Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Too Young To Be So Old

I've spent the last year trudging through injection after injection, new xrays and MRIs, appointments with surgeons, primary doctors, chiropractors, and pain management only to wind up exactly where I started.  Last October, I had another MRI done of my spine, as my pain had been increasing again to the point where it was interfering with my daily life.  I recently completed a set of injections called RFA, or radio frequency ablations.  This was a last ditch effort, really to find a solution to pain, short of surgery of some kind.  When I saw my surgeon back in March, he told me that the only real option was to operate and do a discectomy and fusion at C2-3 and C3-4 in my neck, while pain management told me that my last option was to have a pain pump or neuro-stimulator surgically implanted in my spine. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'm Crazy, Right?

I want to state upfront that I'm not actually looking for anyone to tell me that I am not crazy.  I am just curious if anyone else out there, especially people who battle anxiety, understand the situation I'm going to describe below and the array of feelings that arise from it.

There was an "incident" tonight.  Sometimes I wonder at what point will Kris finally say, "Oh my gosh, you really are crazy!" and then decide he's had enough?  When I'm calm and rational (yes, it does happen...occasionally...), I know the answer.  He will never reach a point where he thinks he just can't deal with me anymore. That man will stand by my side, always.  No matter what.  If our story is any indicator, his capacity to love and forgive and continue to want a life with me even after being profoundly hurt is proof enough.

Why then, if I know that, do I completely lose my mind the moment he expresses agitation or frustration with me?  He deals with my crazy extremely well.  Most of the time.  But in those few and far between moments where he isn't in complete control of how he reacts to my irrationality, I just can't deal with it.  It literally feels like the end of my world.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Have I ever mentioned I'm tired of my spine?  I'm exhausted from hurting all the time and having to put on a smile and pretend that I feel better than I do.  While I hate "faking it," with regards to my pain, I've learned the no-so-subtle art of grinning and bearing it.  Some days I think it's more obvious that I am miserable, but most days, I am able to portray that I am feeling better than I am.  And if you see me and I look like I'm not feeling great, it is almost a guarantee that I feel about fifty times worse than I look like I feel.

This faking it has not been without it's own drawbacks - namely being increased anxiety and most recently, despondency.  I finally broke down and went to the doctor today and asked for something to help me deal with the panic attacks and constant anxiety I can't seem to shake.  I was on a LOT of Xanax for a long time, many years ago.  While it was extremely effective, I was eating it like candy by the end and wanted to get off of it, as I felt like it was controlling my life.  So I have just been managing my anxiety on my own for the last six and a half years.  And it was going pretty well.  But it has now become unmanageable again and I asked my doctor for something to help.  I can't ride in or drive a car without extreme fear and panic, I'm jumpy all the time, and leaving the house and socializing is its own special horror (among other things).  I've never wanted to be a hermit more than I do right now.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Asking For Help - The Impossible Tasks

A friend and I were talking recently about impossible tasks.  She had read an article which detailed a conversation that took place on Twitter and went viral.  It had to do with depression and every day tasks that are impossible for some of us.  I didn't actually read the article until today.  When I did, I thought, "Wait...this is...normal?"

I had no idea that other people struggled with this.  For some, depression manifests itself as sleeping all day, withdrawing from others, anxiety, and any other number of things.  I don't sleep well at all, so my depression has never come out in the form of sleeping all the time.

When my friend and I were talking (and she was telling me about her list of impossible tasks and how she tries to do one of them each day), I thought the article was about making a list and trying to do those things.  I did not realize that the whole point of the article was that there are a ton of other people who struggle with completing seemingly simple tasks.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Speak Up

I've gone back and forth about whether or not I would share this here.  Or if I should share it anywhere, really.  There is a delicate balance between being vulnerable and transparent and knowing when to stay silent.  But as Kris reminds me, writing is cathartic for me, this blog is a ministry and so here goes--maybe this is just for me, but maybe someone needs to know someone else understands.

Yesterday marked the start of National Suicide Prevention Week.  While I myself have never attempted suicide, I would be lying if I said that I haven't had those dark thoughts that take people down that path.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

When Life Happens

In early July, I began a post to talk about the death of Kris' dad.  He died suddenly in June.  Not so suddenly that we didn't get to spend his last three days by his side - but his illness was unexpected, and he went downhill quickly.  It was a turbulent time, to say the least.  Kris and I were already dealing with some heavy family stuff, two different situations back to back that rocked us and left us feeling confused and sad and honestly, like failures and beaten down.

Both situations were ones we had absolutely no control over, and yet we managed to feel the weight of guilt anyway and wondered if we could have done something different.  In August, I finally came to terms with it and believe that there is nothing we could have done to prevent any of it.  But it doesn't change the disappointment and heartache we felt at the time.  And in the grand scheme of things, those issues were just a blip on the radar.  They didn't impact us day to day - they were just things that went against the expectations we always just had.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

I Thought I Was Finished

This time is of year is always an emotional one for me.  We're approaching Good Friday, which marks a new start to life I was given.  It leaves me feeling vulnerable and open - which sounds bad, but in reality, it's a good place for me to be.  It's real.  It's the place where my heart is most tender and responsive, the way God always intended it to be.  I wish that I could say I have come to a place where I am always in that mindset.  Where I am always living like today is my Good Friday from six years ago.  But in this broken world, with pain and distractions, it just isn't the reality I'm living in.  It's what I strive for, but it isn't what I have achieved.  I may not while in this temporary life.

2018 has been a weird year so far.  When I look back over these first three months, and where I've been, it's just been weird to me.  I started out the year with this burden to surrender.  To really truly surrender the pain, the fear, the hurt, the control.  And as my last post can attest, I have struggled with this.  I have given into despair at times.  I have felt alone.  I have felt fear.  I have felt anxiety.  I have become distracted with everything else.  And yet, God has sent me these little reminders of what he asked me for - surrender.

I thought I knew what that would entail.  I thought it just meant that I needed to try to keep my focus on God and allow him to guide me through the good and the bad times.  But lately, I've been feeling something more is being asked.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it in January or February.  When I look back on what I thought it meant, really, I think I thought it would be easier.  I thought it would require more than I was giving, but less than I am coming to realize may be required.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Where Pain Has Left Me

Today I was talking to my sister-in-law, Carrie, about my physical pain. I have spent the last 7 days in bed, with the exception of a trip to the ER and a trip to the doctor a few days after that.

I have been dealing with physical pain now for 14 years. Yes. Fourteen. It's not just some mild ache. Most of the time, it's brutal. It's no longer a case where I have good days and bad days. This past year, it is more realistic to say that I have some bad days, some really, really bad days, and then every now and again, I have a day where the pain isn't the first thing on my mind-it's an "ok" day. There are rare moments where the pain is less horrible than all the other days. Days where every thought, every decision, every step is not overshadowed completely by pain.

I am in pain when I wake up. I am in pain all day. I am in pain when I go to bed. I am in pain all night. What a lot of people see on the outside is a mask. It's a way to cope. I don't always look like a person who is constantly reminded that her physical body is worn down and deteriorating at a rapid rate. I can pretend and put on that facade like the rest of the world. The one that most days says everything is great! Or, at the very least, the one that doesn't show I feel a lot worse inside than I look on the outside.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Striving to Surrender

On Friday, I began a very time-intensive project at work. Between yesterday and today I have put in 21 hours, most of them on this project. It is finally drawing to a close and as I got in my car to leave work, I was so relieved thinking about going home and NOT working tonight. I even thought, "Hey, maybe I'll write something." I have the radio pre-set in my car to JoyFM. I thought about turning a book on to listen to on the drive home. But then the song Control by Tenth Avenue North came and and I just love that song. So, I decided I would just leave it and listen to music on the way home. The song immediately reminded me of that word I wrote about-the one for 2018 that was on my heart. 


What better reminder than a song named Control that talks solely about giving up control! I felt such a strong sense of comfort listening to that tonight. I was convinced that when I got home I would write about that song and share it. 

I was wrong.

Three songs into my drive home, a slow and rhythmic song began playing. I instantly sat up a little straighter and listened a little harder, as I tend to do when a song comes on that I know I've never heard before. I glanced at the stereo and saw it was Hillsong. And my first thought was "That's pretty, but where is the build?" 

Do you know what I'm talking about?

That build that tends to always exist in a song by a worship band?

The one where the melody tends to repeat over and over, and eventually leads into bigger music swells and profound lyrics?

That's the build I am talking about.

The one that I hoped would exist in this song.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

gracefully broken

For about a week, I have been hearing just the tail end of a song on JoyFM.  In an attempt to be intentional about surrender, I determined that I would:

#1. Actually take a lunch break.

#2. Listen to the song on my lunch break. 

As I was getting on my phone to turn Gracefully Broken by Matt Redman on, it just came on the radio!  So as I sit here in my car, taking an actual lunch break, I'm grinning because I'm not surprised at all by God's gentle (and not so subtle) reminder to slow down and surrender.