Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A wake up call.

I have been very frustrated with myself lately. I recently had such a great spiritual experience and have witnessed from a distance the Lord's gentle and loving hand in others life and yet I have been so negative and frustrated. There is no real reason for me to feel this way and then I feel so guilty because of my poor attitude.

Last Friday I went to the funeral of my Aunt Tracee. Although this was something that we knew would happen it was still so hard to see her loving husband looking over her body. He stood by her side for all these years and was the greatest husband you can imagine. He loved her so much! He married her knowing she had major medical problems, knowing that things would be hard and he was always loving and understanding. They could never have children, they couldn't adopt, she had two kidney transplants, a heart attack and heart surgery and years of dialysis. Yet, he never complained, he only showed loved to her and everyone around him.

As some may know our friend Jami has suffered a great loss. Her husband Kameron (the one I asked everyone to pray for) passed away last Wednesday. He had been fighting in the ICU for 1 1/2 months and the Lord felt his time was done here on this earth. I am just so touched by the amazing strength and faith that Jami has! Daily she updated everyone one on Kameron's ups and downs. As I read her last blog about the day he left this earth to return home to our Father in heaven, I just wept. I could not even imagine going through what she has been through.

I look at my son who is only about 6 months younger than hers and look at Rusty and just couldn't imagine losing him and having to change my whole life. Being a widow at such a young age. She is just amazing! I know the Lord thinks so highly of her and so do I. I am so grateful for the understanding I have about death and eternal ties. The blessing of the temple and knowing we will see all of our friends and family again.

I can't help but look at these two amazing spouses who have been loving, supportive, have such great faith and then think 'what is my problem?' I just feel like a spoiled brat. Having unnecessary temper-tantrums, not wanting to fulfill my responsibilities and the way that I treat my family is just awful. I have no excuse. What is going to wake me up to make the necessary changes in my life? I recognize what I don't like about myself and instead of changing it I complain about it.

I want to be like these amazing people I know. What great examples they are. So thank you Jami. Thank you Uncle Danny. I pray that you will be continually comforted and blessed by the Lords merciful hand! And I pray that I can be worthy of the same blessings someday.

**********In Memory of Kameron Haban**********

Kameron Neil Haban's obituary

July 8, 1980 - August 19, 2009

Our beloved Kameron, age 29, was called home to the arms of our Heavenly Father on August 19, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona after a six week struggle with Lupus in the Tucson Medical Center.

Kameron was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 8, 1980. Kameron lived with his family in Hawaii, California and Japan before settling in Sierra Vista, Arizona when he was 15. He attended MC Perry School in Japan where he excelled in academics and athletics. He especially enjoyed playing and coaching baseball and softball. From 1999 until 2001 he served a LDS mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he grew to love the people and was dedicated to sharing the gospel with them. As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Kameron held many callings in the church; he served as Elders Quorum President of his college ward, a Young Men’s Presidency member, a Sunday School teacher, Primary teacher, Scout leader, Seminary Teacher and was an Eagle Scout.

After graduating from Buena High School in 1998 Kameron left home to attend college at Eastern Arizona College, in Thatcher, Arizona where he met the love of his life, Jamilyn (Davies) Haban, in 2003. They were sealed for time and all eternity in the Mesa Arizona Temple on June 25, 2004. Kameron always put Jami first and loves her more than anything. Kameron loves his son, Kason, and worked hard to provide him with the very best. He and Kason were best buds and were often found spending all their extra time together. Kason was his pride and joy and Kameron was the best daddy to Kason.

Kameron was happiest when spending time with his wife, son and family. He enjoyed spending time out-of-doors, especially if it involved hunting or playing sports. Baseball was a huge part of Kameron’s life and he enjoyed teaching his son how to play. He could often be found in the kitchen and enjoyed cooking and baking for his family. Kameron was not one to sit still and do nothing. He was a hard worker and was constantly thinking of ways to serve and help others. He always put others needs before his own. Kameron’s smile was contagious and could light up a room. He had such a great love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and strived to live it faithfully each day. He was an amazing husband, father, son, brother, and friend. Many lives have been touched by the love and compassion of Kameron. We love you Kam. You will be greatly missed by many and we anxiously await our reunion with you.

Kameron is survived by: his wife, Jamilyn Haban and his two year old son, Kason Alexander Haban; his mother and father, Arthur and Elena Haban; two brothers, Matthew and Daniel Haban; his grandparents, Alejandro (Mary) Haban, Irene Pascua and Roseline Dimaya.

Donations in Kameron’s memory may be made at any Bank of America in the name of Jami Haban for the benefit of Kameron Haban.

*****If anyone would like to know more about Jami and what you can do to help please click on the "Support Kameron and Jamie" button at the top of the blog.
Jami is now left with some crazy medical bills and funeral bills and donations can be made on that page. Thank you!*****

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Accident and the MIRACLE that followed.

So this may be a very long blog but don't say I didn't warn you. I had a very traumatic thing happen to me this last week and although I wouldn't say it's something I would willingly go through again I feel that it was something I physically needed for my own spiritual growth. So I guess I should start at the beginning:

I decided to take a vacation with my Mother, her friend Brigette, Brayden and myself. We headed off on Friday July 31st to Farmington, New Mexico to visit some dear friends of ours (Cindy Hamson and her family) that we hadn't seen in WAY too long. We had a wonderful time with fun pictures to go with it (I will share those in another blog to come). One thing we decided to do while up in Farmington was to can. This was something I have always wanted to learn and do. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are asked to have a year supply for our families in case of an emergency. This is something that I have never really put a dent into mostly because it felt so overwhelming and all too consuming. However, while talking to Cindy I felt empowered! Like, "This is something I CAN do." So we bought jars and food to go in them. We went to a nearby orchard and got fresh peaches that we canned and on Wednesday we decided to make some "Heat and Eat" meals.

I had never realized that you could can meat or meals that contained meat. What you have to do is make the meal and put it into the jars (with the meat raw) and you put it into the pressure cooker for 90 minutes under 15 pounds of pressure. And the meat will cook all the way through. So we had been doing this all day and the process consisted of the food cooking and Cindy would take the jars out of the pressure cooker, hand them to Brigette who placed them down on the towel for me and then I tightened the jars and they would cool. We had already canned at least 30 something jars that day not to count the 30 plus jars we had done the day or so before, we were naturals.

Well, that night (Wednesday August 5th) we had a batch of stews cooking in the pressure cooker and it finished up right after So You Think You Can Dance and so we made our assembly line and started to tighten the lids. I was on the 2nd to last one when I started to tighten a lid which didn't feel right and before I knew it I have a face full of hot steaming, greasy stew all over my face. At first I didn't feel the pain I was just shocked that it had happened. Whenever I get her my mind tries to think as logical as possible. My first reaction was get to a sink, however my body wasn't really listening, I did a quick circle in the same spot and tried to head to the bathroom but was re-directed to the kitchen sink by Doug (Cindy's amazing husband) and was met by others who started to spray me down with cool water. That's when I started to feel the pain however at that moment I was having a harder time breathing being squirted with the water, trying to catch my breath.

I was then taken to the bathroom with a wet rag over my face and we filled up the sink with cool water and dumped ice into it. My face got hotter and hotter and just would not cool down. I remember looking into the mirror in shock at what I looked like. My whole face was red and I could see my skin melting off my face. It was such a weird experience, seeing myself like that. I kept thinking, "It's going to be okay, It's going to be okay." I knew it had to be.

We knew that I had to go the the ER there was no way we could handle this on our own especially since it looked like I was suffering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns with in seconds of the accident. Before I knew it the door bell rang and a gentleman from the Hamson's ward was there to help Doug give me a Priesthood blessing. My Mom arrived around the same time (she had been at the store with Brayden, thank goodness) and they came in the bathroom to give me the blessing. This was that best thing that could have happened at that exact moment in time. I was so comforted by the blessing that I had absolute confidence that everything really was going to be okay! The blessing stated that the my unborn baby was fine and would not be affected by this experience. That I would make a full and quick recovery and that the Lord would help me through the pain that I would have to endure.

Right after the blessing we filled up a huge bowl with ice and water and I got into the car with the bowl and towel. I could not take the towel off my face for even a second with out feeling an intense burning over my whole face and neck. The hospital was at the other side of town and as we got there I was rushed in to the back trauma room. The hospital experience was a little frustrating to say the least. I had one nurse that was...not very compassionate and two others that seemed to really care, although none of them were really there to witness what was going on... I will try not to dwell on that point and just move on.

Once in my room I sat down on the bed with the ice water and rag and continued to rinse my face. It was the only thing that eased the pain at all. We had changed from me putting the ice cold rag on my face to my mother doing it while I held the bowl. One nurse rinsed my face with sterile water (she was worried about me getting an infection from the clothe we were using, she soon let it be since there was no other way to stop the burning) so the other nurse got more ice (since the ice was melting too quickly) while another nurse set up an IV. They gave me some pain medication and we continued the ice water.

The whole time I felt calm and my mind was really thinking about our friend Cindy who was in the room with my mom and I. She felt so bad and I wished that there was a way I could comfort her. She had been canning since she was a little girl (so like for 40 years or so) and has never had anything like this happen before! I was so grateful that she and my mom where there with me. I felt bad for poor Rusty, he was ready to head out to New Mexico the second it happened, but I insisted that he stayed in Phx. It felt so pointless for him to drive the 7 hours to get there and I would probably be feeling better by then and then he would have missed work and there was no way I would want him to drive 7 hours after being awake since 4 am.

For some reason, when I go through something painful or traumatic I decided to keep things as light as possible. I kept trying to have regular conversations and joke around and I think this might be one of the reasons the nurses didn't seem as concerned. They probably thought we were having a party in the room. I just think it's silly to get over worked and frustrated when all it does is make the experience worse. I did the same thing when I was having Brayden and my mom had thought I had gone completely loopy because if the jokes I made... Anyways, there was a lot of laughter mixed with bursts of tears. "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Whenever I did start crying I would push them back and everyone was like, "It's okay to cry..." and I was like, "I can't, it hurts too much to cry." haha. It was true.

So I digress again, so by this point it has been about 1 hour at the hospital they had already given me another dose of pain medication (that did absolutely nothing!) and there was a big concern that I was going to get sick from all of the freezing water. The whole bed was soaked, my clothes were soaked, the floor had puddles on both sides and my body was convulsing it was so cold. However, the pain and heat of my face took precedence over all of that for me. We took the towel off for 5-10 seconds to see if it had stopped and then I couldn't go any longer with out it. They ended up cutting off my shirt since it was soaked and we couldn't pull it over my face, they gave me a dry gown tons of towels and more blankets to try to keep my body warm. This continued for a long time.

My body really was going through a lot. I had to go to the restroom which was a very difficult thing. My Mom helped me walk down the hall as I held the bowl with ice and kept applying the cloth. When I got off of the bed I could barely stand. It was like my body was so week. I was dizzy and just had trouble making myself move. While in the restroom my whole body started to cramp up and It couldn't move. On the way back I seriously almost collapsed if it wasn't for my mom holding me up and my teeth started chattering uncontrollably. The nurse had changed the sheets on my bed since the others were completely soaked and I was quickly given fresh, warm blankets which helped to calm down my shaking legs. Once in bed, we continued the ice water on my face.

We kept checking to see if my face had gotten to the point where I could go with out the towel, with no luck. My face would go from pitch white (from being frozen ) to bright red in seconds. By this point my lips were super swollen and my eyes were almost swelling over my eyes. I kind of wish I had a mirror to see all of this but at the same time glad that I didn't. The expression and concerns on the faces and voices around me was enough.

After about 4 hours of cooling my face down and even more pain medication my face would not stay cool. The longest I could take the towel off with out the pain was about 10 seconds and then the pain would start on my cheeks work up to my eyes and then my whole face felt like it was on fire. However, the doctor decided that it was time to put on the antibiotic cream and see how I would handle it. That meant no more water on my face....

I have to say that I think this is one of the most painful things I have experienced (and I have experienced a lot of pain in my life). We stopped the water and I had to lean back as two nurses on either side of me started applying the ointment. You would think that I had placed my face over an open fire. The process took maybe only 3-5 minutes and in that time I was just holding onto the bed mattress squeezing as hard as I could trying to take slow deep breaths. In my mind I just kept praying that the Lord would just help me through this moment in time. Just as I reached the peak of my pain it was like all of a sudden the pain just dropped. It wasn't all at once but it was really quick considering how long I had been in pain. My heart felt at ease and comforted. I honestly felt like the Lord said, "Okay Olivia, you went threw all the pain that you needed to, I will take it from here." And that was it. That's what happened. It wasn't because of the cream because the cream had NO numbing agents it was just a antibiotic cream to shield from infections. It wasn't because of the pain medication, although they gave me a different kind this time there was no way it could have taken away all of my pain in that amount of time and given me that spiritual comfort that I received. I knew that the Priesthood blessing that was given to me had come true. That the Lord would help me through the pain.

By this point the nurses came in and checked the baby's heartbeat to make sure he/she was okay. And there was that beautiful little heartbeat working and a few kicks to the little doohickey to remind everyone that everything was okay. I was finally at the point when I could talk to Rusty. He had been so concerned and loving. I told him how things were going and that I was doing much better. I also wished him a Happy Anniversary since it was now August 6th. We had been married for 4 years. What a great Anniversary present. :)

I was soon discharged with some pain medication, and extra cream for my face (along with the prescriptions to get filled the next day). The doctor gave me the name of a plastic surgeon to meet with the next day to clean up my face, give me a realistic idea of how long it will take to heal and to tell me how to treat my face properly. So at around 2 am we headed home and I attempted to sleep.

It is very difficult to sleep propped up and unable to turn your head in either direction to sleep. Although I didn't really 'sleep' I felt really rested. Brayden had woken up and I got up with him, so glad to see him. (The night before he was screaming as we headed out to the hospital and I was unable to say goodbye to him). He and I got up and read a book together, played cars and enjoyed Mommy and Brayden time. At first he looked up at me a little frightened and confused by the appearance of my face but that soon passed. I was a wake and feeling really good. After what I went through wouldn't I be in more pain? Wouldn't I be completely exhausted? Wouldn't I be begging for someone else to be handling Brayden so I could go back to sleep? Something? But I didn't. I felt happy, content, healthy and good.

I went and looked at myself in the mirror and was completely shocked at what I saw. My face didn't look anything like I thought it would. I had seen bad burns and this was a bad burn! Yet, there I was looking better, feeling better. I knew that the Lord was following through with what he said! A full and quick recovery. That morning we went to see the plastic surgeon and I know that he was expecting to see me worse then what I was. He added to that confidence I had by saying that I should recover with no scarring. He popped a few blisters, told me to stay out of the sun for at least 3 weeks and how to care for my face and that was it. I was doing great for being burned with scolding hot grease water only 12 hours before.

When it came to pain it didn't feel like I really needed to take the medication and by day 2 I was on a low dosage of Tylenol. This was comforting to me because I didn't want to have to use the high pain medication especially since it could slow down the baby's heart beat. The only time that I felt pain was when I was in an area that felt heated, like a hot car or sunlight (which I was trying to avoid all together).

Each day since has proven to be better and better. Everyday since the accident has been like a weeks worth of healing to my face! And this is NOT and exaggeration. I wish I had a picture of my face the night of the accident because I almost think people don't believe me when they see me. I felt awful Friday night because my face was looking...icky. I just wanted to cry, I knew I would be going home and seeing Rusty and although I know he loves me no matter what I looked like I didn't want him seeing me like that. I also felt guilty, knowing that I was healing so quickly, wasn't feeling any pain and yet I was still whining about my appearance. Luckily I kicked myself out of the rut and really focused on the fact that if it wasn't for the Lord I would be like any other burn victim being on day 2 of healing instead of week 2.

When I came home I was so happy to see my hubby and he was surprised to see me. I had sent him a picture that somewhat showed my injuries from the day before and he couldn't believe how much better I had gotten in a day. By Sunday it was even better then the day before.

I had originally thought that I would not be up to gong to church that Sunday when the accident happened but when Sunday came along, I knew I had to go. I had been blessed with healing quicker and had barely any pain, there was no reason for me to miss church. I felt like if I missed church I wouldn't be showing my gratitude to the Lord for all that He had done for me in my time of need. It was great being there and getting a chance to take the sacrament and to feel the Spirit there. It did feel a little weird being there when so many had heard my story and were expecting to see me far worse then I was. I felt that it was just a witness to the great and marvelous mercies and miracles that the Lord gives us.

There are so many things that I have gotten out of this experience. I feel like each day I have learned something about myself and the gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony has grown ten folds and I am grateful for it. Like I said in the beginning, this was something I needed, I just hope I don't have to go through it again. :)

As of today, Wednesday August 12th I am doing great. My face is looking really good. My right cheek has almost completely peeled and is a light pink. I still have small blisters on my eyelids and a few other areas. My neck is the hardest to keep the ointment on so the skin is rougher there. There are a few areas where the skin was damaged but not peeling yet so it looks like my freckles got darker. Thank goodness for those freckles that are really hiding the small blisters and right now it looks like I just had a bad sunburn. So I am super grateful and feeling more blessed then words can say!

Thanks to everyone who has kept me in your prayers and thoughts, they have truly helped more then you know.

* I am working on getting some pictures from after the accident but as for now I will leave it with this VERY, VERY long blog. *

***VERY IMPORTANT: I do NOT want this experience to scare anyone away from canning! This was a freak accident that happened and the liklyhood of it happening again is very slim! Like I said my friend Cindy has been canning for about 40 years or so and has never seen this happen. After the incident we kept the jar and realized that it had to have been faulty. Doug was able to twist it shut and then pop it open very easily. That should not happen! We did file a report with the company and US Consumer Product Safety Commission. I am hoping that they can make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else. I am planning to can again, I admit it might take a while but I will be canning soon because it is so important!*****