From Dad’s Perspective…

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.

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My dad holding me right after I was born. March 1986

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.

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My dad and I, when I was 4 years old.

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.

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With love,

A

Hospital, Smoshpital

Hello all!! It’s been a bumpy few weeks, but i’m still standing! (Barely). First things first… My little boy started kindergarten Monday!! Such a bittersweet moment!! He’s growing up so fast! I may have shed a few tears! He’s my baby boy! 🙂

Mathew's First Day of Kindergarten 8.18.14
Mathew’s First Day of Kindergarten 8.18.14

I’ve been trying to stay ahead of my fibro and POTS flares, but not fortunate enough to do it. On Saturday, I became very ill very quickly. Around 11am I had a small low grade fever, by 6 pm, I had started vomiting, at 9pm my temperate had reached 103.9, and I was still vomiting.. I headed to the hospital. My PICC line was removed, and heavy duty antibiotics, Zosyn and Vancomycin were started. I was admitted before I even walked into the ER, thanks to my wonderful primary care doctor.  I still had a fever at 4am! Luckily it broke, and between that and the antibiotics, I slowly became better. I was still nauseous, but ginger ale and crackers helped. My amazing friend Amanda brought me oatmeal for breakfast! It was so yummy and just what my tummy needed!! I was luckily released later Sunday night!

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What a weekend!! I’m so glad i’m alright, the doctors are still trying to figure out what caused the fever and such. It was so scary.

On a positive note, I started my fall semester today, and hopeful it’ll be the best one yet!!

Being chronically ill can lead to feeling lonely or depressed. Surround yourself with loving friends and family. Remember you are a wonderful person, and deserve to be happy! Just because we’re sick doesn’t mean we’re less deserving!!

Stay sweet my readers!! Until next time!!

Words are powerful..

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Since I’ve gotten sick I’ve heard my fair share of judgement and criticism. It’s never really bothered me before.

My family is divided on my illness. My mom wants me to move near her so she can help with me. My dad thinks I should stop all my medication and exercise, knowing I can pass out at any minute. I’ve completely changed my diet, lost weight, and have difficulty tolerating food. But to my dad this is just something exercise can fix…How? How would it help if I can’t even get the nutrients I need?

Words..people use them knowing the power they hold. I’ve been to Vanderbilt, I’ve been to Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins. They all agree something is causing my problems, they all agree I have abnormal test results. That I have small fiber neuropathy, autonomic dysfunction, chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, IST, NCS.. But you know what?? Those don’t define me.  I’m more than my illnesses. If he became too angry, or depressed in seeing that, that’s his problem. I could only fight his darkness for so long on my own.

So I say to you. Watch your words, for they are powerful. They can bring love, sadness, and anger. Love.. happiness. Let’s focus on our words bringing those out in people around us.

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