Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fighting anxiety and MRI preparation

Victoria returned to horse riding on Monday this week at the Riding for the Disabled Centre at Raymond Terrace. Alexandra was with us too. Together the girls had fun warming up on the barrel horse, accompanied by Mr Care Bear. Victoria had a fantastic riding session, complete with the 'fist pump' when she completed the slalom exercise around the poles. It is so good to see her participating in a physical activity that she can do so well and enjoy. 

This is such a contrast to what we experienced during the last week of school holidays when Victoria was unwell. For four days she barely ate, seemed overcome with tiredness and of course had high temps which required a hospital visit.

Whilst we are pretty sure that it was just a common virus causing the illness, these type of events are certainly not helpful to our emotional state so close to Victoria's impending MRI. We have certainly noticed a pattern over the years that our anxiety levels increase as each MRI draws closer, particularly in the final 2 weeks. It is such a mental battle to stay strong and positive at this time. Prayer of course is always a help to reduce the anxiety, as is plenty of quality rest, and not too many goings-on around the home (which can be difficult to avoid!). And of course, for me, delving more into God's word, as this scripture so aptly reminds us to do ....

For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope. Romans 15:4 (AMP)

In fact, it is the word 'endurance' that God has asked me to do a scripture study on. So I may well be sharing more 'endurance' scriptures with you over the coming weeks!

Thankfully this week, Victoria is back to her fun loving, energetic self, as you can see by the horse riding photo. So we are now in preparation mode for the MRI next week. We have been searching You Tube for videos to show Victoria what the experience will be like without having a general anesthetic. 

We have found some fascinating videos focusing just on the sounds of the machine ... click here to listen to the sounds recorded by Erim Kaska. The children so enjoyed listening to it, they started dancing (well, actually stomping) around the room to what sounded like Industrial style music.I had to say to Victoria, you know you won't be able to dance in the MRI machine!

We also found lots of helpful videos with technicians explaining and showing children the entire procedure, including the interesting helmet Victoria will have to wear. It has a mirror on it so Victoria can what a movie during the procedure. Click here to view one of them. After all this preparation, and the bribe of a new beanie kid if she is able to do the MRI without the GA, Victoria is now quite excited about having yet another new experience.

Please pray that Victoria remains excited about the MRI without the GA, and that she can indeed stay as 'still as a statue' for the entire MRI. We will get the results on 15th May, and are believing that they will be very good!

On a slightly different note, I have just finished reading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It describes Ann's journey of moving from a hardened heart derived from major life traumas to a thankful heart that can see God's goodness in everything.  Here is an excerpt regarding her thoughts on Trauma and God. I found it quite insightful and hope you do too.

"Trauma’s storm can mask the Christ and feelings can lie. I draw all the hurting voices close and I touch their scars with a whisper: sometimes we don’t fully see that in Christ, because of Christ, through Christ, He does give us all things good – until we have the perspective of years.

In time, years, dust settles.

In memory, ages, God emerges.

Then when we look back, we see God’s back

Wasn’t that too His way with Moses? ‘When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back” (Exodus 33:22-23 NIV)

Is that it? When it gets dark, it’s only because God has tucked me in a cleft of the rock, and covered me, protected with His hand? In the pitch, I feel like I’m falling , sense the bridge giving way, God long absent.  In the dark, the bridge and my world shakes, cracking dreams. But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and my world shakes not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is closest at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake. Then He will remove His hand. Then we will look.

Then we look back and see His back.

I look in my rearview mirror. The bridge I cross on the way to the chapel has fallen behind the hills. I can still see, in memory, the river’s winding light, mirror on moving water.
God reveals Himself in rear-view mirrors.

And I’ve an inkling that there are times when we need to drive a long, long distance, before we can look back and see God’s back in the rearview mirror.

Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven – that kind of distance."

Excerpt from pages 156 and 157

Thank you again for upholding Victoria and our family in prayer. We look forward to sharing some great results with you in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15th April 2014

Loop the Lake finish line, March 2014. And no, we didn't ride the 85 km around the lake! Jenny and I did the 16km route, whilst Ken and the kids joined in at Warner's Bay. For those of you who read this blog and don't live locally, Loop the Lake is an event organised by the Rotary Club of Warner's Bay, raising money for the John Hunter Children's Hospital. A great hospital, but a place we have spent too much time in!

Aside from the smiling faces this picture shows, to me this picture also represents the restoration of our family. A picture of our family now being able to get out into the community, participating in an event as a whole family.

It is 6 months since Victoria finished treatment and it feels like our lives are only just beginning to open up again, moving out of survival mode. Each child now has an out-of-school activity that they are enjoying, gaining skill and confidence in. Whilst Victoria was on treatment we ceased most activities due to the physical logistics and emotional strength and organisation required to get 4 children to where they needed to be with the equipment they needed. 

I praise God for this time of restoration. Emotional restoration within each member of our family. Relational restoration between each member of our family. God has been so faithful in showering us with love and grace throughout this journey. Psalm 63:1-8 provides a reflection on moving from surviving to fully living.

O GOD You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is, so I have looked upon You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory. 

Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. So will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips when I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches. For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.

Whilst Victoria is not having treatment, there continues to be hospital visits for physiotherapy and occupational therapy. During last few appointments we have been told of more physical impacts that are likely to provide significant challenges for Victoria as she grows.  Without going into too much detail, (Victoria herself is not fully aware of this news) this has been very distressing news to receive. 

The day after one of these appointments, when I finally had time to sit with God and process what we had been told, I started to write in my prayer journal. And guess what the scripture in the journal was on that very page that I was writing on .... amidst the tears, this is what I read... But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. Matthew 19:26 I read this scripture out aloud, over and over, replacing the words I had heard at the hospital, with the truth of God's word. More tears came through out the day, many fell on the helpful shoulder of a friend! However by the end of the day, God's truth was firmly in my heart, and a smile back on my face.

So coming back to the theme of restoration, we want to see full restoration of Victoria's physical body. Please stand with us as we claim full healing over Victoria's body ... Acts 3:16 states exactly what we want to see .... And His name, through and by faith in His name has made Victoria whom you see and recognize well and strong. [Yes] the faith which is through and by Him [Jesus] has given Victoria this perfect soundness [of body] before all of you.

Being Easter this week, if you want to read more about what was happening in Acts chapter 3 and the healing and restoring power of Jesus, click on this link to my Wendy A God Girl blog. This time of restoration is allowing me to update this blog more regularly now, at least twice a week. If you want to know when I have put up a new post on the God Girl blog, write your email address in the 'Follow by email' box on the right hand side of the screen. You will get an automated email notification when an update is published.

Victoria's next scan is 6th May. Victoria is going to attempt to have the MRI without having a general anesthetic. Please pray that she will be calm and able to stay completely still for the 20 minutes required to do the brain scan. And of course, please pray that the scan will show good results.

Many thanks again for standing with us in prayer and encouraging us along the way. Happy Easter.