Holy cow!

There's no such thing as a "holy" cow😮.

Anyway, I'm very (I don't even know the word) crazy scared, worried, frightened, mad, frustrated, wanna pull what little hair I have out.

Time out for a second, I have new hair growth and I'm like so thankful! 🙏🏻🙋🏽

Okay, back to dramatic feelings...yesterday. Wait! Let me give you a little bit of background.

When I became a pancreas transplant candidate at Wake Forest, I asked them to put me in touch with someone that had had the procedure done. I wanted to ask them real questions that the doctors and transplant team couldn't answer. For example, would you do it over again? What was the worst part? Advice they would give me...

They put me in touch with a lovely lady, Erin. She is so positive, loves God and is just amazing all around.

I talk with her almost daily. Sometimes we skip a day in between-here and there. We've met up a couple times and talked and ate together. The kids absolutely love her!

Anyway, yesterday she had to go to the hospital because she felt like she might be getting a kidney stone. It was something far worse.

She had blood clots between her transplanted pancreas and her kidney. This was causing her pancreas enzymes to back up and therefore she was having pancreatitis as well.

I flipped!

My first thoughts were that her body was probably trying to reject the pancreas. This December made two years since she received her amazing gift.

No. This can't be. I know how badly she wanted and needed this. Please God, don't let that be happening, I prayed. I asked everyone I knew to pray.

Have you ever wanted something so bad, your heart hurt and the very thoughts of it were almost too good to be true. Obtaining whatever it is, would definitely be a miracle.

There are times I wonder if I'm even worthy of this transplant. I can not at all imagine wanting it, having it, and then it being taken away.

Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe the feelings I knew she was having. She's human.

Today looks a little brighter. They don't know what's causing the blood clots, but she's not in rejection! Thank the Lord for that!

Of course, some of the thoughts that went through my head were that maybe I shouldn't do it, disappointment and fear.

I'm not afraid though. Im in the hands of a mighty God and have put this situation in His loving hands. All of it. Peace - free and clear in Jesus. Nothing compares.

I wrote this several weeks ago and am just now posting 😝

I have to get this off my chest because it upsets me...terribly! As people, we will always have opposition. I know that and I can handle it, but sometimes the record needs to be set straight....

This is for those that I know that are upset I'm getting a transplant and/or for the person reading this that may be upset that their loved one is getting a transplant...

Regardless of (what I consider) your selfishness and jealousy -yes, I'm thinking of a particular person when using this word; this is not a cure. Lord willing, if I get this transplant, I will just be sliding over from being a Type 1 Diabetic to a transplant patient.

So, instead of having a disease that is slowly (and without a doubt) killing me, I will have an opportunity for my body to "rest" from blood sugars that roll up and down like a roller coaster or look something like a heartbeat monitor.

This means, no more damage will be done because of blood sugars that I can't seem to control no matter how hard I try.

This means, my gastroparesis won't get worse. It won't get better. Nerve cells don't heal, but it won't get worse. Thank the Lord for that!

This means, I will have a less likely chance to go blind, less likely to have stroke(s), less likely to have limbs amputated and a multitude of other terrible things.

Yes, there are risks to the surgery, but if I do nothing, I will be risking just as much-if not more.
I know what you're thinking... Take better care of yourself! Larissa, check your blood sugars more, talk to your Endo more. Eat okra? Cinnamon? Maybe you would also like me to treat myself like they did when diabetes was first discovered-with a starvation diet...? Would you do that? Did you know not eating actually makes your blood sugars go high?

All I'm asking is that you think of how I've fought this for 31 years and sit back and really think about it. Put yourself in my shoes.

My last A1C was 5.8. So, believe me, I work at it.

I'm actually doing quite well for someone that has had it this long. Thank the Lord! The Lord and hard work are the only things that have kept me from not already being in the grave.

I asked God if this was okay. It seems to me like it is with him. Although, I need no one else's permission, it hurts when someone says that I may never get a transplant or it may not be God's will or even that it may be God's will to heal me outright. Yes, that hurts my feelings because I have prayed, and several others have prayed for that for years. Maybe it isn't what will give Him the most glory. That's how I want to live my life...

If God can use me as His vessel in some way, yes, I will be sliced in half. For me, it takes more faith in God to go through a scary surgery than it does for Him to just heal me outright.

Maybe God knew one day this decision would come up and He knew I would love Him and want to be used of Him in a great way.

That might mean I die from this transplant. So be it!

God knows. God is involved and I am merely a vessel to be used by the God that created the universe. Do I want to suffer? No!

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
I don't want anyone, esp people I love, to miss out on that! Use me, Lord!

There are people that need him and if God can manifest himself through me through this transplant...I pray He does!!

So, instead of being worried about you and you being inconvenienced in some way, why don't you pray this works and in the meantime someone can find God?

Can I get an "Amen!"?

Happy 2016! 🎉

Happy New Year! Literally, as I write this, 34 minutes of 2016 is already up. It's ridiculous how quickly time passes.

Although, I don't necessarily make a New Years resolution(s), I daily try to renew from the previous day. So, today being the start of a new year, I'm sorry to say that I'm in the hospital with my mom.

I was sort of hoping to get a call for my transplant last year (mostly because of insurance and deductible purposes) I know it's in God's time and I am about five hours away from Duke.

Although I had a full-blown nightmare last week that I had to have my transplant in WV, I can safely say that IS NOT happening.

Unfortunately though, my mom is the one who is sick. Last Tuesday she complained with a terrible burning in her chest. It was so bad, in fact, she just knew she was dying from a heart attack. Thank God, after many tests, it isn't her heart.

To my surprise, she has been diagnosed with mild pancreatitis. My grandmother (her mother) also had this illness.

There it is again; causing trouble! Crazy pancreas. 🙄
Her liver enzymes are off as well. They will be doing more blood work tomorrow and then (Lord willing) sending her home.

She has asked everyone (literally, even the cleaning lady) to go home.

Ever since I was small, there's always been this superstitious story about New Years: where you are and what you are doing when the clock strikes 12, is what you will be doing most of the year.

Lord willing, my mom will not be in the hospital anymore this year unless it is to be with me for a pancreas transplant. :)

The transplant center has called several times, but to no avail. The last one being on Christmas Day. I'm trusting in God's time!

In the meantime, I am praying for my donor, the circumstances and all involved. All the while, clinging to the hope that God will use me as a vessel to show just how good and mighty He is.

I hope all of you have a blessed, healthy and happy 2016. Get closer to God and everything else will follow.

I want to be like the great Cedars of Lebanon-strong, guided, upheld and nourished by the one true God! The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. The God that sent his son for a ransom. The God whose only begotten son loved me enough to lay His life down. The God who is love!

Schooling at Home

Oh, my word! Sometimes I feel like the biggest failure!

Don't get me wrong, being a homeschool mom can be very rewarding! When you see the lightbulb go off in their little minds when your very own child has learned something otherwise difficult for them because you taught them...just a really amazing thing. Esp when most of the time that happens with other people besides you in a public setting.

There are also set-backs. In my experience, it's hard to switch from mom to teacher in their minds-and sometimes mine.

Something like: Mom likes to joke and play, but the teacher side of her makes me sit down and listen.

Or for me: Right now, I'm Mommy and teacher because you aren't sitting still and listening long enough to finish your work and we are really behind.

My son and daughter are so different. My son is a terrible speller. He loves to read. He reads a lot, but he can't spell to save his life sometimes. He buckles down and does his work though. He knows what he needs to do and he does it.

My daughter- her belly hurts, she's hot, she's cold, she's allergic to pencils, she hates work, her feet are hot, but her body is cold, she can't read (but miraculously can when she wants to). She has any and every excuse in the world. She could write a book on excuses to get out of doing her lessons.

She's work for me. I'm a broken record with her. I can't get her to tie her shoes. We've worked at it. A lot. I've shown her what seems like a trillion times, let her watch YouTube videos, shoe on/shoe off approach. It doesn't matter. She can't.

She's not slow. She just doesn't care. So, we'll keep working on it.

I am so blessed to be able to spend all day with them. No, I don't work outside of the home. So, we don't have the best of the best because we have one income, I'm sickly and it costs to homeschool.

I would much rather not have the best, newest car (yes, I'm embarrassed of our vehicles sometimes) and be able to see my kid's beautiful faces, let Lana have the ability to sing her happy heart out while she works, let Nathaniel practice his violin whenever he wants to during the day.

Homeschooling is sacrifice on some levels: time, money, sanity. Lol. It's also mostly rewarding for the sake of sanity.

I love my kids so much and am so proud of them; so blessed beyond belief to have them! Thank you, Lord, for the two very big, but still so small blessings in my life! ❤️

Dry Run

It started Sunday evening. I felt an amazing burden for my donor. I was very anxious for them. I don't like thinking about someone suffering. Especially someone who is possibly saving my life/making it better.

To the hero that was almost my donor,
Although I don't speak up a lot at my church with prayer requests, I requested prayer for you...your family. Earnestly feeling rushed to pray. NOW. Holding back a flood of tears; I prayed for you.

Whoever you are, young person, are you ready to meet the Lord? Next week is Thanksgiving. Christmas is something like five weeks away. Your family will have a hard holiday without you.

Did you decide to donate part of your life? Was it your wishes to help me? To help many? Or was it your family? Did they still want to know you lived on in others? Either way, you're amazing.

What happened? You more than likely have an irreversible, traumatic brain injury. Were you not wearing your seatbelt? Were you on your cellphone? Did you have a brain tumor?
Love, you're not alone.

Please help them not to suffer, God. Please!?


I called my pre-transplant coordinator Monday morning at around 9 am with a simple question.... Would I have enough time to get my kids to the family they would be staying with after they called me with an offer?

Whenever she got on the phone she said, "I can't believe you called me! I was literally freaked out when they said you were on the phone. I was just getting ready to call you with an offer!" Me: "What?!" Erratic at first, but then calmly and jokingly I said, "I knew." Her: "Yep! This is the real thing! I'm offering you a pancreas."

Quickly in my head, "Lord, are you okay with this?"
I felt good about it.

She proceeded to explain I was second on the list and could easily become the primary. I would have to wait for the test results of the other person and mine to see if we matched the donor.

I called one of the lovely families who so unselfishly agreed to do whatever I needed when the call came. I told them to be ready.
Second call: husband
Third call: mom
Fourth: friend who promised to be there with me. I need her with me. She's the best!
Fifth: sent out a bunch of texts to people who wanted to know.

Then, lots of preparing and waiting now.
With everyone packed, house cleaned, laundry almost done, I was exhausted. I laid down for a nap.

I couldn't sleep. At a little after 5 pm, Duke called again. I had become primary. I knew I would. I wasn't surprised. It was meant to be!

After dropping the kids off with the family; saying I love you's and reassuring myself I would see them again, we were on our way.

Crazy driving through traffic and all, we got to admissions around 8:15 pm. I was admitted and escorted to OR prep area.
They wanted to take me in a wheelchair. Reluctantly, they let me walk. ;)

I thought it might be the last time I walked normal for awhile.

Got there, put my gown on, answered a load of questions, got blood taken, temperature (temporal 99.1), got an IV, EKG and recited 2 Timothy 1:7 a hundred times.

By that time, my friend was there! Thank God! I love her. She had already driven three hours to Raleigh, three hours back home and then three hours back to Raleigh. I hated that I had asked her to come. She needed rest.

The Rad Technician came in to take me to get a chest X-Ray.

I came back to the room, Pastor and wife came in to pray with me. The nurse had said it could be eight hours to two days. Wow! I had no idea. They left to try to rest. They needed it. Bless.

A silent prayer, "please don't let them suffer for two days."

After a long, sleepless, prayerful night, at around 5 am the anesthesiologist came in to check me out, ask questions, and let me know surgery was scheduled for 8 am.

Three more hours of praying. I was getting really foggy headed now. I did fall asleep a couple times Thank the Lord, but was woken up by the slightest noise: snoring, laughter, doors opening and closing, having to get up and use the restroom, blood pressure beeping (it was high all night). It got down to 125/74 one time. I was thankful for that!

Found out my A1C was 5.8. Wow! Really? Lol

I was going to get four meds for my stomach. Because I have gastroparesis, of child bearing age, and had thrown up after a procedure before.

At 7:45, I got up to use the restroom for what I thought would be one last time. I came out and though the crack in the curtain, I saw the surgeon. I knew it was him. He was preparing himself. He was adjusting his clothes, breathing in and out hard, looking at the floor... He looked up and saw me.
He looked down again and before entering the room, he said, "You must be Larissa."
"Yep. That's me."
He came in slowly. He looked at me. Looked at Chris. Put his hands together. I knew from his demeanor that something was up.
"Well, when the surgeon was getting out the liver, he slashed the connector on the pancreas and it isn't useable..."
He went on the explain further, but my brain had already flatlined.
I didn't hear anything else until he said, "We'll get you discharged quickly. It was nice meeting you." It was hard on him too.

Bless the transplant surgeon, Lord. They are under a lot of pressure.

It was a dry run this time. God has a plan and purpose...

Hungry, thirsty and sleep deprived, we made it through the hallways to the parking garage. We got lost once and asked for directions. I walked.

Chris, "I would get totally lost if you hadn't walked with me." I moved through the hallways aimlessly. I have to idea how I knew where to go.

My mind ran away with itself: I'm not supposed to be here. I'm supposed to be in surgery. Maybe I was wrong. God doesn't want me at Duke. God doesn't want me to get a transplant. I misread Him. My relationship isn't what I thought it was. It felt so right. That's it! Everything happened too perfect. I should have known! I've failed God! God, what do I do now? Wait! I told God to use me. Maybe He did in a way I'll never know. Shut up, mind!

My thoughts were interrupted by food, drink, then a lot tears, then beautiful sleep. I needed all of it.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

I can't really describe the feeling. It's like someone calling you and saying they're going to give you something really fantastic (a million dollars, a brand new house, a healing...) if you do this, this, and this. You do it all and when you go to collect, they say they can't. There's anticipation, anxiety, worry, dread, happiness...let down.

Maybe I'm odd, but the question popped into my head again about that particular donor. Either them or their family wanted them to do this selfless thing and they couldn't. At least their pancreas couldn't. I have every hope that their other organs (especially that liver!) lives on.

God, please bless:
Organ donors
Their families
Transplant surgeons
Doctors who support transplants
Transplant nurses
UNOS
The recipient

Heaven doesn't need organs, I heard someone say once on a Donate Life ad. So true!

Are you an organ donor?
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HuKx2a5HkIM

UNOS:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tQtEbH40yYU

This too is the day the Lord has made!

What a busy day! Had a lot to do and little time to do it. ;)

I did, however-amongst everything else, find out I'm now active on the transplant list!

My emotions are very mixed. I'm excited, scared, nervous, praying, trying to stay positive, frustrated and plain tired.

There are some situations that I don't understand. I could possibly be a better person after this surgery. Wow! The possibilities are endless. To even think about feeling good amazes me. I never feel good. Keeping blood sugars in control along with gastroparesis is difficult. Sometimes I eat things I shouldn't. I always want to be honest. I never ever overindulge in things I shouldn't have-due to diabetes or gastroparesis. There are rules and guidelines for a reason...

I do have some great support! I'm so thankful for those that are willing to help with the kids or help me after I come home. Some have already went above and beyond. I pray they are blessed abundantly! Thank God for people like that!

There are those too that aren't supportive...they don't have to live the life I do everyday. As long as God's good with it, I don't need approval from anyone else, but their actions (or lack thereof) are none-the-less hurtful.

Two of the best friends...

My first bf is my Animas Ping insulin pump. He's blue, so logically, he's a boy. He's so mysterious, in fact, he doesn't have a name. I've only scratched the surface of his abilities and talents. I literally could not live without him! He's constant. I'm thankful for that. Sometimes a big pain, especially when I have to hide him because he makes my clothes not fit right. He sometimes hides in the MOST inopportune places. I put up with that because most of the time he's a life-saver!

My second bf is my CGM (continuous glucose monitor). She's pink. She calls herself G4. What kind of name is that? She's super modern! She's saved my life a couple of times. We aren't as close as the Ping (maybe this should be his name). She has failed me a few times. Her advice isn't always good and she has mislead me a few times. Of course, I forgive her, but she's rather disconnected and sometimes so much so, I've gotten in trouble because of it.
One time, in fact, she just went off somewhere without me while I was asleep. She never sleeps, but she usually stays close by. Don't tell her this, but I believe she thinks I take her for granted. Maybe I do sometimes!

They're always with me; true constant companions. Yes, sometimes they cause joy and sometimes pain, but I truly could not live the life I do without them. Therefore, through their quirks and misgivings, they forgive me for mine and just go about their business-keeping me alive and as healthy as possible!

Sweet November

I'm sick. Besides the everyday, I have some kind of stomach virus. I guess I should never go out in public. If I'm around it, I'll get it. No matter how much a sanitize, or how much distance I keep. It's okay though! It could be so much worse and hopefully, it will be over soon. :)

A lot has happened since my last post. First, I did get accepted by Duke for the transplant. There were times that I was a little worried, but I really feel that this is the place it needs to happen. Therefore, I wasn't super surprised they accepted me as a candidate.

If I haven't said it before...I literally have put this whole process in God's control. Whatever his will is, I want to do!
I'll be glad when it's over though if/when it happens. I'm sort of burned out on being on edge all the time about it.

Also, we started a Go Fund Me (http://m.gofund.me/LarissaElaine). It's at a $15,000 limit for my medical expenses due to transplant. Duke advised us to do some sort of fundraiser.

The kindness that people have shown already is just mind blowing. I pray God blesses each one! We have raised almost $300 in a week. Fifteen thousand dollars is a whole lot of money, but my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. It's nothing to him and I know no matter what, I can say he's in control. That's such a good, safe feeling!

Several people I graduated High School with have donated already. I was really surprised about that. I was always so quiet. Didn't have a whole lot of friends. I talked to about everybody, but they always had to talk to me first. Lol

Anyway, there's the fact that I'll probably be having surgery in the busiest and most stressful time of the year-during the holidays!
I say probably because I thought this would have happened a long time ago. A. Long. Time. Ago!

Again though, it's in God's time. Who knows when it will actually happen? I thought it would be done and over with by now by months!

November is busy in general. Mooch turns 11 this month! 11??

November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. The walks are normally this month and a lot of hospitals do free screenings. Did you know a lot of people have diabetes, but don't even know!?

Other happenings in November: my brother's birthday, Thanksgiving!!, National Adoption Month (awesome!), of course Election Day was yesterday (Very thankful for the privilege to vote!), and the Snoopy movie comes out! I'm really hoping Charlie Brown can come up with the courage to talk to the little, red-haired girl! ;)

Different subject (sort of):
I've mentioned this before, a little, but I'm really happy that if this pretty major surgery happens that I will be going to Duke. I just feel better there. I've been there a few times, have a doctor there already, and just feel like this is where God would have me to go.

I mean, honestly, this is going to be a long-term relationship with a medical center of sorts and if I have to have a long-term relationship with a medical center, I want to at least like it. Therefore, Duke is Duke! Why would I choose a Chevy when I could have a BMW?

Lol! Sounds logical, right? ;)

If you are reading this, I hope you're doing good! What do you think about it already being November, KELBY!? lol You're the only one that reads this! Lol

Duke!

A lot has happened since my last post, but I did find out yesterday that the transplant team at Duke thinks I would be a great candidate for a pancreas transplant! I am so happy!

Anyway, getting ready for this transplant has taken a good bit of time. Moving in the midst of it didn't help, but it has given me the opportunity to purge. I truly have gotten rid of a lot of unnecessary things. Feels good!

If I haven't mentioned already, I homeschool my two sweethearts. My son is 10 and is in fifth grade. Such a good boy! He follows all the rules and makes sure everyone else does too! ;) He is so precious, kind-hearted and thoughtful.

My daughter is seven and hates working. Period. The funniest thing to happen so far this year (she's in second grade) is for her to tell me she's allergic to pencils. I love her! Lol. She's so lively! She keeps me hopping and I wouldn't have it any other way. Well...I could handle her listening a little better and a little more often. A work in progress! Aren't we all?

They are pretty set in school for the year. My boy has dug his heels in and knows what he needs to do.

Lana needs help constantly, but things are still pretty easy and she catches on most of the time pretty quick. We just continue to work on things when she doesn't.

The apartment is slowly getting to where we can be comfortable - for the time being. I can't say I will miss this place when we do move, but it's quaint and who needs a big place anyway? Just more to clean!

My mom is slowly setting her house up for winter and getting ready to come down here to help me on and off during the cold. She's the best mom ever!

I'm not currently active on the list because finacial/ insurance has to be approved. We also have to set up a Go Fund Me for the medical expenses insurance doesn't cover. I really hate to have to do that, but transplant recommends it and I really think it's a need at this point.

Although I want this to happen in God's time, I'll be happy when it's over. Not looking forward to pain, possible serious complications, and having others wait on me! I hate inconveniencing people! But I have some really awesome people in my life. I mean words can't describe how much I love and appreciate every single one! Everything good comes from the Lord and they are definitively a God-sent! <3

I Hate My Pancreas

My pancreas is stupid. I hate it. I know it still makes enzymes, but it doesn't make insulin. In all fairness and reality, my pancreas was a weakling and it succumbed to my body killing it - one cell at a time. Oh! So sad. So tragic.
Anyway, my blood sugars have been so erratic lately. Not sure why, but then again, I rarely know why. Stress? Excitement!? God may allow me to get another pancreas! Oh. My. Goodness! Move over useless piece of jelly! (Dr. E from my safe place [intentionally using cryptic language. It's way more fun!] said a pancreas is fragile and weak. The surgeons have to use extra care in transportation and preparation with a pancreas, opposed to other more stable organs.
I always knew my pancreas was a jerk. ;)
I would love to tell you more about my visit to my safe place (I like that name and will continue to use it for awhile), but just can't...
Anyway...more later!
Happy Weekend! :D