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Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Am Thankful For Sugar

We were going to the mountains of North Carolina to pick up a puppy.  It would be a short trip for just one night.  I had been looking forward to it all week.

You know him. He is the "Pre Cold" from the Zicam commercials.
However, we have been passing around a cold at the Construction Company.  First me, my boss and her granddaughter had it. Then the other girl in the office had a sore throat  She even went home early one day.  But me?  I was feeling fine...Until Wednesday when my throat started hurting.  Instead of taking it easy, I worked and then went to church that night.  Again, the next day I felt fine until that afternoon.  Then I felt the pre cold chasing me.  I felt terrible!!  See picture above!

My daughter and her husband were coming over.! that sounds so funny to use that word about my daughter.  I decided to rest in the bed for a while and then I visited with them for a few minutes.

The next day, I took it easy and just rested.  We made our trip later that afternoon and I felt good!  I fought off the cold!  I was so thankful!

We found a hotel and the check out time was 12:00.  I was loving that!  I have noticed that a few hotels offer 12:00 checkout.  That is my kinda hotel!  I was so thankful that I could sleep as long as needed and get ready at a slower pace.

We then went uptown to eat in the small mountain town of Weaverville.  Afterwards Alan let me do some Christmas shopping.  We went into a shop that had handcrafted items from local artists.  I was spending a lot of time in there shopping.  Then Alan was ready to go get his new pup.  I was thankful to feel good enough to visit the small town and thankful to go ahead and do some Christmas shopping.

So we headed to a house up on a mountain to pick out his new puppy.  While she is young, she will stay in the house some and I will get attached to her.  But I know that she is going to be a hunting dog and very soon she will be outside all the time.   I am thankful for the excitement of a new pup in our lives.

After we got all of the paperwork for his puppy, we headed back home.  It was about a three hour trip.  We stopped to eat dinner and had a good meal.  I was so thankful that during the ride up there and the ride back I was able to sit up front in the car with Alan.  I didn't have to lie in the backseat at all!

I came up with the name Sugar for the puppy.  Her Father's name is Insane Cain and her Grandmother is  Insane Jane.  So I thought Sugar Cain would be good for her.  After all she is not insane (yet), but she is oh so sweet! 
Lil' Sugar
Of course, I was worn out the day after, but I was able to take a nap.  I am so thankful that I was able to fight off a cold and have an enjoyable trip with my husband!!

This afternoon when we bought groceries I was so tired that I let him unload all the groceries from the buggy to the car.  I again felt thankful that my husband helps me so much and takes such a big role in My New IC life to make my life easier.

I am looking forward to spending time with my family for Thanksgiving.  This year I am thankful for so many things that some people take for granted.  This year I am thankful for Sugar...

Shopping for gifts for my loved ones 
Uninterrupted sleep 
God's gift to me - my husband!
Ability to fight a cold, even when I have Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, etc. 
Riding in the front seat of a car!!

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Life Is About To Change

This week marked a major change in my life.  My job at the telephone company ended.  I did not want it to end!!  The good news is that I have had a lot of time to adjust to this change.

I have known that it was going to end for about a year now.  I tried to keep it going for as long as possible.  It was the perfect job for me, in this season of my life.  I was able to work from home half of the day and then go in the office for half.  Or if I was having a really bad day, I could work all day from home.  I am convinced that God placed me in that job, so that I could have all that flexibility. 

I didn't want it to end for many reasons, but one of course is that I don't like change. The job I worked at before the telephone company was for a copier dealership.  I worked there for 23 years!

Nope, I don't like change, but each time I have changed jobs, I know that God was guiding my steps.  I am thankful that I already have another job that allowed me to work part-time until the other job ended...again, an answer to my prayers!

I've been thinking about change in general.  I didn't like change before Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and all my other related conditions.  And it is even harder for me physically and mentally to adjust to a new job now...or any kind of change.  But I like my new job at the construction company and God knows what He is doing by having me there.

Not all change is bad...a new baby, a new house, new love...a new life..."My New IC Life."  My life has changed since I have had IC, but I don't want God to take to all my pain away from me.  You may not understand why I say that, but let me try to explain.  I feel more grounded with my pain.  I feel more empathic to others with my pain.  I feel closer to God with my pain!

I know it sounds crazy to want to be in pain, but some days when I feel especially good, I do what is pleasing to me and sometimes not thinking about what God wants me to do.  Then there are other days when I tell God "Oh, remember me saying something about not taking away my pain?"  "Well, I didn't mean that I had to be in this much pain!" 

Someone recently said to me "You have so much faith, but yet He lets you suffer so much." I replied that sometimes our lives change, so that we can learn and grow from it.  I said God has changed my heart.  I wouldn't trade that for not having pain!  "Sometimes pain is the only way we can learn."

Another change that is good is when you change your life and start living for Jesus.  You don't have to "fix" yourself or "change" yourself to be worthy to have Christ in your life.  When we decide to give everything to Him, He changes us!  The guitarist from from the group Unspoken says "God's ability to forgive is much greater than our ability to sin." That sure is a great quote about the amazing power of God! Check out the acoustic version of their song about change by clicking below.

 Unspoken "Who You Are"

One chapter of my life has ended, but a new one has begun.  Sometimes change can be difficult, but sometimes change is exactly what we need! What are your thoughts on this subject?  Leave your comments below.

Some additional tips for IC Patients:

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's Official

Recently I went to a  Rheumatologist and he diagnosed me...It's official..I have Fibrobmyalgia.  It was not a devastating diagnosis for me.  I have done a lot of research and I was 99.9% sure that I have had it for several months now.

For those of you who don't have Fibromyalgia (Fibro), I will describe what it feels like to me.  Although I am pretty certain that it is different for everyone.  All my muscles feel weak.  It is hard to do simple tasks such as washing and styling my hair. My energy level is very low. My skin hurts.  It hurts for anything to touch my skin, like shoes, clothes, the laptop or my dest, cold air,etc. My eyes burn and my whole body feels achy like I have the flu. I usually check my temperature several times during the day because I feel like I have a fever.

I also have more pain.  My lower back hurts more, my legs hurt more and my bladder hurts more. Basically for me, I want to sleep as long as possible...even ridiculous amounts like 12 hours.  Of course for me this is not straight sleep, but a few hours at a time interrupted by the need to go the the bathroom often.  But just think about it.  If you are sick, that is usually what you want to do....sleep!  The more sleep the better for me!!

If you don't have Fibro, first of all, you should thank your Heavenly Father every day that you don't have it!  Also, if you know me personally, you may see me one day when I am in a Fibro flare.  Fibromyalgia is another invisible condition that I suffer from along with Interstitial Cystitis and many others.  So if you see me at work, church or the grocery store, don't assume that I am fine.  Sometimes I am fighting a battle within my body and I feel terrible.  If I walk away when it is time to do manual labor, don't assume that I am lazy and don't want to do my share.  Just know that I am having a bad day and I will try my best to do more next time...Lord willing.

You may not personally have Fibromyalgia, but you may go to church with someone who does, you may have friends that have it or your little sister may have it. If you think about it, we all probably have a link to someone who has Fibro in our lives. You may see others like me, with a handicapped parking plate.  When you look on the outside, you don't see our pain, depression or utter and complete tiredness, but it is there.  Please don't judge us and assume that we are fine.  Instead, how about asking us how we are doing and if there is anything you can do to help us?

One thing that I have learned, since I have been so sick, is to try to have compassion for and serve others.   Do I always do it?  No, sometimes I fell miserably!! But I want to serve others to glorify God. There are many ways to do that.  You can send a card to someone who is not feeling well. You can smile at someone you see at the post office. You can speak to a homeless person and ask them how they are doing.  Sometimes the smallest gesture can go a long way.

Living with chronic pain is not easy, but there are many things we can do to manage better.  Some things that help me when I'm in a Fibro flare are soaking in a hot bath with Epsom salt.  Using a heating pad on the most painful areas.  Taking the time to rest and conserving energy.

If you suffer from Fibro, I know sometimes you just don't feel like doing anything.  I felt that way the other day.  I felt awful!  All I wanted to do was stay at home and not do much of anything.  I decided that I would take a short walk instead.  I felt better after the walk.  Then I sat on my deck and just soaked up some sun rays.  It felt so good!  Then I listened to some music.  It boosted my mood.  Did it take away all my pain? No, but it make me feel better mentally. 

The next day I decided to call my sister-in-law who also suffers from Fibromyalgia.  I hoped that I helped boost her mood, just by calling her.  Sometimes we need to consider the interests of others and that alone makes us feel better! 

I am going to post some links that I think will help you in your struggles with Fibromyalgia. And of course as always, if you just need someone to talk to who understands what you are going through, I will help you as much as I can. Also, let me know your thoughts and some ways in which you serve others below.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

The Wedding

Months and months of planning, stressing and spending came to an end.  My daughter was married on October 26th.  The wedding ceremony was beautiful. It was the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary.  It was a wonderful display of people not focusing on how different they are, but how much they share in common. 

As Miranda was getting dressed for the wedding one of the groom's Aunts handed her a lovely, antique handkerchief. I was so relieved because I could not think of anything appropriate to let her "borrow."  It seemed everything that our family could not provide, his family stepped up and provided what was needed.  I was almost brought to tears.  Miranda insisted that I leave then, so that she would not cry too.  It was a sweet moment to share with my lovely daughter before her wedding.

She was married in my Mom's church.  It is over 100 years old and only used for special services, since they have built another larger sanctuary. The backdrop for the occasion  had glimpses of days gone by.
There was a candle lighting and placing of a rose as a memorial to the groom's Mom. It was a touching display of respect and love to a special lady who passed onto heaven suddenly and way too soon last year.

As Miranda walked down the aisle, one of the three talented vocalist sang the perfect song " I'm Marrying My Angel Today."  The lyrics of the song seem to have been written especially for Miranda and Vince...

Take a Listen...I'm Marrying My Angel Today By Jamie Foxx

Miranda looked stunning as she walked down the aisle in her elegant dress. She was crying as my husband walked with her arm in arm.  As soon as the groom saw her, he started crying too. Emotions were running high for many of the attendees of the wedding.  My husband was holding back his tears, as he gave our daughter away.  He handed her hand to the preacher.  He in turn handed it to the groom.  The significance of this gesture was heart touching.

The vows were as traditional as they come..."I, Miranda, take you Vince, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."

As I listened to the part about "in sickness and health" it really made me think.  My husband and I took those same vows 27 years ago.  Neither one of us knowing that years later our vows would be put to the test.  Who knew I would be diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and all the other related conditions that are a part of our daily lives now?  But he has stayed true to his vows and for this I will always be grateful.

As the preacher talked about the foundation of good marriage he poured sand into the heart shaped container.  The bride then poured, from her container, orange colored sand. The groom poured, from his container, brown colored sand. Each color representing them as individuals. The preacher said " The individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be."

The blending of the sand not only symbolizes the unity of the couple, but the blending of two families. As we celebrated this day together, it became clear to me that both families are down to earth, friendly, God loving people. Of course the two families look different on the outside, but the things that, hope and love...we share in common.

My beautiful daughter and my new Son-in-Law

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