We made is through 2020!! I feel like that is such an accomplishment! We’ve faced things we’ve never before experienced. We made it through. We made it to 2021.
My 2020 was riddled with appointments, treatment decisions, ensuring my nutrition was stable, and virtual school for my son. Which was an absolute disaster. So much happened, so much to work through, process and cope with. My son struggled immensely with the lockdown, he struggled with doing school virtually, his OT appointments stopped. It was hard. We always say how hard it’s been for us adults, but it’s been hard, if not harder for our kids. He’s back in school and thriving!
My 2020 rounded out with back to back procedures and prepping for a major surgery in January. Back to back port replacement surgeries.
2020 was the year that was trying to us all. Especially those in the chronic illness community. We struggled for care, we struggled with mental health. Some had procedures rescheduled, some had emergency surgery. Despite our trials, despite everything that tried to knock us down, we’re still here. We’re still standing. Recognize the accomplishment. Recognize how far you’ve come. Be proud of you, as i’m proud of you.
2020 was difficult. It tried to break us, it tried to take so much from us. Yet, we’re here. Standing. You are amazing, strong and brave.
I decided to do this post a bit differently! I know i’ve talked about my struggles with my health. I was curious about how my health has been a struggle for those closest to me. I sat down and talked to my dad, and really wanted to understand how he’s felt through all this.
He’s been my caregiver for a few years, prior to my fiancé coming into the scene. My dad is my hero. He’s a tough guy construction worker. He’s smart, funny, and a heart of gold. He’s always believed in me. My dad has been absolutely amazing through all this. He’s missed countless days of work to take me to countless doctors appointments, surgeries, and just to help me through the day. My dad’s unfailing strength has been a blessing. He’s been there to lend me legs, to help me eat, to just listen as a I cry from it all, or from the pain. He’s seen the absolutely worst of this disease, and the days i’m semi ok. So, I wanted to know how he’s handled all this, how he’s felt.
Prepare the tissues. Without further ado, He’s what he had to say:
1) When I first moved down, and my health deteriorated, how did you handle or adjust to that?
I was upset and worried. I thought I could fix it. It was very stressful, I just tried to be supportive and help where I could.
2) Have you often felt overwhelmed? If so, how do you deal with it?
Every time I access your port, every time we discuss what your doctors say. Lately I feel overwhelmed when you talk about making drastic changes to your life. I worry that you have a hard time now, adding additional things will just make things worse. That is not fair to anyone.
3) Have you ever felt helpless? Being my dad and unable to fight off this monster of a disease.
As a Dad, your job is to fix things. I am supposed to make things better for my children. I have to be strong for you and Mathew, it’s what Dad’s do.
4) What is the hardest thing you’ve had to face in becoming my caregiver all over again?
The hardest thing for me is to admit I can’t fix this. Sometimes it makes me feel like less of a father.
5) Do you prefer when I shield you from the bad days, or disease progression? Or do you want the truth of how things are?
It depends. I want you to be able to come to me if you really need to. I just have a hard time dealing with the constant negativity. It gets exhausting for me sometimes. You need to know I am there for you if you really need me though. I definitely want to know if there is anything I can do to help make it better.– (Author’s Note: i’m not always negative. I do have my days though.)
6) What is your biggest frustration in ealing with my health?
Getting you to take care of yourself. Helping keep you positive. Making sure you make good decisions about now and the future.
7) Being a caregiver to your adult daughter, have you ever resented the role? The sacrifices you’ve had to make to take care of me?
Of course I have, I am only a man. That doesn’t mean I am angry or sad. We are all dealt a hand to play, How we play it is up to us. I have sacrificed everything in the last 5 years for you and Mathew. My wants and desires were not as important as making sure you two were ok.
8) If you could give parents new to this any advice, what would it be?
All days are not bad. Enjoy what you can. Take the time to get to really know each other. One does not know how strong one is until they have to be strong.
9) If you could tell me anything about how you’ve seen my struggle with my body, what would it be??
You need to take care of yourself better. Exercise more, eat better (more consistently) keep what you have for as long as you can. Your son needs you.
10) Do you know how much I love you, and all you’ve done for me? How your quest strength and your love have given me strength?
I know you love me. I do not do what I do for the reward of your love. I do what I do because I can’t imagine doing it any other way. I was raised to take responsibility not shirk it. The love of you and Mathew is a bonus not the reason for my actions. The reason for my actions is my love for you and Mathew.
Reading his answers made me cry. His overwhelming love and support is immeasurable to me. He does what he does, all he’s done for one simple thing, his love for me, for my son. Parents do what they have to because they love us. They guide us, challenge us, and lead us. They are who helps shape us. I am the person I am, because of my dad’s guidance. I’m a stronger person because of his strength and faith in me. My dad is quiet, he doesn’t shower us with affection or pretty words. He’s like a tree. He’s strong, unyielding, and helps us to grow. He’s the roots in my life, in my family.
Whether you’re a parent, or a warrior of a chronic illness, share your emotions. Share how this has been for you. Open that line of communication with each other. Caregiver and patient, you’re a team. You rely on each other, for good or bad. Lean on each other, strengthen each other. Most importantly, love each other.
It’s not always negativity, or sadness, or anger. There’s days of a plateau, days of good and sunshine and energy. Then theres the storm clouds, the thunder and rain of anger and sadness. Don’t lose yourself in the storm clouds. Don’t shut yourself off. Lean on each other. Remember, the sun always shines after the storm.
Hello my dear readers and friends! I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve written, and I’m sorry. I was not well, and had to take time to at least wrap my head around things surrounding my health.
On August 19, 2014 I sent my sweet baby boy to Kindergarten!!! He’s such a big boy now! He tells me that he is, and loves “big boy” school. He started school the day after I was released from the hospital for the picc line infection. I refused to miss his first day of school!! Yes, I’m a proud mama!!!
In September my cardiologist in Virginia had another one placed, my doctor in Florida removed it feeling it was a serious risk. At that point I was so overwhelmed and angry that my neuro would no longer order the saline, that I was ok with it. I started physical therapy to help with my strength, it helped slightly, but mainly left me exhausted and in pain. I sprained my MCLs at the end of August, which required me to wear two knee braces, the sprains were so severe I have to wear these braces ALL THE TIME! I hated them, and didn’t really wear them. Bad girl, I know! this led to bursitis around my knee and required me to get the corticosteroids in my knees. Unfortunately I had to get it in my SI joint as well due to major issues there. Such is life! lol I also had an Echo done, and it showed an enlarged heart, as well as mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic regurgitation. My cardio in Virginia is keeping it monitored very closely.
October brought it’s own set of issues, as well as fun Halloween time!! I didn’t do so well in school because I wasn’t feeling so well and couldn’t keep up with the course work. It’s awful, but it’s not exactly a shocking development! My son decided to be Flash for Halloween, which meant I had to be Batgirl…… Oh yes, I’m THAT mom! lol We went trick or treating with friends, and had an amazing time. Which makes it all worth it!!
November brought some difficulties with me getting around and keeping my energy up, but I was ok. Thanksgiving sucked. I unfortunately had full body tremors and was passing out… again a wonderful holiday ruined by my health. I cried, and had to be carried to my couch, and to the bathroom. Dysautonomia, you suck! But dinner was yummy!! I also had the Mirena IUD placed.. boy was that painful!
December is when things fell apart. I started having major pre syncope, and passing out. I became unable to keep my blood pressure up. It crashed more often than not. Eating became a bigger challenge. My mom flew down and drove us to her house in Tennessee. I basically slept the entire way. I couldn’t rally do anything else.
January, my life crashed. I could no longer control my blood pressure, and was constantly dizzy. My energy was non existent. I slept nearly all the time. And I still wasn’t really eating. What I did eat, didn’t stay in me for long. My neuro here in Florida didn’t know what to do with me. She pretty much threw her hands up and told me that I DID NOT have dysautonomia. Which I found interesting because TWO other hospitals confirmed the diagnosis, and why didn’t she say anything in the last TWO year she was treating me for it?! I found a neuro in Tampa that knows dysautonomia. I saw him at the end of January, and he ordered all new tests. My sister drove me to my appointments, and for that i’m so grateful. My appointment for testing was last week. The tests confirmed that I do indeed have dysautonomia. He also said that my neuropathy is so severe in my legs that it’s affecting the blood flow to my feet, which is why they’re always freezing cold. He decided not to even try the Florinef or midodrine again as I had such bad reactions to them… He decided to go straight to IV saline… which means, another IV, which means a picc line or a port. I’m opting for the port. He has hope that this will help tremendously. I know it will help some. This month has been incredibly difficult as I have no energy, and no appetite. I’m rarely hungry and when I am hungry I barely eat anything. My dizziness is so bad. My mirena has cause extreme pain. Today I learned that I have several ovarian cysts and pelvic fluid. The doctor ordered a CT scan, which is being done Friday. I’m hoping this is nothing major. I’m hoping it’s not Endometriosis rearing it’s ugly head again. I’m hoping for so many things.
I know at times we all feel helpless, angry, grieving, depressed. We must not let these feelings consume us. I know it’d be easy to let them, but we need to remember our fight, our inner strength. We’ve made it this far, we can make it even farther and face all that comes toward us. Remember you are loved, you are worth it, and you are beautiful and amazing, but most of all remember you are not alone in this fight!! We’re all warriors, we’re all a family!
Hello My darlings! I know I’ve broken my promise about updating more often, and I’m sorry! Though I have good news! I’ve been busy working with my financial aid office at my school to get my financial aid back. I was on academic probation, and thanks to a dis-compassionate professor I lost my financial aid last fall. Luckily I was able to get it back, after contacting the Disability Services and working with them to document my illness and get a Memorandum of Accommodations. Once that was turned into financial aid, I was approved right away! I’m so happy I can finally continue with my education! Eventually I’ll have my Masters, or even PhD!
So.. what else have I been doing?? Well, I baked bread, yes home made bread! I was my first time, and I was nervous but excited. I used my wonderful Kitchen Aide mixer and let it do all the hard work! I do have to say for a first try it turned out alright! I need a bigger pan, and to cook it slightly longer, but it was delicious!
We also went to the park and launched my son’s bottle rocket! I know, what was I thinking?! Not to worry it was a little rocket powered by vinegar and baking soda! My dad was a big help, seeing as how I can’t really pour anything into a small little bottle, so he did it! I sat down and watched my son run around after the rocket and laugh! It was a very happy time for me! I’m not able to get out much, but it wasn’t a sunny day, or very hot, so I was able to get out, and enjoy the day with them!!
After that we got a bout of chilly weather, which just made things horrible with my pain, and I couldn’t regulate my body temperature! I went from freezing to burning up! Seizures a few times a day, it was just awful! So I ended up staying wrapped up in my jammies and Dysautonomia hoodie, and laying on my couch with my puppy!!
I’ve had falls, quite a few, and one really bad one, to where i’m not so sure I didn’t break a rib! Such is life for me! I’ve got my health insurance finally straightened out! I’m working on being happy and working on my book! I’ve also developed huge problems with eating. I’ve been unable to eat more than a few bites for two days now. I have only been able to drink about 2-3 oz of my meal replacement drinks too. So.. I’m starting to worry about it a little. I’m so hungry, and thirsty, but every time I eat I get so nauseous, and the pain is horrible, and no it’s not gas! LOL. So I’m guessing it’s time to see a GI! Oh the joys of Dysautonomia!!
That’s it for now my dear darling readers!!! Until next time, I bid you a wonderful day!!
So, it’s the day after Christmas for those of us in the US..and guess what?? We made it, we survived the stress of the holidays! Maybe not by much, there may have been some falls, some passing out, some anxiety attacks, some arguments, but we made it! Lets all take a bow, or clap for ourselves! You know why? Cause dammit we deserve it! 🙂 This holiday was definitely hard on me, I was definitely a lot worse health wise this year than I was last year. I woke up Christmas morning, knowing it’d be a rough day, I was already exhausted from not sleeping well, and in a lot of pain. My son was already up and ready for presents, but first we had to have breakfast, and open our stockings from Santa, (he’s only 4). My dad made breakfast, our traditional Jiffy Blueberry Muffins, while my son and I opened our stockings. I got my cool gear cup, I’ve been looking for, in green! It seemed Santa didn’t want me to get sick since I got a lot of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer, he also got my favorite lotion, which is the only one I can use now, Cocoa Butter! Also Got some Hello Kitty Lip gloss, Yes Hello Kitty! LOL. Some other stuff as well. My son of course got all boy stuff, matchbox cars, batman figurines, tattoos, minions toys, finger skateboards, and candy..sigh.. candy and my son do not get along well, we limit his candy intake to the extreme. LOL. It hypes him up so much. So we finish our breakfast, while Pop (my dad) goes through his stocking, my son is literally jumping in his seat for presents. Telling us to hurry. And yes Santa did come and he had already gone through those presents. He got a remote control truck, an Iron Man toothbrush holder thing (haha like my description?), and an outfit for school.
Soo….finally Pop finished his breakfast, and it was present time, so we all head to the tree. My dad gets me a blanket in case I get cold and a pillow for my back. And we start handing out presents for my son..This kid made out like a bandit!! LOL he’s loved. He got clothes, Duck Commander PJ’s, TMNT PJ’s, another shirt for school, Skylanders game, Angry Birds Light up shoes, and Perry the Platypus shoe, a special book I made him of his Bible verses they memorize in school, a build your own bottle rocket, solar system model to build, a rocket ship clock that lights up the room and shows pictures of the moon or galaxy on the ceiling. So much science stuff for him. He loves science so much!!!! He was so excited! I got some sheep pajama pants, a Kinect for xbox, and a game for the kinect. My dad got some pictures for his picture frames, a journal for himself from me, and a very special gift from my son: a poem “Walking with Grandpa” we also included pictures of them together, and my son signed it. I converted it to a picture file, printed and framed it. He choked up with emotion. And hugged my son so tight. 🙂 It was all worth it.
After presents, I rested a little bit, then started an apple pie.. Yes ladies and gents, an apple pie..home made! It turned out so so delicious! My dad made a standing rib roast, rubbed with steak seasoning and horseradish sauce, it was so delicious. I also made mashed potatoes and green beans. My uncle and his girlfriend came for dinner. It was a wonderful day with family.
As I was preparing for their arrival I decided to shower..of course I fell in the shower and seemed to have hurt myself pretty badly. I have a stiff neck, and weird numbness/pressure along my spine, along with tremendous pain in my neck, spine and hips. Of course unbeknownst to me, my uncle and his girlfriend arrived just in time to hear me scream and fall. Oh joy. But I brushed it off and made the best of the evening! I was determined not to let it ruin the day. I found a new friend in my uncle’s girlfriend. I’m glad to have met her. We ended up talking and sharing stories of our horrible experiences with doctors. She loves my uncle very much and I’m so happy to see him so happy! We exchanged numbers and hope to stay in contact with each other! 🙂
So my dear readers, while some of us are suffering through the pain, remember there is always someone there to help you, to love you. It may be someone you least expected. Instead of focusing on the bad, let’s start looking at the good. We’re alive, we’re loved, we’re supported. In many ways we’re blessed. We may not have good health, or be rich, but we’re rich in love, and support. To me, those things are worth more than money!
Let’s start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions! I want to start making this site more interactive! I want to interact with my readers! Let’s start working together and reaching out to each other and focusing on good, not all the bad!