Deep Breaths


Today many friends are grieving, yet celebrating the rich life of Nathan Smith.  Nathan is now taking breathing just fine as his lungs are no longer plagued with Cystic Fibrosis.  They are breathing in the sweet aromas of heaven.

I met this fellow red-head at the church I attended there and through his cousin Tera whom I lived with my last summer there.  Nathan was an amazing person.  He pursued his passions to be a Physician’s Assistant, gave of himself on several medical missions trips and was an amazing friend and example as he persevered through his physical challenges to make the most of every day he was granted.

Although our heartache runs deep, but nothing compares to those deep breaths you are now taking.


Many of you have been updated on Mom’s status over the holiday via my twitter/facebook updates.  I haven’t formally mentioned it over the blog or in an email because, well, it was just tough to deal with to be honest.

The long and short of it is that Mom went to the Doctor in early December with head congestion/sinus/yuckyness that had affected her hearing.  After a week, everything was gone–including her hearing.  It never reappeared.  Back to the doctor she went and was diagnosed with having fluid behind her ears.  After a few days of the condition worsening and being incredibly off-balanced, she went to the ER on the 21st.  I jetted home to VA the next day to find my mom having “one of the worst cases of inner ear infection” the ER doctor had ever seen.

We muddled through the holidays humorously for the first few days, as Mom was having trouble hearing what I said and her interpretations had to make you laugh.  When her condition continued to worsen though, it lost it’s humor.  We called the ENT and got an appointment.  His diagnosis was that her hearing loss was not due to fluid or infection, but nerve damage.  What? Yep—my Mom who was a beautician for 21 years and then not working for the past 10 or so due to her health conditions has nerve damage in her ears?  Where in the world could she have gotten nerve damage?  It just didn’t make sense and to see your ENT just as puzzled, well, that wasn’t so comforting either.

After 4 doctors, we headed to get an MRI for answers.  We tried to make it fun.  Made the trip to Roanoke our annual “Mom/Daughter Date” with stops at Barnes and Noble and Olive Garden (Mom’s favorite and always default choice for our dates).  We did have fun.  We shared the chocolate caramel gelatto for dessert.  We love our ice cream.  🙂

I was challenged as to what to do.  Do I come home to Kentucky?  Do I stick around until she gets the results of the MRI just in case it’s bad news?  What about the wintery weather that’s supposed to hit Virginia on Friday?  I have to be back at work on Monday.  The questions didn’t end.  After much wise counsel from friends and the Beau, I knew that I’d know what to do when the time came to make the call.  And I did.  I loaded up the car on New Year’s Eve and then early New Year’s Day made the trek back to Georgetown.

Thinking she’d hear on Friday, Mom diligently called the Doctor’s office on Friday right as they were closing up shop at noon.  A weekend of waiting for the both of us.  I had a “re-new years” planned with the Beau for Friday night and Saturday, but I know the weekend had to be torture for Mom.  One day at a time we both kept encouraging.

Yesterday was the day.  She called the office and finally got a response a little after 5pm last night.

“Good news!  There were no signs of a tumor anywhere.  But the bad news is that we don’t know what is causing your hearing loss.”

It really is the little things, you know?  Those were the words I was completely avoiding saying out loud to myself or Mom, but were constantly lingering in my mind.  She’s revisiting the ENT in 6 weeks to see how permanent the hearing loss is and what can be done about it (say “Hello, hearing aids!”).  Still no answers for the unsteadiness, but we’re hoping her family doc and Rheumatologist will give her some answers.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the long and short of it.  Maybe it was the long of it.  But thanks a million to everyone out there who has offered up thoughts, prayers and well wishes toward Mom and I during this.  Continue to remember her as she’s got 6 weeks of this before she’ll get more answers.  Pray for her emotional health as well–the loss of her independence has been a big thing to process.  Pray for her and her neighbors as they all deal with the volume of her TV. 🙂 And while you’re at it, if you don’t mind, say one for me, that I’ll remember daily that she is in God’s hands and that’s the best place for her to be.

Prayers for Kandia

My friend from HS, Kandia, who is a YWAM Missionary, her grandmother has been diagnosed with cancer again. She had colon cancer which was removed last year, and has been fine, but now they think they’ve found a spot on her brain and possibly in her lymph nodes. She went to the doctor yesterday and they are giving her months to live even with treatment.

Kandia and her husband Jeremy are in Belfast, Ireland on their Outreach mission and will be traveling on to Scotland for 6 more weeks. She is having a really hard time with her grandmother’s illness being in Europe. Also, Kandia’s younger brother is getting married in October and there family is just processing a lot with this information–should they move the wedding up and what if something happens before Kandia can get home. If you would, please take a few minutes to remember them in your prayers.

Dark Moments?

I had this reminder a few weeks ago when leading a small group of women on our campus. The following quote from an anonymous student on another campus was included in our materials and it was quite appropriate for me at the time. I could read it daily and it would be appropriate.

“In the occasional dark moment, I remind myself I’m made in God’s image and He is holding my heart and hand while I grow into acceptance. This gentle reminder never fails to shake me out of my funk. And, each time I have success in recognizing my true self, in reasserting my worth, I feel healthier and more comfortable in my own skin.”

Prayers for Addie

One of my colleagues stopped by earlier today and shared that her 16mo. old niece, Addison, went to the hospital last week for an ear infection and dehydration. Upon further testing, Addie was diagnosed with brain cancer.

She is undergoing surgery tomorrow beginning at 7:30 am–it’ll be a 10-12 hour surgery. Cecila is asking anyone that is a praying person to pray and I assured her I’d do the same.