Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's All In The Timing

When you think about life you mostly think about work, play, your long list of to do's, or other things, but do you ever think about time? Or even timing? It seems we rush around keeping so busy these days we don't have the time to think about what is important. We are so busy keeping busy we forget to think about how much time we waste being busy doing nothing. I read facebook everyday and on most days I laugh, alot, but on many days I also can become sad at many of the things I read. I read sad comments or postings that are real downers. People haters, sad situations, hurting people, unhappy people, the list could go on. I'm sure you understand what I am trying to write if you are able to take a few minutes to think about it. I have been seriously contenplating whether I want to delete my facebook page and take a break from all of it. I know it wouldn't be easy and I have to continue to decide what I am going to do, so much to think about if I do. Yes, it would take the sad crap out of my life but then it would also take the good I get from it and the good I, hopefully, try to spread. This entry is not for any advice on what I should or shouldn't do it is about timing. I guess getting off of facebook is somewhat of a timing thing too as I ask myself is it the right time or not? Timing.

When you are chronically ill timing is such a huge factor for your life. What made me think of timing is yesterday when I forgot to take my pain meds. I couldn't figure out why, at 4pm I was feeling wore out and crabby. I sat down to rest and it hit me, dah I forgot to take my afternoon pain meds. Timing. If I stay on a schedule throughout the day it seems to help me have more energy. The pain is not wearing me out to the point of having to sit and rest. I sat in the chair deciding if it was too late to take it. The pain med interacts with the meds I take at bedtime so I decided I would pass on taking it, which led to a crabby evening for me. Then it is bedtime. I must decide when I will take this or that in order to not have pain throughout the night. Oh it never goes away, believe me, no matter what I take I am still awaken by pain but it just seems to be less than if I do not take anything. Then, when I wake up at 2 am and the pain meds have worn off I have to look at the clock and decide if it is too early or too late to take another one to get me through the rest of the night. Timing.

Then I wake up in the morning with one thing on my mind, get down stairs and get your meds. I look at the clock so I can remember when to take the next dose of pain meds. I am thinking I need to start setting some sort of timer so I don't forget to take them but then it feels like I am an old lady who can't remember anything. My day is planned in my head. I have a lot of things to do when I get up each morning but as the day goes on the list dwindles down to just a few things. Time is stripped away from me due to chronic illness. I get ready for the day after I pop my pills and downed my cup of java. Yes! I am ready. Now I start to think of the day in chunks timing is everything. If I do too much I might not be able to anything later. Using today as an example, I want to wash my cupboards but Katie is coming over with the kids. If I start the cupboards by the time they get here I won't have the energy to be with them, truly be with them. The timing is everything in this because there is no choice where I want to put my time when it comes to people or cleaning. Timing.

I hope as you continue on with your day you realize how valuable time is. We spend so much of it complaining, mad, sad, or angry that we lose what is so valuable to us and to the people around us. Take a minute to think about it. What are you putting you time and energy toward? Goodness or bitterness? It is so much easier living on the side of goodness and when you get use to it, it becomes easier and easier not to waste your precious time on the stuff that only makes you more bitter and more angry. I see what anger and bitterness can do to people, I have witnessed it firsthand, all I can think is that it has to be hell living like that, angry all the time. Almost exhausting. Take a minute to enjoy the ride. Enjoy every second you are given because you never know when it might be taken away. It is all in the timing!

God Bless!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Next Step: Chiropractic Care

If you have learned anything about me at all over the past few months hopefully you have learned how I love to share not only the struggles in my life with chronic illness, but also the goodness that comes into my life. I have some goodness to share and none of the bad stuff this time.

Last fall Rich became very ill with many physical symptoms, long story short, one of his ribs was displaced on the left side of his rib cage. We tried many different things to try to get him to feel better but it wasn't working. One day at work one his co-workers was talking about his Chiropractor and how much he was/is helped by Dr. Swindle at Life Family Chiropractic Centre. Rich came home that evening and told me all his friend had to say and we both decided what do you have to lose? Nothing. The progress he was making so far in trying to get that rib back in place was not working so we were hopeful this may be the answer. Along with all this Rich was very stressed and his neck was giving him headaches and pain also. If you have ever had continual pain you can understand how it affects every aspect of your life. Your mood, your whole body, your energy level, and the list goes on.

Rich started to see Dr Swindle and within a few weeks he began to feel better. His neck and headaches were better within the first week. He started to return to his old happy self in a matter of a few weeks. It has been a few more months since he began his regular appointments and he continues to feel better with each passing week. The rib pain is much better as he continues bi-weekly care for now. It is so good to have him feeling so much better, as you know with all my issues having him sick as well is not a good combination.

I have been struggling with awful migraines lately and for a month or so Rich would drop little hints to me and say, "You should just try seeing Dr. Swindle and and see if it helps. If you get worse then you can stop going but if you get better it will be all worth it." I thought about it for a while. With all my inflammation I was very nervous. I can have someone touch me and it can send me into a flare for days. As my migraines got worse and more frequent I decided I would try Chiropractic care. I saw Dr Swindle two weeks ago. The first visit we talked and his wife did x-rays. The next visit Dr Swindle started showed me the x-rays and explained all that was going on and he began the actual care by working on my spine from top to bottom. I have had four visits with him and I am already beginning to feel better. I still had a couple of headaches but at least I am not waking up every morning with one like I was before, mind you I have had four treatments. I am hopeful the more I go the better I will get. I can already feel my body starting to feel better as a whole. I cannot explain it but something is changing. Of course I do believe in the mind body connection so I am sure that is helping too. I am sleeping better and sleep means a better day, this is still not great and I woke up last night with pain but it is because I needed to see him. Over time with all the work he does, my spine should eventually stay where it is suppose to stay and then I will just need regular monthly maintenance appointments to keep everything in place.

When I went on Monday Dr measured my feet on a scanner in order to get me fitted for some custom inserts for my shoes and to hopefully help my foot problems. They have also suggested a special pillow that you can adjust to your neck by filling with water so it will hold your neck stable while you sleep. I can't tell you how excited I am to get this pillow, 50% of my pain and problems at night are caused by my pillow. I have tried them all, believe me, so this is one I am really excited to try. I will let you know the results when it comes in.

In ending this entry I would just like to say this is a very friendly office. I do believe that Dr Swindle and his staff genuinely want to help their patients to feel better. They also have supplements and other products available for anyone interested if he suggests them for your care plan. I also like the fact that they leave your care up to you. They present what might help you and then you decide what you want to do or what you do not want to do. There is no pressure of them bothering you to do this or try that. Personally for me that is a big deal as I have had to deal with so many medical issues and decisions over the past five years. I like to decide what is right for me and not have someone talking down to me like I am an idiot and cannot figure out how to take care of myself.

If you live in this area and are interested in seeing Dr Swindle at Life Family Chiropractic Centre the address is 5795 Balsam in Jenison, MI 49428. Phone # is 616-662-1191, and you can like them on Facebook. I did and I got a free 30 minute massage :) Of course for me and all my issues it will take me a month to decide if I am ready to try massage or not but it sure is nice to have a Doctors office that treats you like you are a person and not just a number.

God Bless!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Seize The Day

The whirlwind is over, one shower done another to go, at least until August gets here. It is such a joyful time for us to see Steph so happy. Actually there is no greater joy for a mother to see then seeing and knowing her children are happy. I think about it a lot. When you are ill and on life threatening drugs you think about things like that much more than the average person. Well, I'm not average and if you know me you understand what I mean. I really do think about my children and family and what would happen if something should happen to me. Don't get me wrong when it comes to me I am not afraid to die but rather afraid to leave them as I am like the Queen of the family. I know life would go on but I am the one everyone comes to when something happens. The one who gets called or texts when something is going on and when someone needs advice. It is funny because many of my friends do that too. Rich is always coming to me and asking me what I think about, or how I would handle a situation. It is flattering to me that they all think I know so much when I really don't. If I had one main goal in life it was to raise my children, and Rich :), to be there for one another because sadly you must realize when you are ill or dying, pointing around to all of them, these are the people who will wipe your ass and be there for you. I taught them to love others as I was taught by my parents. I wanted to instill in them to help others as much as possible, guess that worked with all three of my children in the medical field. I am glad my parents taught me not be a selfish individual, although there are times it can get tiring because I am always thinking of everyone before myself. In the end it burns me but it is always worth it to my heart. After all if we are only thinking of ourselves then what is the reason we are here? I can't figure it out so if you do, let me know.

When I became ill I never really thought about helping others or teaching my children to help others it was just second nature to me. Then when I got so sick I could hardly move I began to think more deeply about helping others, many times being very selfish and wondering where all those people were that I helped over the years. Yes, I had a few wonderful friends, and still do, who would drop everything for me, but I still wondered why don't people care anymore? I couldn't help it. I was laid up for a long time and when you are laid up the one thing you have plenty of time to do is think. I couldn't read or watch tv much because my eyes were so screwed up at that time I couldn't even see straight, I had to keep them closed a lot and since I was unable to do anything physical my brain took over and I dissected every aspect of my life past, present, and future. It was and still is a long hard ride. I still have not reached a destiny as my life is still very small. I still think way, way, way too much. I let the little things bother me and I lose sleep over them. When I do go out into the world I notice every single detail of what is going on around me. Being the giver/helper type I am always looking for ways to help someone if they need it. There is not a time I go out now that an opportunity is not laid before me. I wonder about the greed in this world. I wonder if people will ever stop chasing the almighty dollar and realize what matters. When I see someone who needs help I wonder how people can walk by and not care. I could go on but I won't I am sure you get the picture.

I woke up today in some sort of a sad state and very emotional. I watch Rich struggle at work and it makes my heart ache. I am helpless to fix anything for him. I want to get a job but as I search the want ads I qualify for nothing, plus who is going to hire someone who is not reliable. I know I do not need to tell them my medical issues but calling in sick two or three days a week because of a migraine, or pain, or weakness, just won't cut it in this blood sucking world. I look at my yard and the pain shoots through my heart. I planted a few flowers this year and the next day my neck was so messed up, but I must say getting my hands dirty and enjoying the beauty of those flowers was worth it, I think? Yes, believe it or not just taking 20 minutes to plant a few flowers can send me into the hell I live in. This weekend with the shower I got the food, I mean Rich and I got the food, he set up, I did a few things. Katie and Leah did most of the work for the shower, the day after I wake up with a cold and two days after a horrid migraine. The migraine was the worst to deal with because I have not had one like that since last November. It was one of those please just let me die migraines. No fun but I made it through just like I always do. I am hoping my state of sadness today is just a lay over from my migraine yesterday. I always call it the migraine hangover, which is much worse than a regular hangover, that takes a few days to recover from. I know migraines are in different parts of your brain for everyone and I cannot imagine all it takes for the brain to recover from such a trauma. I do believe migraines are a real trauma to the brain and to the body, they take their toll.

I am not complaining at all in this blog post. I don't do that, you can ask anyone who knows me. I am not a pity seeker in fact the thing I hate most is when someone pity's me. I do it enough for myself so I sure do not need others to do it for me. I hope as you read this you can realize that chronic illness is a game of up and down. The up is when you are pushing yourself to be like the rest of the world and the down is when it hits you. The after affects of trying to be a normal person in a normal world with  a not so normal body. You try to hide it from everyone, never letting anyone really know how bad it is. What does it matter anyways? I saw a friend of my mothers in Costco the other night. She has RA and asked her how she was doing. Her response was so sad because I understood it. She said, "I am doing fine. You know how it is people don't care anyways so you know, I'm fine." I agreed. Then she said the only person who know it and lived it with her was her husband whom she pointed to as he was at the front desk. I agreed again. I knew exactly what she was talking about and she didn't need to say another word. We both felt the same pain just by looking in the eyes of one another. Silence for a moment as we both thought of what this chronic illness has done to us. It is funny how you can understand someone like that. It is like when you are in love with someone and you look into each others eyes and you just know, no words need to be said.

The day starts today. May 22, 2012. I am exhausted and I slept 10 hours. If I allow my body to run my life today I am sitting on my spot on the couch all day. I mustn't! I am going to get my self dressed, put on some make up, throw my hair in a pony tail and go outside. I am going to enjoy the nature that surrounds me in our beautiful yard. I have an appointment for a haircut today and I am going to enjoy that. I will not allow my tired body to control the day. I am going to pick myself up and lift myself up both at the same time and make it a great day. I hope if you are struggling you are able to do the same thing!

God Bless!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Houston We Have Lift Off

On most days I try to get out of bed and see the best of everything. I must say even on the crappy days I am able to find something good, although it can be difficult. Right now it seems I am on a downward spiral. I keep thinking of one of those rockets that we played with as a child or the ones that Richie played with when he was younger. You would pump it up on the ground waiting with anticipation to push the button only to watch it go up and spiral down out of control. You would watch it go up in amazement and then all the sudden the rocket would turn and come back down as you watched it change its path most of the time heading for somewhere other than the place you launched it, on a roof or in a tree. Then you had to figure out a way of getting a hold of that darn thing so you could do the same thing over and over. In some ways I feel like my life is like that right now. I start to have hope over any given medical condition I may be facing at the present time and just like that in a matter of time it seems to spiral out of control like that rocket. Just when I think I have it all figured out and that I can do this, it all changes like the direction of the rocket when it hits its peak in the air. Just when I think to myself I am doing okay and I feel really good about it I wake up with something new. At first when it happens I keep telling myself it will get better tomorrow and sometimes it does, but then there are the other times when tomorrow turns into weeks and sometimes months. It begins to wear you down. The physical symptoms are exhausting. You will do anything to help that one problem get better so you can just get back to the other daily annoyances you are use to living with. The hard part is when it doesn't get better and the tomorrow never seems to come, that is when you find out how strong you really are.

The other hard part is the financial burden that tags along with the illness. It isn't like when the rocket lands and it is over, it is a never ending barrage of medical bills. Getting the mail each day is so depressing bill after bill even when you have medical insurance. It pains me so to see Rich work so hard only to have to spend money on this or that in the hopes it may be the answer to "this" physical symptom. Pillows, shoes, now shoe inserts, along with all the medications and other devices. It is like a knife jabbing in my heart every time we have to buy something else. The worst part, for me, is that Rich is way, way, way to nice about it. Always saying I don't care how much it costs, I don't care what it is, if it helps you feel better we are going to try it and he is very sincere about it, which in turn makes me cry every time. Seriously sometimes it would just be easier if he were a jerk and would bitch about it just once. It seems it might validate my guilty feelings in some strange way for spending so much money on me all the time. I always think to myself, most people take trips, have nice things, we have medical bills and devices that we use our vacation money on. That is pathetic to me. Very hard to take it all in and not feel bad about.

 When you are in the middle of an ongoing issue you may see many doctors/specialists to help you but sometimes they just can't help you. Yes, they try but many times they are not the miracle workers, or magicians, you think they are in your head. When you are suffering you actually look forward to going just to get some relief and an answer and many times you leave more frustrated and upset than if you would have just stayed home. This in turn brings on the other side of being ill the emotion. The "I am tired," the "I can't do this anymore," and yes the "I just wish this would all end." It is tiring both physically and mentally. I am here right now and I am going to try to pull myself together here. I am keeping busy trying not to get to down in the dumps. I am planting flowers this year, something I might add I haven't done in five years. So I must look at the brighter side, the positive side. Yes, I have to deal with a lot each day but I still, no matter how much pain I am in or how sad I can become when I think to deep, Imust continue to see my rocket going up and not spiraling down out of control. If I continue to watch the rocket soar upward it keeps me from allowing it to spin out of control. I must come to terms with the fact that I am a lucky woman with a man who doesn't yell or complain about working so hard and having to take care of me. I have it better than most and for that I am grateful. It is my hope that in all you struggle with you are able to watch your rocket soar more than you watch it tumble.

God Bless!


Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm In A Nega, Whoops, I mean Positive State Of Mind. Thank You Lisa

I love Darius Ruckers because his voice and songs always have a heartfelt meaning and easy flowing story to them and they are so easy to connect to. One song I particularly love is Southern State of Mind. It is about how, no matter where he is, his southern roots are always with him and always on his mind. I woke up this morning with yet another splitting headache, which I am sure would have turned into a full blown migraine if I were not back on steroids. The horrible stabbing behind my right eye that wakes me up was back for a visit. Pain that is so bad you don't want to move so you just lay there telling yourself it will go away only to wake up a couple of minutes later from the knife like pain. I know I need to grab the Excedrin Migraine but I always try or at least hope it goes away first. I finally gave in, grabbed the bottle and tried to go back to sleep with no avail. All the time my mind telling me to get up and get the strong cup up coffee which, for me, has been working lately. Thank you Jesus! Before I actually got out of bed I laid there with the big crocodile tears rolling down my face feeling sad, angry, and just plain wore out. Then Darius came to mind, Southern State of Mind song started to blare from the radio in my head. I never know which station will be on but it is usually within minutes after waking, before I even lay my feet on the floor, the tunes start to blare in my head, migraine, pain, or whatever I wake up to, there is always a song to relate.

I laid there trying to convinced my self to get up as I was thinking of the words to the song and I tried to twist it somewhat. Then it came to me, I'm in a negative state of mind. I looked back over the past three months, almost four months, of hell with my foot, added to the many other issues I still have to deal with. It is like a brick house, layer upon layer, upon layer. It seems it will never end and by the time I am done with this I should have a beautiful mansion with a paved driveway right up to heaven. I laid there and just had tears, no sobbing, just tears rolling down my face, I almost didn't even notice until my pillow was wet. It is strange how the soul and the body can be so well connected. I never realized thinking so deeply could cause the tears to just let lose like that. After a few minutes of the negative thoughts my thinking turned to my sweet friend and inspiration Lisa K. Gigliotti J.D. Lisa is the angel I have talked about many times who wrote the book Coraggio! Lessons for Living From an Italian Grandmother Despite Illness, Pain, and Loss. Lisa's books are a part of my everyday life. They sit on my end table or mostly right beside me on the couch everyday. Lisa has RA and MG and she is such an inspiration. Lisa has taught me to think differently when I am down, like I have been lately. She has taught me to be in The Positive State of Mind. When you think of a negative thought, or an, "I can't" thought you must rephrase the thought to a positive way of thinking, an "I can" thought, for this I am indebted to her for life. Her influence on me and many others has been a true inspiration.

If you are interested in her books you find all the information on her facebook page: Coraggio - Lessons for Living From an Italian Grandmother. Her stories will blow you away. You think you have problems, struggles? Think again. Lisa has been through more than anyone I know and she is still a positive happy soul with a huge smile on her face. Her soul radiates on her face. She is a true angel sent by God to inspire all of us! I hope you take the step and order at least her first book you will not regret it.

For today as I awoke and laid there, basically feeling sorry for myself in my funk, I thought this is ridiculous. I thought of Lisa and I thought to myself, you have got to pull yourself out of this. You cannot continue to be so angry. Believe me when I say the past few months I have not been easy to live with, that is an understatement. "Extra" pain, is exhausting on top of all else and that in turn can make you very edgy. I have been short with Rich, I feel awful. It is like he cannot do anything right and I am not one to hold words back words either, so that doesn't help anything. Rich as always understands and still cares, I don't know how he can do it. I even found myself staying in bed until he left this morning just so I didn't have the change to snap his head off before he left. Plus, if he knew I had a headache he would just worry about me all day and with the stress of his job he sure doesn't need anymore added stress. When I waddled my way into the kitchen there on the counter is the love note telling me he hopes my foot and my beautiful body feel better today. I tell you I do not deserve any of that after the way I have been. God gave me another angel because there is no way any other man would put up with this hell. I can hardly stand myself right now and I cannot understand how he can be the way he is. God knew. In fact he just told me that the other day when I apologized to him for being so mean lately. He said, "God knew I needed you and he knew you needed me." He always makes it sound so simple. I am blessed!

Today in honor of Rich, Lisa and for all the other people I know out there who suffer on a daily, and sometimes on a minute by minute basis, I declare this, "I'm In A Positive State Of Mind Day!" We can write our own song to go along with Darius' tune. I/We will all vow to be aware of our attitude. If we think we can't, we will tell ourselves we can! Thanks Lisa! If we want to complain, we will find something to do to help someone else and forget about ourselves! Thanks Lisa! If we head down the self pity road, we will focus on what we have and not on what we don't have! Thanks Lisa! If we need a pick me up we will not plop down and do nothing, we will find a song, a book (Lisa's of course), or a tv show that inspire us to do better and be better! Thanks Lisa! This one is especially for me, When I want to take my illness out on another person by being mean, I will be nice! Thanks Lisa! I will bite my tongue. Instead of making snide remarks for something someone didn't do the way I wanted them to do it, I will thank them and appreciate them! Thanks Lisa! This is it. This is the day we pull ourselves, or at least I will, out of the funk and get back into the groove! Thanks Lisa!

God Bless!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder who the person is looking back at you? I don't look in the mirror to often on any given day. I get up in the morning, grab my glasses and head downstairs to take my pills and get a cup of coffee. After the coffee has brewed I end up on the computer checking out my facebook to see what all my awesome friends have been up to and what has changed overnight. I still have not looked in the mirror at this point in my day. I goof around on facebook until my cup of coffee is gone and the meds kick in. On many days that I don't have to go out I might not even do my hair or makeup until 11:00am because I am busy trying to keep the house picked up, do laundry, or putzing around like I always do. I always tell Rich, "I was busy all day but I don't feel like I accomplished one thing." He always says, "That's good." I never understand that response, but he usually has a smile on his face when he says it, almost like his stamp of approval to me or something.

I finally must own up to the fact that I do have to face the mirror as it is time to get dressed and there is no avoidance there. I go into the bathroom and I either take a shower, depending on the day, stiffness means shower in the morning and hot bath at night, other days it may just be the night bath if the stiffness isn't so bad in the morning. Depending on what I am doing the mirror is still avoided until the hair and makeup time comes. Hair and makeup for me takes 10-15 minutes and I am out of the bathroom like a jack rabbit. I don't like to waste precious time on my hair or makeup unless I have somewhere to go, then it may take a few minutes longer depending on where I am going.

I know there are a lot of people who really do like to look in the mirror throughout the day, I am not one of them. The only other time I will look in the mirror is to see if I still have lipstick on or if I ate something and may have stuff stuck in my teeth. Now teeth, that is important to me. As I think of the reasons why I hate the mirror so much the list could go on but I think it is quite simple. It seems every time I am forced to look in the mirror the person who is looking back at me, isn't me at all. This has nothing to do with age or wrinkles or any of that stuff that most of the women of the world worry about as they approach the big 50. For me, it is a much different sight. It is painful, very painful. When I see the person that stares back at me I think to myself that is not the person I know. The person in the mirror makes me realize and reflect on my life and my past life. It makes me very sad. Especially when my make up is on, hair is done and I am dressed in jeans and not stretchy pants. The reality hits me head on when I look at my image. It feels like two totally different people standing in the room. The one who use to be able to do it all, and believe me I could, and now the person I see. The weak person. The person in pain. The person who has so many dreams and wishes that may never come true now. It isn't easy at all. In it all I will say this, "I will not give up!"

Time goes on. We age, we do our best to cover up what time has done to us, but there are somethings we cannot cover up with makeup and hair color. Dealing with chronic illness it changes it all. You must learn to find your true beauty on the inside. It is hard when the world tells you so differently. As for me I will continue to do the best I can whatever time of day, wearing jeans or stretchy pants, hair done or in a pony tail, makeup or no makeup. (Ya, like that will ever happen) You see, it really doesn't matter because deep down in the core I am still the same person and I will continue to dream, even if  that is all I can do. We must never stop dreaming because if we do then life is over. I hope you can dream too! Dream Big! Dream Often!

God Bless!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Blame Game

I'm Back. You know what that means, I need therapy. You know who is the therapist, my keyboard. You know who gets to read all my insanity, You. Seriously I don't know how real writers get any sleep because 95% of the stuff I write either hits me when I hit the pillow, in the middle of the night, or in the wee hours of the morning. I have to try to remember all the good stuff I had in my head during the night and by the time I get to the computer most of it is floating in outer space, but for some reason this one stuck like glue. I was up a lot last night and I am blaming it on the cortisone shot in my foot that seemed to hype me up a little bit.

The Blame Game. What a title and what does it mean? I have no idea why those three little words came to mind at 1:00 am but they did and I thought on them long and hard all night. I was thinking of all the games shows we all know so well, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Newly Wed Game, etc. All the games people play for a good time or to make them use their thinking cap, like we use to do in first grade. Remember? Everyone put on your thinking cap as the teacher would show you how to do it and you would all do the same thing. The only problem for some of us that stupid imaginary cap never worked. I hated putting on my thinking cap. Now I wish I could take the darn think off as easily as the teacher taught me to put it on, but it doesn't seem to work.

The Blame Game for me and for many people who are chronically is somewhat of a different game than most people ever have to play in their lifetime. The game for me/us is the game that goes something like this. My foot has been bothering me a lot over the past three months, the blame? It has to be the inflammation. I am struggling with more migraines and headaches it has to be from the inflammation or the fact that I had my throat sliced wide open and two disc's fused back together. I am tired, dog dead tired, or in the case of our house cat tired, it has to be from all the inflammation that would be the only blame for that. I want to walk, a real walk like 5 miles, but I can't. It has to be from the muscle weakness that slams me to the ground after walking 5 minutes, but I still force myself to walk 10 at least, it has to be the inflammation or whatever else is ravishing my body. You see the game for me is a game of survival. A survival on a daily basis to get through the symptoms that invade my body. Life becomes a game. You go out in public or meet with people and watch them, most of them only concerned with what they must do next, while for me this may be my only trip out of the house for the past few days and it is exhausting to say the least, has to be the inflammation. The Blame Game.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my Neurologist/Opthamologist Dr. Glisson. What a wonderful man. We were sitting in the room before he came in, just after the nurse told me my BP was 165/96. My mind thinking cool maybe I will stroke out right here and all this will end. Yes, I do have thoughts like that at times, I am human and I can only take so much. I did keep that thought to myself because it upsets Rich so when I say things like that. Anyways when the nurse left I was figeting and Rich said in his usual sweet, caring voice, "Whats wrong?" My response as always, "I'm nervous." He said, "Just settle down it is Dr Glisson he is always calm, cool, and collected." He's right but it has nothing to do with Dr. Glisson, I love him, it has to do with the whole idea of another doctor's appointment, another game, but we won't go there. All went well and nothing has changed since the last appointment, I'll see you back in six months. Sheeeeeeewwww that ones over!

This appointment turned out to be a stressor ahead of time because I had something written on my notes that I never thought I would have had to write, or even want to ask one of my doctors.We were checking out and Rich said, "You forgot to ask him about the handicap sticker." "Oh ya" I said as Dr was filling out some check out papers. Timidly, scared, ashamed, as if the words came out of my mouth but someone else said them I asked, "Do you think I could get a handicap sticker?" His response without hesitation was, "Sure." I was shocked as I started pleading my case before the word "Sure" had even processed in my tiny drugged infested brain. I continued my case as if I was in a court room. "I won't use it much only when I have more than one stop or if I am having a weak day. I will try my hardest not to use it, really. He asked the girl for the paper to fill out and I died inside. When he turned and handed me the paper I told him I would probably cry for a month about this. He said, "I'm not concerned about your using the sticker as much as I am concerned about that, as he was referring to the crying." I have been told my all my doctors that I am way to hard on myself and need to learn to stop pushing myself so hard. I sure wish I could stop that. A work in progress. It was one of the hardest, saddest moments of my life. I know everyone is thinking, 'what is the big deal if you 'need it get a handicap sticker just and use it,' but it is a big deal when it is happening to you. Blame it on the inflammation.

The appointment was over and I waiting for Rich to go get the car to pick up his old, inflamed lady/wife at the front door, all alone feeling like I was floating in space from the shock of such a simple thing. Rich pulled ups as close to the door as he always does as he is the only one who knows what is really going on with me. I don't understand his love and loyalty it always blows me away. We headed over to the store because we needed a few things and I glanced over the handicap form the doctor signed for me to take to the Secretary of State. I read half way down just as Rich and I were discussing if this would, one, cost anything and two, if it expired or would have to renewed every year. Just them I saw the boxes, the two boxes. One said permanent and the other said temporary. The one with the check mark was permanent. I immediately silenced myself. Thought for a few minutes and said to Rich, "The permanent box is check." Tears started to flow. It was another blow to me to think this really IS it for me. I have been hoping everyday for the last five years that tomorrow I would wake up my old self and at that moment that check mark in that box said it all for me. Acceptance? I thought I had accepted all of this to some degree, and I have, but I not totally and I'm not sure I ever will, but right there that check mark on that paper may as well have been a dagger jabbing in and out of my heart by the devil. I cried, felt sorry for myself, thought about all my friends my age and older who were able to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and thought this just isn't fair. Rich told me it is okay. I wiped my tears and said, Enough of this talk what do we need at the store and asked him what shall we eat for dinner?"

So as you can see being ill is not only the physical game it is a mental game, it an eat you alive if you let it. Just when you think you are on top of it and you have either won the game, to some degree, or you have accepted the game, it all comes crashing down on you again and you must deal with it head on, over and over again, because it is always something new. I think that for me and my over active thinking process it is a blessing that I am able to talk to Rich, and move on eventually. Well, at least until The Blame Game rears it ugly head just one more time. If any of this makes sense to you then I am sure you have your own answers to the The Blame Game, but the most important thing is you keep playing the game and don't stop until you win because losing this game is NOT an option.

God Bless!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Ring, Ring. Stupid Phone

I woke up this morning in a good mood eager to start the day. I finally got a half way decent nights sleep, something that many people with chronic pain do not get very often. My neck has been giving me so much pain at night it makes it very difficult to get comfortable and I end up tossing and turning all night long. The best part is I must be burning a lot of calories so I figure I don't need to exercise much during the day because I am burning a fair amount of calories all night.

This morning it was the usual routine, wake up, stretch a few muscles, get out of bed slowly, go to the bathroom and make my way down the steps. I tell you that is a long painful walk in the morning on somedays. Slowly grabbing onto the railing and/or the wall hoping this isn't the day I fall and lay at the end of the steps until someone finds me. No wonder I can understand the commercials that say, "HELP I've fallin and I can't get up." To the rest of the world these commercials are funny but to me they are a reality. Oh well, I figure if it ever does happen I'll just lay there and think about the good things in my life until they call in the crane to pick me up off my fat ass. Hahaha! Yes, there it is again, the humor. I couldn't make it through each day without being able to laugh. A lot! I will tell you once I am down the steps and get my coffee and take my daily handful of morning pills I begin to feel better and end up here or on facebook. The worst part is that the computer is upstairs too so now I have to worry about tripping up the steps instead of down, which in all actuality is much easier than falling down them. You see, when you fall up you have another step to catch you, unlike when you fall down. Ahhh a good side to a situation and NO I am not getting one of those Help I've fallin necklaces, at least not yet.

Today I was sitting reading my status updates and the phone rings, it was 9:20am so I thought who is calling me this early? Anyone who knows me knows you don't call me before 10am unless you are on fire or dead. Plus, if you call before I wake up fully I won't remember a word you said and I plead the fifth on anything I might say to you. I did answer the phone and it was one of my many doctors offices calling to remind me of my appointment Monday. Really? I know it is coming but I have been blocking it out of my head. I wasn't going to even think about updating my love note to him until Monday morning but when I heard the voice on the other end, "Hello is this Dianne? 'Ummm Yes,' This is Dr Glissons office reminding you of your appointment on Monday. Arghhhhh, 'okay thanks,' as in my head is saying do I have to, really already?' It is funny how you can wake up feeling alright and looking forward to the day and then a phone call can add anxiety to your schedule, much of which you don't want. After that call I had a few tears and right now they come again as I think of yet another appointment. The thought, just the thought, that another six months has passed and I am not a whole lot better since the last time I saw him, is very sobering. Oh well, such is life. Like everyone tells me things could be much worse and I know that but believe me it still isn't easy.

For today we push on. One minute at a time. Looking forward to the good parts of the day and the weekend to come, as my phone is ringing again at this minute to remind me of yet another appointment on Monday with the foot doctor, are you kidding me right now? Sometime I just want to give up but I can't. If I give up something or someone else wins and darn it I will not let that happen. I hope if you are struggling with phone calls or job problems or people problems or what ever other life problems you may be facing this very minute, I hope you have the courage to face them head on. Cry if needed, yell if needed, grab a hug from someone who really does care and move on the best you can. We have to. Laugh! What other choice is there?

God Bless!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Facebook May Have Changed The World But It Has Given Me So Much More

I remember when our daughter Steph kept hounding me to get a facebook account, for the longest time I would say things like, "I don't need that,' or "Why do I need to waste time on the internet I am never going to go on there anyways." Finally after quite a few months I gave in, as you all know by now, and let Steph set me up. It seems since I began my facebook page I have become addicted and not because of the selfishness in me but mostly for two important reasons. The first being that I am able to share the goodness in my heart with all of you and seconding being that I am able to hear all the goodness many other people have in their hearts and learn from them. Learn I do!

For quite a while now I have been inspired by many people out there but no more than when I read how someone has helped another without any regards as to what they themselves will get from it. People, just like you, who have given of themselves to a homeless person,  to a ill friend, to a family member struggling with illness or the countless other issues I read about. People like you who are just there at the right time and doing good for others. After all that IS what the world is about, isn't it?

I was always brought up by my parents to put others needs ahead of my own and I have tried to do so. So when I read of someone else doing the same thing my heart swells and tears well up in my eyes. When I read of the good deeds of two of my fellow classmates in the past few weeks it really hit home. Both of the helped homeless people on the street, not by offering them food or money, but just by offering a piece of their heart. For that I am humbled. You see, I went on a mission trip quite a few years back with the youth group to the inner city of Chicago, and no I'm not bragging! This was an area where gang activity controlled the streets, one night we were serving at a mission and had to leave fast because the gangs were headed our way.
We met many homeless people on this trip, not people who wanted our money, but people who just wanted to tell us their story. It was humbling to say the least so when I hear stories of others just being there I can identify. It is sad to me that we categorize homeless people as bums or low lives when in reality they are you and I just hit with bad circumstances. I think my kindness came from my father who was a police officer. He would tell stories of how they would pick up the homeless and take them to Mel Trotter or one of the many hospitals so they wouldn't freeze to death on the streets when they were drunk and passed out along the side of the road. See, you thought the police were only out to get you but in reality they are good men and woman who only want to help others and they instill that in their children by their actions on the street. I remember my parents would drive us around GR and show us the boxes, viadox, the holes they would crawl into and sleep just trying to stay warm. I couldn't believe people lived like that and it help make the person I am today.

The point of this is not to make anyone feel guilty but to understand when you are on facebook think about what people post. Don't just skim over it and think someone is bragging about themselves or they are trying to get recognition. Realize there are some really good people out there. Learn from the lessons they are teaching you/me. Allow facebook to change your world. I feel that facebook makes me want to be an even better person as I struggle day to day. I feel fortunate to be able to share my struggles and encourage another person even when I do not realize I do so. Today, tomorrow, or the next time you may be out in the world, take a minute. A minute to soak in all that is going on around you and if the opportunity warrants, give something back, not money, but a piece of your heart and you might be surprised and realize someone is giving you a piece of theirs at the same time.

God Bless,


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You Know You Live With Chronic Illness When

Yesterday something popped into my head that made me laugh. Yes, I laughed out loud all day long at myself. I was thinking about the day to day stuff that you have to live with when you face chronic illness and I made myself laugh even more once I started going. I thought humm I need to write these down as they come to mind throughout the day, so I did. Lucky, or not so lucky for you, I am going to share them with you and hopefully make you laugh at yourself  as I do at myself.

You know you live with chronic illness when...

-Someone you know complains about something your first answer is, "Oh there is a pill for that," and you are serious.
-95% of the reading material scattered though out your home is on health issues.
-Your ipod and computer become your best friends and you would kill over them.
-Every time you have to see a new doctor you want to puke all over yourself or all over him if he is an ass.
-Getting ready to go out for a night on the town takes you all day to get ready and by the time you get there all you can think about is getting home.
-When someone is in the middle of telling you a long detailed story and little do they know they lost you in the first sentence but you just shake your head in agreement like you know exactly what they are talking about. True story. Sorry if I have done this to you but you never knew did you?
-You become an actor. By looking at you most people would never know you were ill.
-You inspire your friends much more than you are able to inspire yourself.
-You threw in the I surrender white towel a million times but no one seems to care or listen.
-Your fantasies include all the physical things other people can do, running, dancing, staying up all night, etc. Oh don't worry there are still the sexual ones that are there too, no one can take that away from you!
-You begin to believe that dust bunnies really are your friends and you start to talk to them as if they really were real.
-Looking out the window is to hard so you keep the blinds closed at all times. It reminds you there really is a world out there and it sure can be painful at times. Hurry close the blind and only look at your safe space.
-When you finally do go out with your friends the only thing you can think of is a steaming hot bath and your spot on the couch. Or making one of your sexual fantasies come true.
-The first thing you do when going somewhere means scoping out the bathroom because you just never know.
-A home cooked meal becomes something your man grills while you throw a veg in the oven and call it good. The best part is your man still thinks you really are the best cook in the world. Ya, makes no sense to me either.
-Your four year old grandson is staring at you and you know he is going to say something and wonder what it will be this time. He then proceeds to say, "Nana your eye is almost closed on that one side again." He thinks it is some kind of trick like when I tell him I have eyes in the back of my head.
-You tell people you don't feel good and they look at you with those, well, you look fine eyes. Yes, we can read your faces, we are sick not stupid.
-You learn what loneliness really means and you actually begin to like it.
-You use your weekly medicine injections as a learning lesson for your grandchildren in the hopes that one day they may want to be a doctor or a scientist and help people who are ill.
-You need to see yet another specialist for yet another problem and you would rather die on the way to the appointment than endure the pain of adding another doc to your long list. You begin to look at your doctors as your second family, now that is scary!
-You could care less what the latest fashion is because you don't have the energy to shop and your idea of fashion is stretchy pants and a loose fitting shirt. You dress in layer because one minute you are sweating and the next you are freezing. Stupid drugs!
- You believe everyday is a true adventure because you never know what you are going to either wake up with or be hit with at any given moment throughout the day.
-Ten years ago if you had all the crap laying around the house like you do now it would have sent you into cardiac arrest but now you just look at it and think, WHATEVER!
-Tomorrow becomes your favorite word.
-It makes your day when you hear your husband tell you that you are the most beautiful woman in the world as he thinks you are a Victoria's Secret model, all the while you know the truth, but to him you really are. He always knows how to make any day just a little bit better! Cracks me up!

In ending, as you can read, we really can make humor out of any situation. It is a great day when you feel like you really are one of the fortunate people in the world despite what chronic illness has taken or does to you each and everyday. It teaches you to never take life, love, or the people who love you for granted. All the other stuff is just an added bonus. You learn to take pleasure in the small things, which as we all have heard many times before, really are the big things. For all of this I wouldn't change a thing when it comes to my lot in life. All I can do is keep on laughing. Every time my illness holds me back I try to do something that I can do. Every time my illness tells me you can't do that I just try to do something else comparable. I can't work but I can help Rich at home when he has some extra paper work. I can't meet a friend for lunch but I can send them a card or e-mail to let them know I am thinking of them. It really is all the little things that make a life worth while and for me that is enough. So keep laughing at yourself and keep giving love to everyone you come in contact with, even the strangers, and most of all DON'T TAKE LIFE SO SERIOUSLY! It will all end one day anyways why not enjoy the ride?

God Bless!