Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 by the numbers

3 ER Visits
2 Surgeries
14 Days on TPN
23 Days in the hospital
17 Pounds Gained
80 Days on Edgar the Wound VAC
34 Wound Care appointments
16 Uncomfortable days with a 1 inch diameter tube in my surgically reopened anus after my April surgery
187 Days since I've been able to shower without worrying about getting a wound dressing wet
187 Days spent with an open wound on my backside
7 Average number of days between ostomy appliance changes
10 Doctors who were involved in my care this year (not counting all the "miscellaneous" doctors I saw while in the hospital)
10 shots of methotrexate
8 MRIs
3 Opinions considered before embarking on this year's surgical adventures
5 months since my last ER visit!
180 days spent studying for the MCAT
6 Physician Assistant Program Applied to
4 Interview invitations
2 Acceptances to PA Programs

Countless labs drawn, doctor visits, pills swallowed, dressing changes, people who've seen/poked my wound, packages of gauze and tape and dressings and other wound care supplies, wound cauterizations, hours spent on the phone with the insurance company. Then there's the countless nurses, doctors, patient care techs, lab techs, housekeeping people friends, and family who helped me in some way on my journey this year...

I feel so incredibly blessed that the Lord has, once again, brought me through a year of challenges and difficulties. I had thought in my heart that I could never, ever go through surgery again. God took that fear and doubt and showed how great He was - that He can give me the strength to go through the very things I was so sure I could never face. And when I can go through these things, it's so clearly in His strength, not mine, and so He gets the glory.

I learned that God does always give me peace and the ability to endure... but He often waits until the exact moment that strength is needed, and not a moment before. And while you wait for Him to provide, you must trust that you don't need the ability until He chooses to give it.

I still continue to struggle daily with eating and stomach issues, chronic pain, arthritis, adrenal issues, and fatigue. But I AM much better than I was at the beginning of 2011. The Lord has answered so many prayers. I can eat again and my body is doing a much better job at assimilating nutrients. I no longer have chronic nausea. My abdomen is now free from infection. My intestines are now free from inflammation. My energy is better. I've been able to taper to a lower dose of steroids. I've stayed out of the hospital since July. I have not required any IV interventions whatsoever since then. All of these things represent huge strides in my health as well as incredible answers to prayer.

Right before Christmas, I ran into a family who has been faithfully praying for me for years, and I mean, prayer warriors who plead before the throne of God. I am so deeply humbled by the love of Christ that they show me - they barely know me, yet have been interceding on my behalf. One of them lifted his little daughter up on his knee and told me that she prays for me daily. I was completely blown away and overwhelmed and encouraged and touched... what an incredible testimony and example they are! I know that this is just ONE example, and there are many, many people praying... it just astounds me! May our great Savior get the glory.

God led me to apply to PA school by closing some doors with jobs and school this spring. I never, ever would have dreamed that this year would find me trying to decide between two excellent Physician Assistant Programs! He also granted me another wonderful blessing I never imagined this year would bring. What grace! However, I must say that if God chooses to take these things away, if He leads me down a different path, then I will choose to be content in that. What I want most in 2012 is to be where He wants me to be.

Happy New Year!

Hannah ;)

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