Monday, October 19, 2009

CRS disease

I am pretty sure I am not the only one with this condition. It's called "CRS" also known as "can't remember shit". I am not sure when it became full blown but it is certainly here now. I have three girls and I think that it may have started after the littlest one Jackie was born. I am not sure that there is any treatment or if one just suffers along with the embarrassment of it all.

In the past couple of weeks I have missed a few things because of this condition. I have left my kids at school (on more than one Wednesday afternoon) when they have had early dismissal only to have the school call and say "Mrs. Haskell? Your girls are here in the office" and for me to reply "yes, and why are they there?", office lady says "did you forget it was Wednesday?" to which my response each time is "Oh Shit!"

I was just cleaning off my desk to get ready to do some volunteer work on the computer. In the midst of the clutter I found a birthday invitation to a party that happened yesterday,
"Oh Shit!" It was for Jackie, who was all excited about a party for Benjamin at Marbles Museum in downtown Raleigh. We had a long discussion about it at the dinner table last week. Jenna told her how much fun it would be and how we should all go as a family during track out. Needless to say we did not make the party. I just emailed the mom a huge apology (I think I said sorry six times in three sentences!) I forgot to even RSVP, which is even more embarrassing, since that is such a pet peeve of mine!

Twice last week I forgot which week it was so when I told Julia what was on the lunch menu at school I told her the wrong meal was being served! I actually blamed it on the school both times until I went back to look the next day and had to tell her that I am living in the world of an overloaded mommy who cannot even tell which week it is. She now double checks my work (so sad!)..."Oh Shit!"

I had an invitation to a charity fundraiser for next weekend. We got it last month. The reply date was for October 1st. My husband reminded me after a run with one of the guys who put the fundraiser together. I told him I thought he must be mistaken, I had plenty of time to RSVP. Come to find out...I was wrong ...again..."Oh Shit!" Apologies sent yet again...thankfully we have not missed that one...yet!

I am on some medication to help with my exhaustion. One would think this would be something I could remember. Yeah, uhm, no it's not. I had my mom hear about a month ago. She put the timer on in the kitchen every day for me to remember. The timer would go off and she would have to remind me again to go and take it. ( I have to take it first thing in the morning and then at noon). She even put the pills in a plastic snack baggie and put them in my purse. (all but one are still there). Another "Oh Shit!".

Now these are just the things I can remember forgetting, who knows what else I have missed? I do keep a calendar on the fridge with most appointments etc. written down. It's just the issue of reading the correct week (simliar to the lunch menu). I keep "to do" lists as well. I am still working on a treatment plan. I have not given up hope for a cure, but for now I will just have to keep plugging along.

I have to say I am not proud of the fact that all three of my girls know how to use the phrase "Oh Shit!" in the correct context...I can only hope this disease is not hereditary!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"The devil is in the details"

Well here I am another day in the life of me. I had a great conversation with my mom this morning, although it was too short. After hung up I was thinking a lot about some of the things she said...which was not much in words as she was soaking up my ramblings without interruption.

For those of you who know me well you may describe me as a control freak. I can accept that and also know that some may see that as a positive characteristic, others a negative. I think it can be both. Right now I am realizing that sometimes the details in life are not so important. Without going into detail (no pun intended) I had a rough day yesterday. It was a heavy day in a lot of ways, the weather was cool, rainy and gray. By the time dinner came I was so looking forward to starting over I could not wait for bed. Julia was struggling with some homework and getting really frustrated. After some prodding I found out she had a rough day at school. Normally I would have hugged her and told her "chin up! Let's move on and plow through that homework...we HAVE to get it done, this is your responsibility...I know you don't want to do this but there are a lot of things I don't want to do that I have to so buck up little one and let's get this done" (now that all sounds cheery as I write it, but let me assure you my tone would not have been cheery. It would have been tired, cranky and harsh. I would have felt that this was one more thing I HAD to take on for the day, and really why is this ALWAYS falling on me??) Boy does this suck!"

Well thankfully I did not do what I would have always done. I took a deep breath and looked around. In a split second I saw a sink full of dirty dishes, reminding me that the dishwasher was full of clean ones. I saw the rubbermaid tub of things filled with luau supplies (the party was September 18th and it is now October 12th!!). These things are my "job". My things that I "have to do". I had slacked, decided I have been having a rough time of it and let some things go (consciously or unconsciously). In that split second it became so clear to me that the "details" didn't really matter right now. The world was not going to end (obviously) if the dishes did not get done or if that damn plastic bin stayed on the living room floor for a month. Why was I pushing her so hard to get it all done? Did it really matter if she did not get that homework done? Did it really matter if she got a "pink slip" in school? She is such a good girl. She works so hard and I just keep pushing her. I need a break...doesn't she need one too?

In that split second moment (that I had had so very many times before and made the wrong choice) I was finally able to make the right one. I gently took her homework away from her and said "you know what? It's ok. This is too much for you today. You do not NEED to do this." I told her "look at this pile of dishes. I am supposed to have emptied this already and the dirty ones should be in there. That is mommy's job. I just cannot do that today. It's just too much of an effort right now. Homework is too much for you to do right now. Let's just call it a day". We did just that. We got our jammies on and snuggled up. We watched some TV and just let the day slip away. Too many times I feel the need to control. I can get so caught up in the "role" that it all slips by. Stepping back, I realized that in the "Big Picture" dirty dishes and incomplete homework are not going to stop the world from spinning.

The details have been sucking me dry as of late. The prodding of all the little things I think must get done. The appointments kept, the meetings gone to, the plate that is already over flowing just keeps getting things added to it. Trying to please those all around me while leaving myself for last. Trying and failing to be what I think people want me to be. The dishes and homework, the daily grind of details, the lack of focus on the big picture. It's all been bleeding me dry.

My mom has always told me I always learn things the hard way. Many have told me time and again that the big picture is more important. Yesterday I realized it is. Now I won't say that I will remember that tomorrow, or next week. But I am thankful that I saw a glimpse of it yesterday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Every day is a different story

Every day is different from the last. Yesterday I felt like garbage for most of the morning. Humidity was high in Holly Springs and that combined with warmer temps wreaks havoc on my body. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who goes with the flow. Friday after looking at the weather I knew it would be difficult for me to run on Saturday. He stepped up and did his long run then and let me go today. (He is also in "training mode". He has a half marathon the week after mine in Raleigh.) He asked me who I was going with, I said "no one". A couple of friends invited me to run on Saturday, but even with good company I knew it was not going to be good for me.
My first few times running long by myself I was nervous. Wondering if I would be able to do it and not "quit". I have been pleasantly surprised. I woke up this morning, brewed my coffee and laced up my shoes. It was cool and crisp, an absolutely beautiful fall morning. Made the drive to the ATT (American Tobacco Trail) and started to run. I found today that I am enjoying the time by myself. My expectations for the run change with each step I take, each song on the MP3 player and each mile that I log. In the beginning I think oh, no this is so hard, why am I doing this? Then I get lost in my thoughts. When you do not have another person to talk to you can truly have a conversation with yourself.
I was able to get through the first 2 miles and then walked a water break. I've learned that I can stop and start again. Then on the second leg I felt more of a groove, coming up on the turn around point (4.5) I thought I should stop and take a break. I decided to see if I could make it to 5 miles. Before I knew it I was almost to six. I got lost in my thoughts and found my stride. I was able to keep a strong pace and not even realize it. When I had my water break at mile 6 I was amazed at how great I felt. I was hoping the last 3 miles would prove to be just as smooth. Overall they were. There were some spots where I thought, ok you are pushing too hard...and I slowed it down and then the song would change I would here the words pushing me along, and I was imagining myself actually running in the Outer Banks. I could see myself running in amongst all those who had trained just as hard. For me it was such a great visual, almost "outer body" It was all about this feeling I had inside me. I could see my girls at the end. I could see James cheering me on. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support and love that these 4 people have given me. I actually started to tear up on the trail.
My thoughts went to how I wanted my girls to know that even when life deals you a hand and you are not sure what to do with it if you have faith in God, faith in yourself, and faith in your family you will make it through to the other side. The past 6 months have given me such strength to take another step towards my ultimate goal...raising 3 little girls who believe in the power of themselves. Who are strong in Spirit. Who rise to the challenge, whatever that may be.

Today I am thankful. I hope to be as thankful tomorrow, regardless of what the day brings me. My wonderful mom, who I know worries about me so, sent me an email this morning that I may make my new mantra. 'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.
'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.' I am hoping to remember this in the rough times as well as the good like today. Thanks Momma!

Friday, October 9, 2009

wondering where this is all going

So I am wondering where this blog thing is going to take me. My brother asked me last night how it was going. I told him it wasn't. I have not "blogged" since the first day. I was so gung ho to take this on and then I was concerned about what I would write. I guess since it is all mine I really should not be so concerned.

I just got back from a 3 mile run. I am in "training mode" for my second half marathon which is coming up in 4 weeks. Last time I did this and I was 4 weeks out I was excited and really looking forward to it. This time I am unsure how I feel. I have been having such a hard time being consistent with my training.
Some of you may know that I am in the midst of being tested for MS. All things point to my medical issues being MS, but this is such a difficult disease to diagnose, it takes many months and sometimes years to get a firm diagnosis. I have daily symptoms of tingling in my arms and legs. I have back tightness and pain in my back (that could be considered the "MS hug"), I have headaches, neck pain and I have an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion all the time. On top of this I have trouble falling asleep and there are many nights that I wake up with insomnia and cannot get back to sleep for hours. The neurologist seems to be leaning towards MS. My MRI shows lesions on my brain, but not enough to conclusively diagnose it. I have had a spinal tap and evoked potential test which came back normal. I test positive for Babinski sign, which indicates neurological damage as well as having exaggerated reflexes in my legs and feet.

With no concrete answers I continue to try and manage my daily symptoms. I wonder if I am making the right decisions by pushing myself to complete this half marathon. I wonder if the people telling me to stop are right. What I do know is that I am a stubborn and determined person. I set a goal and I'll be damned if something undiagnosed is going to make me quit (did I mention that I could be just be plain stupid at times?). For some reason I have in my head this drive to push myself. This voice that says if you quit you lose. "Winners never quit and quitters never win", right? I struggle every day with giving in to it. To taking time to just sit and rest. I am not a rester...I am not one to sit still and just be.

Perhaps this is God's way to tell me to slow down. I have been having a lot of conversations with Him as of late, wondering what I am doing here and what He is trying to have me accomplish with all this. What is the greater goal, what is His plan? Sometimes I wonder "Why does He seem to let some struggle with so much on their plates and it seems others do not have much care in the world?" I know that all this will be used for a greater purpose, one that I may never even be aware of...but at times when I am low and overwhelmed and I cannot take another step without falling to pieces it is hard to remember where I get my strength from. I feel guilty about this and know that I need to put my trust in God and He will get me through this.
Is it a daily battle, sometimes, hourly and sometimes by the minute. I feel myself closing in and withdrawing. Wanting to hunker down to weather out the storm. I feel that I am not the mom I am supposed to be, not the wife I promised to be and not the friend I need to be. Then I lace up those sneakers, put on some music and go. I may have to stop and walk for a bit. I may have to walk the entire way. Some days I surprise myself and see that I am strong and run the entire way. What I hear in my head when I need to slow down is "don't stop", "you are a fighter", "just take another step, and then another". The music I listen to motivates me to take another step. I sometimes regret taking the run. When it is hot out all my symptoms are intensified. Monday I ran or shall I say I tried to run and I spent the entire afternoon and evening feeling awful...almost flu-like with my symptoms.

This is when I go back to the struggle...do I or don't I? Give in or push harder? I am an all or nothing person...there is no middle for me. As I continue to wait and search for answers I try to remember the following
"With each step you take, you are farther from your starting point, closer to your goal, and stronger than you were a moment ago"
to be continued....