Friday, September 23, 2011

Fears and Happiness

I had an interesting conversation with a good friend yesterday.  She asked me how I was doing, and of course I gave my favorite standard response again, "I'm good,"  then I tried to change the subject...."How about you?"  But she didn't let me off the hook that easily, she was just curious about what it was like to instantly have a child with a serious medical condition, when everything used to be perfectly normal.  I think she was just curious about my overall state of mind.  It took some serious thought on my part.  Honestly, It had been a long time since I had thought about how I was doing emotionally, we have just been going through the motions, just living the day-to-day.  After thinking about it, I decided that I  really am fairly okay right now.  It's just a complete shift of thinking.  There are some things I'm still pretty hung up on......I don't ever leave Abby alone, that scares me too much, I'm obsessed with making sure she gets her meds and that she gets them exactly on time, I'm also a little OCD about her vitals-we're supposed to check them twice a day, and we do, not matter what, and if they're off at all, we check them again a little later just to make sure they are okay.  I am also constantly checking on Brittany and Brock, I like to make sure they're alright.  This is probably driving them both crazy since they are teenagers, but I'm still just a little paranoid right now.  I'm now a major germ freak.  I'm constantly using hand sanitizer and making the people around me use it too.  I think in church last Sunday, we sanitized at least 4 times during sacrament meeting.  Every week when I go to PCMC I stop by the pharmacy and buy some Avagard, I can't help it, it's a habit now.  I'm also going through tons of Lysol wipes every day.....thank goodness for Costco, I just have to have things be clean.  We can't get sick!!!

But to me, these are all just little things.  For the most part, I think we are recovering.  Every once in a while I even get a glimpse of the old, carefree, fun Michelle.  Maybe..... hopefully, I'll get back to that someday.  I do have 2 major fears that are constantly in the back of my mind.  The first one is that we are going to get all moved back into our house, back to work and back to school and feeling like normal people again, and then something is going to happen and we are going to end up back at PCMC.  I don't know if I feel this way because it's hard to believe we will ever really be "normal" again, or if I'm scared to take Abby's ease with all of this for granted, or maybe I've heard too many stories about kids with heart issues that are always ending up back in the hospital-I know there are so many things that can still go wrong, or because it just seems to soon to be back home.....only 4 1/2 months after this all started....not even 3 months since the transplant.  Whatever the reason, it's a constant source of worry for me.  I tell myself to just let things happen, I have so much faith that things will happen how they should happen for us, but it's still back there in my mind.

My other my other fear is going back to school and teaching again.  This is a strange fear for me because I've been teaching for 12 years, but I'm more nervous to go back then any year....ever.  I haven't been able to think about teaching, at all, since May 18th, and I feel so out of it.  I've been so focused on Abby and my other kids and making sure they're okay, that I haven't allowed my mind to go anywhere else and I'm not sure how to find room in there to think about being a good teacher again too.  Teaching isn't a job that you show up for work and then go home and don't think about it anymore.  I'm always thinking about what can I do better, how can I help them understand this concept, what am I going to do tomorrow so they "get it," how can I be a better teacher for a certain student, etc.  I used to be able to really focus on being a good teacher, and I'm scared that I won't be able to anymore, I'm scared I've lost that focus and I won't be able to be a good teacher again.  What if I get in the classroom and I'm just a stress case and can't keep track of things?  what if I can't deal with the new math curriculum I'm supposed to be teaching this year? What if I can't even focus enough to learn all of my students' names and their needs?  What if I have to go back up to Salt Lake because something happens?  What if something happens to Abby again and I'm at the school with her this time?   What if I get sick and can't miss because I don't have any sick days left?  What if I can't remember how to be organized and I'm just a mess now?  what if my end-of-level test scores go way down this year?  I know it's not good to play the "what if" game, and it drives a couple of my close friends crazy when I do it, but I like to think ahead and try to be prepared for any situation.   I have about 1 1/2 months to get prepared to go back, and I think I really need this time.  I'm really hoping that I'll get back in the classroom and it will just feel natural again, that it will just feel right, but who knows?  I guess only time will tell.

Overall, we are doing okay.  We find joy in a lot of the little things now, we didn't use to do this.  We are happy to just be together as a family whenever we can, we are happy to have 5 whole days in St. George, we are happy to go out to lunch or get ice cream with friends, we are happy to go running-even if it's only a little bit.   It makes us happy to see people wearing Team Doman shirts, or to sit outside in the sun and read a book, or to have people that I never really knew come up and tell us how the blog has helped to change their life in so many ways.  It makes us happy to hear when our "heart friends" are having successes, or when we hear of another child receiving a heart.    It makes us happy to look back on so many sweet memories we have of the past 4 months, and to look at all of the relationships that have been formed or renewed or enriched because of what we've been going through.  We are just happy that Abby is alive and improving every day, her life is a miracle.


  1. i hope you don't mind me leaving a comment. i've been following your blog for quite some time now! wow! what a MIRACLE abby is!!! she is quite the fighter! she reminds me of my little girl. :) i just love coming to read up on your family and this amazing abby of yours!!! thank you for keeping all of us (even if i am a stranger) updated on how she is doing!!! i do have to mention one thing that keeps sticking out to me in this post. kinda weird. but don't think i'm crazy! ha ha. you had mentioned that you guys have to stay away from germs and CANNOT get sick! we are doing the exact same thing!!! we clean and sanitize EVERYTHING before my daughter touches it! i was a HUGE FAN of clorox wipes UNTIL i came across this AMAZING PRODUCT!!! i can't help but tell you about it. short version:it is a special microfiber cloth that works BETTER than clorox wipes, only using water, and saves you SO MUCH money because you won't have to buy clorox wipes anymore!!! i have absolutely LOVED these cloths and wouldn't go back to clorox wipes if someone paid me to!!! feel free to check them out. they seriously are AMAZING!!! EPA AND FDA APPROVED!!! seriously AMAZING!!! feel free to ask me ANY questions that you may have!!! go check them out here: i PROMISE, PROMISE you will TOTALLY love them!!!

  2. It is just a new normal. My son is amost 15 months and we knew of his heart condition at 20 weeks gestation- We had plenty of time to prepare. And yet I am still not back to myself yet. Somethings I do not know if I will ever return to, ie the OCD clean, germs,checking on him and my other kids. Give it some time. Do not discredit yourself, any Mom who has seen what you have seen will tell you, we are all in the same boat. A little PTSS. My only advice is to LIVE, our children have been given a new lease on life, let them run with it. And in Abbys case this might be quite literal! Update when you can, thank you for sharing Abbys story, you all are an inspiration to me!

  3. You are still new at this. Our son is 14. You will find a "new" normal. And then Abby will have something come up and you will have to discover another normal. Thats just how it is with these heart kids. But they are such blessings. You will learn to relax. We constantly have Ashton in our minds, as we do with our other kids, but you learn how to deal with it and continue on with life. Enjoy life, it's very precious. And the whole germ thing will get easier. When you have a heart kid you are always concerned with germs. But they do need to build up an immunity. But there are times when you just have to be way over cautious. It's ok. We understand the risk of catching something and it's better to be safe. Hang in there. You're not alone. And btw, we live in St. George. If you need anything let me know. Or if Abby ever needs to talk to someone who truly understands.

  4. Love you Shelly! You're doing great. I'm so glad you are on your way home. I think you'll find yourself loving being back in school, it will feel like a little piece of the old normal that you get to visit every day. I'm so glad you get to go back! Just in time--another in a long line of miracles you have been blessed with. I'm so happy for you and the relationship you have built with yourself, your family and Heavenly Father! I miss chatting with you but I'm glad that it's because you're on the next stage. Our family will always have yours in our prayers, and the girls can't wait to see Abby again! Love you!