Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Husband is a Firefighter

Last night a chaplain from my husband's fire department called to offer condolences. He said a memo would go out to the department communicating the loss of my brother in law Gary.

I am so touched by this outreach to my husband and myself.

Being a fire-wife means a life of frequent sacrifice and is often challenging.

Moments like this make it easier.

Friday, January 30, 2009

It is finished...

My brother in law, Dr. Gary Donald Cieslak, passed away today at 12:25pm (central time) in the loving arms of his wife, children, and family. I feel great joy for Gary... my heart breaks for those of us left who mourn.

Thank you Jesus for the hope we have in You.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flashback Friday

In 5th grade, I wanted to have 16 children.
I have 2- GAME OVER ")

(This post brought this to mind)

We can trust Him...

Please continue to pray for Gary. He is comfortable, not awake, not able to take any food or drink, clearly suffering from severe effects of infection caused by aspiration pneumonia.

His wife, 4 children, father, 3 brothers, 2 sisters and his brother in law continue faithfully at his side ... waiting on the Lord's timing. As hospice reminded them, hearing is the last sense to go...I am sure their presence brings comfort.

A precious baby, Cora, has come to the attention of many blog friends. In the last 2 weeks she has gone from being a healthy bubbly baby with what was thought to be an ear infection... to a very sick little one being treated for cancer.

Prayer is so powerful, thank you for all of yours...


We see the healing hand of God do an amazing work in Harper. She is breathing on her own and is eating and getting so strong!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Waiting on Death...

Today my husband sits at the bedside of his dying brother, Gary.

Yesterday, Gary's breathing became irregular and it seemed that death was near. A morphine drip is keeping him comfortable and he is not able to eat or drink. Thankfully, he is in the comfort of his home.

It is so hard to say goodbye to this amazing man. As an anesthesiologist Gary has touched the lives of many. His gentle smile and kind words soothed countless anxious persons as they faced surgery. He brought his skills to Haiti each year to the poor and needy. He humbly served his Savior in all that he did.

Gary is an incredible husband to Mitzi and a loving father to young teens, Joe and Andy, and college aged Michael and Jessica. Although unable to speak over the last few months, his loving eyes and sweet smile have spoken his love to their hearts.

One year ago today we were romping and playing in the snow with Gary and his family in McCall, Idaho. We knew that Gary's brain tumor was inoperable, but it was thought that it was a slow moving tumor that would be controlled well by medication. We believed we would have years to continue our relationship with Gary here on earth.

I have cared for many dying people. As with birth, the timing of the dying process is hard to predict. Only our Lord knows the day and time of Gary's death. Until then, Gary is surrounded by his loving family, being soothed and comforted just as he has done for so many.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm afraid to go to church...

Last August was the start of a very frightening chapter in my life.

I developed a severe allergy to fragrances.

Air Fresheners, perfumes, colognes, and many fragranced products began causing me to have severe throat swelling.

At first, I wanted to believe it was “a fluke”…I was not that fortunate.

I found myself in ambulances and emergency rooms, not as a nurse, but as a patient.

"How could this be happening to me?"

I started carrying these:

(Can you say OUCH!? )

High doses of steroids left me feeling strange and eating like a high school football player. The weight gain was unpleasant, but it seemed that I had been cured.

Mid-September through mid-October went well, until I was in Florida for a bereavement convention (OK, no comments) when suddenly the allergy was back with a vengeance.

Soon I was on Zyrtec, Claritin, AND Singulaire daily. If I started to get a reaction, I took Tagamet, Benadryl, Albuterol and if things got out of hand (which they did often) I would give myself an Epipen (or 2) and call 911.

I was desperate to keep my life, my lifestyle, and my livelihood.

Many people prayed.

I went on a 6 week diet of no sugar, no flour, no yeast, and for a long time, no fruit.

I did this:

(Let’s say it together- “OUCH!” )

But by the grace of God, something fairly simple has minimized my reactions:

I am so thankful to have my life back.

When things were going bad for me, one of the most “dangerous” places for me was church. When women get dressed up for church, they have this special little thing they like to do:

Heavy perfume still gets a bit of a reaction going, even today.

So if you see me wandering the halls of church, slipping into the crying room without a baby, sitting in chairs in hallways listening to the service via speaker, you will now know why…I am afraid to go to church.

Pray for Kelly

Sunday's post held much good new about Harper! See the "Pray for Harper" button on the right.

But Kelly is feeling like she is getting a cold.

Normally I would not ask you to pray for a friend who is getting a cold, but this could be a real set back for Kelly. With her baby in NICU, this is not good. She may not be able to see baby Harper if she has a virus.


A Week of Gratitude

There is nothing like counting your blessings to brighten your mood. It's my new therapy ")

Each day, I am taking the time to be grateful for all that the Lord has given me...these are the blessings of my last week-

Sun. Jan. 18-Thankful for a day of doing nothing ")

Mon. Jan 19-For the first time met w/ the Neonatologists to present a patient for Perinatal Bereavement. They were very receptive.

Tues. Jan 20- Leandra (my Perinatal Bereavement partner-NICU specialist) and I are compiling all of the supplies for NICU and our birth center. It is awesome that we have the same vision for our program!

Wed. Jan 21- I had the help of at least 15 volunteers in my Children's room at Project Food. Wow, the clothing and books are getting so organized!

Thurs. Jan 22- Thankful that I got someone to cover my shift today! Hubby and I were both scheduled to work.

Fri. Jan 23 -So thankful my little Princess is feeling better after a stomach bug.

Sat. Jan 24 Handsome husband and I got to enjoy a date - dinner and a movie!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashback Friday-I had 2 babies

One of my favorite things about following blogs is looking at all of the cute kid pix.

I have taken so many wonderful pictures of my beautiful babies.

I thought that I had missed an opportunity and then I remembered...


Happy me ")

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No longer a lurker

My blogger hubby has been distressed over his lack of comments and I realized that I could not even comment because I had messed up my password. So I fixed my problem and commented on a few of my favorite blogs tonight.

Then I started thinking about what my blogger and real life friend Elaine called me recently-
A LURKER- wow, sounds too much like STALKER to me... so now I am a BLOGGER.