Friday, August 10, 2012

John's Health Update....


After packing up the baby to eat on the go and to be picked up on the go, packing school stuff for the kids, leaving dinner on the table for Auntie Marge, finishing up a swirl of work calls and e-mails, and making sure I was ready to go to, we left the house at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. By the time we arrived home, it was 8:30 p.m. and WHAT A WHIRLWIND it was in between!

MU --- got to MU by 2:55 p.m. waited and waited and waited (an ENTIRE 5 minutes!) for John to get done with work. He hopped in the car and we headed to

St. Luke's --- dropped John off 15 minutes early for his appointment he was in the office for 1 hour and 15 minutes! Meanwhile I sat in the car with 3 of our kids and Novenah, trying to feed Novenah while motivating our kids to do some school assignments [public note to self: do NOT even bring the schoolwork in the future! it is FUTILE and just FRUSTRATING and not all that beneficial to ANYONE!] When John returned back to the minivan he had

GOOD NEWS --- based upon evaluation of the MRI, Dr. Ahuja is recommending another round of Physical Therapy 2x per week for 6 weeks, cervical traction AND switching up John's muscle relaxers and NO SURGERY YET!  I immediately got on the phone with the

insurance company --- WWWWWWHHHHHHYYYYYY oh WWWWWWHHHHHHYYYYYY does everything have to be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO difficult???? fought with the voice-activated system which was going NUTS because my charges could NOT be silent and it kept hearing their noise and interpretting it as my selection. Finally got through that and waited on hold FOREVER to reach someone who said that my group number wasn't recognized by the voice-activated system (REALLY????? cuz I couldn't tell!) and then transferred me to the correct person. I then waited on hold for another ETERNITY to reach a different person who said, "I'm sorry your group number didn't transfer can I have it again?" So WHILE I WAS DRIVING found the number and repeated it to her [btw... isn't it nuts that I don't have that memorized after 3 years of this???] I explained to her I was trying to find out if this cervical traction device was covered only to find out without a billing code [which of course our Dr. didn't give us and by now of course his office was already closed so of course I could not get that] they couldn't tell me if it was covered.... WHILE all of this was going on, we were trying to coordinate Tanisha picking up Novenah which resulted in us pulling into not one but TWO different

McDonalds --- was dinner last night. Don't even get me STARTED on the expense/lack of nutritional value/etc of that choice... Easy won out last night! But we still didn't transfer the Novenah package. Headed QUICKLY to

My parents' house --- to drop off the kiddos to hang out there while we went to the chiropractor we were starting to run LATE AHHHHHHHHH!  Hurried over to the chiropractor with Novenah still tagging along.... Made it to

Dr. Hyatt --- digested a TON of information (a normal neck should have a 43 degree curve -- John's neck is almost straight up and down with only a 3 degree curve) the crux of which is Dr. Hyatt is (and in turn WE are) cautiously optimistic that he can help improve the curve of John's neck and decrease his pain level through chiropractic adjustments. [Novenah got picked up somewhere in here.] The 2 visits per week program we are embarking on will be a little costly BUT as I told John (and several other people afterwards) we can eat Ramen noodles every night for 9 months it helps John avoid another surgery! So John got adjusted last night, we picked up his new prescription, and the

End Results --- he is sore today, but optimistic. I can tell because he keeps starting sentences with, "When I get stronger," "After I get better," or "After a few months at the chiropractor,"....  We are STRICTLY following all doctor directives (iced 3x already, started new medicine regimen, kept rolling over all night long to make sure he was sleeping ON HIS BACK with his neck properly supported)... and for all of you

THANK YOU --- sooooooooo MUCH for your prayer support! We could feel you all carrying us through yet one more tough time in this journey. Keep on praying! It's working!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday....

It is Thursday, and I am THANKFUL!

Noah James Kastner 6 years old
I'm thankful for Noah James Kastner. This amazing boy of mine is growing into such a GREAT young man! In some ways I am sad that at the ripe young age of 9 years old he had to start acting like a man, helping with Daddy's meds, worrying about his Daddy's health, doing SO much work around the house. However, those very sad things have developed character in this young man that I wouldn't change for the WORLD!  Noah is wise beyond his years and more mature than many grown men I know. He loves SACRIFICIALLY, he thinks LOGISTICALLY, and he learns SPECTACULARLY. I am so unbelievably thankful for my firstborn.

Jeremiah David Kastner 5 years old
I'm thankful for Jeremiah David Kastner. He is SOOOOOOOOOOO godly-minded! Whenever I am stressed, whenever someone is sick or in pain, whenever he hears about a tragedy in the news, this boy turns IMMEDIATELY to prayer. He constantly comes up with thoughts and ideas of how things relate back to God or godly concepts. I have LONG believed that Jeremiah would end up preaching the Word of God someday, but for the FIRST time, yesterday, we were talking about "when I grow up" things, and he said, "Mom, do I go to college to be a Pastor?" WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! That's MY boy!

Elijah Daniel Kastner 3 years old
I'm thankful for Elijah Daniel Kastner. He is smart and funny and just devious enough to keep it REAL. He is ALWAYS thinking, thinking, thinking. I love the way I can literally SEE his brain working through his gorgeous little eyes. He is ALSO a snuggler. In fact, many have commented that Elijah has a poor sense of personal space, but as the mom or growing boys who soon will hardly want me to give them a peck on the cheek "in front of my friends" I love that this boy is a SNUGGLER and I'm lapping up as much of that loving as I can before he gets too grown for it.

Hannah Elyzabeth Kastner 1 year old
I'm thankful for Hannah Elyzabeth Kastner. She is princess PERFECTION! I love the way she is SO into clothes and makeup and purses, but she is the ONLY child of mine who is not really afraid of ANYTHING! She will go downstairs in the dark, kill a bug, tackle a bully. But what I love the MOST about this little girl is what a servant she is! She LOVES to take care of people. She helps me give Auntie Marge her shower, helps me change Novenah, helps Daddy with his meds. That girls is just DRAWN to those who are in need, who are hungry, who are hurting... and she HELPS them.

Last but CERTAINLY not least:

I'm thankful for John Joseph Kastner. He is my rock. When I am all floopy and frantic over some injury, symptom or oddity in our children, he remains steady and calm. When I am losing my mind in the midst of STRESS, he centers me and reminds me how amazing he thinks I am. He gets up EVERY morning and goes to work in more pain than most of us could even IMAGINE. He tries his BEST to be kind and patient even when his head is pounding and his neck is spasming. He is the BEST father I have ever seen: rolling around on the floor with the kids, unabashedly having "the talk" with our boys, being these boys "best friend" yet still their authority figure, and teaching them how to repent when he has messed up.  I LOVE this man and am SO glad that God chose him to complete me.

What are YOU thankful for today? If you don't have your own blog, feel free to post your Thankful Thursday as a comment to mine. If you don't want to post your thankfulness publicly, just make sure to be THANKFUL and maybe to tell those you are thankful for why you are....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sanity blog

[DISCLAIMER: This is a vain attempt to gather my sanity by documenting my insanity. Proceed with caution in reading this blog. Names have NOT been omitted to protect the "innocent." Details have NOT been prettied up AT ALL. This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.]

I awoke at 5:58 a.m. to the sound of my pre-alarm quietly going off. (I'm not sure what to say about that... my new phone has this smart morning function where it plays this polite little tune for 5 min prior to the REAL alarm going off with BLARING rudenss. It is, at the same time, kinda cool and kinda confusing.) By the time I dragged myself outta bed, it was about 6:08 a.m. I realized with some sort of ODD early-morning clarity that I could squeeze in a 20-minute bout on the treadmill if I hurried before the sleep cleared from my brain and I realized what I was doing. By 6:15 I was on the treadmill and moving along. 20 minutes later, dripping with sweat, I finished and jetted inside to hop in the shower.... (ssscccrrreeeccchhh... the sound of me braking quickly because) ...Auntie Marge was in the bathroom.... trying to maintain my patience over the fact that JUST at the EXACT brief window I had to jump in the shower she had to pee, I got my towel, stripped off my clothes and tried HARD not to tap my foot while I waited... and waited... and waited (in all honesty it was prolly only 6 minutes that I waited; HOWEVER, I had to LEAVE to take John to work!)

I hopped in the shower, got dressed, made and consumed a slimfast shake, grabbed a to-go cup of coffee, woke the children and jumped in the car by 6:58 a.m.! I was a bit frazzled, but so darn proud of myself that I had actually worked out BEFORE taking John to work that my frazzling quickly disipated.

I got John to MU by 7:20ish, waited for Novenah till about 7:40, had to JUMP outta the van and run inside to go to the bathroom (don't worry Dustin was with Novenah when this transpired!). Finally with my precious cargo properly placed, I headed home to find 4 little angels sitting on the couch with smiles on their faces. Their chores had been done, and they proudly announced, "The laundry fairies came while you were gone! They put away all the clean laundry!"

Thus began my morning.... Good, bad and indifferent all mixed together with the good still winning out. I raced through feeding Novenah while shouting out directives to my little angels.... we stopped and did devotions.... we cleaned up the living room and vacuumed so Novenah could crawl... and this was all before 9 a.m.!  [Somewhere in the midst of this Auntie Marge casually announced that while she had to change her Depends this morning she did NOT have an accident; and therefore, did NOT need a shower. Why do I believe old people at this point????] I got the children set up to do their stations (computer, buddy work, phonics packet, etc...) and bounded down the stairs to do my work. Quick load of laundry (OHMIGOSH we are still DROWNING in laundry around here!) and then I was at my desk.

I spent the next hour and a half or so working. Dealt with a VERY snippy registrar and banged my head against the wall trying to get a third reference for someone when NONE of his references were calling me back... All of a sudden from above (not from God... from my upstairs) someone shouted, "Novenah's all wet!" SACAJAWEA! I forgot to change her after breakfast!

When I got upstairs to change her I realized she prolly hadn't been changed since she went to bed last night. POOR THING! She was wet to the gills! I changed her quick and put her back on the floor for her workout (she's learning to crawl and today she has been MOVING!) and headed back downstairs for a few more calls.

So far the day had been BUSY but not that bad.... All of that was about to change at 11:03 a.m. I had finished the bulk of my urgent work and needed to start feeding Novenah lunch so I jetted upstairs. The butcher block was pulled in front of the doorway to the basement as a precaution should our little jet-setting crawler get through the kitchen unexpectedly. As I was pushing the butcher block back into place, one wheel collapsed sending baby food, bottles, a little glass jar, my water glass, and the salt and pepper shakers clattering to the ground. There was broken glass, water, and ice EVERYWHERE! As I tried to lift the butcher block enough for Noah to get the wheel back under there, the wooden-cutting-board top of it just came off in my hands and the thing CRASHED to the ground again, nearly severing my toe. I was thinking, "Seriously??? Seriously???" But that was not the end.  Noah helped me clean up the mess and get the butcher block thingy propped up against the wall, but the top part was still not connected and that wheel was NOT solidly in there. Round about halfway through the clean up, I had started to do the pee-pee dance so as soon as we got the butcher block settled I jetted for the bathroom, only to be greeted by a toilet seat COVERED in excrement... I reached for the bleach wipes to find poopy fingerprints all over the container. *sigh* (Again WHY do I believe elderly people??? They will say ANYTHING to get out of a shower!)  Dancing in place trying not to pee my pants, I avoided the poop fingerprints and extracted a bleach wipe from the container. Cleaned the toilet seat... dried the toilet seat... and plopped down JUST IN TIME!

After washing my hands for WAY LONGER THAN THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG I made Novenah's lunch, directed Noah to make Auntie Marge's lunch, commenced feeding Novenah (which was NOT an easy task.... she was WIPED out from all that crawling and from the fact that she didn't take a morning nap) only got 1/2 a bottle past her sleepy lips before giving up. I put Novenah to bed and went to deal with my sneaky 91-year old.  "Auntie Marge, based upon the poopy evidence I am convicting you as GUILTY of indeed having an accident this morning. Your punishment is a SHOWER!" Okay FINE that's not what I said! But I wanted to! Seriously what is so bad about a shower???? I love them! I long for them! I remember my single-days when I got a shower EVERY SINGLE day with tears of nostalgia in my eyes! HOW CAN YOU HATE A SHOWER?!?!?!?!?!

I patiently proceeded through giving her a shower and then headed to the kitchen to do the dishes while teaching four different grades of math lessons. (Just a QUICK brag: Noah is FREAKING brilliant! I can't believe the algebraic concepts he is grasping as I teach him in broken little pieces of instructions while washing dishes, reading Hannah her math instructions, helping Elijah figure out what to do next and checking Jeremiah's figures... IN FACT all my children are BRILLIANT! The fact that they learned this morning in this crazy madhouse is AMAZING!) Anywhoos... so we finished up math (most of the way... my little class clown is still finishing up the last of his) and I headed downstairs for more work....

My head is pounding. I need a nap or a Starbucks or SOMETHING! About halfway through this blog though I realized that I finally knew why I was writing. It wasn't just to find sanity in my insanity. God wanted me to write this blog so he could whisper something to my soul, "Jami, why do you patiently handle Auntie Marge's clean-up, gently deal with everything Novenah tosses your way, professionally handle the bristly registrar.... but the ONLY time you lose your cool... the ONE time you raise your voice.... the part of the day where you turn in to an UGLY monster is when it comes to your PRECIOUS OFF-SPRING who so SWEETLY played laundry fairies this morning...." It seems I have patience for everyone but those I love the most these days... It seems I can put on a pretty, patient face for everyone but them.

And now I'm done blogging for right now. I have to go RUN to my babies and tell them that I love them.... tell them I'm sorry I'm not more patient with them.... tell them how RIDICULOUSLY sweet it was that they were the laundry fairies and PROMISE that I will do BETTER and save a little of my patience for when they are placing stickers over every visible inch of their skin, REFUSING to get their penmanship book, SCREAMING loud enough to wake the dead (but somehow miraculously not waking the baby) and using up ALL of my laminating sheets on their play money [yes ALL of those things also happened today.]

My laundry MANgels and Angel (those are supposed to be their halos)
I love my laundry angels (had to change it because after reading this to them Jeremiah said he isn't comfortable with being referred to as a fairy... I don't think he gets that angels have wings and fly too maybe it is just that fairies have wands and tutus??? Now Noah is requesting I change it to laundry MANgels... I gotta post this blog before they add anymore to it!)

[Okay I paused... read this to them... cried while I read it... apologized.... kissed them all... so now I can finish the lesson part]

Jami's life as a lesson:

Save some patience, love, kindness, some of the GOOD STUFF for the people you love the most. I know that it is easy to let who we REALLY are and what we REALLY feel like hang out in front of those we know will love us NO MATTER WHAT, but don't you think those we love the most deserve a little of our best too?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Anxiety attack... Temper tantrum.... And a FORMIDABLE foe...

I left John and Hannah in radiology waiting for our copy of the MRI disc and followed the orange and then the gray diamonds toward the exit. Somewhere around the time I passed the pharmacy, I started to notice the knot in my stomach. By the time I reached the glass elevator, my throat was closing up and my pulse was racing. I climbed the steps and willed myself not to break out in a sprint. I could tell that I was sweating, and I felt certain that if I had to inhale one more breath of that canned hospital air I would vomit. I'm not entirely sure how I made it to the minivan. All I know for sure is that FIRST breath of stifling hot 90° air outside the revolving door at St. Luke's was HEAVENLY.

Today we went to church for the first time in a LONG time, but I hardly noticed. I was too busy waging an internal temper tantrum that would have impressed even a toddler in his terrible two's! Yesterday's panic attack had left me raw and aching, and I was RIPE for a vicious and awful attack from the devil. See one thing Satan does NOT do is fight fair! He waits till you are staggering with pain...  He doesn't stop when you fall to your knees... Your prostrate form almost lifeless on the ground only excites him and encourages him to take one more shot. And he knows just where to aim and land jab after jab in you heart, your spirit, your soul. Because I had taken on the form of a 2-year old in my heart, I entertained the devil's attack. I let his scathing words and vicious accusations bat my heart back and forth in my chest. I should have SCREAMED, "Get thee behind me Satan!" Instead I allowed him to throw gasoline on the fire of my fear and anger.

Tonight I'm still reeling and aching and sore. I brought a knife (actually a child's toy knife) to a gun battle and the resulting carnage is insane.

I guess the lesson I have tonight is DON'T cave to Satan! DON'T underestimate him. DO NOT give ear to his nonsense.

No matter what your circumstances look like tonight remember that we know the end! In the end, God wins and Satan is defeated. Let that encourage you to fight anew, my friends.

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Heaven

In Heaven there will be no childhood cancer, no cancer of any kind.

Babies won't die, leaving their mother's arms empty.

Friends won't betray... Husbands won't leave... Brains won't need surgery... There won't be foreclosures, unemployment, persecution, hypocrisy.

In Heaven, we will SEE Him FACE-TO-FACE! Misunderstandings, lies, pain and agony will ALL be a thing of the past.

In Heaven.....

Where I belong....

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside 
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive 
I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me 
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea 
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You 
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

All I know is I'm not home yet 
This is not where I belong 
Take this world and give me Jesus 
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong

Building 429 - Where I Belong [New Song 2011]

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Saturday MRIday....

John's MRI is scheduled for THIS Saturday. We would appreciate all the prayers we can get on this issue as we are NOT very excited about the possibility of another surgery.

Also his chiropractor appointment is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7.

Prayerfully walking forward and clinging to His promises...

The Kastners
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