#Chronic Illness, #FamilyOfGod, #Gratitude, #JesusChrist, #Pain, Uncategorized

Gratitude

Gratitude is such an easy thing for many. Perhaps it is because I have been alive so long and seen evil as well as goodness. When I first began keeping a gratitude journal the only thing I could think of was toilet paper.

Many people tell me I need to write a book about my life, only because they do not understand my reasoning behind not trying to do that again. I would rather share only the good, but for others to understand why I enjoy such ‘simple’ things, they would have to understand the evil that took place first. In my humble opinion, until you do without, you don’t realize what you really have. Plus, in writing a book about my life, in the past, the editors wanted me to expound on the bad and cut down on the good.

For people with chronic pain, just getting out of bed to go to the bathroom can cause a major issue. When the phone rings while I am not near it, by the time I can get to it, they have hung up and since I don’t know how to reset the phone so the machine can pick up messages, well… I think you understand.

I have a note on my front door that basically says “Please, ring the bell. I may not get here as quick as you want me to be, but I will get here as soon as I am able to.” This afternoon, I hear this feeble tapping on the door and a man’s voice saying “Hello? Hello?”

I yelled to him to please hang on so I can get to the door. As I struggled to get to the side of the bed so I could transfer to my wheelchair, I heard him tapping again. It took a lot just to reach the door, and as I did, I heard the lock box open. Two men I had been expecting – standing there, one very embarrassed said, “I got here first.” I was not all that polite when I asked “Did you bother to read the sign?”

Even my closest friends hate to watch me try to get into bed and then struggle to just sit up or move. But at least they know once it’s over, I am fine and able to laugh or talk again.

Frankly, I wish the Parkinson’s was my only problem. The only reason I have started shaking again is: I can’t take the meds, they make me vomit blood. I can’t take any medication orally, as it too causes me to vomit. While I do have pain patches, my doctor will not make them strong enough to work any longer, because my lungs are bad from too many bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis over the years, and narcotics slow my breathing even more. He doesn’t want to be blamed for my death. Bless his heart. Frankly, I think he is afraid I would put them all on at once. He knows I am not suicidal, so what is the big deal? He could lose his license when I die if they see strong narcotics on me. I don’t want him to go through that.

When my doctor first put on these pain patches that work 24 hours, he told me “I don’t want you to wake up dead, so don’t ask for anything stronger until your pain gets even worse.” They call what I go through: “Chronic Pain”, but unless you have it, you really don’t ‘get it’.

This last week my doctor spoke to me about morphine shots, but I turned him down. I really don’t want to become addicted, and I also do not want to be in a stupor; locked up in a home; strapped to a chair in front of a television set for the rest of my life. I would rather be in pain and think clearly (for the most part) so I can read, draw, paint, watch good movies and listen to good music of my own choice and be in my own little apartment so I can cry in private. Okay. Now I am going to blow my nose, and get on with my blog post.

My heart goes out to those who are alone and have small children as well as chronic pain. Back in the 1970’s, my youngest daughter was with me while I had to get treatments for my cancer. That was horrific for both of us. My heart goes out to young people with chronic pain. But there is a light in that memory: One time, she put a washcloth in the toilet to get it wet, then placed it gently on my forehead and said, “you all better now mama?” (she was too little to reach the sink; thus, the toilet was the only thing she could reach. Good thing I keep a clean bathroom, eh?)

Anyway, back to what I am gratitude for:

I am grateful for friends who come regardless of my sounds. I am grateful that there are those who respect my wish of staying in my own home and are doing all they can to ensure I can stay put. I am grateful for those who come while I sleep and see when I can’t do my dishes, then wash them and put them away. I am grateful for those who come and change my sheets each week so I don’t have to expend what little energy I do have on those particular daily or weekly issues. I am grateful for those who bring me treats occasionally. I am grateful for the Holy Scriptures and all the prophets, living and dead. I am grateful for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and all those who play instruments and write beautiful, clean music. I am grateful that I have a savior so I don’t have to suffer for those sins and mistakes I repented of. I am grateful I am only held accountable for the sins I committed and not for those of my husband or parents. I am grateful for our Heavenly Father who sent His son, Jesus Christ to be that Savior for me. I am grateful for Their patience with me and all of mankind. I am grateful for a Heavenly Mother who is anxious for me to get home. I am grateful for those of my birth family who accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and to those who did work on their behalf. I am grateful to all those who created the FamilySearch program and maintain it. I am grateful for all those who have done and are now doing research and sharing what they have found. I am grateful for photographs of my babies as they grew up. I am grateful that the airways over America are not filled with bombs and missiles yet. I am grateful for pain patches and grateful I don’t have to clean up blood any more. I am grateful for friends I can call and just whine to and that they bring me cheese when I do whine, so we can all laugh together.

What are you grateful for?

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#Adversity, #Atonement, #BeCauseHeLives, #Cancer, #Chronic Illness, #Comfort, #Faith, #FamilyOfGod, #Healing, #MentalHealth, #Pain, #Suffering, #Testimony, Uncategorized

Enduring

Enduring is not easy. Oh no! Yet, when I think about my Lord, and all He went through, I know that what I go through is minor. Did you ever notice how when we hear other people’s problems our own are not as bad?

Many of my friends also suffer in various ways. I pray for them, and I know they pray for me, that our pain may be lessened. Some of the people I admire most have been those who suffered much more than I ever will. Just to name two: Spencer W. Kimball and Neal A. Maxwell. Yet they endured well. I pray I may be as valiant as they.

We all suffer in one form or another. The thing that keeps me going is my faith in Jesus Christ. When I am in great pain, I do what my doctor(s) tell me to do, yet I also take it to the Lord. I am a firm believer that  Jesus Christ has restored the Priesthood back to the Earth to bless men and women, and so I ask for blessings at the hands of those who not only hold, but “honor” that Priesthood. Just because someone says they are a priest does not make then one. Only those who “Honor Their Covenants” and “Keep the Commandments or strive so to do” are worthy to hold the “Power” that comes with that calling. (Just my humble opinion.)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh wisely cautioned:

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable” (quoted in “Lindbergh Nightmare,” Time, 5 February 1973, 35).

Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling.

Annie Swetchine said,

“Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all” (quoted in Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith [1982], 123).

When I reflect upon my Saviour and think upon all he endured at the hands of others, I cringe. I tend to whine from time to time over my struggles, yet He never did. They spit upon him. They beat him. They scourged him with whips. They cast him in prison. They dragged him through the town naked and placed a crown of thorns upon his head, before they nailed him to that cross. And to make it even worse, they did that “after” he had bled at every pore because of the pains, mourning, depression, injustice and sins of everyone who ever has been born, who was then alive, and all who would yet be born. Yet, he still had compassion.

Jesus Christ rose victorious over death and He did that for you and me. Our pains only last a short time compared to the pains of those who reject him or refuse to repent of their own sins.

Another wise man, who was also a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley once said,

“Don’t get discouraged, things will work out!”

I hung that quote with his photograph on the wall in my bedroom. When I am feeling sorry for myself, and start to get discouraged, I look up and see it, and know things will work out. I turn my head and look upon my other wall and see the picture of the current Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and think about him telling me to:

“Be more positive…”

When President Ezra Taft Benson called me to Salt Lake City, Utah, he said (among other things):

“Hang the words of the prophets on your walls, and then go out and do good.”

I am a firm believer in following the prophets and have always been blessed because I do that. It is not that I do not experience problems, for I surely do. It is that after – I experience greater blessings and that makes it worth whatever I have gone through.

In the Holy Bible we read:

“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:29)

God does not lie.

Gentle hugs from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#Abuse, #Catholics, #Christians, #God, #Healing, #Jews, #Kindness, #LDS, #Pain, #Trust

Kindness is contagious

A police officer was the first human to show me kindness. When he lifted me and covered my nakedness, he smiled at me in a kind way. He rescued me from certain death and took me to a hospital, while his partners arrested those whom should have been kind to me and the ambulance drivers took care of my big sister.

As a child, I was considered “retarded”, because of how I coped with situations over which I had no control. By the time I was 5 years old, I had been in and out of foster homes and hospitals. My mother died when I was 3 years 5 months old and from then until that officer rescued me, my sister and I had known only cruelty. The judge called me a “feral child” and those who should have taken care of me “animals”. Yet, real animals have always been kind to me.

For those who were trying to be kind (the doctors, nurses, therapists, and others): I was having to deal with things I did not understand, so I did not behave the way a “normal” child would. I did not speak, only because I had been trained to not speak, not because I did not know how (But they did not know that). I used my fingers to eat, only because I had been forced to live outside and did not have silverware, plates, cups etc. Animals had shown me how to drink and eat so I had survived in spite of the odds.

The staff at the hospital had to restrain me to a bed, only because up until then I had not been allowed to be on a bed and was afraid to be up that high. I had no idea what a bathroom was supposed to be used for, because the only time I was in one: someone was trying to kill me. I did what I needed to do on the floor as I had done outside on the ground behind the grape arbor. I did not know how to be clean as most people know clean, nor brushing of teeth, etc. To the world’s view, I was “retarded”. Not because God made me that way, but because men and women had made me that way.

There was one nurse in particular, and even though I don’t know her name, I shall never forget her and what she did for me. She was the first to help me understand goodness and patience. As a wee child, to be honest, people scared me. I kept expecting someone to do to me what had been done in the past, and thus I struggled when people tried to help me. For me, it was life or death, but they did not understand that. In the hospital, I slept under the bed when they did not restrain me. I could not stand up due to damage, until after doctors fixed my body. Pain was normal for me, but this pain was to relieve pain, and that was confusing to me. I was not used to “not” having pain.

The nurse of whom I speak was able to take me into the bathroom because of her kindness. While she kept me on the toilet, she did not force me, but rather she sat on the floor next to the toilet to keep me company. She talked to me as she waited for me to “use” it. I can not tell you how long it took, I just know when I finally did “use” it, that nurse clapped her hands and then gently lifted me down. Her touch was kindness, not cruelty; something I was not used to. The only other person who had shown me kindness was that police officer. As she showed me the rest of what I needed to learn, I was not afraid and I did learn. Normally when people touched me there was pain, but with her, there was no pain; when other people wanted me to do something, there was pain, but never from her.

As an adult, when I am under a lot of stress, I still cope in ways others may not understand. Yet, for me, I found ways to survive and I am a good member of society. I learned by remembering the kindness of certain strangers and trying to be like them.

As a religious person, I know where goodness comes from. I hope my life can help others to know when they are kind, they are appreciated more than they will ever know. When they are kind to those whom they do not understand, they are the hands and heart of God in teaching others that all humans are not cruel.

To those who asked me to share this part of my life: thank you for asking. I do hope others will think before they judge how people behave. There is always a reason we do what we do. God loves His children, but not all His children, love children. Thank you for being one who does love God’s children.

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#BeCauseHeLives, #Christian, #Depression, #Faith, #Gift, #God, #Hope, #Jesus Christ, #loss, #Mercy, #Pain, #Patience, #peace, #Prayer, #Trust, #Truth, #Women

Sad memories

I can remember when I began to bleed and was rushed to the hospital. My husband came and sat beside me, holding my hand. I had just given birth to a little a few months previously, and did not really know what was going on.

Then, the doctor came in and said, “It’s cancer. We need to get you upstairs right away. You will have no more children.” He then looked at my husband as the nurse gave me a shot. My husband went with him and I went to sleep.

When I was able to go home, my husband paced behind the couch. I asked him to come hold me. He back up. Then, he said, ‘I can’t take this. A baby is one thing, cancer is something else. I need to leave, now.” He walked out the door and drove off.

I was so alone, so scared, and had no one to call or any way to find comfort. I put a blanket around my baby and get into my car and just drove.

Tears fell down my face and I don’t remember what my thoughts were. I just know I drove until I saw the red lights flashing in my rear view mirror. I pulled the car over to the side of the road, and the officer motioned me to roll down my window.

“Did you know you were going over 100 miles an hour?” he asked. I continued to cry and then he leaned over and looked at my little girl on the front seat. He asked me to step out of the car, which I did, and then he talked to me. I spoke of what had happened, and he took us to a coffee shop and we talked. He made a phone call, then told me to follow him. He took me home to be with his wife, who held me and comforted me until I could stop crying.

I was there for 3 days and nights, while she cared for me and my child. Then, I went home, and began to think of how I was going to care for a child and still have my treatments. How was I going to work… Life was never easy, but I did what I had to do. I survived, until the next bout of cancer stuck it’s ugly head up.

Sorry to be so down tonight. I should have been in bed almost an hour ago. I shall return and then begin again. Good night.

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#Pain

Good Morning

To start the day I’m going to share some advice my physical therapist gave me. This is not only good for people like me, it is also good for anyone who can not move around much during the day or evening. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me.

This morning, in my mailbox, I received my copy from EverydayHealth. I do love these reminders each day. I recommend them highly. I also have an account with the Mayo Clinic, as I trust their advice.

1. Wall posture check.

Stand with your back to the wall. Make sure your head touches the wall. Your chin should be horizontal and parallel to the floor, drawn back slightly and centered. Make sure your head is sitting squarely over your shoulders.

2. Chin tucks.

This stretch can be done while you’re in bed, or it can be done on the floor or even from a wheelchair. Roll up a small towel and place it at the base of your skull. Move your chin straight back without moving your head forward.

3. Shoulder rolls.

Roll your shoulders in a circular, backward motion. “Really exaggerate the roll. Bring your shoulder blades from the top, to the middle, to the base.”

4. Arm raises.

Raise your arms way up above your head. Your upper arms should be against your ears, with your hands to the ceiling. If this move is too difficult, try a modified approach. Turn and face the wall. Place your palms on the wall and do a wall slide, which consists of moving your hands up along the wall until they are above your head.

5. Shoulder stretches.

In a standing position or sitting as tall as you can, try to clasp your hands behind your back. As you do this, be sure to keep your back straight. It may be helpful to perform this stretch in front of a mirror to check that you’re doing it correctly.

The next two are only for those who can stand. If you are even a bit wobbly, be sure to have someone with you. 

6. Modified lunge.

This stretch can help maintain flexibility of the hip flexors. Stand with your palms against the wall. Place one foot behind you, similar to a standard lunge, and lean forward. Repeat with the opposite leg.

7. Calf stretch.

Stand with your palms against the wall. Place one foot behind you, and press the heel of that foot down to the floor. Repeat with the opposite leg.

When to Stretch (and How Often)
Performing these stretches in the morning is a good way to start your day. “Free up your range of motion as well as any tissues that have tightened and are causing stiffness,” says the Spondylitis Association of America. “Stiffness is a sign that you are doing something that should be counteracted. It tells your body to move. You must move in a way that is productive for you.” But stretching once a day isn’t enough to help. “Postural breaks are important. It’s a good idea to take breaks throughout your day to perform these stretches.”

I hope you have a great day. Hugs from a distance

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#MS, #Pain

MS

I can remember when I awoke in an emergency room and the doctor’s were telling me I had all the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. I had only heard that word one time previous and that was back in California many years previously. I rejected it. Shame on me. When I first began falling down I was only about 25 or 26 years old. However, it did not get bad until I was in my late 40’s. I can remember falling “up” stairs. Now I know, you may say a person can only fall “down” stairs. Not true. I used to fall trying to climb stairs, falling forward on my face. Not fun, let me assure you.

After three more trips to the ER, several cat scans, and many doctor’s all giving me the same diagnoses, I finally went to a neurologist and an intern try to give me a spinal tap. That was not fun. Finally, they took me down into the x-ray department so they could see where to put that darn needle. One doctor told me my illness was all in my head. I stormed out of the office and refused to have anyone else stick a needle in my back. At that time he was showing me a film of my brain with all sorts of dead spots. I thought he was telling me I was crazy, and did not want to hear it.

Then, a year or so later, I awoke once more in an ER and was told I had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), otherwise known as a “mini stroke.” While TIAs are not often deadly, they are serious precursors to a full-blown ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke that may follow if symptoms are left untreated. The doctor kept telling me to take aspirin, which I knew makes me bleed. I could only wonder what was going on. I kept refusing to take it, they finally gave up and allowed me to go home.

The doctor’s I had at that time never really knew me, so they did not know I am different than most people. I learned how to read from a dictionary, yet it was a very old dictionary. This was before I turned ten years old. A nurse was showing me what an outhouse looked like. Then she took me into a bathroom and showed me how to use it. Bless her heart. She was so patient with me. The only other book i had read was the Holy Bible. My sister had read that to me when i was living in the back yard of my father’s home before I was six years old. She and I would sit under the grape arbor and she would hold the book on her lap and point to the words as she read them. But I do not mean to digress.

Many of the signs a person with MS have are similar to a stroke. Thus, the more I learned about each, the more confused I became. Numbness or weakness of the face, limbs or one side of the body; paralysis of the face, limbs or one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding other people.; trouble seeing with one or both eyes, or blurriness in vision; dizziness, loss of balance, or control of muscles; splitting headache with extreme pressure or a throbbing sensation. A defect on one side of the brain will affect the opposite side of the body.

Trust me, none of these are any fun. Especially when people see this in me they want to help so they call 911 and I get carted away to a hospital where they do nothing but watch me. Then when I am able to be awake and move they send me home. The problem is when I have no one with me, I have to find my own way home. Which is not easy. Even getting into a cab can bring on more problems.

For people like me, life can be very difficult at times. You know what I mean?

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