Thursday, November 25, 2021

Two years, a pandemic, massive protests, multiple health issues, an insurrection, and a house of our own later...

I haven't posted in almost two years, because what do you say when there's so much going on that you don't even know where to start?!

At the end of 2019 I was hopeful about things looking up in 2020...I was finally going to finish cancer treatment at the end of May 2020 and we were making plans to do more once I started gaining back my health and getting stronger and having more energy.

Let's just say that was a pipe dream. 2020 was the most difficult year of my life. Beside all the things happening around the world, I struggled with one health issue after another: two hospital stays in June and an emergency gallbladder removal, a broken wrist in October, started on 3 daily asthma medications in November to try and get that under control (still on 2), and we found out I have a leaky heart valve in December. I spent the last 10 days of 2020 wearing a heart monitor. Then there's the emotional toll: the isolation of lockdown, and even after it was lifted, we continued to self-quarantine because of my health issues. The heartbreak of seeing far too many churches and believers decide their "rights" are more important than loving their neighbor.

Then 2021 started off with an insurrection and major gaslighting by the former party of Lincoln. No doubt about it, the past two years have been rough on so many levels. But they have also been good. My faith is stronger even if my body isn't.  

We've been blessed with another grandchild! Gilbert Ivan Herschberger was born June of this year; he's the only grandchild we were able to see as a newborn. Watching him grow and change over these months has brought such joy!

We spent time with our son and his family in California on three separate occasions this year (something we do not take lightly after seeing them only once in 2020!). Those opportunities to spend time with Jon, Nat, Adalyn and Eisley were so precious! We also had a wonderful long weekend earlier this month with Tina and her family, when we all traveled to Long Beach, CA, and had a blast together.

In May we started house hunting seriously. What were we thinking?! In the middle of a crazy housing market, and when the temperatures here in Vegas were regularly in the high 90s and low 100s?! But we persevered, and with help we were able to find the perfect house for us. It's a single story, three bedroom, two bath home with an attached two car garage and a nice sized back yard with a large covered patio. Ivan, who has been renting a one car garage since February 2020, is looking forward to expanding his "office/shop". [FYI: we will never be able to park in the garage. hahaha] Light floods the main living space which is open kitchen/dining/living. There's a gas fireplace (perfect since I can't do real fires any more because of asthma) and with three bedrooms, one will be my dedicated library/crafting space. 

Throughout this year though, looming over us, was my heart issue. At the end of last year we learned I had a leaky mitral heart valve that needed more tests to determine the severity. With Covid shutting down all non-emergency hospital procedures here in January, it was months before I could get tests that have to be done in the hospital. Finally in May I had a transesophageal echocardiagram which did indeed determine it was severe enough to require repair or replacement. In June I had leg angiograms on both legs because my cardiologist thought there might be calcium deposits causing issues (there weren't). In August I saw the cardiac surgeon who ordered a few more tests, and sent me back to the pulmonologist to get clearance for surgery. 

 The pulmonologist ran more tests, and while my lungs are not in optimal condition, I was cleared for surgery. My lung capacity is under 3 (normal is 4-7 liters) and my right diaphragm is weak. Theory is that because my heart is not functioning properly, that has lowered my lung capacity. Hopefully fixing the heart will also help my lungs.

A heart cath at the end of October showed no blockages so no need for any bypasses, "just" the mitral valve replacement. Based on test results, they decided a replacement is warranted. I'll be getting a biologic valve (cow or pig). 

I was originally scheduled for open heart surgery on November 19, but at the beginning of this month we found out the tenant in our house (who had a lease through the end of the year) was moving out early. We were elated! I was not looking forward to moving in January, early on in the recovery process. I got the ok from the surgeon's office to push back surgery to December 10, so we can move first!

Ivan got a key from the tenant last Tuesday, November 16, and we jumped right into all the things that need to be done before we move. First up was getting the air ducts cleaned, and from the condition they were in (seriously gross!), we doubt they'd ever been cleaned since the house was built 35 years ago. Ivan began pulling carpet out of the bedrooms, Tina hired someone to come in and deep clean the house, we started getting utilities switched into our many details involved in moving. We're being proactive where we can, to eliminate allergens that would aggravate my asthma and make the lung situation worse: clean air ducts, hard surface flooring throughout, and a good deep clean.

My sister arrives Friday to help with the move/organizing the house. And her husband was here from last Saturday through Monday helping Ivan lay hard surface flooring in the bedrooms. They live in Colorado so it's not like they can just drive over; they fly back and forth! Our family has been such a huge blessing 💕

Kyle and Tina helped me haul a couple loads over in their van and ours on Sunday, which we mostly stored in the garage. And I'm trying to take advantage of every trip to the house to take more stuff. The big move will be Saturday though. Tina helped Ivan start installing baseboards in the bedrooms on Tuesday; they finished our bedroom which is the biggest. So we have some things to finish, but even if it all doesn't get done before we move, we're in good shape.

Moving this weekend will give me almost two weeks to get settled in before surgery. But knowing how my sister and Tina will have most things organized this weekend, there won't be a lot left to do! 

Being in our own house, with freshly cleaned air ducts, the light streaming so beautifully into all the rooms, and the patio to relax outside...these will all go a long way to healing not only my body, but my soul. Both have been battered by the events of the past couple of years. Part of the trauma has been that I've really struggled to read. That's slowly starting to change, and I have a stack of books to read as I recover.

I am hopeful about 2022!

1 comment:

Tammy said...

So incredibly happy for you! How nice to have family willing to sacrifice in order to help ☺️. Enjoy, and we'll be praying for you and your surgery in December.