Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook - Extreme Edition

So I have come to realize something about myself. Something possibly disturbing. I’d like to say that this disturbing behavior came about as a result of my creative outlet as a writer, but sadly, I fear that this has always been a bizarre symptom of my tireless brain.

Perhaps it is why I love writing suspense.

So here it is… my dark side. (If I could I would cue Darth Vader breathing sounds over the imperial match anthem.)

I often (maybe as often as daily) envision worst-case scenarios.

No, I am not a depressing and morbid person by nature, in fact, some have even ventured to deem my general disposition as “sunny”. But somewhere deep down, my mind is a twisted little prankster that draws out terrible, horrifying outcomes from the most mundane daily activities.

For example, due to the blistering heat—and a recurrent sleep strike my children have embraced that has us out of bed with nothing to do at 6:15 am daily—I have been taking the kids on early morning jogs. This hearty expedition involving at least 50 extra pounds for me to push has been taking place 4 or 5 mornings a week at the crack of dawn. As I am NOT a morning person, the beauty of the breaking dawn is an occurrence I would rather not witness—so perhaps that has some bearance on why my mind might travel to a dark place unsafe for children.

Wow, rein it in, Amy… Okay, so we are jogging on the trail behind my subdivision—a wide, paved, and usually well traveled route with a myriad of people biking, running, and roller-blading in clingy and painfully graphic booty-tight shorts that would be best reserved for private use. (Just sayin’!)

At one point during my jog this morning I found myself alone (alone as you can be with two toddles present) on a long stretch shrouded with a thick and pressing border of trees. I hear a rusting to my right, and I imagine most people might assume a squirrel was intimidated by the strength of my pounding soles and my impressive speed J But me? My mind leaps to someone lurking in the brush, watching, and waiting patiently for the right moment to attack—drag some helpless victim behind the curtain of trees. My pulse hikes up a few notches at the thought, my stride super-charges and the burning, humid air in my lungs evaporates.

The problem might be that I can actually see the scene unfolding before my eyes. I actually let myself feel the imagined fear as I walk through the emotional process of dealing with that kind of panic.

I’ve pictured car-wrecks, abductions, intruders, and accidents of all kinds. On rare occasions, the what-ifs have crept over the line from hypothetical to possible. Like this one time when my hubby was out of town, the threat from my vivid imagination became so real that when I heard a crash sound at 2 am, I had sworn someone had broken into my house.

I forced myself into action despite my deepest desire to be a wussy-heroine who might hide out under the covers. And no I did not open the door and check outside—I’m not an idiot. Despite the nerves that threatened to make me fumble my husband’s 38-Special, I got out of bed and stalked around the house in my underwear with my gun drawn low, warning any intruders that mama bear means business (thank you conceal and carry classes!) Thankfully, I haven’t heard any reports from my neighbors that anyone saw me playing CSI in my living room. God is merciful!

Funny thing is, today, someone actually did step out of the trees just ahead of me—calling into question if my worst-case scenario for that moment was a small measure of discernment to impart caution or if it might be some serious paranoia.

Most of the scenes my mind creates do not produce actual fear. I’m just weighing the possibility of disaster, I suppose. Today, however, fear of my vulnerability and my isolation clawed at me, high-jacked my adrenaline and sent me on a survival sprint to avoid the stern-faced older man with the stiff and jerky gait that scared the ever-livin’ outta me.

So help me out here. Am I alone in this? Is this just my twisted spin on reality? Do you ever imagine worst-case scenarios, or are all your hypothetical thoughts rose-colored?

Disclaimer: In case you were wondering, I do not need prayer or any casting of demons for this ailment. It’s quite helpful in my current occupation. Thanks anyways! J

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hold me together

Remember my heart attack scare back in May? Notice that I have been largely absent since?

Okay, so airing your medical issues on the web seems a little bit strange, and by nature I tend to keep these sorts of things pretty close to the cuff. But in this instance, if I tucked away and kept silent, I wouldn’t be giving God the glory.

He truly is a God of miracles.

And I’m gonna tell you why.

So just before Memorial Day I had this pseudo-heart attack and wound up in the ER with chest and arm pain, and a BP of 200/120. Yikes! They ended up running a gamlet of tests and sent me home scratching my head about why a 26 year old would have a sudden onslaught of symptoms more suited for middle age.

What they failed to notice on my labs was that my kidney function had plummeted. And with only one functional kidney to my name—long story—it’s pretty important that that one hold its own. At a follow up doctor’s visit, when my new doc discovered the slip, she freaked.

Turns out, my very unique kidney was to blame for it all. Poor little guy was falling behind and in return, by body jacked up my blood pressure to compensate. The only problem aside from the typical dangers of an elevated BP is—high blood pressure destroys your kidneys.

Are you following? This is a lot of medicine thrown at ya. Just channel some Grey’s Anatomy and we’ll all make it through.

Miserable weeks of tests and a cocktail of BP meds that made the room spin around like the Highland Fling any time I stood . . . and the results were not good.

Aside from the fact that I would have to be now and forever more a pill-popper, I was told that I’d probably need major surgery to avoid the future probability of a transplant, and that the surgery would be risky—there was only one doctor around who would even attempt it. 

That’s a lot to swallow right? But the hits kept coming.

I was told that it would be highly unlikely that I would be able to sustain another pregnancy. This one shifted the earth beneath my feet. Yes, I have two beautiful babies already, and I’m not trying to be greedy or ungrateful but this wrecked me.

Wrecked me because . . . I lost a baby on Easter, at the end of my first trimester. The still, lifeless sonogram . . . the palm sized child you only get to hold once. Let me just tell you, it’s like nothing you can imagine.

I was so heartbroken, I just barely existed for a while. And even still, it’s like there is a scar etched into my heart.

Needless to say it has been a tough year for us. But when we are small and beaten down, God is BIG. Bigger than it all.

Wanna know how I know?

Because my kidney would have shut down completely if I had still been pregnant—and the baby likely wouldn’t have survived. How amazing that God—in all his loving grace—saved us from that. Saved us from losing the baby later in the pregnancy. Saved me from needing a transplant. Saved us from having to make a decision we might not be able to live with.

Saved. My. Life. Period.

And then I saw finally saw the specialist last week . . . Amazing how they change their tune when God intervenes.

I don’t need the surgery. My kidney function looks great. They are going to try to wean me off my meds. AND—I can have more babies.

Let me just tell you—I have never felt more protected. More cherished.

My God is mighty to save. No matter how bleak your circumstance. No matter how great the loss. And no matter how grim the diagnosis.

He’s got you!