Friday, March 22, 2019

Emily, The Great Fall, and Life.

Great news on Emily, well most of it anyway. Her biopsy did show inflammation in her thyroid but no cancer! Also her MRI was clean. So Emily was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto's and they seemed to have have found a good medication for her so she is finally feeling better. She spent her Spring Break seeing multiple doctors but since she is feeling better it was all worth it. 

So because my life always seems to be chaotic last Saturday the 9th wasn't any different. I had spent the day cleaning outside and was very tired so I went in the house to take a shower. Mike had been shampooing the carpets in our bedroom and I didn't think about the fact it would leave residue on my feet. I have a very deep tub/shower combo and when I went to step into the tub I fell. My foot slipped and I remember thinking I would catch myself and I didn't. My body twisted sending my left leg up under the glass and I landed on my right ear/head. I felt shooting pain and just began screaming for Mike. He came to my aid and I don't think either one of us really understood how bad the fall was or how much worse it could have been. Over the next few hours and days my leg began turning lovely shades, my ear was bleeding, and my head was pounding. I assumed I would be fine but my friends and family got to listen to me whine a lot (A WHOLE LOT). So about a week later my boss made me go to get a concussion workup and when the urgent care saw my leg they sent me to the ER side. Sure enough yours truly waited an entire week and had a closed head injury, don't do that! Take it from me and get checked out. The point of this drawn out story about my clumsiness is that when I fell and Mike pulled me out of the tub I just sat on the bed and cried. I just broke. Maybe it was finally needed. I just cried and cried and cried. I said, WHY do things keep happening to us? Then I got up and saw a tree had fallen over on my chicken coop fence and I shook my head and walked off. 

Here is the thing, I could have died from the fall or had a compound fracture but I didn't. Emily's biopsy could have been must worse and Mike's chest pain could have been a heart attack. The coop fence can be fixed and all the other complete bull%%$@ we deal with never ever compares to losing Jude. So it's all fixable. However, for the first time I just said NO MORE. It was like a declaration to the universe that nothing else needed to happen to us. I know I cannot control this but I just felt I needed to let God and the Universe know that I couldn't take anymore. So from that moment forward I just started believing nothing else was going to happen and that I needed to distance myself from any type of negative news for awhile. So I am respectfully asking people to let me heal for awhile from everything that's happened and let me have a bit of a break. Spare me from sad news or tragedies unless it's vital. 

I have been spending more time outside walking our dogs, spending time with my good friends at wine nights, and watching lots of movies. So I am taking what steps I need to so I can decompress and recover from a rough ten years. Last night I sat and went through Jude's book from his funeral, it's something I needed to do. I don't remember a lot from his funeral and it was comforting seeing all the names of old friends and new friends that made their way to tell him goodbye. 

So it's been a joke that 2019 has started off absolutely terrible but I am declaring this the year of  a return to health and a positive state of mind. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Update On Emily And A Hard Weekend

I have been mulling around the words for this blog today but I am having a hard time properly articulating the exact emotions I am feeling. I worry about sounding down, defeated, or brimming in self pity. Honestly though I don't really care how I sound anymore because I am at my wits end. I haven't been very talkative today because I am processing all the thoughts I have and evaluating what's important in life. So I cannot handle bad news today or honestly much chit chat so forgive me if I am not answering you, I will. I talked with Em prior to posting this so she is on board with people knowing what's going on. I just ask people to refrain from texting or calling her because she is overwhelmed.  We have been hit by what seems like an endless cycle of tragic or stressful circumstances and each time one strikes we find a way to keep marching on. A sign that hangs in our house is, It's not about waiting for the storm to pass it's learning how to dance in the rain. However, sometimes the flooding from the hurricane is just too much. Sometimes it just takes a huge toll. 

On Saturday Emily called me and said she was being taken to the ER by her friends. Keep in mind Emily is in Tusacaloosa at school. I basically said, "What why?" I knew she has been having issues with the problem I referenced in my prior blog and has been very ill for weeks. She said her blood pressure was reading high around 145/85 and she had a high heart rate. She also mentioned her heart felt like it was fluttering. Having dealt with Jude's medical issues this is how my brain works in order....

High blood pressure - Probably anxiety
High heart rate - Probably medication related
Fluttering heart - concerning but I have heart palpitations so it could be hereditary, could be medication, could be multiple items. 
Hold it together mom and be calm on the phone. 

So I tell Emily to contact me once she reaches the hospital. A few minutes later she calls back and says when she stands up her heart rate soars over 150. Call 911 Em, and she did. They got her to the ER and thankfully most everything checked out normal. Her thyroid was off which was the issue from the start, she was having a panic attack from feeling so terrible, and side effects from the thyroid medication. So they released her knowing she had a Endocrinologist appointment yesterday at 11 am. However, prior to releasing her I was researching flights trying to get to Alabama because I had enough of being so far away from Emily while she felt so terrible. Mike talked me off the ledge and when the standby flights turned red I explained to Emily I just wasn't going to make it on a flight. 

Fast forward to her specialist appointment. I had an event in Dallas yesterday so when Emily called I excused myself and walked in the other room. She was trying to find her voice crying and I was once again scanning scenario's in my head and wondering WHAT was happening. So she calmed down and said she was diagnosed with Hashimoto's and then she informed me they found a nodule on her thyroid. They said there was a slight chance it could be Thyroid cancer but it's rare. For a minute the world seemed to spin and I muttered something to Emily who promptly reminded me she was calling ME to calm HER down. Of course of course I said and then asked what the next course of action was. They will do a biopsy of Emily's thyroid next Wednesday and they put her on new medication for her Hashimoto's. To do the biopsy they will insert a needle into her neck into her thyroid. Right after my call to Emily I called Mike who was now standing on the ledge with me in full force and also talking about flights. 

Emily then took paperwork from the school to the primary campus health department to have them fill it out for a type of college "disability." Which basically just means she's been dealing with an issue that has made her miss classes (keep in mind she made the Dean's list with this mess) and they will work with her professors regarding absences as long as she completes her work. The lady at the healthcare center must have been having a bad day because she was extremely rude to Emily. It's hard letting go of your children sometimes because the Mama bear in me wanted to call the department and professionally explain that their job was to make her situation less stressful not more stressful. College's wonder why we have issues with mental health. Anyway, I encouraged Emily to email the doctor directly and explain the entire situation and ask for help. She assured me she would do this. 

Here is the reality. 90% of these nodules are benign and I have no doubt Emily's will be too. I have no doubt that this is simply being caused by the Hashimoto's.  With that being said statistics can sometimes grate on our nerves with our family as a whole. Every time someone gives us a statistic we tend to be in the 10%.  We are literally the, "You have got to be kidding me." elephants that are in the room with everyone. That is the best description I could come up with. There really isn't much to say......we know we will get through this, we know not to let it get us down, we know it could be worse and we know all the other words of encouragement anyone can offer. The reality is we have faced many situations and they didn't turn out well so we are staying very positive but are still a bit scared so we have asked for lots of prayers.  People might just have to bear with us while we are a bit angry for a bit, I am sure it will pass soon. Emily is young and shouldn't be dealing with this and our family should really just get a pass on a child being sick. Once we get over being upset we will march forward yet again. I am quite sure Jude is helping us every step of the way and holding his sister's hand for sure. She is the one dealing with this head on and as usual she's amazingly strong. Emily has a resilience like no one I have ever seen and a great heart. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Waiting on the shoe to drop? Make it stop raining shoes!

Sometimes it gets to a point to where I feel like Eeyore always saying something has gone wrong. So here is the gist of the situation at hand. Mike is better but still having some issues regarding his heart so we still work to keep stress down, which isn't happening. Emily called us the other day and told us she just hasn't felt well for awhile now so she decided to go have a blood test. We haven't really said anything except to close friends and family but Emily mentioned she hasn't felt well on social media so I thought I would explain. Anyway basically per the blood test Emily is in fact dealing with an illness and one that's most likely an autoimmune. I am super impressed this dedicated girl made the Dean's list while she was SO sick. She is really suffering so if you could keep her in your prayers that would be great. She started her medication today and we are praying it helps her and gives her some relief. At first I was mad that I have another child that's ill but then I become grateful it was diagnosed and that it wasn't anything worse. Again, trying to see the silver lining. 

Then we encountered some more stress this week that isn't worth going into but then even more hit when this morning about 10am Mike called my work. He simply told me that he had been hit by an 18 wheeler. I asked, "Are you okay????" He replied, "Yes. Police are here I have to go." So I felt relieved he wasn't hurt but was wanting more information and very concerned and laughing because what the heck else are you going to do at this point but stress laugh. So finally Mike called me back and a semi backed into Mike pushing him into the car behind him. So we are grateful he wasn't hurt, grateful he was in a large truck, and thankful he wasn't in my Beetle because as Mike said, "He would have been up in your engine." His bumper is gone, his hood won't open, and his front is messed up but it's nothing that cannot be repaired. So again finding the silver lining. 

When does it become enough? About 10 years ago!! lol. I am a bit tired of looking for silver linings in life but Mike ever the best player of this mad game said, I would let everyday be like this if I could just have Jude back. Isn't that the truth so as hectic as life gets it's never as hectic as not having him with us. When I called Mike to tell him about Emily he said, "You know let's add more to the plate because I don't think there is enough. You know there are a lot of people out there that have had difficult lives and we really need to take some of their burden." haaaaaaa! The truth is that we are blessed and there are people that have VERY difficult lives and like I always say, everyone has a story it's what you do with yours that counts. 

God Bless and Happy Valentines Day. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Another Hard Blog With Good Tears

Mike and I have been dealing with a high stress situation yet again. One that landed him in the ER yesterday, he will be okay. However being back in the hospital always induces anxiety in both of us. Overall we handled the situation well but on the way home I just started crying at the thought of possibly losing him and the thoughts of when we lost Jude. I thought I would write out what happened when Jude passed for therapy reasons and because others just may relate. It's also my chance to finally thank so many that helped us. I have talked about a bit of this before but not the exact company's. 

It's strange when someone dies and being around death many times I can attest it's even more uncomfortable when it's a child's death. It's a mixture of feeling you don't know what to do but knowing you know exactly what to do all at the same time. I cannot truly explain what it's like to watch your child die but I can tell you that it leaves you in utter shock, then somehow you find a way to move even though you feel frozen in place. I called my dad and step-mom, I called Jude's nurse, and I called Mike's mother. All three families contacted asked if they could come over. It was odd to me at first because you think people just want to attend the funeral but they wanted to come see him before he left. I also called my aunt in Missouri. Those core people were all in charge of informing the rest of the family but not saying a word to Emily until we reached her. If you remember, Emily was away in Dallas. 

I remember picking up the phone and calling the funeral home and making arrangements for them to come pick Jude up. I then looked at Mike and asked him to go get some new Superman Pajama's from the store. It gave him a project because he was stunned in silence. I then contacted Trey Ganem who made his custom Superman casket and he had that item turned around and delivered within 48 hours. Mike made it to the store and said he was just standing in the children's clothing section and a clerk came over to ask him if he could help him locate something. Mike said, My son just died and my wife asked me to get him Superman pajama's." The clerk had him covered and helped Mike every step of the way. 

Once home with Jude's clothing his nurse Charlotte helped me bathe Jude, dress him, and fix his hair. That was disturbing to see Jude like that but comforting that Charlotte helped me make Jude look handsome. As family flowed in so did the funeral home who had a director by the name of Matthew who since had become a friend. He was kind, talked slow and calm, and helped every step of the way. He cried with us saying he had young children and he put his heart into everything he did. Lucas Funeral homes were truly amazing to us. They even joined in with Jude's theme. 

Matt gently explained at the house that they would be taking Jude out covered and loading him in the hearse to go to the funeral home. They told us to take our time but everyone was ready. Silently they covered his little body with a golden type of blanket and they asked Mike if he would like to push him. Mike agreed and it was one of the best things the funeral home could have done. We all silently followed behind Jude, then Matt advised us we would meet the next day, and then Jude was gone. It was so strange and so final. 

After that we had meetings with churches, friends, pastors, and more regarding music, speech's, flowers, and other items that were for the living. Jude however didn't have to worry about any of that. I think he just sat back and watched how much everyone loved him and how much he touched everyone's lives. 

So the waves of grief are smaller in height now and grower fewer between crashes but when one does hit me these are the flickering pictures that run through my head of the very worst day of my life but the best day of Jude's. He got to see heaven that day and that was pretty amazing I am sure.  I have learned through this difficult course that it's okay to have a grief day every once in awhile and to have a really good cry. I think it soothes the soul. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Dear Child 17 And Over, We Parents Owe You ZERO Financially

Most people know that my kiddo is at the University Of Alabama and I am proud to say that she is now thriving in her environment. Last year was rough for her and I truly believe Emily was thrust into a breakdown due to her grief and change in life patterns. Now she is doing so well and just made the Dean's list, which is not an easy thing to do. She also is maintaining a part-time job where she moves files online for my office. It's a pretty easy job but it allows her the opportunity to earn extra funds for her extracurricular activities. Not everyone approves of her working and that's okay, to each their own but I was raised to help contribute to my expenses and I wanted Emily to learn the same. So that made me start thinking about my childhood. Minus all the traumatic experiences it was full of valuable lessons. I sometimes stop and wonder if children are entitled these days or if times have changed so much that we have cash more readily available to give to them. 

As a child, we didn't have much money and my parents worked very hard for what we did have. I still believe we all work hard now but the income level has increased for many and therefore there is more to give. However, do we give too much? I remember never really knowing we were struggling as a child and having only fond memories. We lived in a small house in Fort Worth and I had plenty to eat and a cozy bed. I remember my mom couldn't afford a Halloween costume one year so she took one of my dad's oversized T-shirts and colored a big pumpkin on the front, she was quite artsy. This combined with a dollar store pumpkin hat made the perfect trick-or-treating attire. Our fun outdoors generally consisted of an old black intertube in a lake somewhere in our area. I am pretty sure that old floating device would be a costly vintage item now.  I remember my mom telling me not to turn on the Christmas bubble lights because they used too much electricity. If you don't know what those are you are missing out. 

My mom made great adventures out of very little money and I appreciated them very much. I am afraid my mom passed when I was 7, ironic since my son was 7 when he passed. Anyway, when my dad remarried we had two more children to add to the house and it was once again crafty on entertainment. Everyone helped out in the household with chores, there were no questions it was expected. Also as soon as my step brothers turned 15 they got a job. Everyone contributed and everyone helped and that's just how it was. Complaining wasn't allowed and rightfully so. 

I lived with my grandparents from 14 on and it was the same in their household. They were absolutely wonderful to me but you were expected to 1. help your family and 2. get a job. So it's very odd to me when I hear people tell me Emily shouldn't have a part-time job. Again everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I wanted her to learn what it's like to work for what you need and want. All of my friends had jobs in high school, it just was the norm. I remember when making weekend plans we just immediately asked, "what time do you get off work?" 

Let's face the facts. At 18 your parent owes you nothing financially according to the government and that's the harsh truth. To get technical the legal age in my state is 17. At that point you are living in THEIR house while they are paying YOUR bills. Of course, we all want to care for our children to the best of our ability and give them more than we had. However, sometimes I wonder if kids appreciate it all. I promise my grandparents made it perfectly clear, I will always be here for you, and I will always love you, but I don't OWE you. In fact, you're staying in my home while I feed, clothe, and school you so the least you can do is get a part-time job to help with your wants versus your needs. AMEN! There was never a lack of love in any of the places I lived but there were strict rules. 

I wanted Emily to know you are always on time at work, you cannot just quit, and you better never ever get fired! If you do there are consequences for your actions and they aren't pleasant. Like you better get some Ramen girlfriend. Because this is real life...........if you don't work you don't eat. If you don't work you don't have a place to live, you don't go on nice vacations, and you don't get those expensive shoes that are sitting on your feet. It may not even be an outside job but if you're not working outside (because of school) then you're most definitely working inside the house by helping cook, clean, and do household chores........every single day! 

Maybe I am just old school but it's just how I feel. We all parent different but I wanted to make sure the way I raised Emily was to instill a good work ethic in her. My cousin is the expert at raising her kids with a good work ethic. From a very young age, each child has their daily chore list and there is no question it has to be completed. By the time they're of work age they maintain their own job and take care of things like their cell phones, etc. I didn't put any bills on Em but that doesn't mean I cannot admire my cousin's plan. Her youngest daughter has maintained the same job for years while going to school and now at 20 fully pays all her own living expenses. That's something to be admired. 

What if all our kids understood that at a specific age we owe them NOTHING financially. I owe you love, I owe you respect, and I owe you my time/attention. I don't owe you your bills, your entertainment, presents, or your daily expenses. I do those things because I want to see you succeed, I do those things because I want to help, and I do those things to help you travel an easier path.  Again I just wonder if kids truly comprehended that nothing was "owed" to them how much more appreciative versus demanding they would be. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

A Display Sign Of Sickness

Anyone on my social media knows I have been battling an illness since July and I have now been plagued with pneumonia.  I wouldn't say I used to get annoyed with people that were sick or their posts but I would wonder why they just couldn't be positive. I used to be sure that those particular people who were constantly experiencing an illness or tragedy had to have their own negative underlying force propelling their situation. It seems karma took a big flat flyswatter and smacked me in the head with it teaching me humility and empathy. I cannot explain how irritated I am with resting in my bed because I am such a person on the go. Yet again this weekend I will be spending the majority of my time resting and trying to get better. Ironically all this came on after I started working out again. I had a friend joke that I should just get rid of the sage in my office and all things healthy and try the complete unhealthy route. We had a giggle over his comments. 

The consideration came up that maybe I was letting the grief over Jude control my life and my health. I don't think this is the case. I have no doubt that it has had a profound effect especially because Mike and I didn't sleep for more than 7 years. In fact, the doctor recently told Mike (who is ill too) that Jude's situation ravaged our bodies, but we wouldn't have changed anything. I believe that although grief effects us we also grow from it and learn to live again. We had a choice to give up or keep marching and out of a promise to Jude we kept marching. My aunt sent me this article yesterday and I think it perfectly describes our personal feelings regarding grief and it's lasting effects.

I am ready to get better though I can tell you that! I am looking forward to being healthy and take a weekend trip away with my husband somewhere! All those out there dealing with daily illness situations, you have my complete and total respect.