August 9, 2012 4:31 PM
Update: stuck physically, mentally, emotionallyI haven't shared an update recently, so thought I should. Step by step, I am getting better - literally - as far as my broken ankle goes. I learned to go up and down stairs, got rid of the walker and hospital bed. Now am without my walking boot at home, where I tend to go barefoot. I still have to wear it when I go out, however, as I cannot get any shoes on my left foot.
Though the broken bone is now completely healed, I am still dealing with the very real threat of a clot in my left calf, which is keeping my leg and foot swollen. Originally discovered when I got home from California and treated with blood thinners, the blood thinners caused problems - a hematoma in my abdomen - and I had to stop taking them. While in the hospital, they inserted a filter of some kind to prevent any breakaway clots from traveling to my lungs, which can be fatal.
I'm now in some kind of weird limbo while we figure out what to do next. I saw a hematologist today. The hematoma is still there, but considerably reduced, but she says we have to weigh everything before starting the blood thinners again - which needs to be done. She referred me to a PT who specializes in wounds and lymphedema, who I've since learned is on vacation until Monday and has a waiting list.
I've been trying to write my book, taking frequent breaks to elevate my leg as it gets swollen pretty quickly. I've been blessed that Maddy and Matt have been keeping up with the house and with their four brothers. I honestly don't know what I would be doing were it not for them.
I'll be honest. I'm really struggling with feelings of despair and depression - made all the worse when I realize how small my problems are compared to those of others. I feel so wrong and inadequate, like I should be rising above this and being a good example. But, honestly, I'm just not there.
I really need your prayers - not just for physical healing but that God would strengthen my character so I could be more useful. Last night my computer shut off and would not turn on no matter what I tried. I broke down like a baby - facing another obstacle in what has seemed like an endless stream. Matt was able to diagnose the problem over the phone and with Maddy to get it up and running again, but it just showed how little it takes to push me over the edge.
I prefer writing after I've solved any issues I'm going through - from a position of strength rather than weakness - but I'm desperate now for spiritual help. Please pray for me to have a better perspective. I know one problem is that I do like to be of service and right now I just can't be. All I have is my writing and I'm worried that I won't be able to complete my book on time or that it will not be any good. It's not my ego that's at stake, but the fact that my prayer as a writer has always been that I not waste the time God has given me.
I try not to focus on it, but I also worry about this clot and the threat it poses and the fact that we're at an impasse right now in treating it.
So there you have it, right from the heart. Not prettied up with the spiritual bow tied around it, but still in process. I need your prayers.
Now back to work.
I'm so very sorry you are struggling with all the unseen obstacles being thrown your way. I am praying for you. I wouldn't mind visiting you if you are up for it. I know you have a lot of help now, but will that change soon with school starting? Let me know if there is anything I can do. I'm here to help...even if it means just bringing you a tasty lunch. :) Hugs....Wendy W.
Posted by: Wendy | August 9, 2012 5:27 PM
I understand and am praying for the Lord to carry you.
Posted by: Trish Garvis | August 9, 2012 5:47 PM
Barbara - I'm am praying, and will be praying very specifically now. Thank you for sharing! Please know, though, that God is using this time! You will come through this stronger!
Posted by: Shannon M | August 9, 2012 5:53 PM
Oh, Barbara, I'm so used to you motivating me, it's nice to have the chance to hopefully give back and write something that might be uplifting, so here goes. By St.Teresa (of Avila, I think): Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you. All things are passing.God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices. I keep this on my bulletin board. I need to be reminded of how to help myself when I am down and one thing you could do is read a short book of the Bible in the New Testament like James or Ephesians. Flipping through, I saw many passages to console you like: Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. (Colossians 3)Resist the devil and he will flee. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. (James 4) And lastly, I'm just remembering this; it is one of my favorite helps ever....written by Fr.Paul O'Sullivan called Suffering. It is on the internet. It tells why we suffer and most important, how to suffer well. Unite all of your sufferings to Christ on the cross, nothing is a waste. I will offer my rosary for you and your family tonight. You are such a good internet friend to me. When I am in a position that is uncomfortable to me, I have been recently trying to figure out what God is trying to teach me instead of focusing on the pain.
Posted by: Lela | August 9, 2012 6:00 PM
Dear Barbara, I decided to check your website out for a minute and I am so glad I did! Yes, I would love to offer you up in prayer! It is okay to have feelings like you do, after all, you are human. :). I find that the best part about being Catholic is our understanding of offering up our sufferings in union with the Passion of Jesus Christ on the cross. When we feel so weak that we can hardly pray, then our suffering is truly united with Christ's suffering and our suffering is salvific for the world. I have read this so often from the writings of the Saints and Mother Angelica of EWTN. She says when we do this, especially when we can't do anything else, then we are really doing the work of God. It is so precious to suffer, so many saints say, because in heaven we cannot suffer anymore and suffering for/with Christ is more powerful for the salvation of souls than anything else. Such comforting truth! I will pray for your healing and Perseverence and Trust in God.
Posted by: Julie | August 9, 2012 7:04 PM
Prayers for you!
Posted by: Maggie | August 9, 2012 7:22 PM
There are words of wisdom in the comments before mine so I will just say that we are praying for you and your needs, Barbara. It helps me much to know when others are praying for me; it keeps me from feeling so alone. I know God is holding you in the palm of His hand. Peace.
Posted by: karen | August 9, 2012 7:26 PM
I will pray. Convalescence is hard. One simple thing that helped me when I was ill and housebound was to get outside at least 15 minutes a day for sunlight. Being inside causes depression, just like people who are in the Arctic get depressed in winter due to lack of light. Pain meds cause it too. You are an encouragement and inspiration to me - adopting a special needs kid at 40 was scary to me but we did it anyways at the Lord's calling. Finding your story was an encouragement three years ago, and have been hanging around here ever since. May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you peace.
Posted by: Sue | August 9, 2012 7:46 PM
Barbara ~ Please know that you are in my prayers...if there is anything you need - anything at all, I am here for you and your family. You are a strong person with a strong faith in the Holy Spirit...God loves you more than you can ever know! He is with you always. Always.
Posted by: wendy | August 9, 2012 7:56 PM
Barbara, I truly appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. One prayer that I'm sending up for you is that God will show you that it is okay not to operate from a place of strength--that it's okay to be weak. In fact, I think that is exactly where He wants us somethings, because "weak" is where we have no choice but to lean on Him.
I so relate to your thought that other people have bigger problems than yours. One of the many things that God has taught me over the past few years is that we do ourselves a disservice when we compare our stresses to others' and declare our problems small. Sure, sometimes we need to look at what other people are going through and stop whining. But then there are times when we need to give ourselves permission to say, "God, this is so hard and has been dragging out for way too long and, forgive me but, I'm so sick of it!" I find that little things send me over the edge when I am trying too hard to hold it together :).
What a gift your kids are! I know God is teaching them many valuable things through this, and at an age when, as young men and women, they can easily become self-absorbed and so focused on their goals and independence that they don't even see their parents' needs.
I look forward to your next update and what God will do in the coming weeks.
Posted by: Jeanette | August 9, 2012 8:18 PM
I will be praying earnestly for you during adoration tonight.
Posted by: Kerri | August 9, 2012 8:44 PM
So many words of wisdom here already, I'll just add my prayers.
Posted by: Thia | August 9, 2012 8:59 PM
Count me in Barbara, I will remember you and your intentions at my holy hour tomorrow. (((Barbara)))
Posted by: Tammy | August 9, 2012 10:22 PM
Thank you, Barbara, for your honesty which is Christlike. One of my favorite mysteries of the Rosary is The Agony in the Garden where Christ said: My soul is sorrowful unto death. Those are the words of a Savior who gets it - who understands suffering and even begged to be delivered from it.
The practical Bible verse that helps when I panic or feel overwhelmed is where Jesus says to think only of today and not tomorrow. Sometimes I've broken it down and focused only on the next hour. Satan is always whispering in our ear such horrible what-ifs. Christ never does.
You might dig out a book I sent your husband when he was recouping from knee surgery...If you still have it. The book is Father Walter Ciszek's He Leadeth Me. Father has helped me so much to carry my crosses by being so honest, vulnerable and not preachy about his own sufferings as a prisoner in Siberia.
I think of you so often and I will keep praying for you and your intentions.
Posted by: Judy | August 9, 2012 10:32 PM
Praying for you! When I am down, this song by 1,000 Generations called "Fail Us Not" serves to remind me that I am held by the One who will never leave me:
Posted by: Chrissy | August 9, 2012 10:55 PM
Barbara, This may sound dumb, but I really really like how you write. Even how you write when you are feeling low. May His strength continue to be seen in our weakness. Jesus shines brilliantly in You. I appreciate your life very much. And, I am praying for you. Love, Linda
Posted by: Linda | August 9, 2012 11:31 PM
I also face mild depression when I've been ill and bed-ridden. Here is what I do: Grab a 16 oz. bottle of water and chug it down. Usually I'm slightly dehydrated and this is a great pick-me-up. Then I lay on my bed (with my feet propped up) and challenge someone to a game of cards that we play on a tray or cookie sheet. After an hour of brain-challenging strategy, I darken the room for a good, long nap.
The world looks brighter, and the gray clouds have cleared. You're in my prayers!
Posted by: Marie | August 9, 2012 11:32 PM
Many prayers being sent up for you, both that you be healed, and also that you be sent grace in this suffering you are undergoing. God will never abandon you, and neither will those of us who are praying for you.
Posted by: melissa | August 10, 2012 12:13 AM
Oh, Barbara, you ARE being of service even now. Your honesty makes me feel more normal and natural. I too always want to come from a place of having it all figured out so I can offer help to others, but sometimes we are just not there. And knowing that other people, even those who have a strong character and personality, struggle too, is a wonderful gift to people. Brene Brown has a book about the value of vulnerability and after reading it I feel more struck by how powerfully we connect with those who let others see they aren't always perfect. All best to you.
Posted by: Genevieve | August 10, 2012 12:48 AM
Praying for you! Thanks for sharing your struggles with your internet family. We all love you so much.
Your current suffering reminds of a little book called "Lessons from the Cross" by a priest who was stricken with cancer at a young age. This holy priest kept worrying that he couldn't accomplish great works for the Lord while dealing with his illness. The Lord lovingly, patiently revealed to him that the cross of cancer WAS the work assigned to him. The story of his struggle, and ultimate surrender to God, has helped countless others. If I still have it, I would like to send it to you - do you have a PO box where friends can send cards, etc?
God bless you!
Posted by: Anne | August 10, 2012 1:16 AM
I will pray for you. Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate how you are always real, which I find much more inspiring than the blogs were people always pretend they are perfect.
Posted by: Sarah | August 10, 2012 7:20 AM
Are you kidding? Don't you read your own blog?????? You are the most amazing mom I know, Barbara. You have a million kids, with the most amazing lives. You have published lots of books already. You travel. You have friends and admirers all over the planet. Your life is always so much more interesting than mine! Your readers just love you to bits and admire you from afar.
I remember the 'moving story' not that long ago. I honestly don't know how you pulled it off. But you did.
You will survive this disaster, too, Barbara. I pray for you all the time, especially when things are quiet on your blog. I know you are up to something then.
Please get better. Stay focused on your precious health.
You know that your readers are praying, Barbara. WE LOVE YOU!
Posted by: Kathie in Canada | August 10, 2012 7:33 AM
Praying the Lord helps you through these very real and scary trials.
Posted by: Lily | August 10, 2012 10:04 AM
I really appreciate your transparency.... There are times in our lives when the path gets very rocky and we need others to lift us up in prayer. This can be a time when we realize how truly blessed we are to have so many people who care about us. You have a lot of friends who care about you and will be happy to lift you up in prayer during this bump in the road. I will pray that this is a short-lived trial, and that you will be back on your feet *fully* very soon.
Posted by: Lisa | August 10, 2012 11:42 AM
oh, my goodness. Just when I am feeling at my most unlikeable, my friends rush in to remind me they care anyway. Thank you so much.
I know I haven't met most of you in person, but there are so many I have known for so long - through comments here and at facebook - and email correspondence. I am blessed and consider these friendships very real. I am grateful for the internet, which I feel God uses to help us find a community of friends.
Thank you so much for picking me up when I am down and pointing me - as always - to Our Savior. I am printing out all these comments. Put on one of Tripp's compression socks today and it is helping. Also researching some natural remedies for clots. I'm resolved to go out and walk the length of our driveway every couple hours, drink more water, and look up the books you all have recommended.
I will count my blessings - including this place to share with and hear from you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Posted by: barbara | August 10, 2012 11:51 AM
Barbara, Thanks for sharing with us. You do a service to us by making us feel like we are not alone in our sufferings, and especially when we are getting really down from everything. We can spend more time in prayer, too, by including you in our prayers. ;)
Posted by: Karen | August 10, 2012 2:31 PM
Hi barbara, a friend of mine had many heavy crosses: spousal suicide, cancer, very serious car accident, etc. I asked her how do you do it? She said, "There is a resurrection after every Calvary in our lives. Look for the resurrection.".
Praying for you!
Posted by: Mary | August 10, 2012 2:48 PM
Jumping in a little late... prayers for you, and I second all the good suggestions above (I feel like I should print them out, too!). You are doing so well! Please, please don't minimize what you are going thru, compared to others! Our crosses are crafted very expertly, just for us. But I know that "edge" very well, and from there it is hard not to worry. But when we are weak, that is truly when we are strong... it's just so hard to see it, to let go of the command we want over things. It's going to be His strength, not ours.
Posted by: Kate J | August 10, 2012 3:27 PM
Praying for you, Barbara. Everyone has said all the things I would like to have said, so I will keep quiet and pray . . .
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Posted by: Kathy | August 11, 2012 12:11 AM
Praying for you to be restored to full health mentally and physically.
Posted by: Sara | August 11, 2012 9:07 AM
Dear sweet Barbara,
I've just come to my computer for the first time in many days to read this. When I would sporatically check your site, and didn't see an update I had hoped that no news meant that you were doing well.
I am so sorry! I will continue to pray.
We are living our own set of challenges at my house this summer, but I am well past due to e-mail you about a few things and will do so later today (but probably tomorrow :-) ).
I'm praying for your strength!
Posted by: von | August 11, 2012 3:39 PM
p.s. Love your honesty in this. This IS a witness and testimony to all of us.
Posted by: von | August 11, 2012 3:42 PM
We ALL have our spiritual darkness times. When we may not feel God's presence, but He is there. While you may think that your writing will not be finished on time, or of high enough quality, I believe that the Holy Spirit will fill in any "human" errors or gaps. Just ask Him for guidance each time before you sit down to write. We are all greatly anticipating your new book, and are sure to be wowed by it!
Posted by: Carolyn | August 13, 2012 2:35 PM
I was diagnosed with a DVT in my popiteal vein and calf about 4 weeks ago. I've been through vscular surgery 3 weeks ago and I'm also on anticoagulants for at least 5 more months. I had given up my normal job and gone to medical school where I'm in my 4th year. If I can help in any way please feel free to contact me. I'll definitely remember you and prayer. God Bless you. Kevin Hanley
Posted by: Kevin Hanley | August 13, 2012 8:13 PM
Dear Barbara, I will be praying for you. My heart was heavy for you as I read all that you are going through. Thank you for sharing.
Posted by: Jenn | August 13, 2012 11:20 PM
Praying for you! You always inspire ME. Hang in there lady.
Posted by: Laura Suer | August 15, 2012 12:19 PM
I am so sorry to read about the challenges you have been through recently. I will definitely pray for you. Please know that taking care of yourself is really important right now. So don't feel guilty. Just rest in the fact that your family loves you, many people love you, and most of all God loves you. God has used you many times to encourage me, so now I hope I can encourage you today. May you heal quickly. Can't wait to read your new book!
Posted by: Debbie | August 16, 2012 12:21 AM
Hey, Momma C! Perhaps God is calling you to write this book from a place of weakness instead of strength, so that His strength will be perfect in your weakness. Love and prayers for you!
Posted by: Becky Miller | August 17, 2012 10:39 AM