The Journey

I am alone a lot…..well, Hannah is always with me but in many ways that is like being alone.  She does her thing; she plays, does her school work, reads books, plays with her iPad all by herself and she wants it that way.  She has never needed my attention for the most part except when I am on the phone then she does everything she can to get it!  HA!  She is pretty independent, knows her routine and likes her time to do her thing.  So, even though we are at home together a lot of the time we are not in the same room.  That time gives me way too  much time to think, research, process and wonder about many things.  Dennis got home yesterday and I was showing him all this research I had done on one of Hannah’s blood tests that came back crazy wacky from last Wednesday (it is the only test that has come back so far, but has us even more confused).  He just looked at me and his expression was “you have lost your mind and you are going to drive yourself crazy trying to figure this out!”  HA!  He listened to what I had to say and what I had found but I know he knows I am driving myself batty.

Another thing I wrestle with a lot is WHY…..that question is impossible to answer because in my belief only God knows the answer to why we are here and why we are on the journey we are on.  This morning while Hannah was sitting on the potty for an HOUR just trying to go “Number One” as she calls it I had the iPad and was scrolling around Facebook and I saw this sign:

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It struck me hard and I feel it is so true for me.  I have blogged many times about the person I was prior to Hannah.  I was nice and kind (probably more so than I am now).  I was also a doormat for people and I couldn’t say no to anyone.  I was a people-pleaser and I am for sure not that anymore!  I was also extremely selfish when it came to materialistic things like the car I drove, having manicures and pedicures, the home I lived in, the shoes, shoes and more shoes….etc.  I had to have the nicest things and go on the best vacations and brag about them.  I thought for years those things are what made me likable and gave me friends.  I thought the more I had the more people would want to be around me, because that is all I had to offer.  Such wrong thinking and a perspective that rendered a lot of regrets in my life.

I truly think this above sign is what my journey is about.  It might not be true for your journey whatever that may be.  But, I know that the journey that began with Hannah nearly 11 years ago is the reason that I lost my selfishness, could start saying no to people and am no longer anyone’s doormat.  I have learned so much on this journey and some of the most important lessons, I never would have learned had it not been for Hannah.

  • Boundaries……one of my biggest challenges and lessons learned.  You have to have boundaries set.  You can’t live your life without them or you will go crazy.  I have set so many boundaries in my life because of Hannah and they were and still are necessary to protect her and to protect Dennis and me.  Dennis and I set a boundary many years ago…..all that matters is in our 4 walls…..nothing else matters.  We still feel that way.  People can think we are strange or uncaring but we don’t care.  What matters at the end of the day is that we protect what is in our 4 walls.  PERIOD!
  • Saying NO……I always had problems with this.  I thought being a people pleaser and saying YES to everything would make people like me.  I thought the word NO was a bad word and you never said it to anyone, EVER!  That is so wrong.  Sometimes you have no choice and you can say it in a loving way and you don’t have to give an explanation for it.  I used to say no and feel so guilty about it that I would give this long dissertation on why I had to say no….but, the fact is, you don’t owe explanations to anyone for anything that you do.
  • Materialistic things……this was a BIG lesson for me to learn.  The nice vehicles, the big home, the bling, shoes, purses, clothes, even having my nails done every 2 weeks.  I had it all and did it all.  You know what?  It didn’t make me happier…..Dennis and I had a discussion just last week about Hannah and her health issues.  He said something so profound…..he said “Tam, even if we won the lottery (we would have to play first) but even if we did, NONE of that money would fix Hannah.”  It doesn’t matter how much money you have when it comes to the important things in life (in our case it is finding a cure for Hannah), it won’t help.  No amount of money could figure out and cure our daughter.  Yes, it could hire a nurse that insurance won’t pay for and it could pay for a private jet to take her to specialist after specialist to try to figure this all out, but it wouldn’t heal her or give us back the past 3 years!  No amount of money, nice cars, nice homes, mani’s and pedi’s, nice clothes or shoes could give me what my heart longs for the most!
  • Walking away from toxic people……I have done this one many times.  To this day, I keep my distance from others that could be toxic.  I don’t have time to surround myself with people who I cannot trust and  who have done or could do me harm emotionally, mentally or spiritually.  I don’t have near the “friends” I used to have but the people I call my friends now are truly that!  The ones who you can call anytime day or night, have your back and keep your confidences.  Those kind of friends are hard to come by and I am thankful for mine.
  • Priorities……my priorities are probably different from yours, because our lives are different.  My #1 priority is Hannah; her well-being and what is BEST for her…..nothing else matters.  There are days where I set out to do things and none of it gets done because Hannah has switched my focus and I have had to adjust my schedule to accommodate what is best for her.  There are days where I want to cry because I can’t get done what I feel like I need to but I keep her my priority even if it means not getting to do something that I think needs or has to be done or doing something I want to do.  Dennis and I have had some really serious conversations lately about our life and what the priorities are.  All the conversations come back to Hannah and what is best for her.  We have a lot of difficult decisions to make down the road but we know that our number one priority is what is in Hannah’s best interest.
  • Perspective…….this is still a work in progress for me.  I lose my perspective a lot; sometimes daily.  I will start grumbling or mumbling about how unfair life is and how I want to live again and not be a prisoner in my own home; but then I have to reel it all back in and realize that this is my life and Hannah is my priority and realize that it isn’t as bad as the lives others are living.  I have to remember that I do have it better than so many people do and bring my perspective back to my own journey and be thankful for the positive things (even the smallest things) that I can find.  Yesterday my joy was found in the fact that I no longer have to boils 17 syringes everyday and draw up liquid medications each day.  Hannah is totally taking all pills now and the fact that I won’t spend an hour each and every day boiling syringes and drawing up medications is HUGE for me!  So, my perspective yesterday was “at least I don’t have to do that anymore!”  HA!
  • Counting my blessings……somedays they seem like more than others but I do find a reason to be joyful and thank the Lord for the blessings in my life. Even on the days that I want to just crawl back in bed, pull the covers over my head and never get up again…..I find something to be thankful for and that truly keeps me going!

My journey…..it isn’t yours and your journey isn’t mine but I truly believe in my case this journey God has me on is to un-become everything that I was not meant to be and become who I truly am.  I have found a strength I didn’t know I had.  I have found a peace that only God can give.  I have found grace that I didn’t know existed and I have found out what unconditional love really means.  My journey has truly changed me.  I still have a lot of learning, growing and changing to do but I can honestly say for the first time in my 44 years I actually like the person I am and 10 years ago I could never have said that honestly!

Until next time………

Spinal Tap and Surprise

I haven’t had time to blog until today but I had to share a detail about Hannah’s spinal tap on Wednesday.  I was dreading it, for many reasons, obviously, but especially Hannah’s anxiety and the fact that she couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight on Tuesday night and her procedure was not scheduled until 1pm on Wednesday, which is crazy!  But, in all fairness, the older the child the later the procedure usually.  I get it, but I was dreading hearing “Hannah’s hungry” a million times and having to tell her “no” without her understanding why.  So, I prayed Tuesday night that the Lord would comfort her and make her not sad, scared, anxious or hungry!  He answered our prayers 100 times better than I had even hoped for (why does that still surprise me)?!?!  Not only did we not hear the first time “Hannah’s hungry” but there was NO anxiety!  In fact, when the anesthesiologist came in to explain the procedure and have us sign our life away in case of anything going wrong; Hannah looked at her and said, “doctor put Hannah night-night….Hannah ready…..let’s do it!”  We were cracking up!  As the nurse wheeled her on the bed (which she squealed with glee, “Hannah so excited, so fun”) to the room to do the spinal tap, we got to the door and we weren’t allowed to go any further with her.  We told her goodbye, hugged her and kissed her with tears in our eyes and she looked at Dennis and me and said “See you in the morning when I wake up!”  She had the biggest smile on her face and waved at us and blew us kisses as the doors closed behind her!  THANK YOU LORD FOR ANSWERED PRAYERS!  We don’t have any results yet and I am assuming they will be anywhere from a week to 2 weeks before we do…..now we wait!  I don’t like waiting…..never have, who does?  My only prayer right now is for definitive answers; we will deal with whatever comes after that.

On Friday afternoon I loaded the car and headed to Orlando to pick up a special surprise for Hannah.  I went to pick up Henny to bring her home for good.  It was a day 2 years in the making.  If you recall, it got to the point in June of 2014 that we had to give Henny back to CCI (Canine Companions for Independence).  Not because we wanted to; but at the time Hannah was so sick, we felt we had no choice.  It was in Hannah’s and in Henny’s best interest.  CCI could have easily told us that they were going to try to place Henny with another family, but instead they offered her Puppy Raisers, Marty and Cathy, the chance to foster her for us; which they gladly did.  So for almost the past 2 years, they have had Henny.  They have loved her and taken care of her in the hopes that one day we would be able to bring her back home.  That day was yesterday.  Over the past 2 years we have seen Henny as often as possible.  Marty and Cathy have had an open door policy with us allowing us to come and visit, even spending the night with them many times.  They have truly become family!  Upon arriving at their home on Friday, Marty was preparing a delicious dinner with all of my favorites and let me say…..Ruth Chris has NOTHING on Marty!

Shrimp Cocktail Appetizer

Shrimp Cocktail Appetizer

Beef tenderloin, grilled loaded baked potato and grilled asparagus. There was also cheesecake but I didn't take a picture of that. I inhaled it too quickly!

Beef tenderloin, grilled loaded baked potato and grilled asparagus. There was also cheesecake but I didn’t take a picture of that. I inhaled it too quickly!

They always roll out the red carpet for me…..I had a great time with them and with Jeff and Lori, more dear friends of mine.  We ate outside in their outdoor kitchen around the pool….it is like eating in Paradise.

Marty and Cathy with their outdoor table lit up with fire! So cool!

Marty and Cathy with their outdoor table lit up with fire! So cool!

On Saturday, I loaded Henny and all of her things (including MANY new things that Marty and Cathy had purchased for her) in my truck and we made the trip back to Jacksonville.

In the truck heading home!

In the truck heading home!

I put a video on Facebook of Henny and Hannah’s reunion but couldn’t get it to upload on my blog.  Here are some pictures that I took though after we got settled in the house!

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Henny and Hannah both seem very happy and everyone slept good last night, for that I am thankful.  Now do you notice the color of Henny and the color of my hardwood floors?  Yep….I will be vacuuming A LOT!  HA!

Marty and Cathy, there are no words to adequately express how much we love you both and how thankful we are for your willingness to take care of Henny for us the past nearly 2 years!  Thank you seems so inadequate to truly relay what is in our hearts.  You went above and beyond the call of duty and we are eternally grateful for you both and the investment that you continue to make in our lives!  You are so near and dear to us and we are so blessed to call you “family!”

Welcome Home Henny-Girl!  We love you!

 

Until next time………

 

Searching For Answers and Praying This Week Brings Some

I have spent many hours the last 2-1/2 years searching for answers.  Researching, studying and reading everything I can get my hands on (only trusted information) to try to figure out how we can “fix” Hannah.  We have seen MANY doctors….some who have gone and continue to go above and beyond to help us and others who have shown us the door and refused to even think one moment outside the box and try to get to the bottom of things.  Fortunately, we have had more doctors willing to help than not though.  God has given us a good team of doctors right now and this week, prayerfully will be the beginning of answers.  The answers might not be what we want to hear or they could be better than we think; at this time we just want answers.  We will deal with whatever those answers are when we get them.

Hannah is struggling so.  All of a sudden this past week she has insomnia again…..horrible insomnia where she lays in bed for hours and flips and flops without being able to be still long enough to shut her eyes.  Anxiety……perhaps.  Low Ferritin……very possibly.  Other reasons…..maybe!  There are so many symptoms she has dealt with over the past few years that are so perplexing to us and her doctors.  Things I honestly never saw in her until that frightful day on March 8, 2014 when she spiked a 105 fever and had 2 seizures.  She was sick for 8 months prior to that day, but displayed NONE of these horrific symptoms until that day in March.  Something…..viral or bacterial struck her brain, this I know; what it was and the damage done, is the question.  Are we truly dealing with PANDAS or is this possibly something else altogether?  In all honesty, I am more confused now than ever before.  Why, just this week is she getting worse than she was even last week or the week before?  So many questions and no answers…….prayerfully that will change this week.

Hannah will be having a spinal tap and some more in-depth blood work done on Wednesday.  I am glad that it was scheduled so quickly but I am also so nervous as anytime Hannah has to go under anesthesia it is a big deal.  The last time was for a MRI in April 2014 and it was really difficult to wake her up from it.  But, this spinal tap needs to be done and in all actuality probably should have been done long ago.  So, as much as I hate this for her I am hoping and praying it won’t be in vain and will give us some answers.  There are many things you can check for in spinal fluid and this specific blood work; some of the things wouldn’t be good but others, if found, can be treated.  It is possible we aren’t treating the correct thing and with more accurate testing and answers we can change our medication and diet protocols to address the real issues at hand.  Knowledge is power and our only prayer and hope through this testing is that the answers we have been searching for will be found!

Your thoughts and prayers are so appreciated.  This is a busy week for us with 3 doctor appointments and the testing on Wednesday, plus I have a huge surprise coming this weekend for Hannah so it might be next Sunday before I can post another blog.  Hopefully I will have some good news to share and a picture or two of Hannah’s surprise!  Thank you for walking with us and carrying us with your prayers!

Here's hoping!

Here’s hoping!

Until next time…….

Bad Week and More Testing Ahead

UGH……that is the only word I can say to sum up this week with Hannah.  It has been a horrific week to say the least.  The mood swings of sadness/depression to rage/anger is enough to put you over the edge and the fact that there is no trigger that we know of is frustrating to say the least.  Let’s not even begin to talk about all the self-stim behavior that includes pulling her hair out at the roots (literally) among many other things.  The OCD is worse than ever and the anxiety…..well, let’s just say she is anxious about everything and has zero peace in her little heart and mind.  How can a 10 1/2-year-old be that anxious?  It is heart wrenching for Dennis and me because we can’t fix it.  Also, and this could be the worst part is her insomnia has returned.  She dealt with horrible insomnia early into this disease and we found out one of the main causes was low ferritin levels and severe anemia; so we are thinking that could be happening again but we need to have her ferritin checked to see.  I don’t know if you have ever dealt with insomnia but as an adult it is awful; I cannot imagine what it is like for a child, especially one with Down Syndrome who can’t understand why she cannot fall to sleep or stay asleep.  If you saw the amounts of medications we give her at night you would think she would pass out within 10 minutes of taking them (normally she does), but this week……it has been awful.  Took her 3 hours last night before she fell asleep and she was up about 6 times throughout the night after that.  UGH!  Of course, no sleep at night means a grumpier than usual Hannah during the day.

Hannah has so much going on in her little body and brain, things we don’t understand; heck, things her doctors don’t even understand.  There are things that are coming up as far as testing that is unfair for her but things that need to be done.  We have several doctors appointments in the next 2 weeks and some of the testing that has returned already has us somewhat concerned.  She will be having a test done on her adrenal glands to see if we can “wake them up” as all the steroids she was on for so long caused them to stop functioning.  The question is whether or not it is just adrenal fatigue or failure?  That is what the test will hopefully show.  Also, she has a lot more blood work coming up to do, some testing the the Neurologist in Birmingham wants done that has never been checked having to do with autoimmune diseases and diseases of the brain.  Also, and this is the one that rips my heart out is a spinal tap.  I have personally had one, years ago and they aren’t pleasant.  Fortunately for Hannah, she will be under anesthesia but that brings a whole new list of concerns due to her heart.  You can’t win for losing! We are praying that these new tests will shed some light on some things we have suspected for nearly 3 years now (outside of the PANDAS diagnosis).  Things I am not ready to talk about but concerns her Pediatrician, Geneticist and Dennis and I have had.  Fortunately, we found a Neurologist willing to listen and run some tests that the other Neurologists weren’t willing to do.  So, for that we are grateful.  At this point, we just want answers (if they are to be had), so we can work on keeping Hannah comfortable and give her some sort of life!

I will admit, Dennis and I are struggling with all Hannah has going on.  I know life isn’t fair but I think Hannah has had more than her share of struggle and challenges and we are just ready for answers.  If we could get to the root of the problem then either we can fix it or at least get Hannah the right medications/treatment to help her feel better.  I don’t think Hannah has ever felt GOOD.  I don’t think she knows what feeling good is.  You know when you are sick and  you feel like you have been hit by a MAC truck?  Do you ever think….”wow, I never know how good I usually feel until I get sick.”  Well, I don’t think Hannah knows what it feels like to feel good.  She has nothing to compare it to because she always feels like crap.  I just want her to feel good, even if it means medications to get her that way.  Yes, I know…..medications are just band-aids to mask a problem, but when you haven’t been able to get to the root of the problem (and in all reality some problems you never get to the bottom of), then you take any and all the help you can get in the form of medications.  Our house already looks like a pharmacy and I am afraid, after the results we get, we will most likely be adding more medications to Hannah’s daily list.  But, I have gotten to the point that we have to treat her symptoms as it is the only way to give her (and us) some relief.  I have tried essential oils, shakes full of nutrients, vitamins, coconut milk and oil, turmeric, gluten and casein free diets…..over the past 3 years we have tried EVERYTHING imaginable and NOTHING has worked……we just need answers to figure out what WILL work and how to make her comfortable.

So, your prayers for Hannah the next few weeks are greatly appreciated.  We are praying for answers with these tests…..good or bad, we just want answers.  We will deal with any possible bad news if that happens but right now answers are what we need and want.  Thank you for following our journey and for praying with us and for us……

Until next time……….

 

He’s Got My Back

Difficulties, valley’s, heartaches, brokenness, challenges…..we all go through them at one time or another in our life.  Nobody has any greater challenges than anyone else.  Your heartaches matter no matter what anyone else thinks.  We all struggle…..whether you are caring for a sick friend, family member, child or if you are sick yourself.  Perhaps your job is difficult and you have a boss who does everything to make life miserable or perhaps you have lost your job.  Maybe you have family issues that you don’t know how to resolve or your marriage is falling apart.  You might be struggling financially….whatever the case may be we all have challenges and we hit valley’s in our life.  You….me…..we all do at one time or another.  Some valley’s last just a short time and you are back on the mountain again and other times you think you will never see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Whatever the case is…..you are never alone.

I am blessed because just like this picture, which spoke a thousand words to me when I saw it; I have a  man behind me that no matter what I face in front of me he’s got my back!  No matter what….through thick and thin, better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and in health….he has been and continues to be my rock.  He protects me, provides for me and loves me even when I am unlovable!  He is willing to come in 2nd place to Hannah and I know a lot of people say, you should never put your child first, but in our case we have had no choice.  No matter the times I have had to choose to take care of her and neglect him, he still sticks with me and loves me through it.

 

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Yesterday afternoon before Dennis left for work I melted into a puddle of tears and clung to him.  He put his arms around me and prayed.  I think he even struggled finding the words to pray yesterday as Hannah had just viciously attacked me then herself; as it rips his heart out probably even more than mine each time.  A man…..a husband…..a dad and he can’t fix it.  He struggles, probably much more than I do.  He has a lot on him with work and the sole responsibility of caring for and providing for his family.  He, like many of you, busts his rear end to make sure our needs and yes, many of his wife’s wants are taken care of.  He feels guilty so often because he wishes he was home more to help me with Hannah; but yet he has to work to provide our income and insurance.  He could have retired 2 years ago, but didn’t.  He is trying to stay another 3 years  (and with work right now that is proving difficult); but I won’t get into that.  He has the weight of the world on his shoulders and yet, I bet if you talked to him or saw him, you would never know.  He hides it and he hides it well to everyone except for me.  I know he is struggling and yet…..he has MY back.  He is my rock and the one that I look to when I can’t do it anymore.  He is the only one that has to deal with my tears and heartache on top of everything else.  He is the one that comes to my rescue when Hannah attacks me.  He is the one who takes over when she won’t let me console her, but he can.  He is the one who watches his daughter and his wife struggle and he can’t fix it but he never breaks down.  He never shows his weakness.  He never loses his mind (like I have been known to do more than once).  He never loses his cool and he never once threatens to give up.  So, yes, no matter what is in front of me I can handle it because of WHO is behind me and both of us being carried by a loving Heavenly Father always.

Dennis, baby…..I know you are hurting.  I know you are struggling and most likely putting this on my blog is not what you would want but publicly I think you should know that you are loved more than anything by your wife and daughter and that no matter what we are in your corner and NOTHING you do goes unnoticed or unappreciated.  Thank you for taking care of us and thank you for having my back…..ALWAYS!  One day, I promise, we will all 3 be whole again!

Until next time…………

 

Four-Day Whirlwind Trip

We just got home yesterday from a 4-day whirlwind trip to take Hannah to see a new Neurologist at Children’s in Birmingham, Alabama.  Due to Hannah’s anxiety in the car we can not make more than about a 4-hour trip in a day anywhere with her.  So, fortunately our friends Mike and Michelle opened their home to us (they have done this many times and we are so very grateful).  We drove to their house south of Atlanta and spent the night, got up and drove rest of the way to Birmingham just to see a new Neurologist.  We really liked the new Neurologist and he opened our eyes to some diagnosis’ other than PANDAS that Hannah needs to have been checked for and hasn’t been.  He was willing to send an email to our Pediatrician with the new tests that he wants run and he is also referring us to another Neurologist in Gainesville who he wants to really look into Hannah’s seizures/epilepsy issues.  He opened our eyes to some things we have not been told about by the other 4 Neurologists we have seen and was the first Neurologist to admit this was Neurological in nature instead of a Psych issue; which we have known all along, but it was nice to hear.

So, now……..we wait.  We wait for the tests to be ordered and run and we wait to see the Neurologist in Gainesville.  Once Dr. Dure receives all the results from the tests and hears back from the Neurologist in Gainesville, he will be able to prayerfully and hopefully give us more information and insight into what we are dealing with completely.  Then, hopefully, we can get Hannah ALL the help she needs to give her quality of life instead of merely existing day-to-day not knowing what each day brings.

We don’t know what triggers Hannah’s personality/mood/behavior changes and it is so disheartening, frustrating and in all honesty, sometimes frightening.  In fact, not 45 minutes ago Hannah was happy, doing school work, clapping and saying “fantastic work,” bringing me her work for me to give a smiley face and then BOOM, out of the blue, like a light switch being flipped she aggressively attacked me and then herself and then melted into a puddle of tears and lethargy!  Dennis was home when it happened as he is working night-shift this week and we just looked at each other….what is the cause, the trigger?  Why can’t we fix this?  I walked to the mailbox afterwards and the tears started falling.  I am so tired and weary and some days the burden seems too difficult to carry anymore; but giving up is not an option…..so we press on but I wonder at times if our lives will ever be different from what we have endured the last 2-1/2 years and if I dwell too much on it, I just get so very sad.  My heart just aches and longs for the little girl I once had.  That happy all the time, never sad and never angry, sweet, loving little girl.  The little girl who never in a million years would hurt anyone or herself.  The little girl who smiled all.the.time!  That contagious laugh and infectious grin is what I miss……I so long for her to return to us and frankly, I don’t know that she ever will and I just seem to grieve what we lost every.single.second.of.every.single.day!

I know, I hear you…..accept what you cannot change.  Embrace it and move on, right?  Go ahead…..I know at least some of you are thinking it and you know what?  I tell myself that all the time.  I tell myself….”this is your life Tamara.  There is no changing it, so suck it up and deal with it, put a smile on your face even though you feel as if you are dying inside and just deal with it.  You don’t have it as bad as other people, you are blessed and you should never take  your circumstances for granted.  Quit whining, quit complaining and just accept it and do the best you can with what you have!”  Yes, I tell myself that all the time and you know what?  Sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn’t and I just want to punch something!  Maybe I should invest in a big punching bag….at least I could get some exercise while working out my frustrations.

SO, this whole long boring blog post just to say…..we went and saw a new doctor, we liked him, he wants to help and now we await testing and a visit with the Gainesville Neurologist to try to get Hannah’s seizures under control.  Thank you for those who have asked and for those who continue to pray for us.  Please don’t stop……this nightmare continues and both Dennis and I are worn, weary and stressed.

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Hannah on the way home from our trip. She was eating french fries and french fries always make Hannah happy!

Until next time…….

Pity Party and Stress

I will admit it, the last 2 weeks  or so I have had a pity party…..actually, kind-of still having it; but hopefully I am coming out on the other side now!  We all have them, I don’t care who you are, we all get overwhelmed every now and then and feel sorry for ourselves (or in my case feel sorry for myself, my child and my husband).  Yes, I encompass all 3 of us in my pity parties.  I have learned a lot the past nearly 15 years of marriage and now nearly 11 years as being a mom.  But, even through all the learning, the growing, the struggling; every now and again the pity party will hit and I will be in a slump.  The thoughts of: “life is so unfair” or “life sucks” or “why can’t we be a normal family and do normal things” become my focus.  It usually happens after a holiday.  I guess Easter might have been my trigger on this one.  But, I privately go through my pity party (usually Dennis doesn’t even know).  I allow the stress and sadness to take over and then only after I start feeling physically ill, it dawns on me that I am the only one who can get me out of the slump….well, God first and then me deciding to regroup and focus on what is important.  For the past 4-5 days I have been so nauseous; having to take 2-3 anti-nausea pills each day and this morning when I woke up sick to my stomach again, it hit me (see it takes me so long to catch onto things) that it isn’t that I am sick it is the self-induced stress I am under.

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Self-induced stress…..it is real.  Sometimes we don’t see it but so much of my stress is a direct result of my thought process.  Yes, there is stress I have zero control over…..I can’t do anything about Hannah’s medical issues and health so that stress is always there, affecting all 3 of us.  I can’t do anything about things that go wrong with Dennis at work, but the stress is there and it affects all 3 of us.  I can’t do anything about the things that are happening in our families, but again, the stress is there.  So, stress is  just a part of our daily life; but where I tend to struggle immensely is allowing that stress and the pity party that can come along with it (the “this is not fair” thoughts and attitude) to take over.

I am not perfect……I struggle daily and even though I have no control over certain things in my life if I am not careful those things of which I have no control will take over my mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual well-being.  Why am I blogging about this?  First, blogging is therapy for me and getting it out in some form is helpful.  Putting my thoughts on paper (in my case the computer screen) and seeing it in writing is a great source of release.  At times it either brings me clarity or in some cases shows me how ridiculous I am and sound when I see it written down!  The second reason I am blogging is to let my readers know that they are not alone.  I think so often, so many of us feel completely overwhelmed with our circumstances and feel as if NO ONE understands and we are totally alone.  You are not!  We all have things in our life that stress us out, cause us to question everything and yes, some of us spend time having pity parties due to those circumstances.  I have learned (and am still learning) that being alone is something I am not.  I felt that way for a very long time……it is a lonely and sad feeling and I don’t want others to feel that way.

Stress and the toll it takes on our mind, health and soul can be devastating if we don’t keep it in check.  My dad used to tell me growing up “there is no point in worrying about things you have no control over!”  That is a really good statement……all it does is cause undo stress, health/mental/spiritual issues and the result (at least for me) are pity parties and those are no fun!  Don’t let your circumstances steal your joy and the ability to be able to enjoy even the little tiny moments of happiness along the journey….yes, I am preaching to the choir here!  Even though the journey is rough……try and see the joys until you come out on the other side!

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Until next time……..