hastening the healing

Dec 31, 2014 by

There is a weird dichotomy in my brain that says:

Pain akin to the last few contractions of transition stage and/or passing a kidney stone and/or severe toothache = Pain to listen to and gives me a valid excuse to modify activity level.

Everything else = Stupid pain signals that mean nothing is really wrong and I should be able to go on with my life as normal.

It is not very logical and doesn’t make sense to my dear husband or friends, but it IS my reality.

We are trying to change my perception of reality to a healthier version so I will learn that it is truly, 100% okay good for me to lie around doing nothing for weeks months on end.

See, my knee is injured. And I need to take care of it by not putting weight on it, bending it funny, or straining it in any way. And I am doing all of that. I really, truly am. Day after day I lay here on my bed or chaise and watch the world turn around me.

But I hate it. And I think, “GET UP, YE OL’ LAZY WOMAN. SURELY YOU CAN MAKE DINNER. SURELY YOU CAN WASH THOSE DISHES. SURELY YOU CAN DO MORE THAN SIT HERE ON YOUR DUFF!”

And I think those thoughts because it doesn’t hurt that bad. When I am lying here it hardly hurts at all, just a constant soreness, not a stabbing, excruciating pain that takes my breath away. When I get up and walk on it, it starts hurting worse, much worse, but it is still not excruciating, take my breath away pain. It is piles of soreness that drives me bonkers, but I can still talk through it. I can even still walk through it, at least most of the time.

Richard and Sheri and Kat and Jeremy are trying to get me to change paradigms, but it is really hard for me to see things differently. In my mind, if I CAN walk, I SHOULD walk, no matter the pain or soreness or whatever. Jeremy is trying to help me see that listening very, very carefully to my body and honoring it is essential (I DO totally believe this and until these injuries I thought I was pretty good at it) to my healing. He says doing everything I can to not be on my feet and further strain my knee is good for me. So, we are instituting a new motto over here.

 

Hastening the Healing

It looks like this:

Random person, child of mine, or most usually my own self: What are we doing today?

Paradigm changing me: Hastening the healing.

Random person, child of mine, or my own self-talk: Come on, let’s do something fun!

Paradigm changing me: Nope, I am hastening the healing.

Random person, child of mine, or my own self-talk: Oh, come on, it will probably be just fine, let’s do it!

Paradigm changing me: Hastening the healing is my first priority. Let’s see if we can do x,y,z while I lie here with my ice pack.

I am trying. Trying really hard to stay off my feet and give my knee everything I can to help it heal. It is super challenging and would be easier if I had to do full-on labor breathing to get through the day. I have only left my house a few times this month and have spent day after day reclining on my chaise with my throw up bowl next to me. But I did really mess up a few times. I tried to rearrange my school room on the Saturday before Christmas. My big girls did all the furniture moving work, but I was on my feet WAY too long and finally collapsed in an actual excruciating, take my breath away moment. My other big mistake was trying to shave on Sunday night and I pulled my knee and hip all wonky while trying to reach my ankles. So, I am still learning what the limits are and how to be okay sitting on my bottom day after day.

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this pitcher can throw, but i haven’t struck out yet

Dec 18, 2014 by

Life throws some pretty tricky curve balls sometimes. I’m a pretty good hitter, but I never saw this one coming.

On December 2, I had a fabulous appointment with Jeremy and was cleared to start exercising again after I had injured the inguinal ligament back in early October. We had just finished up a fairly uneventful Thanksgiving week and my body was doing really well. I was ready to start building some muscles and kick off the Christmas season.

On December 3, my dear friend, Heather, invited a group of us to go to lunch and fill her up with some love and laughter. We had a lovely lunch catching up on the events of all of our lives and laughed ourselves silly. I always lie down during our Red Robin escapades and this time was no different…except I was squished and my head was turned really wonky.

Somehow, the yucky position my neck was in reinjured my vagus nerve, stretching it out and irritating it right back into hypersensitivity mode. I stood up at the end of our meal, collapsed right in the restaurant and proceeded to have many episodes of passing out, shaking, and vomiting. It was awful. Probably the worst episode yet. At the time, I thought it was a one-time deal – I had no idea that I would not feel hungry for the next several days, that anything I did eat would come right back up, and that my stomach would ache for hours and hours and hours after I was able to get the tinsiest amount of food down.

Vomiting is probably my least favorite thing. I puked my guts out during all of my pregnancies and haven’t thrown up once since Annesley’s birth seven years ago because my body is DONE with the puking.

Until now. Oh my goodness, the puking. A few days ago, in the midst of an hour long puke-fest, I told Kez to text Richard and tell him I was dying. I didn’t really think I was, but I was not at all sure I was going to come out alive on the other side. I’ve thrown up in all my sinks, my garbage can, my trusty bowl that is my new companion, my bath tub, in multiple parking lots, in my hands, my hair, and all over my shoes. The worst was throwing up a huge puddle of protein/chocolate/green smoothie at a man’s brand new home – what a housewarming gift! After two weeks of this, I am about to give up on eating entirely. It is disgusting and painful and exhausting. I am now eating a very small meal about every 24-36 hours. I have kept the last two down and am hoping this means some healing is occurring.

A few days after the vomiting started, I passed out at church and injured my knee. The LCL is partially torn and the meniscus is torn. The LCL might heal. If it does, it will take 2-4 months. The meniscus will not heal, but it may be livable. We won’t really know until the pain from the LCL decreases so I can assess the meniscus pain by itself.

So I spend my days icing and elevating and sipping water and trying to figure out how to adjust to this curve ball. I am researching how to calm the vagus nerve and have come up with some ideas we are going to start implementing. As soon as I can get some ginger, I am going to start taking 600 mg 3 times a day. I am applying nerve calming oils to the vagus and digestive oils to my stomach. I am working on slow breathing, taking time to ponder, and working on being calm. I am trying to get up really, really slowly and keep my sympathetic nervous system calm, for when it ramps up, the parasympathetic system has to ramp up to balance it out.

Our December already feels so derailed from how I imagined it. I haven’t shopped for a single gift for extended family, friends, or neighbors. Baking goodies with the kids has not happened, nor has standing in shopping lines, looking at lights, or attending any parties, recitals, or concerts. Even getting our nightly Christmas book in has been a tremendous challenge when I feel so miserable.

This is going to be a new journey – new twists and turns I cannot yet foresee. I am trying to open my mind to acceptance for the road my body is taking us all on. My job is to believe and hope and work for healing AND accept with grace and dignity the journey I am on.

I don’t really know what the point of this post is except perhaps for me to get the disjointed thoughts swirling around in my mind out on paper screen so I can remember being in the midst of this journey when the next one comes and I need help getting through it. Just yesterday I read a post from the last time my vagus was acting up and rereading my words filled me with hope and faith that God can heal me this time, too. This may be a short jaunt into the land of non-digestion and knee injury or it may be our new life. At this point we have no idea where this road is taking us, but we do know we are surrounded by family and friends that love us and we are in God’s keeping.

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nnnnooooooooo!

Dec 13, 2014 by

Whine. Grump. Complain. That is what I feel like doing. I wouldn’t let Richard kiss me goodbye this morning and basically just told my two superhero friends to take a hike. This is the ugly part of a chronic condition that keeps rearing its head in painful, debilitating ways. Sometimes I let it win and drive me to the depths of despair and I guess today is one of those days.

Ten days ago, I went out to eat with my friends and then collapsed and puked my guts out for several hours. I thought this was a one-time event. But it has continued and wore me right down. I am not hungry, nothing sounds good, and when I do eat, the food sits in my esophagus for hours and hours. Then as soon as my heart rate goes up, the food comes right out. It is disgusting and messy and mortifying. We are thinking my vagus nerve got stretched when we were out to eat and it is going to take some time to calm down.

On top of that, I passed out at church on Sunday and fell so fast and hard that Richard and Amy couldn’t catch me. My right leg crumpled underneath me and my knee was bent all wonky up underneath my bottom. The very unfortunate result is an injured LCL, MCL, and meniscus. We have been icing and oiling it all week, but it is not feeling better, if anything it is quite a bit worse. I probably need surgery, which is a whole pile of pennies I don’t have and my connective tissue disorder doesn’t work well with surgery anyway. I am so discouraged about the whole thing…the pain, the inconvenience, the money, the long-term effects, the everything.

Most of all, I am feeling like a burden. A big, fat burden who needs to go away and stop being a burden on my family and friends and complete strangers…which is why I told Jen and Kat to take a hike, I have burdened them for far too long. I cannot stop crying and I am ready to throw in the towel. The thought of another big injury to learn how to take care of and try to heal is too much for me today.

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with friends like this, i can stay in the race

Dec 4, 2014 by

I watched the Catching Kayla video a few weeks ago. Unlike most things I stumble across on the internet, this story has stuck with me, staying in my mind and teaching me lessons of life.

Kayla was a 14 year old girl who loved playing soccer when her feet suddenly started to tingle. The tingling spread until she had no feeling in her legs at all and she was diagnosed with MS. After figuring out a cocktail of medications that brought the sensations back to her legs, Kayla decided she wanted to run since she could no longer play soccer.

And run she did. Because of her courage and dedication, she went from a not-so-great runner to a strong, fast runner. Kayla has beautiful form and is a joy to watch run.

This part of the story alone was enough to inspire me. But there is more. During her runs, her body temperature rises which causes the tingling, numbness, and lack of sensation to return to her legs. In a way I can’t understand, she can keep running when this happens, but she can’t stop. Her coach has to catch her at the finish line and carry her out to the middle of the field to ice her down to lower her body temperature. When she collapses, she appears disabled and dependent. Her voice cries out “Help me!”

She runs with this wonderfully capable body and ends with a broken body that needs lots of help to be able to function again. She appears totally normal and I would think most people would never know anything is wrong with her.

Just like me.

I get it. I look normal. I can walk and talk and look completely and totally capable one minute and then seconds later be in a heap on the floor unconscious and incapable of taking care of myself.

Yesterday it happened again. A big group of friends had a lunch date at Red Robin. We laughed our heads off, ate delicious food, and buoyed up each other. Aside from lying down in our booth instead of sitting, I looked completely normal. I felt completely normal. And then I stood up. My heart rate jumped up to 130 immediately and I started to lose consciousness right there in the restaurant. The poor diners next to us were probably wondering what the heck was going on as my friends got my body to lie down, my legs elevated a bit (I think in someone’s arms?), and ran to get Jen’s Yukon. I started shaking a bit and I’m sure was a sight to see.

After a few minutes, I thought I was stable enough to walk out. I did okay for the first 30 feet and then I knew I was going down again. We made it into the car just as I collapsed a second time and this time passed out.

The cycle I dislike ever so much started with violent shaking, then passing out over and over again. My friends were holding me, assessing my heart rate, making sure I didn’t fall out of my seat, and doing all they could to help my body calm down. At one point I started throwing up which is about my least favorite activity in the world. These five ladies dealt with the awful stench, held bags in front of me, cleaned up the puke in my hair, helped me in and and out of the car so I could get it all out in a parking lot instead of a bag, and did all of it with compassion. Every time I would throw up, the shaking and passing out cycle would start again. Oh my. It was a doozy.

By the time the day was done I think I threw up in four different parking lots, passed out 10-ish times, thought I was going to be run over by Jennifer as the car started rolling into me on one of the throw up episodes, had a police officer come over to assess the situation of the shaking, crying, heaving woman who keeps losing consciousness, and thoroughly peed my pants during the endless retching…all out in public for all the world to see.

Oh, my goodness. Mortification sets in if I allow myself to think about it too much.

But this morning, I am thinking of Kayla and her courage to keep running in spite of the embarrassing things her body does at the end of the race. I want to keep doing the things I love even if it means my body falls apart. My body handles things pretty well if I stay home lying in bed or in my chair. I can do learning stuff with my children, direct the affairs of our home, send emails, and even do a little housework. It is when I go out that the troubles start. I don’t want to always stay home. I want to do fun things with my friends. I want to teach gymnastics and other classes. I want to be able to do my own grocery shopping. I want stay in the race.

And I think Kayla’s courage to keep running is the visual I need to keep running my own race even if it means other people see my body do embarrassing things. Life is worth living!

And because I have THE BEST friends who keep catching me when I fall, I can stay in the race. Thank you, dear ones, for allowing me to have a life outside of my home – I couldn’t do this without you!

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changed for good

Nov 11, 2014 by

Remember when I was preparing myself to receive an outpouring of love…boy howdy, did that love come! My dear friends, Tasha and Bob and their ten children, organized a whole army of other dear friends who swept into our home and yard and transformed it. They scrubbed and washed and organized and repaired. It was like one of those Extreme Home Makeover shows without the fancy sponsorships, television crew, and team of professionals.

In the space of eight short hours, they hung my bathroom door, fixed my dining table, fixed my beloved green table, repaired the back door, fixed the garage door, hung a rain gutter, and prepared the roof for a snow stop (Who knew there was such a thing! We just might be able to get in and out of our front door this year without having snow blocking the doorway!) They fixed the gaping hole in the deck, secured the deck banister so no one (especially me!) will plummet to their death, and repaired the deck stairs. They scrubbed out the fridge and freezer, cleaned out the pantry, washed every single canning jar and replaced them back on the top of the kitchen cupboards, cleaned out the inches of dust from said cupboard tops, and removed the ridiculous waste-spacing lights that people use when they put greenery up there instead of canning jars. Piles and piles of garbage were hauled off, trees trimmed, leaves raked, lawn mowed, and flower beds cleaned out. Our three bathrooms were DEEP cleaned – oh, my goodness, I had no idea they could even be that clean. Our messy school room was completely organized from top to bottom. The chandeliers were cleaned strand by strand, all the bookshelves dusted, and windows washed.

On top of all of this, they filled up our freezer with freezer meals, meats, and other goodies, our root cellar with potatoes, and our refrigerator with deliciousness. So. Much. Love.

I wish I had before pictures so you could see what a huge impact they made.

The newly repaired and pressure-washed deck. Isn’t it beautiful!

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Dustin and Troy fixing the deck stairs. These two were energizer bunnies, going from project to project faster than I could think of more broken things.

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Marie cleaning the lights. None of us are tall enough to get to those lights even when we stand on the table, so they are completely neglected and covered in dust most of the time.

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One of my little math students cleaning out our scripture-holding bookcase, she did an excellent job – it has NEVER shined like it did when she was done with it!

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Look how they transformed the yard! I’m not sure who worked outside since I never made it out there, but I think it was Kimberly, Dwayne, Cosette, Adam, and an army of youth.

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Bob, the jolly man behind this whole project. I love him so, so much. He teased me all day and got me to the point I could look at him with a smile on my face instead of tears running down my cheeks.

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Tasha will hate this picture of her, but it is just too picture-perfect of Bob’s antics to not post it. They were the brains behind this whole undertaking.

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Madi washing hundreds of jars.

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Keri and Dustin removing the ridiculous cabinet lights.

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The lovely Vanessa cleaned out my kitchen cupboards which were stuffed with who knows what!

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Jennifer tackled my disgusting bathroom…oh my goodness, the sparkles she created!

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Liz may die that I put her hiney on the interwebs, but look at that pantry! Look at those cleaned out shelves. I kid-you not, those shelves have been a death trap for months. Every time we open the doors, there was a risk of being attacked on the head by falling jars, pasta, raisins, or herbs. Always hoped for herbs.

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Near the end of our clean-up day, Liz took Annesley to a fundraiser for another friend of ours…a little baby with cancer. She brought her home all decked-out and happy as a clam. Way to multi-task Liz, fundraising carnivals AND pantry renovation AND growing a baby all at the same time! She also left us with a roast in the crock-pot that we thoroughly enjoyed late that night. I’ve never had a roast taste that good…it was amazing.

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Three of my favorite boys laughing their heads off while they scrub the dirt off their arms from working outside.

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Even the little ones worked. Thank you Mr. Levi!

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Sometimes the little ones played.

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And sometimes they ate.

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Jenn washing windows, I can’t even imagine the muck she faced on this task…I fight mold in this house constantly…and I haven’t been fightly valiantly for quite some time! She faced it head-on and eradicated all the yucky black spots that build up around the windows and transformed the glass into clearness.

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Since I spent much of the day crying, there is not a single good picture of me. My face is red and splotchy and I look like a beached whale in my chair. Jess kept me company wrapped up in my quilt…and I cried and tried to smile and laugh with my friends.

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At one point, Kat brought our her completely addicting apple dip and I was able to stop crying long enough to get a few pieces out of Jessica’s hands before she snarfed it all down.

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Keziah and Courtney stopped working long enough to paint their faces. They are SO silly…and SO fun.

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And even though her face is painted, this is one of the few pictures I have of Keziah (in her WHOLE life!) where she is not making a crazy face, so I have to share it for posterity.

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We didn’t get any pictures of Becky and Jennifer (the third Jennifer that was there that day…and my Jen, of the Jen, Kat, and Jessica gang) cleaning out my despicable fridge and freezer. Or of Amanda cleaning the upstairs bathroom that hasn’t been deep-cleaned since I broke my foot cleaning the ceiling last summer. Or Paula and Bonnie who washed laundry. Or any of the work done downstairs. Or Amy labeling all my canning jars. Or any of so many things. I basically laid in my chair and cried and sent my camera out on picture taking tours with various youth when my brain would turn on and remember I wanted to document the awesomeness.

I have been involved in and spearheaded lots of save-the-world projects. It is something I LOVE TO DO. And I have witnessed the power of people working together to raise money, put on events, spread love, and bless lives. I have been on the receiving end of lots and lots of kindness and generosity. So none of this is shockingly new to me. But I have never felt the power of community to transform hearts the way I felt it this day. This great outpouring of service done with such a beautiful spirit of love has changed me in a way I cannot describe. Throughout September my spirit was full of grief unspeakable. At times I wanted to shut myself off from the world. I could not bear to talk with people, which if you know me at all, you know talking with people is my life-blood. This day filled me with a deep hope…a hope that goodness will always triumph, that ordinary people can do and DO do extraordinary things, that my little family is known to God, and that while my garden of vegetables is hopelessly flawed, my garden of friends is overflowing with a most bounteous harvest.

At the end of the day, I laid in bed and sobbed. Deep, convulsing sobs. I poured out my heart to God in gratitude for this great kindness. Then I wrote a thank you letter to my friends…and many of them blessed me again by writing back.

To my Dear, Dear Friends,

Oh my goodness, our hearts are full of gratitude at the enormous outpouring of love and service you have blessed us with. As I have sat in my living room in the early morning hours these past few days, I have been overcome with feelings of deep, deep joy – joy in the work that has been done to take care of our home, joy in the relief this has given my dear overworked husband, joy, most of all, in our relationships with so many wonderful families. Thank you for teaching us the power of community. Thank you for showing us the impact a group of people committed to doing good can have. Thank you for taking us into your hearts and truly loving our little family.

To EVERY SINGLE person who came and helped and to those of you who sent your love, but were unable to attend, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. There are not sufficient words to express the feelings of my heart. Please know that you did far more than clean and fix a home. You helped repair a broken soul and infuse our entire family with hope.

To Kat and Jess – thank you for helping me get through the day. I couldn’t have done it without you. Truly. I needed to look in your eyes and see that I was safe…over and over and over.

To the Lamoreaux Family – Thank you for being willing to pray for our family and listen to the answers God sent you about what we needed. Thank you for insisting this project go forward even when I threw a fit and vetoed it. Thank you for having hearts full of joyful service.

Thank you for Being The Good In The World – you have taught me, once again, to Believe There is Good in the World…so much!

And as if their service wasn’t enough, they filled up my soul with love notes!

Tracy,

We want to say thank you so much for letting us come. You have touched all of our lives in such a deep way. Without you there would not be such a strong community willing to join together to do such amazing service.

I know it was probably so hard to let us come. In fact, when I got home that night and saw the whirlwind that we had left our own home in that morning, I thought “I would DIE if everyone came here!”. But I want to honestly say that I was impressed with your home considering the amazingly difficult health challenges you have had for so long.

Sure, there were some cleaning and repairs that needed to be done, but nothing out of the ordinary needs of a home. I straightened books on bookshelves and admired the great literature you have in your home. I picked up toys and my heart warmed as I observed the wholesome games and toys that you have thoughtfully chosen for your children’s development. We sorted through dress ups and I thought of the times I’ve come to your home and seen your children dressed up and enjoying their imaginative play. I vacuumed up some popcorn and thought of the times I’ve been with you enjoying popcorn and lots of laughter and happiness. I thought of how much time Courtney has spent with Keziah in your home and all the crazy fun memories they have. I remembered passover dinners, and classes and other great times you’ve orchestrated. And even without all the huge projects going on, you have a way of loving those around you, finding what their talents and strengths are, and lifting all of us.

We love you and appreciate the day we got to spend serving your family!
Tasha

Today was amazing! None of it would have happened if you hadn’t spent the last 16-ish years building an amazing community of wholehearted compassionate powerful people. I am eternally grateful to be part of this community and to call you Friend. Bob-Tasha Lamoreaux thank you for organizing this! I keep spontaneously bursting into tears. My heart is so full.

Kat

We love, love, love you and your family Tracy! Thank you for impacting our lives and the lives of our children…and for allowing us to give back a little to you.

Keri

You are so sweet. It was our pleasure. Could not think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Honestly! You’re such an amazing family.

Dustin

An amazing group of people that all love you, Tracy because you make a difference in the lives of others. What a great way to give back. You guys are all awesome! Wish I could have helped out too because you have made a difference in my life as well as my children’s lives.

Michelle

Thanks for being so Christlike to us! Thanks for setting the example you do, and for allowing us to try to return a little of your service! You and your hubby deserve this and so much more! We love you! So many people love you!!!

Bonnie

I cried reading about all of the good that has been returned to you this last week. I cried because I couldn’t be there personally (but I sent Madison and Alex). How I wanted to be there to DO something in return for all that your family has done for us. I love the comments that Tasha made and I feel the EXACT same way. All the deep joy you felt is because in a way, you do so much for everyone else. You are just getting what you deserve: JOY in boundless amounts :) I am so glad that Richard was able to get some extra hands to help fix up your home because I know he works so hard for your family. What a blessing to have so many that love all of you and put their love to work. That is true wealth, the love of family and friends.

I love you, and thank you for all the times you spent driving my Madison with you to the traditional Conference trips, etc. You are a light and an example to me and my family that only gets brighter.

Jana

It has now been several weeks since this day of love and the feeling of being wrapped up in God’s arms is still with me. I am in the midst of trying to heal a pretty bad injury to my inguinal ligament and feel pretty discouraged by the condition of my physical body, but the light that filled my soul on this day of awesomeness has stayed with me and raised my spirits more than I can adequately describe.

p.s. That post title? Yes, it is from Wicked…because I knew you (all of the YOUS), I have been changed for good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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communing from bed

Nov 9, 2014 by

Another Sabbath spent in bed. Yesterday I had a really bad seizure/passing out/muscle cramping episode at the end of our monthly baptisms…so I am in bed today trying to recover.

Communing with Father through genealogy, good music, and looking at my trees out the window is good, but also a bit lonely. I wish I was at church with my family, partaking of the sacrament and singing praises. I wish I was shaking hands and smiling and chatting with my fellow church-goers.

Creating my own Sabbath day holiness has been a journey. I have had to sort out what I need to do to connect with God deep down in my little toes…because I have learned that while I might survive missing church, I cannot survive the week with any degree of peace, hope, and let’s face it, sanity, if I have a Sabbath without connection with the Father.

So I sing and ponder and pray and reflect and stare at the sky and write and thank. The Spirit washes over me and through me and in me and I remember who I am and who He is and what this life is all about.

It is enough. It is not what I want, but it is enough.

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ten years later

Sep 13, 2014 by

Ten years ago today I took Blythe and Keziah to their Kindermusik class. It was a lovely September afternoon, just like this one. My very round, 40 week pregnant belly was barely able to fit behind the wheel of our 1989 Suburban, a metal tank we loved dearly.

On the way home, an 80 year old man ran a stop sign and T-boned into me going about 50 mph. The hood of his car was smashed into the backseat of his little Honda Civic. My suburban was dented, but still drivable. It’s size and strength totally made the difference that day. Our girls were fine. The car hit right into me and I didn’t fare so well.

My already extremely loose pelvis was injured. We didn’t know what was wrong yet, but we knew I was in horrific pain. I couldn’t walk.

An OB visit revealed that the uterine ligaments were torn, my pelvis was a hot mess of shifted bones, and my baby was in good condition.

A few days later I gave birth to Fisher. I cannot describe the pain of that week. It is beyond words.

The pain of the next two years took my breath away and broke me down to tears over and over again. Slowly but surely, through chiropractic care, lots of patience, supplements, and exercise, I was able to get my life back. Eventually I could vacuum, sweep, walk up and down stairs, and ride my recumbent. Thinking I was doing pretty well, I closed the claim with the man’s insurance company and moved on with life.

But my pelvis never recovered. It has never been the same. Scar tissue. Pain. Dislocations. All of it became a normal part of life for me. But I could still function well. Do back handsprings. Ride my bike. Swim. Run. Jump on the trampoline. Play volleyball. Richard got really good at putting my hips back into place and it seemed like the pesky little things were totally livable.

But the damage to my pelvis came back to haunt me when my labrum tore in February 2012. As the months wore on and more and more injuries occurred and we started dealing with the adhesions from the car accident, I could feel my anger from the accident growing. “Why did that man run that stop sign?” “Why did he lie about it?” “Doesn’t he have any idea how he has changed my life forever?” “Why, oh why, did I close the case? I should have settled for piles of pennies to pay for all these medical bills that I should have known were coming!”

God has blessed me with a lot of emotional and spiritual healing during this whole journey. The anger is gone…at least mostly, there are days it still flares up, but my heart has stopped asking “why” and has accepted what is.

But today on this 10th anniversary of the car accident, I am filled with tears. I can’t stop crying. Parts of me are so, so grateful for the past ten years of learning, of pain, of blessings and parts of me are simply devastated for the path my life has taken. Devastated that my little children can’t even remember a mother who was capable of running with them in the yard or going on a bike ride with them. Devastated that so much of the past ten years has been spent taking care of me. Devastated that “I” cost so much to take care of. Devastated that that beautiful, beautiful sunshiny September day ended in an accident that has had such far-reaching consequences.

So, today I reached out to my friend Rachel whose son Aidan is dying. His spirit will leave this life today or tomorrow. I took her some food and went and held her in my arms as we both cried. I held Aidan’s hand for the last time and did my best to surround her with my love and the love of her Father.

I stopped at some little ones’ lemonade stand and gave them my nickels for a tinsy cup of lemonade and a bucketful of joy.

I stared out the window at the blue, blue sky and marveled at the gift of peace my trees give to me.

And I cried.

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a workout buddy has joined my team

Sep 10, 2014 by

My friend Sheri came over and exercised with me this morning – we did it! We made it through 20 minutes of balance, strengthening, and Elliptigo work. Boy howdy, is it hard. I am so proud of us!

It is also a tad hilarious how challenging these simple exercises are. I find myself bursting out with laughter at how ridiculously weak my body is, especially my hip and pelvic muscles. Anytime my hip is solely responsible for holding me upright, I fall over. My feet are really good at wearing superhero capes and holding me upright, but when we take them out of the picture, my hip cannot keep me balanced.

So, we are embarking on a journey. A journey of mind, will, and muscles. There is not a quick fix, no pill I can take to grow these muscles. It is going to be a slow and steady journey into the land of strength. Having a workout partner is motivating and shockingly enough, it was even fun to do it at 6:30 in the morning (three weeks ago I would have NEVER said anything at 6:30 could be fun!) We can do this!

Confession: During our post-workout drink time, I nearly killed Sheri with my parsley & pineapple smoothie. It is my sweetest one and I thought she would love it like I do, but no, she said it tasted like weeds. I hope she comes back tomorrow and I will try to make her something more palatable.

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exercising, here i come!

Sep 9, 2014 by

Yippee! Hallelujah! Hurrah! Wahoo! Huzzah! Whatever your favorite shout of exclamation, it is time to shout it now. Yesterday afternoon at therapy, I made it out to the gym! Yes! For the first time in months my body was ready to actually build muscles. I have been out of all splints, tapes, braces, boots, etc. for 9 days and joints are staying in place. Jeremy taught me all sorts of new exercises and hilariously enough, every time my body was dependent on just my right hip I lose my balance, fall off the ball, fall off the balance board, etc. It is so stinkin’ weak!

So, it is time for dedication my friends. This is the time I have been waiting for, praying for, pleading for, and it is now time to get to work to build some muscles. I am rededicating myself to the pelvic cones, drinking lots of water, taking all my supplements, doing my MELT work, and doing my new exercises for 20 minutes every day. This is going to be hard for me. Daily habits have never been easy for me, I am more in the camp of 18 hours of hard work then ignore it for five days. But that is not the approach my body needs – it needs a little bit of muscle building every single day.

Today is day one (another day one) on the Elliptigo, the ball, the balance pad, and with the cones. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

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yes we can, yes we can, yes we can

Sep 4, 2014 by

I love homeschooling. Absolutely love it. Believe in it. Preach it. Teach it. Live it.

But I don’t want to present only one side of the picture lest someone think homeschooling is all roses smelling of super cheerful children dying to learn every minute of the day. I have to be honest. And today that honesty is tiredness. Today has about done me in. We are almost done with our second week of early morning scripture study and day 3 of 6:15 scripture study. Man, it is early. Then today I added in the whole shebang, morning devotional, poem of the week, math, reading, history, phonics, Bible stories, puzzles, and don’t forget, the whole being in the same room with my children for hours at a time. Today it was just a bit much. I am ready for a nap and some ice cream and no noise of any kind for the next 12 hours. Of course, it doesn’t help that it is also the first day of my period and my back is aching something fierce.

The truth is the last two weeks have been very sleep deprived. Between late night outings, middle of the night Jessica rescues, two trips to Utah with middle of the night returns, many day long cleaning projects, and not being able to sleep well because of sore joints and muscles, I am tired. I need another month of rest before I dive into 15 hour days of teaching, loving, cooking, mentoring, cleaning, driving, and listening. I haven’t really been in full-time homeschooling mama mode for awhile due to my injuries and it is going to take some time for me to build up my homeschooling mama stamina again…like a Couch to 5K program, teehee. We have been easing into it with more reading and math time the past few weeks, adding in a little bit each day, but it still felt like a big jump in what was needed of me today.

Today is Keziah’s first cross-country meet of the year and it is an hour away. I decided around noon I just didn’t have it in me to drive clear out there, sit and watch for several hours, and drive back home. My cramps were too strong and my fatigue was too great. She said she didn’t mind in the slightest so I drove her to the bus, gave her a squeeze, and told her to run her heart out. It hurts my heart, but there is only so much energy I can muster in any 24 hour period and mine is already used up for today.

Tomorrow is another long day. It is the first day of my homeschool gymnastics classes and yes, I know I am crazy for even attempting it, and yes, my nearest and dearest (outside of Richard) have tried, endlessly mind you, to talk me out of it. I love teaching gym. It is part of who I am and I am not willing to say goodbye to that part of me. When I even think about it, the tears start pouring out of me. I figure if we have made it through gym the last 2 1/2 years with a very broken me, we can make it through this year with a much less broken me. I mean, let’s shout hallelujah, I have been brace, splint, walking boot, casting tape FREE since Sunday and I am still holding together and walking well. This is fabulous! It is time to build some muscles. Quite frankly, the thought excites and exhausts me all at the same time. Outside of the injuries, pain, expenses, and sheer frustration of a connective tissue disorder, the never-ending day-to-day burden is the tiredness. My body simply can’t do what it used to be able to do. At the end of each day it really feels like I have run a marathon – my muscles are exhausted from holding my joints in place, my nervous system is exhausted from sending thousands of messages about bones and ligaments and muscles being wonky, and it honestly feels like my brain is worn out by about noon of each day. Add in a few tachycardia events and my body is done.

So, let’s just say this first day of dedicated learning time was good, really good. And hard. And exhausting.

Hmmm, Annes is ready for me to read her some Mother Goose for her Humpty Dumpty’s Corner class at iFAMILY, so I better muster some strength and go snuggle up with her while we recite “Jack Be Nimble” a few more times. We can do this. We can do this. We can do this.

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making progress, ever so slow

Aug 25, 2014 by

My knee is continuing to bother me and though I am trying hard not to get frustrated and discouraged, I feel myself sliding that direction sometimes. I think the frustration is coming less from the pain and more from the fact that ANOTHER body part has been added to the list of injuries. It was one thing when my hip was injured. Then we added my left foot, then my right, then my shoulders, ribs, neck, and jaw. Now my right knee is injured from the tibia dislocating in the shower fall and my left knee is hurting from compensating for the instability on the right.

It is a lot. Each joint needs different things to help them and it is fairly tiring just trying to keep it all straight in my mind, much less moving in such a way to prevent further injury.

The good news – okay, the FANTABULOUS news, is my hip is doing really well. I am moving better than I have since the initial injury back in February 2012 and as soon as my knee regains some stability, we can start building muscles in earnest.

PLEASE tell me this is true! Please tell me what we have been working for since I started physical therapy in April 2013 is going to start happening soon. We were almost there in July of last year, but then I broke my foot which set me back five months. Then in December I was able to start exercising and building the muscles in my pelvis. Then I tore the pubic symphysis in January, dislocated my foot in February, and dislocated pretty much everything in May. We have been stabilizing things all summer and we are almost back to the point where we can start the fix-Tracy’s-hip program again. I just need the knee ligaments to tighten up so I can walk on it without pain.

It really is crazy making. I am so done with the whole thing. I am ready to be healthy and strong and ABLE. Able to do my own grocery shopping. Able to sit in a chair like a normal person. Able to fold a batch of laundry without feeling like I have just run a marathon. Able to have a heartrate that stays below 90 instead of shooting up to 150. Able to not have shaking episodes. Able to drive myself where ever I want to go. Able to stay conscious. Able to run around and play with my children. Able to jump on the trampoline. Able to ride my lovely bike. Able. That is all I want.

And yet, I might not ever get any of those things. I might never be able in those areas.

But I am able to love. To speak kindness. To smile. To share truth. To laugh. To encourage. To make this world a brighter place.

And that is what I need to do more of – and keep my faith alive that someday I will be able to do the the others.

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dodging a bullet

Jul 20, 2014 by

As I stood in the shower Friday afternoon while getting ready to attend the temple that night, I winced in pain as I have every shower since May 2. Lifting my left arm up to wash my hair pinches something in the shoulder joint and it shoots down my arm and up to my neck. Inwardly, I thought “Argh, I am so tired of this pain! When will it stop hurting to shampoo my hair. It has been 11 weeks!”

Instantly Jeremy’s voice entered my mind. On Tuesday at our appointment he shared these thoughts, “We have dodged a bullet, a really big bullet, with your vagus nerve and jaw.” He expressed his gratitude and we both rejoiced a bit at how well my foot and hip are doing. I heard I was doing well. I heard things were improving. I heard I could increase my time on the Elliptigo. I heard my vagus was calming down. But I didn’t really think about it. I didn’t feel grateful down deep in my soul. I didn’t really hear him until I was in the shower.

But as I winced in pain in the shower and Jeremy’s words replayed in my mind, the voice of the Lord washed over me and I heard something else.

Tracy, we dodged a bullet. I blessed you with a miracle. Just a few short weeks ago, a hypersensitive vagus was staring you in the face, and now, your vagus is calmed down. Tracy, I love you. Take this gift and know I healed you.

His words surrounded me from head to toe and I felt wrapped up in a blanket of love and warmth and safety. I felt known and heard and blessed.

My God is a god of miracles. He can and will and is pouring them down upon us. May I always remember.

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let’s add a minute

Jul 15, 2014 by

Yippee-eye-aye!

Is that how you write that celebratory shout?

Regardless, I am shouting it from the rooftops! After six long months of injury – the pubic bone separation in January and then the foot dislocation a few weeks later – my body is ready to move forward. For the past two weeks or so, I have been riding my Elliptigo for two minutes a day and today I got the go-ahead to increase my time by a minute a day. So tomorrow it is three minutes. Then if that goes well, four minutes the next day!

In two weeks, I might be up to sixteen minutes. Oh my stinkin’ heck, I am so excited!

My jaw and head are still pretty sore, but they are improving and we are leaving them alone for now and hoping all the bones slide back to where they rightly belong without any more interference. It is challenging to move them without increasing my vagus nerve symptoms, so we are praying for the bones to move on their own as I keep drinking liquids and eating soft foods.

Today at my appointment with Jeremy we worked on the fascial tissues throughout the pelvis and made lots of progress in freeing it up. We haven’t been able to work much on my hip since I fell on May 2, so it is super exciting that my ribs and head are improved enough that we can get back to the hip.

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one year later

Jul 3, 2014 by

In spite of the aforementioned skull pain, today is a day to celebrate! One year ago I fell off a barstool while cleaning the shower for our Independence Day guests and broke my 4th metatarsal. Even though it was a small break, we did not know if it would heal or not. We didn’t know if the ligaments in my foot would be able to muster up the strength to hold the bone together. There was a good chance I would need to have surgery with pins and all that jazz.

But it healed! Hallelujah! After nearly five months of kick-butt pain, 16 weeks in a myriad of different walking boots, specialized medial-post, steel-shank shoes for three months post-walking boot, and lots of BF&C, essential oils, bone building supplements, and heaps and heaps of prayers, it is healed.

Having a broken left foot did a number on my right hip and set me back significantly – probably lost about 6 months of hip progress because of the foot – but here we are at one year post break and my hip has recovered nicely. I am able to ride the Elliptigo for two minutes a day and we are starting to see some real progress with my hip. It would have really been helpful to only have the broken foot to deal with in the past year, but having the severely sprained right foot in February set me back significantly again. Now my hip and left foot are doing well. My right foot is healing from the fall at swim camp and soon I will be able to exercise for more than two minutes a day.

So, I say Praise the Lord. This broken foot could have been so much worse. I could have had surgery. I could still be in a walking boot. I could still be experiencing significant foot pain. But I am not! I can walk without pain and today, on this one year anniversary, I am going to rejoice.

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i don’t think your skull is supposed to move like this

Jul 3, 2014 by

Yesterday we spent a lovely day at the lake with 10-15 of our favorite families. Kiddos big and little played in the sand, on the tubes, and everywhere in between – they had a ball. And so did all the mamas. Some moms swam and played up a storm, others of us sat and chatted the afternoon away. I was in the latter group and had a great time visiting with friends and getting updates on all their adventures.

When I left I made what seemed to be a small mistake, but is perhaps developing into a large mistake. Do I dare even say that?

When I put our water bottle/sunscreen/miscellaneous supply basket into the car, I rammed my forehead right into the top edge of the car. I have no clue how I missed the vital piece of information of the car’s location or how I didn’t notice my head’s close proximity to it, all I know is it really, really hurt.

And once again, my heart rate shot up. The girls helped me lie down in the car for a bit and we called Richard to do his energy work magic on me and then I thought I was fine. I was able to drive home, hold a book discussion on My Name Used To Be Muhammed, and everything seemed fine. Then my head started throbbing. My jaw, forehead, temporal bone, eyeballs, everything was pounding and I limped through the last bit of our discussion holding my head and trying not to focus on the pain. By the time everyone left I was hurting quite a bit.

This morning Jeremy shifted all those bones back into place, which hurt something fierce. Poor Sheri’s hand must have felt like a tourniquet was on it with how hard I was squeezing it. It felt better for a bit after the appointment, but now my forehead is throbbing again. Ice and little talking are the order of the night. No more animated raging about the injustice in the world and wide gesticulations about prison sentences for converting to Christianity. I need to speak calmly and softly and not open my mouth wide at all. A tall order for me!

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starting to exercise again

Jul 1, 2014 by

Except for my jaw/face/neck pain, I am in the best place physically that I have been in since the beginning of January, WAHOO! On Friday I was given the go ahead to ride my Elliptigo for two minutes per day. My first day was Monday and while my muscles were given a bit or a workout, my hip and feet felt great afterwards. Today I rode again and have to say, it is so stinkin’ FUN! I love it.

It is a different feeling than a bike or treadmill or anything else I have ever ridden. It is in a class all by itself and it is going to take a bit to get used to the different muscles being worked. I can close my eyes and imagine I am outside, spinning down the road super fast, weaving back and forth, having the time of my life. It amazes me how much my abdominal muscles hurt afterwards. They say it works the core muscles and while I didn’t believe them at first, after riding it for even the tinsiest length of time, it is obvious by the burning in my midsection it does.

I am also going to take advantage of this no-major-injury time, to refocus on my MELT Method work. I ordered the soft roller and ball kit months ago, but then my pelvis was injured, then my foot, then my ribs, neck, & jaw, then my foot again, so I haven’t been able to do anything but survive until the last week or so. I am hoping to find a MELT partner to come do the ten minute workouts with me each day. Sheri? Kat? Jenn? I think if I have a partner, I will be much more diligent. Who wants to join me for morning Elliptigo, MELT, and green smoothies?

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drat it all, i scare people

Jun 13, 2014 by

We had a frustrating, disappointing, hilarious, and a lil’ bit crazy day yesterday when I went to Dr. Guinn to get an expert opinion on my jaw.

He decided he wouldn’t treat me as there are vagus nerve issues involved and instead recommended I go to the emergency room. He wants me to see a neurologist, but recommended the emergency room as my first stop, saying “They’ll know what to do with you.” He actually asked if I have a death wish and want my children to be raised without a mother.

Oh my word.

At the time I couldn’t decide whether to explode in any angry diatribe or laugh hysterically. I did a little of both after we left the office.

Now that I have had a day to think about it, I feel compassion for the poor man. He was probably scared out of his mind that I would pass out right there in his office and somehow die from his dental exam.

After a delicious milk shake at Smash Burger with Richard, Jessica, Kat, Tami, my sister Mikelle, and my mama and phone calls to my dentist and PT, I was able to calm down and start to think through my options.

I have researched neurologists, geneticists, and all sorts of other ists all day long and don’t see any good solutions. There are some excellent EDS doctors out there, but oh, my goodness, there are long 12 – 18 month waiting lists and long distance travel to Maryland, Illinios, Texas, or Seattle are involved.

We have some big decisions in front of us and it doesn’t look like my jaw OR vagus issues will be resolved anytime soon.

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almost gave up

Jun 9, 2014 by

I almost gave up today.

Really.

Emotional-wise, physical-wise, mental-wise, I was done.

Spiritual-wise not done, but there just wasn’t enough gas in the other areas to really make up the difference.

I felt myself letting go of the will to keep on trying.

And then I looked at Annesley. And then I looked at Fisher. And then I looked at Blythe. (I would have looked at Keziah, but she has started her nanny job for the summer so she wasn’t with us.) And I decided that for them I will keep on trying.

They have no idea how hard this is. They have no idea how much pain I am in. They simply need a mother who loves them and I am determined to be that mother.

I used to think the pain in my hip was bad and believe me it was. At the height of the labral tear pain I would moan and wince and cry and really could not imagine anything worse.

This probably isn’t worse…but it is longer. And it is more. One or both of my feet have been aching for nearly a year. My hip still hurts, not as intensely as at first, but everyday it cries out in agony of some kind or another. Since the May 2 fall, my shoulder, ribs, and neck have hurt. And on top of all that my gums, jaw, ears, teeth – basically my whole skull are in constant pain. Sometimes I think I will lose my mind.

Today was one of those days. I had an incredibly frustrating appointment with a different PT to get a 2nd opinion and it turned out terrible. He didn’t really understand the laxity issues or the severity of the vagus nerve situation and gave me all sorts of bad advice. I felt unsafe and unheard and more than a little unknown. Screaming would have been my (ineffective) solution, but my mouth won’t open wide enough for me to scream, so even that good old fallback is out for now.

Instead, I let Blythe drive us around town for a visit to the library, some 1/2 price slushies, and a few minutes play at the park. We listened to Igraine the Brave, one of our favorite audio books, and I tried to focus on just being with my children. Just being their mom. Not a patient. Not an in-pain person. Not a woman with big challenges facing her. Just. their. mom.

Man, I love those kiddos. They are worth whatever I have to do to get functioning again.

Tomorrow I see Jeremy and he will put my foot back together again and have some calming words to soothe my soul. Until then I will sip on the delicious roasted red pepper soup Sherry brought tonight and count my many blessings, name them one by one.

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heal vagus heal

Jun 6, 2014 by

So much has happened since I last posted over two weeks ago.

So much.

First, we had a wonderful surprise birthday event for my mom in Salt Lake. My little brother flew in for her birthday and when she saw him she fell into his arms and sobbed tears of joy. Her heart filled up with piles of healing – I’m so glad I got to be part of this miracle for her.

Second, we have been selling the puppies and just tonight we found the right family for the last little cutie.

Third, last week my friend Sheri’s brother-in-law committed suicide. Our group of friends are working hard to support one another and let the Savior heal our hearts. It has been such a hard week for everyone involved.

Fourth, in spite of falling on the first night, reinjuring my right foot we just spent the past 4 months healing, and having a whole mortifying passing out/shaking/urinating episode in the middle of the campground, we survived Swim Camp and are now home rubbing Miracle Salve all over our burned faces. I am hoping to get a whole post written about our 2014 Swim Camp adventures, but I can’t guarantee anything as my body is really struggling.

And now for the update I’m sure you are all waiting for…how is the jaw doing?

Can I just avoid the whole topic and pretend that everything is fine? Can I somehow convince you (and me) that I am not scared out of my gourd?

Nope. It’s time to commit the words to paper (or screen) and face the new situation we are facing.

ARGH. I don’t know if I can face it.

Okay. Here is the deal. I have been passing out and have shaking/seizure episodes for 18 months now. These have been mostly caused by irritation/damage to the femoral nerve in my hip. It sends out a panic message like “Help, help, I am being squeezed by the pubic bone/hip socket/adductors and I don’t like it one little bit!” The message goes out like a lightening bolt to the rest of my body which sends my heart rate skyrocketing and the vagus nerve responds by shutting everything down which results in the passing out and shaking. The vagus tries to reset everything much like turning off your computer can make all the frozen/malfunctioning programs start fresh. The reset process usually takes 1-3 hours and then I am good to go again.

Well. Everything has changed. The vagus nerve runs through the jaw and is now being directly irritated by my jaw dislocation issues. So instead of just responding to the femoral nerve’s cries for help, the vagus is now sending out its own panic messages. The vagus is the power cord for almost all the body’s main functions – heart, breathing, and digestion to name a few. I have all sorts of new symptoms showing the vagus is in distress. The passing out and heart rate episodes have greatly increased over the past several weeks – there have been over 20 episodes since the May 2 fall. I feel nauseated whenever an episode occurs. Additionally, I have been burping, choking, yawning, and gagging. Swallowing my own saliva without consciously thinking about it brings on a several minute choking situation. My food sits in the esophagus for hours, then sits in my stomach for many, many more hours. I rarely feel hungry. And I can’t stop shaking.

Jeremy is quite concerned and now that I understand his concerns, I am concerned (scared silly may be a more accurate term) as well because this is looking quite bleak.

The vagus nerve can become hypersensitive by being irritated/stretched/trapped for too long. No one knows how long is too long, but when it does happen, it seems to be permanent. I believe in a God of miracles and absolutely know He can fix it, but according to the medical literature, vagus nerve hypersensitivity has no fix. The body functions it is in charge of either stop working altogether or they work in chaos…heart rate all over the place, digestion being super slow or ineffective, losing the ability to speak, or control breathing. And all of this causes regular passing out and shaking episodes so the body can reset.

Oh my. My brain is full of all of this new information and is desperately trying to come up with a solution, but it can’t so it just keeps going around and around in circles.

The next step is to go see Dr. Guinn in Salt Lake City next week and have a cat scan done of my jaw. Then we will know a lot more about its condition and what we can do to get it to stay in the correct mechanical position. We will learn how many thousands of dollars it will cost and how frequently I will need to travel the 3+ hours to Utah to attend appointments with Dr. Guinn.

And then we hope that the time it takes to get into the correct mechanical position is short enough that the nerve is not damaged beyond repair. It’s a lot of ifs and a lot of hoping.

Please pray. Please pray that the vagus nerve will recover from the damage it is experiencing right now while my jaw is not working properly. Please pray that the nerve will be protected from hypersensitity. Please pray for my peace of mind. Please pray for my heart to give this all to God and trust in His power. Please pray for my children’s spirits to be filled with faith in Him and patience with me. Please pray for my Richard. He is carrying a heavy load and though he is manning it well, I know he needs bouyed up.

To all of you have been praying, thank you. Thank you with every cell of my body. There is no magic wand to make me all better, but there is the power and love of God and that is a bajillion times better.

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some leave, mine is staying put

May 21, 2014 by

A few weeks ago, one of the moms at gymnastics asked if her grandchild could start attending gym as she would be living with her for the next while. I readily assured her that we would love to have her granddaughter join us for the last few weeks of class.

At some point in the day, I asked her how long they would be living with her, figuring it was a temporary moving/house building/in between jobs situation. She started crying and said, “I don’t know, maybe forever. My daughter’s husband has decided he doesn’t want to take care of a sick wife anymore. He says he didn’t sign up for that and after three years, he is done. So our daughter and her children are coming to live with us and we will take care of her and our grandchildren and try to give all of them the love and security they need while trying to help her get better.”

Oh my.

My heart nearly stopped.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t want to believe it. To face the fact that a so-called Christian man who had made sacred covenants to God and his wife was walking away from those covenants, his wife and their children because her body had stopped working properly was far too painful for me to believe. I burst into tears.

This mama gave me a big hug and said “Your husband is so wonderful, be so grateful for him.”

Oh my.

Yes.

My heart welled up with love and gratitude and fierce devotion to this man I have been blessed with. He has always had a hard road to travel as my husband – I am loud and crazy and spontaneous and emotional and stubborn and opinionated and not very good at wifehood or housekeeping or cooking or matching socks or sticking to a plan or even making a plan. He is calm and stable and methodical and patient and forgiving.

And now my poor body takes so much of our time and money and brain cells. He works two jobs, is gone long, long hours six days a week, comes home and cooks and cleans and plays Monopoly and tries to do a little bit in the yard. He does almost all the grocery shopping. He is ready to come to me when I pass out. He rubs my sore muscles and listens to me complain. He doesn’t balk when I need another new brace or shoes or tape or protein powder or anything. He tells me I am beautiful when I have gained 30 pounds, don’t fit into most of my clothes, and hardly ever do my hair. He sees me as loving and patient and courageous and fun when I see myself as grumpy and weak and pretty miserable to be around. He has yet to be frustrated with me for being so broken.

He is amazing. Absolutely and completely amazing. And I am blessed to have him walk this journey with me.

I wish I could clone him and give him to every suffering woman in the world. I think it would change everything.

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tmj pain is no fun at all

May 20, 2014 by

Lots of people regularly tell me how chipper I am about this whole EDS thing. Well, I don’t feel so chipper today. My face is turning into a shriveled up prune from all the pain my head is in and while I am not giving up by any means, I am questioning how much longer I can do this and stay sane. I have a new homeopathic pain killer I am going to try tonight and if it doesn’t help, I may need to resort to ibuprofen. I react badly to meds and switched from the allopathic world to the herbal/oil/homeopathic world years ago. Also, I don’t like taking painkillers for my hip or foot because I think the pain sensations are great indicators to tell me what those joints should and should not do, but this pain seems pointless.

When I fell 2 1/2 weeks ago, I was mostly worried about my feet and hip. That is where the pain was. By that night, my ribs, neck, back, and shoulders were of far greater concern to me, but I kept thinking they were bruised and sore and would get better soon. Then Jeremy found all the ribs shifted out of place and the cervical vertebrae shoved forward and all sorts of other problems. I have been in five times since the fall and while he keeps assuring me we are making progress, I am feeling pretty discouraged. My jaw aches something fierce – every swallow, chew, yawn, or turn of the neck hurts the TMJ area and sends pain up and over my eyebrows, then around my head. I never get headaches and now that they are a constant reality, I think I may lose my mind. My head feels like it weighs 20 pounds and needs to be whacked off so I can get some rest from hauling it around.

I have decided I can no longer chew. It hurts too much to open and close my mouth and it seems everytime I eat something else starts popping or clanking around in there. So, we are going to try out a liquid diet for a bit and see if we can get these muscles to relax. Preparing food is NOT my forte and the thought of eating smoothies, however delicious, 24/7 seems a bit repulsive to me, but Kat, my food guru, insists she will hold my hand and help me come up with some creative and delicious options including a variety of soups, bone broths, and curry.

I know it’s a bit of a downer to read these endless rants. For those of you who are sticking around, thank you. It’s nice to not be alone, but boy, howdy, I feel for you. Your patience levels with my complaining deserve a gold star.

In other news, we are gearing up for Swim Camp, trying to keep the transplanted grass from Kat’s yard alive (she dug up 2200 sq. ft. of her lawn to build her new garden), playing with our seven adorable puppies and one little kitten, grading WUBA papers, learning my duties in my new church calling in the Stake Primary, reading The Red Keep for family read-aloud, and working to stay close and connected as a family. I’ll try to have Blythe take some photos of these cute puppies tomorrow.

I’ve been drinking my Great Lakes Collagen for the past few days in my smoothies and herbal tea. It dissolves well and seems to be tasteless. I don’t even notice it which is super convenient for my extra-sensitive gag reflex. As soon as my shoulders are working well, I will make some fruit snacks with the gelatin. Last night Richard put it in some Yogi Cocoa Spice tea and it was delicious. I think this will need to be my new nightly ritual!

If you have any great liquid diet ideas, PLEASE send them my way STAT. This jaw needs a break.

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Brochure

May 19, 2014 by

Living with Ehler-Danlos Syndrome

(Happy [late] birthday Trace. Let me know if I got anything wrong; you can click to embiggen. I have a printable version so you can carry copies in your purse to hand out as needed. Ha. xoxo, J.)

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the saga of the attacking springboard

May 15, 2014 by

In the midst of all this Four Bucks To Change The World craziness, I am still trying to recover from my most recent injury. Do you remember when a springboard landed on me and then I fell down on top of it two weeks ago? Well, it has been a painful two weeks. A fun, wonderful, exciting two weeks, but a thoroughly painful two weeks.

My ribs and neck and shoulders hurt. And I am tired of them hurting. I am tired of having to think about them hurting. I am tired of having to go to PT twice a week to get them to stop hurting. It hurts to move my arms, breathe, roll over in bed, lay on my back, get dressed, laugh, move my head, chew, and open my mouth. It nearly killed me to kneel at the computer and work on all the video and blog posts for my 40th Birthday Project. I haven’t been driving these past two weeks, but I tried it yesterday for a quick jaunt to the park with Fish and Annes which was okay-ish. But today’s drive into town was painful as all get out. I am going to lie on my life-changing, giant back-sized ice pack and see if I can get these muscles to ccccaaaalllllmmmmm down.

Another set of strange post-fall symptoms is belching, yawning, reflux, and hiccups. Lots of all of them. I do not burp…really, it is such a rare thing for me…and now I am letting out these 12-year-old boy contest winning burps. And the yawns, oh my heck, they are non-stop. We think this is all being caused by the vagus nerve either being pinched or being in spasm. Getting it to stop is a high priority for me, but not so high for Jeremy…he says we will get there, but the other structures need attention first.

Jeremy thinks I will be better in four more weeks, maybe as little as two, but probably four. Two sounds good to me and is what I keep telling myself, but I have geared up for four in case it takes that long.

These injuries must end. I need some non-injured time to build some muscles and dang it all, that time is supposed to be right now (said with foot stamping the ground). Four big injuries this year so far is four too many! Right? I am SO motivated to build some muscles, but I can only do that if there isn’t a current injury.

So I wait and hurt and try to remember to take all my supplements and drink my water and eat good food. Speaking of good food, I finally ordered some Great Lakes Collagen and Great Lakes Gelatin. This weekend we will be making fruit snacks with the gelatin and I am going to be taking a tablespoon of the collagen every morning and night in my smoothie or peppermint tea or something other beverage-y thing. Do any of the use these? If so, what are your favorite ways to get it in you? Recipes?

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ouchie-wah-wah

May 5, 2014 by

24 ribs twisted and stuck and skeewampus. C1 – C7 shoved forward. Pelvis torqued 1/2″ higher on the right side. Lots of pain. All from one little fall.

Mr. Jeremy is a miracle worker. He moved all the vertebrae back to where they should be and now I can move my head from side to side. He fixed the ribs that were poking me and not moving correctly for my lungs to inflate. He quickly pushed my right hip back into position to level me out.

And that is as far as we got. There were so many bones out of place he couldn’t get to all of them in our forty minutes together. We are hoping someone cancels this week so I can get back in for the rest of the joints to be fixed. My shoulders, pubic bone, sacrum, and all those pesky bones in my feet are still not where they should be.

For now I am back in bed with an ice pack on my back and a determined attitude in my soul.

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sleep & less pain, wahoo

May 4, 2014 by

I spent all day Saturday in bed, moaning, trying to sleep, and trying to think positive, uplifting thoughts. I kept looking at the blue sky and trees outside my window and let that view fill my spirit with hope. Spring is here, growth and renewal are part of the cycle of life and while my body may have moments of winter, I also have wonderful moments of spring. Last week was one of them and if this injury takes me a while to recover from, I am going to hold on to those spring-like moments of riding my Elliptigo and exercising with Jeremy to get me through this next bout of winter experiences.

After several treatments with BF&C (Bone, Flesh, & Cartilage herbal salve) and Deeper essential oil and a long soak with Epsom salts, my back is feeling quite a bit improved. For several hours yesterday I could hardly move my right arm at all – the area around my scapula was so tight it hurt to move anything more than my fingers. I can also breathe again without excruciating pain. Yesterday, every breath felt like ribs were stabbing into me. Today it just hurts badly if I take a deep breath. I was able to get some sleep last night and today I am going to try to attend church. I don’t know if that is wise or not, but I desperately want to be there.

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fire in my soul

May 3, 2014 by

When things like this happen it is so hard for me not to give in to anger. A little part of me wants to cry and lash out and scream and let my fire-breathing anger consume everything around me.

I am trying hard to stay in a place of peace and hope and calm and love.

Strengthen me, Jesus, fill me with thy power and glory that I may have peace.

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who knew to watch out for falling springboards?

May 3, 2014 by

DRAT IT ALL!

I don’t want to post this story, I don’t want to share the dismal news of another injury (and I certainly don’t want to break my mama’s heart again), but I feel in the interest of honesty I must.

I have had a fabulous week. My right foot has been strong and stayed in place. Walking has been nearly pain free and about a gazillion times faster than it has been the past few months. All week long I had comments from people about how well I was moving. I exercised and rode my Ellitigo and smiled from ear to ear all week long. Yesterday at gymnastics I was able to be up on my feet and even played catch with one of my students who needed some love from her Miss Tracy. It was such a fun, wonderful day.

And then it wasn’t. I was walking by the equipment wall when a springboard that was leaning up against the wall fell and hit my left leg, scraping it on the way down. I must have jumped out of the way and fallen because the next thing I knew, I had landed on my back on top of the springboard.

At first, I thought I was okay, just scraped up a little, but over the next couple of hours we figured out I was in worse shape than I thought. When the amazing Grant (the young man who teaches my gymnastics classes for me since my body can’t do that anymore) moved me off the springboard and onto the floor, my left shoulder was touching the floor and my right shoulder wasn’t, which meant my pelvis was twisted. Soon my legs started trembling and my hands got tingly and I knew I needed help, so I called Sheri to come and bring me some ice packs, her nurse know-how, and most of all her great big loving heart, full of laughter. She found me on the floor with my muscles tight and trembling, my leg bruising from the springboard attack, and my hip starting to go into panic mode.

She decided we needed my wheelchair to move me, so we called Blythe to bring it over, got me loaded up in it, and started pushing me to the car. And then I passed out. My hip really can’t handle me sitting in the wheelchair. That position pinches the femoral nerve and almost always causes me to pass out, but sometimes it is necessary when I can’t walk on my own or the risk of me passing out from a standing position is too great.

Sheri and her husband got me home and settled on my couch so I could rest for a few hours before the iFamily Spring Showcase which I was determined to attend. Kat and Sheri both encouraged me to not attend, but I could not fathom that idea – all my girls were performing in various numbers and I wanted to watch them. How could I miss my Annesley performing her clogging dance she has been SO excited about for months?

So, with a lot of help from a lot of people, I made it to the Showcase and laughed and smiled and cried. I love this organization so much! Everywhere I looked I saw people I love and my heart swelled with joy at their accomplishments, contributions, and presence. The 50+ families that attend iFamily are intentional, invested, inspiring families who bless my life in innumerable ways. I couldn’t stop crying as I heard Jen’s iFamily Orchestra perform their three pieces they have worked so hard to prepare all year long. My Jen is a woman of purpose, vision, and determination. She is a one-woman powerhouse of talent and heart who has created an orchestra out of a hodge-podge of musicians with widely varying skill levels, ages, and commitment levels. I am so, so proud of her! And grateful for her dedication to not only music, but the development of the human souls she teaches.

All of the other groups were fabulous as well – the choirs, Spanish class, and dancers all did a wonderful work. Our art teacher took pictures of the art projects and brought them over to my chair so I could see. Such talented students!

I loved watching the girls perform – Annesley rocked it as she clogged her little heart out, Keziah played violin in the Orchestra, and Blythe’s ACTivate troupe performed the epilogue from their recent play. I was able to visit with dear friends, especially all the little children that call me Miss Tracy, and smile and laugh with my grown up friends as well.

When Richard and Sheri finally got me wheeled back into my house and got me into bed, the tears and pain finally hit in full force. My feet ache. My back feels like it has been hammered for hours from the top of my neck all the way down to my tailbone. The bruising on my left leg is very tender. My pubic bone is out of place and the femoral nerve feels like it is being plucked like a guitar string. The top of my pelvis on the right side is protruding and all the muscles are in spasm trying to hold those skeewampus bones in place. I am pretty sure some ribs are out of place since it hurts to breathe and I can’t use my right arm very well. Every time Richard moved in bed last night, I would moan in pain and beg him to please, please hold still – surely the man doesn’t need to breathe, right?

Despite all this, I do think this will be a minor setback. Jeremy will put me all back together on Monday and I am hopeful once the bruising and feeling like I have been hit by a Mack Truck subside, I will be right back to building muscles. But I don’t know. I am sore enough that something could be quite wrong.

Today is Paige’s baptism. I don’t think I can go. And that makes me cry even more. Miss Paige is my girlie – I attended her birth eight years ago and held her mom (Jennifer, from iFamily Orchestra fame) in my arms as Paige was life flighted to Primary Children’s Medical Center for a heart defect. I can’t imagine not being there, but I also don’t want to mar her special day by my needing to be taken care of while there.

So, I will spend the day, this glorious day, in bed and hope the arnica I am smothered in kicks in soon and relieves the don’t-move-don’t-touch-me-I-am-sore-all-over-feeling.

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water?

Apr 29, 2014 by

My dear friend Jessica is a lap swimmer. She loves swimming lap after lap with her long arms and legs propelling her through the water for miles at a time. I kid you not, it is a work of beauty. Jenn and I watched her lithe body glide gracefully back and forth, back and forth, and were awestruck by how well her body works in the pool. She has been searching for a pool to do her workouts in and we thought water might be really good for me, so I have been tagging along on her pool experiments to see what I think.

And the verdict? I think I love it. I can’t swim with actual swim strokes because my joints are so loose they will get sprained, subluxed, or dislocated by the lever action of strokes and kicks, but I can walk around the pool, do squats, balancing exercises, marching, and slow water jogging. It is awfully boring to walk around the pool by myself and I don’t know if I will be able to keep that level of boredom up long term. I think I need a friend to do it with me so we can talk the whole time. I LOVE the way my body feels afterwards. It feels worked. All the muscles feel soft and heavy and exercised. I haven’t felt that wonderful head to toe sensation of being strengthened for a long time – I’m sure it is better than drugs.

So, now I need to decide if I want to spend the pennies to buy a pool membership, buy the gas to drive in 3-5 times a week, and spend the time away from my family.

The pros: It feels amazing. The warm water relaxes my muscles and simultaneously gives them a workout. My body is much safer in water than on land – the buoyancy helps protect me from injury because it is harder for my joints to go to far.

Cons: Cost. Time.

I have quite a bit of exercise equipment here…Elliptigo, treadmill, balance pad, ball, bands, etc. So, now that I can exercise again, I could just use what I have and see how that goes. Hmmm. I don’t know what to do!

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back in the saddle, i mean gym, again!

Apr 29, 2014 by

Banner day! Back in late November my body had progressed to the point of being able to exercise in the gym and I had a great two months of building muscles, not passing out, and feeling oodles of hope for my body. Then in January I slipped on the ice and tore some muscles and a few days later picked up a little girl at gym and separated my pubic bone. After a few weeks of being in bed with that injury, my right foot was injured when a boy landed on it while bouncing on a hippity-hop ball. It was worse than we thought and has taken much longer to heal than I ever imagined. At times I have wondered if I could go on trying to heal when it sometimes seems pointless, but God has walked with me these past four months and infused me with courage to keep trying.

And now I am back at baseline…the place I was back in November before these two latest injuries happened. My foot is not all the way healed, but I am out of the tape and it is feeling pretty good. The muscles of my lower leg still need to figure out how to take their superhero capes off and relax (they think they need to singlehandedly save my body from falling apart so they are tight as tight can be). Yesterday I was able to go to the big room at the gym and try all sorts of new exercises! I have been riding the Elliptigo for a few days and it feels great – good and hard and FANTABULOUS! Jeremy had me work a lot on lateral movements to strengthen both my pelvis and my feet and now I will do the same exercises at home.

The goal right now is NO NEW INJURIES. None. We must build some muscles right now while my body is in an okay place. So, off to ride my magic Elliptigo I love so much.

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contortions

Apr 24, 2014 by

It seems my crazy collagen is awfully fragile. A few days ago I was rubbing my right foot (the currently injured/sprained/continually moving out of place one) against my left foot during scripture study. Somehow that gentle pressure moved the talus on my left foot out of place! Oh my goodness! It hurt like heck and when I went in to the amazing Mr. Jeremy, he found the talus shifted all skeewampus.

Well.

I am a foot-contorting, curl my toes underneath my feet kind of gal and it seems I am stretching out those feet ligaments on a continual basis with all those contorting movements I mindlessly do when I am say, going to the bathroom (curl my toes underneath me) or reading scriptures (curl my feet around each other) or lying in bed (curl my feet around each other and stuff my cold feet between Richard’s legs to warm them up). So Jeremy wants me to wear shoes 24/7…high top ankle restricting shoes. I told him no way on buying ANOTHER pair of shoes since a high top pair is so far out of my realm of fashion sense, but I am dutifully wearing my trusty Danskos in bed and everywhere else to try to cut down on the contorting my feet can accomplish while my mind is elsewhere.

On the upside, I have permission to ride my awesome Elliptigo for three minutes a day! Hip, hip, hoorah! I am so excited to be able to be back at building muscles…at least a teensy bit. On the building muscles theme, Jessica, Jenn, and I went swimming last week. Jess is determined to find a lap swimming pool she loves and we wanted to see how my body would do in a pool. I really thought swimming would be fabulous for me. I was wrong. I couldn’t swim without major issues. Crawl stroke popped my shoulders out of place. Breast stroke popped my hip out of place and flutter kicks killed my foot and sent spasms up my legs. So, within about two minutes I ascertained that lap swimming is out and decided to jog in place instead while focusing on keeping my feet flexed. It felt great! Afterwards I was sore and worked from neck to feet, but good-sore, not bad-sore and I started trying to figure out how to incorporate water therapy into my life.

I asked Jeremy about it this week and he said “Swimming for you is DANGEROUS! Water therapy would be great.” He quickly explained all the dislocation risks I had discovered on my maiden pool trip and encouraged me to try it out, be cautious, and be wise. So today I am going to go try again and basically just walk around the pool and work on balancing on one foot at a time.

Teensy bits of progress!

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wired for joy

Apr 21, 2014 by

Today is the day! I ordered Wired For Joy a few months ago and today I finally have some reading time to open it up and dig in. This gem of a book is going to teach me how to calm down my nervous system response and reprogram my brain for well-being instead of the stress response.

I’ll let you know my progress and results as I progress through the book and start implementing the techniques and tools.

I am thinking about a few other things to incorporate into myu life as part of my healing journey…water therapy, working diligently on taking my supplements and proper nutrients, spending focused time with the Lord each day, and living with my whole heart once again. I feel like I have been working so hard to protect my body from getting injured that I have somehow closed off my heart from loving deeply…as if protecting myself from all hurts is the answer! Not so, my friends. I am passionate and loud and spontaneous and giving and loving and I must find some way to incorporate these parts of my personality into this life of careful body care or I may shrivel up and die. I have felt like I am dying for months…that the real parts of me are withering away and all that is left is an empty shell of a person that I don’t want to be.

I am also working on developing a new business called Raise Your Joys. I can’t put much time into it until iFamily and Keziah’s play are over, but be watching for some big announcements soon.

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full to the brim

Apr 20, 2014 by

Have you ever felt full to the brim with gratitude? With joy? Right in this moment I am…and I want to savor it and soak it in like those warm August days of summer that we like to take into our souls to get us through the long months of winter cold and dreariness.

Right this moment, the sun is shining through my window, casting a warm, yellow glow through the trees of our yard. The sky is a beautiful deep blue. My children are happily talking and laughing with one another while they hold the squeaking puppies.

Yesterday I was blessed to make a dream come true for my oldest daughters. Two years ago when Hale Centre Theatre announced they were doing Les Miserables in 2014 I promised them I would take them. Of course we had no idea what these two years would be like and didn’t know how hard of a promise it would be to keep. We especially didn’t know that nine weeks ago my foot would be so badly injured and make it very difficult for me to drive or do much of anything. But yesterday the blessings poured down upon me and I was able to take my girls and two of their friends on a lovely adventure. We had so much fun laughing and singing and loving together. My girls have been taking care of me for the past two years, but especially the last two months and it has been really, really taxing on their spirits. They see me as the taskmaster bossing them around from my bedroom which has been pretty challenging for our relationships. We haven’t had any girl fun for quite a while and it was wonderful for all of us to get away from laundry and dishes and schoolwork and broken bodies for awhile.

The girls and their friends were able to explore Gardner Village, chase snakes at the pond, ride the Ferris wheel at Scheels, eat lots of cookies, eat a delicious meal at our favorite place, Old Spaghetti Factory, get some awesome ballons from Matthew the Balloon Guy, AND thoroughly enjoy Les Mis. I was the chaffeur for the day and though my foot was throbbing by the time I pulled in to our driveway at 1:00 a.m., it was totally worth it to have such a memorable day with my daughters and their friends.

While we were gone, a friend snuck into our home and left a check for a month of physical therapy for me. Oh my, there is so much goodness in this world! This foot injury has set me back so far and I have worried and wondered how to make my Moola For Muscles funds stretch far enough to make it through this year that is supposed to be focused on muscle building, not foot healing. God keeps sending angels to help me keep going to therapy and getting put back together.

This morning I took some time to write a letter to each of our children a letter about Jesus, His death and resurrection, and shared some of my thoughts about their lives. We have never done Easter baskets or egg hunts or anything like that, but yesterday I felt prompted to get each of them a little present to help them in their spiritual walk with Christ. Then I called them into my room individually and had a resurrection talk with each of them with lots of hugs and kisses and gave them their present.

Today at church we sang “Christ The Lord is Risen Today” two times! It is my favorite Easter hymn and I love to belt it out at the top of my lungs. I felt sorry for the young couple sitting in front of us! I don’t have a very good singing voice and when I sing lying down in my zero gravity chair it is even worse, but I couldn’t restrain my joy at singing those words I love so much. Charles Wesley, the son of Susannah Annesley, wrote those words and everytime I sing it I fall in love with Miss Susannah all over again.

Life is full of bounteous blessings – good people surround me, rich experiences teach and sustain me, and my precious family is always here for me. Most of all, God lives with His arm outstretched to me in love and because of His love I can be both resurrected and redeemed. And so can you.

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it’s not all showers

Apr 16, 2014 by

Lest you think my life is full of dreariness and tears, it is not. It is full of frienships and hugs and laughter and learning and blessings and joy AND injury and pain and frustration.

Today in Annesley’s “I Have Character” class, she was transformed into a clown complete with blue eyebrows, white cheeks, red nose, and juggling balls. She LOVED it. I so wish I had my camera with me because she was the cutest clown I have ever seen. They read Tomie de Paulo’s The Clown of God and learned about love.

Meanwhile, Fisher carried around his bugs in his giant pretzel bin and guarded them with his life. Since spring-like weather has hit the past few days, he is back to constant bug finding mode. He cracks me up with how much he loves his little grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders.

I was able to teach my WUBA students about six keys of personal influence: example, service, oral persuasion, written persuasion, prayer, and the arts. We had a beautiful discussion and I realized once again how much I love teaching and touching the souls of these youth.

My life is rich beyond measure. I am surrounded by an amazing community of families, heaps and heaps of love, my four precious children, and a deeply compassionate husband who strives each day to lighten my heart.

I am grateful for all of these things and am grateful to be in this situation of learning and growth. God is with me. He loves me and is teaching me beautiful lessons.

p.s. I am hatching up some big 40th birthday celebrations!

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sprain, sprain, go away, don’t come another day

Apr 16, 2014 by

Hmmm. Nine weeks ago today a young boy on a hippity-hop ball landed on my right foot which moved twelve bones way out of place and stretched the ligaments to Kalamazoo. The next morning all the bones were put back into place and we started the healing process.

It should have taken a few days or a week.

But here we are. 63 days later and I am still taped up. Still in pain. Still unable to walk very far or stay up on it for very long.

It is beyond discouraging.

I had a disappointing appointment with Jeremy this morning when he found the talus shifted all skeewampus again. AGAIN it is shifted out of place. I begged for any answers, ANYTHING I can do to help my foot heal so we can get back to work on my hip.

And the answers are depressing: an MRI to check for torn ligaments, Prolozone injections, and time. The MRI isn’t really a possibility and wouldn’t help heal my foot, only provide information. I can’t do the Prolozone because of my allergy to local anesthetics which are used in the injections, and time sounds so incredibly long. I have exercised great restraint with this foot injury and have tried my darndest to protect it, rest it, nourish it, and give it the time it needs to heal. I have kept a pretty positive attitude and sent lots of love and patience to my foot. I have tried so, so hard.

And it isn’t enough.

More time is needed. More patience. More love. More waiting on the Lord. More nutrients. I don’t want to give it more time. I want my foot to be better so I can grow some muscles in the rest of me. I want to be stop hurting. I want to stop being taped and wearing special shoes. I want to be able to stand without pain coursing up my leg. I want to heal.

I want, I want, I want. Man, I sound like a broken record.

Some little piles of tears have been shed today. And I can feel more need to come out, but it is so hard for me to let them. I think they need to pour out of me into a giant waterfall of sadness and despair so I can let it all go and get back to a mindset of hope and healing.

Will you please pray for this foot? Pray for the ligaments to hold the bones in place. Pray for the muscles to relax. Pray for me to have the will to keep walking the road of healing with hope, faith, and trust.

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two years of genealogy

Mar 27, 2014 by

Today is the day I have been waiting for – the two year anniversary of my priesthood blessing when God asked me to do the ordinance work for my ancestors. Blessed day!

I will spend today in the temple with friends and family. Together we will serve my ancestors and provide a way for hundreds of them to be family units forever. Oh, the joy!

My heart is bursting with love and peace and gratitude. I am so grateful my Heavenly Father has asked me to participate in the work of redemption of my ancestors. I have been thinking a lot about redemption lately…about the atonement of Jesus Christ, the breaking of chains, the humbling of hearts, the transformation of souls. The power of Christ to save us, to bring God’s children out of captivity and into light and hope, takes my breath away.

Last night I attended Les Miserables at Hale Centre Theatre with my sweetie. It was our birthday celebration (we like to celebrate our birthdays on April 6, the midpoint of our two birthdays, but yesterday was the only day we could get tickets, so I made peace with the lopsided mathematical equation) and we were able to spend the whole day together! Throughout the play, the word redemption played on the screen of my mind. Poor Javert believes in serving God and enacting justice, but he doesn’t grasp the majesty of God’s love to change lives. I know God changes lives. He has changed mine. He changed Valjean’s. He changed Moses’, Abraham’s, Paul’s, Alma’s, Corrie ten Boom’s, and millions more. I passionately believe in a God of miracles who can help His children find lost contacts and keys, bring wonderful people into our lives, guide us to truth, heal our bodies, inspire us to serve and bless and love one another and a million other delightful acts of love. But more important than all of those wonderful, life-changing acts, I believe he can and will and does redeem His children from sin, pain, death, and fear through the atonement of His son. He releases us from the chains that bind each one of us. Chains of addiction, fear, hate, indifference, hopelessness, loneliness, and revenge are all able to be removed by our Savior. He is THE way. THE truth. THE light.

And not only does God pour out the miracle of the atonement in my life, I have the blessed privilege of helping my ancestors develop faith in the atonement for them as well. Many, many times I am prompted to pray for one of them and often the message is one of hope and trust and faith in the atonement. Our lives can be transformed if we will allow Christ’s love for us to break our chains.

So, I have been thinking of designing a necklace for myself. I want it to say 24601 on one side and something like “Let Him break the chains and forge the links.” Then I want another piece to say “I believe in a God of miracles.” and the other side to have our children’s names or our anniversary date or their birthdates or something. Then another piece of metal to say “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I am playing around with various options, so I don’t know what I will end up with, but I feel a need to have this message of miraculous redemption made into something tangible I can look at each day. If I have it made, I will be sure to share it here.

It is time to rise and shine and get ready for a day in the House of The Lord, communing with Him, and giving more of my heart to these ancestors I have come to love so dearly. I hope my feet and my hip hold up well!

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driving!

Mar 24, 2014 by

I drove home today from PT! Big wahoo for foot healing. It has been a long 5 1/2 weeks without driving. The freedom to hop in the car and go is HUGE and being without it has been quite limiting and frustrating. So, today I am grateful for the ability of my foot to move a little bit to the left and a little bit to the right and push hard enough on the brake to make the car stop.

My foot is improving! Today the talus was in place and the ligaments were much less sore. The cuneiform was still struggling to stay in place, but it is much less sore than it has been. Today I didn’t even shriek when Jeremy put it back into place.

My shoulder has been hurting for a few weeks and today we found out the wrist, ulna, 1-5 ribs, clavicle, and ball of the shoulder joint were all skeewampus. Jeremy spent a lot of time guiding all the parts and pieces back to their correct homes and now it is feeling great.

In other good news, we have just spend a wonderful weekend in the woods with Richard’s family celebrating his parent’s upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed beautiful trees and mountains, cousin fun sledding down a giant hill, delicious food including a Thanksgiving-like dinner, and lots of good conversation.

My three youngest are still playing with their cousins, so I am going to listen to House of Glory and clean my bathroom/closet for a little while and see how my foot holds up.

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the container

Mar 4, 2014 by

“I love you bunches,” he said as he kissed me goodbye this morning. “Really?” I replied as I nuzzled my face closer for another kiss. “Yes, I love you,” he insisted. “But I am so broken,” I murmured back in my almost still dreaming voice. With more kisses on my cheeks and lips, he tried again, “Only your ligaments,” to which I retorted “and my cartilage and my bones and my blood vessels.” And then this gem escaped his lips and entered my heart and changed me forever, “Ah, but those aren’t important, they’re not you, they are only the container that holds you. You are so much more than your body.”

This man.

He takes my breath away with his kindness and goodness and patience.

And boy, howdy, I love him.

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stay talus stay

Feb 24, 2014 by

I have learned some interesting anatomy stuff through this most recent foot injury. For those of you who are bored to death of anatomy here at WOK, just skip this post. For those of you who are fascinated by the whole body parts study like I am, read away…

My foot was not technically dislocated because dislocated has a specific definition outside of the obvious meaning of the words dis and located. I thought if one or two of the bones that make up a joint are not in the correct location then they are dis-located. Makes sense, right? Well, I guess there is more to it than that. An actual dislocation occurs when the bones are not in their correct location AND they tear the entire capsular sack when they move out of place. If the sack stays intact, it is not a dislocation regardless of where the bones are. Interesting, eh?

Having super defective connective tissue that stretches and stretches and stretches AND stretches complicates things a bit. My capsular sacks don’t generally break, they will stretch to timbukto and let the bones be waaaayyyy out of place and then sit there all stretched out and saggy with little ability to rebound back to where they should be. Even after the bones are put back into their correct places the poor, decrepit ligaments and fascia are over in left field wondering how to get back to home plate.

So most of the time when my joints slide out of place, they are not actually dislocating. They are far away from where they should be and much further out of place than is typical in a normal dislcation and my nervous system recognizes this and starts screaming at my brain that something is amiss, but they are not technically dislocated because the capsular sack is intact. Unfortunately there isn’t a good word to describe what is happening to me. The best word seems to be dislocation, but now that I know it isn’t completely accurate, I am on the search for a better term.

So, my talus was significantly out of place as were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsals, but they weren’t technically dislocated…just sprained and super-duper sore.

I was able to see Jeremy today so he could work on my foot and put it all back together again. Good news! The talus stayed in position from Wednesday evening to this afternoon! Hip, hip hooray! Two smaller bones, cuneiforms (not the language, the bone!), were out of place and it hurt like the dickens to put them back, but my whole foot is feeling much better now that they are back in the correct spots and it is all taped back together. I am now back in bed for the night with my trusty robot walking boot and waiting for my sweetie to come home.

My job for the next week is to stay off it as much as possible, wear the walking boot in bed (oh, my, can I tell you I HATE WEARING THE WALKING BOOT WHEN I AM TRYING TO SLEEP), try really, really hard not to injure anything else, and I get to start some really simple bridging exercises that should work the muscles in my foot AND my hip. Last week Kat helped me find a new pair of Danskos to provide massive arch support to the talus while it is healing – so whenever I am out of bed, I need to wear them (they are ugly as heck, but they are doing the job that my ligaments can’t do, so I will bury my vanity in the sand and wear them). I’m also going to up my intake of Vitamin C with a product called Collagen C by my favorite supplement company, Standard Process, and try super hard to nurture a positive attitude. Jeremy says I have had an attitude at the last few appointments and it is true, I have been rather grumpy, so I am going to try to focus on the gazillion positive things in my life.

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two years

Feb 20, 2014 by

February 20.

Two years.

A myriad of emotions, thoughts, worries, and gratitudes.

That day there was snow.

This day there are blue skies and sunshine.

That day there was through-the-roof-pain.

This day there is soreness.

That day I felt strong and powerful and loving. I was doing something my daughter desperately wanted to do and my body was capable of doing it.

This day I am trying to feel strong and powerful and most of all, loving, but a huge part of me feels broken and tired. Somedays I succeed at letting my love shine through to the people I love, and sometimes I really don’t feel or behave loving at all.

That day I could see Keziah and I entering a triathlon, working our butts off, having an activity we could do together for the rest of our lives.

This day I don’t know what I see. I am trying to see a strong, vibrant body doing the things I love, but it is a blurry picture.

That day was full of determination to run further and longer.

This day is full of determination to heal, endure, and believe.

That day I was blind to the journey I was about to embark on.

This day I can see and I don’t always like the view.

That day my husband had to pick me up and carry my body to bed.

This day his strength, hope, faith, rock-solid goodness, patience, and sense of humor have carried me for the past two years.

That day I didn’t know how much goodness there is in the world.

This day I know this world is full of kindness, generosity, compassion, and miracles and my heart quivers with the full-blown love I am surrounded with.

That day I didn’t know my heart needed healing.

This day I beg the Lord to take my heart.

That day my body could do anything I asked of it – a back flip, a bike ride, climbing the rope, walking the beam, twisting, turning, jumping with joy.

This day my body can do very little.

That day I didn’t know I have a genetic disorder that forms defective collagen.

This day I know that collagen effects every aspect of our bodies, my body is not held together in any sort of normal fashion, and pain and injury could make up a large part of my life.

That day a part of me died.

This day I am learning how to live.

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monday morning update

Feb 17, 2014 by

Hmmmm. My right foot is hurting quite a bit. Thursday and Friday it was hurting along the backside of the ankle, but last night and this morning it is hurting around my big toe and the 1st metatarsal. I think it looks pretty good, but when Sheri changed the magic tape last night, she said there was still some swelling. When I took a bath on Saturday, the water pressure hurt too much and I had to get out fairly quickly. Soooo, I don’t really know if it is getting better or not.

Another strange thing happened yesterday…my heart started hurting pretty intensely. I don’t know what it was or what it means, but it did frighten me. It feels fine this morning and I am hoping it was nothing, but who knows?

On tap for today is learning time with my kiddos, iFamily board meeting in my family room, staring at the sunshine out my window, missing a super-fun trip to Costco with my gal-pals, supporting my little Annes in her search for Rosie, her missing kitty, finishing my read on Abigail Adams, and working on my lecture for Wednesday’s WUBA class. (I am determined to make it to iFamily on Wednesday. I may have to spend the day on the floor, but I will be there to teach my class!)

And now, I need to get out of bed before bed sores set in!

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