Sunday, December 20, 2009

We didn't know our own strength......

We all have our personal struggles and Hurricanes.  Each of us tries to hide it from the world.  Because, we want everyone to see that we have it all together.  At least that is the way it has been for me.   I have share extensively what I have gone through.  But, this isn't just me, it is We.   These are just the few people I care about and their hurricanes.  There are so many more.  Their strength is amazing. You NEVER ever know what your neighbor (literally or metaphorically) is going through.    A storm is a storm is a storm.   You are all still standing....you didn't know your own strength...

My love and prayers go out to the person whose son was hit by a car and was in a coma and is still sick today.  To the young couple who lost their son at age 1, to the many sisters and brothers in life dealing with cancer or any other illness,  To the person who lost everything due to addiction, To the person (s) who did not know where their next meal or rent would come from.  To the person(s) who lost their jobs and are struggling heavily.  To the people that have gone through a divorce.  To those that have been abused verbally or physically.  To those that are trying to keep their business going, To those that are lost, trying to find themselves.  To those who are lost to addiction to whatever it is.  To those who are working with special needs children and feel frustrated.  To those that are lonely and waiting for that right person.  To those that have been damaged as a child and going through court as we speak.  For those that just lost their dad, after losing their mother a couple of years ago and another who just lost their mother.  For the family that lost all 3 of their children to a rare form of cancer.   To the person who deals with MS everyday and hurts all the time, yet keeps on going and going.  To the person (s) that has given everything to their acting and struggling and waiting for that break.  To those that are handicapped...you are so handi-capable.  You amaze me constantly.  To those that have had their heart broken into a million pieces and trying to find the pieces to put together.  To the person who had eclampsia after delivering her baby.  Their kidneys and liver started failing.  To the person whose water broke at 27 weeks and layed on their back for 9 weeks just to keep the baby alive.   To that same family who juggled life with 2 other little ones at home and trying to keep this baby alive.  (By the way, he is alive and well)  To all of those that are traveling to find their son/daughter via adoption.  To the person who despises someone that they cared about.  Forgiveness is the answer.  To those that have broken off friendships because of huge misunderstandings.  I pray that you all realize that person has a good heart and has been through too much to try and create drama or trouble in their life.  They are just trying to come back into the world again.  Give them a chance.  

As I said, I could keep going.  It is hard to believe so many are in a hurricane and the rest of the world would never know.  To those that I know about and to those that I don't.....this is for all of us.......


Reflections: Finding God in places where you didn't think He was....

I found Him in the transporter who took me to all of my procedures, tears were sliding down my eyes, and he touched my head and sang Amazing Grace to me.  When he came to my room and played the banjo and sang gospel.  To the many, many nurses who took care of me and made me laugh to help me forget my physical pain... He was there.  God was with my entire church and the hundreds of people who prayed for us, who brought food, who cleaned our home, who painted our house.    I found God in a neighborhood (Miramonte..i love and miss you all, I never got the chance to know you like I wanted to!) where they barely knew me, and person after person came to help in whatever way they could.  Painting our furniture so that when we moved, I could feel peace.  Or the sweetest people who helped me when I couldn't help myself to get ready to move.  They came running and helped. 

God was in the Questies and you know who you are!  You were there to move us.  You have been there all the time.  We were a family since '99 and the crew came to our aid without a blink of an eye.  God was in that room the other week when we had our reunion....each one of you helped us. The love was enormous and I was so honored to be in your presence.  The words I spoke to you all were nothing compared to what I felt in my heart.   I have never been so overcome with emotion for what you all did and are still doing. 

God was in Sophia, Maya and Nikolai's schools where they did things for us that were mind blowing.  I found God sitting at a lab getting ready to get more blood taken.  When the mother and daughter looked at me and put their hand on mine and told me it will be alright.  To hear that the daughter literally coded twice and she was so beautiful and happy and said how grateful she was to be alive.  I didn't fully grasp what she meant then, because I felt so sick.  Now, I do.   God was on the bus in Cleveland when we met a spunky, beautiful little lady (she could not have been 5 foot tall) who talked to us about how her husband died there at Cleveland Clinic and they brought him back to life.  He was in the hospital at that time, but, he was full of life.  She said after he died and was brought back...they sold everything and lived their dream.  She said "I am married to my best friend and we live on a boat in Alaska and we travel everywhere and jump from planes, and ski" and on and on she went.  I was in awe....

GOD was in Cleveland Clinic in every single corner.  From a sweet friend of Blake's taking us everywhere.  To a family who paid for me to get up Cleveland when they haven't even seen me for years.  That was God.   To so many of my old schoolmates who lived near the Clinic,  that said they would come to Cleveland to help.....God was there.  To Dr. Hatipoglu, for hugging me, for making me feel human...for going "outside of the box" and doing a trial on me.  For basically saving my life.  To so many of the other doctors there who helped  put me together again. Dr. Foster...there are not even remotely enough words for you.  You have been relentless in taking care of me.  You are my guardian angel.  Dr. B...you are an amazing woman, who completely went out of your way time and time again.  Even when your expertise was not in what was happening to me...you have ALWAYS been there for me, through all my babies and took us through one of the worst times of our lives when Maya was born.  You are an angel on earth.   Dr. P..... you are a great person, my body just couldn't handle the surgery.   Dr. Ender, you have been with me for years and God lives in you.  When you came to the hospital a few months back when I had sepsis.  You treated me with so much respect, and hugging me when I was so afraid.   For the amazing doctor that was on staff the week that he found sepsis in me.  You were among the elite that I listed above as a doctor at the hospitals down here where I live to go over and beyond.  You didn't look at my symptoms as black or white.  You looked at me as a whole person.   If something didn't work, you kept trying.  When you told me that I was going to ICU, you wanted to try something else first.  You kept me out of ICU.   You never gave up on me.  My sepsis is gone.  You will never be forgotten.

God was at the dentist, when they all hugged me to tell me I was going to make it.  When the pharmacists came out from behind the counter to hug me...God was there.  I was filled with love.  Especially with my favorite pharmacist Nancy who was battled cancer and she did!!  She prayed for me, I prayed for her.   I could write forever and forever to the health care people that I met that actually made a difference in my life.   Let me not forget the beautiful dog that came in my room at Duke for Pet Therapy.  You laid your head in my lap and I hugged you with all that fur and I felt God.

God was with the hundreds and hundreds of people who wrote me all over the world who I have become friends with through so many different avenues.  There are no accidents...we were all supposed to have collided in each others lives.    The amazing financial goodness that you all bestowed on us.  You helped us make it to where our babies never had to know what was going on.  God was there. 

And let me tell you this.... God was there with Blake and our children, my family both near and far, especially my parents, siblings, my in-laws, all of my cousins on my side and Blake's side...Aunts and Uncles...  my inducted families (those that I consider like families) All of my BFAM, and SFAM (Brothers and Sisters from another mother) All of my friends in the present and from my past.  I thought maybe you didn't care.  Boy, was I wrong....you were all praying for me.  I apologize for not being the daughter, sister, in-law, friend you all needed.  God was there in each of you.  That is the beauty in what God has given me...insight.  I am going to be working hard to being that friend back and giving back to the world.

I will end here as far as writing on this post.  But, it doesn't literally end here.  There are SOOOOO many people and places that I went and chance encounters that I haven't any began to write about.  But, I will.   Especially about the Pink Diamond and The Zimbabwe Princess....

Reflections.....

When I look back on 2009 (make that 2008 also)  I have seen, and felt, and learned so much about Grace, compassion, humility, love, hope, kindness, faith, understanding, GRATITUDE, gratitude, and more gratitude, strength, laughter, generosity of giant proportions, meeting amazing people, prayer, and what it is like to be in God's hand and not even know it.   I learned to dream again, to look at the world through child like eyes.  Forgiveness,  learning how to be open and raw, and letting the world see me just as I am...me.  Appreciation for others and their hurricanes, learning what true friendship is, and most importantly what it means to be a friend...because I have lost sight of that. I am starting over in that area.  I have been gone a long time.

Appreciating my parents, sisters and brother for what it has taken for them to go down this road with me.  And the biggest thing(s) are watching my children and lighting up like a Christmas tree when they are around. Amazement at my husband and all that he has had to endure.  Learning more about what true love is.   It is more than the butterfly's in your stomach....you learn what true love is when you are face down in the dirt.  When they lay down in the dirt with you and cheer you on to get up and keep on fighting.  When they hold you when you are so scared of what is to come.  When they have seen you at your very worst and they still love you.  And bigger than all of that, if that wasn't enough....I found God in places that I never thought He could be.   I will write more in my next post....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coming out on the other side

If you have ever been through a Catastrophic 5 Hurricane and your house was demolished and possessions were everywhere.  If you came out alive, and your family..the other stuff is just that....stuff.    Gratitude (for most people I would think) is enormous.  However, I can only imagine the grief of the loss of possessions, and so much more. 

In metaphoric terms....that is what my family has just come through.  A catastrophic Level 5 Hurricane.  I feel  like our house (our lives, financial, relationships, children, everything) was turned upside down, ripped to shreds, pieces laying all over the place.  But, yet...for us, there have been an abundant amount of angels who have come out to help us piece back our lives.  

I have lost many friends through this.  Mainly because I have not been able to be a friend, a sister, a daughter, a good wife through this horrible time.   All I seemed to focus on was myself.   In losing people, I gained an amazing amount of angels from unexpected places.  People who don't even know me from all over the world have come to my aid.   I have made forever friends with these beautiful people and you know who you are.  Friends from the past who stepped up to be there as much as they could.   My husband and  children, oh my.....talk about strength and resilience.  I owe everything to God first and then to my family and friends.   My parents, my sisters and brother, and my in-laws.  How did I get so blessed?

5 weeks ago today, I had Sepsis.  Which is an infection in my bloodstream.  I developed cellulitis in my arms that caused them to swell because of another bacterial infection.   I had some amazing encounters with nurses, and others who I believe were God sent.   One day, I will tell the stories of what happened, and how the next day....some of the major illness was gone.   Mind boggling!!  But, 5 weeks ago, I was minutes away from being in ICU and told as I was leaving the hospital to recover at home that I dodged a bullet.   That most people do not live through sepsis, and the kidney and colon problems that happened  during that time.   No one can believe what I am saying is true.  Like I am being over-dramatic.   This was real, and probably understated at how lucky I was.  

Today, as we enter into December....a miracle is occurring everyday.  I am stronger physically, I watch our children with such delight that it makes my heart burst.   My husband walks into the room and I cry.    They are tears of joy....we made it, we came out on the other side.   I  thank God first for the miracle He is doing in my life...then, it is my love, my partner....my husband.   For 2 years straight, he has been my nurse.  He has taken on more than anyone should ever have to bare.  No complaints, only love.   Our children have lifted my spirits every day.  

Now, I wake up and I smile and look up and tell God how grateful and blessed and lucky that I am.  The joy in my heart is something I have never really experienced before.   What I have learned about me, and acceptance and forgiveness is mind boggling.   I feel like I know what my calling is in life.  It is slowly being revealed to me.   God has blessed me, and He continues to do so.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  But, what is important is that today..right here, right now.....I am alive and I am coming back stronger than I have ever been.  Sure, it will be a long road.  But, that is alright by me.  

Brett Salisbury....thank you for sharing your book, your help, your encouragement with my nutrition and getting my blood pumping the way it should.   I will be your star pupil my friend.  I plan on shocking even you!!  God bless you!!!   Thank you to all the nurses, doctors, and "villages"for never giving up on me.   It does take a village to help a sick person come back to life.    How did I get so lucky???????

One last note....some people wonder how we could feel so lucky when we are drowning in debt from Medical, and the car problems, and the list goes on.   It would make most people give up.   The difference is for me....is that I am ALIVE!!!!   And if God brought me through all of that......I have total faith that He is going to lead us to the road of financial and every other recovery.  

Please don't ever let the bad times take you down and keep you there.  When you get kicked down, get up.  Sometimes, as in my case....you will have to crawl with your face firmly planted in the dirt.  Just keep digging your nails into the ground.  Eventually, you will be able to get on your knees, and then you will be able to stand.   And if you get knocked down again...repeat the process and get back up again, no matter how long it takes.   Show gratitude, sit in the sun, smile at your neighbors, dance like you have never danced before, and above all....laugh!!!  Crying is healing, then laugh, cry, laugh.....and eventually the tears will have cleansed your soul and you will find that your days consist of laughter.  Forgive....especially yourself.   

I am starting to see a glimpse of what God has in store for me.  Pray for me if you will.   I am wide open to His Will.   I just need to keep the encouragement, and belief in myself that I can do it. 

I love you all so much, and am so grateful to so many people.  I hope that I can touch your life as you have touched mine.  

Just imagine what can be done in this world if we all come together.....

Love and many, many blessings to you!

Caroline

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where do we go from here?

I haven't written in two months.    I ended up getting terribly sick. Went to the Cleveland Clinic again, then have been in the hospital for most of October and Nov.  I ended up having a PICC line put in for nutrients and food to feed my body.  I developed high fevers after that was put in.  I had severe anemia, and other major depletion's.  I was so sick there a few weeks back.  I ended up back in the hospital with a high fever 103f (I am known for 97.0 F)  I had sepsis, which is a blood infection.  It messed up my body pretty bad.  You don't realize how serious it is until much later.  My blood pressure was dropping like crazy.  My doctor said that if I could not get it up in numbers...then, I was headed to ICU.  He hooked me up to another Saline bag and pumped fluids in me like crazy.  I responded well and my bp went back up.   Shew....avoided ICU.  NO thank you.  A step down unit is just fine. 

It was a mess, because both of my arms developed cellulitis and I was feeling like I was getting pneumonia again.  My doctor actually discharged me and sent me home on antibiotic therapy.  He said I was getting sicker there in the hospital.   Interesting....

I did well for a day or two...and then boom....Swine Flu.  Kicked my butt. 

I stayed focused the whole time on my husband and had a picture with me of our children.  Mind over matter,  mind overe matter.    I went back into the hospital through ambulance.  Kidneys, the works.   I stayed a week.  And again, they felt strong that they were doing more harm than good by keeping me the.  That we could do everything out patient.   I missed my appointments in Cleveland at the Clinic.   I couldn't help it.    I have been home now for about a week and a 1/2 and have been getting my strength back.   I have enjoyed immensely being home.  Especially with the kids.  The girls have been home with me the most.  I just stare at them when they are not looking and  I tear up and think of how lucky I am.

That is where I am now...lucky, blessed.   I went shopping, rode my bike around the block.  Doesn't seem like much to many.  But, it was everything to me....

Where do I go from here?  Being in the present, being thankful, being grateful and living out loud in the world.  Making sure that where I feel I have left things undone...work on making peace.  Even if the other person doesn't want peace with me...I am fine with that.  I need to let go and say I am sorry where needed.   Hug my husband everyday and make sure he knows that he has been so amazing.  To let our children know that they are the light of my life.  I cannot imagine life without them. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!   I know what I am thankful for ....do you?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Latest Medical Update...

I am working hard on blocking out what is going on with me. Everyday that I wake up..I thank God for how many blessings He has given me. I try and block out the pain, Terrible habit I picked up a long time ago. I have learned to come out of my body (metaphorically speaking of course) and it is as if I am watching someone else's life. I try to use to think of everything to keep from thinking of the pain.

Where we are right now is a Thyroid Immune Disease. However, what no one can help me with is...how is my hyperthyroid in normal ranges and I have not been thrown into hypothyroid (which happens after going into remission of Graves Disease which is what caused the hyperthyroid.) ? Basically my immune system is attacking the thyroid.

I go back to Cleveland Clinic next month and I will go to hematology/oncology and find out what is attacking the good cells. My immune system is terrible despite all of the vitamins. It has been confirmed that I have an absorption problem. I can't really absorb anything, and the other is all of the vitamins that I am deficient in which causes a whole host of nasty stuff.

The other is that my bladder and colon completely stopped about 8 months ago. That is the part that NO ONE can figure out. So, now...I mainly have to have a catheter in to go #1 (I am a Mom ok? those are the words use) or if it is not indwelling, then I have to do it myself. Because anything left in the bladder causes infections. That is exactly what has happened....I have not stopped having kidney infections or UTI's for months now. Which means tons and tons of antibiotics. Which I hate. Because now, I am resistant to most everything. I have had two MRSA (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mrsa/DS00735) infections at the injection site of where my IV was. The next day, my arms were swollen, lesions and on fire!!! Ran a real high fever. Was on multitudes of Antibiotics. Most recently, one of my UTI/Kidney infections turned out to be MRSA. That is really bad stuff. It can take you down in a flash!!

There are many parts of my body that are not functioning correctly. Cleveland Clinic is honing in on where some of them are. Right now, it is my bladder. Since I have something called Urinary Retention and somehow my body does not give out signals when it is time to go....So I hold an ungodly amount thus rendering me to the world of self catheters or indwelling catheters. Lets suffice it to say....IT HURTS!!!! What is happening is that my stomach grows to ginormous portions and pushes my diaphragm and whatever else up into my rib cage. Makes it very hard to breathe. The urinary retention pushes urine up into my kidneys, causing serious infections.

I was taken in an ambulance on Thursday because when I went to my doctors appt...I was shaking from the pain so bad. Not only that...when I got there, I was bleeding profusely. Mind you....most of my insides have been taken out. I still have your basic liver, heart, lungs and spleen :) I was supposed to be admitted. But, I had to go through ER first. I HATE the ER with a passion. And as sick as I was....it boiled down to the fact that when I took a Urine Test at the ER....I only had 4 red blood cells, He said there was no reason for me to be in that kind of pain with that. HELLO? I just lost half of my body in blood...and there is no reason to keep me? He sent me home with another indwelling catheter and this time, I have to lie flat on my back all the time for about 5 days so that my bladder and kidneys could calm down. I cried so hard in the ER....because I felt like this is a hopeless situation.

Well, I took a shower this morning thinking that it won't be that bad. Wrong answer...tons of blood. And massive amounts of blood this afternoon. I have no idea what is going on there. Neither can the guys who went to college for becoming a doctor and they are supposed to know more than me. Cleveland Clinic had a lot of tests for me to take, and more down here. I am getting everything set up for Home Health to come in after I have a PICC line. She will show me how to clean the port and give myself the IV. I pray that the insurance will pay for that. That is one of many prayers.

Keeping my mind off of everything is my new job working from home (NuCerity), and writing. I will say that the best things for me to keep my mind off all of this is funny things....jokes, funny videos, funny or encouraging movies. Or talking about YOUR life...not mine...I cannot tell you the countless times people have said "Oh...my problems are nothing like yours", or " you have too much on your plate to talk about me", or "I figured since you hadn't been in touch with me that you didn't want to talk to me"

Let me say, I desperately want to hear how you are doing...and everyone's problems are equally hard no matter what your circumstances. There is no rule book/judging/scores on who has it worse. So, please don't stop talking about what is going on in your life. I genuinely want to hear. I may not always able to talk, or write right away...but, don't give up on me. I am trying...trying really hard to beat this battle and sometimes I make mistakes by not responding sooner. Thank you for all of your love and thoughts and prayers.

Sending blessings your way!
Caroline

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.

I used to believe that to forgive someone who had really hurt me , or had done unspeakable things...was letting them off of the hook. I always said I forgave this or that person. But, the rage was still inside. I would go so far as to allow people back into my life just to prove to myself and others that I could forgive.

Something wasn't right about it. My heart rate would go up and my throat would close up and horrible anxiety would set in. Why was that happening to me? I mean, I prided myself on how I could handle it all. My closest friends would say "How do you do it? You must be so strong".

No, I wasn't strong. I was betraying myself by telling myself that I had forgiven. When just beneath the surface when scratched, a million feelings would emerge. I learned that it was a process. Learned that letting go was a part of the forgiveness. And I learned to cut that wound out of my life. Many times, I would write down the hurt and put it in a bottle and when I was at the beach, I would send it out to sea. Letting go is the biggest part of forgiveness.

It has taken me a REALLY long time to set a certain prisoner free. That is me. My whole life, I have blamed anything wrong that would happen on myself. If I fell short of expectations, I couldn't forgive myself. I was scared to make people mad, or sad, or anything. Somehow, I took that as me failing and I could not forgive myself for that. It has happened even recently with people that I thought were friends. They cut me out, and I blamed myself. I would not forgive myself for anything at all. It is something that I work on to this day. Like being sick....I can't forgive my body for not doing what I want it to do. It continues to betray me. I believe that the poison of not forgiving goes through my veins and has attributed to making me sicker.

Most recently, I learned of one of my dearest friends father passing. It hit me like a ton of bricks. She told me it happened many months ago and the reason that she didn't tell me was because I had too much going on and she didn't want to bother me. I was sick for days over this. I beat myself up so much for not being there. For being consumed in my world. Becoming blind. I could only think "What horrible person would not see her friend hurting?" The same goes for my family and extended. I always feel that I am never there for them and they are all going through rough times. I keep making the same mistake over and over again with loved ones, and friends. Not seeing what is going in others life. What horrible person could I be if I was so consumed that I did not know about her fathers passing? Or being there for my friends and family in there time of need.

It is a bitter pill.

However, the beautiful thing about forgiving is you stop poisoning yourself. Remember, forgiving is not to make the other person feel better. It is for you to release and to let go. And shut that door and protect yourself.

As for me forgiving myself....it is work in progress. I realize that no one is perfect. And no one can make you feel like you are worthless. Only you can do that. But, I find that each day that passes..the prisoner in me is slowly but surely being released. It has left me raw and unprotected, because I have never known a life where I didn't beat myself up.

Letting go is so freeing and I am lighter each day I am grateful for every single event that has happened in my life. Every one. Believe it or not, I am thankful for the illness these past 2 years. It has forced me to chisel away at the rock of pure poison that I was holding on to. I am finally seeing that sparkling diamond that is inside.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

I have had a hard time being able to find my own voice on this subject. And now, thanks to a few mentors in my life and help...I am learning to accept me for who I am.

Growing up, and even until recently I always apologized for who I am. I said I am sorry for everything, even when it was the another who hurt me or something that could not possibly be my fault. I have allowed people to treat me in ways that I accepted. Because for some reason, I thought it had to be my fault.

I have wasted so much energy in this lifetime trying to be what others want me to be. I lost my way. I accepted the criticism, I accepted the name calling, I accepted the outright rudeness towards me. I accepted having friendships that were only coming from my side and the other side just used me when they needed me. I accepted giving myself to others and expecting nothing in return. And that is what I got...nothing in return...and when I reached out to find out what I had done wrong (when, in reality..how could it be my fault when no one lets you in)...the barrage of "You are too sensitive, too much drama, too much, too this and that"

I have now been guided by the help of some amazing mentors to take claim who I am back and to not apologize for the attributes that make others uncomfortable.

Yes, I am "super sensitive", I am too much at times, I do come on too strong at times...it is only because I am trying so hard to get that persons approval. I don't need their approval anymore. Yes, I am quite silly, I am a dreamer, I am passionate, I am forgetful, I am all or nothing, YES...I am a perfectionist when it comes to certain things, I did (not now) allow people to use me as a door mat and then me apologizing profusely for not being the perfect door mat. I am quirky, I can be a dork, I can be maddening, I dream big, I laugh and talk too loud. I believe in many different things. I dance whenever I feel like it. I cry when I am angry, I cry at commercials....I am a lot of things that people, and MANY close to me have said about me.

I am me....and I am claiming all of those things as mine and make no apologies for being a person who beats to a different drum. If you do not like me, or want to hear me, or look at me. Move. Or "unfriend" me from whatever social network I am on. But, I am not apologizing any longer for being the person God intended me to be.

You know what? I am glad that I am sensitive. Because this world is FULL of insensitivity. People have become puppets, the world is majority analytical and they want me to fit into their world. No longer, I fit in my world and those that love me, like being in my world.

Should you find yourself not liking who I really am. It is your loss. My husband, and children love all of the quacky ways about me. And you know what...I do too. No more apologies.

Do it for yourself too....be who you are meant to be. DON'T chase after people who are not worthy of your time. Did you know that you are worthy? I am. And YOU get to choose who is worthy enough to be called a friend, or who you want to spend your energy on, and you are worthy enough to be EXACTLY who you are with no apologies.

It has taken me my whole life to get it. It took a really hard talk the other night from my mentor. And for the first time, I got what the people who loved me tried to say....be true to yourself.

I claim my strengths and weaknesses and I love all of them. Try doing it for yourself....I suppose that is what freedom is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Facing the Giants

As I sat and watched FACING THE GIANTS which I have many times before, this time...something really hit me. For those of you who do not know me...I love the underdog. Especially when the cards are stacked against a team, a person. RUDY is my all time favorite movie. Both are football movies. There is something about watching a person running into a brick wall. You can't imagine that brick wall will every come down for that person. But, when you witness the perseverance of that person or team hit that brick wall time and time again and you watch it crumble and they make it to the other side. You my friend have witnessed what it means to Face The Giant.

The part of the movie that hit me and I am not sure why it hit me hard this time. But, it was the part where the captain of the team was already talking about being defeated that Friday night. The coach asked him why he felt that way. The player said "Because they are 10 times bigger than us" **Along those lines*** Anyway, the coach has him do the "death crawl" Coach says "make it to the 20 yard line, no...the 30". The player mumbled and grumbled while he got on all 4's. You use your arms and your legs and they cannot touch the ground. The part is, you carry someone on your back while you are doing it. The kid on his back was about 160 pounds. The coach blindfolded him. He told him that he did not want the player to lose track of his focus by looking at the 30 yard line. So, the player kept going and the coach kept telling him "You can do it!! DON'T GIVE UP!!!" the player is sweating and says he can't go any further. The coach gets on the ground and hits the ground and tells him "You can do it...don't give up, don't give up!! You can do this!!! 30 more yards!!" The player kept telling him how bad it hurt. The coach says "I know it hurts, but, you have it in you...don't give up...give it your best!!" The coach is still on the ground with him and tells him to stop. The boy lies on the ground. Coach says "Look up" The player did.... Coach says "You are in the end zone"

The premise is never giving up no matter how hard something is, or how painful it is, or how your beliefs about yourself make you think you can't make it, and it is about no matter WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS OR BELIEVES ABOUT YOU....it is about you, not them...reaching deep where you thought there was nothing, and finding out that you can do it and drowning out the trash talk. And the guy on his back is metaphorically all of the luggage you carry around that is so heavy and you feel you cannot make one more step. You can. God never said to give up, even if you have a lot of baggage on your back. Don't give up.

It touched my heart so much, because that is what God and my many coaches have been telling me. They have crawled on the ground with me when I had pain that I never knew existed, or I was terrified to go to sleep because I thought that being as sick as I get, that would be the last day, or when I wanted to give up and just move so that I wouldn't be such a burden on anyone with all of my illness. They kept by my side and hit the ground telling me to not let go...to keep going. Even when I saw no hope that the doctors could heal me, or how much debt we had, or how much I felt I had lost in my life, and how angry I was.

I was blindfolded (metaphorically), so that I would not just stop at a certain point and say "well, I made it to the 30 yard line" NO...I am blindfolded to keep on doing the crawl and never giving up on me, my family and friends, on others, and all the dreams that I have....the success of my new business, and success of my writing and the love that I have for Film and most of all not giving up on God."

I say this to you.....come crawl with me... I will scream to the ends of the earth to tell you that you are good enough, smart enough and YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE END ZONE, don't stop at the 30 yard line. Take it all the way, not by sight, but by Faith. And to never, ever give up. The obstacle is never too big, and you might think it is over because you are a certain age, personality, size, hair color, certain weight, people chatter in your ear that you can't do it, or you are a loser, or you are this or that, whatever it may be.

You focus, you crawl through that pain, you crawl through that anger, you crawl through that disappointment, don't listen to the ones that say you can't make it. That you are a dreamer and the chances are a trillion to one for success, you drown out that noise. Listen to your coach crawling on the ground with you screaming "Believe it, you can do it, don't give up!!!" You keep crawling and never let those arms or knees hit the ground.... I am crawling with you...but, you know what? I am headed to the End Zone baby, you better keep up!!! Because, I will be doing my victory pose!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Daddy's Day!!

So much focus is usually on Mother's Day. I get that, I am a Mother of Three. However, I want to talk about my husband. And I want to talk to other men out there too.

Let me say this right here and now....any guy can be a SD (Sperm Donor is what I politely say). Sex Ed 101 taught us that somewhere back in the day. But, the difference is....It takes a MAN to be a Daddy. You are not a daddy because you have the same blood running through your veins as that child. You are not a daddy even if you don't share the same DNA, and you live in the same house. You can call yourself a Father all day long. I want to share with you what the difference is to be a Father vs. a Daddy. You don't need me to explain the SD category. Self explanatory.

Becoming a Father is easy in my eyes. You may or may not watch the woman carry a child in her stomach for 9 months. And for those of you who put that baby there and were never around and left her high and dry. Please don't ever utter the words "Father" or "Daddy". You are a sperm donor. This is not bitterness. This is real life. You do not get that privilege.

You can be a Father by being by their side during labor. You go back to work, and some men are still stuck in the 50's and believe that the woman stays home in bare feet and makes sure the house, the baby, the garden, the everything is done by the time you get home and then look smokin' hot all at the same time. You play with the baby, child or say "wassup" to your teenager (because frankly, you have no idea what else to say) Then after about 15 minutes, it is time for you to rest. You are there when you can for important events, IF the work schedule works for you. When you do not know who your child is but, in today's standards you helped "raise" them by financially by buying their food, clothes, tuition, etc. and your nuclear family lives under the same house. You still have the right to call yourself a Father. No judgements, that is how you either learned your role or chose that role.

Here is when you earn your "Daddy" wings. When your child is not of your exact DNA. However, the blood that beats in your heart, the blood beats for that child. When your child is up until 4 am throwing up everywhere and you hold your hands out for your child to throw up in. When your child has fallen down on the ground and has a nasty "boo boo". You don't even think about asking anyone else. You scoop your child up and fix the boo boo and put a Band-Aid on. You wipe their tears and tell them not to worry that "Daddy" is there.

Being a Daddy means you want to know your child. You want to know everything. You feel their pain, you feel their joy, your heart is full everyday for that child. You would lay down your life for that young baby, child, or teenager. You pray for them, you ask the Lord to watch over them every single day of their life. You help pick out their clothes if they want you too. Some men are color blind (no names mentioned...:) But, they TRIED. Do you see the difference? THEY TRY. As heavy as your schedule was, you would do whatever it took to make that baseball game. Or make sure if you have a girl that when her favorite movie comes out...you take her out. (I know, I hate some of those movies too. ) BUT....the time you invested and the simple act of wanting to spend one on one time with that child will reap tremendous benefits.

Some men say "I am their step-dad" or "Foster Dad" or "Adoptive Dad" or the Dad figure in that childs life. Ok,...there are rules to this. You can only call yourself a fill in the blank-DAD if you follow the DADDY rules. If not, you are a fill in the blank-father if you help provide for that child. If you do none of the above. You sir, are just a man in that childs life. You don't get to escape the rules. You CHOOSE.

I need to say this loud and clear. Just because you and the child share the same DNA....THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU A DADDY. You are in one of the two other categories. You CHOOSE to be a DADDY. The same blood running through your veins does not give you that coat of armor. You earn it. I think you heard me on that one.

By being a Daddy...you show respect for the woman who carried that child for you and you chose to be with. If you are divorced...no matter...you can still be a great daddy. I know a ton of them. Do not disrespect the other person involved in the creation of this gift from God. Because when you do, that child is a part of that DNA and it hurts them to the core. (This goes for the moms too..don't talk about your ex in a bad way in front of your child) Do what you need to do...not in front of your child. Show respect. That is a Dad. Teach your son how to respect a woman. Teach your girls about having high standards. They are watching you. If you disrespect someone, the boys will do that to others and the girls will assume that is what is supposed to happen to them. DON'T DO IT. They will carry it all the way to adult hood. Don't make that child carry that burden. Be a Dad. An involved one.

Men, it is time to think about some things. It is incredibly easy to make a baby. Life is about choices. When a child enters this world, they have a destiny. They are not necessarrily destined to be with you. That is how I believe. In my situation with my children, God chose their Daddy. To wear the badge of Daddy is an honor. Something every man on this earth should strive to be.

Some men I know have never had children. Do you know that you can be a positive influence in a childs life, especially when their Father or SD isn't around? Look around for opportunities to mentor these amazing young boys, soon to be men. There are many associations that have mentoring programs. You as a man have the power to affect the course of a childs life. You were not given that power for evil, but, for good. It is an armor, it is the highest armor of steel that you could ever, ever wear. Wear it with dignity.

Many of my friends never knew their father. Some never had a male presence in their home. Some did and it was horrible. I see a lot of divorced parents that the men go out of their way to get to know their former significant other partner. High five to you!! Seriously, because if you are man enough to allow another man to help raise your child...that is awesome. It does not mean you all have to barbeque at each others house every week. But, keeping the peace for the child and there is the word RESPECT again. RESPECT your former partners choice. Being a good Dad is making sure you know what is going on. That child trusts you enough to tell you if something is going wrong. Respect and Trust and are so fragile. It is so hard to get and so very easy to lose.

Father's, and SD (sperm donors)....step up...do the right thing. It is never too late.

To my husband, you have been the most amazing Daddy to our three children. Your heart beats for them every single day. Your eyes light up when they walk in the room. They look at you as their hero. You pay attention to what each one likes. You are sensitive to the fact when one child feels left out. Your destiny was to be a Daddy. My goodness, I have never seen anything quite like it. It is a gift that our children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Thank you for being my partner in this life to raise our children to love, to respect, to honor, and to grow into amazing women and man. God destined for you to be their Daddy. Thank you for choosing to be more than a father, but, a dad.... a dad who lives for our children. The blood does not have to be directly from you. God put their blood in you when you chose to be their Dad. It runs through the course of your veins. That my sweet husband is what a Daddy is all about.

None of us are perfect. Try...that is all you have to do is try.

Children need to know that they are special in a healthy way. They need love, food, sunshine, fun, and above all....they need you. They don't care about the stuff..(of course they tell you they do!!) Deep down..that is not what will make them into the human beings they are destined to be. Be a Dad....and be damn proud of it!!! Happy Daddy's Day!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Get up and walk in the eye of a Hurricane



After being in the hospital for most of the week and coming home and turning around going back in. I came home last night.

You know what the best thing about coming home besides the obvious of being with my children and husband. Well, it is the small things. The smell of my home, my comfortable bed, my pillows, my shower, my dog who is slobbery and a cat who is the size of real life cheetah. No matter how messy the house is...it is our home. I didn't care if it looked like a hurricane hit it. We are in the process of packing for our move. It is home. And I am loved here.

We are in the eye of the Hurricane right now. But, today, this Sunday morning, no matter how I feel...it is the baby steps. And that is getting up, getting dressed and getting out into the sun. I cannot tell you what will happen in the next second or minute. Who can? But, slowly...I have to find a way to get up from the boxing ring that I have lived in now for so long and grab on to the side of the ropes and put my gloves back on. Regardless of how bloody or how painful it is...

You always have to get up...no matter what and put your boxing gloves on. You might be weak. But, the weak become mighty. I will be mighty again.

Life has to go on.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Continuation of this week in the hospital and ER

Here in lies why I am so bitter and jaded against the medical world. For the clear exception of a few of my doctors . My Primary Care, OB, and Gastro have been my strongest advocates. However, what I have going on is way beyond what they can do.

I might have mentioned that when I was at the Cleveland Clinic. There was a Gastro there that hooked on the fact that he wanted me to do this test. He said it is very rare. But, he had to check it out. Because he said that on a wing and a prayer...it matched so much of what I have. I, of course was thinking "whatever" in my head. Yet, another test.

This test is Porphyria. It is so complicated that I don't remotely understand. They are looking for acute porphria. And of course, only a handful in the ENTIRE country know how to deal with this disease. Only two labs in the country handle the testing. Having this disease is sooooo rare. But, I have always been told that I never fall into the "clinical text book." And guess what? My tests came back this week while in the hospital. But, they were from CC because it takes a long to get back. These were from the Cleveland Clinic. Many of the tests came back abnormal. Here I am again, rare. The doctor in Cleveland called my husband and said that the leading expert in this rare disease wants to take up my case. I am not sure where that doctor is in the world. But, he said it is very compelling that I have it. And there is a cure.

Well, being at the Univ. Hospital this week...they read the results and said " it is so rare, that we don't know what these results say from CC." They decided to ignore Cleveland Clinics findings and wanted to do their own. They discounted CC's test. And said they doubted seriously that I had something so rare. I just shook my head...

My advocate doctor always told me..." Going to different institutions....doctors don't like that and it is a pissing match" Instead of working together....it is quite the opposite. It is all about making sure they proved the other institution wrong. This is not made up. I have been in the hospital long enough to know what is/has happened. So, the Univ. Hospital said this week is "you have Chronic Abdominal pain". I shared with them my thoughts on making a diagnosis while only seeing me for a few short minutes and not looking at me as a total person, if you want to call it that.

That is another Oprah show. Really....I was shocked at myself for saying how I felt/thought with conviction and making sure they knew that if something happened to me because of their negligence that I will leave a letter documenting everything and I pray that the institutions who have put me on and off medicines so abruptly that caused me seizure like epidsodes. They forgot to see if the meds that I was on interfered with each other. I actually went into what they "call the name I can't recall storm" But, it makes a person feel like their skin is on fire, rocking, shaking, everything. NEVER, in my life would I wish that on my worst enemy.
Oh....I will talk about the things that have been so wrong in what has been done over the year or more.

So, who do you believe anymore? The CC doctor has factual information, enough for the leading, if not only doctor in the country to want to take me on. Because it is so rare. Then another institution that don't have their facts yet, but, have told me that it can't possibly be that.

They were only focused on one area of my body that has gone grossly wrong. The Head of GI walked in, we talked for 10 minutes and we have never met and he pronounced a diagnosis. "Chronic Abdominal pain" Putting me yet in another box. They did not care about the Immune Disease that came back so high at CC, nor the really off the chart labs for other things, nor possible cancer...nothing. It was like someone tapped me on the head with a wand after pulling a diagnosis out of a hat and declared it whatever he name he gave me. Which those records follow you everywhere.

As the saga continues, now we have the raging kidney infection undercontrol that a local ER took care of, which the Univ. failed to find and never acknowledged my pain. They called oh so non-chalantly to tell me about my kidney infection. A little too late, I am lying in an ER rocking and wanting to pull my hair out. The Univ. Hospital never said they were sorry for never listening or ignoring what I knew about my body. And here we are with yet another diagnosis that will take even more and more tests.

My mind has changed.....I am going to stop obsessing over the pain and the diagnosis(plural) and move on with my life. I don't know how you do that with extreme pain. But, I know there has to be a way to move on with whatever I have in my body. I have been in complete seclusion the last few days over everything. Too many things to talk about, to deal with.

All I can do is get up and try and put all of this out of my mind and enter the living world..with pain, or diseases or whatever the hell the doctors want to say. If I died tomorrow. I do not want to be remembered for just lying in bed for when it is time for the good Lord to take me.

I need help in getting my fighting spirit back. I pray for it. I pray that you will help me.

Needing to get my own Doctors degree..


No one gave me the memo that in order to be a patient that you needed to have your own doctorate degree. You are responsible for knowing which medicines interact with the other. You are responsible for knowing so much about medical jargon, the unspoken rules, the way it all works. My memo got lost in the mail somewhere. for If you only knew what I have been through with hospitals, doctors, rules, diagnosis, diagnosis taken back, added on. Medicines thrown out me, taken away instantly leaving me in a state of seizure like episodes. Young fellows coming in my hospital room.... not listening to a word that I am saying. That is because the 5 very young fellows and the attending doctor are all doing different things. One is texting the entire time and his phone was ringing off the hook. He was the same guy who came down in the ER to talk to me about being admitted into the hospital. He yawned the whole time and I could clearly tell he was gone. Body was there...but, gone. Then, one is picking his nails, one is writing notes, The attendee's eyes are glassed over from lack of sleep. And he sticks the youngest fellow in front of me and tells me how long it will be before I MIGHT be able to play with my children again. She said it would be hopefully in 2 years. I almost threw up.

I asked why my kidneys were on fire. They said that everything looked clear. The day that I left the hospital, I was bent in half from pain....crying.... no, let me correct that. I was screaming from the pain and the feeling that my skin was coming off of me, fireworks in my head, rocking back and forth. The doctor comes in and tells me that is how my life is going to be for a long time until we can slowly do "bio feedback" on my bladder and colon. I must have looked at him like an exorcist. The nurses were very upset too that they did not give me any pain medicine. Because one told me that she never saw anyone in so much pain and not have any relief.

The doctors felt that any medicine of any sort would interfere with my bowels. I said I understood, but, that my kidneys and my bladder were on fire and I need help. Again, they said everything looked fine.

I was sent home writhing in pain and rocking back and forth. Begging my husband not to leave my side. Because when you are in that kind of pain...you think you might legitimatly die. Because that is exactly how I felt at that moment. I made it home and that night as I was thrashing about and having what they call "tics" where you have no control over your facial muscles or hands or arms. My husband held me tight to help me but, I couldn't stop this seizure like episode. I never went to sleep. Maybe for an hour.

The next morning (this past Saturday), I was even worse shape. I did not know that was possible. I literally was on the floor rocking back and forth in a fetal position. I started throwing up bile and blood. My husband was gone and when he called, he got my parents to take me back to the ER. One that is close by.

They said I had a RAGING kidney infection, they treated me with kindess. They listened to me and helped me. It was a small local ER. Because the pain that I was in. Yet, these large insitutions (for the exception of Cleveland Clinic) come in with 10-15 people in any given day and all come through with their scripted words. Their words where of no warmth. No one listened. How could they pass a raging kidney infection? Funny thing is....while I was in the ER the Hospital called and said "oh yea, you have a kidney infection". They could have found that out in the hospital and saved me 4 days of complete hell. I am a number in the big instution. I have much anger and bitterness that I know I have to work through. I am working with someone on that.

I have much to talk about this last week. Will write more later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If you were sick, would you rather know you had cancer,or be told that they aren't sure and give you made up diagnosis/

Please forgive me for my emotional blog post today. But, I am devastated.

Most of you will say "Shame on you, people have it much worse". And I couldn't agree with you anymore than that. You are so right. Those that have cancer and terminal illnesses, I am amazed at your strength.

I have said before, that each person has their own "Hurricane" and a Hurricane is a Hurricane.

I have put in this hospital for 3 days, with no pain medicine and really no medicines at all. And the strange test that I received for Pophyuria as a diagnosis....UNC completely discounted it. Said it wasn't the right labs, huh? This is only the GI portions of it. What am I supposed to do about the bladder? the kidney? The 9 month pregnant looking stomach, the black-outs, the fainting, the sugar lows in the 30's that can make you go into a seizure. Or this Immune Disease the Cleveland said I have. All of that is supposed to be dropped? That is what they said to me. That I need to get one diagnosis and work with one doctor.

The diagnosis being Chronic Abdominal Pain Syndrome. I about lost my mind. I let everyone know how I felt including my attending. I told them what they are doing to me is putting a nail in my coffin. Because I KNOW...I KNOW there is more to this. I know my body. I am not some dumb blonde.

They want to know why I felt that way....I told me my lack of faith in medicine anymore. 3 misdiagnosis that could have caused serious damage. I believe in my heart that this is another huge mistake. HUGE. I don't care what they say about only seeing them (UNC) for everything. Because, I am not. I will work with my primary care and Cleveland Clinic.

My doctor says he is looking at me as a whole person and I was very complicated and I needed to cheer up and have a better attitude. I lost any grace that I had left.

I believe that something is really really wrong. Without exagerattion, I believe that this is the end of me. I don't know how many hours, days, or years. But, these incredible mistakes and not working with me on my body....the whole body...that eventually one of the organs is not going to be able to tolerate it anymore.

I have cried all day, and I think about is how damaging this will be for my husband and children if I die of medical error. They will be in therapy forever. What will Blake do?

I am writing a letter that I am putting with my will and letting my family know where it is. I will make sure that they know that I have gone everywhere and tried everything and at my last stop at a Univ....this is what happened, and that I believe that no listening to me on this one will be the death of me. Literally. I would hope that my family would go into a full blown malpractice suit.

I will treat this as a terminal illness and in a few days, I pray that I will get over my extreme anger, betrayal, sadness.....the list keeps going with words. And I will deal with the pain that I have been dealt with. I will follow Gods will and I will love everyone with my whole heart and not leave any un settled baggage. I will bask in the beauty of my children even if I am hurting so bad. I will love my husband wholeheartedly......

Who knows when we are all going to die? I don't...however, I do feel like I know a time frame.

I love you all and thank you for supporting me..... Many Many Many blessings to you all!!

Caroline

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Letting go..

B.C. (Before Children), I wanted to jump out of airplanes and sky dive, and after that go bungee jumping. I remember someone telling me that they were afraid to jump. I asked "How did you get through it?" They told me " I just had to let go"

Those few words sum up so much in life. "Just let go".

I know for me in this whole process and journey through illness, financial and personal struggles, I have been told to just "let go". At first, I want to scream at the person who said such a cliche! arggggg......

But, lately...I am understanding what that really means to "let go". See, I have always been a Type A, control freak. I need a plan, I need to know what is going to happen next. I need to hold on. You know what? It is maddening! I hate it and I pray everyday to lose that trait about myself.

Lately, I have grown extremely tired of holding on. I am learning piece by piece to let go. The biggest thing has been about moving. I completely believe that all the clutter and chaos in our home has caused much strife and frankly has made us all sick.

With every move..there has always been stress around it. We just throw all of our stuff in a box, there is never any time to go through the "stuff"...we just sweep it into a box and take it from place to place. Stuff that we even brought into the marriage...boxes that we carried around with us after we graduated from school and our parents told us it was time to get all of our old stuff out of their house.

We are having to move as our landlords are getting this house foreclosed on...thus, we...the renters are needing to go. But, we were blessed in finding a beautiful house that is half the size of this and I am THRILLED about it. That means so much has to go out of this house. This time, something is different....We are all letting go. I am amazed at our children willingly letting go of their favorite animals or toys, my husband letting go of our 60 inch screen TV. If you only knew how much he LOVES that thing. And for me....I am like....You want it....take it! We are selling a lot to pay for moving. But, it is more than that. It is about letting go.

Something switched in my head and heart. Since giving my life back to God again...I just laid so much at His feet. I gave up the house, our finances, the utter chaos that is happening, and my health and the rest of our families health....I have let go and letting God. We have given so much away and let so much go that I feel embarrassed that we had sooo much to begin with. It was things we have not seen in years, but, felt we had to hold on to it.

Not anymore, as a family....we are sick of being sick and tired of our stuff holding us hostage. We have so much more to let go in the next few weeks. I am so ready to let go and let others love what we have.

I have so much more to say on Letting Go....but, this is the beginning. You have to start somewhere.......

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Note to God

I listened to this amazing young prodigy sing this song with accompaniment by David Foster.
Wow...the words to this song absolutely capture my heart song .

If we could all work towards peace and picking each other up when we are down. What a wonderful world this would be...





Note To God

If I wrote a note to God
I would speak whats in my soul
I'd ask for all the hate to be swept away,
For love to overflow
If I wrote a note to God
I'd pour my heart out on each page
I'd ask for war to end
For peace to mend this world

I'd say, I'd say, I'd say........

Give us the strength to make it through
Help us find love cause love is over due
And it looks like we haven't got a clue
Need some help from you
Grant us the faith to carry on
Give us hope when it seems all hope is gone
Cause it seems like so much is going wrong
On this road we're on

If I wrote a note to God
I would say what on my mind
I'd ask for wisdom to let compassion rule this world
Until these times
If I wrote a note to God
I'd say please help us find our way
End all the bitterness, put some tenderness in our hearts

And I'd say, I'd say, I'd say

Give us the strength to make it through
Help us find love cause love is over due
And it looks like we haven't got a clue
Need some help from you
Grant us the faith to carry on
Give us hope when it seems all hope is gone
Cause it seems like so much is going wrong
On this road we're on

No, no no no
We can't do this on our own
So

Give us the strength to make it through
Help us find love cause love is over due
And it looks like we haven't got a clue
Need some help from you
Grant us the faith to carry on
Give us hope when it seems all hope is gone
Cause it seems like so much is goin wrong
On this road we're on

If I wrote a note to God..................

Saturday, May 16, 2009

NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

I share with you some of the most inspirational videos that have affected my life. It reminds me to keep on going, to never give up on my dreams. To believe even when all the odds are against me...these are some of the videos that help keep me going. I am a big fan for the Underdog. The one that everyone said it could not be done. And they showed the world that they indeed could. I am that Underdog. I will fall, but, I have and will get back up and will keep on going even if I have to crawl across the finish line. My day will come. It may not be what I planned...but, I have a good feeling that the Master Artist knows where my talents lie and He will show me the way. That is not cockiness, that is Faith and Perseverance. The days may add onto my life. But, I will never give up on my dreams until the final whistle has been blown.

I believe that we cannot make it across the finish line without help. This is so proper for this moment in my life. Because, it is all of you, family, friends, everyone that is helping me cross that finish line.



When you feel your confidence is gone and everyone told you that you couldn't do it. Just.....

Believe.

When you have been told that you had a curse on you for 86 years and everyone else believed. They believed it would someday happen.



(You don't have to love sports to understand what that day meant. Sweet Caroline is their theme song for my across the pond friends. It was not sung for me :(

When you cannot walk on your own, no matter how daunting or incomprehensible your dream may be..... you will be picked up to cross the finish line.




Sometimes, it may take awhile. But, you will be rewarded for your work. It is your time to break through the

barriers.

When you have been told that "chasing your stupid dreams causes everyone around you heartache" Focus on the prize and prove them wrong. That is what people told me growing up about my acting and writing passion. I am still working on proving them wrong. :)



This speech has just as much meaning to our life as it is to football.



When you were a little girl who grew up in painful times. She kept on believing. She never gave up.



And Remember to NEVER, EVER GIVE UP no matter what obstacles are before you..



Let us all help each other remember that it is never, ever too late to give up on our dreams...no matter how hard the storm is surrounding you. It takes a village to help you to your dreams. Allow the village to help.

Let others help you across the finish line. When you believe, great things will happen.

When I woke up today...this is what I found..

My BFAM (brother from another Mother) It is a term that I use when I am friends with someone that means a lot to me. My real brother...bro....no worries. Nobody is taking your status as my Brother, best friend, and one of the best people that I know. Alright..so, put your gloves down :)

I woke up today and was so confused. I almost tripped myself getting out of bed. No one was around. I was thinking it was Sunday and I had no idea how I missed so much time. Well, maybe pure exhaustion. But, even then!! My heart was pounding because I had no idea where my children were nor my husband. A brief thought came through my head "they are sick of me...they ran off". Then, my husband comes in with my favorite coffee and tells me he loves me. My son jumped on me to tells me that I was the best Mommy in the world. Blake told me that it was Saturday and the girls were at my parents. At first, I thought I was going to cry because I thought "OMG" I have a tumor in my brain!!! But, then laughed my head off after he told me that he thought it was a work day. SO....we are all good!!! It was my normal blonde moment. No tumor :)

What I was trying to tell you (I am an ADHD writer) is that my friend Johnny (BFAM) sent this to me today and it filled me with hope. Hope is something I had begun to lack in this journey. This was the best medicine for me.....So, I share it with you.

Have an awesome day....you can still have awesome days in the Storm. Believe me. When you think you are never ever going to laugh again or smile again or have happy tears....it happens when you least expect it...

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Funny Moment in my Medical Journey


On one of my many hospital stays...I had come in by ambulance and they immediately put me in a room. I was dying from pain. I thought that my insides would explode. I had a migraine, and I wanted to throw up from it all. So, the nurses told the EMT's what room to put me in. I begged and pleaded as much as I could for them not to put me in with a roommate. They said that was all they had. I was in too much pain to care.

I am in a fetal position, by myself...because Blake had to be home with the kids. I needed him to be there for them. I had a pillow over my head to cover my eyes from the light. The next thing you know...a lot of commotion was happening in my room. My brain was screaming..."FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY..SHUT UP!!" But, I didn't let that come out of my mouth. I turned over from the wall to face my new roomie. And here is what happened next...

JOHNNY (a big guy next to a little old lady and there was another big guy too), The little old lady started yelling "look a yonder...if my eyes do not deceive me..there she is" These three people are looking at me. I am irritable, sick, excruciating pain and my window of niceness is closing in quickly. And the octave got louder in the room

"Hey...Hey....HEY YOU!! (little ole lady) Honey, I have missed you sugah.....don't you remember us working in the factory together?" The two big men next to her were her sons as I was later to find out. Johnny (big son) says "Mama,she did not work at the factory with you, you do not know her" She had these little frail arms and yanked back the curtain between the two of us and hit her son in the stomach. " Don't you tell me boy that I am wrong. I know her..she WORKED AT THE FACTORY with me!!!" I just smiled. Again...my inside voice was saying in my head "WHERE ARE MY SHOES?...where is anything to stop the noise. Because if she doesn't stop screaming at the top of her lungs how she knows me, i will start throwing my shoes, foaming at the mouth...whatever I have to do to scare everyone away and leave me in peace.

Instead, I politely said " No ma'am....I did not have the honor of working with you". Then, she said "well, you sure as hell look and act like her" And her big sons were standing beside her bed where she couldn't see them, but, I could. They were motioning all over the place to stop talking, in some kind of sign language telling me she was a little senile. Really? I hadn't noticed. And they wanted me to play along. HELLOOOO? The hospital is not a fun place. Ok? But, they both looked like Johnny the Green Giant. So, I kept my mouth shut and smiled (and boy was it killing me to smile)

She pops the other son in the stomach with her frail arm and says " Get over there and get a picture of you two together". Then he wanted to take picture of me to send to my husband. And finally after me jamming the nurses button a hundred times, they took me to get some CT scan done. And by the time I got back she was asleep. THANK GOODNESS. For the rest of her stay there, I acted like I was sleeping. Because if I moved my leg the slightest...that gave her an invitation to talk. "Sugah honey...are you awake? Do you hurt?" She asked one of the nurses.. 'Please check on her, she hasn't talked in days or moved. Is she alive?"

Oh, I was alive alright dealing with pancreatitis and if anyone has ever had that you will know what I mean by this. It feels as if the nail gun that you use to build your house is being shot through your chest out your back at a rapid speed. There are not enough drugs in the world to make that better. It has to go away on its on. And it may seem like I was rude. But, if she said another word to me...I would have been that girl in that movie that turned her head all the way out with vomit spewing . It was best for everyone that I pretended to sleep.

Soon, she left waving bye to me the whole time telling me she loves me and can't wait to see me at the factory. I smiled and waved and hastingly turned myself back over. And not even 15 minutes later, I had a new roomate. Her name was Mabel. I said hi....and I pretended to sleep for the rest of the duration of my hospital stay :)

The Bad News


This is the post that is not so fun. So, if you are the type that doesn't want to hear anything negative...I would not read this post if I were you. :)

A lot of people ask what is wrong with me physically, that it is hard to understand. Imagine if it was hard for others to grasp....it is tremendously hard for me to grasp.

In a complete nutshell...I have an autoimmune disease that is affecting me neurologically (fainting, seizure like activity, hard to walk sometimes) which in turn affects the other parts of the organs. I can break it all down into medical terms someday. But, for right now...that is about as much I want to get into it, because it is so extensive.

My organs have begun to give me a very rough time. Numerous infections...lets see...I just had another staph/MRSA infection where the hospital pricked my finger to test my blood sugar. I left the hospital and there went my finger. That makes the third or fourth Staph infection from a hospital. I get sick often because of my immune system.

We have been going back and forth to Cleveland Clinic, who is supposed to work with UNC. Because that will make the 4th or 5th doctor to tell me that my colon (hopefully partial) will come out. Why? Well, my colon is not clinically "obstructed" But, because the muscles are so damaged that anything trying to come down stops. Because those muscles in there cannot move. So, this has been causing my body to become toxic.

Right now, I deal with daily pain. I have a hard time breathing because out of nowhere my stomach gets as huge as a basketball or larger. This presses against my diaphram, which pushes bile back up my throat. Now, my esophagus is burnt, so is the upper roof of my mouth and my tongue. I can't eat much other than yogurt or a cold popcicle, because of where the part of the colon is causing the traffic jam...the bile goes back up rather than down.

This is so horrible to me to watch my family go through what they are going through. As I mentioned, my husband has an amazing company with the best insurance. One of the hardest things we are going through is that we are drowning in Medical Debt, and we are talking a what a cost of a new BMW would cost. That is ridiculous to me since we have awesome insurance, and we live in the US. What about these people who do not have help? Like my parents. There final days are in ruin over medical expenses. I would give any thing, anything to take that burden off of their shoulders. Because dammit, that is not how we are supposed to go out in this life....in debt passed our ears because of medical bills.

We are moving, as much as I am excited about it. It is out of necessity however. The owners of the house we are renting are going into foreclosure. I pray we get moved out before the yellow sticker gets put back on. We have no idea where the money will come from to get out of here. But, as I told Blake (husband) when we were getting ready to take the contract over "Someway, somehow, this will happen if it is God's will") As silly as it sounds, we prayed over the contract and I let all the worry go. Because somehow as bad as it feels to let go...I knew that God had taken care of us before....he wasn't going to drop us now. I need help in the being scared department. By the way, the contract we prayed over is the house that we got. :)

Sometimes, we laugh...because one more thing happens...like the car dying the other day. If we didn't laugh, we would be heaped on the floor in a mess.

I really shouldn't be on my own, because my blood sugars go into the 30's and technically that is coma time. But, I need to be in my house, with my stuff. So, my amazing husband brings me a insulated bag with my days worth of food and drink and all I have to do is go to the bathroom, right? Right. Well, I am a type A "I can do this all by myself". So, I got up to take my chicken noodle soup back down. I fell down the entire flight of stairs because my legs just went out from under me. Good lord, I am so clumsy. The soup went flying, the bowl went flying...I hit my head and every other body part and I still hadn't made it to the bottom of the stairs yet. I tried to stand and slipped over the chicken noodle soup hitting my head again and my tush bones and lied there in the soup saying extremely foul things that would make a sailor quiver. Not my finest moment. I got up grumpling the whole time at the soup. Like the soup caused this.

Most days, I am not afraid. Because I know that it will work out. But, it is fear how our whole family is going to come out of this. Many days, I am not sure that I am going to make it out of this alive. I get so sick sometimes that I wonder if this is my day. And then, I think of my husband and my children and it gives me reason to fight. I have always been and always will be a fighter. I just hate to see them go through this. I want Blake to have a break from the illness. Working full time, taking care of the kids, and taking care of me, and then working until late hours... I pray every night for him. That he will have the strength at home and at work. In this economy, I worry myself sick that he will lose his job. I can't even go there or I will lose my mind.

Today is a hard day for me. I am having a hard time lifting my head up, I am so sick to my stomach that all I can do is get sick and this part is graphic....throw up blood.. And yet, when I call all of the doctors that i have...they are like "It is probably irritation"

One day, I will be in Medical Therapy. I am applying for the show "Medical mysteries" :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Good News or The Bad News


People tend to want to say "Would you like to hear the good news first or the bad news?" NO...I do not want to hear the bad news. Does anyone? But, that is of course living in the land of denial.

I always like to hear the good news. Sometimes, I close my ears off to the bad stuff. Like a little kid putting their hands over their ears going "Lalalalalalla I can't hear you)!!

So, here is the good news going on with me in my ongoing medical/life journey.

We found a new home. One that is perfect for us. We are thrilled beyond words. We are renting a home, and due to the economy, our landlords have or are going into foreclosure. Anyway, back to the good news. It is half of what our house is now. And you know what? I am THRILLED!!!! We have friends, neighbors all helping us to downsize our home drastically. I can't wait, because it is like a new beginning. I want all the "stuff" gone and the bare essentials that bring calm to our new house. I want the chaos out and having a non-cluttered home. I want to move in with the bare essentials as much as possible. Trust me when I say chaos, especially when there is no haven to come home to...it does not help the healing process.

I was able to see our 8 year old (she will remind you that you are wrong...that she will be 9 in a couple of weeks) But, she has been in a program for two semesters now called Live On Stage at the NC Theatre. I was there for her performance and my heart just jumped out. She is such a natural. She is in her element. We never push our children to do something they don't want. But, when we see a natural talent...I believe we as parents, mentors, teachers, etc. need to help bring out their natural talents.

I had a neighbor who I consider a friend come over this morning and within 45 minutes she was able to clear things out of the garage that we couldn't do in 6 months . I AM BLESSED!

We have people that don't even know us and others that we went to college with back in the day coming to our aid. Just because of Facebook, people had offered to help so much there too. Especially, one friend from college who went over and beyond what her and her husband should have ever done. But, we are SOOOOOO grateful for them getting me back to Cleveland Clinic.

We have friends who want to do an online fundraiser for us. Which is amazing! Food, prayers, just an email has been huge to us.

I am learning so much during what I call this Hurricane. I realize now what is important. Keeping the positive people, healthy around me. Now, I recognize there are times when there are times you cannot cut out certain people. But, to the best of my abilities...I am trying so hard to keep the stress down. Thus looking at the new house was a god-send and this time getting help. We usually don't ask....but, we are asking the whole world to help us now.

The biggest thing ever is how much I have learned is that I could not live without God..I just recently became a Christian again.

And it has changed my husband and I. We feel like if can make it through this storm, we can make it through anything. It has made us stronger people. And our children, when I see their faces...and they run towards me.....it is the best moments in the world. Because, in their eyes, I am still there Mommy. They love me unconditionally. They do not care about the worldly things. They just want me. Even when they act like they don't :)

I have met amazing people in the hospitals, and all the appointments. To hear their stories, inspire me beyond belief.

I am truly blessed.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Waterfall

Lately, I have been having an extremely hard time getting sleep. I had trouble before, but, in the last month or so...I have not been able to sleep before 4 o'clock in the morning.

One reason is that I hurt. I can't lie on my stomach, sides, or my back. So, I try to get into whatever position that has the least pain. I was in the ER the 2 weekends prior to this and was admitted into one. I will write a more technical piece about all of this later.

Another reason I have had a hard time sleeping is due to fear. I might have written about this before. I want to share something personal that happened to me about a week ago. I believe this was an answer to my fear. You can believe it or not. I believe this was real with my whole heart.

I dreamed of this beautiful Paradise and I had been there before in my dreams because I have used this image when I meditate to try and control my pain.

This dream was different. I could smell the smells, I could touch the flowers, and I could see everything in vivid detail. This dream, I saw myself in a long white gown, it had dirt all over it, my feet were dirty, my hair was matted and I was headed to this beautiful Waterfall. I walked on the rocks to get closer, the water was so cold. Everything was so serene....so beautiful. The smell from the flowers were overpowering.

As I moved closer to the Waterfall, I could see a figure that looked to be in the middle of this masterpiece of rushing water. I started to feel the splashing of the waterfall mist on my face. Clarity started to happen, I saw a man with a long white gown in the middle of the waterfall, yet he was completely dry.

I recognized him. I fell to his feet and I cried uncontrollably. I told him that I was not ready go yet. It was as if I had an out of body experience. I was completely drenched from the waterfall. I saw my body and my gown become completely cleared from the dirt that I had all over me. It was like dark blood or dirt going out of my body and letting the stream take all of the impurity away.

I felt a hand on top of my head and the voice sound so familiar. He said to me "My child, it is not your time" As I looked up, there was only light where I believe God was standing.

I stood up and my gown and hair were drenched, yet, cleared of the dirt.

At the moment, I woke up.

When I woke up, (this really happened) Blake was calling out my name really loud and shaking me to wake up. He was home this day. He took the children to school and when he came back, I obviously was having a severe sugar low. I was out of it for what seems like a long time. Blake was scared that he couldn't wake me up. He said that it scared him so badly. I told him about my dream. He said "this gives me chills, because you were out of it and I did everything that I could to wake you up and you went somewhere...you weren't here"

I believe with all of my being that I had one of those coma's that happen with severe hypoglycemia and while I had no idea what was happening to me, Blake was on the other side trying to do everything that he could to wake me up.

He keeps showing me signs that it is not my time and that I have great things to do. I am no longer fearful of dying...because it was so serene and amazing. I just am terrified to leave my family. I am not going to worry about that one right now. Because I have to focus on healing. This is happening at a turtle's pace. I know God has a sense of humor, because he knows I am impatient, Type A, go getter gal. So, to be basically shut down and doing it His way has been hard. But, I have surrendered it all to Him. I pray for these doctors in the next couple of days and my safety up there as well as my family back home. Thank you all for SOOOO much you have done...

"Never give up...never ever give up" Jimmy V

Friday, April 10, 2009

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view "

I used to believe that tears were a sign of weakness. I remember being a kid and if (no..when) I got picked on..sometimes, I couldn't hold back the tears. I would get called a "cry baby". I hated that. I still get angry at myself for crying. Because I seem to cry at inappropriate times. Like, when I am angry...I get so angry that tears come down my face, which only makes me angrier. Or cry over something small that someone said that in the scheme of things are so small. But, the big things..somehow, I don't know how to cry. I just get quiet. I am learning that crying is ok. That crying is truly a cleansing of the soul. And I am starting to take the advice that I give to our children. I tell them all the time, that it is ok to cry. That tears are just a way to wash out the bad. So, I am learning to take my own advice. I still cry at inappropriate times....so what if i got wired a little differently than the rest :)

But, I cried this morning for many many different reasons. I woke up and knew that my sister and my nephew were leaving today to go back to Florida. She did so much for us and she says that she didn't. How wrong she was. Just being able to talk things out and not having to worry about saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. I was able to just be me. It was hard lying down on the couch and seeing her work circles around me. But, she kept reminding me that is what she came up here for. My nephew played with our son and they had the best time. She was like a comfort blanket this week. Then, my other sister came over to say good bye to Charlene (my FL sis) and then my brother came over. Having us all together even if it was for a brief time filled my heart with so much joy. Each one of us is extremely different from the other, but, yet in many ways...we are alike. We have this bond that really no one can break. We can all fight and hiss and carry on. But, we all come back together. We are not only siblings, but we are best friends. Not many people get to say that.

I stood in my front lawn and watched Charlene and Charlie leave for Florida, my brother left to go back to work, and my other sister took our son to lunch. I held back the tears until everyone drove away. The tears are full of gratitude, joy and much love for these 3 people who God so kindly blessed me with to call my brother and sisters.

I cried because an angel secretly talked to the YMCA and they invited our girls to join their track out camp free of charge. Everyday, they are happy..they are playing with their friends. It brings me so much joy because I know that they are happy and not so worried about me. They need to be kids. They don't need to be asking me which scan do I have to get next "Is it the CT scan Mom, you know...the donut hole one?, or is it the MRI one...you know Mom...the long tube? or is it a PET scan like Pa has to have done?" Kids that young should not have to have that as part of their life, but, yet...that is our reality no matter how much I try to keep things from them. They hear.

Today, they were invited on a day long play date. That is so huge for me and for them. I am overwhelmed.

This morning, the FedEx truck came and the kids ran to the door to see what was in this box. My dear friend Greg in Nashville had sent me many CD's that were soothing and healing, and just beautiful. My sisters and I hovered all around them...they all want ed these CD's. I think all of us are dying for soothing music!

My tears are of joy, gratitude and a touch of sadness seeing them leave. And tomorrow, is another amazing gift. It is too much for me sometimes, because I don't always feel worthy of the help, or the gifts. Two of my best college friends are sending me to get my hair, nails and toes done. I think I will be in utter shock. Just like this week, the church brought someone over to clean our house.

I am overcome with humbleness. And tears are my way of releasing so much that I have inside. And you know, that is ok. I don't need someone to give me permission or worry what others will think. I just have to remind myself that it is not weak...it is strength for me to let the water flow out of my eyes.