Friday, September 30, 2011

I Am A Dichotomy

di·chot·o·my  \dī-ˈkä-tə-mē also də-\

1. a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities 

Synonym:  paradox

par·a·dox  \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\

3. one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases 


I've just been thinking lately how "at war" I seem to be within myself.  It kind of culminated  yesterday when I was doing a Bible study on suffering.  This particular lesson was on satan and suffering.  {You're thinking great, satan, suffering and Bible study lead this girl to a war within???}  But really.... I guess one thing links to another and really, the whole Christian battle is dichotomous, is it not?


Our "inner being" is selfish and spoiled and wants what it wants when it wants it!  But the Holy Spirit in us, the "new" being, has the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. {Yeah, I've got all THOSE figured out.}


But there's so much more to it than that, for me anyway.  I am at once extremely merciful and compassionate, yet equally adamant about justice for wrongdoing.  Not that they need to be mutually exclusive, but most times it seems like a person is one or the other.  There is a specific situation I have in mind for this:  take the example of an abused woman.  Just she and her husband at home. Her children are grown.  Yet she chooses to stay.


Part of me says, "Well, she's probably terrified and he's probably threatened her and she feels like staying is the right thing to do so no one gets hurt."


The OTHER part of me says, "Tough crap, grow a pair and get out."  And there is VERY little sympathy in THAT part of me.


Other instances:  I'm sort of healthy for a sick person.  I mean, my blood pressure, cholesterol, kidneys, liver, heart, all that stuff is just great.  But don't ask me to walk uphill in the sand for more than 5 feet because my legs will give out and I'll fall.  Other people seem to LOOK the epitome of health, yet drop dead.  I knew a man in the peak of health, late 40's, early 50's, ran every day....just dropped dead on a run one day.  

Paradox.


I love enjoy living in the country, most of the time.  The open spaces, the country air, the gentle breezes. Watching my son grow up in a way which, in my mind, is the best way a boy can grow up.  Room to run, frogs to catch in the pond, his faithful dog always a step behind him.  Not having neighbors in your face.  No noise pollution.  Clearer skies to see the stars because it's SO dark at night.  The amazing sunrises behind the barn.  The sunsets that rival the ocean's horizon.


But then there are the bugs.  And mice.  IN the house.  And the 5 foot snake skin my husband found (still wet from its being shed) in our yard.  And that it takes 10 minutes to get a store that doesn't sell BAIT next to the bread. The fact that a tractor is more important than a car.  The smell.  Of cows and grass and cut hay and dirt and duck poo.  

And the noise.  Whoever said the country was peaceful has never lived where I do. The roaring and clicking of crickets and other insects, and annoying dissonant chords of the tree frogs.  The croaking of bullfrogs, and hammering of woodpeckers. Add the chickens, and ducks, and turkeys.  Oh my heavens, the turkeys.  Turkeys are the loudest birds I have ever heard except for peacocks.  Peacocks are RIDICULOUS.  The ginormous cows are actually the quietest animals we have!


And I love dogs. I do.  I LOVE them.  But I'd sell the 3 I have now for a good cup of coffee!  They are always underfoot, tracking in mud and dirt and nasty Lord-knows-what else.  They stink and shed and make me crazy.


Well, I suppose that's enough for today.  My brain hurts from all the inconsistency.



The HCG Diet

I must admit, anyone selling weight loss pills, powders, potions, or whatnot immediately makes me skeptical.  So I read about the HCG Diet.  These folks are the original providers of this diet program. They tout no exercise is necessary.  This piques my interest because as of right now, I am still not able to exercise on a regular basis.  I'm stronger, yes.  But the MG doesn't respond well to repetitive motion.

However, then I see that the first 2 days using this product you are to eat as much saturated fat as possible.  They justify this by saying that you will be eating so few calories in the days ahead you need these fat stores to get you through.  I'm sorry, but I don't see how 2 days of eating fat would help anyone through "living comfortably on 500 calories a day."

These products ARE made in America, which I love.  And there are many testimonies on facebook that you can check out for yourself.  Always make your own, informed decision rather than taking my word for it.  And ALWAYS check with your doctor before starting any kind of radical diet plan, especially if you have chronic health issues.

This is a sponsored post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Busy, Busy!

My goodness!  I'm so completely tired!  I FINALLY feel "over" my cold...yesterday I separated, washed, dried and folded five loads of laundry!  PLUS I made homemade apple crisp.  I KNOW!  Then today, I WAS just going to drop Jacob off at Shawn's and come home and work on jewelry and stuff, but I thought, well, I needed to look for a few specific things at Walmart, and I was almost halfway there....so I went to Wal-Mart. 

They had more than I needed, as usual...but I still needed something else.  So I went to a little store in Plainwell called the Calico Rabbit.  It's like a consignment shop, and I had gotten some AWESOME beads and polished stones there last week.  BUT, they didn't have what I was looking for.  But they also had more than I needed.

So then I went to the bead store in downtown Allegan, and found PART of what I was looking for. (And a little more)....so I didn't get home til after 3PM and I had to put away groceries and make supper! (White chili...YUM!!)

Then I'm trying to put my pictures on my facebook page and it's giving me fits.  Ug.

Anyway....I am still alive.  No new news on my dad yet.  He had an MRI Monday morning, and they have an appointment on October 4 (Tuesday) to get all the results.  It's hard not to speculate.  I'm just trying to stay busy and not think about it.

SO....what's going on with you??

Also, check out my other blog and see some of the new stuff I'm doing!
www.kerriskreationsjewelry.blogspot.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Random Letters Volume 917

Dear Ten-Minute-Thunderstorm,

I cannot believe you had the audacity to zap my not even two-year-old black Friday television during your very brief albeit violent appearance on Saturday.  Not even 10 minutes, and you fry my TV.  Nothing else, not the lamp that was plugged into the same outlet, or the DVD player, or the DVR; the power didn't even blink for crying out loud.  Just for the record, I'm NOT a fan.

Sincerely,
Out-Way-Too-Much-Money-To-Replace-Nature's-Bad-Aim


Dear Germ That Will Not Leave My House,

You have overstayed your welcome.  This is war.  You will be bleached, sanitized, anti-bacterialized, and in every other way, shape, form and fashion destroyed.  My son and I are sick of coughing, no pun intended.  While we are definitely on the mend, you are clingy and needy, and you are heretofore dismissed!

Sincerely,
Your Destroyer


Dear Veins,

I am so sorry to tell you that you will have to endure 2 more plasmapheresis treatments with the ginormous needles.  I have to postpone my port placement due to above germ.  Don't worry, we are going to kill it.  Please do not hide when the needles come at you.  Hopefully this will be the last time in a long time and you can have a nice little vacation in Transylvania or somewhere nice.

Sincerely,
Your Owner


And finally, because once again I am absolutely dumbfounded at the sheer shallowness of our society:

Dear Shallow, Empty-Headed People,

There REALLY are worse things than having a bad hair day, breaking a nail, or even, {gasp} getting a stain on your favorite blouse.  You can fix your hair, your nail will grow back, and you can buy another shirt for the love of cotton.  Some of us have REAL problems, like dealing with chronic illness, or loved ones with cancer, or the death of a loved one, or financial ruin or divorce.  I hate to burst your glittery little bubble, but there ain't no freakin' fairy godmother.  So pick your dainty fairy princess a$$ up, pull your head out, and GROW UP.

Sincerely,
Someone Who May Just Lose Her Mind Over The Next Shallow, Empty-Headed, Nonsensical MORON Who Has The Misfortune To Cross Her Path

Friday, September 23, 2011

Another Kerri!

I met Kerri on twitter of all things, which is weird, because I hardly ever tweet.  We met through Rest Ministries' Invisible Illness Awarenss Week.  She was looking for guest bloggers, and I volunteered.  After visiting her blog, I just HAD to have her reciprocate!  What you are about to read is a beautiful, touching story of how our God loves us so much, He will never let us out of the palm of His hand.  Enjoy!

By knowing me now, you’d never guess that six-and-a-half years ago, I was a very different person.  My name is Kerri, and I’m a twenty-year-old kinesiology and applied health student and childcare assistant on the Canadian Prairies.  I’m cheerful, positive, and yeah, a bit hyper.  The complete opposite person to who I was in the early part of 2005 [maybe I was hyper then too, but not in a good way].

In middle school, my friends and I were sort-of the freaks at school.  We got along with everybody, and we were okay with who we were.  In late 2004, a guy decided that he wasn’t cool with us being who we were.  He and his friends began bullying us, and even with school intervention, this went on for the better part of the year—things finally let up in May.  While we went on with our lives during the ordeal, keeping up with school, playing basketball, and being involved in the school community, I think it changed a lot of things in all of us.

With many skipped classes, tears and great grades despite it all behind us, we left the school behind, ready to go on with our lives.  Something, though, followed me out—anger, depression and thoughts of self-harm and suicide.  You couldn’t tell much from the outside, but inside I was a mess.

In the middle of summer, I experienced a reprieve—a chance to go to camp with a friend.  With my rock-solid belief that there was no god, I toughed out Bible camp—blocked out worship, and sat silently in Bible exploration.  Ignored the prayer, the arms that would have held me up and held my head above water in spite of my own drowning.  As soon as I got home, I shoved the Bible camp had given me under my bed.  I couldn’t take it.  Couldn’t believe what they said.  Because life sucked so much that it just couldn’t be true.  Couldn’t imagine that there was a reason to even be alive.

I continued walking in the darkness, and the desperation grew deeper.  On September 7th, 2005, I started high school.  That evening, I learned my grandma’s cancer had returned after a long remission.  And I broke.

I couldn’t do this.  Life is way too hard.  The desire to end it all then and there was the strongest it had ever been.

And God reached in.

Giving me the knowledge that if I didn’t do something now, I would end up in one of two places—burned out completely and even more disparate than I was now . . . or dead.  And neither of those were the plans He held for me.

In a moment, I was overcome.  Alone in my room at ten-thirty at night, tears that wouldn’t stop, I let go of that last bit of slipping control, and let Jesus in.  The transformation was amazing and almost instant.  The healing had begun.

Life is tough.  That doesn’t change when you change—Jesus involved or not.  I’ve experienced many struggles since then.  I was diagnosed with moderate asthma in 2008, which has had a bigger effect on me, good and bad, than I'd have thought.  I’ve overcome the depression that had me gripped, overcome an eating disorder in 2007, and though I believe these are things that never fully go away, my God has more power in healing any of these things than I ever would once I just lifted my arms and surrendered.

My God has kept me and now makes me ALIVE.  And thank You will never be enough.


Thanks so much for sharing, Kerri!!  Make sure you all stop by her blog (click the link above).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Updates and Prayers

IMPORTANT....PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ABOUT MY DAD ON FACEBOOK...COMMENT ON HERE IF YOU WISH.
THANKS. 

Okay.  First of all, I don't know if I'm gonna get in trouble for sharing this or not.  Technically, I'm not sharing on facebook, so...anyway.  My dad is a VERY private person.  He is 72, and in that generation, you keep your problems to yourself, it's nobody's business, we don't talk about things like this, blah, blah, blah.  Well tough.

My dad is also a Christian.  They have told their closest friends...I have asked a few people to pray via e-mail and such, but I want as many people praying for my Daddy as possible, so I'm making it known.  My dad was just diagnosed with cancer.  Adenocarcinoma to be exact.  Right now all we know is that he has one "small" tumor in his right lung.  He had a PET scan last Saturday, and an MRI on Monday which will determine if the cancer is anywhere else, and what stage he is.  So I am asking you to please pray that this cancer is only in the one spot, and that it can be treated and cured without surgery.  My dad is not in the best of health anyway.  Ironically, he quit smoking about 3 months ago after 60+ years.

Also, if you know my parents, please do not say anything to them at this time.  His name is Harold.

Obviously this is horrible news, and it's stressing me out.  I'm not ready to lose my dad.  I know no one ever is, but Jacob is only 5 and he needs his Papa.

Stress is not good for my MG.  Nor is this wicked cold that will not leave me alone.  So that's my second request, that you please pray for me to get rid of this blasted thing.  It's really starting to take its toll.

Jacob is mostly better...still coughing a bit and runny nose on and off.  Doug hasn't gotten the head cold, but he has been achy and just generally feeling kind of under the weather for the last week or so as well.

Finally, I am scheduled to have a port put in Wednesday the 28th.  I MUST be over this cold, and I want everything to go well.  I have toughed out a lot of bad treatments with the plasmapheresis, but this last one was just too much.  I have never wanted a port.  The risk of infection, of it clotting, not working, having to be replaced too soon, etc.  But my veins are revolting, so after 11 years, I think it's time. I would very much appreciate your prayers for that as well.

So thanks everyone....as you can tell I kind of have a lot on my plate right now, and knowing you all are praying helps me SO much.
Thanks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meta Tags? Keywords?


You know, I just need to STOP trying to understand things I'll never understand.  It's kind of like smacking my head against a brick wall over and over again thinking THIS will be the time I don't get bloodied.  Um, not so much.

I am not tech savvy.  At all.  I can blog.  Because all that is is writing, really.  Someone else designed it for me, and I just fill in the blanks, basically.  I write for blogsvertise, which has been awesome, but my page rank fell (another thing I never knew existed until I started getting rejections)...and here I thought I had a pretty cool blog! So I try to figure out what a page rank even IS, and how to go about raising it.

Good Lord.  I'd just as soon have tried to learn Latin in a minute and a half.  I SEE words like "meta tag" and "SEO optimization" and "keyword search" but all I REALLY see is "blah blah blah blah."  I just don't have the grey matter that understands that stuff.  It's all Greek to me!

Ask me about MG.  Ask me about God.  Ask me about teaching.  Ask me about making earrings or scrapbooking or the Bible or my favorite books.  But all this hullabaloo?  No thank you.

 I think I have finally turned the corner on this wretched cold.  Jacob is at Shawn's and it is blissfully quiet.  No TV blaring, no screaming (happily) child, no chasing dogs, no whining or crying or barking....just {shhhhhhhhhhh} quiet.  LOVE!!!

So I'm just chillin' and resting today.  Hope I keep getting better!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Night From The Pit

Holy comedy of errors Batman.

Last night was hideous.  Horrendous.  Horrible.  Heinous.  Okay, I'm out of "h" adjectives for now.  I have a cold.  From the pit of hell. Last night better have been the worst of it.  If not, I will surely go barking mad.

So here I am, trying to go to sleep, and as physically exhausted as I am, I can't sleep.  Every 2 to 3 minutes I am either sneezing, blowing my nose, or doing suction.  Literally.  When I do suction, I have to sit up, take the vent off, TURN the vent off, do suction, turn the vent back on, and get back in bed and get the mask situated over the trach before the vent alarms (I think it's 7 seconds).

Finally I give up on the vent.  Yes, it helps me breathe, but this up and down, on and off, suction and readjusting is making me CRAZY.  So I go for the oxygen mask.  This I can at least keep ON while I do suction...I just have to pull the mask down.

Well, the blasted mask was old, and it kept unsnapping.  Oh. My. Flipping. Word.  REALLY???  So here I go again, out of bed, it's about 2-ish.  I start digging through the "extra medical supplies" drawer, and find a new mask and green dial thingy to attach it to which hooks up to the oxygen conentrator.

Mmmm-HM.  I hook it up, and not only does the concentrator make the big-rig air brake sound every 5 seconds (at least it's consistant) but now it also makes this kind of ping-ish bottle rocket sound because there is too much pressure for the new mask I put on.

Little did I know, McGuyver had drilled a hole in the OLD green dialy-pointy thingy that goes from the O2 hose to the O2 mask.  So he mutters something about do I need some help, and by this time I'm pretty sure my head was spinning....I KNEW at the very least my eyes were glowing and shooting daggars.  I had a scissors in one hand, and the old tubes and mask in the other and I'm just hacking away. 

So I get the OLD mask off the OLD green thingy and put the NEW mask on the OLD McGuyverized green thingy, and VIOLA, no more pingy-bottle rocket sound.  Still the every-5-second-big-rig-air-brake-sound, but I'm oddly used to it by now.

By this time I'm begging God to just end it all right here and now, come back and rescue me from this pit. Right about then, Molly pukes all over the floor.  I KNOW I cursed a bit, so I'll leave that part out, but I am telling you...what a night.  I feel like crap, my hubby is soundly sleeping away, my dogs are ralphing, my kid is sleepy soundly which means he's going to kick my butt all over the house tomorrow...

And by this time it's about 3AM, and I have yet to get one wink of sleep.  I just bawl.

Must have worked, because the next thing I know, I'm waking up at 6:50 to go potty.  Then Jacob jumps in my bed to "cuddle", and he seemed wide awake.  I said one thing:  "You WILL go back to sleep because Mommy feels terrible and needs to sleep."  Thankfully it was still nice and dark, and he went back to sleep, THANK YOU LORD until 9:45.  So I ended up with about 6 hours of shut-eye.  Not optimum for a sickie, but I'll take it. 

Today I pretty much feel like I have a hideous hangover without having any fun at all. {Sigh.}  Just another day in my life. Gotta love it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Outdoor Furniture

I love, love, LOVE Adirondack chairs.  As I was browsing around (I do that a lot more when I'm not feeling well, like now) I saw a purple rocking chair.  A purple Adirondack rocking chair!  Perfect.  I really like it because it has a bit of a straighter back than the typical style.  With my breathing problems, it can be difficult to sit leaning back like that.  But check out the rocking chairs.  They are awesome.

Then I saw these really cool picnic tables.  They even have  wheelchair accessible ones.  I've never even heard of that!  How awesome is that! 

I'm thinking now I can outfit my entire backyard with a bunch of new stuff and have a gigantic picnic with all my friends!  I could set out some park benches like these, and with the chairs and handicapped accessible picnic tables, all I'd need is come cool playground equipment and we'd be set.

Well, I can dream, right?


This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stuff

Hey all,
Still feeling yucky.  Jacob too.  Hopefully he stops hacking so much...otherwise I might have to take him to the doctor.  Doug works tomorrow, and of COURSE has a meeting at 6:30PM!  These meetings normally have 3 or 4 agenda items, this one has 32.  Yes, THIRTY-TWO.  And I get to take care of a sick baby all day being sick myself. Nice.

Anywho.  Check out my new stuff on my other blog:  Kerri's Kreations.  Got a special going right now, any 3 pairs of hoop earrings for $30.00 or $5.00 off the 3 pairs, whatever is cheaper.

That's it for now....taking a nap.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life

Yah, I know, quite the specific title there.

I was just sitting here thinking how different we all are, and how each of our lives is so valuable and precious, yet so very, very different.  What's important to me may not even show up on your radar, and vice versa.

There's just so much going on.  I think about being at the store, or the mall (which I never go to anymore) but just anywhere to watch people.  You think you know who they are, what they're doing or thinking, but do you?  Do you really?

Do you know that the woman buying a new man's dress shirt is buying it for his funeral?

Do you know that the man who bumped into you, who you glared at, is losing his vision, and didn't see you?

Do you know that the woman on the bus with the unruly children just found out she has cancer, and can't imagine what her children will grow up like without her?

Sometimes I have so much pain in my heart that I want to just scream and yell at the world for going on like nothing is happening when there is so much sadness and pain all around me.  I just want to MAKE people wake up and pay attention and see that it's not all about them...and it's not all about me.  It's about US.  It's about HIM.

We need to support each other, not rip each other apart.  Don't always assume the worst of people!  Here's a thought:  if you see someone you think is irritated or grumpy...SMILE at them.  Say hi. Maybe they have a situation you know nothing about and your attitude is not what they need.  It's your compassion they long for.

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It really is that simple.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blog Tour: Stress-Free Believers Review and Giveaway

Book Summary
Stress-Free Believers helps you dethrone the stress bully that is often caused by loss of employment, marital conflict, credit card debt, and countless other pressure points. Here is the battle plan you need to get harmful stress off your back so you can manage the tough times with composure.
 
    You’ll learn how to:
  • Convert your thoughts from worry to faith.
  • Develop patience in the midst of chaos.
  • Take control of your thinking, emotions, and commitments.
  • Identify the tools God has given you to overcome stress.
  • Recognize the part you play in God’s comprehensive plan.
  • Allow God to work in your life as He did in the life of Jesus. 
This step-by-step guide shows how to reduce unhealthy levels of stress in each area of daily living. The objective is not just to overcome our ordeals but to do so without anxiety.
 
Stress-Busting Bible Verses
  1. Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
  2. Do not be afraid ... for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
  3. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
  4. Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:4)
  5. He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
  6. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. (Matthew 6:25).
  7. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  8. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
  9. My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)  
  10. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
There are some really great verses and ideas in this book to help relieve stress.  Realistically, I don't believe there is a way to reduce stress 100% in anyone's life.  We DO live in a broken and fallen world.  But by concentrating on He Who holds the world in the palm of His hand...we have a much better chance!  God IS in control.
Author Bio
Harold Metzel, a 30-year veteran as pastor, missionary, Bible College president and VP of a large charitable foundation in San Diego, currently coaches individuals and pastoral staff on ways to become even better stewards of what God has given. When visiting churches across the nation, he demonstrates ways to avoid unnecessary taxation, increase income using current assets, and provide a more effective inheritance. After counseling with many stressed-out believers, he now offers practical steps to bring stress back to a healthy level.
 
 
Grand Prize Giveaway
 Stress-Free Believers Survival Kit
  • Stress-Free Believers Book
  • Stress-Free Believers Group Study DVD
  • Stress-Free Believers 5-CD Audio Book
      
    *Stress Relief Aromatherapy from Bath & Body Works
      • 1.6 oz Filled Candle
      • Travel-Size Body Wash & Foam Bath
      • Travel-Size Body Lotion
     
                                                                                                              $66.35 Value
Sign up for this awesome giveaway!  Leave a comment and you will be entered to win.  I will randomly select a winner using random number generator, and you will be entered with the people chosen by the other participants of the blog tour, to win this great package!
Good luck! 
 

I'm A Guest Blogger!

Morning, everyone.  I'm a guest blogger over at www.kerriontheprairies.com.  Go check her out! She's a Kerri too!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Invisible Illness Book Review

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

 I was offered a chance to review the book "Take Me Home From The Oscars-Arthritis, Television, Fashion and Me" by Christine Schwab, a true Hollywood fashionista.  I jumped at it.  Christine has Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and hid it for twenty years. 

I wanted to wait to do the review during Invisible Illness Awarenss Week, because like me, Christine Schwab wrote this book to raise awareness for a mostly invisible illness, RA.

Christine Schwab worked in the television industry, specifically, doing makeovers on shows like Regis and Kathy Lee, then Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and more.  In the Hollywood limelight, she discovered she had an autoimmune disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis.  And she told no one but her beloved husband, Shelly Schwab, president of television distribution at Universal Studios.

The title of the book comes from a real experience:  She and her husband were on their way to the Academy Awards, and Christine was in terrible pain.  She had managed to jam her feet into her heels, but could barely walk.  Once in their seats, the pain became unbearable, and they actually walked out of the Academy Awards.

Christine knew that she had to hide her disease.  She did fashion makeovers on television!  She had to look perfect.  People with arthritis didn't work on television. So she made excuses, found reasons to wear sneakers, and lied...a lot.  All because she felt ashamed and afraid.

I could relate a lot to this book.  While I didn't hide my illness, I was with Christine emotionally every step as her body betrayed her.  She hid for twenty years her pain, her anguish, her illness.  That is why I'm so thankful for National Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

There seems to be a stigma attached to invisible illnesses that has been difficult to shake.  People who are sick but LOOK okay get judged frequently.  They are marked as lazy, crazy hypochondriacs.  And we are NOT.  We are sick people who may not look sick.  We need acceptance, not judgement.  I find it overwhemingly sad that Christine felt she had to hide an illness that was no fault of her own for 20 years before realizing it was okay to speak out.

Here are some interesting statistics about chronic and invisible illness, thanks to RestMinistries.com

*By 2020, about 157 million Americans will be affected by chronic illness.
*The divorce rate among the chronically ill is 75%.
*Physical illness or uncontrollable pain account for almost 70% of all suicides.
*Nineteen million people who are severely disabled do NOT use a walker, cane or crutches.
*Sixty percent of chronically ill people are between the ages of 18 and 64.
*About 96% of illnesses are invisible.  These include autism, bulemia, depression, mental illness, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis (MS), myasthenia gravis (MG), fibromyalgia, asthma, brain tumors, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, Alzheimer's, lupus, cancer, diabetes, migraine, dementia, scleroderma, and many, many more.

Christine Schwab does an amazing job writing her story and sharing her fears and concerns about her invisible illness.  She deserves a lot of credit for using her experience to shine the Hollywood lights on chronic illnesses like RA.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a chronic illness or takes care of someone who does.

From the Publisher:   

About the Author
Christine Schwab is a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle television reporter and author.  She has been a recurring guest on Oprah, NBC Nightly News, CBS's The Early Show, The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Rachael Ray, Inside Edition, and E! Entertainment.  Schwab has also been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine; Newsweek; Vanity Fair; Ladies Home Journal; Women's World; The Chicago Tribune; The Huffington Post; and The Washington Post Magazine. She is the author of Quickstyle and The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style.  Schwab lives in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo credit Rich Marchewka

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stress Is Very, Very Bad

The worst thing for my chronic illness is stress.  Stress can be invisible, just like illness, unless you're not so good at hiding it (the stress response) like me.  When I'm stressed, pretty much everyone on the planet knows it.

So.  Here are just a few of the things that cause me stress that, in my humble opinion, could be avoided if other people would just do their jobs.

1.  I had a pulse ox walking test at my doctor's office on August 2nd.  Today is September 13. That's a month and 11 days since the test.  I am STILL waiting for them to fax the information to my pulmonologist and Airway Oxygen. I have called no less than 7 times.  I called the office manager this morning and left a message, and am waiting for a call back.  SEVEN TIMES.  Airway needs it for Medicare billing approval, and my pulmonologist needs it because my O2 sats are way too low.  I cannot think of a reason on this earth that would cause someone to NOT be able to neither fax the information requested NOR return any of my calls. Unless, of course, they have met with a terrible fate and lost all of their fingers, voice, and brain.  If I do not get the information faxed today, heads. will.  roll.

2.  On a totally separate matter, I had to listen to 1 minute and 47 seconds of "if you need this" option that I didn't need, "press one now" before I even got to be put on hold to speak to a human being.  Said human being finally got on the line, and was either drunk, asleep, ill, or all of the above, because I couldn't understand a word she said.  And she wasn't foreign.  In this economy, you'd THINK companies could find qualified people to answer their %$#!* phones.

3.  We went to the fair Sunday.  I hate the fair.  Dirt, rides you can hear falling apart as you walk by, crowds of people from the elite to the dregs of humanity...all I see are germs.  That's my superpower.  I see the germs on everything.  And it's not pretty. It makes me throw up a little in my mouth.  But since my son was in heaven for 8 hours (yes, 8, long, grueling hours) I tried not to hyperventilate.  I did take 2 canisters of foam antibacterial hand stuff, one bottle of gel antibacterial hand stuff, one package of antibacterial wipes, and one package of Clorox bleach on-the-go wipes.  And still, exactly on time, 48 hours later, Jacob is getting a cold.

4.  We have not had Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance since December 1, 2010.  Yes, that's almost a year ago.  Yet I STILL receive EOB's from them because Medicare forwards the claim to them instead of Priority, my new health insurance (since December 1, 2010).  I have called Medicare on several occasions and they swear it's been taken care of.  Obviously not.

5.  I have been trying to get my doc's office and my insurance to cooperate on getting a monthly calcium supplement like Boniva or Actonel.  I took Fosamax but stopped because of the dangerous side effects.  I have osteoporosis from Prednisone, and I haven't been taking anything for months now.  I'm at my wit's end.

6.  Then we have the every-day life stressors that everyone has to deal with:  finances, children, husbands....everything household related falls to me.  If it happens inside the four walls (unless it's a construction project) it's mine to deal with.  Sweet.

Invisible Illness affects every area of my life.  Every. Area.  So if I seem super stressed out or grumpy, or exhausted....I probably am, and with good reason.  I have been feeling SO much better since I've been getting treatments more often, and closer to home.  And I am very thankful for that.  I guess that's why I haven't been in the hospital from all this stress! 

And I'm very thankful for good friends who "get" me, who I don't have to pretend with... Because there's a lot of pretending that goes on with people who have chronic illness.  We get just as tired of it as our caretakers do.  And we can never escape it. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Invisible Illness Awareness Week

Today begins Invisible Illness Awareness Week.  Those of us with chronic illnesses, 96% of us anyway, have diseases that are invisible.  For example, a person such as myself with Myasthenia Gravis, upon first look, doesn't appear to be any different that others.  It amazes me that some people don't even notice my trach!

I have to cover it when I talk, so I would assume it's seen right away.  But many people will say, "Oh you sound like you have a cold."  And then I just say, "No, it's just my voice from the trach."  And they get all embarrassed. It's not a big deal.  I'd rather have people say something that just stare.

Some of you already know that I had an experience last Monday that really bothered me.  I was trudging through sand--no easy task even if you're 100% healthy when there's a 40 mile an hour headwind!--and had to stop no less than FOUR times in the space of about 30-40 yards.  My MG legs felt like they were going to drop me right there. It was a bit uphill, and as I said, the wind was blowing strongly in my face.

There was a group of late teens, early 20-somethings sitting at the picnic table closest to our van.  They were watching me.  One of them said something, and they were all laughing.  Watching, and laughing. 

Now normally I would have given them the "what for" and lectured them and maybe even cussed once or twice.  At LEAST tell them to grow up.  But I was already tired, emotional, and completely out of breath from the struggle up the hill.  I couldn't have said anything if I had wanted to.  Normally I would have been extremely proud that I had already walked part way out to the pier, fished for almost 2 hours straight and THEN made it through the sand.

But that particular day was not a normal day.  Those people hurt me.  Because all they SAW was a fat woman waddling through the sand.  They didn't see ME.  They didn't see the struggle I go through every day because of my illness.

They didn't see the pain, discouragement, embarrassment or frustration I experience trying to do day-to-day things.  They don't know how many times I almost died in the last 11 years.  They don't know that I have an incurable disease.

So the next time you see someone struggling, or grumpy, or who you THINK may be giving you a scowl or frown, give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they are in pain.  Maybe they would like to smile at you but can't because their facial muscles are all but paralyzed.  Maybe they are tired of struggling day to day with a disease that shows no sympathy and does not discriminate.

Maybe, it's someone just like me.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

I have been gone all day, but I would be remiss if I did not post about what has been on my mind all week.

9-11-01.  I was being wheeled through the University of Michigan pre-op clinic to prepare for surgery on my trach the next day.  On the way in, Doug and I had heard on the radio something about the Twin Towers in New York.  We thought it was a prank.

When we were going through the pre-op clinic, we saw the TV.  It wasn't a prank.  It wasn't an accident.  It was a horrific, sickening, terroristic reality. 

My surgeon was in Denver, and got stranded there for like 4 days, so I didn't have surgery til the next week.

At the time, I couldn't handle watching anything about it.

This year, for some reason, I want to watch every story.  I want to see the personal stories of the families who lost loved ones.  I don't know why...I mean, I know people have been making a big deal of the 10-year anniversary, and it's not like I've been worried about another attack...

But for some reason, this week, I have just mourned the loss of all those people.  I try to put myself in the place of those on United Flight 93 and wonder if I would have the bravery those men and women had.  They weren't soldiers.  But we were at war.  They weren't in the Army or Navy, or Air Force, or Marines, but they showed honor and valor and bravery any American soldier would be proud of.  They knew by their sacrifice they would save hundreds, possibly thousands of lives. 

They were willing to die so others might live.  What greater sacrifice, what greater act of love and charity could possibly exist?  There is none.

And the firemen and women and EMT's and police officers...all who responded to the scene...KNOWING there was a high probability some would not be returning home.  I saw a story of a mother with 3 sons that were firefighters, as her husband had been.  Two were in the north tower when it went down.  One was recovered, one never was.  The third son lived.

My heart breaks for the mothers, and fathers, and wives and husbands, and friends, and Aunties and Uncles who lost someone.  I mourn for those who have indelibly imprinted on their bodies and souls the results of being a victim of that attack. 

Even through righteous anger I mourn for the lost jihadists, so deceived by hatred that they were willing to die, kill and maim for their false "reward" and murderous ideology.  There is NOTHING noble about murder.
 
The nobility lies in the hearts and souls of those who helped that day; especially those who were never "equipped" to do so.  For the office partners that led each other through towers of smoke and flames.  For the men and women who went back for their fallen colleagues, if only to be with them as their took their last breath.

I will never forget.  WE will never forget.  Every one of those people had a name. They had a family.  They had lives and people who loved them.   And that all changed September 11, 2001.

To the fallen:  we will NEVER forget.
To the heroes:  we will NEVER forget.
And to the terrorists:  You better believe it.  WE. WILL. NEVER.  FORGET.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In Real Life

I have occasionally participated in Five Minute Fridays with the Gypsy Mama...I'm a day late, but I'm going to do it anyway, because the topic intrigued me, and immediately a million thoughts flew through my mind.  The topic is "in real life."  Five minutes, no editing, no erasing, just writing.

START:
In real life I am a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a great-aunt, a child of God, a writer, a scrapbooker, a jewelry maker and a patient.  Not PATIENT, A patient.  As in medical patient. While I try to do what I can and then some, while I try to ignore who I am, I cannot.

That's me, in real life.  I WANT to be different.  I want to be healthy and have 6 kids and homeschool them all and go to the park and climb hills and breathe well every breath.

But that's NOT me, in real life.

In real life I have to contend with 
bills,
appointments,
a 5 year old who doesn't always understand sickness,
judgement,
budgets,
doctors,
medications,
side effects,
cooking,
cleaning,
laundry,
and trying to live every day to show God's love and hope.

In real life I get sad and depressed and wonder why.  I try not to dwell, but in the realest of realities it's impossible not to wonder.  Not to say, "if only..."

But instead, I CHOOSE to say, "Even if:"

EVEN IF I am not healed this side of heaven, I will praise the Lord.
EVEN IF I am never in remission from this hideous disease, my life will go on.
EVEN IF people laugh at me for struggling, I will forgive.
EVEN IF I have an incurable disease, I WILL also have incurable HOPE.
EVEN IF I have limitations and weaknesses, I will choose to live STRONG.
EVEN IF I need help and no one comes, I will still help others.

In real life, it's about how you act.  It's about what you DO that really matters.  You can spout trite cliches and tell people you're sorry and that you're praying for them, but what are your actions saying?  In real life, that's what matters.

STOP

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pear Tree Pinata?


So I look out the window as a pretty blue SUV is driving at a snail’s pace past my house.  I’m thinking, what is this now?  Lots of people turn around in our driveway for whatever reason.  But they kept going, just super slow.

Then I see why.

The turkeys.

Turkeys have been the bane of my existence since Doug decided he wanted to raise them.  Don’t get me wrong, homegrown meat is amazing.  SO fresh, you know exactly what’s in it, no antibiotics or chemicals or growth hormones… I’m not like a must-eat-organic-foodie; hardly.  However, when you watch your food grow, you know what’s what.  Just sayin’.

Anyway.  So these darn turkeys are going across the road.  Doug has spent countless hours trying to prevent their escape by putting electric fence up on half of our yard.  Well, the turkeys have discovered the OTHER side of the house, and that the driveway on THAT side of the house goes across the street as well!

It’s a conspiracy, I’m telling you.

So I call Doug, and I’m like, do I need to get in the truck and go chase these stupid birds back home?  As I’m talking to him, I’m watching them run, yes, RUN (which if you’ve never seen a turkey run…oh my WORD. They waddle, but quickly.  One foot at a time, somehow side to side and forward at the same time.  It’s freaking hilarious) single file down the road.

Soon they are out of sight.  UN-BE-lievable. So Doug tells me to go into the garage and get some corn in a coffee can, start shaking it, and then throw it down towards the pear tree (away from the road) and put Molly on her chain.  Molly can’t get to the turkeys, but she can come reeeaalllly close.

Well, by the time Jacob and I get shoes on and get out there, the little buggers are waddling back down the opposite side of the driveway and back into the fenced in area.  I kid you not.  They have a spy or something.  So.  I’m like, what can I do to keep these stupid birds in the yard?

Pears.  They aren’t quite ripe yet, so they’re not falling freely. I grab what I can reach (being 5’4” that’s not much), then start shaking branches, ducking and covering, dodging falling pears.  I’m like, Newton’s got nothing on me.

So then I can’t get any more.  Jacob is trying to throw the pairs that fall up in the tree to get more to fall, but his aim isn’t so good, and I nearly get whopped in the head.   Thankfully I was watching as the pear made a beeline toward my head and was able to dodge it.

As I’m trying to figure out how to get more pears down, I spot Jacob’s little metal garden hoe.  HA!  Perfect.  So here I am, in my pj’s (of course it was first thing this morning) and hoodie swinging this hoe up into the tree like I’m beating the heck out of a piñata or something.  Good grief.  What next????

After about 30 minutes my arms were about to fall off, the turkeys (and chickens, and dogs) were all chasing each other trying to eat the same pear (even though there were a hundred on the ground by now)…Jacob’s in off-white pajamas, trips on a pear, barely misses all the bird poo….Ug.  Another day in the life of a farm wife. (Lord give me strength!!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Joy and Happiness

I never realized how over the moon I would be about my 4 year old computer.  I am AT HOME, on MY computer, and it's WORKING. I had some hideous, nasty, spread out virus...it actually ate its way into my operating system...Every time I would delete it it would go away, but every time I went to google to search anything it reloaded and redirected me. 

Anyway. It's all just a bad memory now.  I'm home, happily clacking away at my keyboard that has the E, and S keys completely typed off, and the A and D keys are not far behind.  But who cares.  I know where they are.

Have an appointment with my neuro tomorrow about the port...you can be praying for that if you'd like.

This Sunday is Doug's work picnic at the fair.  We always have fun, because Jacob LOVES the animals and stuff, but he likes the rides too.  I don't know about you, but I'm not very confident in something you can slap up in a day that goes 100 feet in the air.  He LOVES the ferris wheel.  Ever since he was 3 he saw it and said, "I want to go on that."  I was like, I don't think so....but he did, and he LOVED it.  Last year, same thing.  This year probably too.

I enjoy the fair, but the germ factor freaks me right out.  I will probably have to heavily medicate so I don't have one day-long panic attack.  I need to buy stock in the antibacterial wipe business.  I'm putting SOMEbody's kid through college.

On the jewelry front, still taking orders!  Check out www.kerriskreationsjewelry.blogspot.com (or click the button in the upper left corner of my blog).  Also working on stuff for the craft show in November.

Well, I will let you know how tomorrow goes.  I'm so so so thankful to have my computer back!!! YAY!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FINALLY

Oh my heavens it's a wonderful day.  I am finally getting my computer back.  I am, right now, still at Doug's work using his, but mine is just scanning through 2 antivirus, anti-malware programs and then it's ALL MINE again!!!  Now we are so happy we do the dance of joy!

I've got a bunch of serious stuff going on too, but I'm too freakin' happy about having half of my life back that I'm just gonna wait on all that.  Today has been and will continue to be a good, wonderful, happy day!!

Next week is Invisible Illness Awareness Week.  Look for lots of informational posts and a book review about a Hollywood makeover artist who hid her invisible illness for years.

Do You Know Your Credit Score?

Do you know your credit score? You should. It affects almost every aspect of your life. When you go to buy a car, you need to know. When you want to apply for a home loan, you want to make sure your credit score is not only good, but accurate.

Did you know that when you apply for any kind of credit it affects your credit score? Whether you are turned down or accepted, it doesn’t matter. Almost every store you shop at these days has its own credit card. While there’s nothing wrong with having credit cards (I personally think everyone should have at least ONE for emergencies), you have to be careful how many you apply for.

You can get your free credit score online. It really is important to know your score, and keep an eye on it. Monitor your credit reports and immediately correct any mistakes.

My computer recently got hacked. Thankfully, it was just my e-mail; it could have been much worse. Identity theft runs rampant today, and it’s imperative to stay on top of it. Had my banking records been affected it could have been catastrophic. It was bad enough to get rid of the unwanted viruses on my computer; I can’t imagine having to restore ruined credit that was no fault of my own.

 
This is a sponsored psot.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Some Things Will Never Change

In a crazy, mixed up world, it's nice to know some things will never change.  Even if they are crappy things.  At least you can count on something.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

So Behind!

My goodness.  I'm so behind.  Running an online business without a computer for a week is NO fun.
(Make sure you check out my other blog, http://www.kerriskreationsjewelry.blogspot.com/)

My right arm is still healing from the hideous "infiltration" (i.e. blown vein) from pheresis a week and a half ago.  I'm all kinds of pretty on that arm.

Jacob is such a big boy.  He amazes me every day.

I've been recovering from pheresis this week, so now I'm "free" from the hospital until October 12 I think.  Whoo-Hoo!!!!  I have an appointment with my neurologist to discuss a port....I don't know.  I really don't want one, but after last Monday, and the hour and a half hide-n-seek with my veins...I just don't know.  I do NOT want one.  But hey, life is full of "don't want to"s.  Whatcha gonna do.

Just wanted to post a minute and let everyone know I'm alive, have a computer for a couple of days until mine gets fixed (or I get sick of waiting and buy a new one...) making jewelry like crazy for the craft show in November, and hopefully other online customers!

Hope you all have a SAFE and happy Labor Day weekend....DON'T drink and drive!!!