Canine Cancer Bites

Kodi’s tumor with mild rupture on September 23, 2016

I hate cancer.  All forms of it. It’s touched our family in a bit of a different way.  Both of our dogs were diagnosed with cancer on the same day almost 2 1/2 years ago.  Kiara was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma and Kodi with a soft tissue sarcoma.  Kiara passed away almost a year after her diagnosis on April 27, 2015.  

Kodi has hopefully got one week left with us at the time of this post.  We’ve scheduled his final appointment for October 1, 2016 at 9:00 am.  How bizarre is it to think that this time next week, he’s gone.  We had his home visit THE DAY we moved into our home.  He’s literally been in our home as long as we have.  

But it’s time.  In addition to cancer, he suffers from Cauda Equina and this spinal/neurologic disorder is also taking a toll on him.  He’s lost a bit of himself and it’s only progressing faster and faster.  He has good days, but his bad days are rough.  He has had issues with potty time for awhile, but he now has some mobility concerns.  He gets stuck and can’t back out.  He slips and can’t get up at times without help.  He pants constantly and often is confused.  These are all neurological symptoms from Cauda Equina.  It’s a horrible disease that I didn’t know about until our Kodi. 

His cancer is of course an issue as well.  The tumor continues to grow and has had a couple of small ruptures.  He currently had another (see above) that is a bit bigger and is more of a bloody drainage than before.  He doesn’t appear to be bothered by it, but at the same time – I look at him and wonder how he isn’t, you know.  It’s hard (to me, at least) to discern the amount of pain he’s in.  

So, if not before, Saturday it is.  We’ll send our very first husky across what many pet owners call the Rainbow Bridge.  It’s very surreal and difficult to think about as it brings back a lot of emotion about losing Kiara, but again – it’s time.  He deserves to go with dignity and as painful as it is for us, it’s our duty to help him.  

Soon, he and Kiara will be together again – wooing and playing together as they always did.  This time, they’ll both have no more pain and no more illness and will be looking down on us from above.  

Kodi, enjoying some outside time September 21, 2016

National Dog Day 2016!  

Kodi with his prayer blanket!

Happy National Dog Day 2016, y’all!  This is our Siberian Husky, Kodi.  He’ll be 11 years old in November.  We’ve had him 10 of those years on September 1.  We rescued him from Siberian Husky Assist Rescue, located out of Bristol, TN.  I lovingly call him my Google puppy.  On a whim, I searched for husky rescues located in or near my area of Virginia.  SHAR immediately popped up and this guy was listed as up for adoption!  

Kodi, 10 months

I mean, how could I resist?  We submitted our adoption application, had our home visit, and the rest was history!
The older puppy stage was a very, how do I say it… “active” time for us. Lol!  Kodi had that puppy energy for sure!  He ate part of a mini fridge, including a half gallon of milk, pound of lunch meat, and a whole package of cheese with wrappers.  

He also very much enjoyed rice cakes and was an apparent pro at counter surfing.  One time, he placed apple cinnamon rice cakes throughout the house, including a whole one inside my pillowcase.  I did not know there was one inside there until he kept coming up to me and sticking his nose at the pillow.  He was quite pushy about it!  

Little stinker.

Four months after we opened our home and hearts to him, we fostered adopted Kiara.  They were together until Kiara passed away last year due to hemangiosarcoma.  She was my BABY.  

My beautiful baby, Kiara,on the morning she left he earth because of cancer.


Back to Kodi today.  

He was diagnosed on the same day in 2014 as Kiara with a soft tissue sarcoma.  He has a very large tumor on his hind leg that is running the risk of rupturing.  It’s a “contained cancer” as we were told a couple years back.  We could amputate his leg and the problem would be solved.

However…

Kodi also has a spinal condition called Cauda Equina.  This condition compresses the lower part of his spine, which results in physical and neurological issues.  He slips quite a bit now, which could be attributed to both illnesses honestly.  Getting up is hard for him.  I’ve had to physically pull him up at times.  He usually just allows himself to fall in order to lie down.  He has major issues with his bladder and bowels.  He can go outside, do nothing, come inside and… You can figure it out.   We do have potty pads that he tries to aim for.  He just physically doesn’t know when to go.  Point being, we didn’t want to subject him to added physical stress on his spine from losing a leg in combination with Cauda Equina.  

I gave him a bath yesterday.  It was likely his last bath.  This brought back all the emotion of when Kiara was at the end of her time on earth with us.  He didn’t stand a lot of the time.  Getting traction was too hard.  At one point, he actually had a BM in the tub.  I didn’t know it until my foot touched it, which scared me to pieces!  I honestly think he still doesn’t know it happened.  

I’ve called and scheduled an appointment at our vet for next Saturday at 11:45 for what the receptionist called a “quality of life” examination.  This is a nice, respectable, professional way of putting it.  His appointment is with the same doctor who helped Kiara.  She’ll be very honest with us.  If she feels that it’s time, we’ll say goodbye to our first dog, our first pet, our first furbaby as a married couple.  If she feels that he has some time left, he’ll come home and continue to be loved and cared for just as he’s always been.  

I broke the news to our 4 year old this morning.  Yes, I talked to him about it.  Children understand far more than we give them credit for.  I told Kavan that Kodi would be going to the doctor next Saturday.   His face sunk.  “Is the doctor going to die Kodi?  No!”  So, we talked about it.  I put it in the best terms I could for him.  

I haven’t told Keelyn (almost 7) yet.  Not before school.  We’ve talked about it before and it affects her on a deeper level.  We’ll talk this weekend.

It’s not easy.  Is it ever?  I doubt it.  He still eats, still RUNS when he’s taken out.  It’s the other times, the hard times, that are coming more frequently now.  He’s hurting.  He doesn’t show it all the time, but I think he’s starting to feel pain.  He sleeps more and withdraws much more now (though he’s always been a bit of a loner).  He hasn’t howled or talked since the night before Kiara left us.  Their last woos were together.

Here are a couple pictures from where Kodi was a guest of honor at the Smyth County Bark for Life.  We were able to bring awareness to and education of canine cancer to others!

Rockstar Kodi serving as an advocate to bring awareness to canine cancer at the Smyth County Bark for Life event May 2016!

My handsome boy!


Isn’t he beautiful?!

Here he is at home, just yesterday!  I had to help him up…  Look at those sad eyes.

Kodi , hanging out in his kennel.

So, some find it silly… But be in prayer for us as we encounter yet another life change.  Pray for peace and discernment for us as we meet with his veterinarian next week.  Pray for the kids, that they have understanding of what is going on and that they are able to remember all the fun times we’ve had with our Kodi-O!  Okay, all the times he’s stolen their food… He’s a food bandit!

Still, we love our Kodi aka Kodiak, Kodiak Beauregard, Kodi-O, Boo Boo, Boo Boo Bear, Bubba, Bubby, Ko Ko and will do so for all the days he has left with us.  


He’ll live on forever in our hearts.

Finding God in Garbage Bags

Well, I bet that title caught your attention!  Good.

We all have a story of some sort.  It becomes the background music for who we presently are and who we are to be.  Hopefully, we acknowledge God’s presence in our story and see how He has woven Himself into the intricate plot-line.

It’s a chart topping blockbuster of a story-line too!

My story is different than yours.  Yours is different than mine.  That’s the beauty of God’s great and awesome plan.  What is seemingly a big mess of jumbled dissonance is actually a beautiful song filled with harmony to God’s ears.

I was talking with some WONDERFUL sisters today after our bible study at church.  Garbage bags and suitcases became a topic of discussion.  ((Hey, I didn’t say we weren’t having a random conversation!))

 God… You are amazing!  You’ve gotta know that!  

My heart became burdened to tell this part of my past, which is all really HIStory if you really think about it.  I’m an open book about my past.  It’s shaped me into who I am and has brought me ridiculously close to the Creator of the universe.  So, here it goes…

Without divulging all the details in this post (because I’m not writing a book… yet!  Ask me in person – happy to share!), growing up with my biological mom was rough.  Hello understatement!  I lived mainly with her, but occasionally with my grandparents, friends, or whoever would take me in.  Her illness dictated her ability (or inability) to care for me.

Okay, so at the age of 15, enough things had happened in regard to mom’s illness for me to leave.  This has happened before and honestly things were relatively calmer at this point than at others in my life – though that was just evidence of my skewed image of normality and stability at the time.

However, this time had a different outcome.  My boyfriend at the time (who became more like a brother, which is really weird) of course knew about my mom (and stayed!) and all of the challenges living with her brought for me.  I went to church with him and his parents, who were AMAZING people.

They saw it fit to get a lawyer and were actually going to seek custody of me.  Instead, another couple that went to church with us volunteered as tribute (ha!) and stepped up to the (big!) challenge of taking me in.  I knew Cathy from being the most awesome lunch lady at school and her husband Phil from church, who sang and has an amazing voice.

They also lived (literally) right across the road from my boyfriend and his parents, so it was a win win.  HA!

But how in the world was I going to leave my mom?  I mean, yes – I WANTED to, but how could I safely leave?  She was in the middle of a psychotic episode, for lack of better term, and I had to be careful.

So… one evening – my boyfriend came over and was talking with my mom in the living room while I went to my room.

I just got a little nervous even just recalling that evening.

I had some black kitchen garbage bags and started bagging everything up.  Most all of my belongings fit into 5 or 6 garbage bags.  I loaded everything up and handed it out my window to my former guardian’s daughter, my sister Leslie, and she took them to her car.

When we finished, we broke the news to mom.  I feel horrible, but I can’t remember what was said or how she reacted.  I just knew I was done and I was gone.

So, that was that.

I moved in with Cathy and Phil at 15 years old and started over, almost quite literally.

It was difficult and intimidating and insanely risky.  I didn’t do it on my own though; that’s for sure.  God was with me EVERY. STEP. OF. THE. WAY.  (Isaiah 41:10)  God was with me this night and so many others when harm could have VERY easily overtaken me.  He was with me when mom left me in a diaper and took me outside during a snowstorm, when she left me in the car during a severe thunderstorm/tornado weather and wouldn’t let anyone bring me in, when she overdosed (and I found her) when I was 5, when she intentionally gave me food poisoning, throughout all of the abuse – both emotional and definitely physical, and through the insanely embarrassing things that would happen with mom’s behavior during a psychotic episode.  He was with me when mom’s boyfriend attempted awful things (but never succeeded in physically harming me).  He was there when mom stabbed a butcher’s knife into my door yelling at me to get up.  He’s been there through all the pain of feeling alone and unloved and unwanted.  He was there through SO. MUCH. HURT.  He was there through SO. MUCH.

That’s just the “mom stuff”.  That’s just SOME of the big stuff that’s happened in 29 (30 next month!) years of my life.

But what I PRAY that people understand is that God isn’t just there through the big stuff.  He’s there in the quiet.  In the stillness.  He is always there, looking out for us.  He’s in the seemingly meaningless garbage bags that we fill with our life and our belongings and He wants to be there.  He CARES people.  He cares.  He WANTS to be involved.  Nothing is unimportant to Him.  He lives in each one of us.  Are we wiling to WELCOME Him there and care for and about Him?

I am the Phoenix

I am the phoenix

Rising above the ashes of my past

Stretching far away from the hurt and pain

The trials and errors of what’s been done.

I am the phoenix

Reborn in spite of abuse and neglect

To find new meaning, new purpose, new life.

I am the phoenix

Refusing to relive the misery

Of being condemned and forced into silence

Putting on a façade that “all is well”.

I am the phoenix

Reaching and yearning for stability

To grasp and hold onto a thread of hope.

I am the phoenix

Relishing in the discovery that

I can create, can choose, can mold

My life’s destiny for which I was meant.

I am the phoenix

Recognizing my life’s worth and intent

To serve and love without hesitation.

I am the phoenix

Realizing that nothing is permanent,

That we are all on a continuum

Of life, of struggles, of growth, of pain.

I am the phoenix

Resolving to stand for myself and others,

Vowing to advocate for small voices.

I am the phoenix.

I am beautiful,

I am powerful.

I am strong,

I am wise.

I am mythical,

I am logical.

I cry.

I heal.

I rise.

(02/2013)

Parenting: Transforming big fear into bigger faith

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Soak that in for a minute.

“Let your faith be BIGGER than your fear.”

When my friend JUST posted this moments ago on her facebook page; I thought, “PERFECT”!  God’s so cool with His impeccable timing.  If we listen for that still, small voice… It’s there.  We just have to slow downlook, and listen.  Thank you friend for posting this!

“Let your faith be BIGGER than your fear.”

In order to allow our faith to be BIGGER, we have to figure out what our fear is.  What’s yours?  Sure, we all have the general same fears.  Put a random spider near me and I’ll throw down more advanced martial arts moves than Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Chuck Norris could ever achieve in their lifetime of martial arts studies!

Nah, I’m not talking about that kind of fear.

I’m talking about the REALLY scary stuff.

You know… like “Will I ever feel good enough?”  “How can I provide for my family?”  “Am I doing the right things as a parent?”

That last one.  “Am I doing the right things as a parent?”  Ouch.  This one is a biggie for me.  Again, I’ll refer back to previous blog posts for a bit more information why it’s a biggie.

Of course I hope to do the right things.  The best things.

But I think there’s a better way to phrase that question to where it’s not even a question at all.

Let’s try this on for size.

“God, help me.  Help me seek YOUR will as I make parenting decisions.  Give me peace and a calm, loving, and forgiving heart at all times.  Our lives are in YOUR hands.  Thank you for trusting me to be a parent and for blessing me with this precious gift of life.  Thank you for showing me what a heart of sacrifice looks like.  I love you.  Amen”

Much better.  Lengthier, but better.

God wants us to call out to Him.  He’s here through the awesome and not-so-awesome times.  He’s cool like that.

Parenting can be messy.

I’m talkin’ red spaghetti sauce in the hair, up the nose, on the wall, on the white dog’s head because she has zero depth perception when the kid drops food kind of messy.

How’s that for some imagery, y’all?

It also hurts.

Consistency is very important in parenting in more ways than one.  Kids crave it.  They aren’t going to say, “please mom, serve me some more consistency please”, but they need it.  Consistency is more than establishing routines.  It establishes safety, security, healthy attachment.

Then it should be easy, right?

WRONG.

Our kids’ hearts get sad.  We get sad.  It’s easy to give in.  Appease the situation momentarily.  It really goes back to the whole “give a man a fish…” proverb.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Yep.

Teaching.  Scaffolding.  They go hand in hand.  Model the behavior you wish to see.  Your children will build themselves up and learn to self-regulate their own emotions and behaviors.  It’s very cool to see.  Not always easy to do.

Okay, so why all the parenting talk?

This past week has been rough in some ways.  Not all, but some.  Again, there’s that optimist comin’ out!

We have had super frigid temps and snow, so we have had several days together at home all together.  NOT complaining.  I love being at home with my family and would do it full-time if able to do so financially.  Of course, this brings about a few stressors.  Cabin fever.  Issues with returning to daycare after lots of family time.  Plus, when there are other stressful situations, we sometimes have associated feelings that cloud our thoughts and slam that faith door shut.

Those who REALLY know me know that I’ve often had to be a parent to my own biological mom, both as a child and much more frequently as of recent.  I spoke to my former guardian who received a message from my mom (mom doesn’t have my phone number).  Mom needed assistance as she has needed before.  Without giving every detail… it was one of those give a fish or teach to fish situations.  Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to be taught this particular life skill and it has been very seriously detrimental to her well-being.  She’s only 49 and is not in the best mental or physical health.  I advised my former guardian to call DHR (Department of Human Resources), which is like DSS (Department of Social Services) in Virginia for those in Alabama.  I told her that I would make a follow-up call.

I work in mental health.  I know that it is historically more how do I say… tedious for DHR/DSS to get involved with adults than it would be for children.  So many guidelines, criteria, etc. for agency involvement.

So, my former guardian called.  I was given the name and number of the APS worker assigned to mom.  I called immediately and left a message.  After a bit of phone tag on Thursday, we finally connected and discussed mom’s situation in depth.  Again, I can explain more in person but out of respect, will not post all details online.  I explained my fears for her well-being in regard to falls, health issues, lack of self-advocacy skills, and poor decision-making ability.

That was enough to have a case opened.

That was fast.

Good, I know.

But think about this…

I’ve had to make these calls for my clients.  It’s not an enjoyable phone call, but is necessary when someone’s well-being is in question.  I get that.

But having to call about your own parent?

Ouch.

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Yep, like that pain that happens when you rip a band-aid off.

Only worse.

It’s just one of those things in nature that shouldn’t have to happen, ever.

I cried and cried.

I’m pretty sure I lost a contact while doing so, because when I tried to take them out later that night… I discovered one was just not there.  I did get a really awesome red eye effect though because I kept trying to get the non-existent contact out.

My heart ached.

But… I HAD to have faith.  I HAD to have my amazing, awesome God hold my hand through calling the DHR caseworker and talking with her.  I was blessed to have family (husband/former guardian) support.  But what I NEEDED was to have FAITH.  That amazing, reassuring feeling that can only come from God to let me know that HE’S GOT THIS!  Mom’s phones are out of minutes, so I couldn’t even let her know.

My heart aches because I know my mom values her independence like whoa.  It’s not likely that it’ll get fully taken away, but I don’t know how the whole investigation will turn out.  I have to have FAITH.

This was Thursday.

I also had a VERY stressful work email that I quite frankly couldn’t deal with at the time since I had just called protective services on my own mother.

Keelyn, our 5 year old daughter, had a rough day back to daycare.  Again, she had been home since Friday evening.  She likes being at home.  She enjoys school too though.  Anyway, she had been pretty upset all morning long.  I’m so thankful that she has loving, caring teachers to be patient with her and who are so concerned and just flat out awesome.

I know it had to do with being at home, but that doesn’t make it easier.

I talked to her midday on the phone and encouraged her to find something positive about school and let her know that it’s hard for mommy and daddy to go back to work after being at home for extra days too.  We discussed what she could do when upset, etc.

So, I get home and wait for the rest of the crew to get here.

Keelyn immediately asks to play with my phone.  I’m cool with electronics and all, but in moderation.  We’ve not really moderated it a ton BEFORE…  So this was a big upset in her sweet little heart.  I offered options, nope.  Even said “no”.  Nope.

It was heart-wrenching.

She was upset, but again… moderation is so important.  As mentioned way above, so is consistency.  No giving in at this particular moment.  She also knows we have a sort of “3 strike rule”.  3 strikes for non-awesome behavior and no TV.  Well, that happened.  She was trying to grab at her TV and it became an issue of safety.  It’s a small TV, but could still hurt a foot if dropped on anyone, so I took it and put it in the van.

That went well.  Not.

2 1/2 hours of crying, yelling, screaming.  No.  Shrieking.

That was new.

She’s so very sensitive.

My husband tried calming her.  Nope.

It was VERY crystal clear that we were in this storm for the long haul.

I cried right along with her a lot of the time.  I kept my voice calm, because really… when does yelling REALLY help?  I mean like really, REALLY help in these kinds of situations?

We finally ended the night by me holding my phone and allowing her to watch 3 videos right before bed.  Needless to say, she was tired.

This was a moment where I felt in constant prayer.  I NEEDED my awesome God to be beside me because my girl was very sad and I wanted to APPROPRIATELY make it right.

He encouraged me to ride out the storm.  I called on Him when needed and He was there each time to help me navigate those tumultuous waters.  (Thank you God!)

It was a very tough evening.

Allowing Keelyn to express how she felt (safely), while knowing mommy and daddy were both there for her was the best thing that we could have done.

No judgment on her.  Just freely allowing her to safely express her feelings.  She needed.it.

The cuddles and talk at the end of the night were all worth it.

I could have been more antagonistic and could have yelled (I’ve been guilty of this and HATE IT!), could have more easily given in to letting her have my phone, iPad, or her TV.

How would that help?

Where would that put my faith?

It makes my daily walk all about ME instead of me learning to trust HIM.

That makes my faith self-centered instead of Christ-centered.

The result of the situation would be more about what I accomplished and what I could control instead of surrendering and submitting to Him.  My daughter would have seen anger instead of acceptance.  Hatred instead of love.

Pretty much the opposite of what God is and what God does.

Thanking Him for those tough lessons can be humbling and it probably should be.  Was Jesus’ life here on earth easy?  Nope.

Faith can be messy.  Much like parenting.

The cool thing?  God is always there to help us wipe up the messes of life.  Huh… He’s like the Quilted, Quicker, Picker-Upper.  Cool!  We just have to trust Him to be able to help us and know that it takes crazy faith to know that He can handle the biggest of messes, the scariest of fears.  Another cool thing?  He wants us to learn and grow.  He’s there when we have our tantrums and is that calm, loving parent.

It’s true though.

Think about it!

I leave you with this song.  “Always” by Seventh Day Slumber.  It’s beautiful.  Though it’s more geared toward a father/son relationship… it is EASILY relevant for a mother/son, mother/daughter, caregiver/child relationship.

Even when I’m far away
I will dream of you tonight
I will pray to God to bless your life
Always, always
As you grow and start to change
I will love you just the same
Always, always

And when you feel like giving up
I will walk you through the pain
And when you feel like life’s too much
Remember Jesus is your strength

“Always” by Seventh Day Slumber

Guess who’s back? Back again. Mojo’s back. Tell a friend.

I’ve been feelin’ bloggy for quite some time.  I’d get the urge to write and know exactly what I wanted to write about, but life happens and I didn’t make time for writing.  Now that I have… total mind blank.

I COULD start off by making excuses for why it’s been nearly a year that I’ve written, but I’m not.  🙂

I COULD do an update of everything that’s happened since the last time I’ve written.  Nah.  Wanna know?  Call me, email me, message me, whatever.  Most of y’all who know me know that I’m pretty transparent with my life.  🙂  Basically… it’s a lot of boring health stuff.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

So… we’ll just start with a post from January up until this past week.  I’ll do a separate post.

Bear with me… it’s been awhile.  My bloggin’ fingers are rusty!

SO…

January.  Starts out fine…  Ends fine.  That’s the short and sweet.

That’s really the story of my life though, huh?  (The answer is yes.  Yes, it is.)

See the title of the blog.  You’ll notice a word:  optimist.

In the middle of a situation, sure… I get stressed, feel negatively, etc.  However, I know that there could always be something worse happening and I have FAITH that all things will work out well.  🙂  See me or previous posts for more personal details as to why this philosophy holds true in my life.

So, in November, I started a different position at my agency.  I transferred from being an ID Support Coordinator to being an Outpatient Clinician (counselor, therapist, whatever clients feel like calling me at the moment).  January was really the first month that I felt like I was getting into the groove of things.

Then doctor’s appointments happened.  Womp womp.

Neurology was fine really.  My Vitamin D is still low, even with daily supplements.  So now I have a daily and monthly supplement to take.  Bottom line question from my neuro is “Is it MS or not?”.  He thinks not due to the lesion pattern revealed on my MRI last year.

Now for ENT.  I had a follow-up neck/lymph node ultrasound early January which ended up showing that my submandibular lymph nodes are getting bigger.  At my appointment, a complete excision was deemed necessary of one particular node.  Fine by me.  If there’s any chance of anything ugly bad going on… get it out.  The sooner the better.  I had surgery on January 26.  Man… I did NOT want to wake up from anesthesia.  I felt like once I woke up even the slightest, the hospital was evicting me.  I just wanted to nap.  HA!  I came home complete with stitches and a drainage tube (eww).  My daughter Keelyn (5) said that it looked like I had a worm coming out of my neck.  Thank you daughter.

The fam (dogs included!) and I stayed at my in-laws for the recovery process so I could have adult supervision during the first part of recovery, lol!  🙂  It went great!  Potato soup FTW!

Biopsy results revealed NO CANCER!  Huzzah and yay!  Why were my nodes enlarged?  I don’t know.  But I do know that it isn’t cancer… so again, that’s a WIN in my book!

See, told ya’ the month ended well for me!

Kids?  They’re awesome as usual.  Kavan moved up to a different room at daycare.  I found out the date for Keelyn’s kindergarten registration (whoa!).  My awesome gingerkids are getting bigger!

Shannon’s doing great.  I’m very proud of him.  🙂

We’re both pretty active in church.  He’s doing video many weeks for our Sunday service and is going to be learning to do sound.  I occasionally sing with the worship team.  This was one struggle that was pretty big for me this month.  I struggle with wicked bad self-confidence and this is one area in particular that is a huge struggle for me.  I often wonder why/how I’m on the team and never feel quite like I’m good enough to be next to such AMAZINGLY TALENTED people.  It’s like, there’s THEM and then there’s me.  LOL!  Silly?  Maybe.  Sad.  Sure.  Hey, I’m just being honest.  However, it is totally cool to get to know the team and learn more about them!  🙂  I love looking out into the congregation and seeing their sweet worshipping hearts.  It makes my own heart feel so full.  🙂  I’m incredibly thankful and fortunate for the opportunity to do this and for the “talent” (if you want to call it that) given to me.  🙂

Ahh… writing.  I’ve missed it.  It’s always been a passion of mine since I was a child.  🙂  I need to actually MAKE TIME to do some sort of writing like this AT LEAST once weekly.  It’s an awesome stress relief!

Ooh!  Speaking of which… I invested in a super awesome planner this month.  I’ve been stalking Erin Condren Life Planners for like 4 years.  So, I bit the bullet and bought one!  LOVE it.  L O V E it.  Decorating it with washi tape and stickers sounds juvenile, but it’s awesome for visual learners!  It’s wonderful stress relief too.  🙂

Look!  I kept the post under 1,000 words.  That’s a record!  🙂

Before I forget… I have an Instagram account that’s active now too.  Check it.  @planningmojo  I can’t get into Twitter.  Sorry.  I’ll stick to fb, IG, and here.

Okay, time to publish and write a more focused (maybe) post.  If anyone has read… thanks a ton!  xoxo

MRI with surprise contrast and results

So, that was fun!  I showed up to the imaging center for my MRI and was surprised with having to get contrast dye placed in my veins.  It was not near as bad as CT contrast!  I was in a closed MRI.  It wasn’t bad… I just kept my eyes closed.  I fell asleep twice.  The noises were loud whirring, jackhammery, mechanically vascular sounds that somehow calmed me.  Truth be told, I have way more going on in my life to worry about this.  Avoidance?  Nah.  Apathy?  Not by definition.  We just won’t go there right now.

Anyway…

So today I received my results.  The big concern was a pituitary gland tumor.  Yikes.  Mostly easily treatable, but yikes nonetheless.

And the verdict is…

NO PITUITARY ADENOMA!  Huzzah and yay all around!

But wait, there’s more!  And I promise I’ll get to that!

A few people remember me getting an endoscopy after some violent tummy trouble in November 2012.  My doc was sure it was my gall bladder.  I had an ultrasound, HIDA scan, and the endoscopy.  Gall bladder = fine.  However, I had crazy H Pylori running around my stomach, gastritis (probably atrophic according to the doc), GERD, and wait for it… Barrett’s Esophagus.

Say whaaaat?

The only heartburn I felt was twice while pregnant with Kavan.  I don’t think I ever got heartburn with Keelyn.  I’m a “silent sufferer” and my LES (lower esophageal sphincter) doesn’t care to work so much, if at all.  Barrett’s is a “result” of GERD where the esophageal lining is hurt by the reflux enough to change its structure to be more similar of stomach lining.  This helps protect the esophagus in a sense, but also makes it susceptible to some nasties that won’t be named but starts with the letter “C”.  Greater chance of it – but not like it’s gonna happen for sure.

That rabbit trail was brought to you by the point of:  Amanda has had testing before for one thought illness/problem, but that once thought illness/problem wasn’t the culprit.

See, I told you I’d get back to the MRI!

So, those results.  Not what I expected.  That’s a good and not so good thing.  Again, my energy is focused elsewhere – so that’s “good”, right?

The following is the actual interpretation from the radiologist at the imaging center.

Currently no intracranial mass, mass effect, or extra-axial collections are identified.  The ventricles are symmetric about the midline.

There are several punctate foci (lesions) of increased signal on the long TR sequences in the white matter.  These findings are fairly nonspecific with fairly broad differential considerations (well, that’s fairly vague) and can be seen in patients with migraines.  There is a small focus of porencephaly (WHAT THE WHAT?!?!  Look it up…!) in the right frontal lobe in a subcortical location with minimal surrounding hyperintensity consistent with gliosis (again… SAY WHAT?) and this is likely related to some previous brain insult.  No mass effect or edema or abnormal contrast enhancement are demonstrated in association.  
I appreciate no evidence for any acute infarction or cerebrovascular distribution infarction  No significant areas or foci of abnormal contrast enhancement are demonstrated.  You appreciate it?  Me too buddy, me too.  Also, infarction is a word that always makes me giggle.  It’s fun to say – or think.
The pituitary demonstrates homogeneous enhancement.  No focal pituitary lesions are demonstrated.  The pituitary stalk is midline.  I appreciate no supra or parasellar lesions at this time.  Aww, I’m appreciated!  The cavernous sinuses symmetrically opacify.
Now, here’s where things get a bit interesting again…

Evaluation of the paranasal sinuses reveals the right sphenoid sinus to be nearly completely opacified.  (Oh good…)  Some of the material within the sinuses at T1 and T2 hypointense are consistent with inspissated mucous (Gross!), though fungal sinusitis could have this appearance.  The walls of the sinuses appear grossly intact.  There is mild mucosal thickening in several ethmoid air cells.  There does appear to be small retention cysts and/or polyps within the right maxillary sinus superiorly and inferiorly and mild mucosal thickening throughout the right maxillary sinus.  There is minimal abnormal signal in the mastoids on the right, likely indicating inflammatory mastoid disease.

That should be fun to get out…

Impression:

1.  White matter changes are present which are nonspecific but certainly can be seen in patients with migraines.

2.  Small area of porencephaly and gliosis (Wow again…) in the right frontal lobe likely indicating some previous brain insult.  I do not appreciate any associated acute pathology edema, mass effect, or enhancement.

3.  Unremarkable pituitary.  How rude!  I think it’s quite remarkable!  🙂  

4.  Extensive mucosal sinus disease (Sounds disgusting) involving predominantly the sphenoid sinus, with involvement ofthe remainder of the paranasal sinuses as above delineated.

End Scene.

Well… oh, my PCP wrote on the front of the report that was sent to me “Bad sinus disease – to Dr. ******* Rest looks ok”
So, onward to the ENT doc.  I’ll see my ophthalmologist on the 23rd and will talk about a neurology referral.  Though the “rest looks ok”, I’m concerned that I have surprise lesions, porencephaly, and gliosis.  Hopefully I’ll get to talk to my PCP before then, but we’ll see.  🙂  I’m good either way.  🙂
That’s what I know for now!  Updates as I get ’em!
Blessings,
Mojo
 
 

 

Optimism in Ambiguity

Well… it’s been awhile.  I started this blog with every intention of writing more frequently, but life happens.  Ironically, I think “life happens” was one of my has-been blog URLs.  I think we had some minor family stuff, then the holiday season trumped everything, and well – I started my new job back in December.  So, I’ve been focused on those things first.  But never fear, I’m still here!  Oh look!  She’s a poet too!  

Writing is an outlet for me – a huge outlet for me.  So, that being said – I’m going to plug into that outlet now.

This year has had its different share of ups and downs.  Different in that I’ve not dealt with these kinds of issues before.  I’ll give a brief update of the months leading up to current.

January:  Joined It Works! as a distributor on January 15.  WOO-HOO!  It’s good stuff and worthy of its own blog page!  🙂  Also, I continued to learn about my new job and really got started going with it.  I work as a Support Coordinator (Case Manager) for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities.  Yes, it’s every bit as interesting and rewarding as it sounds!

February:  Awesome month with It Works!  Growing that business as well as continuing to love my full-time job.  Eye exam at the end of the month.  Failed the visual field test.  Womp womp.  Weird.  My biological mom also told me she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  She’s 48.

March:  Signed a distributor with It Works!  Huzzah!  Another steady month there.  Finally feeling like the other position is sinking in nicely.  Failed visual field test #2.  Visual field test #3 complete with taped up eyelids.  Yes, it was every bit as uncomfortable as it sounds.  Failed that one too.  Why the taped up eyelids?  To make sure that I wasn’t dealing with something as simple as ptosis (droopy eyelids).  Eye doc thinks I have what’s called drusen in my optic nerve.  These are little calcifications that sometimes show up in the optic nerve.  Mine would likely be located in the optic nerve head.  First appointment with an ophthalmologist for an OCT scan.  The hope was that the drusen would show up and confirm what my optometrist thought.  Nope.  Clean.  Doc still thinks drusen, but that they’re buried.  So, onto scheduling another appointment in April.

Also, I went on a nice, relaxing retreat with the ladies from my church.  I have to do a separate post relating to that later.  It was a much needed break!

Oh, then there was when my biological mom ends up in ICU.  Took me by total surprise.  I was actually at a One Team One Mission team meeting for It Works!  I was getting in line to meet our CNO (Chief Networking Officer) Pam Sowder.  I got the phone call from my former guardian and found out mom was ill.  I called the ICU ward and was told she was brought in for decreased consciousness initially.  Drug overdose?  AGAIN?  Nope.  Her screen was clear.  She had pneumonia and decreased cardiac output (likely a direct result of her recent diagnosis of congestive heart failure).  I decided I would go down to Alabama on Friday with my daughter (I wanted a travel buddy!) if she wasn’t well.  She wasn’t.  She was actually on a bi-pap and still had poor oxygen levels.  So I drove.  From Virginia.  To Alabama.  Yes, this girl.  The one who had a driving phobia (literally phobia) for a very long time.  We were absolutely abundantly blessed with amazing travel conditions both ways.  We visited mom and had a nice time back home.  Mom improved and came home the day we came back to VA – March 31.

April:  Man, this first week… I’ve been so tired and preoccupied!  The trip caught up to me on Tuesday and I was SO groggy and drowsy all day.  Kavan missed some daycare days due to fever/cough.  A virus on top of a bacterial infection (he’s on antibiotics)… fun.

Friday rolls around.  April 4.  This is my appointment in Roanoke at my ophthalmologist’s other location to have a B-scan completed on both of my eyes to try and find drusen.  What’s a B-scan?  It’s an ocular ultrasound.  Also a bit uncomfortable.  I thought being the only person under 70 other than my husband (no joke!) in the lobby was awkward.  Try having ultrasound goo on your eyes… nasty.  Shannon was with me.  We had been enjoying a fun day cruising around Roanoke and getting a few presents for Kavan’s birthday (April 7 – party April 6).

Anyway… so I have the scan and wait to talk to Dr. Eng (I HIGHLY recommend him if anyone needs an amazing ophthalmologist!).  He says “…there are definitely drusen there” located in my optic nerve.  He wants to do another in-office test first.  No real reason explained why here.  I’m a little concerned, but I’m good – really.  So, test #2 consisted of staring at a star (I think it was green) while red flashed brightly on the screen and some other dots appeared.  This ended up being a more in-depth OCT like what I had in Blacksburg.  I wait to talk to Dr. Eng again.

He walks in and gets straight to the point.  He’s concerned.  He looks concerned.  He sounds concerned.  Okay, I’m listening.  Again, I “definitely have drusen in my optic nerve” and he’s “uncomfortable with the size” of these calcifications.

Furthermore, he says that he looked over my results of all the tests he’s completed with the records from Dr. Dovie (my optometrist) and he’s “pretty concerned” with the size of my visual field defect.  Really listening now.  He asked if I remembered talking about the possibility of having an MRI completed to rule out anything neurological.  Yes, of course I remembered.  Oh boy.  The type of visual field defect I have is bilateral (superior quadrants of my eyes) I believe.  There are all sorts of visual field defects by the way (and lots of different bilateral defects too).  Mine are pretty homonymous – both eyes have similar defects.  This is the best I could tell.  I sort of geek out when it comes to medical “stuff”.  These defects correspond with different illnesses.

It boils down that he wants me to have an MRI to rule out anything neurological.  He very specifically mentioned concern with my pituitary gland.  “Growths on the pituitary gland can be bad.”  I was listening before…!  He didn’t say I definitely had a growth… just that he wants to rule it out.  The type of visual field defect I have and how it looks on paper after the testing, combined with apparently large, hidden drusen just happens to be indicative (possibly) of a growth.  No biggie.

Seriously though… I’m doing well with all this.  I don’t care for ambiguity, but I’m trying to process all the possibilities.  IF it is a growth, aka the “t” word – most “ts” are benign.  They have to be removed/treated due to the possibility of overproduction of hormones and “…blindness if the growth presses on the optic nerve”.  The prognosis is good.  Huzzah to medical advances!

If it isn’t a “t” or growth, it could be lesions, it could be nothing.  Nothing would be good – but I’m preparing for multiple outcomes.  That’s how I process.  Not thinking negative, “whoa is me”, just educating myself.

The doc said I’d get a call early next week with a time for my MRI and that scheduling happens based on prioritization of needs of multiple patients.  Are you claustrophobic?  Nah, I don’t think so.  I’m good with wherever – Radford, Roanoke – doesn’t matter.

We leave the office after checking out.  10 minutes later, I get a phone call.  Shannon has gone in an auto parts store to get bulbs to replace on the rear right side of our van since those went dead during the drive in Roanoke.  Yes, may I speak to Amanda O’Reilly, please?  This is she.

Dr. Eng’s office.  Calling me already with my MRI appointment.  Seriously – I left the office at 2:20 pm.  I received the call at 2:29 pm.

That was fast.

Even more shocking to me was that my MRI was scheduled quicker than what I thought.  Tuesday, April 8 at 2:45.  Get there at 2:30.  Shannon and I had driven by the place a few times and I commented that I liked the place’s logo.

So… yep.  MRI.  In 2 1/2 days.  In Keelyn terms:  In 3 more wake-ups, I get to go stick my head (or body – if closed MRI) in a machine for about 45 minutes.  Good times.

I’m good though.  Really.  I’m positive and I know I’ll be taken care of.  That’s a fact.

Why the song?  Umm… I like it?  It’s my blog and I’ll post what I wanna?  You’re welcome for the earworm there.

Seriously, the song is a big reminder for me that I can take a BIG step back and be calm and let faith reign/rain down on me.

What can I do???  Let’s see.  Pray?  That seems to work.  Do that if ya’ wanna.  Don’t pray?  Alrighty then.  I will accept your positive thoughts and vibes or whatever have you until I get answers.  I have the MRI on Tuesday, April 8 and will see Dr. Eng on Wednesday, April 23 in Blacksburg.

 

 

 

This is where the healing begins…

The following is a glimpse into my past, it’s only a chapter in “my” story.  Or, as an incredibly encouraging, amazing, uplifting friend at church said… it’s really NOT mine.  It’s SO much bigger than that.  🙂  Writing this was hard… it’s personal – very.  But folks, it’s my testimony!  I.  Have.  No.  Shame.  Writing this was a big step to my spiritual healing.

Struggle…

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “struggle” as the following:

To make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition.  To proceed with difficulty or with great effort.

I can attest to the accuracy of this definition.  My life has been a series of struggles if one wants to think of it this way.  Sometimes, when I am in the midst of a trial, such as now, I tend to see things through those not-so-rosy glasses.  I hate those moments when I think that way.  I am a hopeless (or is it hopeful?) optimistic.  I can find the good in most any situation.  I like to move past those periods of struggle and trials to better and brighter days.  Anyway, I digress…

Several of those who have known the intimate details of the struggles I endured growing up have always encouraged me to write about it.  “Write a book!”  “Create a memoir.”  This is not that… yet.  Down the road, maybe.  This?  This is just a pouring out of pent up emotions and a release, more relating to personal historical accounts and current events as they affect me.  However, to get to understand me – I should start out with some history.

So, in a not-so-tiny nutshell…

I lived with my mother, off and on, until I was 15.  She did the best she could with the tools that she had as a parent.  Hear me… I know she did the best she could.  I had times where I stayed with friends, various family members, grandparents, and the occasional abandonment.  Grant it, that abandonment sometimes ended up with me staying with friends – so that was “okay” to me.  There was the one time when I was around 6, and my mom dropped me off at our local police station.  I discovered this not so long ago.  Some of my memories just kind of mush together and things get foggy.  I came to know the police chief and his wife very well!  I remember, and this may have been during the “let’s drop Amanda off at the Police Station” event, that his wife took me to get my hair done!  I was SO excited.  Grant it, it wasn’t all just for fun.  I apparently had horrendous head lice and was going to be treated.  I remembered feeling beautiful and so much better after.

Another time, I was 6, and my mom had been using medications, prescribed and OTC, irresponsibly.  There was also marijuana and alcohol use involved.  I remember mom going to sleep as she always did, as did I, but then I recall getting woken up to mom telling me that she had thrown up.  I will never, ever, forget what that pile of vomit looked like at 4:00 am.  I actually recognized some of the pills.  I was six.  Six years old.  She was still feeling high from the medication, so everything was funny to her.  She sent me, in my little summer nightgown, to walk through the apartment complex to find someone with a phone that I could call 911.  I walked around to people’s homes that we knew with no luck.  Everyone was asleep, go figure.  Luckily, my last stop was a lady that lived in the “other half” of our apartment.  They were set up akin to duplexes.  I remember the song playing on her radio and what she wore, even her perfume.  She of course let me call and of course ambulances came out and took mom.  I was again at the home of the police chief and his wife.  How gracious were they?  I am still amazed.  I think I spent two nights there and then stayed with my “aunt” until my mom was released from the psychiatric hospital.  I think this was the first psychiatric hospitalization that I truly do remember.

So yes, my mother has been diagnosed with mental illness.  The diagnoses vary, and have since around 1979 when she was first diagnosed at the age of 14.  I believe the first diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia.  Then came bipolar disorder.  Then later came schizoaffective disorder, paranoid subtype.  I have my own opinion about her diagnosis, but I don’t work with her as a professional.

Growing up was a series of sick-cycles with mom as I called them.  I remember totally normal conversations with her as she told me very descriptive and detailed recollections of different personalities that she had within her.  That was my normal.  Skewed?  Maybe.

There are so many bizarre happenings that I could discuss.  Maybe eventually I will.  I’m sure I will, but there’s a lot that I want to get off my chest.

I grew up as that child who needed the extra love from teachers at school.  It was appreciated!  However, I felt that because of the smallness of our town and the bigness of mom’s issues… all eyes were on me in that “poor pitiful kid” way.  I don’t mean that in a weird paranoid way… but mom did some really strange things at times and I had a lot of pity from others.  It felt weird.  I’ve dealt with it for the most part now.

Was I abused?  Understatement.  By mom?  Physically and emotionally, of course neglected too (knowingly being fed expired food and then being taken to the ER for food poisoning).  I remember telling my AMAZING elementary school counselor that my mom called me a “GD MFing SOB.”  I think that’s how I wrote it too.  I couldn’t say those words.  I was in fourth grade.  Mom was furious because I wanted to stay at my grandparents’ home, so she pulled over in a grocery store parking lot and spoke those words to me, or yelled them.  I’ve been on the receiving end of hands resulting in strong bruises, some of the most beautiful and fierce penetrating shades of purple and red that fade out to drab, olive green and faded yellow.  I’ve had hands against my throat a few times as well.  Then there’s the “typical” belts, branches, electric cords…  That about sums it up from her.

Abuse from others?  Mom’s long-time boyfriend used to try and expose himself to me.  He was attempting to be an exhibitionist.  He always wore those creepy light heather grey sweatpants with the white drawstring cord.  He’d reach for them and pull them down below his genitals.  As soon as his hands reached for his waistband, I’d look away until I knew he had given up on the prospect.  Gross.  Sick.  I had an uncle that would display some signs of frotteurism by intentionally rubbing up against me.  Eww.  He had some other really strange tendencies similar to this when he was drinking.  Nothing sexual with either of them other than that, thank goodness!  I did, very unfortunately, have the experience of sexual abuse by a female family member when I was around 3 years old.  It happened twice that I can remember.  It is a memory that was very deeply repressed, obviously.  I have very vague memories of her performing cunnilungus.  For crying out loud, I was THREE YEARS OLD.  That’s younger than my own daughter.  Am I angry?  Sure.  More hurt than anything after this memory came out though.  It was by a family member that I lived with and loved nearly more than life itself.  My stability.  Or so I thought.  Again, skewed?  Definitely.  Oh, same person ended up, shortly before she died of endocarditis, huffing gasoline from lawnmowers.  Random.  She would sneak out of the house and I’d catch her stumbling in the laundry room.  I had to keep it a secret.  Her husband knew though.   (May they both rest in peace.)

Fast forward to the summer I turned 15.

I was “dating” this guy.  Awesome guy, GREAT family.  I was surprised he was interested.  The middle school (and high school) years sucked for me.  Someone started a RIDICULOUS rumor about me that wasn’t true and it stuck.  Small town social hierarchies… gotta love it!  Anyway, his family was fantastic.  They knew about mom and her issues.  They wanted me OUT of there.  It was to the point that they were willing to let me stay with them.  The sad thing is, this was during a period of time where mom was “good”!  (Sidenote:  I had many good times with my mom and our relationship is constantly improving.  I’m just focusing on the opposite of things right now.)  I do remember mom slapping me in the face sometime during this time – which again was “nothing” to me.  She did wake me up from sleep by banging a butcher’s knife into my bedroom door, YELLING, “WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP!”  That was pretty intense, even by my standards.  That was only feet away from me potentially being very seriously injured.   So, I was going to church with the boyfriend and his family.  There was another family whose matriarch worked at the school in the cafeteria.  Great woman, great influence.   Wonderful family.  They got together with my then boyfriend and said it’d be fine for me to live with them.  So I did!  I could say so much about them!

It was incredible.  It was HARD at first too…  Talk about culture shock!  It was all for the best though.  For the first time in my life, I had sisters (I have a half sister by my biological father who never acknowledged me until right before he passed away in his 40s from cirrhosis of the liver)!  I had STABILITY!  That was awesome.  Purely priceless.  When my family is able to go home to Alabama, this is where I stay.  This is my family.  I do still see my mom.  We visit several times when we’re down.  She and I talk fairly frequently on the phone and I update her about my life and how the kids are doing.

Okay, so I moved in with my guardians.  I graduated high school and began undergraduate school at Judson College.  AWESOME experience!  Now that’s another narrative!  So, Judson is a female college… with a military school right up the road.  That’s how I met my husband.  We met in the Fall our freshman year and started dating in Spring.  We got married after he commissioned as a 2LT.  I still had one more year to finish up, which I did online.  I graduated with my BA in 2007.

So, we were married in 2006.  I graduated in 2007 with my BA; he graduated in 2008 with his BS.  I started my Master’s work in 2008.  We were blessed with a great pregnancy and delivery of Keelyn in 2009.  Shannon was gone a majority of 2008 and 2009 preparing for deployment, which occurred in 2010.  So, I took a year off of school while he deployed to take care of my sweet Keelyn.  I went back to work since it was ridiculously hard for him to find employment after returning from Iraq.  Keelyn started daycare.  In 2011, we had a miscarriage on April 18.  It was a surprise to us too… believe me.  In July, Kavan was conceived – we found out early August.  He was due April 17, 2012,  but born April 7.  I graduated in May 2012.  Good timing.  Add in a ton of job transition and that’s pretty much our marriage timeline.

So… those current struggles?

They’re there… believe me on that one.

A part of me wants to discuss each of them in very great detail, but it’s not the time to do that… yet.  There are some very real struggles happening.  I know, I know… that’s vague.  Just don’t ask.  If you don’t know, there’s a reason.  If you think you know, you most likely know some – but not all.  I know that’s harsh and I apologize.  I’m generally not very harsh (I think).

One particular struggle in the area of jobs.  Can we say transition?  I was so blessed with an awesome job right out of graduate school as a community based mental health clinician.  I stayed in this position for 13 months.  There were some budget changes for the agency and this position on the particular team I was on was eliminated.  So, I ended up turning down an opportunity to move into a different position because I’d miss out on several activities that were very important to my family and myself.  I was granted the opportunity to go into private practice.  Yay!  Awesome!  Under age 30 and to be granted this chance… I was thrilled.  I loved it.  I honestly loved my clients and my co-workers.  However, after a month and a half (such a short season!), this time in my life was over.  There are A LOT more details as to the reasons why this happened… but out of respect and (gasp!) professionalism, I will keep the details to myself and the select few who already know.  I will say that it has been agreed by others that it was unjust and unfair.  There were some awful things said to me when meeting with and talking to this person on the phone during this time.  Moving on…  Beyond that fact, to the person who made the choice to release me from duty… you’re forgiven.  You said I’d be angry… you were wrong again.  I wish you nothing but abundance and blessings, happiness and growth.  Beyond that, I wish you peace!

Beyond the job stuff… there are personal struggles.  Several people know some, but fewer know all details.  My heart has hurt.  It has broken.  It has healed.  It has broken again.  And so on.  It’s on a cycle, if you will.  The great thing though, is that I am so strong.  Unless information has been volunteered to you… my stoicism will not give way to my pain.  Lucky me?  Things can only bottle up so much.  We are all like walking pressure cookers to a degree.  How do I do it?  I don’t know.  I honestly don’t know.  I just do.  Life happens.  Hurt happens.  Pain happens.  Love, joy, grace, peace happens.  Negative and positive.  It happens.

I think I’ll end on this note for tonight…  People, use your past and your present events as hurdles.  Use those pains and hurts as the ground that is propelling you to move forward.  Don’t consider these happenings as crutches, devices to lean on, further perpetuating weakness and inability to heal.   Move.  Forward.  You will get healthier.  You will get better.  It gets better.  It. Gets. Better.

So… straight up – this is a recycled post from a note I created on my facebook account.  I thought I’d share it here on my new blog so that it may hopefully touch others as I gain more followers!