Phil-ism Friday…Lookin’ Good

“Phil-ism”…something said or done by The Younger Boy that incites laughter, bewilderment, or joy.

Today’s edition: getting ready for Christmas Eve Mass.

IMG_0456

“I think this shirt’s too big.  I feel like a hobbit in a human shirt.”

10 Minutes later, however, he finds that the shirt fits just fine:

IMG_0464

“If I was a girl, I’d date me.  I look hot!”

We definitely need to work on humility.  Geez…

 

Follow me on Facebook.

The Good, The Bad, and The Amusing

I know I’m late on this, but…

Happy New Year, Y’all!

I’ve been wanting to write many times lately, but I’ve been in a particularly nasty MS relapse (going on week 7–yuck!), so my brain just wasn’t/isn’t working correctly.  2013 was a horrendous year, so much so that at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2014, while everyone else was celebrating a New Year, I was screaming, “I survived!  I survived!”  And, even though I was hoping to start 2014 symptom free, that wasn’t in the cards.  It’s ok, I’m hopeful that things will improve soon.

No New Year’s Resolutions for me–I always hated that concept (you don’t need a new year to make a change in your life)–so I intend to do what I’ve already been doing.  Work on my faith, try to be a good mom and wife, fight for my health, and do it all with a smile, especially when I want to smile the least.  I also plan on laughing at myself…because, really, life is just too short to be so serious.  Plus, I find myself funny when no one else does.

I would love to share some wonderful insight from 2013 or say something amazing and inspiring about the upcoming 2014, but this disease messes with my already dim cognitive abilities.  So, since my writing abilities aren’t quite up to par yet, let’s do something easy, shall we?

2013…The Good, The Bad, and The Amusing.  A Year in Pictures:

Captain Jack Sparrow, the...Jedi???

Captain Jack Sparrow, the…Jedi???

 

 

January started with heartache…my paternal grandfather passed away on January 1.  Within the next 5 months, I would also lose my maternal grandmother, then grandfather.  My kids saw a lot of loss last year.

 

 

 

 

ms

 

In February, we finally got a glimpse of why I had been so ill for so long.  On Ash Wednesday (poetic, no?), it was first suggested that I had Multiple Sclerosis.  While researching my newfound friend, I came across this gem.  Since laughter is the way I deal with things, it totally hit home.

 

 

 

The Older Boy placed second in the Special Olympics:

special olympics

 

coffee

 

 

Leaving at 3:30am for one of our trips to Houston for testing, I see this.  Both were for The Husband.  You know it’s a big job when Batman is the back-up.

 

 

 

 

Going to my maternal grandfather’s funeral, I saw these signs posted all over.  So simple, yet so important.  This served as a gentle reminder that we are not alone, even when we feel complete isolation. 

pray

 

The Older Boy came home with this note at the end of the school year, and it completely touched my heart.  He may have a lot of struggles and may not be blessed with the same talents as other kids, but if he is someone who others describe as having a “selfless and giving heart,” that’s ok in my book.

sweet

 

I was very ill most of the summer, spending almost all of July in bed.  So, we tried to make the best of a bad situation with silliness at home:

I love it when I find things like this. Apparently, Superman is kicking butt on the roof, while a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is getting a pizza from a dinosaur. I love to watch kids play!

I love it when I find things like this. Apparently, Superman is kicking butt on the roof, while a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is getting a pizza from a dinosaur. I love to watch kids play!

I love the flame-gloves in the middle of summer, thereby proving his awesomeness.

I love the flame-gloves in the middle of summer, thereby proving his awesomeness.

I find these guys on the couch, obviously tired from battle. I'm not sure what happened, but I am sure of this: it was epic.

I find these guys on the couch, obviously tired from battle. I’m not sure what happened, but I am sure of this: it was epic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Older Boy is showing me his muscles after getting 2 shots. Soon after, we hear a baby crying/screaming very loudly, and he says, “you hear that baby? He got shots too! I’m brave. He’s not!”  Well, go ahead with your bad self…

brave

Apparently, his immunizations made him feel invincible, because a few days later, John Edward informed me that he is, in fact, Iron Man.  I don’t know about you, but I will now be sleeping better.

ironman

 

Just another reason why I love my sister…she has my back.  This was actually on the first day of my current relapse.  She has threatened MS many times, usually using terms like “shank.”  (We share the same freak sense of humor.)  One of my biggest supporters, she has been amazing this year.

caitlin text

 

The guys at the end of 'No Shave November.' Not my favorite look for either one of them, but good lookin' fellas regardless.

The guys at the end of ‘No Shave November.’ Not my favorite look for either one of them, but good lookin’ fellas regardless.

 

The Husband and his brother, both fully participating in “No Shave November.”  Jeremy is on the left…see how happy he is with all of that hair on his face?  Many a night I was tempted to shave him in his sleep!

 

 

 

 
serviceFrom one set of brothers to another.  The Younger Boy has waited, quite impatiently, since his First Communion to become an altar server.  Both Philip and John Edward served together–for the first time–during Thanksgiving Mass.  I was so nervous; I just knew that they would fight on the altar, but they proved me wrong, giving me something to truly be thankful for on that day.

 

In the beginning of December, we got great news!  My neurologist finally decided to make the formal diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis!  I know this may not sound like good news to you, but for us, it was a final answer, along with a game plan of how to fight this disease.  I started treatment a few weeks ago, and so far, so good.

meds

A new sign of our lives…

 

This was the scene pretty much every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas morning.  Anticipation, anyone?

anticipation

 

Lastly, a shot of myself.  Here’s how this came about:

“Mom, can I take your picture?” -Philip
“I guess…” –Me
“Will you post it on Facebook?” –Philip
“I’d rather not. I’m tired, I don’t have any make up on, I haven’t even brushed my hair, and I spent most of the day in the hospital. Not really up to sharing this look with others.”
“But you’re my mom, and I love the way you look. Even when you look like a mess. Pleeeease…”

 

How can you refuse that? So, against my better judgment, and throwing all dignity and vanity out of the window, here I am obliging the kid. (This was way after I had enough of this game, and I’m fussing at him to go to bed…according to Jeremy, this is my ‘mean face’ that he always sees. Ha!)

dignity

 

So, there’s 2013 in pictures.  Loss, illness, love, laughter, acceptance, and support.  If you look at the events from this year, it’s easy to say it was a really bad year.  If you look at the people, you can come to a quite different conclusion.

I choose to look to the positives, so I guess I can say it was a pretty good year.

Here’s to more of what’s great in 2014!  Whatever this year has in store for me, I know that I can make it through, especially when surrounded by such wonderful loved ones.

From my family to yours, we sincerely wish you a very Happy New Year.  May you find your positives in 2014.

boys

The Misadventures of Puck

We have joined the legions of other parents in doing the whole “Elf on the Shelf” thing, but as I stated in this previous post, we are doing things a little differently than normal.

Just to recap, our elf was kicked out of the North Pole.  Apparently, he had an unfortunate fruitcake accident and has been acting like a little jerk ever since.  Seeing that he needed some discipline, Santa left him here so the boys can teach him to be good again.

There will actually be a lesson for the kids in the end of all this.  But, for now, I’m just using this elf for my own selfish entertainment purposes.

Here are his adventures since last week:

 

Day 9…Puck “steals” the canned goods from The Younger Boy’s food drive to make a throne for himself.  He then proceeds to eat a cookie.  Because he is a selfish jerk.

IMG_6113

 

Day 10…Puck finds a way to deal, while living with our family.  Not the best way to handle your problems, pal.

IMG_6154

I can’t believe we found alcohol in our house!  The Husband and I aren’t drinkers (not that we are against alcohol, we just don’t drink it), the wine was left over from a recent party and I think the Crown Royal was a gift years ago.  If Crown ages, it should be pretty good by now!

After the night of drunkenness, Philip felt like Puck needed an intervention.  So, when he got home from school, he made this:

IMG_6153

According to Philip, Puck would be nicer if he had a warm bed.  Seeing a need to be filled, he made Puck a room, complete with a bed, blanket, pillow, and even a book!  I’m so glad he’s promoting literacy!

On another note, I know this is all fun and games, but I am glad that Philip is showing compassion.  He said that sometimes people are mean because they have a sad life (like not having a home), and that we should help people, rather than judge them.  There’s a lesson that we can all learn…such a smart boy!

 

Day 11…Puck makes it personal when he messes with my yarn.

IMG_6157

Not really.  I wasn’t going to use this yarn anyway.  I’m not one to make an unnecessary mess…”ain’t nobody got time for that!”

 

Day 12…Tired of us, Puck attempts to escape.

IMG_6162

 

Day 13…Puck shows how much of a sicko he is when he takes apart the Lego people.

IMG_6204

The next morning, The Husband says, “Philip!  I can’t believe that Puck decapitated your Lego people!”

To which Philip responded, “That’s ok Dad.  I already re-capitated some of them.”

 

Day 14…Puck acts like a teenager and takes a selfie.

IMG_6213

This one really impressed The Younger Boy because later that day, we “found” Puck’s selfie on my phone.

IMG_0421

You can actually see The Husband’s arm in it, but Philip never noticed.  He was in awe of this one, because “There’s no way you did it, Mom!  You’d be in the picture!!!”

I feel like such a liar…

 

Those are the misadventures of Puck so far.  If you’re actually reading this whimsical nonsense, congratulations!!!  You win a prize…or something.

What will happen next?  Will Puck learn to behave himself?  Will he ever stop tormenting our toys?  Can someone so bad ever be good?  (Cue suspenseful music.)

Stay tuned to find out…

 

Phil-ism Friday…Dear Santa

I know all kids are special in their own ways, but Philip truly amazes me.  Check out his letter to Santa:

IMG_6205

In case you can’t see his words or understand his handwriting/spelling, here’s what his letter says:

Dear Santa,

Merry early Christmas.  Do you ever sleep?  Do you ever vacation?  Puck’s horrible Santa!  I’m a big fan of your work.  How can you get around the world?  How many presents can your gang <make?> in one day?  For Christmas, can I please have=

A Kindle

Legos

Books

Crayons

Coloring Book

Mom to feel good

No weapons in 1 week

Ninjas

Ninja Turtle toys

Movies

***Puck is our horrible Elf on a Shelf.***

I’m on his Christmas list, along with a version of world peace.  How sweet is that?!?  My boys are so exceptional!

On another note, I find it hilarious that he wants there to be no more weapons but then asks for a ninja.  I guess ninjas are so dangerous, they don’t need weapons.

karate-kyle-meme-generator-i-m-a-ninja-when-mom-s-not-home-3be795

I also find it disturbing that he is asking for ninjas, rather than ninja toys (as specified for other things).  Is he wanting a real life ninja?  I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.  Does Santa deliver other humans as gifts?

If so, I want a maid.

Apple Butter, My Grandmother, and The Cops…Nothing to See Here

It was two days before Thanksgiving, and my family was all a flutter.  We love Thanksgiving; it’s always been my favorite holiday of the year.  It’s such a simple holiday, just a meal with the ones you love.

For the past few years, the boys and I have made goodies for our friends and family as little “Thank You” gifts, and although I wasn’t feeling well, this year was no different.  The day before, we were busy making apple butter and pecan pie muffins, and now it was the fun part–delivering the goodies!

Just a few of our goodies, packaged and ready to go!

Just a few of our goodies, packaged and ready to go!

We also had plans to drive 45 miles to a nearby town to visit my grandmother.  I wasn’t going to be seeing her for Thanksgiving, and the boys and I were going to meet her for lunch to get some quality time in.

The day went on as planned.  We started off with Mass in the morning, delivered apple butter and muffins to our loved ones nearby, then headed off to meet my grandmother for lunch.  We visited with her for a few hours; the day was going so well!  The weather was very cold and wet, but our hearts were warm and happy.

But then…disaster.  (Not really, but wasn’t that dramatic?  Cue the music…)

We had to go to the church to meet a friend who was donating canned goods for The Younger Boy’s food drive (more on that later), and I was running late.  She was going into Adoration, and I wanted to meet her before she entered the chapel, so as to not disturb those praying.

Now, there is a road in our town that is a well-known speed trap.  The speed limit is ridiculously low, and there are usually cops hiding on the side of the road.  I know this and am usually really good about watching my speed, but I failed terribly on this day.

As I’m racing down the road (really not meaning to), I see the familiar white hood of a police car.  I uttered a “Crap!” under my breath and hit the brakes.  And, at first, I thought I had slowed down in time.  I passed the cop, holding my breath, and he didn’t turn around.

He didn’t turn around at first.

Soon after I passed him, I looked in the rearview to see him quickly coming up behind me. I’m watching to see if he’s going to put on the lights or siren, but so far, nothing.

Nothing except my kids acting like nuts.  They’re both on their knees, turned around, waving like maniacs at the cop.

Yeah, something like that.

Yeah, something like that.

“What are y’all doing?!?  Turn around and sit down!  He’s going to think you’re not wearing your seat belts.  You are wearing your seat belts, aren’t you?  And quit waving at him, we look guilty!”

We kept on for quite a little while, and I really thought he was going to let me go.  So, I pull into the church parking lot (which is where I was going anyway), put the car in park, then notice he has followed me.

And now he decides to put on his lights.

You’ve got to be kidding me.  Really???

The ringing church bells signaled 4pm, which is what time the rectory closes.  I quickly look in the direction of the office, which has a full view of the parking lot, and I see that the lights are still on.  Any other day, they would’ve been gone already.

Great!  Now, I’ll get a ticket in front of my friends.  This just keeps getting better.

The cop signals for me to meet him between the cars, and he asks the usual questions:

Hi Ma’am, you want to tell me what your hurry is?

I’m sorry.  I was trying to meet a friend here for 4, but as you can hear by the bells, I’m late.  (Shut up Amie!!!  He does not care that you are late!  He’s about to give you a ticket, you dummy!)  At this point, I actually considered telling him that I was picking up food for my 8 year old’s food drive, but I figured he would never believe me.  Plus, I was speeding, so I guessed I would take my ticket like a big girl.

I know the speed limit is low on that road, and I’m usually really good about not speeding on that road, I just wasn’t paying attention.  Oh, dear Lord, shut my mouth!  I am now admitting to the cop that I usually speed, just not on this particular road.  I swear, it was like I just couldn’t stop my mouth.  I guess my filter was broken.

Hmmm.  Well, you were going 40 in a 30.  I need your license and proof of insurance.

I turn to go back to the car to get the requested paperwork, and I can see my two kids waving at the cop like he was some long-lost family member.  Didn’t they know he was the enemy?

Plus, I see the rectory lights are still on, as well as the Ninja-Priest-Friend’s office.  Oh Geez…  I will never live this down–isn’t he supposed to be on vacation this week?

I get into the car, and now I have to deal with the kids’ questions:

  • Mommy, are you getting a ticket?
  • He’s not going to take you to jail, is he?
  • What did you do?  Did you run over someone?  (What?!?  Why would this even be a question???)

Guys, please be quiet.  Mommy is a little busy right now.  I’m getting a ticket because I was speeding.  It was my fault, I should’ve been paying more attention.

After I say this, I noticed the cop had appeared at my window, which was down and heard what I said.  He smiled.  Hmmm…maybe an admission of guilt will win me some brownie points…

So, the cop is at my window, I’m frantically looking for my proof of insurance, and the kids are still waving at said cop, even though they thought he was going to haul my butt off to jail just seconds earlier.

And, of course, in true Amie fashion, I cannot find my proof of insurance.  I had just paid the bill online, so I knew it was in good standing, but apparently we never printed the proof last time we renewed it.  The cop tells me he’s going to run my plates, and I tell him that I am calling The Husband to see if he knows where the proof of insurance is.  Of course he doesn’t–I love him, but he never knows where anything is.  He did, however, take the time to point out that I always criticize him for speeding down that same road.  Oh hypocrisy, you are an ugly one!

While the cop is running my plates, I tell the kids that they can go inside the chapel to get the food donation–the whole reason we’re here in the first place.

Then the phone rings.  It’s the Ninja-Priest-Friend.

Amie?

Yep.

Are you ok?

Oh, yeah.  I’m great.  I just decided to get humiliated today, and I felt the best way to do that was to get a ticket, and to get that ticket in front of my friends.

He laughs.  Ok, well do you need any help?

Nope.  I can handle this one all on my own, thanks.  Cop’s back, I gotta go.

Cop: Is that your husband?

No.  That’s actually my priest calling to see why I was getting pulled over in his parking lot.

Kids come running out of church, laughing and giggling, carrying bags of food donations.  The Older Boy yells “Hi Mr. Policeman!” as he hops in the car.

Cop looks at me a little crazy.  I’m thinking there is no way he is believing any of this…he pulls me over at the church, a priest is calling to check on us, and my boys are acting as if they are trying to win some “friendliest kid” award.

Well, I ran your plates, and your car is actually flagged as not having insurance, which is illegal in this state.

Are you serious?  It has to be a glitch!  I really do have insurance, and it is currently paid in full!  Can I–

So, what I could do is to give you a ticket for speeding, give you a ticket for no insurance, put a neon sticker on your car marking it illegal, and you’d have to go to the DMV to get it fixed.

I am fighting tears at this point.  All I could think of was “how much is this going to cost?”  I cry easily, but there was no way I was going to cry in front of this guy.  I was just so angry at myself for being so careless.

He continues:  That’s what I could do.  But I’m not.  Your record is clean, I’m off for Thanksgiving, and I’m in a good mood.  Here’s your license.

Wait, what?  Is he really letting me off???  This kind of stuff never happens to me!

Thank you so much!  I’m really not lying, we really were coming to the church.

I know.  I figured that when I saw you actually park in a spot.  Drive carefully.

Whew!  That was a close one!  He was a little arrogant, but I didn’t care.  I truly was thankful that he let me go.

He drove off, with the kids still waving to him.  Except this time, I was waving as well.  If I’m going to be viewed as crazy, I might as well live it up, right?

As we drove off, and I was starting to regain a little bit of pride, The Younger Boy tells me, “You know why you probably got off?  Probably because the people in the chapel prayed for you.  John went in there and told everyone you were getting a ticket.”

And, pride was gone again.

Thanks God, for the lesson in humility.  You always keep me grounded.

Puck…Friend or Foe?

While unpacking Christmas decorations this year, The Husband came across something we had both forgotten about…an Elf on the Shelf.  I had forgotten that my parents had bought him for us last year after Christmas, and although my boys are a little old for him, I knew we could have some family fun with this little guy.

But what?

See, my boys are 8 and 11, and The Younger Boy is so smart that we think he figured out Santa’s secret in kindergarten.  He was asking many philosophical questions about The Big Guy at the age of 5–it was both impressive and exhausting.  So, I figured he wouldn’t believe that some toy we found in a box of decorations suddenly came alive each night.

Plus, I kind of have a problem with the whole “Elf is watching you” concept.  Isn’t that what Santa is supposed to do?  And, my kids don’t need to worry about elves and Santa watching anyway–Mom and Dad are much scarier.  My boys are supposed to behave simply because they are called to by following God’s Commandments; not because it reaps new toys on Christmas morning.

So, after giving it some thought, I decided to be selfish and have some fun with the Elf that would be entertaining to me.  I know, it’s supposed to be for kids.  They’re enjoying this too, trust me.

Without further adieu, here’s our spin on the Elf on the Shelf:

In usual Elf on the Shelf fashion, he was dropped off by Santa.

Actually, he was thrown out of the North Pole.

IMG_6103

Kicking and screaming, Puck (notice his name is Puck?  We don’t even have cutesy elf names in this house, we go the literary route.  We’re weird, I know…)  was brought here against his will.  Apparently, he had an unfortunate fruitcake accident, and for unknown reasons, has been acting like a little jerk ever since.  So, the boys have to teach the Elf to be good so he can return to the North Pole.

That should be a challenge…

Day 2…Puck shows the other toys that there’s a new sheriff in town.

Showing the toys who's boss!

Showing the toys who’s boss!

The Younger Boy got a huge kick out of this.  He woke up in the morning, running in our room and giggling, saying “I knew Puck was bad, but I didn’t know he was that bad!”

Day 3…Puck sets up in the shower curtain to peep on bathroom goers.

Little pervert...

Little pervert…

The kids couldn’t even find him this morning.  I had to give hints–”I think he’s violating your privacy today…don’t go to the bathroom without making sure you’re alone…we need to find him, I think he needs psychiatric help.”

I know this one is a bit inappropriate, but I feel it’s only fitting for such a creepy looking toy!    Look at that face!

IMG_6115

Just LOOK at it, y’all!  Who made this thing?  Can you imagine that conversation?

Let’s make an Elf that watches the kids!  

That’s a great idea!  But, what should said elf look like?

Magical?  Nah.

Cute?  Nah.

Creepy?  Yes!  Yes, that’s it!  Let’s give him eyes that follow you around the room and a smile that you only see on pedophiles!  That’s more than appropriate for kids!  I mean, he IS watching them, right?

When The Husband first took him out of the box, he put him on the couch, close to me.  This is what I saw every time I looked over my shoulder:

elf

At first I laughed, but over time, I got thoroughly weirded out.  Even The Younger Boy said he looked like a stalker.  Actually, he referred to it as a “Christmas-time Chucky.”  (Have I mentioned lately that I love that kid?)

Day 4…Puck calls out for help.

IMG_6120

Day 5…Puck continues to torment the toys.

IMG_6125

Day 6 & 7…Puck flirts with our angel.

Hey Baby, what's your sign?

Hey Baby, what’s your sign?

And it looks like she’s not having any of it!  Stay strong, sister, stay strong!

The boys slept away, so the angel was stuck with Puck for 2 days.

Day 8…Let them eat cake!

IMG_6147

We had a birthday party for The Older Boy yesterday, so Puck ate some cake in the middle of the night.

 

There you have it.  The adventures of Puck thus far.

What will become of our new friend/nemesis?  Will he learn to be good?  Is there any hope for him?

I never miss an opportunity to teach the boys something worthy.  So, there will be a lesson in the end of all of this, and it will tie into our faith.

Stay tuned…  :)

 

This’ll Cure Ya!

This morning, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I kept coming across a story titled, “Study Accidentally Finds Chemo Makes Cancer Worse.”  Hmmm…sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a read.  A rather disappointing read, I must say.  There really aren’t enough facts to back up this claim for my liking.  I’m an obsessive researcher, so when I am reading an article that is supposed to have concrete evidence of scientific findings, I expect a lot of info.  This article (and its links–the ones that will open, that is) lists a bunch of vague findings, without much info on the study groups, percentages, or other things that I would consider to be instrumental to this type of claim.  (To its credit though, the article does have some percentages and good info on all-natural remedies for cancer.)

But this post isn’t really about the article.

One of the people who shared this article decided to give his own little speech about cancer, the dangers of chemo, and how we should NEVER go to the doctor, but instead use all-natural remedies to cure our ailments.  He went on to degrade those who use medicinal treatments, alluding that those people are ignorant and uneducated.

Ummm…excuse me?  Oh, I didn’t realize that you were an expert in the field!  When did you get your medical license?  Oh, don’t have one?  Well, what type of nutritionist certification do you have?  Oh.  Well, what about holistic certification of some sort?  <crickets>

Look!  It's an expert!

Look! It’s an expert!

This has become a huge pet peeve of mine.  Not that he shared the article.  Not that his personal opinion is that drugs are bad and all-natural remedies are good.  Not that he would choose for himself that he would “never” go to a doctor.  No, what irritates me is that he had the audacity to tell others how to make their personal medical decisions, and then to insult them for choosing a path different from the one he would take.

From the moment that Multiple Sclerosis has become a part of my life, I’ve been sent a barrage of articles, all telling me how I can cure my MS.  Now, let me start off by saying something really important: I actually enjoy reading articles about alternative treatments, breakthroughs in the medical field regarding MS, and personal stories of others who are dealing with this disease with some level of success.

I also appreciate the people who send me articles out of care, concern, and love.  But, some people just aren’t like that.  I have gotten some very condescending, judgmental, know-it-all remarks from people, and to be honest with you, I’m fed up.  This has become a huge problem for me, as I’m sure it is for many who are severely ill or diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Since 1995, there has been a claim that aspartame can cause MS, and within the last 6 months, this claim has again become popular.  I have been sent many articles regarding this, some saying that aspartame can cause MS and others stating that aspartame use can mimic MS symptoms.  (Okay, I’m open to those theories, even though there are countless other articles proving these claims false, some from the most respected MS sources out there.  But, who knows?)  Now, most people who sent me some form of these articles did so with a generic caption, such as “Read this and thought of you”…”Don’t know if this info is true but thought you’d like it”… or even a simple “FYI.”  I appreciate those people!  They saw something that could be helpful, and I appreciate that they thought of me and took the time to send me these articles.

However, one person sent the article to me, with a very lengthy commentary about how I should stop drinking diet drinks and how I should drink just water.  It went on and on and on and–you get it.  But, here’s the kicker: this is a childhood friend who I haven’t seen in about 20 years.  So, what makes her the expert on my drinking habits?  If she knew me at all, she would know that I despise diet drinks, I don’t buy soft drinks for my house, I only occasionally drink soft drinks when we go out to eat (maybe once a week), and I do only drink water on a daily basis.

I once received a message telling me that if I’d lose weight, my MS would simply “go away.”  Nice.  Isn’t that sweet?  No, it’s ignorant.  I’ve always struggled with my weight, I don’t make excuses for it, I take responsibility for it.  With that being said, I’ve personally researched if there was a link to being overweight and having MS…there isn’t.  Plus, I had lost 40 pounds before getting sick at all, so why would a disease that is caused by weight gain show up after weight loss?

I also received many emails from people telling me of the evil pharmaceutical companies, who are just out to make a buck.  These few individuals tell me that I need to try this or that or whatever the hell they read about on the internet that day to really cure me.  Again, I’m chastised for seeing medical doctors, for hoping to start medicinal treatment soon, for not living the way they would–or say they would.

todd-goldman-miss-know-it-all_i-G-69-6931-LYWX100Z

Now, I’m about to be really honest with you guys, and it’s not pretty.  One of the people who have given me the most trouble with this issue, who has always said that doctors are evil (seriously), who said that she would never, ever go to a medical doctor for any ailment or bring her kids to one either, has developed a medical problem.  Apparently she pulled a muscle and was in an extreme amount of pain.

And you know what?  She went to a doctor!!!

Not only did she go to a doctor, but she complained about how long it was taking them to give her pain meds!  And, I got really ugly inside.  Before I could filter myself, I immediately thought, “Um-hmm.  It’s not so easy when you are the one suffering, is it?  Where are your all-natural treatments now?”

I know.  It was a completely un-Christian moment.  I wasn’t happy that she was sick, but I did feel some sort of vindication that she was seeking help in a way that she said she never would.  It’s easy to judge situations when you are not in them.  I’m not proud of myself and that moment, but it happened nonetheless.  So, I might as well share my faultiness with you.  I’m a work in progress…

And, maybe I encourage the comments.  People probably have no idea how sick I’ve truly been.  I feel like I’m to suffer in silence, so I don’t complain very much.  I also believe in the power of positive, holy thoughts, so I try to steer clear of negativity, whether that’s to hear it or spread it.  Medically speaking, I have not started pharmaceutical treatments, but the minute the doctors give the “official” diagnosis, I plan on it.  I’m sure I’ll be judged for this decision, and I plan on just ignoring those judgments (although that’s easier said than done).

But, let me offer a different approach for those who feel condescending attitudes and words are necessary…  Instead of passing judgment on someone who chooses to deal with their health in a way different from you, why don’t you try being compassionate instead?  I would not judge you for going an all-natural route, I simply ask the same respect from you.

Maybe take a moment to put yourself in my shoes.  Try to think what it must be like for those dealing with medical atrocities.  Because, unless you have been there yourself, you have no idea.

You have no idea what it feels like:

  • to hear the doctor say that your tests show that you have a chronic disease–to look at my husband, who was fighting tears, trying to keep himself together, knowing that I’m going to have to be strong for him
  • to worry about your children, to worry about how are you going to explain something so serious to an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old (who actually has the mentality of a 6-year-old)
  • the guilt I feel that I am not being the mother I want to be, the guilt I feel when I can’t take my kids to the library like we usually do, the guilt I felt when we had to cancel our first ever family vacation because of my health, the guilt I feel when my youngest says, “I hate it when Mommy is sick.  I miss healthy Mom.”
  • to spend weeks in bed at a time, with no one to help you during the day with the most basic of needs, such as water and food
  • to need someone to help you make it to the bathroom, just 5 feet away from the bed, to need someone to help you get in and out of the shower, to need someone to help you get dressed
  • to be so independent your whole life, now to find yourself completely dependent on others at times
  • to feel so isolated, so lonely, so forgotten by others, with only the internet as a link to the outside world
  • to struggle in your faith and spirituality, wondering where is God?
  • to fear the brain damage that is developing, to fear what function you could lose at any moment, quite literally
  • to have to give yourself IV treatments for a week, just to be able to function again
  • to wonder upon waking, are my legs going to work right today?  Will I be able to see out of both eyes?
  • to rack up $15,000 in medical bills, and to feel so helpless about paying off that debt–because you are so undependable right now, how on Earth could you work?

You have no idea…and I sincerely hope that you never do.  I hope that you never have to make hard decisions for yourself or a loved one.  Nothing can really prepare you…

This is just a snapshot of what my life has been like for the last year.  I feel so sorry for the people who are terminally ill, or those fighting for their lives.  Can you imagine what cancer patients go through?  (I actually watched someone very close to me die from breast cancer.  Even seeing her pain, I know that I cannot imagine what she was truly going through.)  What about their caretakers?  What about parents of seriously ill children?  I cannot imagine.  And I don’t pretend to.

Please, before you judge someone in this way, just take a moment to really think about their journey.  Before you send an article with your personal ugly commentary, why don’t you try calling that person?  They’d probably eagerly welcome the distraction.  And, if it’s uncomfortable to call, text them.  Send them an email, Facebook message, anything.  We live in the age of communications, after all.  Communicate!  Let them know that you are thinking of them with love and compassion, not judgment.

And, if you do decide to share articles, scientific findings, etc, here are some basic tips from me (a complete non-professional):

  • Be wary of any article that claims to cure an incurable disease.  I receive many articles claiming to reverse MS, but upon review, there is never any evidence of a cure.  There is evidence of a reversal of symptoms, but not a reversal of the disease (i.e. reversal of brain/spinal cord damage or a reparation of nerves).  When an article makes such obvious false claims, I tend to disregard the entire article.
  • Be wary of any article that tries to sell you something at the end.  Those aspartame articles?  Many of them are from companies selling aspartame detox kits.  I’ve gotten many articles on various diets, most from sources selling the diet books.  I question the true motives of these companies, especially if you have to buy a book just to get the information.
  • Use your common sense.  Really.  If an article is saying that the cure to cancer is some ginger root, grown in the Fiji mountains during the third month of the year, fertilized by the excrements of an ape, but only on Tuesdays, and said root must be plucked from the ground during the light of a full moon, maybe skip on sharing that one.  (I’m only partially joking on this one.  There really is some crazy stuff out there!)
the official "fertilizer"

the official “fertilizer”

  • Look for articles that actually offer something useful, not just negativity about the pharmaceutical companies.  Share articles that show scientific evidence or personal stories of people who have benefited from all-natural remedies.
  • Don’t make assumptions about a specific disease.  If you’re going to make a claim, research it first.  Or just keep your opinions to yourself.
  • Last, but most importantly, evaluate your reasoning for sharing the article in the first place.  Is it coming from a place of love?  Then, by all means, share it!  And, maybe let the recipient know what your intentions are.  A simple “I hope you find this helpful” can go a long way.

As for me, since I have not been able to start medical treatments, I have tried almost every alternative that was reasonable.  I have tried holistic treatments, special diets, different medicines for the symptoms, and even some all-natural pills and drinks.  Currently, my family practices clean eating (as much as our budget allows), I take B-12 shots, B-6, C, and D vitamins, slow iron supplements, and I’ve been trying an iodine treatment for 3 months now.  I am actually very conservative about medications (believe it or not), so all of this has me in a completely uncomfortable place.  I also have prescriptions for pain meds, which I hardly ever take.

I sincerely hope that this very long (sorry!) blog post has been informative in some way.  If you are ill and get frustrated by all of the “experts” in your life, I hope you find comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  If you are someone who is a sharer, I hope that some of my personal tips can be helpful when you are choosing what to share with your loved one.  And, if you are someone who is looking down on those who live differently than you, I sincerely hope that this can help you see another point of view.

Let’s respect each other.  Let’s love each other.

Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

its-what-you-learn-after-you-know-it-all-that-counts