Counting Blessings

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Every November it seems that Facebook is lit up with statuses where people are counting their blessings. I must confess, I love it. We all know Facebook is the place where people go to say all the ugly things in these veiled “passive-aggressive” ways that are meant to jab one another constantly. It’s a refreshing change to see people humbled by the listings of their blessings instead.

Yesterday, November 1st, I was thankful for the posts that reminded me that it’s time to stop, and recognize the many ways in which my life is blessed again and again. It can get hard to find the silver linings when you look around at the people you love most and there are divorces, surgeries, economic hardships and losses all around. I am praying for one sister’s spirit, another sister’s health, one sister’s sanity, one sister’s heart, and another sister’s struggle to see how beautiful she is both inside and out, and I wonder is it just me, or do we seem to face more than our share of challenges?

But today, instead of losing myself in the heavy burdens under all of those prayers, I will trust the answers to each of them will come in time and meanwhile, I am going to just be thankful. I’ll start out by being thankful for technology.

Not just because I miss my cell phone, but because I believe my family is a mix of modern medical marvels! (Ddon’t worry Little Red Texting-hood, I have ordered you a new battery in hopes of resurrecting you one more time, I haven’t given up on you yet! Your worn out keys were meant for me.)

My mother bounced back from Stage 4 Breast Cancer, stage 4!! And then didn’t even blink when thyroid cancer tried to get her. My father kicked a brain aneurysm that was followed by a broken neck in a terrible car accident. Two of my parents just got new knees. My mother-in-law is next in line for one. Two of my sisters have undergone more than one brain surgery! Yes, I said Brain surgery! And I have this beautiful little niece who faces a rare medical condition and she defies the odds daily.

When I put these struggles into perspective I am reminded of the amazing role technology plays in all of this. A hundred years ago these people would make up a list of those I had lost in my life, but instead they are walking talking survivors. Can you imagine what is entailed in coiling an aneurysm? They put a tiny piece of wire inside a blood vessel inside a brain to keep it ticking along. How amazing is it that someone has both the technology and the skills to perform a surgery like that?

I quip all the time that my family could keep a medical center in business. Not just a clinic, a medical center! I know we keep the pharmacy going. I may joke about the cabinet full of pills but at the end of the day I am so very grateful for the medical advances that have given me more years as a daughter and as a sister and as an aunt.

In a few days, we will again rely on technology to bring us a blessing. My sister is not even forty. She has 3 wonderful sons who are in their teen years. In the past 2 years she has undergone about 19 surgeries because of the Chiari Malformation in her brain.

Now the situation has become even more complicated. A few weeks ago she sent this message to us:

HEALTH UPDATE: surgery will be November 7, 2012.  I will have up to a 2 yr recovery (yes, you read that right) I will not be able to drive for up to 6 months. They will have to use donor bone from a bone bank, and will retrieve stem cells from my hip. I will have clamps and pins protruding from my back that will be removed at the end of 2 yrs. When I come home from the hospital, I will have to walk with a walker, and the risk for paralysis is high. (like 50% high) That’s the best summary I have. It’s no joke. I again am GRATEFUL that I have an AWESOME GOD, who will make SURE that I beat the odds.

I am in awe of her brave face through this all. If you pray, say a prayer. If you don’t, cross your fingers, find a four leaf clover, hang a horse shoe, get out your lucky rabbit’s foot, do a magic dance, make a wish, or do whatever you do to hope all ends well. Me, I will be down on my knees, praying technology brings us through one more time!

If you get a chance, visit her blog and wish her well, and tell her Tiff sent you! And don’t forget even when things seem hard, the bank accounts are low, there’s no one good running for President, and you’ve run out of cereal, there’s still always time to count your blessings too!

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