Mar 2, 2022

Seasoned with Salt - Scripture writing for March

 Hey y'all, Happy almost Spring! 

I know we're almost a month away but with all the warm sun the ground has already begun to produce, even some crocus.  So, it's that time again, time for our next writing schedule. For the month of March we will be copying Scripture that has to do with our communication being seasoned with salt. The Bible says in Colossians 4:6,


"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

Let me tell you, sometimes this is no small task. Some people sure know how to push my buttons and then I have to remind myself that my speech should be seasoned with salt and glorify the Lord. So, this writing schedule is very needed in my life and I'm sure you all could probably use a reminder also. I'm so glad to be writing with you all and praying God will use this month to be a blessing to you and to make us all more like our sweet Savior Jesus.



Feb 22, 2022

My Medial Femoral Condyl Microfracture Knee Surgery Story Part 1 - First 6 weeks

 So, why am I sharing this story with y'all? Well, I needed to read a personal story so I would know what to expect and there just weren't any real, personal stories, so here I am. 

A little back story: I have ridiculously lousy joints; runs in my family. My mom and only brother have the same lousy joints. I’ve had osteoarthritis for many years. (FYI: I’m 48) The problem is that I didn't know just how bad they were until it was too late. If I had known how quickly I would wear them out, I would have done a couple things. 

1. Never run! I used to run several times a week and felt it then but you know the old adage: “No pain, No gain!

2. Maintain a healthy weight. I've always been a fluffy girl with occasional years here and there of being really fit. 

3. Be kind to my body and realize that I'm not a man. I've always prided myself in being able to climb the mountain (literally) faster than anyone, or Lift anything I needed to regardless the weight. It's really a pride thing, I don't like to say, "I can't".

So, hindsight really is 20/20 and I can't go back. Sadly. 

So, it started like this. Last year for my birthday my lover man took me to Krka National Park to see the waterfalls and to do a little hiking. Keep in mind, we were coming off of total Covid lockdowns here in Croatia and we had been completely stationary for several months, which I think had something to do with my injury. 

Now, this section is strictly to throw in a few gratis photos of Krka, keep in mind bad things can happen in beautiful places. 




Now, was it worth it or not?? Okay no it wasn’t but it sure was fun. Anyhoo, at the end of that trip we decided to hike down a mountain to see a waterfall at the base. 


I didn't take a photo from the top of the mountain, but this was almost to the bottom and let me tell ya, totally NOT worth it!

On the way up, I felt a little soreness but that's kinda normal for me. It wasn't until the next day that I couldn't walk, I mean at all. So, I thought that maybe if I let it rest, it would get better but it didn't.

So, I made an appointment for a specialist in the capital, and he said that more than likely it was most likely Jumpers Knee and they suggested physical therapy. I found place close to our town. 

(Just FYI, Croatia has social medicine and the care in many cases, not all, but many isn't the best.)

Anyhow, the only private place I could find around us was on the third floor and no, there wasn't a lift! No kidding! So, I used my crutches and limped up those three flights of stairs twenty-six different times for therapy. Close to the end of my therapy I wasn't getting much better and the therapist said that most likely it wouldn't get any better until I had meniscus surgery. I was in shock. What? Who said anything about a meniscus?? I mean, where did that even come from? So, I went back to the specialist and he said that more than likely I needed surgery for a torn meniscus. I went and got a third MRI, (apparently all MRIs aren't created equal, they all showed something different).  After getting the last MRI my doctor told me that I actually had bone on bone in my knee. I was in shock, I was 47! I mean, isn't that an old lady sickness? Is 47 really old? No! It's not old but my joints sure think it is. 

So, my doctor said I needed microfracture surgery and following the surgery I would be off my leg for a full 6 weeks. I was so ready but in the meantime we had a scheduled trip to the States that couldn't be delayed. So, I headed to my Dr. and he gave me a corticosteroid shot and it did help for a couple months but I was still limited how much I could walk and I couldn't walk on any uneven ground without popping, catching and pain. Also, standing was extremely painful and as missionaries, we spent hours standing and fellowshipping. Sadly, during that time did a lot of excusing myself so I could sit, made me feel really old. 

We headed back home the beginning of December and my surgery was the first part of January.  I'm sitting here blogging about this a day before my 6 weeks is up. Tomorrow is officially 6 weeks for me and I thought to myself, “I've made it this far and someone needs to know what I know. “.

January 11th, I checked into the private hospital and got ready for my surgery that morning. I was quite scared about the whole thing, but the surgery wasn't too bad. This is my scared face! And am I being real here or what? That's a terrible photo!

                                                     

The nurse got me all IV-ed-up and then it was all just a bunch of waiting --- scared waiting, but waiting. 

Then it was go-time, and I was off. The surgery only required a spinal block but I requested something to help me sleep. BTW, the sleepy stuff worked until they actually started drilling the holes and then I woke up, but I still couldn't feel a thing event though the banging was a little disconcerting. 

Btw, this was the third spinal I had ever had and it was the most painful things ever! If it hadn't been for the nurse restraining me, I would have jumped off the table. 

Okay, so some honesty here. The hardest part of my time in the hospital was using the bedpan! I mean it! It was terrible and since I had a roommate and no divider, it was a little embarrassing too. 

Okay back to the important stuff, I had tea and some breakfast and then they brought in the machine in the photo. It was a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine for my knee, looked a little mid-evil torture device-ish to me. 

                          

They strapped me in and off I went. The machine just basically slowly moves your leg back and forth. It can be set anywhere for 0 to 130% and I'll tell you, it's not the most comfortable thing to use.  Start out slow! This thing is priceless when it comes to healing and not getting stiff. Plus, it’s awesome to get to take your leg out of that brace so there’s that. 

                           

Oh, and I'm going to throw this one in just because. My lunch was....delicious, yummy, edible and probaly healthy. 
                                   

I left the hospital in a leg brace that went from my upper thigh to my lower calf; kept my leg completely strait. When I was sitting I would prop my leg up on a pillow. Let me stop here and say: Do not put the pillow under your knee, it needs to be under your foot. One of the things that’s been hard is getting my leg to straiten to the point that my other does and if you keep your knee bent with a pillow it’s going to make it even more difficult. When I had my leg all propped up and stationary, I would loosen the Velcro on the brace and it made it much more enjoyable to sit in that thing 27/7.

                                      

Guess what! I also had to sleep in it! Let me tell you, getting used to sleeping in that bad boy wasn't easy but eventually I forgot it was there. The only real issue I had is that my back hurt alot at night from constantly being on my back. You can roll onto your non-operative leg with your brace on top and supported with a pillow but the little metal ring in the middle kinda gets aggravating after a while.

So, here are my scars after I got my stitches out. It was pleasantly surprised that they were more gross. Below is exactly 6 weeks post-op and my scars and not very noticeable at all. 


So, at this point, I'm gonna stop here and give you a list of things I discovered in the last 6 weeks and maybe they'll calm your mind a little when they happen to you.  

1. Pain is completely normal. I took a pain pill prescribed by the doctor for the first couple days but after that I really didn't need them. There were a few nights as I was just relaxing on the couch, foot elevated, my entire leg just ached, I mean so much that I had to take a pain pill but I think that was only 3 times. 

 

2. Do what the doctor tells you. If he says elevate, then elevate. Ice it per instructions. Don't try to get around too much for the first week. I was a little unstable on my crutches until my arms got used to them --- I actually fell twice so be careful! 

 

3. USE THE CPM machine! That thing is seriously invaluable when it comes to recovering. I read everything I could find and the thought on how often to use it and for how long runs the gamut from 1 hour to 24 hours a day, not kidding. I managed in the beginning to use it several hours a day, mainly at night. I would start out at a very low bend percentage and work up. Don’t attempt to start at 75%, you will regret it. Start small and work up and don’t work past the pain.  Also, I didn’t figure this out until 5 ½ weeks: The leg length on the machine is adjustable. I’m only 5’3 and it was so hard to keep my foot in the little footie place on the machine until I realized that the machine was adjustable. I would suggest that you try to get in at least 3 hours in a day and the more the better. They say to sleep in the thing and believe it or not, it is possible. The movement is so slow and gentle that it you get comfy and warm, it just may fall asleep. We set my machine up on the end of our big sectional so I would be in the living room. Don’t neglect this part. Oh yea, and per my research, it’s normal in the States to be sent home with one of these machines when you leave the hospital.

 

4. Learn to bathe like an old person. We have a step-up shower and so I had to bathe in the tub on one of those old-folk stools. I would sit on the outside edge of the tub and slide back onto the stool leaving my operative leg on the edge of the tub so it didn’t bend. We have a sprayer attached to our shower head so I used that to kinda shower on my old lady seat. It was humiliating but it functioned. 

 

5. Lotion, lotion, and more lotion. Even though I bathed almost every day, my leg got extremely dry. I'm talking about a snowstorm of dry skin when I would take off a sock or leggings. So, this is how you remedy it: I used Gold Bond Healing lotion and I slathered my foot in it, seriously SLATHER, and then I wrapped my foot in cellophane and then put one of those really cozy, fuzzy winter socks over that and left it for at least 5 hours. It actually wasn't as uncomfy as you would think. I took all the junk off and really wiped down my foot and the blizzard was gone. I repeated that twice and didn't have another problem with it. 



5. Dont freak out when you notice that your legs are different colors. Your leg is NOT dying! I don't know why it does that but apparently, after researching it, it's normal. Actually, today is my 6 weeks point and my PT has started me walking with one crutch and it is still a little purple but it's starting to get back a normal shade. 


7. Apparently loss of muscle in your operative leg can cause your legs to actually look different from one another. I normally have large calves, (HATE IT) but it is what it is; I started noticing that my calf in my operative leg was starting to thin out and it kinda worried me and delighted me in a strange way. So don't freak out, it's all normal. 


8. Just because your doctor tells you that you can start walking after 6 weeks, don't think it's going to be instant, unless you're like 20 and buff. I thought I would be able to just set the crutches aside and take off but that isn't the case. Last Thursday my PT told me I could lose the brace, (if I could have, and knew how, I would have broken out in dance), but he allowed me to walk with both crutches and put 20% weight on my leg. Then Monday, he allowed me to walk on one crutch with 50% weight on my leg. I won't lie to you, it's not easy or painless but at least I can carry coffee now! That being said, be patient, you just had a huge surgery --- give your body time to recover. It's better to take it easy than to injure and have to start over. 

 

9. Why do you have to wait 6 or 8 weeks? What determines the time? I asked my PT and he told me that it all depends on the size of the deformity. The larger the area of cartilage and microfracture, the longer it takes for the fibrocartilage to develop and heal. 

 So that's basically it for the first 6 weeks. Yesterday at PT, my guy allowed me to try to walk with one crutch and it actually went really well. By that night, I had some serious stiffness, swelling, and pain but as of this morning that's gone and I'm doing pretty okay. I can tell you thought, it's no walk in the park. It's gonna take time and patience, so buckle-in for a somewhat long ride. 

If you guys have any questions, feel free to comment and I'll do my best to answer you. 

I'll be back in a couple weeks for part two. Good luck y'all!

PART 2

Feb 21, 2022

Buisness/Pleasure trip to the Adriatic.

So a friend on FB recently tagged me in a post with this image in it. She was curious if it was anywhere near us. It was nowhere near us but luckily we had a trip planned south to the Adriatic. 


We actually had a trip planned to go scout out a conference toom to have an upcoming Evangelistic meeting in June so it worked out perfectly. 
On the way down we stopped just of the E71 Hwy to have lunch in a little village; the view was beautiful and peaceful. 


By the time we got into the hotel the view was amazing! The colors in the sky were amazing and even though I've skies like this before, the sea made it even more amazing. 




Let me tell you, staying on the coast off-season is awesome, we got a 5 star hotel room for $40! It was a wonderfully peaceful stay and it came with breakfast! 










The next morning was a little rainy but the view was still amazing. Split is one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia and also home of Deocletians Palace from the turn of the fourth century AD. Interesting fact about Roman Empreor Deocletian: He killed more Christians during hsi reign that Nero did.












The next day we drove up toward Klis to get a bird's-eye view of Split and it was just beautful. Past the city of Split is some of the 1100 islands that belong to Croatia in the Adriatic Sea. 






The next day we decided to travel to the island Bra─Ź and see the Zlatni Rat. We took a ferry across and Split was beautiful from the ferry. 


Once we were on the island the views were amazing even with all the cloud cover. 


Look at that view! The sun shining through the clouds was breath-taking and I took way too many photos!


We fianlly made it to Zlatni Rat and we were not disappinted, a little chilly but totally worth it. To tell you the truth, I'm always amazed by the beauty of Croatia. We've been here 22 years and I'm still amazed. I feel extremely priviledged to be given the chance to live in such an amazing country. 


The tip of Zlatni Rat changes depending on the winds; turning either to the left or right. 


This one is just because I love my huney. 






It was so interesting that all the trees grew up leaning because of the winds. Really cool. 


While we waited for the ferry we walked around Supetar a little and the views we beautiful.



The sunrise the day we left was unbelieveable and such a nice going away present. 


On the way home, back to the norther part of Croatia we met with a little surprise. Apparently it snowed in the mountains while we were at the sea. 






I didn't know a work trip could be so much fun, what a wonderful time we had. 

Feb 11, 2022

February 2022 KJV Scripture Writing List

  I know that we had high expectations that 2022 was going to be better than 2021 and for many of us, it's been even more difficult. I don't have enough fingers to count the friends and family that are dealing with real loss and heartache. For the month of February, we will be writing Scripture that pertains to the thought that, "Joy Comes in the Morning". I know that in my own life and family, heartache seems to be a recurring theme and I could use a reminder to just hang on because joy does come in the morning.

So glad we are writing the Scriptures together!