Hitting My Lowest Physical Point

Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write. Not because the words haven’t come to mind but because I physically couldn’t sit up to do it. Around Christmas I knew for sure things were heading in a bad direction. The months leading up to that, the pain had become unbearable and my body felt like it was giving up. I was slowly becoming weaker and weaker. I was scared but didn’t know what to do. I kept telling my doctors that something was wrong but it fell on deaf ears for the most part. I’ve learned the hard way that when doctors aren’t sure what to do, they will steer the conversation in a direction that completely gets your mind off things. But later, I would realize how quick that will catch up with you.

I think I mentioned in my last post that my Daddy had started with in home hospice due to congestive heart failure. On Christmas Eve, I made myself get out of bed and get dressed which took hours to finish because of all the breaks I had to take. But, Christmas Eve is when my brothers and our families have always gotten together with our parents since I was old enough to remember. Daddy wasn’t going to make it this year though so all of us stopped by his house to spend time by his bed and let him know how much we loved him, then left him to rest and gathered next door at one of my brother’s home. For me, I don’t remember a lot about the night because I felt physically drained from fatigue and pain. Eventually my husband had to take me home and put me in my own bed. I didn’t make it back out until I got the call on January 6th that Daddy had passed away. I wasn’t able to be with him and I wasn’t able to help my brothers plan the funeral because my body was no longer cooperating with my brain. On January 9th we held Daddy’s memorial service. Again, with much time involved, I got dressed and made it to the funeral in a wheelchair. By the time it was finished my husband once again had to rush me back home because the pain was so intense.

Over the next few months it felt like my body was shutting down. I was missing appointments for neurology testing because I didn’t have the strength. By mid April I realized I was in serious trouble when we got the call my grandmother had died. Not only was I not able to help my brothers plan this funeral either, I wasn’t even able to make it to the funeral at all. It’s hard to get much help from doctors when you can’t get to their office to see them though.

The week after my grandmother’s funeral, it got to where I couldn’t catch my breath if I walked just 10ft to the bathroom. Then we realized my blood pressure was dangerously high and every time I got out of bed my heart rate would hit the 140s. So I ended up in the ER. Everything happens for a reason though. And even at our lowest point, God has a plan and can give us strength we didn’t know we had.

To understand my next level of determination, you have to know something about me. I will not go to an ER unless I think I’m dying or in serious, serious trouble. The night I wrecked the golf cart which dislocated and broke my left hip, I had them lay me on my couch while I tried to convince myself I had severely pulled muscles in my left leg and that’s why it was laying at such an odd angle. Yes I know now how stupid that was. But that explains how much I will avoid going to the ER. I actually laid on that couch all night till my husband woke the next morning and I had to admit something was bad wrong and he should probably load me in the truck. Just FYI, if you ever break or dislocate your hip, don’t take yourself. Call an ambulance. One, it hurts like hell to move. Two, it’s very dangerous to move around with that type injury.

Now for the latest ER trip, I guess I finally got angry. I was tired of depending on doctors to keep prescribing medications to cover one symptom after another. My father had just died of congestive heart failure. Now he was 74 but his first massive heart attack was at 49. I’m 42. My BP was 162/120 and my HR was 143. I was now officially scared and not to mention, I couldn’t breath. We did find out some other important info during that trip though. First, my EKG was normal and showed no sign of heart damage. Praise God. We did find out my white count is elevated so we know my body is trying to battle something but we aren’t sure what. (When you have any artificial body parts, infections. can be very dangerous because if it were to hit my hip, it can’t fight off the infection and would likely have to be replaced again). My thyroid somehow had gone from hypo to hyper which seems to have played some part in my HR. There were also some other things wrong with my lab work that will have to be addressed one step at a time.

The decision I made that day, is not the right one for everybody but my anger fueled me to make drastic decisions. I basically quick taking all my meds. One of which was Fentynal which is a powerful pain killer and can cause seizures if stopped abruptly, and it feels pretty terrible while leaving your system. But I wanted to feel again. Even if all I felt was pain. There were other things I stopped too. Again, I don’t recommend my methods but it was what I had to do. I’ve slowly reintroduced some of the meds. I had to take inderall for a few days to get my HR back under control and I do have to take low dose pain killers at times to keep the pain from getting out of control due to the hip and a spinal cord compression in my neck.

I never thought I would have the strength to push through all that. But like I said, God has our back when we don’t even realize it. Over the last week and a half, I’ve been able to get out bed again and spend time with my family. The relief I’ve seen on my husband and kids’ faces gives me the strength to keep pushing. I had them all scared to death too. I’m still struggling with some severe fatigue at times and my muscles don’t always work like they should. We are now looking into the possibility of a condition known as Myasthenia Gravis. Of course it will take awhile to figure everything out but the symptoms are very similar to MS. I still have a long way to go but I’m so grateful to be where I am and God’s timing couldn’t be better since our first grandchild is due any day now. I’m so grateful that I’m going to be here to hold him.

Hopefully I will be able to keep the progress of this journey more up to date as things progress now. I appreciate ALL of you who read and offer encouraging words or share your stories with me because it means more to me than you will know. Support is key. If you would like to find a place that offers support from others suffering with chronic pain or similar conditions! I created an open and closed support group on Facebook a couple of years ago. Feel free to join us at Georgia Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain or ask to join our closed group at Georgia Chronic Pain Support.

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Broken

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, here at WordPress or anywhere. I decided today I had to make myself write because when I don’t write, I feel like I’m keeping things bottled up inside and after awhile there is no room to take on anything else or any other emotion and I become numb. And “numb” definitely describes my recent state of mind.

Last fall my husband and I took a trip to Jacksonville, FL to the Mayo Clinic. We both had huge expectations that this would be the time we would finally get the answers we needed about my health and find a path to healing. Unfortunately when we got there, it was basically like a regular doctor visit with a new physician and the only tests we were able to do was an EMG of my face which showed nerve damage and some lab work that didn’t tell us much. I was supposed to see a Neuro Opthamologist while we were there too but I became so ill and the symptoms so bad I had to miss that one. Short version, we came home without any more knowledge than we left with and realized this was going to take numerous visits back and forth to Jacksonville to get answers. That’s a lot of gas money and hotel expense that we just aren’t in a position to take on right now. So I came home very sick and very discouraged. I had put so much hope in this trip and just felt completely deflated.

Unfortunately, I had another hard hit that took me down further when my father had a heart attack. He had been dealing with heart trouble for awhile and had even had a couple of procedures but this time things were changing. He was in congestive heart failure and the doctors said there was nothing else they could do. He was turned over to hospice. We lost my mother 13 years earlier to cancer and she had been on hospice at home too so needless to say this brought back some really tough memories and the new heart break of watching my father suffer. The hardest part though was the fact that my symptoms had and have progressed to a point that I wasn’t able to help take care of him and sit with him like I needed to.

The new year rolled around and it was time to start the testing process for me again. Once we realized Mayo wasn’t going to be an option for us we began working on a referral to Emory University Hospital here in Atlanta. My initial visit with Emory was on January 5 of this year. My husband and I really liked the doctor and felt encouraged at the aggressive approach he is taking with testing in hopes to confirm a diagnosis. He told us that day to plan on spending most of this year having test run. At this point that was as good of news as I could’ve expected because lately I just didn’t have a positive outlook and had quit getting my hopes for answers. But at least this was something.

The next day, January 6th, we got the dreaded late evening phone call. Daddy had passed away. I wasn’t able to be with him when he went but he did have his wife and my brothers there with him. I’m happy that he is now resting comfortably in the arms of our Lord and has been reunited with my mother and other family members that had passed before him. But at the same time, that was my Daddy. And he’s not here anymore. That may sound silly coming from a 42 year old woman but I don’t care. I am the youngest of three children and the only girl. I was “Daddy’s little girl” growing up.

I guess for the last four months or so, I lost perspective on things. I’m so tired of being sick and in pain. I’m tired of not being able to do the things I used to. I’m tired of not being able to do things for my kids that I feel I need to do or for my husband. Not to mention the rest of my family. We had Daddy’s memorial service on January 9th. My brothers had to handle everything with our step mother because it’s hard for me to even sit up. The only way I get any relief is to lay on my side. Sitting the through the memorial service was truly physical torture. I wasn’t able to hang around and thank people for coming afterward because my pain level spiked so high from sitting up. Again, leaving my brothers to finish everything up. Even though they understand my health issues, it still weighs on me because that’s something we should’ve all handled together.

So, why haven’t I posted anything? Have I been having a pity party? Maybe. But in my mind, I have had nothing positive to say in the last few months so I felt I shouldn’t say anything. I created this blog and titled it “Purposely Positive”, to encourage others who are suffering through their own health issues. But as I’ve had time to start focusing on the testing I will be doing soon and time to come to grips with Daddy’s death, I realized something very important. Sometimes encouraging others means being real and letting people know, it’s not always easy. There will be times you hit rock bottom. I think it’s normal to go through phases where you are just emotionally numb.

These negative sides are the ones I didn’t want to share. But I’m also not helping anyone if I’m not honest enough to show that it can all become very hard to deal with at times. When I have thought about my life lately, the main word that kept coming to mind was “broken”. And that is how I feel. But after some serious prayer I realized is ok to feel broken sometimes. It’s not ok to stay broken though. I’ve gotten through the last three and half years by pulling strength from God and He is gracious enough to have given me that strength and His word says He will continue to do so. I just have to keep asking. I titled this blog “Purposely Positive” because I knew there were going to be times that I had to make a purposeful effort to stay positive and that was a message I felt was important to help others understand. I think I forgot that for a little while though.

So, here’s to living life purposely positive again and knowing it’s ok if you get off track sometimes.

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Going Over Results

I was sure glad to get back home yesterday and sleep in MY bed.  It just works so much better for me. I’ve spent most of today resting cause the trip took a good bit out of me.  It was nice to be able to get away for bit though, even if it was for testing and doctor visits.  I didn’t get to actually go to the beach but on our way home, we stopped at Tybee Island so we could spend the evening with our oldest daughter who is in college in Savannah, GA.  Our room there was right on the beach so I could at least see the ocean and feel the breeze coming off of it.  That’s really all I had rather do anyway.  I’ve never been big on the ocean.  Too many things with teeth swim in there that I can’t see.  I tend to lean more to pools and the lake.  But Mike loves the beach and the ocean so he and Haley were able to spend some time together there while I curled up with a book in the room.   Then we took her out to dinner.  I’ve missed her so much since she left for this new school and it was so good to see her.

This morning I logged onto my account with Mayo Clinic and found the results to the lab work that was done.  I thought we were testing for different things but it seems it was mainly for Celiac disease.  I searched the results and normal ranges for everything and best I can tell, it was all negative.  There was one that may have been borderline but all in all, I don’t think my problems are coming from a gluten intolerance.  They also had the report posted from the EMG on my face which showed nerve damage on both sides of my face, stronger on the right side.  We also discussed something new.  It’s called Central Sensitivity Syndrome or CSS.  It’s a condition that can be caused from Fibromyalgia, traumatic injury, surgery, etc.  I will post more about that later as I finish researching it but I thing the short version is after recurring pain, the central nervous system can become short circuited. 

So now I have to look at what I know for sure.  We know I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about 10 year ago and that has been ongoing and had become quite a problem in itself right up to the accident.  We know I severely broke my left hip and it took 6 surgeries (each time having the hip dislocated to do the surgery plus the times I did it by myself, which all added up to 9 times. (:  )   There was serious infection post surgery that required 7 weeks of IV antibiotics after leaving the hospital.  My B12 and Vit D levels were very low during labs about a year ago.  I have hypothyroidism which was very low when we found but easily corrected with a fairly low does of Synthroid and there are also 2 cysts on my thyroid.  We are very positive that I have moderate degeneration of the lumbar spine and a really messed up cervical spine.  I knew when we went to Mayo that there are 2 vertebrae pressing on my spinal column, C6-C7 being the worst but when Mayo reviewed the MRI again the pressure on the spinal column was worse than we thought.  So that in itself can cause a lot of damage but all my doctors agree that it would not cause the nerve damage to my face.  I have tingling and burning sensations all over now and the muscle weakness that originally started in my legs has become a huge problem and has moved to my arms and now the torso making it where I can’t sit up in a chair for more than about 10-15 mins without causing crazy muscle spasms and pain.  Headaches, nausea, muscle twitches and even full body twitches, which I started calling “jerks” because a twitch doesn’t move an entire limb at one time or my whole torso.  This is all stuff that has progressively gotten worse over the last year.  

Why did I mention all of this?  Well, for one, to help me work through all of it in my own head.  Two, in case someone else out there has dealt with this same problem and found answers.  Three, in case someone out there is dealing with this and needs to know they are not alone.  I’ve never been a very open person about stuff like this but that’s part of what I’m trying to change because I feel God has asked for transparency.  And just wait, because this isn’t the only transparency you are going to see. I’m going to share a lot of different things over the next few weeks because as much as all this sucks that I am dealing with right now, the thing I want most out of life it to be able to encourage other people.  I’ve had some hard hits in my 42 years but God has picked me up and dusted me off, dried my tears like the caring Father he is and helped me move forward.  I want to share that strength that God has given me.

2 Corinthians 1:4 says:  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  This verse is my goal in life.  To be able to comfort and encourage.  It’s my purpose for this entire blog.  When I started it, I didn’t know I was going to learn transparency to such a level, but if it’s what I’m called to do then so be it.  I went through something really hard as a teenager and I remember my mother telling me that we don’t know why things like this happen, but maybe it was so I could help someone else later in life who will go through this same thing.  Those words have never left me.  And I have looked at every trial I have faced with those words in mind.  “I hate what is happening right now, but maybe someday I will be able to help someone else through this same thing after I am done.”  Those are the words that keep me pushing forward. 

Having said all of that, I want to thank my friends here who have welcomed me back after a brief departure. 🙂   Patricia, you are always so kind and have the sweetest things to say to me.  You have become such a special friend to me.  And AnonMSer…..  You’ve been great too.  Our situations have been so similar so I find myself glued to all of your posts to see if you have found out anything new.   You also, are quick to offer words of encouragement and are open with what you go through.  Well most all of it.  We are still waiting on you to come out and reveal your true identity!!!!  HaHaHa!!!  I read your post for a long time before I realized you were a man. LOL.  (I’m just messing with you though.  I don’t blame you for not being ready to put that out there.  It’s scary sometimes.)  I also appreciate so many others of you that I have met here in this blogging world and enjoy the things you share about yourself. 

Until next time…Take care everyone!

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It’s Been Awhile

I haven’t written a post in quite some time for so many reason, I could never list them all. This morning, while sitting in the quiet of a hotel room, I decided it was time to get back to it.

These last couple of months have been some of the hardest I’ve faced in awhile. My health took a pretty steep decline and soon after I found out my father is suffering from Congestive Heart Failure. After losing my mother to cancer 13 years ago, this month, that was a big blow. All of it together put me in a place of reflection. I didn’t want to reflect, because that’s not how I work. I push it down and keep going. But God had a different plan this time.

In a very gentle way, God let me know it was time to face and deal with all the things I’ve suppressed over the years. I honestly didn’t realize how much it had been. But through one step at a time, God helped me come to terms with a lot. It was just a season that made it very hard for me to form the words so I could write, in order to work through it all, but when God says it’s time to do something, I’ve learned enough to know I better get my head straight and follow instructions. I’m not going to say I’m finished working through it all but I’ve made a lot of progress and feel I can focus on things better now.

One of those focuses is the part of dealing with my health. My husband and I have been in Jacksonville, FL for a few days going through testing at the Mayo Clinic here. I was hoping we would get here, run a few test and by some miracle, some genius doctor would find some simple little thing that everyone else had over looked, tell us what we needed to do and life could go back to normal. Remember… I just said I was “hoping”. I didn’t say I really believed that was how it would go. Good thing too, cause of course that’s not the way this trip has played out.

Over the last couple of days they did a series of test which, so far, have only ruled out that I do not have MS. I do know, this is and should be very good news. But for those who have endured months and years of chasing the problem to debilitating health issues, they will understand that even this “good news” doesn’t really make you feel any better. Plus, we were not able to do updated MRIs while we were here. They want me to come back in October for those, along with some intense nerve and muscle conduction testing. I guess they assume we are all in a position, financially and otherwise, to just pack up any time we want to and travel. That’s not the case for us. I do get disability since I worked most of my adult life and I thank God for it because it does help, but otherwise we are basically a one income family with 4 children. One of them happens to be in college and another planning a wedding. Just like so many other families.

They did run some nerve conduction tests while we were here that confirmed there is definitely a problem going on with the nerves and muscles in my face. That was a no brainer though because you can look at me and tell that. The doctors have been wonderful to talk with and did complete exams and confirmed muscle weakness through my body from that. We also did a good bit of lab work to test for other problems but we don’t have all of that I yet.

So anyway you break it down, we are about to pack up and leave to head home and I’m still going to be leaving the hotel in a wheelchair because it takes more than 15 steps to get to the car. (That’s about how many steps I can take before my muscle weakness kicks in and I start falling into walls or the ground). We still don’t know for sure where this season of life will take us but when I was thinking it all over this morning, the apostle Paul came to mind. He suffered from an ailment of some time which theologians have never been able to confirm exactly what it was. Some believe it was problems with his eye sight while others think it could’ve been some illness or injury but whatever it was, it’s obvious from his writings that it was something chronic. It bothered him enough that three times he “pleaded” with The Lord to remove it from him. Paul felt if it was gone, he could better serve God and fulfill his calling in life. But God did not agree to do as Paul asked. Instead He told Paul that “His grace was sufficient”.

Now by no means am I comparing myself to the apostle Paul, but I can say, that while thinking about his situation this morning, I had to make the decision, that if God’s grace was sufficient enough for him, then it’s more than efficient enough to see me through this and help me still find a way to work around it and serve God. If all my body will allow me to do for now is write, then I’m gonna write. 😊

Time to head home and focus on the future.

***Also posted on gettingthroughbygodsgrace.wordpress.com

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Peaks and Valleys

“There are peaks & valleys in life. I pray God gives me the strength to get through this valley and that through this, His will is done. God’s love is stronger than any evil we can be faced with.” 8/7/10

The quote above was a post I made on Facebook four years ago on 8/7/2010. This was made during the time while I was fighting to keep my job with a company I wasn’t meant to be with (although I couldn’t see that at the time) and dealing with the pain that the whole process involved. I look back now and can see God’s hand in all of it. That He was moving me to a new phase of life.

I thought at the time, that losing that job, or rather being forced to quit, was one of the worst things I had faced in a long time. Little did I know that just a few short months from there, I would be facing the real, biggest challenge of my life. Actually it was 9 months to the day from that post to the accident. The same amount of time it takes for the creation of life. That day on May 7, 2011(the day of the accident) was the beginning of the labor pain but what it birthed and what God used from it, was one of the greatest blessings in my life.

It was after that time of labor pain that God birthed in me a new life and desire to know Him on such an intimate level and it truly changed me. From what seemed like a tragedy, that cause so much pain from lies and betrayal of people I cared for, was the beginning of a new life for me. It took nine months to prepare for a stage of labor that would last 16 months to finally birth my new life that was born August 1, 2012, where I recommitted my life to Jesus. From that day, it has been a beautiful growing experience. Not always without growing pains but worth every bit of what it brought forth.

It’s amazing to look back over your life and see the things God has done. It has allowed me not panic when faced with trials but instead, to remember that God is always in control. He always has a plan and a purpose for us. For good and not for harm. To give us a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) It was this life experience that led me to that verse and caused me to adapt it as my new way of thinking.

Embrace the hard times because they are usually the beginning of something new and wonderful.

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My Possible MS Diagnosis: I’m Owning It

I couldn’t have said it any better than he has so I wanted to reblog this post from AnonMS. Sometimes people know how to explain things better than we do ourselves. 😊

AnonMS Blogger

I feel really good. Things have been going well the last couple of weeks. A week of vacation probably has something to do with that. Before vacation began, I visited my neurologist and had a tweak in my meds to increase the daily dosage of gabapentin. That really seems to have helped the mysterious left-side pain I was having–the pain that prevented me from sleeping on my left side; the pain that led me back to the GP, convinced that I was having swelling and pain in my lymph nodes under my arm. (Negative on those counts, by the way.)

Feeling better helps with the mental health side of things.

I am gearing up for my race in October, and I have increased my training program, both in frequency of runs and in distance for each run. My body is reacting well to the running so far. No injuries or…

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I CHOOSE Not to Keep Looking Back

I had an example come to mind today about how we sometimes go through life. It was more like a vision God put on my heart, showing me how I have traveled through my own journeys at times. It’s funny that God chose to use a golf cart in this example, since that happens to be the very thing I was riding when I had an accident that changed my life.

The picture that came to mind was a person sitting on the back seat of a golf cart. The kind that faces the rear with your back against the seat in which the driver is sitting. When you ride in this position the wind is at your back. It blows through, running up your spine and over your head, along your sides and whips around to circle into your face. The view which is seen from your eyes is the world as it moves away from you. At first this picture came to me in black and white. It was just the act of riding this way. Later the color began to form. Even a light hue of pink colored the wind as the greens and browns from the surrounding landscapes started to fill in. Then it was almost as if you were watching a movie from that back seat. Different scenes flashed in and out. But they weren’t just any random scenes. They were scenes from my life. That’s when the meaning of it all became clear.

Sometimes we become so trapped by our past that the past is the only thing we see. As we go through life it’s as though we are riding backwards. So focused on what is behind us that we can’t see what’s in front of us. As we move along, current events are hitting us in the back first, just as the wind, because our focus is in the wrong direction. When the world is coming at us in this direction it has to beat across our backs, pushing at us before circling around and then whipping across our face. As life goes by, we have a very clear view of what is then, the past. But the future slides by us as a blur in our vision. Only becoming clear once it’s gone.

In this position, we aren’t able to appreciate the moment that is supposed to be the here and now because the here and now is only piling on our shoulders. And still, our view is on the past.

This isn’t the position God planned for us. He never planned for us to be so tied to the past that we can’t see our future. Where we waste all of the coming moments only to get a glimpse as they fly by us and only see it with clarity once it’s gone and too far too reach out and touch.

There are many reasons we may choose to ride in this position. Sometimes it’s because something from the past meant so much to us that we don’t want to let go so we refuse to take our eyes off of it. Sometimes it’s because the past holds a hurt that is so painful we are afraid to see the future. And sometimes it’s just because we may have gotten so lost in it all that we don’t have the strength to turn around.

While thinking about how sad this ride had become as I watched it play out in my mind, I heard the still, small voice of God say, “Stop looking back. Only look forward. For the blessing I have for you are yet to come”.

As I heard those words, I began to feel the wind start to blow on my face. It seemed I was now literally sitting in the front seat. I could feel the sun spreading warmth across my back as if a blanket of comfort had been laid there. The breeze became warmer and I pushed my fears aside and decided to trust God and opened my eyes. The light was blinding bright at first. Then as it settled, I could see the whole world as it was coming toward me. Toward my face and not my back. I was no longer worried about what was behind me. The possibilities of what I might see ahead were far more exciting. I felt the spirit of fear release and fly away like a leaf that had been stuck to the front and finally broke free.

So many choices. So many opportunities ahead. Roads going in all different directions. How would I ever choose the right one. Then I realized all I had to do was open my heart and ask. God would show me the roads that should not be taken. And others were all possibilities. I could choose any of the others and God would be right there with me.

This is the way I want to live. Facing the future and not the past. I don’t want to ride through life looking backwards anymore. I can’t change what lies back behind me. I can’t take away the hurt of being raped, so many times, by a man that was supposed to love and honor me until death. I don’t want to carry that with me anymore. I CHOOSE to focus on what is ahead of me. He didn’t break me and neither will this illness. God’s grace is sufficient! And He alone has provided me the strength to choose to be positive on purpose, no matter what the devil tries to throw at me.

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Ask For a Gift

A sweet blogging friend of mine wrote this after I asked her a question about the angels in her life, that she is so graciously aware of. Thank you for sharing this, Patricia. As well as all of the other journeys of your “Precious Life”.

Enjoy…

My Precious Life

scan0003A few days ago when I wrote the blog, Ned is an Angel, a new blogging friend asked me how I know my angels are around me. That’s a very good  question, and I even asked it myself one day a few years ago. I was recovering from a difficult chemo day, and not too sure of any angels at that point.

A Hay House Radio program was playing on my computer, and I sat back to listen when I heard the word “angel”.

A caller asked, “How do I know my angels are around me?”

The response was, “Ask them for a gift.” That surprised me a little, but then I said to myself, why not?

Feeling a little ridiculous, I nevertheless had the nerve to ask, “Okay, Angels, may I please have a gift?”

I actually voiced it aloud!

I listened to the program for a while longer, but finally gave in…

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GIVEAWAY – Daily Dare: 40 Days to a Radical Life

I have really enjoyed this 40 day challenge and the thought provoking content, so I wanted to share this with everyone. The author of the soon to release book, “Radically Red: Dare to Live the Words of Christ”, Brooke Keith has offered real challenges to make you stretch out of your comfort zone while grower closer to Christ. She’s also holding a contest for a giveaway of the book. Read below, how you can participate.

Grace Alone: Ministering to the Hearts of Women

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Welcome to Day 13!

Today I want to share an excerpt with you directly from the book. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed these past two weeks of living Jesus’ Words with you all and getting to know more about your lives. God is good! 

Warner and I are currently forming a launch team for Radically Red: Dare to Live the Words of Christ. People are hungry for Jesus and I am so excited to see what small part Radically Red will play in showing them His face and heart. If you are interested in helping us out via your blog or other social media outlets it would mean so much to me. We are using the hashtag #JoinTheRedolution. (Kind of catchy right?)

As always I am so incredibly blessed to be sharing this walk with all of you. It feels so…

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Learning To Enjoy Mother’s Day

I feel very blessed to have grown up with the mother I had. I was the youngest of the three children and the only girl. Not having a sister, I think, made the two of us closer because I went to her with everything. She passed away when I was 29 and it was as if my world imploded.

At the time, my own children were still very young. Our oldest was 7 then 5 then 10 month old twins. As hard as I tried, I did NOT want to celebrate Mother’s Day after that. It was a day I truly just wanted to come and go and be done with it. This went on for years. I did my best to put a smile on my face as the kids brought home the things they had made at school each year. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt their feelings. But as time went on, they knew, it was a day I wanted nothing to do with.

I look back on those years now and I feel even more broken hearted. I was selfish. I should’ve made those days easier for my children and let all of us celebrate the way we needed. I let my pain control me when I should’ve trusted God to heal me. But isn’t that what we do sometimes? Our pain seems so much, that we are afraid to let it go and trust that God can take that pain for us? The things that are our heaviest burdens to bare, we hold on to instead of opening our hearts up to God and letting Him have our burdens and worries, even though His word tells us to leave them at His feet. Some how, we convince ourself that by holding those hurts, it will be easier for us. But the truth of it is, we deprive ourselves the opportunity to go on living a fruitful and joyful life. And in turn, deprive those closest to us, to love us, the way they need to.

When I think about Mother’s Day now, I think about how blessed I am. To me, Mother’s Day is about my children now. Because if it wasn’t for them, and the grace of God, I wouldn’t be a mother. And I would have missed out on the most beautiful things in my life. I no longer want pain to control me and deprive me of the life God wants for me. Instead I want to be filled with love and pass that to my children. I want to teach my children that they don’t have to hold those hurts – that they have a place to leave them. They can leave them at the foot of the cross.

We read that Jesus died for us. To save us. Because He loves us. But when it matters the most, we try to handle the things He has asked us to give over to Him. Until we truly open our hearts to Him, we can’t give those things away and we will carry them with us each and every day of our life. Before we know it, we are walking completely bent over from the load weighing us down. And we don’t have to. Every day that we have walked with a weight too heavy for us to carry, Jesus has been right there beside us, with a tear running down His face, begging us to let go of it. To let Him carry it for us. Trying to remind us, that He hung on that cross for this very reason and we do not have live this way.

When I finally let go of my pain, I think I honestly felt Jesus smile. I know I sure did. My life isn’t perfect and I still get hurt. But I don’t carry it anymore. It can still be a struggle for me to let go and sometimes I have to be reminded that it’s not my job. But with practice, we learn and get better.

Whose carrying your burdens this Mother’s Day? I speak from experience when I say, let it go! Enjoy your day. Enjoy your life. Otherwise you aren’t just depriving yourself. You are depriving all those that love you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. May this day be filled with joy and blessings of peace.

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My Facebook Page

I wanted to share the link to my official Facebook page for Purposely Positive. This is the FB site where my post from here go and I will also be posting things about encouragement, faith, the journey of life and more on this page.

I’ve just started this page in addition to my personal FB page so I have some work to do on it still, but please feel free to visit and “like”.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurie-Frazier-Harrison-BloggerWriter-for-Purposely-Positive/662956503752421?ref=hl

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Clarification From The Doctor’s Visit

Today I had to finally talk with the nurse at the neurologist’s office. After the office visit and me kind of “zoning out” the way I did, I had to get some clarification as to what the doctor was trying to say.

I left there thinking we were completely back to square one and no idea about what was happening. What he said about my neck, I just put it in my head that he was talking about some arthritis. After talking with the nurse there is some arthritis between C3 and C4. But below that is worse. Down to C6 there are intrusions into my spinal column which are pressing on my spinal cord. I thought that with this, I would just need to possibly see a surgeon and go from there but she explained to me today that the doctor believes there is another disease that is the possible root problem to this. Apparently because of some of the neurological symptoms that I’m having.

Of course I start looking into which diseases those would be and it’s kind of scary. I know, I know! You’re not supposed to look on the internet for medical advise. But I stand firm in saying this… If I had not been proactive in my own health and done all of the research I’ve done, we would NOT have found out this much. I wouldn’t have even know there was anything going on in my neck. So, do your research. Just be sure you are using reputable sites for your information and not just the first thing that comes up.

I don’t know what the outcome of this will be. But I know God does and I know He’s asked me not to worry but to put things in His hands. So that’s what I’m going to do. And in the mean time, I’m going to focus on doing what I feel I was called to do. Which is encourage others through faith and prayer and reminding every woman I can reach, that she matters and is loved by God, no matter where her life has taken her. There is no pit too deep that God can not reach us and pull us up.

These are some of the things I will be writing about in the near future and sharing some of my own life stories as examples of proof that God can deliver you and make you whole, no matter what.

There is a lot I can’t do in my life right now. But these are things I CAN do and also glorify our Lord and Savior.

Life is not easy here because we live in a broken world that leaves us vulnerable to things like diseases and heart breaks. Jesus told us we would face trials but He also told us He would be with us through The Holy Spirit, during all of it.

I’m so grateful for all of the people I’ve come to know through this site and the fact that everyone is willing to lift one another up. You all are great and help me keep pushing forward. Now is the time for me to live my dreams and begin ministering to others!

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Speechless

I’ve wanted to post the last couple of days but honestly, couldn’t find the words. I feel like the wind has been sucked from my lungs.

This past Monday was the day my husband and I were to go back and see the neurologists who just diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis. I was scheduled to have two additional MRIs. One was to repeat the MRI of my brain and the other for my neck. I was getting a little nervous as time got closer due to the fact that I’m extremely claustrophobic and the other was just that little thought of what else we might find. I think those are normal feelings though. The other side of me was actually anxious to go because I’ve been so sick. Occasionally all of my symptoms seem to hit at one time and will completely have me bed bound. That’s the way it is right now. It started a couple of days before the visit so I was able to set my nerves aside by focusing on the fact that we had finally found out what was wrong and hopefully this visit, we would be discussing treatment options which meant things could be at least a little better soon.

Things did not go quite like we planned on Monday though. I did the MRIs first and then went to talk with him afterward and go over what he saw. He pulled the images up on the screen and looked through the brain MRI for a couple of minutes. Then he turned to my husband and me and said, “The spots aren’t there.” I thought he was joking. Then his expression didn’t change. So I felt I had to ask, “Are you joking?” He shook his head and said again, “No, there is nothing there.”

While I was letting that soak in, he turned back to the screen to start looking through my neck MRI. I was sitting in the tiny room with a ton of emotions hitting me at once. As his words started to sink in, I started thinking, “This is good. No spots. This is good.” Then the sinking feeling hit me. If there are no spots and now we aren’t looking at MS, that means we are back to square one and have to start the searching process all over again. That also means we won’t be discussing treatment options which also means nothing is going to be changing to help me feel better. That’s when the tears started falling.

Believe me, I know how ridiculous that must sound. The doctor says the spots are not there and I’m crying. But like I said, it also meant we still don’t know why I’m so sick and without answering the “why” we still can’t do anything but treat the symptoms.

Once the doctor finished reviewing my neck MRI then there was another conversation. It was a little one sided, I have to be honest. I was still in shock. But he starts talking about something with my neck. Then turns the screen where we can see it better and shows us the area he’s talking about. I’m not a doctor and even I could tell something wasn’t right. He looks at us and says “Your neck is in bad shape.” At this point I felt like the room was going black and the voices were beginning to sound like something from a Charlie Brown episode. I was able to make out a few words in between, which included something about a possible old injury where it may have been broken and also something about the possibility of a disease that tears down the spinal column. I do know that there is enough damage it’s putting pressure on my spinal cord.

I know all of this must make me sound like one big baby and you are probably asking yourself why I’m sharing all this. The answer is that I’m sharing it because my goal with this blog was to document the journey of my illness, how I deal with it and to be honest about it. I would love to say I sat in that room without a fear in the world and left smiling and stronger than ever. But I can’t.

As we wrapped the appointment up the doctor said he was referring me to the Mayo Clinic. He said he needed help with my case. I have to give it to him for at least being honest on his part too.

Of course I still have questions. Ones I should have asked while I was there but couldn’t get myself to focus long enough to do so. Last night things got so bad I would’ve sworn my head was going to explode. I think it took until that point for everything he said about my neck to start making sense. My sweet husband sat next to me on the bed last night through it all and we both said it would probably be best if we go get this neck stuff checked out sooner rather than later. I guess if it’s pressing on my spinal cord, it could very well be causing a lot of the neurological symptoms. Either way, when you add Fibromyalgia on top of all this, it’s just become a nightmare. Not just for me but for my whole family. Although they put the smiles on and try and act like it’s no big deal.

So, I guess we back up a little and figure out the best way to approach this new information. This is one of those times where I am going to have to focus hard on my faith to find the strength to keep pushing because honestly, I’m tired. I’m so tired of being sick and trying to make sense of all this. But I believe with all my heart that God is allowing this for a reason. I know that through every struggle, God brings us out stronger on the other side. I know He has a purpose for me. He knows of my dreams to start my own ministry to encourage other women and I want to write fiction in a way that glorifies Him. Sometimes we have to go through the really hard stuff to get prepared for the really big blessings.

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I Got To Go To The Grocery Store!!!

For most people, going to the grocery store is a chore that they hate. That used to be me too. But after 3 years of not going, turns out, it’s pretty dang fun! 😆

The grocery store is one of the trips I don’t participate in since the accident/getting sick. For a couple of reasons. I’m not able to walk that much so that means I have to have a chair. I’ve had a regular wheelchair since I got hurt, but you can’t really go to the grocery store and expect someone to push you and the grocery cart. (I’m too weak to roll myself that much in the chair.) A little while back we finally purchased an electric chair but we didn’t have a way to take it with us. Then a family member let us borrow an electric lift that connects to the back of my car. My sweet husband, finally, was able to get it hooked up a couple of weeks ago.

Tonight was one of the rare nights in which none of the kids were home. (That doesn’t happen often with four kids.) So Mike and I decided to grill something. Well actually, HE will grill something. I’ve been really sick the past few days and have hardly gone outside but tonight when he asked me if I wanted to try to get out and go with him, I decided to go for it. Even though I’m really weak right now I knew I had the chair and it would do me good to get out of here for awhile.

It’s crazy that things have changed so much that I’m excited to go to the grocery store. But we have to play the hand we are dealt. Words can’t describe the freedom I felt just by being in control of where I rolled. I’m used to someone having to push me and I HATE IT. It’s a pride thing and I know that’s wrong but that’s just how I am. Tonight I was able to roll down any isle I wanted, all by myself and by George, I did it with a smile on my face! 😄

Sadly, the short trip wore me out. But after the few days I’ve had, it was so worth it. Now, Mike is cooking us a fabulous steak dinner and I can start looking forward to my next outing. I’m taking my baby steps, one at a time, at learning to live life again, just a little different than before. But hey, different isn’t always bad. 😉

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Searching Theme Options

Please everyone, bare with me just a bit while I’m trying to make final decisions on the theme for my blog. I’m having a hard time finding that theme that just really deals like me.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would be very grateful. I’m looking for something clean, but not boring, 2 columns and the option for a parent page and post format options.

So, if you see my page change the layout several times, it’s just me figuring out what I want.😊

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Life With MS #2

Some days are harder than others. Today is one of the tough ones. I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed at just how fast your body can change and feel so different. I can be ok one moment and the next, feel terrible.

MS strikes each person differently. Ten different people can have completely different symptoms. And each person can have different symptoms through out the day. Mine right now are some of the hardest for me. The pain is tough, but sometimes I can work through it. The weakness is hard, but I find ways to do things differently to get around that. But this feeling of my entire body being inflamed and accompanied by a constant headache and nausea are the worst. This combination makes it very difficult to even get out of the bed. My whole body feels taken over by MS and Fibromyalgia and it’s like I have no control over anything.

It’s also, days like this that are so hard for others to understand because I look ok. But just getting up and going to the bathroom takes all the energy I have. Once I make it back to the bed, I’m not even able to sit up. My head spins, then settles into a hard ache. My limbs begin to go numb and I just collapse and wrap myself around every pillow I can find. I watch the clock because I know I’m supposed to be getting up to get ready to go to my daughter’s tonight. But I can’t find the energy to move. The inflamed feeling becomes so strong it tightens my muscles to the point it hurts to breathe.

I share these kind of days to help others understand what we go through, not for sympathy. The many people I talk to who suffer from auto immune diseases will tell you the only thing they want, is understanding. But there is no way to expect others to understand all of it, unless we open up about it. Fear of judgement keeps many of us closed up and afraid to share. I choose not to live that way anymore. This is my life and what I deal with. If I share and someone chooses to not understand after that, then that’s on them, not me.

I will say, though, that I find something very special in these days. Because I don’t feel well enough to be up doing things, it leaves me with uninterrupted time to spend with God in prayer. It’s in these days when God speaks to me through The Holy Spirit and I find clarity and feel revitalized in my faith. Kind of ironic that the days when my body is at it’s worst, my conversations with God are at their clearest. That fact is also what keeps me focused because God reminds me that I was created by purpose, with a purpose, and even if my mind is the only thing that works sometimes, He is still here with me and He can still use me. And for that, I am forever grateful.

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If We Could See Through The Eyes Of God

If we could see through God’s eyes, we would see how He goes before us and prepares a path every day. We would be able to see people or things He has lined up for us, for divine meetings, to play pivoting roles in moving us to our next position in life or help someone else move forward in their’s.

As we walk through each day we could see where we stayed the course and where we deviated from God’s plan for us.

When we passed people by on the streets, we wouldn’t just bump into them and keep moving, but instead, look up and see their eyes which told a story.

When we saw the man trying to run past everyone, seemingly so rude, we would be able to see that he is late for work because he was taking care of his sick wife that morning and now he is worried he will lose his job.

The woman we pass and look at with judgement for the revealing clothes she wears, we would see her history of being sexually abused by her father her entire childhood, so now she prepares a picture, in her mirror each morning, of the way she views herself.

When we see the young teenager running from a store, where he has just stolen something, we would know that what he took, was food, to bring home to his sister who said she was hungry. It was all he knew to do since their father had taken off years ago and their mother was still sleeping off the alcohol from the night before.

When we see the girl who stares at the ground as she walks, we would know that she is wandering the streets, trying to figure out how she will raise the child, growing inside her, all alone since her boyfriend left her because he didn’t want the responsibility of being a parent.

If we took the time to try and look through God’s eyes, we would see the bruises on a young woman’s face and know she is stuck in a marriage where she is being beaten every night and sees no way out.

If we looked through the eyes of God, we would see that our co-worker is battling a disease that leaves them riddled with pain everyday and that they, in truth, aren’t just lazy.

There is a world happening around us that is nothing like what it seems. Do we keep judging and walking by or do we ask God to open our eyes? To give us discernment to see reality instead of what we choose to assume? And if we did, would we do anything? Would we give the young boy money to buy the food so he could feed his sister? Would we ask the husband if we could sit with his wife for awhile so he can work and not be worried about her? Would we embrace the woman with bruises and offer her human affection in the loving way God intended for her? And then the woman dressed so scandalously… Would we give her our Bible and take the time to tell her that she is loved by God and that He doesn’t see, what she sees in the mirror?

Would we take the time to change their lives? Or would we just keep going on with ours?

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The Real Truth Of It

I feel guilty for not being able to get better. That is probably the most honest thing I can say right now.

I’ve always been the kind of person to just do whatever needed to be done to handle things. Lately I’ve been dealing with emotions that I can’t put into words and haven’t been able to figure out where they were coming from or what they meant. Then something hit me. Part of it is guilt.

I don’t like that I’ve added stress to my family and on the bad days I don’t want my kids to see me like that. I guess there is a part of me that expects myself to find some magic potion to make this all go away and that stops the symptoms immediately. And find something that could reverse time and take away the fact that my kids saw the accident. Heck, two of them were on the golf cart with me. David stood in the driveway and saw the whole thing. Rebecca stayed with me in the hospital while I was completely loopy from medicine. I can’t even begin to tell you all Mike has watched me go through. He catches the worst because he’s the one person that I will truly break down with. I wish I could erase all that from their minds.

To have MS added to all that they have been through the past three years, well, it just seems like a lot. Instead of my kids having their Mom take them places and do things with them, my oldest two have to drive ME around and my 13 yo twins have to wait for their older sisters or their Dad to drive them somewhere.

I know this isn’t something where I can snap my fingers and make it go away. I can’t erase the spots on my brain stem that cause my body to do this crazy stuff. But it doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying either.

It really does effect the whole family when one member gets sick. I’m just grateful that mine happen to be great troopers. My husband and kids are so strong and I’m so proud of them for taking the blows life throws at us sometimes and not letting it break them. It has definitely been part of what keeps me pushing along. And as much as I hate all of this for them, I’m glad that they’ve been able to see me find my strength in Christ.

I know that having guilt isn’t the right feeling and it doesn’t sound like the most positive attitude. But I wanted to be honest about what I go through with this. It’s a process to adjust to each new stage and face each new reality. It doesn’t mean I will give up or that I am defeated. It’s just the real truth of it, at this moment. And that’s ok.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)>

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157 Days to go!

This is an amazing effort this man’s family is going through to help him get better!

Aaron Attacks MS

It has been 5 weeks since we started AAMS, so much has happened in that time I thought I had better start blogging about our journey now.

If you didn’t know I started researching HSCT over 14mths ago and got the kick in the pants I needed to take the next step to get Aaron HSCT to HALT his MS in February when 60 Minutes aired ‘Russian Roulette’ Gold Coast Mum Kristy Cruise’s HSCT in Russia. Aaron and I watched the show in tears and within the following week I had contacted Kristy as well as her Doctor in Russia and Aaron was scheduled for HSCT with Dr Fedorenko in September.

In the first few weeks we completed all the paperwork necessary and opened bank accounts and had committee meetings. I built the website and am continually learning and developing it as I go! I created a Facebook Community Page…

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Life With MS #1

Even though I was just recently diagnosed with MS, it has been suspected for awhile. So I’ve kept track of symptoms, etc. to be able to discuss with doctors at appointments.

One of the things that has been the hardest for me is how you wake up one morning and things seem pretty good. Right now I am one that is never symptom free but the degree varies and some days aren’t too bad while others are miserable.

To give you an example of how fast things change, two days ago I had a pretty good day. Which was a blessing because being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last minute to finish our taxes. I spent the afternoon in a chair at a desk getting it done. By the time I finished I was in so much pain I was crying. I just went to bed. Woke up about 2:00am the next morning still feeling bad and by the time the sun came up I couldn’t move. My muscles had tightened up so much I had to take my muscle relaxers. (I try not to take these because the only ones that work at all, knock me out). But I didn’t have a choice. Usually if I take one in the morning and rest I won’t have to take another one until bedtime. But that day, I was counting down the minutes until time for the next one. Needless to say I was in the bed all day. Plus when I am having any trouble whether it be pain or whatever, fatigue usually comes with it.

This morning I woke up and told my husband I don’t feel too bad. I think today is going to be better than yesterday. He kissed me and left for work. Even on the good days, it takes my body awhile to get to where it wants to move so I sat and read a book for a little while. Then decided to get up and try to do some things. Went in the bathroom and started washing my face. This should be a simple chore. By the time I finished though I could barely move enough to straighten my back up to a standing position. I moved around a little thinking it would pass. It didn’t. And today it gave me an extra gift with the nausea that I started getting a few months ago. Back to bed. As the day has gone on, now I feel like I have the flu and very anxious feeling. I feel like I need to massage my bones.

I’m learning that this disease is not only a day by day situation but even minute to minute sometimes. My husband finally hooked up the wheelchair lift to the back of my car this past weekend. Some days I do ok with just my crutches but you never know when the days will hit that crutches are not an option and it gives me a little more feeling of independence when I can use my scooter chair instead of a manual chair because I don’t have to have someone pushing me. I never imagined at 41 I would be zooming around in a wheelchair. I find it best to just see the humor in it.

I want to share these things as I go in case it is any help to others. I wish I would have had a blog or something to follow with someone, to know what to expect and how others deal with things. I have found some wonderful online support groups though that have helped a lot. But as I’ve said before, the best thing I have found is to keep a positive attitude no matter what. I may feel horrible today, but tomorrow may not be that bad. I’m also blessed with a very understanding husband and kids and pull my main source of strength through prayer. God and I talk all day long now. I couldn’t do this without the grace He has given me to get through each day. 😊

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