letting him in

Jan 18, 2018 by

There is really no way to put the feelings and experiences of the past ten days into words, but I want to remember this time, so I am going to try.

Monday, January 8, was the five-year anniversary of the first time I passed out and had a seizure. I think because of the way my brain catalogs dates of all kinds, anniversaries of hard days are often hard for me.

This one was a doozy. I started bawling in the morning and didn’t stop for about 36 hours. January 8, 2013 played out in my mind over and over again. I saw myself collapsing to the floor, shaking, trying to find my head that was floating far away from my body, and saying all sorts of nonsensical gibberish. As the day wore on, grief filled my soul. I could not stop thinking about how hard the past five years of passing out and seizing have been, the pain and suffering of the injuries, the lost abilities, and the seemingly never ending heart rate issues. Then I thought about my children and all the things they have missed out on by having a fragile, broken mother who is unable to run and play with them.

Then the guilt came. I started thinking about the burden I am to so many people. Pictures came into my mind of the many meals, events, and outings which have been interrupted by my body’s needs. I thought of the money, time, and effort that have been given to me again and again and was overcome with guilt that so many people have given so much to not only help me get my life back, but to also just get me through each day.

Oh my, it was rough.

On Monday, during the crying-fest, a friend called and said we should go to Mexico to get the mesenchymal cells that are far stronger than the animal stem cells I have been receiving. I wanted them so badly, so intensely, but the guilt took over and I started telling God, “No way, this is too much. My life is not worth this much money.” All sorts of emotions were swirling inside of me – guilt at the possibility of getting them, fear that they wouldn’t help, overwhelming grief – and I could not process it all. I could feel the possibility of a big miracle, but I was terrified to actually believe it or to even let myself hope for it. All I could do was cry.

On Tuesday evening, Tami called and after talking for a long time, I finally let out a chuckle. That was the beginning of coming back to myself. Then Kami kidnapped me and took me to The Greatest Showman which did my heart a world of good and reminded me that dreams and hopes and love are worth fighting for.

By Thursday, I was feeling much better, but still fairly ambivalent about accepting the opportunity to go and get the mesenchymal cells. That day as I was showering God spoke to my heart and gave me a powerful message of hope and healing. Later that day, God showed up in big ways again and sent my friend, Karami, with a message. She told me God was working on my heart and to let Him do his work without judgment, without fear, but instead, to let Him in and to be gentle with myself while He is working. I shared some of my feelings about the mesenchymal cells and she said “Trace, I think you have gotten comfortable with THIS level of a miracle, but God has TTTTTTHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSS big of a miracle for you.”

Those words opened my heart to a flood of ideas. For the next several days I pondered them and I realized I was telling God, “it’s too much.” I had to dig deep and really think about my beliefs about miracles and healing and God’s hand in my life. How could I say I would accept all of the atonement of Jesus Christ, that I believed I could be forgiven of my sins, cleansed every whit, comforted, redeemed, and claimed by the God of heaven and earth, and yet not be willing to take in the possibility of miraculous healing?

More tears. More digging in the scriptures. More pondering.

I left for Mexico on Monday. I received my normal stem cell treatments on Tuesday in my back and hips. Afterwards, we went to The Greatest Showman where I was given messages of hope again and then the temple where we did initiatory work for my ancestors and shared beautiful, sacred moments with those on both sides of the veil. Each experience opened me up a little more to the work God is doing in my life. I cannot explain it, but I felt like a chisel was tapping at my soul, opening me up to His purposes one tap at a time.

On Wednesday, as I laid waiting for the mesenchymal cells, I poured out my heart to God. I told him that I was finally open to whatever healing He has for me, big or small, I was ready. As I opened my arms wide and told Him I was ready to submit fully, tears flowed out of me again. After the IV started, I opened my Daring to Hope book and right there in front of me was exactly the message I needed to hear at that moment.

Katie Davis Majors is referring to the woman with the issue of blood…and to each of us.

I resonate deeply with this woman. I can see her pushing through the crowd, reaching out for Jesus’ hem. I can feel the strain, that desperate reaching, longing to touch Him, just even the very edge of His robe. A longing for only Him. I imagine her inner pleading after tying so long to be healed: Please, please.

And I am like the woman with the issue of blood, except I am the woman with the issue of doubt. I am the woman with the issue of sin, with the issue of flesh, with the issue of forgetfulness. I am the woman who wants to snap my arms shut and protect, fold my arms tight around my chest to guard my heart, which is still so raw and exposed, protect if from being broken yet again. I want to gather my children to myself and shelter them from the ugly hurt of this world. My mind wanders too quickly from He can To I can’t, and my focus turns to earthly struggles before it rests in my Heavenly Father.

Hope is the great expectancy of this woman that Jesus will help her. Hope is our great expectancy that we will know HIm in all our circumstances, even the seemingly hopeless ones. Hope is this mocked-by-the-world, nonsensical reaching through the crowd just to touch Him. To the cynical, it seems like a waste. Why reach in such a crowd? Everyone is touching Him. You’re wasting your time. What if nothing happens? We risk great embarrassment to hope in this way, don’t we? But the reaching shows something about the woman’s heart, something about my heart: a faith undeterred by the world or our circumstances, a faith that believes in what we cannot see. My expectancy grows my heart toward God, grows room in my heart for more of Him, and allows me to see Him here, wherever here is.

Sure, daring to hope feels a little too much like playing with fire, especially when we have been burned before. To hope exposes me, just like the bleeding woman. It lays me bare and vulnerable because I can’t fix this and can’t control the outcome. My hope puts me right up next to Jesus, torn open and defenseless, completely at His mercy, completely surrendered.

Oh. My. Goodness. The tears poured out of me. The cells dripped in. My soul opened up to God and I begged Him to come in deeper, to pour His power and light and mercy and miracles into every one of the 21 million stem cells entering my body and every fiber of my being.

Holiness.

His holiness filled the room and wrapped me up and there are no words to describe it.

I do not know what healing these cells will bring, what healing God has in store for me, but I do know, emphatically, He is with me. I am in His hands and He is taking care of me in beautiful, soul-filling ways.

May I always remember.

read more

Related Posts

summer has arrived!

Jun 13, 2017 by

June is nearly half over and summer is here! We just completed our 14th year of Swim Camp. There were 49 families camping with us, 110 kids in lessons, and many other children not in lessons. SO MUCH FUN.

The next few weeks are full of family reunions and camping with Tami (cousin), Mikelle (sister), and my mama on the banks of a beautiful, slow-moving river the kids will play in all day long. This summer we will also have our regular trip to the Wind Rivers, a wedding for my niece, Andie, in Fort Collins, and many days at our local lakes and rivers to kayak and paddleboard and soak up sunshine.

Summer time is just what I need. Amazing how it comes around every year at just the right time to fill my soul up with family, nature, time on the water, blue skies, and Vitamin D from that glorious sun.

I am recovering from my trip to Mexico for stem cell treatments four weeks ago and I can feel my torn ligaments healing. It is ever so slow, but it is working. We went kayaking and paddleboarding on Memorial Day and my hands were able to paddle. It hurt my shoulder with the still recovering subscapularis tear to pull on the paddleboard, but kayaking was okay. It must engage a slightly different set of body parts. My goal is to be in my boat and on my board as much as possible so I can grow some serious muscle. Last summer I was able to grow 5 lbs of muscle between May and September because of all the kayaking I did. I lost nearly all of it over this long winter of injuries. Now, I want to grow more and then NOT get injured and be able to keep growing muscle all winter long.

Bring on the sun and sea (or beautiful rivers and man-made lakes which populate Idaho!). Bring on the family time. Bring on the camping in the majestic mountains and fresh air. Oh, how I love summer.

read more

Related Posts

he carries me

Apr 4, 2017 by

I had a pretty big epiphany this weekend during General Conference. I started to have this epiphany during the 2015 October Conference when President Monson seemed to nearly collapse at the pulpit, but it came even more strongly into my heart and mind this time.

President Monson, our prophet, is not doing very well physically. Richard and Dallin told me that at the Priesthood session on Saturday night, he only spoke for a few minutes and his words were so slurred that captions were used so the audience could understand him. On Sunday morning, he again spoke for just a short while, but his voice was clear and strong and completely understandable. He was able to announce five new temples and share a message on daily scripture reading and pondering. He did not attend the Sunday afternoon session because he was too weary.

As his situation settled into my heart, a new understanding of my own life started growing. So very often, I can muster the energy, the capacity, the presence to show up and do something big…like present at a conference or teach a class or throw a party or go on an adventure. But then I crash. Hard. I will pass out, have seizures, spend a whole day in bed, stop digesting food, have a crazy heart rate, or the whole shebang of other symptoms of dysautonomia. I often think to myself, I must be making this whole thing up. Because if I can get up and do the BIG THING, whatever it is, I should be able to do big things all the time and be just fine. So, I must be making this up or wimping out or just not having enough grit to do ALL THE THINGS.

This may be a long-term struggle for me, this internal yo-yoing back and forth, but as I heard his voice on Sunday morning and stared at his empty chair on Sunday afternoon, I felt God whispering comfort and peace to my soul. I felt Him telling me that He is helping me do the BIG THINGS and that just because I can sometimes do them does not mean I can always do them.

My mind still doesn’t really understand how I can do a thing one day and not be able to do the same thing the next day, but somehow, in those sacred moments of Conference, He let me know it is the reality of my life and that I am not making anything up, am not a wimp, and am certainly not lacking grit. He helped me to understand, through watching our brave prophet’s example, that He can and will sustain me in doing the big things, at least some of the time.

Beautiful lesson from my loving Father.

read more

Related Posts

five days till our hugs

Mar 30, 2017 by

Our girl comes home in FIVE days. Oh, my goodness! It is so hard to believe that her mission, the thing she prepared for her whole life, is coming to a close.

I had all sorts of goals for while she was gone. I was going to lose twenty pounds. I was going to be not passing out, not injured…I was going to have made so much improvement physically that we would both know it was a mission miracle. I was going to make her a quilt with all sorts of cool mission pictures on it. I was going to have a darling room for her. I was going to have all her emails and photos printed out and made into a book. Certainly the yard would be de-junkified, the garage organized, and the house clean. At the very least, all of her weekly emails would be posted here on my blog for the sake of posterity.

The reality is that none of those things are going to happen. Perhaps some of them could have happened if I hadn’t been hit hard this month with new injuries and dozens of passing out episodes. We are focusing on surviving and thriving on the essentials…morning snuggles, nighttime read-alouds, and people fed some sort of sustenance (most likely not made by me).

Instead of the aforementioned list, our missionary will come home to a real family with real challenges and heaps of love for her that will be shown with lots of hugs, homemade signs, listening ears, and maybe some ice cream. The Pinterest version of a missionary homecoming isn’t all that necessary and I probably shouldn’t have let myself go down that road in the first place since I can’t even figure out how to make dinner or write a blog post on any sort of regular schedule.

Richard has been able to rip out Keziah’s poorly organized closet and build a new space that we are hoping will hold two young ladies’ clothing. Keziah has purchased two new twin beds for both of them and we were able to get new mattresses and bedding. So, she has an awesome place to sleep and a place to put her clothing. Total win, right?

In other news, my body is a mess right now. A hot mess. On the 10th of March, while STANDING and watching Annesley dance her heart out at an Irish Dance performance, my foot dislocated AND a ligament tore. I was doing NOTHING at all, just standing. The next day, while shifting myself in bed, I reinjured my right hand that we have spent the past 17 months healing. I had been out of my splint completely for two months and had been working out of it for about four. It is SO sore. I am back to not being able to write or mouse or do my hair. My foot is incredibly painful. I spend a lot of time in my wheelchair. When I do walk, I am hobbling around, all taped up in an effort to hold the bones in place. My left hand is still in a brace from the fall on October 29th and my left shoulder, though much better since the stem cell shots into the subscapularis tear in January, is still hurting and not able to do much. On top of all that, these new injuries have wrecked havoc with my nervous system and it is going haywire. The prior issues of food not digesting, heart rate skyrocketing and plummeting, passing out, seizures, and constant exhaustion are now pretty constant and I am tuckered out.

This is NOT the state I wanted to be in to welcome my girl home. But it is reality. It is the ride we are on right now and I am determined to make the best of it and not give in to despair and throwing in the towel. January and February were amazing months where I felt normal and capable and had SO MUCH HOPE that I would never pass out again. Everything changed in March and I am learning once again to turn to Him, to listen to His voice of peace and love, and make the best of what I do have control over.

Five days till we get to hug our girl and listen to her stories. Five days to make peace with the reality and NOT make my family crazy for everything we are not.

Life is good. For realsies.

read more

Related Posts

eyes to see and ears to hear

Dec 10, 2016 by

Perceptions are a funny thing. They determine how we see things, how we understand the world around us, how we evaluate other’s motives, and yet, they are so often wrong. Last night I had one of those moments when I realized, once again, how incorrectly I can perceive the world.

Last night was our Ward Christmas Party. When I finished eating, my heart rate went up like it usually does, and I leaned back in my chair and tried to relax and think calming thoughts to help it come back down. But all the stimulation of kids running around, people talking to me, and the mass chaos of hundreds of people being in the same room together were too much for my nervous system to process. I tried closing my eyes and breathing deeply for awhile and that helped it calm down somewhat. Eventually Richard left to go figure out a way to get our car right up by the door and I counted heartbeats, willing them to sloooooowwwwww down and tried everything I knew to calm my system. The men were all working hard taking down tables and chairs, but could see something was wrong with me and left my table and chairs alone.

Fisher, my dear son who hates to be an inconvenience to anyone, came over and said, “Mom, can you move?” Barely lifting my head, I mumbled, “No, no I can’t.” I thought, “Oh, my heavens, can’t he see I am on the verge of passing out? Does he really care more about inconveniencing the men putting away tables than he does about my body’s needs?” He asked again, “Mom, can you move?” Again, I mumbled “No” and tried to get him to understand that I wasn’t using the table and it could be put away as long as they didn’t move my chairs or try to move me. Not satisfied with my answer, he persisted, “Mom, can you move? They are playing basketball.” In my nearly unconscious state of mind, I nearly exploded inside thinking, “Seriously! He is wanting to play basketball when I am having an episode? He wants me to move so they have more room to play!” But I couldn’t say anything because I was fighting with everything I had to stay conscious and calm. Finally, he said, “Mom, I’m worried the ball is going to hit you and hurt you. We’ve got to move you because they are playing basketball.”

I opened my eyes and looked around and saw that there was a group of teens playing basketball and I was right on the 3-point line. They were running all over the floor and the ball was flying wildly near me. I had had no idea any of that was happening and the boys had no idea anything was wrong with me, they were just trying to have fun. Grasping the situation, I told Fisher, “I can’t move, so you are going to have to protect me from the ball.” His response, “That is what I have been doing, I just think you would be safer if we could move you away from here.”

Oh, my goodness, the tears of gratitude welled up inside me for this good, good boy of mine. He wasn’t embarrassed of me. He wasn’t worried about inconveniencing the clean-up crew. He wasn’t wanting to play basketball and have more room on the court. He was watching over me and protecting me without anyone asking him to and without me even realizing what he was doing.

So often I respond too quickly, long before I understand the real situation. I am grateful for a body that was unable to speak and lash out in irritation and was instead able to hear his quiet voice, full of love, trying to help me.

Eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand…those are the gifts I yearn for.

p.s. Yes, I did pass out a few minutes later. As we slowly made our way out to the car, my body collapsed in the hallway with Richard and several other men catching me and taking care of me. I am surrounded by angels, both heavenly and earthly ones. Thank you to those of you who so willingly walk this journey with me.

read more

Related Posts

four weeks with this crazy, dislocating pile of bones

Apr 16, 2016 by

Four weeks ago I did a little baby cartwheel called a monkey jump at gym. It is just a little hop with your feet while your hands are on the ground. A small child didn’t understand what I was asking him to do, so after explaining it multiple times I finally did one. I never thought it would hurt me. And certainly never imagined it would cause the big mess I am in now. All I was thinking about was how this precious child couldn’t understand what I was saying and the only way to help him understand was to show him.

My hand isn’t getting any better. At all. The bones will not stay in place. I am having an MRI on Monday to look for torn ligaments. They are probably not torn as my ligaments don’t normally tear, they normally stretch for a gazillion miles and lay there limp and weak not holding bones where they need to be.

Right now Jeremy has it taped up with about 12 layers of criss-crossing tape.

image

Then I wear my hand brace on top of all those tape layers. With all the tape and bracing, I can barely move it. Do you see the lasso-type tape around my ring finger? It is to hold that bone up. There are four layers of tape there and it is still sagging. Do you see that?

I am under strict orders to not use my hand for anything. It is nearly impossible, but I am trying. Really trying. I need a How-To guide on how to function without your dominant hand. I cannot figure out how to get contacts in and out. How to brush my teeth. How to wipe. My left hand is not competent at doing any of those things, so even if I go the whole day not using my right hand, I still can’t figure out how to not do those things.

Once the MRI results come back, we will decide how to proceed. Jeremy and I both think I need a hard cast to completely immobilize my hand. Knowing I need it and being happy about the prospect of being in a hard cast for the entire summer are two very different things. I am still holding on to my kayaking dreams for this year, but am coming face to face with the reality that I may not be able to paddle for many months to come.

ARGH. The heartache is nearly more than I can bear. I love being on the water, gliding across the lake or coasting down a river. It is close to the feeling I have cycling and the only outdoor activity my body can handle. So I am not giving it up yet. I am hoping and praying and dreaming of miraculous healing while at the same time trying to open my heart to accepting this new injury and the ramifications it is handing me.

Writing is what I miss most. I feel like part of my brain is gone because I can’t write anything down. I can’t take notes on the books I am reading or write in my bullet journal or attend a lecture and record what I am learning. It is painful to my writing-loving soul. An integral part of my life has been removed and while it may seem like a small thing, it feels huge to me. Writing with pen in hand is a very different experience for me than typing or speaking into an electronic device.

We are slowly figuring out how to function without mom’s right hand and my left hand is getting slightly more competent at household tasks. We will figure this out, I am sure. In the meantime, I will be sporting lots of ponytails and glasses.

read more

Related Posts

my hand is a mess

Apr 4, 2016 by

So my hand is hurt. Not a little hurt, really hurt. It has taken me some time to come to that realization, but this weekend I finally let the truth enter my mind.

At each of my put-my-hand-back-together appointments, Jeremy has told me it is a big, fat mess and is going to take months to heal. I heard his words, but kept thinking it couldn’t be THAT bad and we would just keep putting it back together for a few weeks and then it would be all better.

(I know. I know. I am delusional.)

At times the pain has been intense, at other times, just a throbbing ache. When it is a throbbing ache, I am able to convince myself that this is not a big deal and will be over soon. When it is a shooting pain that brings tears to my eyes, I seriously wonder if I will ever be able to use my hand again. Well, the past few days there has been a lot of the shooting, help-me-not-scream pain and it has got me remembering when my foot had 13 bones dislocated in February 2014. I read all of the posts about that injury and remembered the pain. Remembered the hopelessness. Remembered the sheer courage it took to get through that injury. Remembered how incredibly long it took for those bones to stay in place again.

And then I realized, this hand injury is just like that foot injury. It IS going to take a long time to heal. It might not ever be back to 100%. It is a big deal and I need to face that so I can muster up the courage and skills to give my hand the best shot at healing. It is time for daily BF&C applications, using my Patches essential oil, resting it as much as possible, and clinging to hope.

I really don’t know how to not use my hand. My wrist has been injured since October 30 and I had to start learning how to not use it back then, but this is far worse and I haven’t figured out how to adjust to its new needs. Maybe I need to put it in a sling? Maybe it needs a different type of brace? Maybe I need a new brain, haha!

There are moments when I nearly think amputation would be better than dealing with the pain. Then there are moments I think it isn’t really a big deal at all. I’m pretty sure somewhere in the middle would be the better choice.

read more

Related Posts

stem cells

Feb 28, 2016 by

I am chock-full of courage! It probably sounds ridiculous for me to be shouting about my courage from the rooftops, but I am so grateful to God for filling me with courage and so stinkin’ proud of myself for accepting His gift that I have to shout it far and wide.

The story starts over a year ago when I went to a medical clinic in Mexico with the hope of getting stem cell injections in my knee (and other joints as well, but especially my injured knee). At that time I was told my body wasn’t ready for injections and that my nervous system needed to calm down before they could do anything in the clinic. I came home with oral stem cells to help my nervous system and a lot of disappointment that my quick “miracle cure” (HAHA!) wasn’t going to happen.

I went back in April and my nervous system had calmed down a little, so after much pleading, the doctor consented to try one stem cell injection in my knee. The results were fabulous and within a few short weeks I was in significantly less pain and had more stability in my knee. But I still wasn’t able to receive the other treatments the clinic offers and came home somewhat disappointed.

This past week was once again spent in Mexico. Before I left I was a pile of convoluted emotions: so excited to go, hopeful that perhaps I could receive stem cell injections, terrified of the pain of the injections, and scared to allow myself to get my hopes up at all. The roller coaster ride of going back and forth from one emotion to another wore me out and I spent significant time meditating and praying for several days before I left to get centered on peace and truth. It took lots of courage to choose to get off the roller coaster and go deep inside to the messages God was trying to send me.

Then when I got to the clinic, I was told I could have an IV and if it went well and I didn’t have a seizure, we would do an injection in my knee. Oh my, the excitement! And also a bit of worry about the pain. Last year’s injection into my knee was excruciating and I didn’t know if I could face the pain again. I spent over four hours receiving the IV on a very slow, careful drip in an effort to be as gentle as possible to my nervous system and I used that time to pray and ask God to be with me and take the pain from me.

HE DID! He filled me with courage and He totally made the shot doable. It was a gazillion times better than last April’s injection. Many people were praying for me back in Idaho and I could feel the power of their faith carrying me.

Since my body did so well the first day, we planned more injections for the rest of the week. In addition to the initial shot in the knee capsule, I ended up having both ankles, right wrist, LCL, my hip labrum (twice!), and both shoulders injected with stem cells as well. Before each injection I would feel some fear of the pain come into my being and I would turn to God and plead for courage. Each time I could feel Him giving it to me. It was amazing!

Injections into joint capsules without local anesthetic is painful and the hours afterward are a sore, stiff, barely moving time. But I did it. God did it. He helped me show up with enough courage to get through each injection and to get up again the next day for another round. I could feel heavenly angels attending me and am so grateful for the earthly angels that were with me holding my hand.

Now, it is time to let the stem cells do their job and get to work repairing the torn cartilage and stretched-out ligaments. I am trying to hold my hope of real, tangible healing and dreams of riding my bike in one hand while in the other facing the long, slow rebuilding of tissue and eventually muscles. My doctor told me to take things one step at a time and trust the process. I am committed to doing just that.

My heart is full to bursting with the love of so many people and my Father above who carried me through this week. If you would like to join me in prayer that these stem cells will work in repairing my connective tissue, I would be so, so grateful!

read more

Related Posts

hip, hip, hooray, it’s four years today!

Feb 20, 2016 by

February 20 is the 4-year anniversary of my initial hip injury. I need to both honor and celebrate this day. My heart is SO full of gratitude for the heaps of service, love, sacrifice, and true friendship I have been blessed with over the past four years. You, my dear friends and family members, have carried me, filled me with courage, helped me see hope, and have stayed WITH me in this fight. You have not abandoned me. You have not given up. You have prayed and smiled and hugged and cried and laughed and loved more than I ever knew was possible. Your words of encouragement, acts of service, and downright awesomeness have made all the difference in my ability to keep going with a smile on my face. Thank YOU for helping me stay strong!

Please join in this celebration by doing these four things:

1. Share a hilarious/interesting/touching moment from this hip/ankle/shoulder/ribs/feet/knees/seizing/passing out/peeing journey.

2. Share something you have learned from this journey of mine.

3. Share a message of courage with me and all my friends!

4. Do something kind and loving for someone else today. It will make me SO happy to have hundreds of acts of kindness done in honor of my Hip, Hip, Hooray Party!

If you can’t do all four, choose your favorite…just share something to commemorate this day.

I love you all! Thank you for joining my celebration!

read more

Related Posts