12.31.2012

2012, In Review

Tonight we will celebrate the end of 2012 and ring in 2013 with dinner with my Dad at a local restaurant and I'm sure The Man and I will be sleeping long before midnight rolls around, we're wild and crazy like that.  To end the year, I thought I'd create a summary of posts from 2012, one month at a time (If you click on the month name, it will take you to all of the posts from that month, you know if you're snowed in and have finished reading the rest of the internet and are looking for something to do). Some of these are favorites and others mark important turns in our road.

I do this, not so much because I expect you to go back and reread them, but as a way to capture it all in one place for myself.

Thank-you to all of you for the love, prayers, and friendship you showed to me this year. 2012 certainly had it's ups and downs, but all of you are by far one of the best "ups".

January - I was Hoping for Hope just before my surgery.

February - Michelle and I (and many others) shared how We are the 98%.

March - I took a look at what this blogging community means to me and Why I Need Your Stories.

April - I reflected on Infertility Awareness Week.

May - It was time to take One Step Forward.

June - We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary and I reflected on the Healing Grace with which we have been gifted.

July - We moved and it was Bittersweet.

August - In Quick Takes style, I shared about a retreat experience I'd just returned home from.

September - My post about Kali is one of my favorites ever, though it was hard to pick just one from this month.

October - I ran my first half-marathon and shared my Race Recap.

November - In the month of giving thanks, I shared why I Am Thankful for Infertility.

December - After starting the month with sadness, I finally realized it was time to Surrender.

With prayers for joy for you all, I say Happy New Year Friends!

12.28.2012

Quick Takes

1. Merry Christmas! (One of my favorite things about being Catholic is that I can be 3 days late, and not be late at all ;)). I hope you all had a beautiful first few days of Christmas and continue to enjoy this season. Now, if I can just get the 2nd round of Christmas cards out before Epiphany...

2. This Advent I was privileged to pray for Hebrews! I offered my Daily Masses for her intentions and when I got out of my funk I asked God if He would be so kind as to accept my struggling retroactively on behalf of Hebrews. I sure hope He works that way! Thank-you to any of you who also prayed for Hebrews when I was having a hard time.

3. Christmas definitely won this year. Saturday (22nd) evening I started having back spasms (not unusual for me, but usually I can hold them off or prevent them from happening at all with exercises from my PT). Despite all of my efforts, needing to be in the kitchen working the 22nd, 23rd, and much of the 24th, lead to a miserable Christmas Day. Thank goodness we were going to my Dad's house and The Man was willing to make what we were taking with us. I've spent the rest of this week on a combination of muscle relaxers and much higher doses of ibuprofen than the bottle says is safe. Finally this morning I woke up to no spasms and only the familiar pain that is leftover for a few days.

4. I'm supposed to be running a half-marathon in 8 days. I can barely walk up the stairs at this point... :(.

5. Speaking of Prayer Buddies, so many of you have posted about praying specifically for those of us who are still waiting. Thank-you for remembering and praying for us, I am more grateful than I could say here, and I do believe it was due to those prayers and my prayer buddy's prayers that helped to soften my heart and give me the courage to give my Fiat.

6. As I write this, I have CNN on in the background and they are talking all about the Fiscal Cliff. At some point representatives have become completely politicians and don't seem to care one way or the other about the people they are supposed to represent. Maybe instead of having to cut their lavish "holiday" vacations short they should've stayed in Washington until they worked out a real solution - not just a band aid that has to be fixed again in 6 months. Lord, have mercy.

7. Tomorrow is WVU's bowl game. We play in the Pinstripe Bowl vs. Syracuse, an old Big East foe. We are watching the game at one of our tailgate buddies home and we will, of course, be taking pepperoni rolls with us. The Steelers are out of the playoffs, so after Sunday football season will be over for me. It's been a rough year, so I can't say I'm terribly disappointed, but come mid-March I will be ready for spring ball to start!

12.21.2012

Be Born in Me

Before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees.

Mrs. Fitz introduced me to this song:



While every word of my last 2 posts is true, I feel like they may be giving a bit of a false sense of how well I'm doing, of how "amazing" I am (to use Catholic Mutt's word - I didn't argue with you in your comment, you get a whole post instead ;)). Before Monday, I was truly feeling like I was at the end of my rope, overcome with sadness and truly wondering just how much more I could take. There was a sense of desperation as I walked into my appointment with Fr. D, a sense of "this session needs to be really good because it's gotta get me through Christmas and New Years."

I am completely unworthy of the gift I was given this week, a gift that really was given to me in August, I just wasn't ready to open it yet. I am questioning everything, specifically why I am granted this reprieve, this break from the sadness and a chance to experience joy this Christmas, joy I was sure I wouldn't feel.

My head is fighting my heart on this fiat every step of the way. And my heart is torn in two, one part wants to skip and jump for joy, while at the same time the other part is breaking because I want to share this joy with everyone. I want every. single. one. of. you. who is reading this to get a reprieve from your suffering, whatever the cause. I am so not worthy of this.

And I know that this joy won't last forever. It is merely a rest stop on the road. It is the calm before the storm, I suspect. But it is a much needed rest stop, yet I don't understand why it was given to me and not one of you.

On one hand, my head says that in releasing my vice grip of control, I'm giving up, coping out, taking the easy option, and my heart is on its knees.

On the other hand, my head realizes exactly what this means and insists that I continue to grasp for control, continue to avoid the pain of following Mary's yes, and my heart is on its knees.

Because if I follow Mary's yes, it leads from a stable on a cold winter night to a hill top on a dark Friday afternoon. And my heart is on its knees.

I am keenly, intensely aware of the indescribable grace I have been gifted this week, mostly because I know I am not worthy of it; that I will fail to honor it daily. It should have been one of you who was given this gift of grace, of joy. Why it was me, I will never understand. The only, potential (pathetic, grasping at straws, desperate for a reason) reason that makes sense is this:

I tend to overshare here, this place is truly my journal and there is very little in my private journal (read: unpublished posts) that doesn't get published. In this over-sharing, I have questioned the fact that those of us in the IF blog-world always talk about answered prayers, and in these answered prayers there is always a baby (be it birthed or adopted). Yet, I know there are more prayers that have been answered on this road than just the granting of children. I also know how in the darkness it seems like no prayers are answered and we are left to grasp and fight for control and cry.

So, my sad little answer to my question "why me?" is this: so that when I'm doubting and feeling forsaken I have a place to come back to where I can be reminded that we are never foresaken, and maybe, just maybe, someone, someday will read these words and realize they are not forsaken either.

All I can do is be thankful for the joy, be thankful for the grace that is so clearly a gift we cannot earn, and pray for the grace to remember this gift when the darkness comes back. My heart is on its knees.

I am not brave
I'll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I'm just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours.

Be born in me.

12.20.2012

Humble Faith

I was at Daily Mass yesterday, a day after finally realizing it was time to surrender and I went a bit early to spend some time in prayer. I intended to pray at Mary's spot, but I got mixed up and would've had to walk across the Cathedral in my heals and I didn't want to disturb everyone else, so I just went to my usual spot. I knew I'd get interrupted with the Angelus at Noon, and I was looking forward to it. But in the meantime here was my prayer:

Lord, I meant it yesterday when I said I was surrendering to you.
Mary, I'm gonna need your help with this. I realize that by saying "Thy will be done" I am most likely also saying yes to more pain. I'm gonna need help not getting frustrated or trying to grasp control. 
Mary and Jesus, I give my yes, my fiat. I am prepared for wherever we need to go, so long as we go together.
My womb is yours, for better or worse. Whether this leads to joy or pain, it is all yours.
Please be with me.

Those were not my exact words, but that was the gist of it. Getting interrupted by the Angelus to honor Mary just seemed appropriate.

And then Mass started, and we got to the Liturgy of the Word.

How many times during one mass can the word "barren" be used? I'm pretty sure that the Wednesday during the week of the 3rd Sunday of Advent wins the award for most times. Both the Old Testament reading (about Manoah's wife and Samson, from Judges) and the New Testament (about Elizabeth and Zachariah) were about once barren women conceiving. Now, in the Cathedral for daily mass it felt like the word "barren" was echoing extra loud, almost surrounding and taunting me. I remembered being angry during Advent last year and I forced myself to focus on the miracles of Samson and John rather than the barrenness of Manoah's wife and Elizabeth.

And then, it was time for the Homily. The priest celebrating Mass was not our usual Monsignor who I love and look forward to, instead it was a newly ordained priest. Now, in general this newly ordained priest is good and it's been neat to watch him gain confidence, but today, I was dreading it. In my head, I just knew he was going to focus on the impossibility of Manoah's wife and Elizabeth's pregnancies, tie them to Mary's and focus all on how God answers prayers in His time and that all things are possible with God. (And, just to keep it real here, in my head I was thinking "blah, blah, blah". Gee, wonder why I need spiritual direction?)

And then Father gave his homily. One of his most confident, to the point homilies to date. It was so good, I grabbed my journal and took notes! He briefly touched on the pregnancy of Elizabeth, but then he turned to Zachariah and Mary, and he compared how they responded to the news from Gabriel. Each was given news of a baby that was to be. Each responded with a question, but it was the spirit with which they asked their question that made all the difference.

Mary's question was "How can this be?", a simple question of fact since she had not been with a man; a request for a bit more information. Upon being told it was the will of God, she accepted saying "be it done unto me according to Thy will." It was a humble assertion of her faith. The angel then went to Joseph to assure him it was the right thing to do to take Mary into her home, immediately protecting Mary, if preemptively.

Zachariah's question was "How will I know this?" It was a desire for control, to know and understand. It was a direct questioning and doubting of what Gabriel had told him. The angle then struck Zachariah silent, and the only way he would regain the power of speech would be to follow the will of God and name the child John.

Both Mary and Zachariah questioned the angel, it was not the act of questioning that caused the problem. It was the motive behind the question. Mary was curious and confused. Zachariah was grasping for control. Both are, of course, reasonable reactions to an angel giving you seemingly impossible news. And Zachariah follows the angel's instructions and is given his speech back after naming his son John. But Mary was much more willing to accept what the angel had told her, without need for understanding.

As Father continued with his homily he challenged us to be like Mary, to say yes to God in humble faith, especially in the difficult times in our life; to not be like Zachariah and challenge God or grasp for control.

If I ever doubted that I need to get over myself and start praying the Litany of Humility, it is now very clear that is exactly what I need to do. I was totally prepared to be annoyed and put off by a new priest's homily, and instead this new priest not only reinforced my prayer and my desire to truly say Fiat!, he also showed me very clearly what will happen if I continue to grasp for control like Zachariah. I am grateful my thoughts were only in my head because I am thoroughly embarrassed by them (yet, I put them here...again, keeping it real).

While I may not be physically struck mute, I will be unable to bring glory to God through my suffering  of our infertility. I will forever be stuck in my questioning. If I want to lead others to Christ, following the example of His Mother (the verse "Do whatever He tells you" from the Wedding Feast at Cana immediately entered my mind, from the very beginning Mary was always leading others to her Son). While we are certainly permitted to question, it is the nature of our questions that are important. Do they come from a place of humble faith like Mary or a place of grasping like Zachariah?

Then, today at Mass, the readings first told us of Ahaz in the Old Testament and how even though his words seemed humble and noble on the surface, the truth of his lack of faith was shown in his actions. Then, today in the Gospel we focused on Mary's response. Her humble "yes" with her powerful words "Be it done unto me according to Thy word."

The same priest continued with his reflection on the differences between Mary's yes and Ahaz's pretense of faith. Once again challenging us to be humble in our faith, and also steadfast. To allow our faith to guide our actions and to have faith in the Lord. To not question like Zachariah in order to control or put on pretense like Ahaz, but to have a bold, yet humble faith and submit ourselves to God as His handmaiden, just as Mary did.

It is this humble faith I seek. This ability to no longer grasp for control, but rather to be molded and grow. This ability to be truly open to the Lord and to live this openness authentically. 

Again I say, and I will probably say it often because I'm much more like Zachariah and Ahaz than I am Mary, so I will need frequent reminders: Fiat! Be done unto me according to Thy word.

Our Lady of Peace, pray for us.

12.18.2012

Surrender

Wow. Nothing like being told to "relax" by your spiritual director - and agreeing with him! I will give him full credit, as he didn't actually use the word "relax" but as I was driving home, reflecting on our conversation, that was essentially what he told me to do. And as I said, I agree with him.

Our conversation led to him asking where we were at medically (remember he was a nurse before he was a priest, and he's familiar with NaPro, so it's nice to just be able to speak and not have to stop and define every other word). After I finished answering him, he asked me a question:

Do you trust your doctor?
Yes.
Do you trust your doctor, totally?
Yes.
Do you, really?
Yes.

At this point, I was starting to wonder why he kept asking, why he was belaboring this point and if I'm totally honest, getting a little frustrated. (And in my head, I was thinking he might have a different doctor recommendation for me and I wasn't entirely thrilled with that prospect was very annoyed at that idea.) So I asked the question, "why?"

And it was then that he said:

Stop thinking about it. Stop worrying about it. Let your doctor be your doctor.

I'm pretty sure I was stunned into silence for at least 5 seconds (an eternity if you know me). And then our conversation continued, specifically onto the two ends of a sexual relationship between a husband and a wife - the procreative and the unitive. I shared how The Man and I have worked to preserve the unitive aspect and how we are both scared that we could go backwards and undo some of the healing that took place when we learned NFP. I also shared how many months, during the fertile days I either pick a stupid fight or end up crying in the bathroom after making love with The Man because of the pressure of it all. And that is when Fr. D pointed out that this is not exactly contributing to the unity between The Man and me. While we are not doing anything to deliberately separate the unitive and procreative aspects, we are still doing just that. The pressure that is placed on the fertile days has become intense and no matter how hard we've tried to prevent it, it is having an impact.
And this is why he wanted to know if I trusted my doctor. Because if I do, then I must stop worrying about every little detail. I must take my medication as prescribed and keep my chart as directed, but I have no more control than that. I must, of all things, relax. If I want to conceive, I must create fertile ground, and not just physically. I must find a way to spiritually and emotionally relax and be OK with not having control. And as I write this, I see he was talking about much more than just conceiving a child, if I want my marriage to bear fruit, to be life-giving in all ways, then I have to let it, I can't let the weeds of my stress stifle any beauty that wants to blossom. I have to find a way to let go and let God, to put it simply. I have to remind myself, even in the midst of the fertile days, that we will be OK.

It wasn't until I was reflecting on it on the way home that I realized it connected directly back to an evening in Adoration when I was on retreat in August. Remember? The retreat where I asked God to break my heart...and He did. I was taken back to a page of notes I had taken after spending almost an hour literally sobbing before Our Lord, begging Him to see me, to hear me, to help me. I didn't need to look at the notes I knew exactly what the top of the page looked like, and the words on it:

Physical Infertility and Spiritual Infertility

What followed was basically a listing of questions, of wondering if a physical infertility was leading to a spritual infertility or vice versa? Of how one area of infertile ground could be leading to another. I asked if the silence and distance I was feeling in my spiritual life was related to the emptiness in my womb...and if so, which one came first?

It was as if all of the questions I asked back in August started to have answers now. Yes, my hardened heart and my physical infertility are connected. Yes, they are contributing to one another. And yes, I have to do something about it. But not in the sense of grasping for control and dictating what the outcome must be, instead, I must allow the Lord to create an environment in me in which new life can grow - new spiritual life for myself and The Man, new life in the form of good health for me, new life to the world in a marriage that reflects the love of Christ, and maybe, just maybe, new physical life in the form of a baby. But one thing is for sure, if I keep grasping and trying to control everything, I may end up with nothing.


And suddenly, what Fr. Jon on my retreat told me to do, that I've been resisting and fighting and struggling with, made all the sense in the world.

Give your womb to Jesus and to Mary.

And that is how I shall relax. I shall truly let go, and let God. I will put my marriage and our relationship (emotionally, spiritually, and physically) first. I will honor our duty to hold the procreative and unitive ends of our sexual relationship in the proper tension. And I will accept the outcome.

I also understand the sadness I've been feeling a bit more. It is a result of fighting so hard to control everything and losing. Of course I am sad that we are not yet parents, and I don't expect that to go away anytime soon, if ever. I also expect to continue the roller coaster of emotions that happens every cycle. But, if I can somehow gain some control, ultimately by giving it up completely I know I will be better for it, in all aspects.

I've finally realized I can't control this. I can't force the outcome of this. I can continue to try and make it worse or I can surrender. So, as Christmas draws near, I give my Fiat! and I say Be it done unto me according to Thy will and I place every life-giving piece of me and The Man, body, heart, and soul, in the hands of Mary and her Son.

Our Lady of Peace, pray for us.

12.12.2012

Sadness

I'm not sure where to start, or if I'm honest, where this will go. I do know it is one of those time where I just have to let it out.

Today marks four years of blogging for me, and I've learned sometimes I just have to write down what comes out.

It is also CD2.

Yep, there will be no positive pregnancy test wrapped up to give The Man as an early gift. There will be no fun gifts letting our parents know they will be grandparents.

Last year I wrote about how angry I was, and while there is still some anger, mostly it is just extreme sadness this year. Christmas was the first holiday to come around when we started TTC, it was the first time I planned how we'd tell our families and the first time I really felt the disappointment of not conceiving. Of course, I was disappointed during the first 2 cycles, but it was the cycle that ended in mid-December that somehow made me realize having a baby wasn't going to be easy for us. And it has surely proven to be anything but easy.

The Man is doing his best to get us both through this Advent and Christmas season. I think he suspects just how hard this is this year. He surprised me with our Christmas tree last weekend and we went to a concert on Sunday when he told me it was time to start creating our own traditions. I agreed, saying, we can't keep waiting for what might never happen. And then, when we got home, I proceeded to pick a fight and then sob myself to sleep before he came up to bed. In the middle of the night I had such bad cramps they woke me up - that never happens. And yesterday, just in time to put a dark cloud over the day my Dad and I had planned, AF showed up first thing in the morning with a vengeance.

If I'm honest, I could care less that Christmas is coming. Lovely, right? If it were truly up to me, I'd not put up a single decoration and I'd just sleep from Dec. 23 until at least New Year's. But it's not up to me, nor is Christmas about me. So, we are hosting Christmas Eve at our home and continuing to start our own traditions rather than waiting until children arrive.

In January we will have to start, once again, making some decisions about what the future will look like. When Dr. S. did my surgery last January, he told me that my tubes were only "guaranteed" to be open for 12 - 18 months. January is 12 months.

There is all of this, and there is my Nan and wondering just how long she will go until the next intestinal blockage and how severe it will be which will affect how much longer she will be with us. And there is my Dad who shared yesterday that his doctor said he could have as little as 2 years left because the melanoma will come back. He is cancer free today, but we don't know how long that will last. It could be 2 years, it could be 20, but we know it will come back. And The Man, who is working so hard his body is fighting back. He is dealing with some shoulder issues that could require him to take some time off work to let it rest and heal, and I see the strain that prospect places on him, even though he won't admit it.

The sadness and fear have settled over me in a way I've never known before. It is all so overwhelming and daunting. My prayers are despearte cries to God to hold me in His grace and begging Him to protect my marriage with the grace of our sacrament (our marriage is doing ok, but I know The Man is bearing the burden of having to give his 100% and most of mine too right now). I am doing my best to offer it up for you prayer buddy, but I feel like I'm failing miserably. So, if whoever is my prayer buddy is reading this, could you please also pray for the person I am praying for as well, I would be extremely grateful because I know what I am offering right now is pathetic.

All I Can Say
{David Crowder Band}
Lord, I'm tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I'm so alone
And Lord the dark is creeping in
Creeping up to swallow me
I think I'll stop, rest here a while

And this is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give
And this is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give, that's my everything.

Lord, did You see me crying?
And didn't You hear me call Your name?
Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You'd remember where You'd set it down.

And this is all I can say right now
And this is all that I can give
And this is all that I can say right now, right now
I know it's not much
And this is all that I can give, yeah, that's my everything.

I didn't notice You were standing here
I didn't know that that was You holding me
I didn't notice You were crying too
I didn't know that that was You washing my feat.

And this is all
This is all that I can say right now
Oh, I know it's not much
But this is all that I can give
Yeah that's my everything
This is all that I can say right now, right now
I know it's not much
But this is all that I can give, yeah, that's my everything
This is all that I can say right now,
Oh I know it's not much.
But this is all that I can give, yeah that's my everything...
yeah that's my everything...
yeah, that's my everything...
everything

12.06.2012

Feeling the Emptiness

Laura Bush has written this on the subject of infertility:

The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?

I am feeling this emptiness that there are no words for in a way I'm not sure I have words for this evening. I'm sure it's because I'm tired and stressed from worrying, but it is there nonetheless. Prayer buddy, I'm offering it up for you.

12.05.2012

Update on Nan, In Which I Mention Stupid Doctors

I could have sworn I had a post about stupid doctors somewhere in my archives but for the life of me I can't find it.

It was important because this was going to be titled "Stupid Doctors, Part 2".

First, I must thank-you all for the many prayers and kind comments on yesterday's post. I kept reading them over and over all day today as we were sitting with my Nan in her hospital room (I went with my Mom, on my Mom's request for moral support, to Pittsburgh today).

And it turns out that it is not a worst-case scenario, thank God!

The red spot on her side turned out to be an infected abscess, and perhaps some cellulitis. Hence the pain and redness (and itchy eyes - also a sign of cellulitis).

Not cancer, praise God.

Not another bowl blockage, praise God.

Not another hernia, praise God.

BUT, and this is where the stupid doctors come into play, this redness was there when she was discharged from the hospital on Thursday. She asked no less than 3 doctors and 2 nurses about it and it was completely brushed off. They thought she had a broken rib (from osteoporosis) and blamed it on that....even when she asked them to look at it, they did not give it full attention, each time brushing it off as the broken rib (that it turns out she probably doesn't have).

So, because some stupid doctors (and nurses, they aren't off the hook here) felt that they didn't need to take an 84 year old woman seriously when she said she had a spot that was red and bothering her, she ended up in the ER (because her home-health nurse took one look at it and insisted that they call her regular doctor who sent them to the ER), my Nan is back in the hospital, for another 3 - 4 days. She had to have a procedure to put in a drain and went over 24 hours without eating because she couldn't eat before the procedure.

The same 84 year old woman who has been hospitalized twice in the last 2 months for intestinal blockages.

Oh, and did any of these doctors even seem to be aware of this? NO! I wanted to ask the one that asked "why?" when my mom asked him to make sure her diet was listed as low-residue/low-fiber (to prevent the blockages) if he had even bothered to read her chart!

I understand doctors are extremely busy. I understand they are most likely over worked and that the insurance companies have a lot more say in patient care than they should.

BUT, at some point, they need to care for their patient. For the PERSON sitting in front of them expressing a need.

Thank God for that home-health nurse and a good neighbor who took my Nan to the hospital.

Thank God for good strong antibiotics that started making a difference before the drain was inserted.

And, if nothing else, I am hoping that at least one doctor or nurse that my Nan has said "I tried to tell them" to (she's told everyone who walked into the room - I don't recommend pissing off an 84-year old Italian lady ;)), will remember this, learn from it, and treat someone else with more care than my Nan got.

For now, I am done venting, and I'm going to focus on the positive. Nan should be fine from this. Yes, I sense the end of her life is getting closer, it doesn't feel as close as it did this time last night, and for that I am grateful.

Thank-you again for all of you for your prayers, I am extremely grateful.

12.04.2012

My Nan

I really want to write about the awesome weekend that The Man and I had with Michelle and her DH.

Or about the bowl game the Mountaineers are going to.

Or about how I was "that" patient this month for my cycle review.

Or about how we are getting screwed thanks to Obamacare, so much for "those of you with insurance will not see any changes."

But I can't.

I haven't written about it so far because putting it here makes it real. But I have to now, because my Nan really needs the prayers.

A little over a month ago Nan had an intestinal blockage and was admitted to the hospital. This is not necessarily a new occurrence for her as she's had many surgeries to correct this problem that stems from a hernia she has that developed over 35 years ago.

Then she went home. For a week. And went back to the hospital for the same problem. Then home. That was Thursday. She agreed to consider an assisted living facility after Christmas (for lots of reasons, not just the intestinal problems).

Today she went back to the hospital because of a red, warm, sore spot on her side. A spot that was there when they discharged her on Thursday - what are these doctors thinking?

And when my mom calls to tell me, and ask if I can go with her to Pittsburgh tomorrow, she also mentions that a few months ago Nan mentioned a "spot" near her hernia, and her pancreas. The doctor palpated it and it didn't hurt, so they assumed it was related to the hernia. Well, this red spot, that is warm and sore on her side is also in the same area.

Nan's lost a lot of weight despite eating well. And now when they touch this spot, it hurts.

It doesn't look good. Yes, it good be nothing, but it also could be something.

We all agree (my Nan, mom, and my brother) that if it is cancer or something like that, it will not be treated. She can't take another surgery, anesthesia really wrecks her memory and chemo and radiation would just destroy her quality of life. And at 84, it really is about quality.

The only problem is, I'm not ready for this. And the anger at her never getting to be a Big Nan is already boiling up. One of our favorite things to do was take 4-generation photos of my Big Grandma, my Nan, my Mom, and me. I've dreamt of taking another one since I was the 4th generation. It's not fair. And frankly, it's not about me either. I know that. And I hate myself for even thinking about it through the lens of our IF.

I hate it, but it is time to shift my prayers from healing on earth to quality of life, whether it's 10 years or 10 months, my Nan has lived an amazing life and she deserves it. To pray for anything other than quality in her years is selfish.

So, my friends, if I could once again, humbly and with a very heavy heart, ask for your prayers. Prayers for my Nan, for quality of life, for my Mom, who, as an only child is feeling this burden immensely, and for my Nan's 2 sisters who I know can't be ready to see their big sister go, and ultimately, for God's peaceful presence to be with us all as we make decisions and try to do all the right things.