Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Maybe, Just Maybe...(I've reached the top of this flare? And we can sled downhill now?)

I'm just going to get real for a moment and say...

Yesterday was kinda rough.  Like the roughest over the past couple of weeks.

I'm talkin' "falling asleep in the bathroom" - rough.  Actually, while perched on the throne.  How's that for embarrassing?  Although it could have been worse.  I could have fallen off.  When you have a background in medical coding for an emergency dept, you know just how real the possibilities are...

But?  I did my best to keep my head up and press on through each situation that presented itself.  By dinnertime, I was done.  By bedtime, I felt like I - and pretty much everyone else - would probably appreciate me a whole lot more if I never got out of bed the next morning.  In fact?  I was positive that 'everyone else' wanted that.  February is usually too early in the year for that depression 'voice', yet it was there.  And it was loud.  And it was really trying to beat me down.  And it worked, because I woke up this morning with dried tears on my face and my pocket bible in my right hand.

Waking up can sometimes be an event, right?  For me, I can feel my brain attempting to recalibrate.  It tries to cycle through "what day is it" and "what time is it" and "let's get up and go to work/gym/breakfast (depending on the day)" and "but first, coffee!"  That's what it did this morning...all prior to 4am.  I woke.  I immediately knew it was Wednesday.  I felt the dried tears on my face.  Unclutched my pocket bible.  Fumbled for my cell phone to check the time.  Made my way to the bathroom mirror.  Rinsed my face.  Stared into my eyes and had a feeling come over me that was a lot like this:  "Yesterday is over.  You are not staying in bed.  This feeling that 'everyone would appreciate it if you just went into hiding and never came out' is a lie.  Probably.  Even if it's not, you have to keep going.  Get your coffee.  Get yourself to work.  You can do this."

Well okay then, inner-boxing-trainer-with-slight-measure-of-doubt voice?  I'll choose you over that other one ;)

I was at work before 6am, trying to "outrun" the fatigue.  Wouldn't you worked!  Plus, my hair looked good.  Win/win.

I even got my son to his orthodontist appointment early.  Actually, too early.  As in nervous receptionist calling me to the desk, then following up with a sheepish, "We have you in the schedule for *March* 25th."  To which I said, "'re saying I'm too early?"  But she didn't laugh.  Instead, she began a series of apologies.  Finally, I interrupted with, "Listen, I'm just happy I was early for once!"  C'mon, lady.  This is a medical office and you're supposed to have medical humor.  Get on my level!  Life is short and so is my time between bathroom visits.  Let's laugh this one off, shall we?  My son sure did.  He was already at the door with his hand on the handle and a silly grin on his face.  He announced to the crowded waiting room,  "C'mon, Mom...let's go get you a coffee.  You did your best."

Okay, my dear helper dog.  I'd like that, thanks :-)

I even "almost" made it to the gym by 3:30pm, which was a personal goal.  That was "almost", because I made the mistake of laying down for just a minute, resulting in a 2.5hr nap.  But the mere fact that I thought of going to the gym was a small victory for where I'm at right now.  Progress, people!  I'll take it!

I hope - no, I actually think - yesterday was the worst day of this latest spell of yuck.  I'm looking forward to brighter days, which I know are just ahead.  Days which are beyond dried tear faces and sadness.  Beyond the thoughts that are probably not true, even if they feel like it.  Beyond fatigue.  Beyond fear.  My focus needs to stay on the Lord...on "one day at a time, one moment at a time"...on giving each day my very best.  Whatever that looks like.

And what it looked like today was knocking out a huge stack of tasks and getting my son to an appointment.  Twenty-eight days early.  This gives him yet another story for his "My Life With an MS Mom" book.

Bring it on, tomorrow.  My God is already there...

Yeah, I took this one :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Embarrassing New Symptom

I don't know if you're at all like me in this regard, but when I notice a new thing?  I play a little game of "Would You Rather".

It goes a little something like:

"Hmm.  I can't stay awake.  It's been a couple of weeks of dozing off in random areas of my house.  I think this is ms-related.  Now 'Would I Rather' have this level of fatigue?  Or something else.  Eh, I guess I'll take this."

As if I have a say.

But I've started with a new thing.  A thing I'm finding to be quite embarrassing.  Writing about it will help me come to terms with it...I think.  As I made my way through the store today, that symptom was all kinds of "HELLO!" and I thought, "Well, 'Would I Rather' have this going on or...(fill in a plethora of other possibilities)?"

As if I have a say?

Anyway, I decided I would tell my husband of my new symptom.  He handled it as he handles anything new about staring blankly and wrinkling his mustache.  It's okay.  I know that wrinkle is done with full support ;)

When I have a new symptom, it seems to slap me upside the head a bit.  Because prior to that, I pretty much just do life.  I "mother", I work, I sleep.  But new symptoms have a way of reminding me that - oh yeah - I have this lifelong thing.  This thing that causes my son to worry and stare at me in fear when I wake darn near throwing myself off the chair I apparently fell asleep on - while sitting straight up.  Or dropping my container of almond milk, because of a poorly timed hand tremor.  As if there's ever a good time.  Or grabbing the wrong set of keys for the wrong car, then wondering why the key won't fit.  Stuff like that.  And I give myself a pep talk.  I say something like, "If this is your new normal, you can get through it."

As if I have a say...

Thanks for reading...if you've endured my ramblings this long.  Maybe by the time I write another post, I'll be over my temporary embarrassment and will openly share.  Y'all can be all, "Oh that?  Psht!  That's nothing to be embarrassed about, girl!"  And you're probably right.  No, you're definitely right.  I suppose I just need to walk out my process.

What runs through my mind at a time like this, in addition to the fact that I serve a mighty God, is the unpredictability of this life.  One minute it's one way.  The next?  It ain't.  In the meantime, all I can do is lean on the Lord and keep loving hard.  Loving hard, to me, means loving others with my whole heart.  Trying to show them that I truly believe John 1:5 and that I will do my best, in all my imperfections, to live it out.  That's something ms can never take away from me.

As if it has a say ;)

Meanwhile, here's a fantastic cover of Oceans...


Sunday, February 15, 2015

February Fatigue Meets Motherhood...Again.

THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!!!

I'm really tired.

Honestly?  I could end the post right there.  Y'all would totally understand.  Like this cartoon I recently found:

February seems to be a very "tired" month for me.  I realized this today, because I thought back to this time last year, when I was too exhausted to bake my husband's birthday cake.  And by baking I mean opening a box, cutting the bag of powdery magic open, haphazardly dumping it into a bowl, and adding my customary 3 ingredients.  But hey, it's all about God's provision and He provided in a beautiful, amazing way that I will never forget.  His cake was made for him.  Yet, for me.  Better than I've ever made it.  And that night will always be so incredibly special to me.  Always :)

See, wintertime is sleepy season.  But those of us with fuuuuhhhhteeeeg know that it's so much more than just being sleepy.  And summertime seems to be depression season.  I don't know which I like worse.  I don't know that it matters.

Anyway.  This past Friday, our amazing "little" girl turned 17.  We had so many plans to celebrate.  My mother had a rare day off, my kids are on winter break, and so am I.  We planned a "birthday crawl" in which we'd have an early breakfast at her favorite place, lunch at her favorite place, a giant family dinner, and maybe go out to the coffee house to listen to some local musical talents late that night.  You guys, I was SO excited for the day!  I woke up at my usual early morning time.  I consumed my usual amount of caffeine.  I sat in my desk chair and took. it. all. in.  17 years.  Where has that time even gone?  I grabbed the baby book and photo album.  I looked through the hospital pics of her in all her perfect beauty.  The smiles on my parents' faces.  I recalled the tears in my husband's eyes as he looked down at me and said, "You did great!"  That was right before my pressure dropped through the floor, monitors started singing, and the lights went out, but nothing's easy where I'm concerned ;)  I soaked it all in, reliving every beautiful memory.  Then, I looked at present day pictures and wiped tears from my eyes.  She's just so...awesome.  She always has been.  Where has the time gone?

No, really.  Where's the time gone...

Because I sat down in my desk chair at 6am.  How did 4.5hrs go by?  And lunch reservations with mom in an hour?  Good job, done missed stop #1 of the crawl.  And you don't even know how, do you.  At least dismount from the desk chair, drag a brush through your hair, and get to stop #2 on time, shall we?

By the time we got in from a fantastic lunch with Mom, I could barely keep my eyes open.  My daughter encouraged me to take a nap, but I was stubborn and insisted I was fine, I'd just watch a little tv.  Two hours later, I woke up?  Apparently, I missed the memo that the aforementioned nap was mandatory.  We made it to stop #3, the giant family dinner, with plenty of time to spare, but the coffee house wasn't happening.  Not even after drinking an entire little pitcher of coffee myself.  I didn't think the musical artists would appreciate the sight of a woman completely crashed out on one of the super plush chairs.

Fast forward to tonight.  My daughter and I spent the frigid afternoon together, running errands and having great time!  Came home and found that the men of the house had not only cooked dinner for the night, but also cleaned and folded laundry!  It was nothing short of wonderful.  Comfort food...fresh towels...perfectly swept floors.  I thanked them from the bottom of my heart and told them I couldn't wait to watch our movie rental, for which my daughter's friend would be joining us.  I went upstairs to exchange my clothes for pajamas.

(a la Spongebob)  Four hours later...

I woke up in total darkness.  Wait.  What time is it?  No wait.  What DAY is it?  Did I miss work?  Or is it morning.  Am I dreaming?  This is a dream.  Wait.  If it's morning, I need to get up and see what time of morning, wait.  It's night.  I remember putting my pajamas on and someone covered me with a blanket.  It was my husband.  Don't we have a movie to watch?  I'm hungry.


I staggered to the top of the steps and asked the question.  My daughter joyfully greeted me with, "Oh hi, Mom!" and I was all, "WHAT TIME IS IT!!!"  My son told me it was 7pm and asked if I "had a good sleep".  I couldn't respond, because I was still slightly panicked.  I asked what time her friend was coming over and she said, "I told him you were taking a nap and I'd let him know when you woke up."

Annnnnd with that, I retreated to the shower.  To cry.

I don't want to be the reason my daughter has to message a friend to say, "sorry you can't come over, because the dogs will bark and wake my mother." - who may or may not be in a coma.  I don't want my son to worry about me.  Lately, that's manifesting in anxiety.  See, I work where he attends school.  He stops by my office a few times each day to ask how I'm doing, but always attaches a "can I have a piece of gum?" or "can I borrow a quarter?"  I used to think he checked in with me - for himself.  I'm finally figuring out (through a teary chat with God as shower water streamed over my head and down my face) that he checks in with me - for me.  Nothing costs a quarter anymore.  And I thought it strange when I saw him stuff the piece of gum in his pocket, because I chew the cubes, which aren't individually wrapped.  Wish I'd have recalled that detail prior to putting those clothes through the laundry.  And he feels like he has to remind me of something over and over, but I got it.  He wants me to rest more, but I got it.  He wants to try to do things for me, but I got it.  Yes, my "having it" may translate to occasional coma naps every now and again, but it's my version of a series of sprints.  And I got it.

Time to get out of the shower so the rest of the night can go on...

I emerged from my tearful conversations with God, having new insight into my son's anxiety, smelling quite fantastic (thanks, Bath & Body!), stared at the bags under my eyes, and yelled out for my daughter.  "Yes?" she asked.

"Don't ever.  Ever.  Let me get in the way of something.  Tell your friend to get over here.  Right now."

And son?  "Yes?" he asked.

"I had a great sleep.  Thanks for asking."

God has given me so much.  He provides for my every need.  And He has blessed my husband and I with incredible kids.  I pray they will have been made stronger from the rough times they had seen as small children, back when I was violently ill from meds, falling all over the place, asleep more than I was awake, and having pseudobulbar crying/laughing spells.  I pray they will never be afraid of the unknown, but entrust it all it's the Lord's hands.  Because really, He's the only One capable of holding it.

No, seriously, because I'm dropping things left and right.