Sunday, December 31, 2006
The leaky roof (you can see the wet spots)
The "bucket brigade"—each one catching at least one drip!
BUT...THE GOOD NEWS IS... WE'RE MAKING THE BEST OF THE SITUATION!
We've installed an indoor pool!
Another view of the new pool!
Life just continues to be exciting!!!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
"The way we were...." (West wall of my office—little damage—gives you an idea how pretty the room was. Waaah!)
Office ceiling—the wood you see is the roof decking!! (In the upper right, you can barely see the light fixture that poured water.)
East wall of my office.
Southeast corner of my office/guestroom. (Most heavily damaged.)
The office floor (with various "rain-catchment devices")
MBR walk-in closet, where the water went to when it came from my office!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Anyway, hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and is having a good Boxing Day!
Thanks for your continung prayers for the whole "house/insurance thing".
Monday, December 18, 2006
I know some of you have been praying—thank you!
P.S. Thanks Jaena, for the idea—believe it or not, we probably wouldn't have thought to take pictures!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I was sitting upstairs in my office, when I heard a loud "thud"! You know, the kind that makes you jump up and leave the room because you think the ceiling is gonna fall in? I checked around the house—nothin'. I went outside an looked at the roof, searching for tree branches, UFO's, falling cows—nothin'. I called myself an idiot for running out of my office and went back to work.
I was sitting in my office, when I heard what sounded like a large person (wearing boots) stomping around on the roof. I checked around the house—nothin'. I went outside an looked at the roof, searching for...well...a large person wearing boots—nothin'. I called Lloyd as I went back to work.
We were already contracted to have a new rubber roof put on soon, so Lloyd said to call the roofer. I called and described my experiences. It was too windy for him to go up that day, but he said from what he had seen on his recent visit there, we had nothing to worry about. I called myself a worrywart and went back to work.
Fast forward to this week, Tuesday morning....
Lloyd and I are in the kitchen, starting our morning, when Anna walks in the room. She looks like she's been walking in the rain, and she's holding a dripping laptop—MY dripping laptop! Her first words are, "Mom's office is leaking like a sieve!"
Long story short—the "thud" and the "stomping boots" I heard were the wind ripping loose a four foot wide section of the flat roof and folding it back! The unprotected roof is now letting the heavy downpour outside come roaring straight into my office! Onto the desk, the laptop, the recliner, the leather desk chair, the books, the carpet.... Then it begins to work its way through the office floor and head for the walk-in closet directly below!
I am now on a first-name basis with my homeowner's insurance agent (Nancy), a claims adjustor (Don), and a guy from Stanley Steemer who does flood recovery (Mitch)! Next, I'm sure I'll get to know a drywaller, a carpet installer, and who knows who else!
For now, I have many things in my house "stored" in strange places. My stove is in the middle of my kitchen. (They needed a 220 outlet and it was give up the stove or the clothes dryer.) I have stacks of bedsheets in the entry, hanger clothes on my bed, and bins and stacks and piles of "stuff" to sort and put away "someday" when this adventure is over. I have no privacy. The hoses and electrical cords from the dehumidifiers, fans, and air purifiers keep pretty much all the doors in the house from closing all the way. Except, ironically, for the doors on the two water-damaged rooms! Those two doors we can close and latch!
Lloyd and I look at each other, and all we can say is, "Well...it's no fire!"
Stay tuned as the saga continues....
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Last Monday was not the best for me. I was feeling my symptoms more that usual. However, in spite of having an "off" day, in spite of having "sleep issues" the night before, in spite of the stress and "rush-rush" of getting to Indy on time....
My Neuro said that day (my "off" day!) my symptoms showed a marked improvement over what they were like last July when she last saw me! Yaaaaay. God! Yaaaaay, Mirapex! She also suggested a new med (Azilect) that I may want to consider pairing with the Mirapex--in part for its apparent ability to slow progression.
The way i summed up the difference I'm experiencing, "I feel younger than I did in July."
Thanks, everyone for your prayers and for the other ways you help!
P.S. Tomorrow I hope to post about something exciting that happened to me recently!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Today's title comes from a comment someone made recently (well intentioned, I'm sure) about "poor Marcia, going along through life with Parkinson's." This is obviously someone who hasn't seen me lately! Prime example—the flying leap I took across a bed recently, to catch the phone before the answering machine picked up! Ha! So there, Parkinson's!
Well, I'll be "going along" now!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Sometimes, things are going really well for a person—they're making good choices and living the way God wants them to—and it's easy for them to do what's right. Then they start to think it's all them. That they're the power behind their successful Christian walk. After a while, not on purpose, they forget to rely on God working through them to live a Christ-like life.... And things start falling apart.... And they find themselves asking, "What happened?"
Yep, my little girl's growing up! And she's turning into a wise, insightful young woman!
It reminds me once again of 3 John 1:4 -
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
Monday, October 23, 2006
By 5:30 I was saying, "I'm so tense and shaky! What's wrong with me?" Then I remembered!
Anna, a budding parabolical thinker (see this blog, 9 Sept., 2005), immediately saw a spiritual connection! Can you spot the parable of the Mirapex? If you think you know, leave a comment. Later, I'll explain what she saw.
(to be continued....)
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I put this quote on "he said...she said...", my daily quote blog. It reminded me of one of my "pet rants" that I have talked about before (ad nauseum)—but not here. Soooooo....
What gets me is how everyone is sure that having their "someone" will make them happy. So they run around dating, hooking up, breaking up, searching for happiness. The reality, though is that 50% of marriages end in divorce. That means that only half of the people who found their "soulmate" were happy enough to stay married. Then, on top of that, you add in the percentage of intact marriages that are miserable. (Some researchers say as many as 65%!) That means that as few as 20 people out of 100 who found "Him"/"Her" end up happily married to him/her! In other words, we shouldn't expect guaranteed happiness from any relationship—except the one with Jesus Christ!
And still, so many people, convinced that for them it will be "different," run around frantically looking for The One, when He already arrived 2000 years ago!
"Almighty God, You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in You." — St. Augustine
OK—done now. "This has been Ranting Moments with Marcia. We now return you to your regularly scheduled lives, already in progress."
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Anyway, I made it to both functions today. It was kind of an odd sensation—it felt like there was a reaction in the group. Sort of a "Marcia's here!" murmur. (How odd!) Then, between services, people were stopping me in the halls to talk to me! I began to feel like some kind of celebrity. And what am I "famous" for? — Having an incurable condition that may eventually undermine my quality of life! What an accomplishment!
"Thank you! Thank you! First of all, I'd like to thank the Academy. I'd also like to thank all the little people who made it all possible...."
I think I'm beginning to better understand the story in John 5:2-9.
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
"Do you want to get well?" Why would anyone ask that question?
Maybe what Jesus was really asking was, "Are you willing to be nobody?"
Just think, for 38 years—thirthy-eight years!—this guy had been a landmark!
"Look! There's old Simeon. I remember seeing him there when I was a kid!"
"Yeah, it just wouldn't be Bethesda Pool without good old Simeon."
What would he have been known for? Having an incurable medical condition! He was recognized by his non-functioning body, and probably by his bedroll and "his spot" by the pool. If he were healed, he would become just another face in the crowd—just another ordinary guy going about his ordinary business.
"Do you want to get well?"
On some level, Jesus was asking him to give up his celebrity. To become a nobody for the glory of God. The same thing he asks all of us to do! The same thing he asks me to do....
How do I draw the line between keeping people informed for the purpose pf prayer and encouragement vs. "playing my role" for dramatic effect?
What marks the transition between having a platform (for witnessing and informing) and a stage (for claiming the spotlight)?
Is this whole post a valid contemplation of what I'm learning through having Parkinson's or just a noble-sounding grab for the spotlight?
I need to think about this....
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Apparently, I don't write about ordinary good days! The Mirapex is working—my symptoms are much better controlled than in, say, March of this year. All of our kids and kids-in-law give every indication of being happy and healthy. My DH and I are in a very "happy together" phase. I'm not "at war" with anyone—family, friend, or stranger. I have challenging, enjoyable writing to do—some of it even for pay! So what can I blog about?
I've never been very good at writing poetry when I'm happy, either. Maybe on some gut level, my writer's soul knows that "the public" is much more interested in reading about scandal and tragedy than rainbows, smiles, and hugs.
I guess I just continue to plug away at my boring, uneventful, happy life! And to anyone reading this... May you never understand from experience the true meaning of the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times!"
Friday, September 08, 2006
Also, I was officially told today that Monday will be my last day in therapy for my shoulder. Yaaaaaay! I can tell—and it's been measured—that BOTH shoulders are stronger than they were a few weeks ago. Yaaaaaaaay (again)!
That's it for now...stuff to do!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I just contacted Radiology myself and got my own copy of the radiologist's report.
"...no obvious acute fractures or dislocations...bone density normal...joint spaces well maintained...soft tissue swelling..."
All I have is a "boo-boo foot"! Yaaaaaay!
Thanks for your prayers and concern.
(NOT my x-ray)
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
As a couple of fellow bloggers knew, today was my birthday. Here's how I "celebrated":
1. Hour and a half of therapy for my shoulder.
2. Doctor's appointment to have my injured foot examined.
3. X-ray of injured foot — results available tomorrow
4. Trip to the BMV to renew my driver's license
5. Can't pass the vision test without my glasses — new license has glasses restriction
6. Arrive home to find a phone message from my husband — my mother-in-law has been taken to the hospital with leg pain after a fall
7. Approaching midnight — the DH is still at the hospital with his mom
There you have it, folks.... Real life doesn't stop just because a certain number comes up on the calendar!
A few positive thoughts in closing:
1. I prefer a day like today over what I was experiencing six months ago. I have the energy to do all the running around.
2. My license photo turned out OK.
3. I saw a good friend in Tree of Life who I haven't seen for a while.
4. My family is planning to celebrate my birthday on the weekend.
Life's pretty good after all...in spite of the "bumps".
And that's where we stand.... (Or should I say, "Sit, with feet elevated.")
P.S. Thanks, Jenn! It's been a kinda strange one, but it "beats the alternative"!
Monday, September 04, 2006
I've had the chance to do two things that helped me make up my mind.
1. I had to spend several minutes just sitting, without anything to distract me. In those quiet, uninterrupted moments, I realized that my foot was aching! Not good.
2. I needed to do some real walking, as opposed to hobbling around, favoring my "boo-boo foot". I felt like something was poking my foot! Again, not good.
The verdict? Tomorrow morning, as soon as feasible, I call the doctor. If he can't get me in tomorrow, I'll see if he'll at least write orders for me to get checked in radiology.
Well, that's it. If you still have an overwhelming urge to share your opinion, feel free to comment on my decision. — I'll smile and nod.
Now, ever since then, my foot has felt "not right". It's funny colors and tender (sometimes painful). I know that if I have a broken toe, there's not much to do for it. I already called the Dr. and talked over the broken toe option. Since then however, because of the location of the discoloration and pain, I'm beginning to wonder if I did something to the actual foot itself! (That can mean cast and crutches!) So do I contact the Dr. again, or not?
I hate these "middle-of-the-road" medical decisions! Skinned knee—pffft! Unconsciousness—no brainer! But something like this—what if I spend all the money for x-rays, etc., and get told, "It's a bruise." Or what if I don't, and get told, "Well, if you'd come in sooner..."
Here's your chance...give me your two cents worth!
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I SAID: I would post on here at least twice a week (oops!)
I WANT: to leave a legacy when I'm gone
I WISH: I didn't have Parkinson's
I MISS: a place I've never been (C. S. Lewis' "far-off country")
I HEAR: more than most people are aware of
I WONDER: what high school would have been llike, if I'd known then what I know now
I REGRET: mistakes I've made in raising my kids
I AM NOT: some tiny, helpless "baby bird"
I DANCE: by myself, for an Audience of One
I SING: more than I did before I had kids
I CRY: when I'm sad, when I'm happy, when I'm moved, when I'm scared, when I'm angry, when I'm feeling blessed, when I'm...
I AM NOT ALWAYS: the quiet, compliant person I appear to be
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: gifts for the people I love
I WRITE: because I'm compelled to
I CONFUSE: others with the way my mind works
I NEED: a Staples "Easy Button" (for real, not the toy)
I SHOULD: develop a clearer focus of my purpose in life
I START: more slowly than some people would like
I FINISH: with lots of adrenalin
I LOVE: more deeply than I can express
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I've been having A LOT of really good days! The Mirapex seems to have really kicked in! I have better balance, more energy and stamina, and a lot less stiffness and tremor. The one thing I do have to be careful of is not to overdo things. I'm seeing things that I've had to neglect for too long and thinking, "I could take care of that!" — thinking it about all of them at once!!! I've had some sore muscles to show for it. (But it's the good, "I've accomplished something," kind of sore.)
The other item "in the news" is that I'm in therapy for my shoulder. (Told you my warranty has expired!) It seems that a combination of heredity, repetitive motion, and possibly the Parkinson's has resulted in arthritis/weakened muscles. I go in and have hot and cold packs and do exercises with a therapist three times a week. It isn't bad. It's at the place where I used to work, so there are a lot of friendly faces to talk to.
Now for the really awful news.... I have to renew my driver's license!!! Once again, I face that dreaded moment in every woman's life—THE ID PHOTO! We have a good news/bad news scenario here. The good news: they've changed the state law so that I only have to face this moment every 6 years, instead of every four. The bad news: how ever this new picture turns out on my license, I have to live with it for 6 years, instead of just four. It sure would be nice if they offered re-takes, like when we had school pictures. Ah, well.... My son has developed the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mindset. When he had his license photo taken, he waited until the last second and deliberately made a goofy face! Now, whenever someone complains to him about their ID photo, he can always trump their picture with his! At least he's happy! If you want to ask about my new license, though, remember you do so at your own risk!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
What made them choose today?
Why did they choose this path?
Are they all following the same flight path, or are there other groups taking other routes?
Where are they coming from—and going to?
I haven't seen anything about them in the news, so I have no answers for all my questions.
Private acrobatic cropduster planes?
Formations of military planes?
No...migrating Monarch butterflies, heading south for the winter! Very cool!
Monday, August 14, 2006
My whole family got together this weekend to celebrate my parents 50th anniversary. All my "family of origin" (me, Mom, Dad, and sibs) and their "extensions" (spouses and kids), along with my extensions (husband, kids, kids-in-law, grandbaby-to-be) were there! Yaaay! Family photo time! There were 20 of us, so we took 81 shots, then "photoshopped" good expressions from one shot to another until we had one good family portrait.
In the afternoon, the extended family came for an informal reception. Aunts and uncles, cousins and their kids...they added another twenty-three, for a total of forty-three! Trying to have conversations with everyone was a new event I call "speed chatting".
We were the perfect illustration of a Yogi Berra quote, "It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much." ;)
An interesting sidenote — my brother-in-law entertained himself by doing the math and discovered that the married couples in my "family of origin" (Mom & Dad, sibs & me & our spouses, our married kids & their spouses) have all together accumulated 139 years of marriage! Wow!
Now all I need is a vacation to help me recover from my summer vacation! :)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
On Nov. 4, 2005, I started writing about my second-floor office and how many of the dozen trees on our property I could see from there.
"One tree is directly in front of me as I sit at my desk and look out the window. I don't think I've ever been this 'up close and personal' with a tree before in my life! I feel as if I should name it...."
I watched, intrigued, as the tree's leaves changed from completely green to completely yellow in a matter of days. I started to think about what I'd witnessed out my window...searching for its "parabolical" meaning. Then I got stuck.
Since that day nine months ago, I've experienced a lot of changes of my own — illness and new life, loss and gain. And as all these changes have spun around me, I've continued to watch my trees. I've seen them hit by storms that broke off branches. In one instance, the weather was so severe that it ripped away half the tree. I've noticed some of the trees suffering the effects of age and disease.
I've also witnessed positive changes in my trees. I've seen leaves change color, green to gold, seemingly overnight. I've watched leaf buds swell, and burst, and baby leaflets grow into full-size leaves. I noticed a hummingbird hovering among the high branches.
All of life includes changes—some positive, some negative. Some changes add to our blessings while others seem to rip beloved treasures from our hands. It seems as if everyone has something to say about change.
Changes - David Bowie
(turn and face the strain)
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
(turn and face the strain)
Pretty soon now you're gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I don't know about other people, but I need something stronger, more eternal than Bowie's words to turn to when I'm staring into the face of change. This old hymn has some real things to say about facing change.
Abide With Me - Words: Henry F. Lyte
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
All growth brings change. All change brings loss. All loss brings grief. — Author Unknown
"O Thou who changest not, abide with me."
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
There are occasional moments, though. Moments when I'm suddenly struck by the reality that this recovery is all fake. Any "repairs" I see are pharmaceutically induced and very temporary. They will only last as long as the medicine in my system. When the meds are gone, so are the improvements.
Then, there's the scariest thought that jumps out at me now and then. — Every day, a few more of the dopamine-producing cells in my brain are dying off. THAT thought takes my breath away and gives me a chilly split-second of panic every time. "Quick! Someone! Just find a way to stop the progress of the disease! I'm not even asking for a cure—just let me stay where I am!"
How many cells are already dead? Nobody knows—maybe 50-80%. How quickly are the remaining cells dying? Nobody knows that either. There is one detail, though, that seems to be pretty universally accepted. One day, there won't be enough brain cells to produce enough chemicals for the prescription to enhance. One day, this medicine won’t work for me any more. Then it will be time to try something else from the long list of available treatments.
But I do know one thing more. I can't just sit around and wait for my world to end. God has given me every day to enjoy and live to the fullest. My times are in His hands and He has a purpose for EVERYTHING I experience. I can trust Him with my whole life.
"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me." —Psalm 57:1-2
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” —Ephesians 2:10
Sorry if this post sounds bleak — it isn’t really. I don't feel that way most of the time, but I’ve learned that these kinds of thoughts are easier to deal with and much less scary when they’re brought out into the light.
Thank you for your prayers and concern. Family and friends mean unbelievably more now than ever before.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I wanted to give all my lovely, hardworking quotes a place of their own. A place of more prominence and honor. Someplace like...a blog of their very own ! So, for the past week and a half, my quotes have been moving, one-by-one, into the new home I've made for them—"he said....she said..."—my daily quote blog. We're issuing a special invitation today, but the link will always be there in the sidebar. Looking forward to seeing you there!
P.S. If you find a good quote that's looking for a home, feel free to drop it off in the Comments Section!
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
More "birth pondering"....
Last week changed how I view my sister. I've always appreciated her, loved her, enjoyed her company—I even liked her when she was in middle school! But she was born when I was in my mid-teens, so she's always been "my little sister"...even "my baby sister."
Now? Well, now I find that the week we spent together left me impressed and filled with admiration.
I watched her watch the news. With her husband’s duties placing him in a “hot spot,” she stays informed about the areas of conflict around the world. All the while, she quietly displays peace. trust, and a hopeful outlook. It’s clear that God is in control.
I stayed with her all through labor and delivery. In the most intense moments, the strongest contractions, I watched her personify Proverbs 31:26 :
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Even in labor, she THOUGHT before she spoke!
I’ve watched her live with extended family for several months. Now, I see her planning to have a home ready to greet her husband when he returns from his assignment. I admire her juggling act—”well baby” checkups, legal documents, diaper changes, and Sesame Street. I see her patiently, lovingly doing the single parenting of a military wife—for a toddler and a newborn!
This is no mere “baby sister!” This is a strong, confident, competent woman!
I guess she didn't really make some recent, dramatic change. It's just that my image of her has been kinda stuck. In reality, she grew up a long time ago. Last week, my perception of her did, too. Now, she's not just the sister and friend she's always been — she’s my peer (possibly even my superior)!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I was just noticing that today my diagnosis of Parkinson’s is making me feel slightly claustrophobic. It’s as if today I can feel my world slowly, almost imperceptibly, closing in on me. I’ve already got people trying to tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing, regardless of what my doctor says!
We tend to talk about “the hand of God” as if it were always a pleasant experience.
“God really has His hand on that young man.”
“You can certainly see God’s hand on her ministry.”
I’m not sure Job would agree.
"Even today my complaint is bitter; His hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.” -- Job 23:2
In the lives of believers, isn’t God’s hand just as certainly on the young man with cancer, or the woman whose attempts at ministry are blocked at every turn? Can’t we see God’s sovereign hand in the things we consider bad news, as well as things we enjoy?
So here I am, trying to learn to be still under the hand of God. Reminding myself that wondering how long this is gonna take, thinking about what I’ll do when I can get up--that isn’t submission. I just need to be still and trust, even when the walls seem to be closing in.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Selah (stop and ponder that)
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
He lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the Lord,
the desolations He has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
He burns the shields with fire.
10 "BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Thanks, I needed that!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Well, I’m back home....
Just as I expected, childbirth leaves me with a lot to process. Of course, I’ve experienced giving birth before--four times! Somehow, though, there’s something different about witnessing a life beginning. I’ve discovered a whole new set of facets to ponder.
For starters, I think I begin to understand what it is about his wife giving birth that so often reduces a husband to tears. Someone who you’d give your life for is crying for help and there’s nothing--NOTHING--you can do to help her! Oh, sure, you can rub her back, coach her breathing, murmur encouragement. But as far as anything to rescue her, to make it stop--there’s nothing you can REALLY do!
Then suddenly, there are two people you’d die for in the room with you, and they’re BOTH crying, and you’re crying...and it’s WONDERFUL!
I’m still pondering....
Friday, July 21, 2006
I'm an aunt (again)! Emily Grace was born on the evening of July 18. I've had four babies of my own, but there is NOTHING like being there to witness a birth! Wow! What a mixture of emotions! It's all a very clear memory and yet a blur at the same time! Again, WOW!
God is good...a safe, relatively easy labor (Anyone who's experienced childbirth knows that "easy" is a relative term!) My energy level and tremors were both reasonable. Of course, now that all my adrenalin has worn off.... (I took a nap this afternoon.)
Emily with Heather, the doula
Gotta go--I'll probably write more later. Right now, birth is one of those things that needs to be processed.
Thanks for your prayers!
"But [she] treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." - Luke 2:19 (NIV)
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Just a few things to do, then I'll feel ready to go...like I'm the one who has to be ready!
We had a safe, uneventful trip here, so that's one prayer request answered. Here's a reminder of the others.
1. Safe, easy birth
2. Good (energetic and non-shaky) days for me
3. No medicine complications as I up the dosage again Monday
I was thinking about each of my four kids' births. Now those were WIDELY varied experiences! As I was thinking about how those times have uniquely prepared me to "be there" for my sister, it reminded me of some verses that helps to explain why God allows tough times in our lives....
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
1 Corinthians 1:3-4
Well, gotta go--still stuff to do!
Thanks for your prayers...especially tomorrow!
Friday, July 14, 2006
Monday morning, bright and early, I assume my role as "birthing buddy" for my baby sister! Her husband is stationed out of the country, so I'm "filling in." It just struck me today that part of my role will be as the family historian. (Somebody's gotta remember all the details!)
So, tomorrow morning I head out! Am I excited? Ummmm...YEAH!
I'll post when I can. Who knows, this may be the motivation I need to learn to post photos on here!
I got thinking about the movie and remembered one of my favorite lines. It takes place after Joe has survived a typhoon, a shipwreck, and a day adrift at sea in the unrelenting sun. As the moon rises, Joe prays. He's very weakened, still adrift, and has no clue what the next day will hold. His prayer? "O God, whose name I do not know, thank you for my life!"
The only thing cooler than that is the prayer I have the privilege of praying:
"O God, whose name I DO know, thank you for my life!"
This morning, Caleb was looking out the window when a bird slammed into the glass! It sort of "staggered back" in the air, gathered its wits, and flew away. When he told me, he hadn't heard my hummingbird story yet. Hmmmm....
After I thought about it for a while, I realized the bird that hit the window has a lesson for me. I was flying along, busy with life, enjoying my surroundings. All of a sudden, I ran into something I hadn't seen coming and I couldn't fly around. I was stunned, and staggered back, unsure of what to do. Now the time has come to gather my wits and start flying again...in a new direction. And that's the Lesson of the Bird and the Window.
The Lesson of the Hummingbird? My dad says it's that I'm easily mistaken for a flower!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I think my greater fear, though, was a fear of being “locked in.” The medicine they wanted to put me on is one of those that you can’t just quit. It takes weeks to ease into a full dose, and weeks to wean back off. If something were to change (divine healing or discovery of misdiagnosis) you can’t just quit the medicine. I believe I was afraid of limiting God by “accepting” the diagnosis of Parkinson’s and starting treatment.
I’m learning, though, that accepting is not the same thing as giving up. God is sovereign--I can’t limit Him by accepting the circumstances He allows in my life. I can, however, limit the ways He can use me by denying what’s going on with me. If I deny the problems I’m facing, how can my experience be a witness to God’s grace at work in me?
I have Parkinson’s -- Parkinson’s doesn’t have ME!! GOD has me! Regardless of my circumstance, He still holds me in the palm of His hand. To some people, the difference in phrasing may seem like mere semantics, but hey--I’m a semantics kinda girl!
I’m learning that I’m still me--just with the addition of Parkinson’s. I still feel things strongly. I still cry when I’m sad...and when I’m happy...and when I “get blessed!” I still have the same weird sense of humor--sometimes to the annoyance of my family!
I sometimes struggle now with fear when I try to picture my future. Barring a miraculous healing or a medical breakthrough, I doubt that my future will match Deuteronomy 34:7. But you know, for years I’ve walked around saying that a crisis doesn’t make us more dependent on God--it just makes us more aware of how dependent we’ve been on Him all along! Once again, God’s given me the chance to “put my money where my mouth is!”
So I've started the medicine -- Mirapex. It seems to be helping a little already.
"Another bite of elephant? Why, yes, thank you...." (munch, munch, munch....)
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
(by Fanny Crosby - a blind hymn writer)
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time!
Here's a variation....
Q: How do you deal with "unfixable" bad news?
A: One bite at a time!
Three months ago, I got that kind of “unfixable” news. On April 6, 2006 (that date is branded in my memory), I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. My first comment was, “This isn’t how I was planning on living the rest of my life!”
My grandpa who “died young” was 87 when he died. My two grandmas were 90 and 95. My other grandpa was 100! All of them were relatively healthy and energetic until the last few years. I had great-grandparents who lived into their 80s and 90s. My parents are in their seventies and still going strong (helping keep up with my toddler niece). My image of my “senior years” was based on Deuteronomy 34:7, “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” I figured that with my genetic heritage and the advances in medicine, reaching 120 would be a breeze!
From the beginning of this Parkinson’s journey, I’ve been determined that whatever happened, my goal was the glory of God--whether I live 50 years with Parkinson’s or I wake up healed tomorrow morning. Although that hasn’t changed, I’ve recently realized that something else has.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I wasn’t acknowledging the diagnosis or the condition as “mine”. I used words like “they’ve diagnosed me with Parkinson’s,” “the Parkinson’s,” “the symptoms.” Without realizing it, I was very careful not to say things like “I have Parkinson’s,” “my Parkinson’s,” my symptoms.”
I found myself pondering the possibility of a misdiagnosis. Never mind that I was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic, by some of the best in the field. Forget the friends in the medical field who agreed that the diagnosis made sense. Ignore the fact that the diagnosis made me feel as if I finally had all the puzzle pieces in place. I clung to the slim chance that I’d been misdiagnosed.
(...to be continued...)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
"May He support us all the day long, till the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy, may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last."
- John Henry Cardinal Newman
Thursday, June 01, 2006
They had "travel adventures" out east somewhere--NY or PA--when their U-Haul died with a blown transmission. They had a several hour delay--first waiting for roadside assistance, then replacing the truck, then moving all their furniture to the new truck! But they're here now, unloading "even as we speak"!
Am I a happy mama? You bet! All my "little chicks" are only a local phone call away! I plan on enjoying it while I can!
Friday, May 26, 2006
"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
"But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
"Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone."
-- Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
Monday, May 01, 2006
Friday evening, my mom, dad, sister, and niece arrived to be part of the weekend. My sister's due in less than three months, so her "bump" is getting quite noticeable. And I got to feel the baby kick! Also, it looks like the plan is for me to be there for labor and delivery! Woo-hoo!
Saturday morning my daughter-in-law graduated from college..."cum laude"! Yay!!! And she did it while working, being married, taking care of a house (and cat), moving to a new house, and starting a family! My daughter is Wonder Woman!
Saturday evening was my daughter's prom. Of course, everyone knows I'm not biased when I say she looked beautiful!
Then Mom, Dad, Cindy, and Abby came back to the house to "hang out". Caleb and Abby had so much fun chasing each other through the house and tickling each other!
Sunday morning was worshiping with extended family. For me, that's always a little taste of heaven.
Sunday afternoon we spent celebrating my son's 21st birthday. Stuffed ourselves at the Chinese buffet, then went back to his new house and ate cake. (Ooooh, my tummy!) Then a nap--of course!
Lots of fun times, but by Sunday night, I was one tired puppy! Was it worth it? You bet-- every minute!
Friday, April 28, 2006
Almost three weeks ago, Joshua and Jen told us they're expecting! We wanted to give them the time to tell family themselves. Their due date is in early December. I have one friend who pointed out that it was just like God to temper the "less good" news of Parkinson's with the WONDERFUL news of a baby (in the same week)! I was concerned that if I posted here, my family (who checks my blog) might find out online before Josh and Jen got a chance to announce it themselves. And me -- I'm excited enough that all I could think to write about was MY GRANDBABY!
Anyway, that's the reason for the long silence! Hope you understand. I'll write more soon...I promise! Thanks for your prayers!
Monday, April 17, 2006
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I'm not sure HOW this works, but I believe it DOES. That's enough to keep me going....
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Before David could defeat Goliath, he had to go through the valley.
Why did he have to go through the valley?
Because in the valley there was a stream, and in the stream were the five smooth stones he would carry with him to use in his sling.
Here's the key point--
**FROM THE DAY THE WORLD WAS CREATED, GOD HAD BEEN PREPARING THOSE FIVE STONES TO BE THERE, READY FOR DAVID TO USE ON THAT DAY!**
God knew what David would face, and when, and had gone ahead of David to set up everything he would need to be victorious! He led David through the valley to equip him for victory.
'He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, HE GOES ON AHEAD OF THEM, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.' John 10:3b-4 NIV (emphasis mine)
Monday, April 10, 2006
A couple funny things happened at church.
1. While I was standing and talking in the foyer, someone (who apparently doesn't know about my balance issues) walked by and patted me on the back. I swayed gently and righted myself. They kept going and weren't even aware that they almost knocked me over! Call me odd, but I found that funny!
2. After church, a friend and I were talking and she gave me a hug. It pulled me off-balance and as I was tilting toward her, I had to ask her to stand me back up. Again, call me odd....
Yesterday evening was GOOD. I took a nap in the afternoon, and in the evening I felt almost normal! Lloyd accused me of showing off because I stood in the middle of the kitchen and did 360 degree pivot. (Something I normally have trouble with.)
Last night made the "denial" phase of dealing with my diagnosis very easy to choose. You know - "If I just get more...(sleep, exercise, vitamins, etc)...I'll be fine" Don't worry, I'm not stupid enough to ignore this and hope it goes away! (It won't let me!)
Anyway, I guess that's about it for now. Stay tuned for more updates as this story develops.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
The work has already begun on managing my symptoms. Believe it or not, I'm taking (drumroll, please)...Benadryl! It's what they call an "anticholinergic". I'm still working on understanding what that means!
Anyway, if the day comes when I feel I need more help than I can get from Benadryl, the Dr. has already told me what he has next on the list of med options. That's one of the "good news/bad news" things about PD (Parkinson's Disease). Bad news: there's no cure, only treatment of symptoms. Good news: since we're treating symptoms, I'M the one who gets to decide when to do things like change meds. (It's nice to feel like I still have SOME control of what's happening!)
One interesting thing now that I know what's going on (to me anyway) is when I look at a list of PD symptoms, I see little ones that I began experiencing years ago, but that by themselves were so small I forgot about them! For me, that just confirms the doctors' diagnosis.
Anyway, that's what's up today! Next week I begin the process transferring my care to a Movement Disorder Neurologist closer to home--as opposed to 8-10 hours away. Please pray for that process, as we find the doctor who God has planned for me. Pray for all of us, too, as we attempt to adjust our image of the future to this new scenario.
Thanks for your continuing prayers!
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Parkinson's is a condition where my brain doesn't produce enough of the chemical needed to communicate well with my muscles. Hence, the shaking, fatigue, and unsteadiness. There is treatment, but no cure. It DOES NOT effect life span!!! There is a wide range of medicines I can take to control symptoms. There are also significant advances being made in research for a cure. The doctor said he wouldn't be at all surprised to see a cure in the next 5-10 years!
In the meantime, feel free to ASK ME QUESTIONS!!!! Feel free to let your kids ask me questions! I love to share information and it won't bother me to have you ask! IT WILL HELP ME!!! (It will also give me an excuse to go on the internet, if you ask me something I don't know!)
If you want to do some research of your own, a couple good places to start are:
Thank you for your prayers...keep it up! They ARE making a difference! I'll be posting more, and I'll see many of you soon!
"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I feel as if God has given me a major puzzle piece to report to the doctors tomorrow! I was taking Benadryl and Aleve today, for other reasons. While they were in my system, pretty much all my symptoms were gone!
I don't know WHAT that means, but a symptom-free day is HUGE! I will DEFINITELY be telling the doctor that news tomorrow morning!
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Wisdom for the doctors who will diagnose and treat me.
Peace and comfort for my family, who try to carry on without me at home.
I got to be here for my 10yo's Science Fair!
Monday, April 03, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Now one phase of the waiting ends and another begins. This weekend, I leave for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota...world-famous for medical help when everyone else is baffled. My wonderful family (immediate and extended) have worked together to make this possible.
Everyone thinks they want to know what God has for them in the future. But if God had shown me at 18 what He had planned for me over the following 20-plus years, I would have run screaming into the woods! The cool thing has been, though, that as I've reached each new step, each new "event" (and there have been some "EVENTS') God has prepared me as we (He and I) arrived there. His grace and strength have always been amazingly more than enough for *that day*!
So I'm packing....
Right now it's hard to keep focused on the "Big Picture" of going to Mayo...answers and (hopefully) treatment. The "little picture" is so in my face at this moment. I DO NOT want more tests--especially those imvolving needles! And I DO NOT want to leave my family for a week or more! I want to stay here and "be the mom"!
Please pray for God's comfort for my family and me as we're apart. And pray for answers and solutions. If you want more details, check with my husband, my parents, or my church, CWC. Thanks....
"I Have My Mission"
--by John Henry Newman (author of the hymn "Lead Kindly Light")
God has created me to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good.
I shall do His work.
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it - if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore I will trust in Him.
Whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain.
He knows what He is about.
He may take away my friends.
He may throw me among strangers.
He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me -
still He knows what He is about.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I'm trying something different this year. Since I'm more of a "variety person" than a "routine person", I tend to quickly tire of the traditional List of Things to Change. So instead, I'm planning to work on categories. Rather than the same old thing every day, I'll invest a certain amount of time to each of several different categories. That way, I can do different things on different days and still be making significant progress in some very important areas.
And the nominees are....
1. Toward organization - 15 minutes a day (organize a drawer, de-clutter a countertop, etc.)
2. Toward better health - 30 minutes a day (exercise, go for a walk, floss, etc.)
3. Toward spiritual growth - 30 minutes a day (Bible, prayer, reading "deep stuff", etc.)
4. Toward publication - 60 minutes a day (write, research, submit to publishers, etc.)
Good luck to all the nominees!