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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Keep On Truckin'

We had homecoming at my church last week.  I wasn't expecting it, but one of my best friends was there for the service.  She sat with me and another friend of ours.  She sat beside me and I could hear her singing along with the hymns.  It took me back to a place long ago when she and I used to sing in the church choir together when we were in Jr High School.  Ah, good memories!

We all went out to eat lunch together after the service.  It gave us a chance to catch up on each other and to have a few laughs together.  It was so much fun!  I was so thankful that I felt good enough to spend some more time with them.  It was so great to see her again!

Later that same day I helped Miranda and Vince with their wedding invitations.  Again I was thankful that I felt well enough to help them.  I wish I could do more to help, but I do as much as my body allows.

Going out to eat with my friends at a restaurant with hard seats and exerting large amounts of energy to talk and laugh do not come without a price for me.  Helping my daughter and future son in law with their wedding is something I greatly enjoy, but it too usually comes at a price for me over the next few days.  

The next day I felt achy and tired all over and my pain level was high most of the day. I wanted to go to a support meeting that evening, but I felt too bad.  So I just went to work,  I just had to "Keep On Truckin" and made it through the day.

Tuesday when I went to work at the Construction Company I was very tired all day.  It was a long day and I just had to "Keep on Truckin" until it was time to go home.

My brother mentioned to me that he and I have to "Keep on Truckin" and that we can help each other out.  I looked of the meaning of the comic "Keep on Truckin" and the meaning I found is...  "keep on doing your own thing regardless of obstacles."  There may be
hundreds of other meanings for these words, but I like this one.

I have thought of these words this week when I felt exhausted and I knew that I had to keep on going.  I thought of theses words last night when I suddenly felt nauseated and I was hurting from by belly button to my bladder.  I sought relief  and rest with 2 of my best
buddies...heating pad #1 and heating pad #2.  

As I was in bed I started getting anxious, but I decided to do some deep breathing and to recite scripture to myself.  "He took me by the hand and helped me."  It calmed me down...

When Alan came home with supper I felt like just laying there, but I decided I needed to "Keep on Truckin."  So I got up, and spent some time with him and I continued to feel better.

Who doesn't have obstacles in their life?  Yes, mine may be more than yours, but then some days yours are more than mine.  Everyone is going through something.  We all have to put our heart into it and keep on going.  

Living with Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and other chronic, invisible diseases has taught me that I am stronger than I thought I ever could be.  Sometimes I have to dig really deep.  I have to be really focused on a particular task in order to push through, but sometimes it is oh, so worth it!!

I also admired that he said "we can help each other."  I  like the idea of having someone that can be your motivator.  In return you try to encourage and motivate them!  Find someone that can be your Keep On Truckin (KOT) inspiration.  It can be a family member, church friend, support group friend or neighbor.  Seek them out by email, text, postcard or phone call.  You make the first step! So as the month for IC awareness comes to a close, let's all remember to help each other.  Yes, we need to spread awareness whenever and where ever possible.  But we should always remember as family, church family or IC family we all need to help each other "Keep On Truckin!"

Let me know what you and your KOT encourager are going to do for each other below...

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Chapter

I started a new chapter in "My New Life."  I started a new job, at a construction company.  I'm pretty sure I know what you are thinking...she has all the some glamorous jobs, lol.
This is me working on my core at The Construction Company, not!

I have worked for a small telephone company for the last 4 1/2 years, before that I worked at an office equipment dealership and now a construction company...not quite the fields I thought I would be in, when I went to modeling school years ago, but hey! I'm thankful for all the places that I have ever been employed!!

Learning new things and meeting new people has been good for me so far.  For months, I have know that my job would be scaled back and eventually there would be very little for me to do, so I have been praying that God would guide me to the right job. I was really concerned that I could not hold up to working full-time.  And I still am, because I'm only working 2 full days at the new job and 3 days at the telephone company.  At my telephone company job, I still have the freedom to work from home as much as needed.

For the most part, I have been feeling good enough to work. After my first full day, I came home and took a nap.  And I might have to do that more often and I'm ok with that.  I have been so busy at my new job, that I barely think about how much pain I am in during the day.  Of course, I have to push myself to wake up early, get ready and go to work.  Then I push myself to work the whole day, but so far it has been rewarding.

Around 1:00, I take a lunch break.  I usually take my lunch, so I can eat and take a short walk on my lunch hour.  It really helps to break up the day, revive my spirits and it is the perfect time of the year for walks, since the weather is cooling off a bit!!

I do get very tired in the last afternoon, but I joke with my co-worker that it is the time of the day, when I get silly, because I am so tired.  We make the best of it and laugh it off.

Starting a new job can be intimidating for most of us.  Especially those of us, with Interstitial Cystitis (IC), chronic pain or those of us who wake up each day hoping that we are going to have  "good day" and not a day of pain, depression or pure exhaustion. I'm sure most of you can relate to some of this, but as an IC patient I feel like I have so many more variables to fear now.

As I said, I have known that I needed to find another job for a while now.  And I have certainly not been at peace with the whole situation.  My life was going a certain way, I knew what to expect (to some extent) and I didn't want to leave my comfort zone.  I have been praying for God's guidance all along.  There was a point when I was very depressed about it.  I didn't want to leave the comfort of my job and the friends that I have there.  I even asked God, if there was a way to change it, please provide a way where I do not have to look for another job. That was not in His plan for me...

There was a song in my head many, many days.  Through many tears I would pray the words to this song..."If there's a road I should walk, help me find it.  If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever your will, whatever your will. Can you help me find it?" 

Fear has controlled many of my days. I am afraid that I cannot do this. And I can't...on my own.  Doubt has been in the forefront of my thoughts for so long.  I was skeptical that I would even find a job, much less find another one before the one I have ended. I was giving Him fear and He was giving me faith.  I was giving Him doubt and He gave me grace...those are my favorite lyrics from this awe-inspiring song.

I have a long way to go with this new job, in this new chapter of my new life, but I will continue pray to God "Whatever your will, whatever your will." I know that God will provide what is needed, when it is needed. 

"Help Me Find It' by Sidewalk Prophets


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Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Voice

It finally happened!  When I was first diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (IC), I begged several doctors for it.  I have cried and cried about it recently, thinking that if I could do it, I would feel normal, that it would help me so much.

I did it and it felt good!  I went to an IC support group meeting.  It was great to be among people who instantly became my friends and part of my IC family.  It was interesting to meet people for the first time and immediately begin to share parts of my intimate life with them...but that's what IC makes you do! 

I am usually quiet around people I don't know and just listen and learn.  Not this time, they were speaking my language. They were sharing stories of their IC history, medications and things that have helped them. 

My life revolves around my IC and these wonderful ladies go through a lot of the same struggles I go through.  I have known all along that I was not crazy and that my trials were real, but to actually meet people who deal with the some of the daily struggles I do, was comforting. 

Not that I am glad they have IC, oh no, I would not wish this on anyone, but that they "get me" and "get them."   We all have had different journeys and there is no "one size fits all" for our treatment.  But encouragement, laughter and sharing was just what this girl has been needing for a long time!!

My church family shares a similar part in my life.  Just as I need my IC family to comfort and cheer me, I need my church family to encourage and strengthen me.  We have church families to build each other up and not to gossip with or start arguments.

My church family has meant so much to me, but especially in the last year and half, since I have had IC.  I have made bonds with people that I cherish.  Some of these bonds would have been made, if I didn't have my IC story to share.

God is using me to share my story with people I would have never known without IC in my life.  I can share about IC and how He has brought peace into my life.

September is IC Awareness month.  I try to make everyone I come in contact aware of IC and the symptoms of IC.  During my support group meeting, I handed out my flyer about IC.  Not because they need to know about it, but maybe it might inspire them to do some type of awareness or maybe they would like to share the information with some of their friends. 

As my fellow blogger, who is part of my IC family pointed out, we don't have a Maria Shiver to spread awareness about our disease, but we do have ourselves. I am the voice of IC awareness.  If you are reading this, even if you don't have IC, you are the voice of IC awareness!!

Click on the link to my friend's blog post: 

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Me Time

My husband gave me a gift certificate on Mother's Day for an
 one hour massage. Well, being the kind of person that I am, I was saving it for a rainy day.  I have never been one to dive in and use something up, I like to savor things!

I can remember, as a child, I would have a whole jack o lantern (plastic of course) full of Halloween candy. By Christmas time, I would still have pieces of candy...even the "good stuff" leftover.

Right now, if you were to look in my pantry, you would see my stash of chocolate that I bought a few weeks ago. Lately I have been keeping some chocolate on hand, but I only eat a few pieces at a time.  Not only because I have Interstitial Cystitis and chocolate is a known bladder irritant, but because I tend to hoard things.

Since a few months had gone by, I decided to book my appointment for my massage and just enjoy it! My energy level has been a little higher lately...Thank you Lord, so I thought it would be a good time to relish in the luxury. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High ... Psalm 9:2.

As I made my way to the spa, I was feeling anxious. It was the unknown, that was overwhelming my rational thoughts.  I was actually a bundle of nerves. But the atmosphere of the spa was so calming.  It was dimly light, only by candles and small lamps. There was soft, serene music playing in the background and the aroma was pleasing and not too over powering.

The massage therapist sat down with me before the massage and talked with me about all of my medical conditions.  She said she remembered when my husband came in.  She said he was so thoughtful and wanted to make sure that I enjoyed my massage.  Almost implying to her to be extra gentle with me.

My instructions to her were that my pelvic area was tender, but I seemed to have more pain relief from a more powerful therapy everywhere else in my body.

As she began to massage my shoulders, I felt a sense of relaxation in those poor, achy muscles. As she continued the massage, I began talking to her about my IC and how it has changed my life.  Explaining that the struggles of IC have brought me closer in my walk with God.

As it turned out, she is a Christian too, so we connected on a personal level.  We talked about many things, but the one thing that stood out in my mind was when she said "God is sovereign and everything happens for a reason."  These are words I definitely believe, but it was such a great reminder that I truly needed to hear.

Continuing through the massage, when she started rubbing my head, I thought I had died on gone to heaven.  It felt so great, that I didn't want it to end.  I closed my eyes and wanted to appreciate the whole experience to the fullest extent!  I was so relaxed at this point, that I believe I was merely minutes away from falling asleep!

Then she said "Ok Barbara, I'm finished now." No! No! Just a few more minutes. I had flashbacks to Jr. High school when my Mom woke me up for school.  You know that feeling of, "No, no this can't be over!!"  

I felt so wonderful afterwards and it was such a great feeling to meet a sister in Christ.  The whole experience was lovely and I can't wait until I am able to go back for another one!!

As someone who experiences chronic pain, I know that it can take a toll on your body AND mind.  The whole massage process, for me, was "just what the doctor ordered."  If you are dealing with chronic pain, stress or other issues in your life, take the time to pamper yourself.  Take some "me time" and indulge yourself because YOU deserve it!

Granted I won't be able to go for a massage every week or every month for that matter, but I can do other things for some "me time."  I enjoy long, hot baths, writing, reading, walking and listening to music.  You may like drawing, painting or cooking.  You know what you enjoy, so take the time to do it.  We all need that "me time!"

Below I have compiled a short list of suggested "Me Time" things to do on a budget:
  • 1. Rent a movie.  Put on some comfy clothes, pop some popcorn, grab a bottle of water and enjoy!
  • 2. Give yourself a manicure or a pedicure. Take that old polish off.  Soak your feet in a bucket or bowl of warm, soapy water.  Relax a few minutes. Next soak your hands for a while. Paint your nails with a great new color. Sit back and relax some more while they dry.  
  • 3. Go for a short drive.  Turn on some of your favorite music.  Drive down a country road.  Enjoy the music and the scenery.
I'm sure you can think of some other great ideas. If you want to share them, comment below and we all can see them!
September is IC Awareness month!
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