Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
This is my first year participating in the MS Walk. Last year at this time I had just completed my first half marathon (January 19.2009). I could not have told you then what Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was. I knew it was a disease, but nothing more. I could not have told you how long the journey would be from symptoms to diagnosis. I could not have told you that many MS patients have to wait months, even years to get the official diagnosis. I could not have told you the daily challanges one must face with MS or about the physical and mental pain someone with MS has to endure. I could not have told you of the total loss of control over ones body that occurs with MS. I could not have told you how it feels to fail at being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, all because you are too exhausted to function. I could not have told you how easy it would be for an extrovert to become an introvert. I could not have told you how difficult it is to tell your three little girls that once again "Mommy does not feel good" or the pain that can consume you when you look into those eyes only to see their disappointment of another day "Mommy needs to rest". LAST YEAR I COULD NOT HAVE PUT A FACE TO THIS DISEASE...
Well that was then and this is now. On January 21, 2010 I got confirmation by a second MS specialist. The face I will see when I hear the words Multiple Sclerosis will be my own. It's been a long year. It has been quite a journey up to this point. The road called Life has taken an unexpected turn in a direction no one would willingly choose for themselves. I may not have chosen this path, but He who did is where my faith lies. This journey is not my plan, but His. I will follow. As I follow I find that my plans are still the same, to be a devoted wife, to be a momma who encourages, inspires & supports my girls to be the best they can be. To be a friend who treats her friends the way she wants to be treated.
So when I ask you to support me in this new challenge, I ask you to SHINE a light on all who are stricken with this disease. I ask you to SHINE a light on the fact that there is no cure for MS. I ask you to SHINE a light on how much work needs to be done. I ask that when you think of MS, you think of me and that thought makes you want to SHINE a light on HOPE. Together, we will find a cure. Please walk with me April 24, 2010 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC. Please be a part of my team (The Village People). Please thoughtfully consider donating to the cause. My goal is to raise $5000. To SHINE my light on a CURE.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Those of you who know me well know I have a "sense of urgency". This is a phrase of have used in all aspects of my life, whether it be when I was working outside the home or now when I am home and volunteering. I have had a "let's get this done" kind of attitude. I like to consider myself a mover and a shaker...a doer...a woman of action...a go-getter...a grab life by the horns kind of girl, you get my point. I think this also classifies me as a "type A" personality also known as a "control freak."
These last two weeks have been nothing but humbling to me. As my health seems to spiral out of control and the medical community, in my eyes, taking no notice at all...I realize once again how little control I have. Doctor's offices not returning phone calls, not responding to their colleagues in a timely manner, the protocol and office politics are just enough to make a sane person crazy! Thankfully I have family and friends who pull me back from the edge. I thank God for putting these people in my life, for without them I have no idea where I would be.
After three weeks of trying to get a second opinion scheduled and finding that my first choice(3 hours away in Charlotte) was not available until April and the second choice (in Winston-Salem) was not available until the end of February, my third choice (in Chapel Hill) was not available for 18 MONTHS (seriously would anyone wait this long, ever?!?!?) and a fourth choice (in Charlotte and not even in the original plan) was not available for a month I had pretty much had enough. I was waiting for the doctor's to work all this out...BIG MISTAKE. Now after MUCH persistence, crying and a nose to the grindstone attitude I have an appointment next week locally. There were rules that needed to be bent. There were assurances that this would NOT be my doctor. I have been told that this is an exception, so many times, that I think they think I am a little slow on the uptake.
With that said I feel a small, tiny sense of relief. I feel that progress is being made. This does not take away any of my symptoms, in fact the process may have contributed to my most recent "flare up". Stress does not bode well for anyone who is seeking a second opinion. It amazes me that the medical community as a whole is so detached that this type of scenario is the "norm" not the exception.
I think I have an idea of what will happen next week...but one never knows. This roller coaster ride is an adventure to put it nicely. Twists, turns, reverse mode...you name it and it has happened. The best thing to come out of the past few weeks is a knowledge of no matter how crazy and unpredictable this ride is I have a solid support system in place. I have three beautiful girls who have learned how to be caregivers themselves with their words of encouragement, prayers and hugs. I have the absolute BEST friends anyone could ask for who have stepped up, filled in and helped me find those damn boot straps to pull myself up again.
And once again I remember that I am blessed.
Friday, January 1, 2010
This year I gained drops of spiritual strength and found that yet again when I ask He will provide for my heart and soul, no matter how long I may stray.
I gained drops of maternal strength. I watched in amazement when Jackie had surgery and healed her body with a resilience in only the way a 4 year old could. I've seen my Jenna go to both ends of the spectrum of emotions and find ways to make better choices. I remember how hard it was to see beauty in myself when I was 9 (and many other ages!) and am finding ways to show my Beautiful Julia ways to see her own beauty and build her self confidence. I have been lifted up by the arms of a five year old's embrace. I have been crying with laughter by a 7 year old's gift of humor. I have been brought to my knees with pride by the determination of a 9 year old to always do her best.
I have gained drops of physical strength as I trained and completed two half marathons despite the fact of being diagnosed with MS.
I have gained drops of inner strength. I have found this past year that deep down inside of myself I am a fighter. I have a will and a desire to live a full, productive life. I have determination and drive. I have a competitive spirit that makes me strive to be the best I can be. I have a giving heart and find much reward in giving something of myself to others. I have a sense of humor and the ability to make people laugh, even when all they want to do is cry. I have found a way to shed negativity and look for the positive. I have dug deep and pulled myself up by my bootstraps on more than one occasion this past year.
As I reread what I have written I am happy. I am grateful. I can appreciate the fact that this year has been very difficult in many ways but with that difficulty I became a better me. Without all the challenges I would not have grown. I would not have started to seek out the little drops in the bucket, the small victories that make it worth taking that next step. All the little drops add up over the year. I have gained more than half a glass full of drops. My cup is overflowing.
As you all reflect on this past year I encourage you to look for the positive, to let go of the negative and to try to see the small drops in your glass. It is empowering & uplifting to be able to find the beauty in your own self. I am hoping that my daughters will be able to see their beauty well before they turn 40. If not, I pray that when they do, they will see that all that has happened in their life has made them the amazingly, unique, beautiful women they have become.
"...my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life"