Friday, December 21, 2018

How Do We Fix The World Today?

Being around the pageant industry I am always hearing possible on stage questions for the contestants. One of the recent questions I heard was, "With all the tension in America today what would you do to improve relations between different groups and individuals?"

I sat back and thought about what my answer would be and honestly I couldn't formulate an exact way to fix relations. However, my mind drifted to Jude and I began to think about all he taught me. I don't know how to fix relations but I know I had a little boy born who suffered a massive bilateral stroke. He couldn't talk but he really didn't need to because Jude had a way of communicating without even speaking a word. Jude loved everyone he met regardless of their race, religion, sexual preference, or political stance. So I may not know how to fix our world but maybe it starts with striving to be more like Jude. A little boy who changed those he met with pure love and smiles. 

Seems like a great goal to just try and put good energy into the world. I can only imagine the impact if we all met that goal this year. 

Merry Christmas.  

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Funeral and Friends

The other day I subjected myself to watching, "Steel Magnolia's" for the first time in a long time. I am not sure why I do that to myself but I do love that movie. I am sure that you remember that I used a line from that movie in Jude's eulogy. "Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when he drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life."   I was telling a friend the other night through my streaming tears that it's still the most realistic depiction of child loss to me. Which is interesting since it was written about a true story but from a brother's perspective, however, he captured my feelings perfectly. I have written about this movie before and the same feelings still apply. 

When Shelby passes and her mom walks into the waiting room on a mission to retrieve Shelby's clothes and pick a funeral home is so realistic to me. You begin to think about a situation you never dreamed you would be dealing with. It's your child's last more birthday parties, no weddings, and no graduations. It's planning their final send off to the best of your ability. You think about their clothing and sit in shock in a funeral home as everyone chatters around you. You are just on a mission to make it beautiful and meaningful. 

I related a lot to the friendships in this movie. My friend Kelly is most definitely the very embodiment of Claree and many my other core friends fill the other roles.  I don't remember many parts of the day we buried Jude but I do remember my friends watching me like hawks. They did this purely out of concern for my well being. I tried to be very strong that day but at one point they came knocking at the church bathroom door wondering if I was okay. I wasn't. I was panicking because I knew that I was about to say goodbye to Jude for the very last time. They could tell when I came out that I wasn't okay so my friend grabbed her firefighter husband who helped calm me down. I then rerouted the entire entrance for the family to the funeral through a side door versus in the middle of the church. It just let me breathe a little easier. 

My meltdown wasn't beside the casket like in the movie it was before and then after I put on a quiet smile as we attended a luncheon that was provided for us. My friends and family came together when Jude passed in a way that is almost indescribable. In fact my grandmother said, "I have never seen better friends and people move so quickly to make things happen." All I had to tell my friends was I would like balloons, large photo displays, and a few other things and they moved like clockwork. They didn't need to ask my opinions they just made it all happen. 

At the luncheon, my friends asked for a photo and it felt almost wrong to me to try to smile on that day but I am glad we have a memory of all they did. I am thankful for them. 

"I feel fine. I feel great. I could jog to Texas and back, but my daughter can’t. She never could. I am so mad I don’t know what to do. I want to know why. I want to know why Shelby’s life is over. How is that baby ever going to understand how wonderful his mother was? Will he ever understand what she went through for him? I don’t understand. Lord I wish I could. It is not supposed to happen this way. I’m supposed to go first. I’ve always been ready to go first. I can’t stand this. I just want to hit somebody until they feel as bad as I do. I . . . just want to hit something . . . and hit it hard. " Ma'Lynn's monologue.

So very true every part of it and my friends would have definitely had me take a whack as Ousier.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Advice and Goals.

So you get three blogs from me this week which means I must be feeling more like myself again. My eye is swollen today and my face hurts but that's okay. The stretches between these flare-ups is getting longer and longer, which to me means I am healing. So this week I have been approached twice by people I know for recommendations for a child neurologist. It makes me sad that anyone I know would have the need for a neurologist but having a good neurologist that cares for your child is vital. So I thought I would share a few things I learned with Jude just in case that could help any of my readers. 

1. Jude saw lots of doctors and his best doctors knew his case without even opening his file. Over time they began to truly care for Jude and always had his best interest at heart. His neurologist even quietly showed at his funeral slipping in the back and then slipping out just as quickly to get to his next patient. The neurologist we picked listened...truly listened.

2. A good doctor may be a far drive but a good doctor is worth it.

3. A fever isn't always a scary thing, even a high fever. Sometimes a fever is just doing its job and fighting the infection.

4. The internet can be a plethora of useful information but it can also be an unnecessary added stress so always consult with a physician before scaring yourself.

5. You are your child's best medical advocate. It's okay to say no to a physician, it's okay to ask for a second opinion, and it's okay to request additional treatment.

6. Always fight a denial on insurance or Medicaid. They're counting on 3 out of 5 people to not challenge them. I was flat out told this when I won my 8th appeal for nursing for my son.

7. Keep video's and journals if you suspect your child is having seizures or spasms. They are can be vital for a proper diagnosis.

8. A medical momma has a whole new outlook on things like medications and vaccinations, don't judge her or yourself.

9. It's okay to say no to friends and family. Your child's health is far more important than a get-together or holiday.

10. Only go to a pediatric ER if you suspect something is wrong. Any time we went to a regular ER we were transported or they were just lost. They can be great for a broken arm but anything that's complicated needs a pediatric emergency physician.

11. If your child doesn't have trunk control to sit look into Danbar Hensinger head support, A Bumbo chair, The Tomato seat, and a KidCart or wheelchair with a headrest. These are all amazing tools.

12. A G button or feeding tube sounds scary but it can be a huge blessing in disguise. You can give medications without fighting or throw up.

13. Lots of momma's are here with you and always available for you to ask questions or reach out to.

That's just a few tidbits I thought I would pass along. 

So has anyone set their goals for 2019? I have sat down and thought about what I really want this year and these were my top 5. 

1. For the first time in years, I want more time for me. I also want quiet time to be with my husband that’s not riddled with sadness or tragedies.
2. I plan on getting in shape again and by April. Seems short but I can do it. I have before.
3. I would like an amazing trip somewhere filled with history like Italy.
4. I’d like to help Emily reach her goals
5. I will have the best year at work I’ve ever had

What are your goals? Share with us. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Do we really listen?

Sometimes I believe truly listening to another person is an art. I have poured my heart out over the last few weeks about an issue coming up in our lives and I feel like no one is listening. So I sat down this morning and started contemplating what it truly means to listen to someone else, I know I have failed to properly listen to people and I know women speak with emotion which can make it more difficult for men and others to sometimes comprehend the message. 

However, if we truly listen I believe it can help relationships grow, it can help you learn, it can help you heal emotionally and help others heal, and it can stop arguments. It can also solely help people obtain happiness and that's a huge accomplishment. I know more than once I have asked a friend that was upset, "did you talk to them about it?" and the answer is generally no. I think when we don't listen or properly communicate we are basically saying that person's feelings don't really matter. That there well being doesn't really matter and that's not okay. 

I read a quote by Stephen Covey that said, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply." Profound and true. So which applies to you? The ability to listen and understand or listen to reply? Does others happiness mean much to you or is your main concern just satisfying people and moving on. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

What inspires us?

I know it's been a while since I have written. As my aunt says life has just been pretty lifey lately and I have been overly busy. The good news is my eye situation seems to finally be resolving. I did see a new neurologist that I absolutely adored! She did multiple tests which concluded that whatever affected my face attacked my 5th, 7th, and 8th cranial facial nerves. That would account for the paralysis, swelling, and the ringing in my ears. She was honest and said we may never know what virus caused this issue or if this is an underlying autoimmune disorder that's not registering on the ANA. She did order another MRI and a host of other tests but I have taken a step back and I am wondering if it's all worth it if we will never know. So I am waiting to see if the situation is truly improving before subjecting myself to more tests. Right now my eye has not swollen in about two weeks, it just twitches and the pain is much better. 

So obviously this time of year isn't the easiest for us but we are here and grateful for Emily and all those around us. We miss Jude terribly and I honestly also miss having a young child to share the wonder of Christmas with. I still frequently think about adoption but we will be taking in Mike's mom and his brother so I am not sure it's an option. I still have time so it's still something I think about. 

Emily shared a video yesterday and it inspired me and also made me think of Jude. No matter how much pain Jude was in he always tried to muster a smile for us and was always so inspirational. I encourage everyone to watch this young mans story. I love the guy that does Special Books by Special Kids and how he spreads the children's inspirational messages. When we as adults get down due to our job, bills, relationships, or daily woes it's generally a child that puts life truly in perspective for us. They remind us to work on gratitude, loving ourselves and others, and giving all we can to the gift we have been given in our health and life. Sometimes we get so down over things that are truly minute in comparison to what these children endure. I also see that many of these kids believe in themselves more than we adults ever believe in ourselves. It's a reminder to stop and enjoy the little things, to not accept anything less than you deserve, and to always give back. So what inspires you? 

I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas. 
Happy Holidays everyone from our family to yours. Love Jenn, Mike, Emily and Angel Jude. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Updates and Benches

So a quick update. My MRI was clean, bloodwork says I am healthy as a horse, and the only thing that was off the charts was my Ebstein Barr antibodies. Which the doctor said was an indication that I had mono some time in my life. The strange thing about being involved in a tragedy like losing your mother very young is you become a bit of a family focus. I can promise I never had mono or my family would have known. Not even anything that resembled mono. So the doctor still maintains they believe I got something viral that attacked my facial nerves, muscles, and possibly my brain. So if I see anyone after this it will be the neurologist. Which I do still have ringing in my ears and I battle headaches but overall I am much better than I was! I personally think this WAS mono which explains the antibodies and is why I couldn't get out of bed. It's the reason I felt so incredibly exhausted for so long and we finally tested for autoimmune at a point the illness was going away. Again it's all just a guessing game. So my lasting effects may be the ringing in the ears and the eye swelling when I am tired or stressed. I can live with that. I feel like I can live with ANYTHING after feeling so crummy for so long. 

So yesterday we had a buddy bench installed at Jude's elementary school which will promote inclusion, friendships, and smiles. It will also be a lasting memorial to Jude. The school provided a dedication ceremony and it was very touching and emotional. We were grateful for their kind words about Jude and their memories of him. I miss him every day. It was so great to see Jude's nurses who attended.  Sometimes it's hard to convey to people just how much. I miss going home and holding him as we watched TV and how he loved to snuggle. As I drove away from the school yesterday I thought I could see Jude sitting on the bench and he was smiling. I am sure he was. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

To curse or not to curse

(From 9/19)

I once read an entry to a blog that said if you can’t take a little cussing about a difficult situation then you shouldn’t read my entries. I’m on that same wavelength these days so I tend to share the same sentiment.

My husband isn’t feeling well and I know it’s from stress but if anyone is strong it’s Mike Ortiz and I know he will be okay. However keeping his stress down is something I would like to see people put more effort into controlling. He has been through a lot in the last decade and I would like to keep
him as healthy as I can. Sometimes I feel like people work against him as much as they can to make things as hard as possible. 

So this morning I woke up about 3am with an incredible headache and I could feel my right eye in its heavy position. So I confirmed the issue in the mirror and tried to go back to sleep but the sandman skipped my house. I knew that I had pushed myself to complete my quotes at work and the screen time had probably taken its toll along with multiple other tasks I’ve been trying to compete. My work was ever understanding that I needed an hour to rest before charging into work. I feel like when I’m out or late the brunt of my work falls on my friend and coworker Paula but she never complains. I finally scheduled my MRI, let’s hope I have the courage to complete it. I feel like such a wimp that I cannot complete something as simple as an Mri. However part of me feels it’s just a damn waste and it’s not going to show a thing. I want the MRI to be clear but on the other hand, I would love to find something that can be easily cured to stop this ringing in my ears, fatigue, and multiple other issues.

With that all being said I realized a few things tonight. That even though I have a serious situation going on I am still NOT a victim! Lately, I’ve struggled with this feeling because I’m
always on the go and suddenly I cannot go go go. When I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed I felt trapped and like a miserable piece of crap but that’s not the case. I realized God gives us the capabilities to handle every situation, it's just up to us to use what's been given to us. In our case life has dealt us a lot of tragedy that makes us a victim but we don't have to feel or act like a victim, does that make sense?  

There are a lot of times in life we can all act like a victim. 

1. When we have something catastrophic happen
2. When others have tragedies and we live through their situations. 
3. When it's easier to blame others for the hand you've been dealt or the hand you created. 
4. When we cannot forgive and let go
5. When we don't take responsibility for how our actions affect our lives. 
6. When we constantly feel sorry for ourselves and feel like everyone is judging us. 

So it's a matter of putting our big girl or boy underwear on and pulling ourselves together.  I figured the only thing I can do during my situation is to continue to smile and do my best. If I am late for work, I still made it to work. If I need to cancel plans with others to rest, then that's what I will do. I will work on complaining less about my pain but understand that expressing frustration is also healthy. I will continue to march on! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Life Update 15 million

It is lunch time so I thought I would take some time to update my blog and all the updates surrounding our life. Unfortunately, Mike's father did pass away and yesterday we had his funeral. He had a beautiful Catholic mass followed by an awe-inspiring burial at the National Cemetery in Dallas. I had to smile several times at his services when the little children attending were acting up, running up an aisle, or making noise. I noticed their parents would get flustered but I could hear Mike's dad say (in his gruff voice), "You leave them alone they're alright!" He loved his grandkids and great-grandchildren. Mike seems to be okay but he does bounce around between emotions and I think he knows the next month is going to be very stressful. I won't go into the details because some things are better kept private but it's going to be a thorny path. I was incredibly grateful to my friends and family that shows up, sent items, and were so supportive of my husband and his family. It was very touching! 

I know people are wanting updates on my health and I don't know much more yet. The doctor did a battery of autoimmune tests the other day and so far the Lyme, Ana Wreflex, Rheumatoid, and C reactive are all negative. I am pending several other results. That's good and bad. It's great there is nothing showing up but it's frustrating we still don't have an answer. The doctor did have a reaction to an event the other day at his office. I explained I was overall feeling better or that I have learned how to manage the situation. I do feel better than I did so that's a positive! Anyway, I explained the night my husband's father died my eye began swelling and drooping again. By the time I got home, I had a throbbing headache and eye pain. He looked at me and said hmmmmmmm that's a stress reaction which leads me to believe this isn't viral." I replied, "neurological" and he shook his head in agreement. He then insisted I get the MRI. Which I know I have to get and yes I have delayed it because I cannot find an open MRI and I am extremely claustrophobic. I know they will probably have to medicate me and just booo. 

My emotions and my brain seem to be wrestling with each other lately. My emotional self-tells my body that if it wants to be well it CAN be well. That if I want to be the storm like in the meme below I can be a hell of a hurricane. That I don't need a diagnosis and I can heal all this with some goat yoga and more. Then my brain steps in and takes over my body and like at the end of the funeral events yesterday it reminds me something truly is going on. My eye began to droop, my body began to ache, my head began to throb and my daughter said, " Mom your face!! We need to go!" It's a very weird feeling to feel out of control of your body. I feel for those that suffer for so long without answers, mines just been two months. 

The rest of life is going well but still chaotic. Mike's niece who I adore just had a baby. I have always felt like babies come to the world when we lose someone we love because the one we lost opens a place for them on Earth. I feel the person we lost leaves an imprint on the child, it may sound crazy but it's just my thoughts. Anyway, his niece wound up back in the hospital with a bad infection so I am saying some prayers for her! 

I have a family member that is a youth pastor, I will save the name for anonymity, haha. Anyway, she said during prayer time at the church she filled out a card for my family that said " I am praying for all the shit to stop" and the pastor read it out loud. I guess the pastor knew that sometimes there are just no other words. 

Overall I am still very grateful for our blessings, I miss Jude with all my heart, and I am so happy I got to see Emily for a few days. There are always silver linings. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

What happened Friday and Jude's birthday.

I have had a few days to process everything and I wanted to share what happened Friday. I also didn't want to say anything until we knew more and had all the details. It seems we have that now. 

Mike and I were set to leave on our vacation that would give me a much needed break from life and a chance to celebrate Jude. The day before we left they found Mike's father unresponsive and rushed him to the hospital. His dad has battled lung disease for awhile now and was in a rehab facility after a recent battle with pneumonia. Even though his dad had a DNR someone at the facility intubated him anyway, which in my opinion is just cruel. Mike's mom insisted we go on our vacation assuring us no one would make any decisions until we got back, so we left. About an hour into our drive we get a text that Mike's mom was now found unresponsive, no I am not kidding. The text explained that they needed someone that could make medical decision at the hospital ASAP and so.....we pulled over. Mike and I both shed some tears, not because our trip was cut short but because life is so hard sometimes. So Mike took me home and picked up his brother who is staying with us. I have been so sick that I didn't think it was the best idea to be in a hospital setting. I learned from Jude that more germs lace a hospital than anywhere else. So Mike gave me updates throughout the day as much as he could. 

Mike was able to get his mom and dad put on the same ICU floor and when that was completed and his mom was responding he felt comfortable to come home. I could tell Mike was a bit defeated but he kept his head up. Mike had a long conversation with the doctor and explained if his dad woke up he would be very angry he was intubated and sure enough that's what happened. I won't go into detail regarding all of it because there are a lot of hurting family members. We got a call this morning that they are moving his dad to the in house hospice at the hospital. So his entire family could use your thoughts. Thankfully the majority of family has made it in to see his dad and I know that will provide him comfort. I also know Jude with his ever loving arms is waiting for his grandpa to come play with him. 

Mike's mom has been released and she is staying with family. I would say I would pray for a miracle but I pray for peace in the best manner possible. I pray for peace without pain, peace without sorrow, and peace for his entire family. I admire Mike's family so much. I don't see them all often enough but they have my heart for sure. Mike isn't good with lots of texts and messages so I would ask everyone to refrain until we post more. Thanks

Happiest of birthday's to my little boy. I bet my mom makes you a cake today and my grandparents take you to the park! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Triggers and Emotions

So I called the MRI facility today to set my appointment with them since I didn't hear back yesterday. They stated they had not received the referral from my primary doctor, even though I know the doctor sent it. I swear to goodness I hate dealing with medical situations. My amazing chiropractor told me today I am probably letting some of this trigger emotions regarding past medical experiences with Jude. I have no doubt she is 100% accurate.

Triggers? What triggers? 

Anyway, the good news is I am still about the same in regards to the lingering issues. My ears are still ringing, my head still hurts, I still get very tired in the afternoon, and my eye hurts. That's still a vast improvement from the initial assessment. So honestly my thought process now is wondering if these are going to be the residual effects left from Lyme or whatever disease struck my brain. So that would mean I just have to learn to manage the symptoms. Of course some days I just want to blow up but it's getting manageable. I told my work I went from miserable to manageable and that's an improvement to me. I will still get the MRI as soon as the facility gets their crap together and then I will take it from there. However, it will be after my vacation! 

I also had a discussion today about Jude's loss and how it's affected my health. Watching your child take his last breath isn't something that you deal with it's something that you somehow someway learn how to live with. I have no doubt the grief has taken a very physical toll on Mike and I both, I am not sure how it couldn't. 

Anyway, T minus one day and it's vacation. I am eternally grateful to my work for allowing me to take my scheduled vacation even though I have been working shortened days or working from home. I am blessed to work for amazing people! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The MRI machine tried to eat me!

The MRI machine tried to EAT me, well not really but it felt like it. I am so claustrophobic that when I saw the tube they were going to put me in I began crying. You think this would be an indication for the tech to take her time and explain things in the best manner possible. However once I laid down on the bed she came from behind and slapped the cage over my face locking it into place, that was it. Nope, let me out! So, we had to find an open MRI and are in the process of switching the orders over to the new facility. 

How am I feeling? I get this question a lot. My response has begun to mimic my responses with my grief regarding Jude. I am okay today, I could be better, or don't ask. So why be so forthcoming about this situation and so public with it? A few reasons, it's going to become public anyway so why not update everyone at once versus setting myself on repeat. Why not continue my journey of being upfront and brutally honest regarding life in general and let others know it's okay to be irritated, lost, or frustrated. At this point, I have about half my energy back which is a good thing. My primary complaint now is a constant headache, ringing in my ears, and the pain in my right eye. I have found myself looking at the world a bit different as well. For instance, the little antibacterial wipes provided at the grocery store most definitely scrub my cart now! I always used them before but now I don't leave any spot unclean that I may touch. 

Yesterday on my way home I found a type of peace with this entire situation. Something just came over me and I realized that eventually, this will get better and if for some reason it doesn't I would be with Jude and maybe he needs me. I doubt it would become THAT dramatic but it did make me realize that every single person reading this blog..........will die and that includes the person writing this blog. So I plan on living my life the best I can and enjoy as much of it as I can. I also realized I am learning this illness and what it takes to get through. If I start getting tired I have to rest, if I don't get enough sleep at night I have to go in late to work, and if I get run down near the end of the day I have to go. It's the only way I am going to tackle this. 

Luckily even with my illness and intermittent absence, my work is still busy. Mike and I made the decision that we are still going on vacation. I will only be five hours from home and I will follow the same protocol there as I am here. There is a very beautiful chapel where we are going that I will visit for Jude's birthday. 

Emily is doing very well at college and is officially all settled in her apartment. She has started school and I cannot believe she will be applying for the nursing program soon. Keep her in your prayers because she really wants into the Alabama program. 

Don't forget the Emily's Smile Boxes Casino fundraiser, please. Tickets are selling fast and we cannot wait to see everyone! We are also looking for someone to sponsor the wine wagon that will be up for raffle and we will announce your company sponsorship all night. Here is the link.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Neurologist appointment

I was going to update earlier but I got busy and now I am super tired so if my blog doesn't make sense at some point you know why. So I have been to the ER twice, my personal care doctor twice, and I have now been sent to a neurologist. Here is the latest update (drum roll)......... no one knows. what the heck is wrong with me and it's frustrating. However, they're trying and I just have to have patience.

The second trip to the ER resulted in a diagnosis of probable Lyme disease and they put me on painkillers and Doxycycline. I can say that I took my 5th dose today and I do feel some better. It was rather comical because the Infectious disease doctor at the hospital challenged the ER doctor and said Lyme is not in TX. She disagreed and put me on the medication anyway primarily to start eliminating issues. She specifically said, "You have something serious and we know it's serious and it's time to start treating symptoms to eliminate possibilities", smart doctor. I still have an excruciating headache, earache, ringing in my ears, and fatigue. However, the fatigue has subsided enough to where I feel like I can last longer at work so she might be on to something. The ER sent me home with instructions to see the neurologist and an Infectious Disease specialist. 

The neurologist, sigh. First off I loved her nurse but the doctor's bedside manner was a bit standoffish. She listened to my afflictions but any time I got to something she wasn't comfortable with she would reply, "I am just a neurologist". After the 6th "I am a neurologist" I replied, "I know you are a neurologist I am very familiar was with a neurologist does." She replied, "oh so you have seen one for this before." My reply? "No, I had a very sick child for years who required frequent trips to the neurologist for his issues until he was placed on hospice". I said, "I know that the headaches, dizziness, ringing in my ears, facial issues, and more are all things that can be handled by a neurologist but at this point, each doctor keeps telling me I am beyond their complexity or they don't handle certain parts of this." Her demeanor then seemed to change and she began listening more and began the examination. She said she does NOT believe I had Bell's Palsy or Ramsay Hunt so she and ER doctor #2 concur. She said if it's Lyme it's far beyond her scope of education and that Lyme is an issue here Texas despite what the infectious disease doctor said (she laughed about his response). She said she believes I have a droopy eye which means something affected the muscle and the nerves in my face. She believes this was a "nasty" virus and it may have attacked my brain and she seemed frustrated the ER didn't complete and MRI. So I have a contrasting MRI tomorrow at 1:30pm......I hate MRI'S and I am already dreading it. If it's an emergency they'll obviously call but if it's not I will find out if anything showed on the MRI at my next visit. 

As previously stated this has been very challenging for me. It's one thing to not want to get out of bed in the morning but to not be able to get out of bed is a whole different mind blowing situation. It can certainly wreak havoc on your psyche and I admire those that deal with chronic illnesses without answers and chronic illnesses in general. I know everyone is concerned and that's why I wanted to update as a whole. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Ilness Update

I am still sick and at this point, it seems they are guessing at what's wrong. I guess I always understood that the medical field uses it's the best hypothesis of the situation to come to a conclusion. Jude's situation was always a guessing game so it shouldn't be anything I am surprised by. Also if you are annoyed with hearing I am sick, just imagine how annoyed I am! Each morning I wake up thinking the day is going to be different then the horrible ringing starts in my ears, my eye starts to close in, the fatigue strikes, the vertigo is awful, the headaches are throbbing and I wind up either in bed or trying to get through work. I am always on the go and truly enjoy being that way. So the only way I can describe this is to think about getting out of bed and going to the grocery store, just the think about being absolutely exhausted from that trip. So much so that you cannot do anything the rest of the day. No walking, no trips, no extra stuff. It's frustrating and healing takes time but now I am beginning to worry a bit and it seems the doctors are too. I received some phone calls today to check my status and suddenly there seems to be a hurried feel about everyone's conversations with me and they are trying to get me in with a neurologist prior to Monday. 

Before any recommendations come, let me sum up what I have done. I have visited the doctor and been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy and then that was changed to Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, and my guess is that will change again. I have tried a juice cleanse, medication, oils, baths, diet, chiropractor (but only once so I need to do that again), meditation, prayer, etc. Today I am at my wit's end. Today is the type of day that if someone told me, "This too shall pass", or " it could be worse", or "count your blessings" you might get an angry scowl. I am not having a pity party I am just pissed but wait a few hours and that will be gone. I tend to always find the silver lining like as of today I have lost 11 pounds during this battle. 

So what do I think happened? I think 7 years of no sleep and 2 years of complete and utter stress took its toll. To what extent, I have no idea yet but use me as an educational tool to take breaks, de-stress, and get life insurance. Next weekend I am supposed to go away with my husband. He has been so kind throughout all this and really picked up a lot of slack for me. He said we are going on our vacation even if I just sit in the hot tub in the room the whole time. Let's hope that doesn't happen. 

I am at work each day that I can be and I work just as hard as I always have, however at this point I have to take a step back. Many of you know that I have been moved to sales, however, I have continued to try to service policies as well. I have multiple people in my office that are here to service policies. They are amazing, efficient, and I have no doubt can service your policies as well as I do. So I need everyone to help me out in little ways when possible so I can rest as much as possible. Any billing questions, ID cards, change in vehicles, etc can be handled by our team who are here to serve you. 

I am also stepping back and turning everything off for a while. It doesn't mean I am gone it just means I need a bit of a break.  I am a little frustrated that our lives seems to be getting back on track and this situation derailed us but I am thankfully my family is safe and healthy. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

I got the flumonia..........ain't nobody got time for that!

Well, I thought I would give you an update on the great sickness which is on day 18. My symptoms continued to get worse and progressed into the following: 

Facial paralysis
Slurred speech
Very loud ear ringing
Extreme Fatigue
Flulike symptoms
Blurred vision

There is more but you get the gist! This caused me to go back to the doctor where I was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. The general consensus has been, "What the F is that?" Exactly

"Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by paralysis of the facial nerve (facial palsy) and a rash affecting the ear or mouth. Ear abnormalities such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss may also be present. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. In cases of Ramsay Hunt syndrome, previously inactive (dormant) varicella-zoster virus is reactivated and spreads to affect the facial nerve."

Saturday was so horrible I wound up in a total breakdown screaming at my husband while in the bath and posting a large rant on Facebook. I know better than this but I did it anyway. That turned into a menagerie of messages so I just decided to post updates on my blog to help those who are so sweet and have asked for updates. 

Sunday I still didn't feel well and that morning I decided I DON'T want to live like this. There are people that live years with this condition and I realized that even though I don't want to have it I do have it. So I have committed myself to say no when I need to, to de-stress, to take time off work when needed, and to treat myself to more relaxation.  I have also happily accepted the prayers people have offered and believe they work. Then on Sunday night I started feeling less flulike. When I say I felt bad enough I thought I might not be able to continue working, I mean it. So I truly wanted to turn a few flips on Sunday night in my yard. However, after I cooked dinner I went and sat back down. I am learning to rest and trust me that it is an education and a lesson I have to learn. Today I came into work at 9:30 even though I wanted to push myself to go in at the regular time. I stopped several times for breaks from the computer screen and although my eye is dropping again and the swelling is there I still don't feel as fluish and that I am very grateful for. 

Looking back this was coming on for months I believe. I remember just not feeling right and feeling very tired. So as a society do we all need to take more time to listen to what our body and mind are trying to tell us? I know I do! 

I am continuing my meds, seeing my chiropractor, and learning to rest. I am learning to read my body like right now when the ringing in my ears picks up and I get more tired, it means go home Jenn. This has been a spiritual lesson for me too and I have no doubt a new journey. Hope everyone is well! We are approaching Jude's tenth birthday and we will be going somewhere beautiful again to celebrate him. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Stroke Scare

I haven't shared anything in awhile but I have a doozie to share tonight. Friday morning I woke up with my face covered in a rash and my right eye extremely swollen. When I say that my husband's term of endearment, "Quasimodo" was actually very kind I am being honest. To top it off I felt absolutely physically horrible but I dragged my carcass to work. I had my semi-annual review that day and I knew our manager had put a lot of work and research into our reviews. As my manager walked in he looked though my window and mouthed, OH MY and as I smiled I proclaimed; "I need to go home." My face was on fire and I just felt so bad.  

I don't remember much of Friday but I know I was in pain and couldn't really sleep, Saturday I drug myself up to work to finish a quote I had started that was on a time constraint. Sunday I slept most of the day and my husband congratulated me on being a total sloth. I am generally always on the go so he really was being funny. I had summed up that I had gotten into the poison Sumac that was growing on a door outside of my upstairs attic. On Monday when I got to work I felt so bad that I set an appointment with my primary doctor. I fully expected to hear a diagnosis that I had gotten into the Sumac and receive a prescription for a strong anti-allergy medication. When the doctor walked into the room he tilted his head to the side and said, "Hmm" and I looked at him wondering what "Hmmm" meant. He said, "raise your eyebrows", "stick out your tongue", "turn your tongue to the left" WAIT why are you doing a neuro exam?? I am very familiar with this. My doctor then said, "this is facial paralysis" what??? He pointed at my forehead and said, "See how you have zero wrinkle lines above your right eye that's an indication your muscle isn't working (note to self look into Botox). Which means you either have Bell's Palsy or a mild stroke. Even though I knew the first diagnosis was probably the right one I heard the word stroke and felt faint. Not because I could die and be with Jude but because I could be a burden, not work, or leave Emily. So the doctor put me on a steroid and set up an MRI for the next day. He said if I didn't feel better to go to the MRI. 

So today I was an hour late but I went into work to catch up on everything I could. I try to be right on top of my work and to handle everyone's issues as quickly as possible but I have felt off my game. I don't like that and I don't like feeling limited. I like my boss and I want to do the best job I can do. I just began feeling terrible which included loud ringing in my ears, feeling dizzy, and my face was burning. So I just decided to suck everything up and head to the ER. I had informed several close family and friends over the weekend what was going on so they could be praying for Bell's Palsy. After lengthy testing the doctors determined there WAS NOT a stroke. He said I had shingles and the virus had basically frozen my facial nerve resulting in the Bell's Palsy. It's not fun but it's something I can overcome. So tonight I was pulling my right droopy eye up and I would watch it fall back down again. They say my eye will eventually recover but they are sending me to a neurologist just in case there is residual lasting issues. 

Sometimes I wonder if negative situations follow certain families because it's gotten rather comical the situations that impact my family. People say they aren't surprised or just shake their head. So I began to wonder if we somehow request negativity to us but I don't believe that's accurate. We have been working hard to fill our life with love and positivity since Jude left us. So when the doctor told me this can be brought on by stress I realized I need to take a step back. We have had a HARD two years and haven't given ourselves the means to relax.  I was doing too much and I know I was. I had already started disbanding the dress store and saying No to many invites. Emily has really taken charge of Smile Boxes a lot more but with her leaving for college I know I will play a predominant role in the fundraising Casino night, so I am letting everyone know I need HELP! Work is fanfreakingtabulous but it's busy and I do mean BUSY! I am so grateful for the new business and I hope it never stops but I need to STOP during the day and take time out to blog like I used to because it's my outlet and my stress reliever. So note to boss make me take 20 minutes a day, lol. I realized it's okay I still miss Jude so much my heart hurts and that sometimes we need to follow the Beatles advice and, "Just Let It Be." I actually don’t look at this as a negative, it’s a positive because I can heal from this!

I need to take my vacation at the end of August, turn my phone off, and realize that no matter what everything will be here when I get back. Everything except a droopy right face, I hope. 

I hope everyone is well and know I have missed you guys. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Mom's Of Angels

You know what people don't talk enough about in life? Mental health. You know what sucks for me right now? My mental health. I miss Jude and there is just really nothing that can be done about that. I guess the realization has set in that the further away we get from Jude's loss the fact we won't see him again in this life is really a fact. 

It's super easy to tell someone that is grieving that life will get better, there is so much to be happy about, at least you have a job, and you still have the rest of your family. I still don't sleep and it's still super hard to get up to go to work each day. I am grateful for my job but it's hard and I am not going to sugar coat it. I feel like we so often disguise our struggles! So I am here to tell other suffering with depression and anxiety over loss you are NOT alone! I know people want to help too but honestly, sometimes you just have to go through the trenches alone and dig yourself out. It may take time, it doesn't have to include medication, and all I need is patience from others.  Maybe someday I will see the sunshine again and life won't seem so absolutely overwhelming. 

So mom's of angels out there just know there are lots of us that know how you feel. Lots of us appreciate the good days and feel the bad days with all our many emotions. There are lots of us out there that cry at the drop of a hat! Those titled supermoms that used to handle life in a perfect format and are now thrown off by the littlest amount of stress. We are all forever changed, how could we not be? 

Have a good Monday! 

Monday, May 14, 2018

My Husband

I did pretty well on Mother's Day and I have to say it was really thanks to my husband. Also to Emily for sending me sweet messages throughout the day. Mike signed up for YouTube red and kept me busy watching "Cobra Kai" most of the day so my mind didn't wander. However, the night........the nights are always the worst and they have been since Jude left. The night is when your brain seems to go into overdrive, maybe it's the darkness that causes it. So when I asked late in the evening to go for a drive Mike really didn't question me and we took off in my little Beetle with the top down. It was a nice night and I was able to clear my thoughts a little. Then when I got back the sadness set in a bit again. I finally fell asleep but that didn't last long. I woke up throughout the night having dreams of Jude and not being able to fall back asleep. I texted my work that I needed some time this morning and as usual, they were ever accommodating.

Mike has been my rock during my grief. He always seems to know when I am down and what I am thinking. He also reacts to remedy a potential situation before I have time to react which speaks volumes. He knows me! He knows I hate highways and traffic so he takes the backroads and drives slow. He knows I love movies and a good series so he thinks ahead about items I might like. He loves me skinny, fluffy, happy, sad, you get the drift!  Someone recently told me I can travel without Mike and I remember thinking, I just really don't want to. I know I can but I prefer him to be with me. Don't get me wrong we have our moments and he has to go to his man cave and myself to my girl cave but overall I just prefer to have my husband at my side.  Yesterday in honor of Mother's Day he left me this profound message, "I know what a difficult day today can be. Today delivers twice the loss. To reflect on the loss of Child and Mother is far more than one should endure. Just know I love you and you have been the greatest Mother and wife.

We have been through the worst. After the Jude passed I remember sitting in the funeral home having to make decisions about Jude's burial. I remember feeling blank and like I was just floating in a dream. I overhead Mike talking outside the door and said, "I just have to get my wife through this." I am always strong and always able to keep going in life but for the first time, I had someone realize I wasn't well. I was hanging on by a very small thread and that person dedicated their time to make sure I would be okay. I am forever grateful to him and very proud he is my husband. God knew I would need someone by my side and I am blessed.

I am also very blessed to be the mom of two amazing children! Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Dream

I don't believe this is something I have shared before. It's something I keep close to my heart and I have finally started talking more about the experience. 

After Jude passed away our house was very quiet and very lonely. I sometimes would crawl into his bed to sleep before they came and took his bed away. I was desperate for some sort of reassurance that Jude was okay. We all have our faith but that faith can be questioned when you lose someone so close. So here was my reassurance. I had a very detailed dream. 

I dreamt there were two angels that came to my bedside while I was sleeping. They were so tall they almost reach my ceiling and they were two large pillars of light. They had a face but no mouth because they did not need a mouth to communicate. They were intimidating but comforting all at the same time and they made it very clear I needed to come with them. I sat up in my bed and I walked in between them towards my window in my bedroom. Suddenly I was moving very fast without walking. I wasn't going up like they teach you in books and I wasn't going down either. I was moving horizontally and soon I was in a black mass of stars. I looked at both the angels for some sort of reassurance that everything was okay but they only looked forward towards their destination. Once we arrived I was on what looked like Earth. The angels were gone but I knew they were not far away. I began walking towards the lake on the softest grass I had ever felt. The air was crisp and clean, and there was nothing to fear in any way. Suddenly I saw Jude walking towards me and I started crying. When he walked up to me I just opened my arms and he walked over to me and motioned I sit down. He then crawled into my arms and laid down like he used to in my arms. I asked him, "don't you want to stand?" but he just shook his head no. He just laid there for awhile and I felt this amazing sense of calm. After awhile Jude got up and hugged me goodbye, he turned to walk away and just smiled, then he was gone. The angels reappeared and I remember in detail them taking me home the same way I arrived. 

I felt more reassured that Jude was safe and happy. I venture to believe this was real. 

We are raising funds to put a Buddy Bench in at Jude's elementary school which will help spread kindness. If you would like to help here is the link.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Dear Jude,

Dear Jude,

I can't believe it's almost been two years since you left us, it seems like it was just yesterday. This week is a hard one and I am not sure I could ever put into words just how hard it is in a way that anyone could truly understand. It is physically painful to get up in the morning and get ready to come to work and to go home knowing your bright smile won't be there waiting on me. Since you have been gone there have been lots of changes in our lives. Not long after we lost you we made the decision to sell the house and move. After you left the home was just so quiet that it was overwhelming and all I could see every time I walked in the living room was your face so still and lifeless. The experts say you are suppose to wait at least a year before you make any life altering decisions after a tragedy. This is yet again an example of the fact that experts don't know everything and you need to do what's best for you. I felt better after we moved and I felt like you lead us to the home we are at today.

Your dad suffered a massive infection to his heart after we lost you which was very scary but he is doing better now! He immerses himself into gardening and gaming to occupy his mind. It's when your dad gets still that he gets so very sad without you.  Your sister went away to college and then decided to come home for a semester. She will be returning to the University Of Alabama in the fall and will be finishing our her nursing degree there. She has a hard time with your loss even though she doesn't really see it now. She cannot really talk about you but someday she will.

Nurse Charlotte, oh lovely Charlotte never went back to pediatric nursing. I think her heart literally broke in two when we lost you and it took awhile to piece back together again. She worked in elderly hospice for awhile and now as a new position at a hospital. Nurse Allan still texts every day he works, "Good Morning Glory" in his bright loud Goat way! He comes to see us when he can and he is caring for two new boys. He says in the early morning hours when no one is awake he sits and sheds his tears before his shift starts. Nurse Candice is as funny as ever and I get to keep up with her on Facebook. Oh and guess what? Dr Riela retired!! I told Mike you just made an impact on everyone.

The house we moved into has land that you would love! Since we have more room you know your dad found a way to get more animals! First we got Blue who ironically walked up during an outdoor memorial party we were having for you when we first moved in. He is a big brown dog and he just walked up and laid his head on your dad's lap. When your dad found the owner she didn't really want him anymore so VOILA we have a new dog! Emily adores Blue and is always spoiling him rotten. Next we got Buddy the pig, oh he is a stinker. Your dad calls him Boudreaux and he is so super smart! Lastly, we had a stray cat walk up who before we could get her fixed sh had kittens. So we have a zoo, we bought a zoooooo!

On Sunday we are having an Emily's Smile Box party in your honor where we will be putting together 250 Smile Boxes to benefit local hospitals. We have invited everyone we can to come out and remember your spirit and help us help others. Then on Monday I have asked everyone to do something kind in your honor and to please tag us. I have also asked them to wear their superhero outfits again!  I am hoping this will spread like wildfire and that many people hear the words, "I did it for Jude" Sunday - Monday. Your mom is taking off the day on Monday and I plan to just meditate in peace with your memories surrounding me.

It's the little things that get to your dad and I right now. It can be a song, walking pass a bottle of Pedialyte, hearing a baby giggle, or a simple beautiful Cardinal sitting outside our door. The tears just creep up and sting as we hold them back in public. The knot in our throat is sometimes hard to swallow back down but we manage. We live each day to see Emily grow and thrive and to get closer to seeing you. Death is no longer scary when you have lost a child.

We hope you are happy and thriving where you are at. I see your signs at times and I love every one of them. Well my lunch is over so back to work I go. I love and miss you always.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Updates and Mass Shootings

This may be a long blog with lots of updates and my very unsolicited opinions. As I stated before I obtained a new boss in September.  I feel like this was a Godsend and something that was really needed in my life. I feel like I have a purpose again and I am able to get out in the field and market to obtain new business.  When I hurt my back the new boss paid to have a massage, he comes in and talks with me each day, and just seems truly interested in his employees well being. I think I needed this little push because I was so sad and lost without Jude. I still am but at least I now feel I have a reason to get up and keep going each day. I have been taking better care of myself and enjoying my time with my family too.

I do still have nightmares and anxiety, which is normal. Last night I dreamt the house caught on fire and I was trying to get home. By the time I got there all our animals were lost and then I saw Emily's car and she wasn't supposed to be home so I just started bawling. Typical dream of being afraid of losing others in my life. I still miss Jude every single day and sometimes I just let the tears flow but I know he is always near.

So let's move on to the controversial debates regarding mass shootings. Gosh my heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims in Florida. I cannot imagine burying my child because someone else took their life in a violent act. Last year, while Emily was completing her senior year at Byron Nelson High school in Trophy Club Emily, texted me the unthinkable. "Mom, there is an active shooter at my school. I am hiding in the theater closet behind clothes. I wanted you to know I am safe."  This was not long after we lost Jude. I remember looking at my phone and trying to comprehend what she was telling me. I slowly got up from my desk, walked to my bosses office, and let him know I was leaving. I text my husband and then left. My husband called the office and my boss seemed perplexed I left. My husband replied, "All I know is if your wife tells you there is an active shooter at your child's school and to go to the school you leave and go to the school." We sat on the corner in front of the school and watched every major SWAT team and bomb squad from the metroplex area pull into my daughter's school. Emily would sporadically text updates,

"They're saying its bombs and a shooter"
"Mom, I am scared"
"Mom if something happens to me I want you to know how much I love you"
"We are hearing the shooter is in the athletic haul"
"They're making us turn off our phones"

We were listening to the police scanner outside the school the entire time. We saw a few of the squad's drive around to the athletic haul. They began screaming BREACH BREACH BREACH and inside they went. Finally, after 9pm that night lines of kids began emerging from the building without their backpacks, without purses, without anything, and with their hands up. We scanned all the lines of children until we finally saw Emily's face and we all hugged for a very long time. We found out later a student inside the school was texting exact locations to someone outside the school so they could call the policy and inform them of movement of the fictional shooter/bomber. However, Emily still swears something else went on in that school.

It was ridiculous! It was a situation I had talked to Emily about and the school had practiced shooter drills. I had always told Emily if you cannot get out get hidden and the theater would be great. Sure enough, she found that little dark closet that locked. Our kids should NOT have to think about this. I truly believe Eric Harris (don't know him look him up) was the devil and started this mass chain reaction.

I know many will react to this blog but I really hope that everyone takes a second no matter what side of the debate you are on and just think things through for a moment. Not everything in life is black and white, there is a whole lot of gray! I feel like the two sides of the gun issues are so passionate about their stance that they cannot listen to compromise or focus on realistic solutions. I don't know the exact way to stop these massive tragic losses but I know it's time to do something. I am well aware there are other situations going on in America like abortion, Chicago, suicide at schools, etc but I am not talking about those situations right now. I am addressing mass shootings. I am addressing something that should never happen and that our children shouldn't worry about. My child should never have been cowering in a dark closet for hours fearing for her life.

So my ideas? They would take work and I understand they may seem a bit irrational but I believe this can be done.

1. Ban backpacks - Emily's school started a trend like this. No lockers and no large backpacks. All textbooks are kept in class and used there. I would take it a step further and ramp up the rule to match local stadiums. No purses or bags larger than a specific size. Atheltic bags stay in the athletic dept and musical instruments stay in the band hall.

2. Metal Detectors with a central point of entry. Yes, I do I expect schools to pay for this? I don't know the answer but I do believe if districts can afford massive multi-million dollar stadiums they can afford a few metal detectors with security guards in the morning or rotate teachers. If they aren't a big district then possibly the government could help, local citizens, or even make it a community service project for major sports teams. Somehow some way if your child was in a shooting you would find a way.

3. Follow Texas in the Protect Texas Children Act of 2013 and actively train and arm teachers. The Senate passed act allows 1 teacher per 400 children to be armed. The teachers go through 80 hours of intense training and screening. The schools then display signs (Look up Argyle ISD armed) that say "Our teachers are armed and will take any means necessary to protect our students." AMEN! The argument here is, what if the teacher snaps, what if a student gets the gun, and we cannot even afford pencils. My favorite ridiculous argument is the last one. First Argyle and many others have been fully armed since 2013 and not ONE of these districts has had an incident. It is psychologically proven that a criminal that wants a victim will rarely walk into a situation where he knows HE can be the victim. Therefore the signs are a huge deterrent because the armed shooter will know he could quickly be taken down before ever taking action. The only high school mass shooter situation stopped in the midst of the situation was the Pearl HS shootings. The VP ran to his vehicle and obtained his own personal weapon and held the shooter captive until police arrived.

4. Oh people are going to hate this one and I want you to know I come from a gun-toting, military, bad ass family. I believe we should ban AR-15's and other high caliber rifles. Before anyone starts in I know exactly what an AR-15 is. I know AR does not stand for Assault Rifle but Armalite because the rifle was named after the company that made them. I know it was first used in the Vietnam war because the M14 they were using was just too heavy and cumbersome. Put the M14 up against an AK47 and there was just no match. So it originally came out as the M16 and fully automated the AR15 is the civilian version that is semiautomatic. Now here is what I want you to think on, the AR can fire dozens of rounds in seconds and is a more accurate shot than many military weapons. It can also be customized, which we have all learned. I just see ZERO need for the weapons. Again keep in mind I am pro-gun and my family is armed and any gun family, if being truthful, will tell you an AR-15 is a killing machine. That's what it's built for. I can see maybe hunting hogs but besides that zero need for sports hunting..........unless hunting humans. I believe I can adequately protect my family without one of these weapons. However, I would also be okay with heavy regulation of these weapons. Did you know in Florida you can buy this weapon if you are 18 and have a clean record? There is absolutely no wait? I believe we pro-gun families should lead the way in making sure only responsible, evaluated, screened people have access to weapons.

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Will they ever ban these weapons, I highly doubt it. Will they ever ban guns and repeal our 2nd amendment, no way ever. It's just NOT going to happen and there are many responsible gun owners. I think we look at other solutions like I listed in numbers 1-3. Regardless we can argue all we want in America but the fact is these students and others are being slain.

I want you to think hard about what happened to these kids in Florida. We can point out the size of bullets used in the AR or other pointless information that if not combined with the total facts is useless. The smaller bullets and high velocity equal a bad outcome. These kids were assaulted, their bodies ripped by bullet holes, and their friends forced to watch. The school is soaked in blood, bullet holes through computers, and lives scarred forever. These parents are having to decide as they sit in a shock at a funeral home if they're going to cremate or bury their child. I have been in that seat and trust me it's a horrible decision to make! I know this is graphic but I believe it's going to take graphic to make a change. Come on AMERICA! Do something! It's time.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Jude's Unconditional Love

"Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love." Wikipedia. 

What is unconditional love to you? It's something I have thought over this past week as I guide myself through another thorny path in life. I mulled over all the times and situations in my life that would fall under unconditional love. I think we parents have a true understanding of the definition listed above and that we find this love in our marriages too. 

When Jude was so sick he would vomit on a regular basis. There were very late nights and early morning that I spent beside his bed wiping vomit up, changing sheets, and changing his pajamas. His medications would cause Jude to have very bad diapers as well so there was pretty much always a cleanup factory going at my house. Despite the messes and the lack of sleep my love for Jude was stronger than anything we would encounter. I would just stroke his hair, kiss him on the cheek (possibly get thrown up on), and get him cleaned up. This would repeat on a regular basis leaving me exhausted for work, but he was worth it. Jude was just pure innocence and anything he did he always had a smile on his face. He also loved everyone in his family with his entire heart. You could just see in his eyes how much he loved you! 

So when there are days that I may not agree with someone I love, I feel alone, or I am not sure my future I remember his big bright smile. I remember his unconditional love for me because I am sure I was very difficult sometimes. There may have been nights that I was so stressed that Jude was wondering what in the world I was doing but he still kept that smile. Jude never uttered mean words, he never questioned my love for him, and he was basically the type of person I would love to be. 

He is a reminder to me to not give up on those I love and to always give one hundred percent of my heart. That as trying as life can be sometimes there is always a suction to suck away what makes you choke, a light to help you see in the dark, and someone there to help you clean your mess.  There is always someone who will kiss your cheek when you are down, raise you up when you are low, and speak reasoning when there is no reason to find. 

Thank you Jude. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Adoption Update

On Wednesday the care worker came and met with our family regarding the adoption. She interviewed me, Mike, and Emily in detail. She then looked at the house and met our zoo of animals. As the animals were coming through the door to meet her she paused and said, "Is that a PIG?" We all had a bit of a chuckle and then laughed again when she pointed out his bed next to our bed. From here we have to complete our CPR training which is tomorrow, 10 more classes and complete our final home study. Everyone is asking what the process is so I thought I would share via the blog. After these steps are completed we will be a licensed foster care home. 

So then this is what happens. Our agency contact will then try to match the best child or children with us. She will call and explain their age, situation, and any trauma we then decide if we would like to take the placement. We have requested only children who have already had their rights terminated which would make them adoptable after 6 months. Mike and I have this feeling that the right match will make their way to us. 

Of course, this is not without some emotional times. I think anyone who says it's not emotional isn't being factual. While asking her interview questions the agency worker would ask us questions like, "what makes your marriage strong?", "can you handle adoption?", and "how do you handle new normals?" Literally, almost all of our answered focused on the fact we cared for a beautiful boy with a highly complex case that took lots of patience, strength, and determination. We have been through one of the toughest situations imaginable so we feel we can make it through anything. 

This week my car radio kept changing stations for no reason, my headset at work keeps raising and lowering without me pressing my button, and I keep smelling an overpowering amount of roses. I would say Jude is sending me some signs. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

You Will Want To Read This Update

I have been so busy at work I haven't been able to blog very much or even talk very much. I have a bit of a break today so I thought I would share a lot of items that are running through my constantly moving mind. Some of which some may find surprising and others exciting. 

First off I explained on my prior blog that Emily has transferred home. She started TWU this week and is going to spend a semester there before deciding to pursue her nursing degree at TWU or another TX.  Who know she may even return to Alabama. I won't get into too much detail because everyone deserves their privacy but Emily has hit that stage in life where she is trying to find herself. We have all been there and we can all appreciate the struggle that lies before her. Luckily we all know with time life plays out before our eyes and lays the path we are set to follow. Luckily she and Dan the man are doing great and he is a huge pillar of emotional support for her. We even included Mr. Dan in our Christmas cards this year. 

We also included Jude in our own special way. 

So before Jude left us Mike and I on multiple occasions talked about having another baby. I decided I didn't want to risk a child having another stroke so then we talked about adoption. We did a lot of research on the subject but in the end I made the difficult decision that although I wanted to expand our family it just wasn't right at the time. Jude's life was complicated and Emily already had enough time taken away from her. So we felt Emily and Jude needed to be our primary concern and we left out family the way it was. After Jude passed the subject came up again but I just wasn't ready. I struggled with the feeling I was "replacing" Jude even though I knew I wasn't going to be doing that because Jude is irreplaceable.  However I also knew we wanted more children and siblings for Emily.  Finally after long discussions and research our family has made the decision to adopt! It's exciting, scary, thrilling, and emotional all at the same time. With just our family knowing we have gone through the background checks, finger printing, financial checks, and more. We are now to the class stages and we even have the great Argyle Fire dept volunteering to help us with CPR classes and inspections.  We will look at children who have had their rights terminated so we will not endure court battles. This was a plan we have thought out and planned for awhile now. I wasn't sure the reactions I would receive so today I started making phone calls and I met with extremely happy and emotional "HOORAY'S" and tears. It was reassuring! We also received the most heartfelt amazing letter from Jude's neurologist that he sent as a reference. I was so touched I cried whale tears! So you guys will get to follow another journey through our blog. One that we feel compelled to participate in and help make a difference in the world. I feel Jude is guiding us and holding our hands along this path. It seems any time I need reassurance we are heading in the right direction I look up and see a picture of his smiling face.