Blessed

Hi family!

Yes, you all are family, not just friends and followers. It really does take a tribe, and I couldn’t travel this road without each and every one of you. You lift me up, make my days brighter, and are there for me to “talk” to, even on my hard days. Thank you!

So, Christmas is over. I hope it was a good one for you! For us, it was the first one without my “Nanni” (grandma). It was bitter sweet. It’s so hard to fathom her strong presence not being physically present amongst her earthly family. She was, however, so ready to be done with her broken shell-of-a-body, which was miserably tethering her to her frail life here. To know that she is no longer bound to her sickly, broken body is a blessing! I know she is hanging out at some heavenly beach, soaking up the rays and being happy. That makes my heart smile, even through my tears.

This is also the first year we have, quite literally, been unable to afford even one gift for our children. Somehow, they still had a wonderful day, full of smiles and giggles of glee. We had “Secret Santas” come out of the woodwork, come to our aide, and make this year a special one for the kids. It was even more special for us as parents, because we are well aware it’s only by the grace of God (and friends/family) that we were allowed a “Christmas” at all. Hopefully this next year will find us in a much better place, and we can Pay It Forward in a big way.

What comes next? Gatlinburg. We were blessed with a trip to go visit my brother’s family in Gatlinburg, TN. No, they aren’t FROM TN, they are going there for New Year’s Day. We are soooo looking forward to seeing them again! It is always a good time, and good for the soul, hanging out with them!

After that? I am trying to find an RN job I can do from the house. It is VERY apparent, especially after this last week, that trying to be normal and, you know, walk around, is too taxing on my body. I think, God willing, I can do something from home, though. I need to feel like I am providing for my family and contributing somehow. I’ll get there. I will.

Yes, I am doing the pearl thing, which is fun. I have had the opportunity to meet so many great people! It has afforded me the ability to help pay some of the bills, which is nice. It would be über cool if I could make that a career. Then, I could fizz and shuck part time, yet also work on writing. That would be a dream. #goals – I don’t understand how some people touch a company, and it immediately turns to gold. I touch it, and it barely turns yellow after months of hard work. LOL!

Anyway … I’m off to play with the kids. Andrew has some Legos calling to us. Natalie can’t get her nose out of her DS. LOL! Bye until next time!

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9th Planet

So, no biggie, there might be a ninth planet in our solar system. WHAT?!? I would say there IS a ninth planet, but it has yet to actually be seen.
No, I’m not talking about poor, downgraded to dwarf planet, Pluto (don’t worry, Pluto, I still believe in you). I’m talking about the “hidden” planet known as Ninth Planet.

What?!?


If it’s hidden, you ask, how then do we know there is (might be) a ninth planet out there? This sneaky, huge planet is leaving a trail. 

What kind of a trail? Can I see it?


Astronomers, including Mike “Pluto Killer” Brown (the scientist who embarrassed poor Pluto by discrediting it as a “real” planet), think they have found its orbital pattern, which is 30 degrees off of the orbits of the other planets. It is approximately (and hypothetically) 40 lightyears away, and its large pull, with the 30 degree difference, is what makes the sun appear to tilt (I’ve never noticed a tilty sun, but they are the experts).

How dare you discredit Pluto!


The overwhelming evidence seems to be in the Kuiper Belt (yeah, I didn’t know what that was either). This is the area past Neptune (including poor Pluto) where icy, frozen things like to hang out. There is something big out there, like a Planet Nine for example, that is scrambling this area with an apparent gravitational pull.

One big planet to scramble them all.


It has been estimated that Planet Nine (if it exists … which I like to think it does) is 10-15 times the size of earth. It would have to have a HUGE orbit, 20 times farther from the sun than that of Neptune, taking 10,000 to 20,000 years (Earth years) to orbit the sun.

That’s big.


Also, no big deal, it may be the driving force in the destruction of our solar system. Never fear, however, this would occur after our sun dies, along with earth and everything on it. We won’t be here to see it happen anyway!

The destruction, oh the destruction!


Now, this is all hypothetical, of course. There are, however, individuals who believe it’s not IF, but WHEN Planet Nine will come out of hiding. These astronomers continue to search, using the most powerful telescopes and the most high-tech mapping systems available.

Come on Planet 9! Show yourself!!


I don’t know about you, but I’m rooting for Planet Nine. How awesome would such a discovery be during our lifetime! To be a small part of the civilization that discovers only the third planet since ancient times would be incredibly unbelievable. Come on, astronomers, you got this!

You can do it!

It’s my blog. I can vent if I want to.

Some days are hard. Living in this broken body sucks more than you know. It’s more broken than some of you will ever understand. I will never, ever see people that knew me before. I mean, of course I will see the people around here. I have no choice in that. But, I will never go back and see those that knew me before. I can’t walk right. I can’t run. I can’t even hop. I can’t walk upstairs without help, I can’t walk downstairs without help. I have trouble writing, and I have trouble with all hand eye coordination activities. I talk with a slur. I get worn out very quickly. I look different. It breaks my heart a little. 

I know everybody is probably sick of me talking about it. But, It is what it is. I want to go back in time about 10 years. I want to be friends with, and know people from before. It just isn’t going to happen.

I’m not excusing it at all, but I sort of don’t blame people or persons for things that have happened recently. Who knows, if it was me, it might’ve happened too. I take that back. It most definitely would not have happened. I can understand though. I am so broken, it’s hard to be around me. I’m not the same person.

I mean, I am exactly the same person inside, but outside I am broken. On the outside I am a freak show.

I know, I know. Beauty is on the inside, not on the outside. But, let’s be honest, that’s bull crap. Maybe I am still cool on the inside. But, I’m so messed up on the outside it’s hard to see the inside.

It makes me sad. It makes me mad. And just couple that with recent events. I am a mess.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s the way I acted and the way I was when I was younger that has caused this. Not caused this really, but maybe it’s the reason this has been allowed. I was mean, I was cruel, I was uncaring, I was a bit narcissistic. I was awful. If you were in the path of that, I truly am sorry. I did it out of bad self-esteem and self loathing. That doesn’t excuse it. But, again, it is what what it is.

OK, let’s end this on a positive note. The sun is shining, I am alive, I have kids that love me. I’ll get through it like always, it’s just a bad day. I am feeling very very very very broken.

💜💜

Monday Monday 

Happy new week, campers! It’s going to be a good one! I can feel it!! New weeks are fresh starts, and I’ll take that any day. 


I have so much in my agenda. I have been down, for whatever reason. I don’t know if it is the new meds, depression over having no control over my life, or tapering the Prednisone. For whatever the reason, I have been spending 90% of my time in bed. That changes this week! I have a pretty, new Erin Condren planner, and I’m going to bust it out and use it! Time to get my house under control, my writing under control, my mom’s website under control, and my side-business under control. It’s going to happen, by darnit! Get organized with me, and hold me accountable.

Not the BEST picture, but you get the point.

Okay, now to update y’all on my “situation.” I went for a bone density scan on Wednesday. I swear, I’m going to be a radiation gloworm when this is all over. The bone density scan was to check for deterioration in my bones due to high doses of prednisone I’ve been on for nearly ten months now. It’s not official until the doctor sings, but I read the report: Bone density is normal for age. Praise Jesus!

Duke hallways are long!

I also went for an MRI Wednesday night (some of y’all may have seen my ridiculous LIVES from that night). I have a love hate relationship with MRIs. I am trés claustrophobic, so they have to make certain concessions for me: pre-medicated with anxiety pill, rag over face, warm blanket, earphones, and lots of coddling by the staff. As long as all those things occur, I am fine, and the ku-thunk ku-thunk ku-thunk of the machine sort of lulls me to sleep. Well. This time there were a few issues. First, it was “with contrast,” so I had to have an IV … never fun. And, I have funky veins that never cooperate, so they had to jab me multiple times. They blew a vein in my hand, so it’s nice and bruised. It’s okay. I understand crap happens with IVs. They are hard to get, especially if you’re nervous, which the first guy was. Anyhoo … I go back there, and they have new “cages” that go over the face. They couldn’t get it to work right, so not only did I NOT GET MY MUSIC, but the stupid cage pressed on my nose, making it obvious I was trapped. I thought I was going to come right off the MRI bed, but they finagled it so the bar of the cage went right, just barely, above my nose. I made it through without dying, and the staff was great, so everything is good.

I did not want to stay for the MRI.

 

I didn’t even tell you WHY I got the MRI. Since coming down from the prednisone, and stopping chemo in February, some of my symptoms have returned or been exacerbated. The MRI is to make sure I don’t have any new lesions (strokes) in my brain. I will get the results from that a week from Monday … unless they call, which is never good.

At least Duke has Starbucks. Starbucks makes everything better!

ALSO, they have started me on Imuran. It is a kidney rejection drug. “But, you don’t have kidney trouble,” you might say. You are correct! This drug is supposed to work as an oral immunosuppressant (like chemo was an IV immunosuppressant), and hopefully keep my immune system from attacking itself. The list of possible side effects is ridiculous. I mean, I look at some of the side effects and think, I’ll risk the strokes. But I’m going to try it. We’ll see what happens. Pray for me.

Keep on swimming.

If I haven’t lost you yet … The doctors, literally, have no idea how to exactly treat this, because it is so rare. They are kind of shooting blindly, and hoping it works. Sometimes it’s no fun to put your trust in doctors. Thank God that He has held me through this, because I think I would have gone insane before now if He wasn’t there to whisper, “We got this.”


In the meantime, my headaches have been ramping up, I get shooting pain behind my right eye that haults me in my tracks, I’ve got this spine thing (I can’t really explain) that makes my stomach turn every time it happens, and my balance has been jacked. So, if you pray, there’s a list for you. *smile*

Thank you, Dr. Jones, for the word! #persevere

But y’all, somebody always has it worse. I still don’t know WHY this has happened to me, but it has happened for a reason. I have to keep moving toward that light at the end of the tunnel. It’s there, it’s just hard to see sometimes!

p.s. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a big shout-out, and THANK YOU, to all the people that have come out of nowhere to help us or simply make me feel loved. There are TOO many people to name, but you know who you are! Thank you! God has used you in a major way, whether you know it or not. Even if it was just a Facebook message on my wall that came at the exact time I needed it. Thank you to everybody!! This has been a fricking LONG ten months, and I still have a long way to go. Thank God I believe in miracles.

It’s Been Awhile …

My poor little neglected blog. It has been a crazy, fast, busy, full month!!

No more chemo!! I have never been so torn between happy and scared!


On one hand, chemo made me feel awful. It made my hair fall out, gave me peripheral weakness, and knocked me on my butt for two- three weeks.

On the other hand, I now don’t have anything suppressing my immune system. What’s going to stop it from attacking itself again?

I am still on the Prednisone (which is supposed to help), but they are tapering me off of that. I started at 80mg a day, and I am now down to 17.5mg a day. Yes, I can tell a difference. A lot of the stroke symptoms have gotten worse (headaches, droopy eye, trouble walking, trembling legs, etc). Does this scare me? Yes! I am constantly afraid that I am stroking again. Every little twitch, every little pain, every little difference, and my anxiety goes into overdrive.

Droopy eye, thinning hair, puffy …


Honestly, I felt closer to God than ever after this happened, but now I am a bit apathetic. It has been about six months since I went to church, for whatever reason, and I can give you a lot of reasons. You come at me with a reason I should go, and I’ll shoot you down with an excuse. I am embarrassingly fat, I can’t walk right, I’m tired today, people will want to talk to me, and I don’t talk right, I can’t stay focused, I get too tired sitting up …

Queen of excuses!


I finally went tonight. It reminded me that I had to fully rely on God when all this happened, and I have to keep leaning on him for support through my recovery. It is the ONLY way to make it through. He spared me, and kept me alive for a reason. I just have trust, and find out what that reason is.

There is a reason He got me through nursing school, and helped me find the perfect job, just to rip it away from me two years later. Maybe I was to learn perseverance. Maybe it was to learn compassion.

Something I have forgotten over these months. Like J says, “Just own who you are and trust!”

I just have to lean back in closer, and trust. My life has been changing over the last month or so. Maybe all this happened to get me to this point?

Who knows. I know I still have more days where I hate what has happened, and I feel trapped in a broken body. But, I’m learning again that I can be more.

Thanks for sticking with me. I’m exited to see what the future holds!!

I don’t remember where I got this photo, but so true!

It came without boxes …

To quote my favorite Christmas movie: 

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” — Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

We have been blessed beyond measure. We have been blessed far beyond what we deserve. This Christmas season …. this ENTIRE season of our life …. we have just seen miracle after miracle.

I voice a major concern to my husband (or even to myself!!), and it’s like God says, “I got this. I’ll show you.” Then out of NOWHERE … BAM … our need is met. It’s like God is listening directly to mine and my husband’s distraught conversations, and then whispering to those that have the precise means to help where we are falling short.

MIRACLES do happen.

I don’t want to call anyone out for helping, because I know they may want to remain anonymous. Just know, you are angels doing God’s work. I have never felt so much love and support … and to be honest, I tend to think the worst, and believe that I am a bother; that nobody really likes me. I have never felt such love, compasssion, and genuine human kindness. 

Thank you does not seem adequate. It is because of some of you, that my kids are having a Christmas at all. It is because of some of you that we have food to eat. It is because of some of you we get to have special moments and traditions. It is because of ALL of you that we feel so loved. 

This has also been the perfect opportunity to speak with my children about why we help people that have needs, Jesus’ love for us, and God’s protection over our lives. It has, hopefully, made them more aware and grateful for all that has been done for us.

My wish and hope is to pay everything forward one day. I would LOVE to be the one helping, providing, and loving on those in need. I want to radiate God’s love to those in need, like it has touched us.

It is very hard (VERY HARD) to admit that we need help right now. I haven’t even needed to ask … the needs have just been met.

Thank You, and Merry Christmas! I have so much happiness right now, I just want to hug you all (and I’m NOT a hugger!).

I hope you feel loved, appreciated, valued, and worthy this holiday season, and always.

Remember why we celebrate. It’s not about the gifts bought at the stores. It’s Jesus, who has made such love and compasssion possible. He has made Christmas more for all of us! 💜💜Even if you don’t believe, He is here for you too. 😊

Borrowed. So accurate.


Nat and Drew, just being kids.