As we say in the south, Happy Easter Y’all!!!!
I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful day! Love to all…
As we say in the south, Happy Easter Y’all!!!!
I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful day! Love to all…
No words necessary…
To see the prayer I posted last year, go here.
***I did not design the above image, but I cannot find the original source to credit.***
“Regardless of your personal situation, regardless of your heartaches and pains, remember that it can always be worse.
We are all blessed. We just don’t always see it. But, if you quiet yourself, if you look around you, if you listen to the whisperings of your heart, you’ll hear it. You’ll hear the sounds of God working in your life. You’ll see Him around you. You’ll see your own blessings.”
Little did I know that these words–my words–would be a challenge once written.
As I clicked “publish” on the above post one week ago today, my phone rang. And within one minute, my world changed. Yet again.
My dad was calling with bad news…my grandmother died very unexpectedly.
So, here’s a quick recap of 2013 so far:
I’m not one for superstitions, but I’m starting to think that there may be some truth to the number 13 being unlucky. At this point, if I’m still standing in June, I think we’re doing good, don’t you?
I had just written about finding blessings in a world full of heartache and pain, and now I felt as if I was being challenged to follow my own advice. I sat in silence for a moment, letting this loss sink in. Memories and thoughts of my grandmother flooded my mind and heart, bringing an immense sadness. I waited for anger. There was none. I waited for self-pity–after all, how could this happen to me? I just finished IV treatments! There was no self-pity. I waited for cynicism. There was none. I waited for feelings of “that’s not fair!” That never came either.
All that came was sorrow and loss.
My own feelings puzzled me. It seemed like I should be angry. Why won’t God just give me a break this year?!? Why is it one thing after another? Why can’t I just have one really good day?!? I had just finished IV treatment a few hours earlier; I had just taken out the IV. Why couldn’t I have just enjoyed being MS symptom free for a little while? These are thoughts I would’ve normally had. But instead, I had a calm about a very chaotic situation…and that confused me. I struggled to find the source of the calm. Good Lord, I’ve actually flipped my lid. I’m calm because I’ve actually lost my mind.
And then it hit me. I wasn’t losing my mind. In actuality, it was the exact opposite. I had an unbelievable moment of clarity. It didn’t matter why my grandmother was gone. It didn’t matter that this year has been horrendous. It was completely irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that bad things happen every day.
Maybe I’ve matured. Maybe I’ve hardened. Maybe I’ve gained wisdom. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to crappy things happening.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s something more. Continue reading
Last week, I had to start a heavy dose of IV corticosteroid infusions to clear up this MS relapse junk. You can read more about that here, along with the healing that God bestowed upon me just yesterday!
However, this entry isn’t about the treatment, or healing, or my unending gratitude. No, this is more about the ugliness that comes before beauty.
For the most part, I have been pretty positive about my MS diagnosis. I have not wavered on the fact that I truly believe this is all part of God’s plan for me. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m human. Very human. And very flawed.
I have had moments of despair, loneliness, fear (especially when I thought I was possibly losing my vision), doubt of myself, and even anger. Although I have struggled with moments of these negative feelings, I have been pretty good about keeping away the feelings of self-pity. Whenever I’d start to feel sorry for myself, I’d try to remember that there are people who are so much worse off than I. However, I seemed to forget this fact when I was getting my first IV treatment.
My mother-in-law (God bless her!) brought me to this appointment. From the beginning, we seemed to have a rocky start. The staff was really great, but my body was not cooperating. Time after time, they tried to get the IV started in a vein. And time after time, the vein collapsed. After 1 hour, 5 tries, a warm compress, 3 nurses, a different arm, and a much smaller needle, we had success!
As the nurse started the medication process, she began to show me all paperwork, instructions, and supplies. She spoke of the importance of clean hands and work space. (Obviously we had never met. I’m constantly being teased for being such a germophobe. No one’s laughing at me now!)
She showed me the order to administer the injections–4 in all, and the importance of disinfecting the portal between each injection, for precisely 30 seconds.
My head began to spin as she spoke of the importance of clearing the air bubbles from the syringes before starting.
I paid careful attention to the things to watch out for: a burning sensation in my arm, a red streak going up the vein, a puffing of the skin around the injection site, pain in the arm, and more.
I listened intently as she told me not to get the site wet…how the hell was I going to shower?…not to put pressure on it, keep it covered, don’t pull on it, etc.
As she left the room to give me privacy for the main meds to work their magic, I began to feel a very real, very complete sense of overwhelm.
What if I can’t do this?
What if I mess something up?
I looked down at my arms, I had 4 very large purple marks already. I look like a drug addict–a really bad one. We should have shot up through my toes or something. And, I bruise easily. I’m, let’s just say, pigmentally challenged. Have you seen this? Continue reading
Life is great. Really.
I haven’t been able to write in about 10 days because my current multiple sclerosis relapse took a serious turn for the worse. I woke up one morning a few weeks ago, with a loss of vision in one eye, blurred and double vision in both eyes, and I was having serious balance problems–that’s code for “falling on my butt with every other step.”
After waiting it out for a few days (I was told I had to just be patient through this relapse, which actually started on January 13), we called my neurologist. He is sending me to a specialist, which we have anxiously been awaiting–just 2 more weeks now!–and has been hesitant to treat me until I’m seen by said specialist.
Well, because my symptoms escalated so quickly, the neurologist decided to treat the relapse. Unbeknownst to me, treatment included 5 days of high-powered IV corticosteroid infusions. Whatever. I need to see. This disease can affect so many different parts of the body, all at once, that it is hard to diagnose. For me personally, I can handle pain much better than what I call “head stuff.” I can ignore physical pain. I can’t ignore mental confusion, loss of vision, light sensitivity. Those things impair my quality of life. The things I love need some sort of mental capability (however little I may have), such as reading, writing, movies, theatre, etc. So, even though I wasn’t sure what IV treatment would be like, I was up for it.
The next day (last Thursday to be exact), I began IV treatment. (I’ll share more on this experience later, when I was blessed with the gift of perspective.) Almost immediately, I saw results. Friday morning, just after one treatment, my vision cleared up. I still could not read well, but I no longer had blurry or double vision. And the blind spot was gone! Saturday morning, vision was completely clear, I no longer had balance problems, physical pain, and no fatigue or fever. This morning, just after 3 treatments, I felt no sting of the MS symptoms that have plagued me for 2 months.
No pain. No vision problems. No fatigue. No balance issues. No numbness. No confusion. Absolutely nothing. All MS symptoms are gone.
I don’t know if I’ve ever woken up so happy before in my entire life. How could I not be elated? I could actually walk to the bathroom without holding on to the wall. I wasn’t exhausted after getting dressed. Even better, I could get dressed by myself!
Like I said, Life is great!
Even though I went to Mass yesterday afternoon with my mom, I decided to join The Husband and my boys again this morning. I felt such an immense amount of peace and calm, that I just knew I had to give credit where it is due. What better way is there to pay homage to our Lord than adoring Him in the most Holy Mass?
We usually arrive at church pretty early to have personal prayer time in the quiet. Today was no different. Now, I’m usually extremely private when it comes to my personal prayer, but I feel called to share this with you. So, rather than paraphrasing how I’m feeling today, I’ll just share my personal conversation with God. Here goes: Continue reading
No big post today. Nope, today I am quietly celebrating two years of coming back Home to Christ. Today was the day I made the conscious decision to live a better life, to be a better Christian, a better mother.
I was living in a lukewarm relationship with Christ, and thanks to a priest named Fr. Randy Moreau (I only knew him a short while, but he made quite the impact!), I realized my hypocrisy. Today was the day I decided lukewarm wasn’t good enough. Today was the day I realized my children needed someone to show them how to live a Christian life, not just tell them. I needed to be their teacher, not preacher.
I often tell The Ninja-Priest-Friend, “this Christian stuff is hard.” And, although I’m saying it in a lighthearted manner, he knows what I mean. I struggle daily. Being a follower of Christ is not easy. It’s not for the weak-hearted or the weak-minded. This world is tough, and temptation is everywhere.
I’ve fallen a hundred times, and I know I’ll fall a hundred more.
But I keep getting up. Sometimes it takes me longer than others to pull myself up. Sometimes I need help. Sometimes I get up bruised and torn.
But I get up.
If you’re struggling today, it’s okay. Just be sure you get up. :)
***To clear up any confusion, please note that this entry was written before I received my diagnosis.***
“Hi, this is Random-Chick-Name calling from Random-Medical-Violation-Facility. I just wanted to remind you of your MRI of the brain and MRV tomorrow afternoon. Do you have any questions about your procedures?” –Perky Receptionist
“Yes. I’m claustrophobic, but I have a prescription for Valium. Is it ok to take one before the procedure?”
“Sure, that’s fine!” (Perky Receptionist was definitely NOT on Valium.)
“Ok, how far am I going to be in the machine? Is it just my head?”
“Yes, and maybe your shoulders.”
“And, how long will the tests take?”
“You’ll be in the machine a total of 45 minutes for both tests. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!” (Seriously, why was she so happy?!?)
As eager as Perky Receptionist was, I just could not share her enthusiasm. I was extremely nervous. I had never had an MRI before, but I knew it would be a tight space, and I knew I hated tight spaces. Trying to be optimistic, I planned on taking my Calm-Your-Butt-Down drug (luckily, I never take these, so one prescription can last me years), and I planned on saying the rosary. I figure God gave us ten fingers for this reason, I keep track of the decades on one hand, my Hail Marys on the other.
Fast forward to the big day. The Husband drove me to the MRI, telling me that if “you’re a good girl for your test, I’ll get you a cookie after.” (Is he confusing me with the children???) After waiting a short while, I was ushered to the back (technically called “The Medically Necessary Torture Chamber”), where I got to strip down, then put on a lovely hospital gown. Continue reading
Some people wake up to the sounds of music. Some people wake up to the sounds of nature. Some people are awakened with a kiss. However, in our house, there are no soothing, calming ways to arise.
Not when The Younger Boy is around.
He is always the first one up, and he usually wakes up happy, but Saturday was a special occasion. He was making his first Confession. So, I wasn’t too surprised when he ran into the room at 7am, galloping and singing this little ditty:
“I’m making my first confession, first confession, doo doo da doo! Whoop whoop! Yippie Ki Yay!”
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” –Blessed Mother Teresa
It’s been a rough two years for me. I’ve had some health problems, and no one has really been able to help. My doctors have all shuffled me from one to the other, all claiming that my problems were not their problems (professionally speaking). I went from never feeling bad, to feeling bad every couple of months. I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), Epstein Barr Virus, severe vitamin deficiency, and–my personal favorite–depression. All were treated (I even had a surgical procedure for the PCOS), yet I never felt better. I would be healthy and energetic for a few months, then I would get sick for a few months.
Then, shortly after my grandfather’s death, I woke up one morning extremely dizzy, with blurred vision, a pounding in my head, muffled hearing, and left-sided numbness. I got out of bed, then fell against a wall. As scary as that episode was, it was the best thing that could have happened. It sent me to the ER–which found nothing. I was told that I had an anxiety attack. (I don’t know how one wakes up with anxiety–apparently that was one hell of a nightmare.) But, the ER doctor had me follow-up with a neurologist a few days later, who ran a battery of testing, including MRIs, CT scans, a VEP, and a lumbar puncture.
After one month of testing and waiting, I finally got an answer last week. The neurologist came into the examination room, looked at my husband and myself, and proceeded to show us numbers and test results that I didn’t understand. But, even though I didn’t understand his medical terminology, I did understand his facial expressions. His face betrayed his professionalism; he had bad news. What was his “bad news?” Continue reading
We buried my grandfather this weekend.
Yeah, Happy New Year, right? I’m trying not to be cynical. I’m trying not to be selfish in my sadness. I’m trying to be strong. But I’m so sad that I can hardly breathe. I’m having a hard time finding a smile in anything…not in my husband (although he is trying), not in my children (for they are mourning too, which breaks my heart even more), not even in the Church–or a collar, for that matter. The truth is I miss him already. Terribly.
I’m not going to tell you he was a perfect man. He was not. He was simply a man. Like all of us, he was flawed in some ways, wonderful in others. His sense of humor was amazing, and he loved us grandkids (and his great-grandchildren) with a pure heart. It saddens me to know I’ll never again hear, “What’s on your tender mind, little girl?” (Of course, who wouldn’t love being called ‘little girl’ at age 32, right?)
His funeral service was beautiful, and surprisingly, I actually learned things about my grandfather that I had never known before. Continue reading