Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life Upside Down; The Year 2010 in retrospect.

Last December was the start of things, Tho' I didn't recognize it at the time. I was having some difficulties with strength and cognitive issues. I kept telling myself and a few others that it seemed as though I was having a stroke in slow motion. Nothing concrete. I was over weight and having trouble navigating. I would drop things because my grip was weak. I was clumsy and bumbling. I remember thinking, "is this how some elderly feel?" and "I'm walking like a really old lady walks?"
I kept thinking it had to be my weight. On New Years Day at my sister's house I weighed myself with her son's scale in his bathroom. I didn't have a home scale at that time and quite frankly I have always avoided scales anywhere. But because of my troubles I decided to break with my tradition and hopped on. To my surprise, I weighed out at 190 pounds. I knew according to health standards I was 40 to 50 lbs heavier than I should be. I decided right there and then to do something about that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

With a sense of Wonder and Whimsy

"It came without ribbons!
It came without tags!   
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
And he puzzled three hours, 'til his puzzler was sore.
Than The Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
Maybe Christmas, he thought, Doesn't come from a store. 
Maybe Christmas... Perhaps,..means a little bit more!"

"The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" 
by Dr. Suess (1904-1991)

This Christmas I spent just a moment in the company of my nieces. We were invited for Christmas dinner at my sister's home. It is always a joyous time with family. And the family fills the place with love and good fellowship.
At one point I walked back to a bedroom to find one of my niece's playing a keyboard. Along with her was  a grand niece who was reading "Falling Up". I dropped in to chat a moment and soon we had the company of my other niece and two more grand nieces.
The conversation soon, to my delight, took a turn to the whimsy. What fun all these young ladies are to be around. Laughter and loving hearts are truly a blessing to one's soul.
Earlier in the day we were also privileged to be entertained by one of these grand nieces. I have mentioned her before on another website. About how she was the one that inspired my purchase of an ECN. (emergency clown nose )
She has a collection of mechanical toys that she brought with her to show the family . What a delight to watch the toys and her as she wound each one in turn to share them with us. What a sense of wonder this show created. For that moment in time, we where all children. Filled with Wonder and Whimsy.
Thank you Gracie. Thank you Girls. Thank you Family  for the wonderful day.


  A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
                                                                  Ecclesiastes 3:4

Friday, December 24, 2010

Room for Jesus ~by Billy Graham

She brought forth her firstborn Son,...
and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the in.

Luke 2:7

No room for Jesus? No room for the King of  kings? No, but room for others and for other things. There was no room for Jesus in the world that He had made - imagine!

Things have not really changed since that Bethlehem night over two thousand years ago. God is still on the fringes of most of our lives. We fit Him in when it is convenient for us,  we become irritated when He makes demands on us. If God would only stay in His little box and come out when we pull the string!

Our lives are so full. There is so much to be done. But in all our busy activities are we in danger of excluding from our hearts and lives the One who made us?

"Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus; there is room in my heart for you."

December 25 "Hope for Each Day" by Billy Graham

Friday, December 10, 2010

Spoon Girl Hat

the Spoon Girl Hat

Life Upside Down: 3 months in - December 3, 2010

This month's focal point has been the therapy I've been taking. Not much else has changed or happened. In the passed five weeks I've become accustomed to the shots and the need to rotate the injection sites. I have a day planner from the company to help with that. All this has slipped into a status quo. It all seems to fit into life here. We have always been time minded. Certain things need to happen at certain times and there is no getting away from that. Oh, I suppose we could forget these things and we oft times have. It doesn't bode well for any of us when that happens. So, we try not to do that. As I may have mentioned before, we have tried to keep life calm for G's sake for years. Now that type of life style works for me as well. I use to call it being "nailed to the carpet" and tho' I still hate it at times I'm realizing that it is probably for the best.
There may be a couple things that have a medicine connection. I'm waiting to see if they are actual side effects. Maybe it's just the cold weather. I do usually have dry skin this time of year but, to this degree? I've also have some toe trouble. If it is side effects I am hoping the good I'm getting will out weight the bad.
So on we trudge in the upside down-ess. That's what this passed month has been. The hymn "In Heavenly Love Abiding" has been the anthem. I love that Our Lord reminds us of His truths.

Life Upside down: November 26,1020

Some days can get prettydark. I am not up to this battle and it hasn't even gotten hard yet. I don't know what to expect or not expect. I'm battling an invisible foe that is myself, mentally and physyically. With only the weapons I think may help me prevail longer. I literally have to make myself do things that I feel may help me. I sometimes find myself thinking what's the point, it'll probably be all stripped away anyway. Then only by God's Grace, I remember to only look at today. Today I will be glad that I did the exercises. Today I will be glad I took my supplements. Today I will be glad I followed my diet guide lines. Today I will be glad I took my shot. Tomorrow will be whatever it is. Next week, next month will be whatever it is. And next year is a thought that can crush. So I ask my Lord to hold me in His Everlasting Arms and commend all my thoughts to His captivity. I choose to trust in Him no matter how I feel. Though the tears still come or the joys He imparts to me, I trust in Jesus. I remember the Rock I'm anchored to.

Life Upside Down: Sim Tom's Attic - November 22, 2010

I have been trying to reason out a few things. Trying to understand what MS is for me and how to copy. I've been reading and trying to learn as much as I can safely tolerate. A lot of what I am reading isn't applicaticable so I don't continue with those issues. So my reading style is scan and pick and choose what I feel will be of benefit.
I am also trying to put into words what it is that I'm experiencing symptom-wise. It's hard to do that. I don't possess the knowledge of what some of it is. There are things going on with me that are re-occurences. Things that happen almost daily. I've been trying to term them for myself and hoping to be able to tag them properly at some point.
For now, here is what I will call them.
Since my double vision, which is totally gone at the time of writing this (22 November 2010), I have had a balance problem. Some times it seems worse than at others. The worsening doesn't seem to have a time frame. It can happen any day or night and can last a few minutes or longer. I am not sure if it is a part of my broken walking style that happens of if the broken walking style is separate symptom.
I also am unsure if my weakness is part of the balance problem of it is a symptom all it's own.
I also have a dizzy, light headed feeling that happens some times. Normally this doesn't seem to last long but it can occur at any time of the day or night and any day without a obvious trigger. At time this dizzy thing happens separate from my balance issues and visa-versa.

Life Upside down ~November 19 2010 The first snow fall:

Life upside down is a term that is used by people quite often. And no doubt, when it is used, their life has usually, truly been turned upside down. That term was made personal for us when Bear was diagnosis with epilepsy that was actually caused by a brain tumor. It was hard to watch her struggle during this time and we of course debated termination early to spare her. But then we would watch her in the yard and in the house, her quality of life wasn't terminal yet. She would delight in the smallest of pleasures and a roll in the yard was pure rapture for her. That was Life Upside Down for her and that is when the term was adopted for her and us. At that time it became a battle cry, a gauge, and a solace.

That was 6 years ago and since her passing we have gone through other things that would be given the Life Upside Down classification. Yes, it means for us that our lives have been turned upside down and we have had to bare things we would not have chosen. However, for us now, with the classification comes the coping mechanism
Bear taught us. To delight in the smallest of pleasures and roll with pure rapture. That is our Life Upside Down.

Life Upside down-Two Months In- November 3,2010

The Fog is lifting. As I look out on the day from my sliding door, I watch the fog lift and realize that the fog over my life is lifting too. I no longer feel in a complete daze. Sure, there are days when I feel uncertain still but, over all the fog is lifting. I now know what I need to attend to and what it will take to keep going at this point in time. I've realized that things haven't really changed that much. Everything remains so much like it was before my diagnosis. For this I am grateful. I am also grateful that I can see it is so. The things that are changed are now slipping into routine. So much so that there is no longer a fog about them. They are simply how it is and will continue to be. There is comfort in it now. I feel like I am doing the best things I can to help my disease at this point. So here I am two months in, watching the fog lift. Praying that my Lord continues to direct me through.

* therapy

Life Upside Down-Navigation- October 28, 2010

Step by Step

He does not lead me year by year
Nor even day by day.
But step by step my path unfolds:
My Lord directs my way.

Tomorrow's paths I do not know,
I only know this minute;
But He will say, "This is the way,
By faith now walk ye in it."

And I am glad that it is so.
Today's enough to bear;
And when tomorrow comes, His grace
Shall for exceed its care.

What need to worry then, or fret?
The God who gave His Son
Holds all my moments in His hand
And gives them, one by one
~Barbara C. Ryberg

I'm thinking I am learning a few new things. I am having to rethink the way I navigate my days. One avenue of waiting is over and I have started a therapy for my MS. So I have chosen to take that injection in the evening for a couple reasons. One is using the dog's dinner time to help me remember. The other benefit of an evening shot is that my Greggo is home. His support and help if needed is reassuring. There are a couple of side effects that are rare but possible and I prefer to have him available. He even does the shots on the nights that because of rotation the place is a bit hard for me to reach.
Another one of the side effects is depression. I have been battling this nemisis for a long time, so I am not unprepared for it totally. Already I stay away for things the exacerbate this problem. I leave sugar alone. On rare occasions over the years I have partaken but, have learned over and over I can't tolerate it. I try to keep up a regiment of taking St. John's wort daily. This has been going on for years as well. Lately, I have had to increase the amount to three times daily. Before I was only doing once daily and during the sunshine months I could pass on it entirely. I'm thinking those days are gone. Time will tell.
I am now taking other vitamins and herb supplements as well. I have throughout my life taken courses of vitamin b. Over the past year I have been taking a B-complex. A few other vitamins and herb supplements have found their way into my daily plan. I have been reading a good book about MS and the nurse, Ms sufferer, author has mentioned a few that have benefited her. So I've added Omega 3,6, and 9, cod liver oil, and milk thistle to the line up. I drink a glass of orange juice every day and at the slightest hint of an infection, cold or flu I add GSE.
On the battling depression front I have also learned that keeping up with my exercises is key. It can be really easy for me to ignore them. I really at times need to force myself to get at them. I always feel much better when I do. Not only physically but mentally.
I am learning that having this regiment and sticking to it helps me side step some of the depression. I am realizing that I need to get up, do my exercises, eat my regular breakfast, take my supplements, get cleaned up and get dressed for the day. Then I need to find something to do.
My life is changing and I seem to have little control over it, so I'm trying to have a little control over me. The depression battle is at hand. I'll try my best to keep my head above the waves and trust in My Lord who holds me in His hands.
(and to bolster my feelings I keep my emergency clown nose close by for those terminal days.)

Here's to my Life Upside Down- October 21, 2010

I know we all have things that call for our attention. That is life. Each of us has a juggling act. I had adjusted to my life of that just as all do. I am just finding myself having to re-adjust to my life. It's like someone has asked me to juggle while balancing on the bow of a very little wooden boat.
It's really weird now-a-days. I don't know if there has ever been a time in my adult life that I have had to consider so much about me. Obviously in my youth most of my thoughts were about me. Recently, I told Gregg that it was strange to be the center of my thought now. I don't even know how to express it. As a wife, I am use to considering my husband. What his needs were/are, what he wanted to do, what future plans and events needed consideration and adjustment for. As a mom, I am use to considering my sons. What their needs were/are, what they wanted to do, what future plans and events needed consideration and adjustment for. That seemed to come natural as a wife and mom. Like it's innate. Sure a lot of my thoughts were still of me. Hopefully, I want to believe, they were mostly of I how I could mesh, how to stream with others to make life flow easily and on an even keel. There has been some chaffing, cracking, and falling away of self for each of us.
When it became evident that one of our sons was special needs, this became even more a factor. To my shame or credit for the past 16 years that has been the main. Nothing goes into consideration without passing through the G Factor first.
Now there is a finer grained factor. Now with any consideration comes the need to see if I can handle it first. To see if I can deal with, or adjust to whatever one of us wants to do, what's to happen or needs to happen. I know that sounds self important. Like I'm putting me in the ultimate position of all things family. I don't know if that is true or not. I just know if
this family is to go forward with all of us aboard, it needs to be thus. That is why it is so weird. Now I don't get up without consideration. The first being how is my vision today. Lately it's been fine. Praise God. Thankfully navigation hasn't been a problem either. Some mornings my balance is off but I've been able to conduct the morning rituals of animal care without a problem. The morning progresses with daily exercises that have been a factor for almost 11 months. Thankful, G. likes to sleep in so my mornings are free for this. Lately instead of preparing for travel in the morning like I've been accustomed to, I straighten the household up a bit and begin the consideration list. If I'm feeling well I check the list of what needs to happen. Thankfully that list has always been kept pretty short. Groceries, prescriptions, pet needs, household needs, car needs, and the like. Then if that is clear or just one of the needs needs attention I go into possibility mode. What can we do that will be fun. I consider that and choose something far reach and something near reach. I set myself and us up for what is needed to go. Then the continuance or the plan is simply up to the G Factor. If I don't even get this far when G wakes up we take care of his immediate needs and then cut down the plan to what will work and what won't. It most times ends up in a home day. Or a day where we wait for Greggo to get home to see if he can help with the thing we need or want to do.
I am so thankful for my two at home buddies. We are a team and I praise God for that.
There is an article I found online that deals with this issue. The woman that wrote it has lupus but I have found that it is applicable to MS. It is called "The Spoon Theory" by Christine Miserandino.
Please understand I am in reasonably good health now and prayerfully will stay that way. However, I have noticed some fatique creeping in and there are some things that pop up day to day that seem to be connected to stress and the busy-ness life seems to have for all of us. It's really hard to explain my life upside down to myself let alone to others. I am still learning about this mystery and it's effects on me.
So, Here's to my life upside down and the prayer I can navigate these waters. I put the full weight of my trust and hope's in the One that guides the way.
He is my Lighthouse and safe harbor. He is my Lord.

Here's to Life Upside Down- October 5, 2010

Though out my walk with Jesus I have noticed something. When ever He speaks the loudest to me, it is through the animal kingdom. That shows me that He knows me and my love of His creatures.
The last few months have been poignant with these observations. I was out in the backyard one day with my husband. We were sitting near my goldfish bathtub enjoying the shade. Our dog Spud was avidly seeking something around the tub. His antics seldom cease so I was taking little note of him. Except when he bumbled into the pump and bolted out into the yard. I righted the pump and went back to my seat. A few moments later Gregg was out in the middle of the yard with Spud retrieving a muddy slimey item out of Spud's mouth. "What does he have now?" I exclaimed in bitter tone. I got my answer when I saw one of my fish in Gregg's hand. Gregg walked over to the tub and drop it back in. Fearing the worst and seeing the almost lifeless creature, I was sure it was all over for it. Unbelievable the fish recovered from it's crisis in a few minutes.
Now you ask. How does this relate to anything in my life? Though at the time it was just fish and dog and a mystery of how the fish got out in the first place, it became a lesson to me about how I am in God's hands no matter what.

How could being scooped up by a dog ever be a good thing? For the fish it was a very good thing. Though it had to go through the horror of it, it ended up being what saved it's life. Remember, It was at first, some how pulled from it's safe home and dropped into the dirt. Left there gasping for who knows how long. If not for the trauma of being snatched up by Spud and run out to the yard in mouth, it would have died for sure.

Hopefully, I'll retain this lesson as I walk this new life. I was dodging a truth about my health but then I got a symptom that was unmistakable. Though double vision and compromised balance was scary. It has brought me through the dirt and the dog's mouth to a place that has possible saved my life.

Life Upside Down -One month In- October 3, 2010

It's been one month since my official diagnosis. As strange as it may sound the diagnosis was a relief. My life upside down now has a name.

This past month has been good and bad. I am finally feeling a little more normal. I don't know if it's because I am actually feeling better or if I have just gotten accustomed to feeling different. I lean towards just feeling better. I am still surrounded by a cloud of prayers. Some days I feel this and some days I don't. That doesn't mean that it is not there. I feel less off balance. My eyes seem to focus better,even without my glasses. Emotionally I am drier. I still feel a bit numb, not physically, emotionally.

It's weird having this invisible disease. It's still not easy to discuss it with anyone. I'm not sure if that is because it's too raw for me or if it's like a lie. It's invisible. I am still in good shape. My symptoms didn't take anything away permenately. But I know it's still there. I feel guilty about not being healed. I love that people are praying. I am doing as well as I am because God is moving on those prayers. I am so grateful for the Grace and Mercy He has extended toward me.

I am still learning about this disease. I have been reading as much as I can but, a lot of it is not applicable to me at the time. It may never be. Or it may be tomorrow. I am living a mystery. Which may become the greatest hobby of my life. Instead of questing for the challenges of treasure hunting I'll be questing for a healthier me. The whole time I'll be leaning more and more on my Lord for guidance. And though it is presumptuous to say, I identify with Paul when he says "I prayed three times for this thorn to be removed"

2 Corinthians 12:8 Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

The New Old Me or The Old New Me -September 4,2010

After my time as a pirate, I was told I needed some corrective lens. Well, these are the ones I decided were what I liked. Unusual to be sure. Minimal no doubt. I have a weakness for old things. I like my new old pince nez very much.In this photo I do look a little stressed. There is more a foot than the new old glasses. There is a new old me too. I may need Gracey's emergency clown nose. ;-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life Upsidedown

I would be lying if I said "I'm not scared." But in the same breathe I declare "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand." Then recite a poem I have carried in my heart for several years.

He's placed me in a little cage away from gardens fair.
But, I shall sing the sweetest songs for He has placed me here.
Not beat my wings against the cage if it's my Maker's will.
But raise my voice to heaven's gates and sing the louder still.

Here we are 2 1/2 weeks for the onset of my double vision

[caption id="attachment_736" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Eyes have it."][/caption]

My eyes have returned to normal. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful words can not express. I can look right with both eyes. I can look left with both eyes. I no longer see two of everything and I CAN DRIVE! Even going to the store is a delight! Thank You LORD!

five days after the return, I had an appointment with my eye doctor. He was happy for me but guarded. He explained that this can re-occur at anytime. If it does don't panic because as we know it can right itself at anytime also. Further more, He told me blindness can occur, usually in one eye at a time. Watch for this and let him know immediately if this happens. Also if I start having any pain. He reiterated that I should be sure to keep my appointment with the neurologist. That Dr. would have more information and help for me.

Then to my relief, because I have been having some extended vision trouble, he prescribed some eye glasses. Yea! I will be having some eye glasses made to help my vision. I guess I'm getting old. This kind of issue I can handle! Glasses for me! No problem. In fact now that I have found the type of eye wear I want, I'm very excited.

I have chosen an antique type of eye wear. The pince nez. I have purchased a few antique pairs online and am "Looking" forward very much to learning the wearing of this type of glasses. I am hoping I can find a optical place that will help me retro fit one of the pair with my prescription.

Here's to Life Upside down and the good I find in the traversing of it. Thank you Lord for Your Grace and Mercy imparted to me. Your praise is continually on my lips and in my heart.