Monday, June 27, 2016

The Weekend Update

Mike went back to work today and we met for lunch. I wanted to see how he was doing and we were discussing some items about the sale of our house. The inspection went well on our property and we will be selling and closing on 7/26. It's bitter sweet to be packing up the home that has treated us so well for the last 8 years and 2 months. However behind every turn we see Jude's sweet smiling face and that continuously breaks our hearts. We have found a home in Argyle that we love and we have put in an offer so we are saying lots of prayers that the owner will accept. The house is in a peaceful setting and has about everything we had wanted and ironically was originally built by relatives of a family member. 

We got Mike out of the house this weekend and it was so nice to spend time with him. He got rather tired later in the day but overall he did very well. We had to get Emily a swimsuit so we went to a few stores and I caught myself starting to cry as I passed through the little boys clothing section. I used to tear up because I realized Jude would never use items like underwear or swimsuits. However walking through and realizing you will never buy them clothes again because they are gone is much different. I mentioned how I wished Jude was going with us to the new house but a part of me knew that wasn't true. I wouldn't want Jude to suffer anymore and slowly I am beginning to realize that my difficult loss only means freedom for Jude. 

I am beginning to see some of the affects of Jude's loss and Mike's heart issue in Emily. It has been a tough year for her and without details it's gotten even harder. I am sending Emily away for a week to be with her family in Missouri. I know she is going to have a blast and when she gets back we will be ready to start packing. The realization that Emily will be leaving soon too is lingering in the back of our minds. I know she will be home to visit and I am proud I have raised a beautiful lady on the inside and out. She has what it takes to make herself a success and I know she will do well on her own. 

Mike and I have seriously discussed adoption within the next couple of years and I am preparing everyone know that this is a high possibility. I think it will be great for both of us and I think Mike is realizing what an impact he can make on the life of a child (or two). 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grief Fatigue And Mike's Update

In normal fashion I am trying to bounce back and handle the situation at hand. I am more calm today and I am thinking about everything more rationally. People have been asking me how Mike is but in all honesty I just don't know. The heart is hidden under many layers of skin and bone and it's not something that gives you a daily reading. I can tell you he is in pain from the inflammation around the heart and he is in pain from the procedure area. He sleeps a lot due to the medications but rest resets the body so I look at that as a positive. I set him an appointment with the doctor for tomorrow morning as a follow up prior to thinking about going back to work. That's another hurdle......work. I am not sure his current position is conducive to his current health situation but I know his company considers him an asset and I have faith they will work with him on finding how he can be most useful in a safe environment. Mike is a big strong man who looks after his family and having something like this happen can weigh heavily on a man psyche. I know it affects him but he will always be big strong Mike to us!

Our inspection on our house for the buyers is this morning so Mike has ventured out of the house for the first time since his hospital stay. He and Emily are heading about a mile from our house to a movie theater. They figured that would be a good place to sit and not to strenuous. Knowing Emily she will have him watching Finding Dory, lol!  He may put up a big fight though. 

I feel pretty alone in all this but I know I am not. I also know my Facebook and blog posts are frequent and can be overwhelming to others. I learned there is something called grief fatigue. This is where your friends and family begin to pull away, hide your posts, or scroll past you. I assure you that if you need to do this it's normal and okay. There comes a point when you aren't sure what to say or how to help to someone grieving or going through a tragedy and a natural reaction is to pull back. I had someone also explain that grief fatigue is a reminder to others that have not suffered a tragedy that life can be incredibly devastating in an instant. However with that being said someone who is grieving or handling a stressful situation needs to do whatever it is that makes them process each day to the best of their ability. If that's posting frequent updates on Facebook or a blog then that what I need to do. I also have learned through Jude's situation that information trickles out whether you post or not. So for me posting updates deters repetitive texts and questions. Also know that your posts, texts, and sweet emails do help. I understand there are no words in a situation like ours so don't feel you need to search for them just knowing people are there to listen is enough. 

So I am not sure what our next steps will be regarding finding a new place to live. We are waiting until the option period is over and maybe even into July before we make any steps. I am not sure if we will rent for a year until we know the entire situation at hand or if we will move forward to find a new home. I have decided I just need to take things one step at a time. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Just Angry!

Mike is pretty sick but he is doing well. I believe he has realized that Emily and I really need him here so he is doing his best to get through this. Watching a grown man go through such terrible grief is heart wrenching. He literally has a broken heart. 

I am very angry today and this is a normal reaction. I am angry we are enduring yet another hardship. I have been on my knees and asked God not to let anything happen to Mike or Emily. I have explained to him that I would not make it through another loss. So there are times that you question your faith when going through a situation like this. We have become that "You have got to be kidding me" family and I don't like being that family. Mike and I were watching, "We Bought A Zoo" last night and Mike said he wanted to go out and buy a zoo with beautiful land. I agreed and we both did have a laugh which was nice but the reality is we just want to run away. Get away from the everyday life of tragedies, work, and bills. It all follows right behind wherever you run though. 

I actually feel sorry for people right now because everyone's words are the WRONG thing to say and on my nerves. It's an absolute no win situation for people. If you say something I get irritated if you don't say something I get irritated so I apologize now.  If you say something about his diet and exercise I really get irritated because that means you don't properly read my updates. This will go away in time and I promise I don't bite I just sigh. 

I am working until 3 today and then I am picking up our dog from surgery (yes not kidding....that damn family again) and heading home. Emily has her senior pictures at 3:30 and I want someone around Mike. So I got to work super early so I could leave by the time I needed to. Luckily both our works are yet again working with our schedules and what's going on in our life. 

I am frustrated but life move on and eventually I trust the clouds will lift and we will all be healthy. I will do my best to push my Eeyore attitude to the side. Working on Emily's 5k event has been a good distraction so I am continuing to do that with her. I cannot believe it's already so close. 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Diagnosis and a Lesson for us all

Mike's official diagnosis is myocarditis with pericarditis. So he did not suffer a heart attack but his condition is so serious that everything electrical and blood wise puts off the same readings as a heart attack. One doctor agreed to let Mike go home today with four medications and strict instructions to rest. Another doctor disagreed and said Mike's bloodwork is very worrisome. The first doctor won and we are at home. The doctor knew our past and I can only assume he trusts us to abide by the instructions. I am staying home with Mike tomorrow to make sure he is taken care of and then Emily is filling in the rest of the week while I work. She has a complete list of symptoms to watch for that will warrant a 911 call. She is also going to make his breakfast and lunch so if anyone feels compelled to drop of lunch Mike will appreciate it...haha. It's a lot of responsibility to put on a 17 year old but she wants to be a nurse and I have no doubt she can do this with her training from Jude.

I will be honest like I always have been on my blog, I am scared. I am scared of losing my rock, my best friend, my darling husband. I am angry my family has been thrust once again into a medical spotlight that gathers sympathy and worry. However I am incredibly grateful for the influx of prayers because I do believe where two or more are gathered God is with them. Mike's condition is extremely worrisome but I am going to have faith he will and can pull through this. We did discuss some sensitive information tonight and exchanged our worries and love for each other. It was needed and now we put one foot in front of another. Lying in bed after a child dies can increase a cloudy day so I am going to come up with some ingenious ideas to this spirits. I might enlist some help so hopefully my friends are open to that.

We had a few people offer words of advice about diet or exercise but I want to point out something very important we can all learn from this. Not everything that has to do with the heart is based on what you eat and how much you exercise. As stated Mike's blood pressure is great, he can walk up to 15,000 steps at work in the heat (another possible issue), and he had ZERO plaque build up. In other words overall his heart looks VERY healthy structurally. Some heart conditions are brought on by viral infections that attack the body, stress, grief, bacteria, or a combination there of. So if you for any reason experience chest, back, or arm pain get seen. Mike had serious neck pain that eventually presented in his left elbow and shoulder. The phrase we kept hearing was, "THANK GOD you came in!"

So if anything I hope my readers remember that it started with just neck pain! Thank you for your continued prayers and support.



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Did My Husband Have A Heart Attack?

Have you ever been in a situation where you say enough is enough? Yea enough.

On Wednesday my husband Mike started feeling sick and called into work to rest. The following days he wasn't any better and began telling me he had the Zika virus, he was joking. Anyway last night Mike was complaining that his neck hurt terribly and he just overall didn't feel well. We tried going to sleep but he spent the better part of the night tossing and turning while moaning in pain. Finally about 6:45 Mike woke me up and said he thought we should go to the ER. I wanted to call an ambulance but you know men are stubborn. So I drove him to the hospital with the expectation that we would hear he had an infection of some sort.

Once we got to the ER the lovely triage nurse asked us what was going on. In Jude fashion I blurted out respiratory rates, heart rates, temp, and realize this time it was for my husband. The nurse decided to do an EKG and she looked at me and said, "I think your husband has suffered a heart attack or is about to." What the F*&^??? I kept calm because I know these things can be misdiagnosed. I followed her back to the room where a flood of people infiltrated our area. They set up another EKG which read concerning, blood was drawn, people were talking, needles were sticking, and Mike was hovering. Soon the ER doctor came in stating he didn't think it was a heart attack but something happened, whew relief. Then the ER doctor came back and never mind bloodwork indicates a heart attack, oh hell. At this point my blood is boiling and under my breathe I utter "really LIFE...REALLY?" Again I stayed calm waiting on more answers and understanding we were just in the ER. I hugged Mike and told him everything would be okay. So then a very amazing and nice cardiologist came into the room and got down on bed level with Mike. He looked at both of us and explained something serious had happened to Mike heart. He explained they would be taking him into the cath lab to thread a wire up his groin into his heart to look for possible damage or blockages. Mike asked me if I could go and I explained there is no way they would let me in a sterile environment but assured him he would be fine. The doctor asked me to come with him and he explained they were bringing in a team of specialists that were not at the hospital yet. If Mike needed a blockage removed they would perform the surgery right then. He then asked if I needed a chaplain and then I panicked. I told him I didn't feel well and he looked at me and said "you are fine." Yes I said I am fine this is about Mike. I told him I didn't need a chaplain but to call one for Mike and I needed to make calls. I called my immediate family and friends explained the situation as calmly as a could. My family said I sounded like a professional robot reading off a list of item. I then posted on social media because I felt all the prayer we would get would be beneficial and they worked or at least for the time being they did. Within 20 minutes the doctor came back out telling me Mike's heart looked structurally sound and he believes he suffered a mild heart attack brought on by stress and grief. He prognosis looked great, oh sweet relief.

Then the day wore on and the news didn't stay positive. Mike had another abnormal EKG, but a good echo, then a bad blood draw, but a decent CT scan. So where do we stand? Hell I don't know. The diagnosis and plans keep changing but that's what you have to do when dealing with medicine. It's good that Mike's heart looks structurally sound. It's not good his enzymes keep increasing. So the plan is to take his blood again at 4am. If the enzymes have increased again then a new plan of action must be taken to find out what the cause of this is. Either it's still a mild heart attack or it could be a swelling or infection around the lining of the heart causing the heart to spasm. The other options are limited but out there. They must find the source and get it controlled and get Mike's heart regulated. The other part of this is the grief. The doctor said Mike's blood pressure is great, his height/weight good, his cholesterol good. This is a grief/stress induced situation with something underlying. He also said he believes all the years of sleep deprivation we had probably caused some permanent damage to Mike's organs but it's a matter of finding out what. Grief is awful. People just don't understand. Just because you have to keep going doesn't mean your body want's you to.

So we should have more information tomorrow. I have come home to shower, brush my teeth, and sleep for a few hours. I am mad and in shock but I am here for my husband. I am praying and hoping that all works out okay.

Ironically of all days we got a contract on the house, lol! We lost the house we wanted Argyle. So we will figure it out but it will be a much needed change in scenery.

I am very tired so I if this doesn't make sense I apologize. Mike is at Baylor in Grapevine and I will keep you updated.


Friday, June 17, 2016

To Lane Graves Parents (Alligator attack)

Over the last few days I have felt compelled to reply to negative posts concerning the death of the 2 year old child in the alligator attack. I have shared various blogs and articles written in the defensive of the mother and father explaining that horrible tragic accidents happen in life. I have shared the information that our society has become riddled with judgement and those behind keyboards find it easy to blame others. What I haven't done is talk about how my heart absolutely aches for these parents. 

So I am telling them now how very sorry I am for their loss and how sorry I am to all the parents who have to bury a child. I have been there. I have watched my child die and I have sat there moments later in shock wondering what to do and what to say. I have gone to get in my bed at night wondering how to sleep and how the world continues to turn. I have gotten up the following morning knowing I had to make arrangements and not knowing if I could follow through with them. I have walked into a funeral home knowing I had to pick out a tiny casket and make decisions no parents should ever make. I have walked a cemetery in the thick humidity scoping to find the perfect piece of land to place my son in. I have walked into a church that had a tiny casket placed in front that I knew held my sons little broken body. I have suffered a horrible panic attack before walking with the family to our assigned seats for my sons final goodbye. I have had to comfort others through my time of grief because my sons loss was so great. I have lovingly read every single card and tribute that people wrote to me in a grief induced fog but took in every word to my heart. I have questioned if I could have done more to save my child but realized there just wasn't anything that could be done. 

I have looked at headstones and had to make decisions about colors, stones, and verbiage. I have picked the perfect picture to memorialize my son forever etched in the stone for years to come. I have had to go back to work when my entire world has crashed to take care of other people's needs when I can barely take care of my own. I have had nights where I drown my sorrows in wine only to feel like walking hell the next morning. I have had days that seem amazingly good for a change and in an instance a familiar word or thought brings me to tears. I have had to remind others that although life goes on grief never ends and a parent never gets over the loss of their child. I have had to find my voice and speak up when I feel something bothers me or the wrong words are spoken. 

I can tell you that the upcoming days will be terrible and the grief is overwhelming. I beg you to find comfort in your marriage and hold on to your partner but let them have space to grieve as well. When the flowers start to die, the food begins to disappear, and everyone returns to their lives you will find a new extension of family. You will find a new club that you never wanted to be a part of and that's other parents that have lost their children. There are groups out there including one I am a part of with parents expressing what you are feeling but you might not be able to voice. Just knowing someone can relate is sometimes a bit of comfort. 

It's heart breaking and horrible. You will feel like your heart may stop beating from the sheer pain of grief but it somehow keeps going on. In your child that lives you will find a bright light or salvation and hope. They say time heals all wounds but with the death of a child time just reshapes grief into something more manageable. Know this is about you and your loss right now and no one else so take the time you need. I feel there is no restriction on grief when losing a child from days, months, or years. It's about your healing and those that truly care for you will understand that. 

Know we are here for you when you are ready. Your kindred spirits who cannot understand what you are going through fully but can relate and we are devastated for you. From all across the globe we are sharing our love and cry for you. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Only Love

I am sitting here a bit conflicted about what to write but I know I want to blog. This week I shared a post on my Facebook about how some American's don't treat the grieving in the proper manner. If you missed that post you can catch this poignant information at the following link:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-e-steinke/stifled-grief-how-the-wes_b_10243026.html

I do believe that we have a stigma attached to our society regarding grief and how people process those feelings. Social Media has introduced a new gateway to grief that some friends/family may feel uncomfortable with. We the grieving find people deleting or hiding us because they cannot handle the seemingly negative posts when those helpless unhappy feelings are a part of the actual grieving process. It's those that can handle the angry, unhappy, sometimes thoughtless behavior that make it to the other side with us. I am lucky that the majority of people surrounding us have been very understanding. 

If you read in the article it seems that year 2 is the hardest.........not year 1. Shocking to the reader but not shocking to the person living through the loss. We have swarms of amazing people lacing our sides right after we lose someone we love but we still need those people when the seemingly normal life returns. I personally can admit I went back to work to soon. This was my sense of duty as a woman torn between there for my family emotionally and being there for my family financially. I should have taken more time off. However I think I have done pretty well except for the occasional freak out where I must leave because I am feeling overwhelmed. My work has been very understanding. I guess the advice I can give is to allow yourself time to properly grieve. If you don't then you are not benefiting yourself, your family, or your work place. Sometimes I sit here wondering how people can think I am actually normal when I want to scream with ever fiber of my being. I want everyone to know that my son is DEAD and it makes me so very angry!! Then other times I remember how incredibly sick he was and I am just thankful for the time I had with him. We still take things day by day and I am sure we will for a long time. Some moments life seems to be moving forward and then there are those where we feel lost. We are ready to move from our house and work on a new project. We are hoping this finally starts to happen for us.

I had a dream last night that I was in Orlando with several of my friends. We were standing against a wall near Disney when someone opened fire and I turned to my side. I felt bullets hit me and I woke up. This morning I turned on the TV and saw the shocking news of the terror attack. I know my dream was only a coincidence but I was breathless. I started to cry thinking of those poor parents and how they will get the news their child has died. How family members will have to plan funerals and how much hate floods our world. I am thankful Jude never knew any type of hate and only love. I wish we could all know only love.