and here we are at age 29. I expect nothing less than His greatest strength and power to prevail. He is strong! He is mighty! He is my Lord!

I have come to relize that it does me no good to try to control situations (for those of you who know me, know that is a HUGE statement). I cannot control what is to happen, it is in God's hands, I can only control my response! I am determined that through it all, He will be glorified. For now, we pray and we wait.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So Much To Say...

My mind and heart are so full! Where do I begin...

We went on vacation with the family (LeVerts) back at the end of July and had the best time. Evan LOVES the beach and the pool (maybe the pool a little more than the beach), but at any rate, he is a great beach baby. He was such a trooper and just went along for whatever the family wanted to do. He actually cried a little when we told him we had to come back home. That's my boy!! In case you didn't know, the beach is my all time favorite place to be! I always enjoy spending time with the favorite people in the world...maybe next year we can stay longer than a week!

We celebrated Evan's 3rd birthday on August 27, (His birthday is the 28th) with an alligator themed birthday party...where does he come up with these things?? It ended up being pretty cute, if I do say so myself! It is so hard to believe that my little boy is already 3! Where has the time gone? Sometimes I wish I could just bottle it all up and put it on a shelf and save for a rainy day...then I think of all the great things I would miss out on. I love it that he is able to talk to me now...not just 'yes' or 'no,' but he is able to have real conversations with me! It is the best. I love it that he is curious. He wants to know why things work and how. He wants to know about when he was a baby (he always says "I was sssoo tiny" and "I was ssooo cute!"), but most importantly, he wants to know about Jesus. He loves to talk about Jesus and I love that! I hope that he will always have that intensity about Him.

God is so good and He never ceases to amaze me. When trouble comes along, He is always there to pick you up and shine a ray of hope. There is always a silver lining to any situation. Back before we went to the beach, I went for a yearly eye exam (mainly so I could get more contacts!!ha), and the Dr. noticed that my optic nerves were swollen...both of them. She told me she wanted to recheck them in 6-8 weeks. She mentioned there could be something growing causing pressure on the nerves. We left it at that and said "See you in a couple of weeks." Over the next 6 weeks or so, I began to notice headaches, primarily in the mornings, but was unsure if they were "all in my head" or really something to worry about.

I went in for my check-up on September 9, and was told that one optic nerve looks better, but the other is about the same. Dr. Holman decided to order an MRI so that we could rule out a tumor. Wow, a tumor! Imagine hearing those words! I immediately thought about Evan. I have a three year old and a husband who need me (James would probably say he'd be just fine without me-but we all know differently!). After talking with James and deciding that we would rather keep this to ourselves and immediate family, I called my parents to fill them in on what was going on and what was next. I know they were concerned, but thank goodness they played it cool while talking with me! Per our request, they vowed to keep this to themselves and not share it with everyone, which I know was difficult for them because we are a praying family. There was just something about this that I wanted kept between us...hard to explain. No need for everyone to worry until there is something to worry about!

On September 15, I leave work for the MRI. On the way there, I call to make sure I know where I am going and come to find out they can't do the scan that day. I fall to pieces. This is the first time I have shed a tear over any of this. I had held myself together well and had confidence that all was fine until that very moment. In a need to hear that everything was going to be ok, I called Dr. Holman (my opthomologist-?sp) to hear her tell me just that. Sadly, she could not give me that reassurance, but she did tell me that she wanted the scan done that day so she would call me back. God had a plan! Dr. Holman called back within 2 minutes with a new location for my scan. She told me to be on my way and she would call me back as soon as she knew something.

God knew I needed the people at HealthScan in Montgomery, Alabama. They made me feel at ease and I can not tell you how many references to the Lord I hear while I was there. He is real in their lives and they call upon Him in times of need...I witnessed that first hand! I have no doubt I was where I needed to be! Praise the Lord for the other appointment falling through. I also am thankful for the meltdown I was able to have in the Ruby Tuesday parking lot. I needed to let myself cry...that does not show shows surrender! I was giving it to the Lord at that very moment!

James was there for me to cry on and I am so thankful! He does not always know what to say (does anyone when faced with something like this?) but he knows I just need him to be there. He is my strong tower...even when he does not realize it!

Friday morning around 8:45 I got the call from Dr. Holman. Of course my cell did not want to function, so we had to play phone tag but when we were able to talk she assured me there was not growth! PRAISE THE LORD! She read the report so I could hear it the way it was reported. No words have ever sounded so good! She did tell me there was reason to believe there was abnormal brain fluid that needed to be looked at and there were a variety of reasons that could be there. She told me I needed to see a specialist at Retina Specialist of Alabama on Monday.

Monday morning (today) I go in to meet with Dr. Parma. He is great! He met with me, assessed my eyes, looked over the MRI and spoke with another physician. He came in, talked with me about what he felt was going on and answered my questions. He even took the time to re-examine my eyes to make sure there is no evidence of RP (an eye disease that my dad has). diagnosis is Psedotumor Cerebri. This is an increase in spinal fluid on the brain. I am not sure of the cause, that may be something that we never know, but I do know that it is not related to my epilepsy or the meds that I have to take for the epilepsy. We will go to meet with a neurosurgeon Thursday morning at 8am in Birmingham. I am sure we will hear more information than we ever dreamed we would need to know then.

My prayer through all of this (since July) has been that James and I (and the family) would be able to handle what news was delivered. I have said since this all began that we can't change the outcomes of the tests, we can only control how we handle it all. It is all going to be fine. Jesus has me in His hand. He is the ultimate healer and oh how he loves me! My prayer is for my family, my friends and all those I will encounter in the coming days, that they see Jesus through me and my unfailing faith in Him.

God is good...ALL the time...God is good!


Friday, July 22, 2011

The Love of My Life!

Evan LOVES to go to "Miss Amy's" and play with his friends every day. It rained a good bit this week, so they had to find ways to keep everyone busy and happy, so shaving cream it is!! Now, Evan is not one that likes to be extremely dirty, all of the he was not too sure about it this time, but it looks like he had a great time once he finally "dug in!"

The face that makes my heart flutter!

I can't help but wonder if he really knows how much he is loved?!

That's my baby boy!!

Evan brings our family so much joy-his laugh is contagious! It is hard to have a bad day when you get to love on this little man. I love to sit and watch him with James. Their relationship has really blossomed over the past year and I guess some of that is due to Evan's growing older and being able to communicate better with us. Who knew a little one would make your heart so full?! I guess all I had to do was ask any Mommy!!

I find myself riding in the car without the radio on a lot here lately. My thoughts are filled with (1) things that need to be done, but (2) and most importantly, the way(s) my life is blessed. God has given me wonderful parents and a great family, an amazing husband (who here lately has decided to spoil me), a beautiful son, fantastic friends, an awesome job (that I actually like going to each day), the chance to explore photography (which I love) and of course, His son!! My heart is so full!

The Lord has really used our Sunday school class over the past several weeks to speak to my heart and open my eyes. I find myself really thinking (throughout the week) about the things we discuss in class. Our Sunday school teacher asked us last week "Why as Christian's is God's love not enough?" WOW! That will make you stop and think!! Would you or are you ready to give up everything material, to prove that God's love is enough? Is that really what He calls us to do? "Jesus loves me this I know..." Do I show Him how I love him so?? All I really want is for the Lord to be pleased with the life that I lead. I want my friends to know that when they come to me, we WILL go before the Lord together with the issues at hand. I want my family to be proud of the God-fearing woman they raised and I want my Lord to be pleased with His servant. This is my daily prayer!

So, it seems that this blog may have taken more of a serious turn...I hope you don't mind hearing the things heavy on my heart. I guess it just helps to process by writing it all down. Have a great week filled with many blessings!

Until next time...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Long Time, No Post!

I did not realize how long it had been since my last post! SO much has happened over the past year!!

Updates on Evan:
Evan has grown so much over the past year. He has learned so much and teaches James and me something new every single day!! He is staying with "Miss Amy" while James and I work and he has loved every minute! He has made such great little friends. They seem to have a lot of fun every day. At Evan's two year appointment, he weighed 31 pounds--a growing boy! We are quickly approaching his third birthday and I can not believe it! Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday we were planning to bring this sweet little thing home and now he is FILLED with his own opinions! We are getting together an alligator party this year...this should be eventful! Do you know how difficult it is to find alligator stuff??? Anyway, Evan is doing great and looking forward to being 3---but am I??

James and Me:
We are doing great! Work is going well for both of us and we stay busy with church activities. We are currently looking for land or a bigger house. We would love to expand the Talley family, however that is just not possible in our current home!! We need another bedroom! It makes me a little sad to think about leaving this house, we have put so much into it! We picked out colors, the floor plan, and James built an amazing fence! Not to mention our pond in the backyard! If only there was room to add on!
I turned 29 this year and along came gray hairs! I really thought I would be ok with it, but boy was I wrong! I made myself an appointment, got a new hair-do and some highlights! Thanks Mary!!
I started a photography business this past March, Touch of Talley Photography, and it is going well. I love every session and it makes me smile to capture sweet moments for families. I am so thankful God has provided this opportunity.

'Ole Pete is still with us and is finding new ways to put up with Evan every day. They really do get a long long as he does what Evan wants!! haha We do love our Pete!

There is so much more I could say, but I guess this will do for now! I vow to update more. I see a change coming for our blog...MY BLESSINGS ARE MANY...MY HEART IS FULL!!