500 days

I hardly ever think to check my clean day app but remembered to check it yesterday – and it must have been a God thing as it was 500 days to the day since I’ve stopped drinking. I am deeply grateful for this and for the community of amazing women I’ve found as well.

I am even more bothered than usual by the “mommy wine culture” that is everywhere because of something that came to my attention a few nights ago.

 

First, just through a simple Pinterest search, I pulled up these memes:

And, of course, there were about a thousand more.

And it’s not just memes. It’s exercise tops that say “run all the miles. drink all the wine.” and coffee mugs that say “this might be wine” and – now – half marathons that feature wine at each water stop. Ummm, what???

And, before I get to my larger point, I give you the meme that I voted off the island on Sunday morning: the wine serenity prayer.

WOW.

We can do (MUCH) better than this.

In the time since I’ve last written about alcohol and sobriety related issues, I’ve come across several new accounts on Instagram, including one called tellbetterstories2018 that I would encourage everyone to follow that calls out advertising messages that need to be called out and asks questions that really need to be asked.

From tellbetterstories2018

This Instagram account is addressing issues in the mainstream media – and that is so important. And the memes I’ve shown above are from Pinterest – a mainstream site.

What has troubled me even more is that, over the weekend, I read the most recent book by Jen Hatmaker, a Christian writer I just love. I’ve read all of her books over the years. She is a funny, down to earth, relatable kind of “every mom.”

I found the book really enjoyable – except that literally every few pages there was a wine reference and it was almost always related to “needing wine” because of her children. It wasn’t just a few; it was a constant thing, to the point of being truly bothersome.

And I HATE to see this sort of thing appear in the writings that are meant to be circulated in the women’s Christian circles. In the past, in evangelical groups, alcohol would have been a no-go, and I certainly don’t consider this a sign of progress.

Again, don’t misunderstand me – no judgment, I still love Jen dearly – but wine culture doesn’t need to meet small group culture like this.

Now, not only are unhealthy alcohol related behaviors being promoted among women as a whole, they are also being promoted among women within the church.

Umm, no.

So, as always, if you are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, help is available to you.

https://www.aa.org/

https://www.na.org/

https://www.celebraterecovery.com/

http://www.hipsobriety.com/

my 100 days gift to myself in 2017. a teetotaler thing.

On Instagram, look up the hashtags: #teetotaler  #wearetheluckiest  #hipsobriety

There are many others as well – and a great community. Just have a look around.

Lastly, I know I say this every time – and I always will – if you are in crisis, please present to the closest emergency room. Regardless of your insurance status, they WILL help you. Please don’t hesitate. Help is always available.

No matter where you are right now, you can be free. I promise.

grateful. so grateful.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

 

 

 

 

frightening doctor visits.

I remember my very first question on my NCLEX exam for my nursing license being an orthopedic question – my least favorite subject – and me thinking, “This can’t be a good sign.”

And then I REALLY couldn’t believe the irony when I was hired to work the orthopedic floor as my first job – but I transferred to general med/surg as soon as I could because ortho was not my jam.

Well, 15 years later, ortho is still not my jam, but I was sitting at the first of two orthopedic appointments I had for myself today when this doctor I was meeting for the first time started just casually giving me all kinds of frightening information.

After looking me over and poking on me, he determined that, apart from stress fractures and bursitis, an MRI of my hip was needed because a condition called avascular necrosis (AVN) seems likely.

As most of my readers probably aren’t familiar with AVN, here is a brief definition:

As is mentioned above, AVN is frequently caused by long-term steroid use. Also, a major issue I’ve been having – that was so severe I was limping this morning – is pain radiating down my thigh to my knee. As you see listed, that is a symptom. AVN is also linked to lupus. There are many frightening indicators.

So,  the doctor mentions quickly that I need the MRI because of this condition and then says casually to my daughter and me, “The severity of the AVN determines the size of the graft.” He then says, “So we’ll see you to discuss everything after the MRI. In the meantime, we will treat with that as our presumptive diagnosis. So use your walker and don’t fall.” Then he just walked out. No answering questions. No concern for my pain. Just dropped a bomb like that and LEFT.

And the real kicker was that his assistant seemed surprised that I was crying when she came in. I just told her I was in severe pain and completely upset and confused. Based on her reaction, patients must leave in that condition all the time.

Anyway, I took my MRI paperwork and I will have it done. I will then pick up the results and see another orthopedist. I wouldn’t let this one operate on my worst enemy, as his treatment plan for a presumptive diagnosis of AVN is “use your walker and don’t fall.”

And that was just my first appointment of the day.

My second was a followup with my foot ortho guy. And what did he have to say?

Both of my feet are still all kinds of broken – no kidding – and I’m still not a good surgical candidate. (That especially sucks since the hip guy says I likely NEED some hip work done. Great.) Anyway, he said I could come back in four weeks to recheck them – or sooner if I “fall or something.” What the frack? What is the deal with everybody at this office and falling today? He really seemed put out to see me since there is no procedure for him to do.

I decided today to find a new foot ortho doc as well, because I understand that there is no big billing in office visits instead of surgery but somebody has to follow my broken feet. I have multiple broken bones in both of them.

And again I left there crying.

And, just when I got it together to at least get us home, my daughter lost it – because all of the doctor craziness she had seen and heard today had scared her to death for me. She goes with me to all of my appointments and has NEVER reacted like that. Today was just that terrible.

When we got home, my smartchair had been delivered which I am so incredibly thankful for – but, WOW, what a big deal too. Especially with the AVN business, I am so glad it was delivered though. As I mentioned in a previous post, he shall be called Maximus.

He is this style KD Smart Chair:

He is incredibly comfortable and drives like a dream. I was so exhausted today that I really didn’t get to drive him as much as I would like so tomorrow I’ll be learning more – and I’m sure there will be pictures of our adventures once I gather myself.

Even this post is hours after the fact because I totally hugged my Wonderpup and collapsed this evening.

This is some rough stuff, y’all.

All prayers, good vibes, and warm fuzzies are greatly appreciated.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and Blessings.

 

 

my Jesus

The other day, when my husband and I were driving through our town, we saw this sign at one of the local churches and I just said, “WOW.”

We chatted about it a bit then. And again that night. And again the next morning.

It just wouldn’t leave my mind.

So, last night, when I took Sir Henry for his ride, I stopped for a picture and decided it was time to share some thoughts as to why this is really bothering me so.

I grew up in a Baptist church where we sang out of the old Baptist hymnal (as I imagine this church is probably still hymnal singing too) and we sang this song often. It’s been in my head these past several days as I’ve been mulling over this “Turn Or Burn” signage – and why I fear it can be so destructive.

See, so many people already have this judge-y idea of church and church people. Or they’ve already been wounded by church at some point. Or they don’t have any experience with church other than what they see on signs and television and whatnot.

And then they pass this sign. . . 😦

And I understand where the church is going with this. . . but my Jesus didn’t present Himself to people in this way.

During Jesus’ ministry, not only are there frequent descriptions of masses of people following Him, but even small children were drawn to Him. This tells me there was a noticeable gentleness about Him.

Some thoughts from The Ragamuffin Bible.

Not only were children drawn to Jesus, He also ministered to the Samaritan woman, crossing social bounds, both with a woman and with a Samaritan. There were many examples of Him valuing women in a society that didn’t. He was compassionate with the religious leader, Nicodemus, though he was part of the group of people who would ultimately bring Jesus to trial.

And, on the last night of His life, He was washing the feet of His disciples to teach them to be servants. And, of course, He said this:

We are to be people of love.

They will know we are Christians by our love.

And they will come in our churches for our love. I believe that.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and Blessings.

One of my favorite songs:

home.

After a helluva couple of days, I’m up late, drinking a La Croix, doing some reading and pinning, in our cozy bed at the Lake with Henry and my better half asleep next to me, Sara asleep in the next room, and Mom and Pop asleep downstairs.

Earlier tonight, my sweet husband went to our friends’ rehearsal dinner and our GJ met us and brought Sara and I up to the Lake, so we got to spend time with her too. ❤️

And, finally, the triple dose of injections started working. and my pain has come back to a tolerable level.

Once we got settled in, Mom made her amazing meatloaf and potato salad just for us and we talked and talked.

When the sleepies hit, I came upstairs and took a long (much needed) nap.

Then I went downstairs and visited some more.

I’m so thankful. ❤️


Even though I’m not 100 percent, God definitely knew what was coming this week and that a trip home was just what the doctor ordered.

It has me on the mend for sure.

So, tomorrow, we are off for a day of wedding festivities – except Henry, who will spend the day with Mom and Pop (he’s just crazy about them).

Thank God for a shift in the right direction.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

 

making lemonade

my weekend view

After learning from my ortho doc on Friday morning that my third metatarsal in my right foot has fractured (it makes my sixth current fracture in my feet) and experiencing severe pain in my right knee and hip that is making it even more difficult to walk, I am spending this weekend in bed resting with Henry the Wonderpup.

I don’t know why, but this new fracture is much more uncomfortable than the others, and the pain I’m having from my RA in my knee and hip is also much worse than a normal flare.

Regardless of the cause and though I’d rather not be in bed, I’m using my time to work on some new things.

I recently read several studies that link MSG and aspartame to fibromyalgia (which I also have). I gave up aspartame and all other artificial sweeteners a couple of years ago but I am now in the process of removing MSG and other preservatives from my diet as well. In my research, I’ve decided to try this:

autoimmune

I think it will help my RA, and, if I see an improvement, I will use it with my health coaching clients as well.

I’ve also been using this downtime to work on some school “extras” that I haven’t had time for up until now. Tonight I learned the basics of amino acid therapy for sugar addiction, hypoglycemia, and neurotransmitter imbalances and I am stoked to be able to add that to my practice as well.

With graduation only a few months away, I will be setting up my practice so I can work via Skype and FaceTime as sick days and weekends are just unavoidable right now – but I am so grateful that it is possible for me to do so.


As for the rest of the weekend – and likely into next week, I’ve stacked up my books that I’ll be working on next and made a list of the topics I need to work on from my school’s site. I also have a new module and a coaching circle due. Luckily, all of those can be done from my spot and my fabulous study my amazing husband made for me across the hall:

Since our daughter is unfortunately also now dealing with autoimmune issues (which troubles me more than ALL of my issues combined), she is homeschooling. However, I am so thankful that she too can pile up next to me with her computer and do her work and not fall behind anymore on her bad pain days.


Honestly, this is a huge shift for me with my illness in terms of mobility. Previously, I’ve dealt with significant fatigue and not being able to walk any distances or stand for long and those type of RA issues (and they are severe and that is bad enough) but this is different. I am barely making it to our kitchen right now and standing is a challenge.

While I knew there would be times like this, it is still a lot to wrap my head around.

And it is really upsetting (of course).

But this does not surprise God – and His plan clearly worked around these circumstances, because, when I started my program, being in this condition was the last thing on my mind. Yet, here I am. And I am still able to do my work, graduate, AND start my practice. And I am home with my Buggle so she is able to homeschool – which is so important as she is not able to attend regular school right now. So things are as they are supposed to be, even if we are having to wait longer than we want to for some of the particulars to be worked out.

So, though I am upset, I am also profoundly grateful.

I know there is a plan for all of this.

Even if I can’t see all of it.

I will keep trusting Him.

And we will push on.

And do all of the things we CAN do right now.

And make lemonade.

my buggle and me

 

but first we pray

Yesterday there was a horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

I, along with many, watched the news unfold on TV, my heart breaking.

Images of students coming out, hands up, to be searched.

Images of parents waiting for news of their children, still inside.

Sheriffs tasked with giving report of the injured and the dead.

Unimaginable pain.


And, immediately in the social media realm, there were calls for someone to do something with gun control.

And anger.

And many on social media saying things like this:

prayer post 2

Or, less abrasive, but still mocking:

prayer post 1


First, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m angry as hell too.

I hate this to the core of my soul.

I’m also deeply hurt and sad.

I’m not naive about the way the world works, or what’s going on in Washington, and I certainly do care about the corruption and inaction there. That is not what I’m speaking to at the moment.

Recently, when these terrible things have happened, there has been an immediate outcry in some circles of “keep your thoughts and prayers, we want action.”

While there is certainly nothing wrong with demanding something done, I am truly heartbroken for our nation when everyone can “keep their thoughts and prayers.”


As someone who attends a “Pray First” church and clings to that with all my heart, I believe that praying is the first thing we do in a crisis. That is not to say it’s the only thing we do – and it is not all that God expects us to do – but to say it is nothing – as suggested by the hashtag #thoughtsandprayersdonothing I saw on Twitter earlier today – is to mock God and to ignore one of Jesus’ simplest direct instructions:

prayer post 3

I don’t know why this is so heavy on my heart today but it is.

With my illness, I’ve had to wrestle with the whys of awful things happening – and finally let it go. The answer? Jesus said we WOULD have trouble in this world. There is evil. And suffering. And pain.

prayer post 4

I also believe that He has overcome this world and I trust Him.

I realize that sounds like the standard “churchy answer.”

But sometimes the churchy answer is THE answer. And I’m sure of this one.

I suppose that is why I’m so bothered by all of this mocking of thoughts and prayers.

We are called and repeatedly instructed to be people of prayer, in good and bad times.

It’s a terribly sad time when the immediate response is mock and belittle that in a time of crisis and hurt and despair when the light of Christ is so desperately needed.


So, regardless of what is being said or done elsewhere, of course we act according to our conscience.

But, first, we pray.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

a new word

I suppose the weight of all that is going on right now has caught up with me.

We are still waiting on our eldest daughter’s placement in her program and it has been a struggle and a terrible strain on our family for sure.

Our youngest daughter is exhibiting the symptoms of full-blown autoimmune disease and there is nothing we can do but wait for her appointment with the pediatric specialist next month. And it is just heartbreaking.

Of course, both of my feet are broken and my RA has run completely amok. I have realized this is not just a flare. This is likely a new part of my disease. In addition to all of my usual symptoms worsening, it has brought with it severe right hip pain and IBS symptoms and it is really disconcerting.

I’m trying to get my head around needing to use the rollator again – and I just plain don’t want to. But sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.

With my health situation, I haven’t worked since the beginning of July 2017 and that isn’t helping anything. Struggling through the disability process is long and so discouraging at times.

My husband has been absolutely amazing but all of this has been a great strain on him as well, having to deal with two very sick people, as well as our eldest, while being the sole provider so suddenly. It is so so much to handle.


With all of this at one time, my anxiety has been sitting on my shoulder, waiting to attack.

I’ve been struggling to keep it at bay.

This week has been so so hard.

I’ve tested the limits of the fabulous mascara my mom put in my Christmas stocking for sure as many a tear has been shed.

With everything else going on, I got an email yesterday about a job that combined nutrition and nursing – basically, my dream job. And I am not able to even think about taking it. I can’t get through a day at home without a nap or walk through the house without difficulty right now. There was some definite mascara loss over that email.

It has not been pretty.


But, as always, God hasn’t left me without help.

My better half and my sweet Sara Bug have been wonderful as always.

And I have my service dog, Henry the Wonderpup, just for these times:

And, in addition to taking Cymbalta, both for my anxiety and for my body pain, I use Valor on EVERYTHING during these times:

I’m also having my quiet times and praying hard and doing breathing exercises.

Basically everything I know to do.

And, in the midst of the storm, Mama Beth tweeted this yesterday:

2.9 11

And it made my heart smile.

I don’t understand the purpose of all of this and I may never know on this side of things.

But I trust Him and I know that He is going to use it somehow for our good and His glory. Because that is how He works.

And, now, I’m choosing to focus on what I CAN do.

My sweet friend, Cheryl, is organizing an amazing women’s conference at church in May and invited Sara and I to set up a booth for our oils. It will be a couple of days after I officially graduate from Nutrition School as well. So, Sara and I, with the help of my awesome husband – who is so good at this stuff – are going to work on designing our booth so we can share our oils and I can share my health coaching information too – AND one of my very favorite speakers will be there. I am so so excited!

And I have plenty to do this Spring to help Sara with her school work and to do my own school work to graduate as well as lots going on with our church and much to look forward to there. I just have to remind myself to focus on those things instead of the things I can’t do anything about right now.

I realized too that my word for the year is changing. The word “brave” is following me everywhere and it makes sense. Since my verse for this year is 2 Timothy 1:7:

The opposite of fear is to be brave. And I need to be brave in the face of all of this, even when I am anxious. And God will give me the strength to do so. I know He will.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.