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This Last Year

This last year and a half has been a roller coaster. I don’t expect anyone to understand the changes that have occurred in my life—even though at times the emotional part of me may have subconsciously expected it. I hope by me laying it all out there, it will help with understanding some of my journey.

For me, I think my health changes really began to change around the time I lost my job. I had some chronic pain before that, but nothing compared to now. I started to feel so much more physical pain that I ever have in my life. And I’m not just talking a little pain here and there and then it goes away. I have pain constantly, at different levels, all.the.time.

So, I started to see a chiropractor who told me that I was in pretty bad shape—he had different words, but that’s the short version. I started getting adjustments 3-4 times a week, then gradually going down to 1-2 and so on. He also helped me with some physical therapy to try to get some strength back and to help my spine to be able to hold everything in place. I started to feel somewhat better, but it didn’t take all the pain and other symptoms I’d been experiencing away.

Along with the widespread chronic pain I started to experience—and of course the headaches/migraines as usual—I started to have chronic fatigue, brain fog, terrible short-term memory, sleep problems, stiffness, my vision was getting worse, sensitivity to lights and sounds, chronic nausea, the list could go on.

Many of you know I’ve suffered from chronic headaches and migraines most of my life. I could handle that as it came. That was just one little part of my body. But I wasn’t even close to being prepared for what was to come. I began to think I was just crazy or incredibly lazy. In my mind, I kept thinking to myself that I was and that everyone else thought I was as well. I also started feeling a bit more depressed, anxious, and most of the time just numb.

But then, I had someone open up to me about their similar experience and encouraged me to take is seriously and talk to my doctor. It was so relieving to have someone to talk to and someone who could understand and communicate the struggle that I didn’t quite understand I was going through at the time.

When I was encouraged to bring it up with my doctor, my primary was leaving and I had to find a new primary care physician. I was nervous because I had come to love who I was with and didn’t know if the next one would take me seriously. But, it worked out so well. My new doctor, right away, referred me to a rheumatologist to test for various things, get a specialist’s opinion, and hopefully get a diagnosis.

It took a while for me to be able to see the rheumatologist and then again have my follow-up appointment. But I finally found out what was going on and could make the lifestyle changes to help ease the symptoms or live with them. The rheumatologist told me that I had fibromyalgia and arthritis. I was pretty much expecting one of those, but not both. So, then came more changes in medications and figuring out what works for me . . . I’m currently still in this process. Just figuring out what works for me has been difficult and also sticking with dietary and lifestyle changes. Discipline is incredibly hard for me, but I will not give up even if some days I am just done.

To top it all off a few months ago I started having major pain in my feet. Plantar fasciitis. I’ve tried doing various things to help, but to no avail. Next step there is to see a podiatrist. (I will keep you all updated on this as things occur.)

With everything that has been going on this last year and a half, I have felt like I’ve become distant from God. I never meant to neglect my relationship with him and I hate that it happened. But I’m working on it and trying to open my heart to him again. This is another area where I need discipline and perseverance. God will never give up on me, so I will not give up on Him.

My goal with writing these blog posts is to help me get these thoughts and feelings out there that I feel need to go somewhere, for it to be therapy for me, and to hopefully help my family and friends understand some of what I’ve been experiencing. I have a hard time opening up and being vulnerable, especially in person, so I want this to be a way to let people in and to also ask for your prayer in this journey that has had and will continue to have it’s ups and downs.

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Anger Overload

A lot of you might be surprised to know that I tend to be a very angry person. I try to hide it as best I can because I hate the person I become while angry. But, as I let the anger and frustrations build up, I unfortunately throw it at those closest to me (sorry mom and the rest of my family, you know I love you 😬). It’s a terrible cycle I can’t seem to stop.

2016/2017 has been the most difficult with handling my moods, but I feel like it’s slowly but surely getting better or at least to a manageable level. 

You may wonder what I have to be angry at and, to be honest, I sometimes wonder myself. 

I’ve been angry with my attitude and how I let it control me, angry at my body and how it has failed me, angry that I am unable to do the things I used to, angry that I can’t play with my nieces and nephews on the floor, angry that I can’t sleep through the night, angry that I’m never going to feel refreshed again, angry that I’ll never be pain free, angry that I feel like I keep letting my friends and family down, angry that I never have energy to do anything, angry at myself in general–and the most difficult to admit and the one that I’ve been lying to myself about, I think I’ve become angry at God for allowing this to be my new normal.

I don’t want to be angry, especially at the one who is with me and loves me no matter what I do. I want to put my full trust in Him who can do immeasurably more than I can ever ask or imagine.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

It’s a daily struggle to just be or at least act like I’m okay. Every day I pray that God will help me to have the energy that I need to just get through the day. Thinking about it, that just seems so sad. But it’s my reality. It takes every bit of strength and energy I have to get through a full day. Then all I want to do when I get home is crash. I hate that this is my new normal. But, it is what it is.

Please, I just ask for continuous prayer to look to the Lord each and every day, in everything, for everything.

Living With the Bad Days

Very few of you have seen me during my really bad days. I try hard to make that group of you small. I hate feeling weak,  vulnerable, and unable to do simple tasks. I even more so hate others to see that side of me.

On a bad day I can be laid up in bed all day just trying to sleep the pain away. It can take all of my energy and strength to drag myself out of bed to just go to the bathroom or get something to eat. I feel so helpless and pathetic. So when someone sees me at my worst, it just stings a little more.

Today was one of the bad days with having a migraine all day, along with intense pain and stiffness in my upper back. Of course, I can’t forget about the pain in my feet–whatever is going on there (hopefully we’ll figure it out soon)–which makes it difficult to just about do anything . . . stand, walk, and sometimes even just sitting there not using my feet I will get a sharp pain pulsing through my heel.

It’s hard to stay positive and hopeful in the middle of these type of days. But I’ve been incredibly blessed with the family and friends the Lord has placed in my life. I’m surrounded by people who love, encourage, and pray for me, for which I am incredibly grateful. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Please, if you don’t mind, continue to pray for me. Pray for wisdom is knowing how to cope and in figuring out ways to help make this livable. Pray for peace in knowing I’m not alone. Pray for the ability to let God take control and give it all to Him.

Never Enough Sleep

I love sleep. Plain and simple. Except, my sleep is far from simple.

It takes me forever to fall asleep. I wake up multiple times every night. And then, come morning, I have THE hardest time trying to pull myself out of bed to be a functional adult during the day. It’s tough people. But I do it because I have to. In complete honesty, for the most part, I fake it . . . I fake being okay because it’s easier in some ways.

I don’t remember the last time I felt refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Actually, I don’t even know what a good night’s sleep feels like anymore. No matter how much sleep I get, I am always so tired. I feel tired, exhaustion, and fatigue all day, every day.

I have a CPAP (yes, I can be better about using it every night), but when I was consistently using it when I first got it I didn’t feel a difference. I became annoyed with this awkward, bulky mask I had to wear while I attempted to sleep, wondering why I was even trying when I know this feeling will most likely never go away. It comes with the fibro territory.

But, then I tell myself that I can’t give up. It’s better to try and see if there are ways that I can make this situation livable because the pain, fatigue, exhaustion, and everything associated with this chronic illness will never go away and I do still want to enjoy life. It will be worth it. It has to be. I won’t give up.

Physically Unstable

I’ve always been more sensitive than most people. But 2017 has been one of the hardest years. It’s been difficult on all levels: physically, spiritually, emotionally.

It started in February when Grammy was hurting more than usual and had to go to the hospital. They found the mass, along with a lot of fluid in her stomach, and she had to go to Seattle to get the treatment she needed. I drove mom and I down to be with her and that first full day was very difficult and incredibly draining. It was a lot of waiting and then we got the incurable cancer diagnosis.

FB_IMG_1490755423996I spent most of that week at the hospital to help where I could and to just be with Grammy, mom, and Jerry. Sitting in that hospital room the majority of the time definitely took its toll on my body. Side note: at that point I didn’t know for sure that I had fibromyalgia.

When we got back to Bellingham/Lynden, I finally went back to the chiropractor after not getting adjustments for a little while due to financial reasons. He took one look at me and knew I was in horrible pain. I felt like I had taken a hundred steps back from how far I’d come in getting my body to feel better. But all I could do was start again.

Fast forward to the week of March 19th. Grammy had taken a turn for the worse and mom didn’t want her to be alone when she died. I thought about it and I really didn’t want mom to worry about Grammy during the night (and definitely didn’t want her to stay all night after being there all day, every day), so I offered to sleep on a cot in Grammy’s room. I am someone who hates to feel helpless, especially in times like these, so it was the least I could do.

I didn’t get a lot of sleep that week from being too afraid of being asleep when Grammy passed and also from an uncomfortable bed. I woke up at every little noise I heard and every time a nurse came in to check on her. As incredibly uncomfortable that cot was and how little sleep I got, I wouldn’t trade it for anything since it gave me the opportunity to spend more time with Grammy before it was too late.

That week was so exhausting and emotionally draining. It’s never easy seeing a loved one in that state and seeing them slowly fade away. The thing with me though, is that I not only feel my emotions mentally, I feel it physically. I feel it in my whole body and it hurts. It hurts on a level that I never knew existed and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.