Saturday, December 22, 2012

Give a Helping Hand

This past week has been stressful for me, but I'm so thankful that I could still phsyically complete what needed to be done.  I always had to rely on others for help.  I couldn't do anything on my own.  As I become more and more independent, I am coming to realize that I still need to ask others for help and that's okay.   It is easier for me to ask others for assistance since I am able to reciprocate.   I no longer feel like I'm putting others out. Instead, us mothers are working together as a team to give our kids the best possible life.  If you can, do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. Just knowing you made someones day a little bit easier/happier is rewarding in itself.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Slip and Slide

Tonight I had to go pick up Winona from basketball practice.  Three winters ago, that would have been impossible.  Not only was I limited to daytime driving (my muscles were too stiff in the evening), but a stressful drive in the snow made my muscles even more tight.  So as I drove 25 minutes each way on the slippery back roads of Plymouth and Wayzata I was grateful that I could.  Don't get me wrong, I would have preferred to be at home sitting in front of a cozy fire, but I was doing what was once the impossible.  I guess you could say that winter evenings will never be the same and I love that I can say that!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Amazing Parents

Last night I watched Winona run up and down the basketball court.  All I could do was smile and thank God that she can phsyically do anything she wants to do.  I don't have the worries that my parents had when they were raising me.  I'm able to enjoy raising my children and not worry about what their future will bring.  There has never been a day that has gone by where I don't thank my lucky stars that it was me that had to endure so many physical limitation and not my girls.  However, because it was me, my parents didn't have the opportunity to really relax and raise me without always thinking about the next day.

I am so grateful for my wonderful mom and dad.  I wish that they hadn't had to deal with my disability and could have had a more normal life.  They did a fantastic job and I don't know if anyone could have done it better than the two of them.  I love them more than I could ever express because they gave me an amazing childhood that I wouldn't change for anything.  I love you Mom and Dad!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Neurology Appointment

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the neurologist who correctly diagnosed me over two years ago.  She is always so excited to talk with me and ask me what new things I can accomplish that I couldn't do before.  There have even been appointments where she has asked if I will give her a hug because she is so happy that she was able to improve my quality of life. She is an amazing woman and I will never be able to thank her enough for the life she has given me and my family.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happily Sick

I've got a pretty nasty cold, but I'm amazed that I still have pretty good use of my arms and legs.  In the past, if I had just a hint of a cold I could barely walk and couldn't write or type.  I was able to take Winona Shopping and clean clean the kitchen.  I feel so blessed.  Sure, I feel like crawling into bed, but at the same time I feel like I can't waste this wonderful gift of mobility.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree

With the temp today at a frigid 22 degrees and the wind whipping, we got our Christmas tree.  I was able to walk in a field of slippery snow without holding onto Steve's hand.  Even though my toes began to go numb I was able to walk around until we picked our perfect tree.



When we got home I was even able to help Steve put the tree into the stand.  This was not the first time,  I was able to do this (last year was the first), but my thankfulness has not decreased. I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season and really time to enjoy the little things in life.

First Black Friday

I had ever experienced a true Black Friday until last night!  Oh, my goodness, that was quite the evening.  My friend, Kate, and I arrived at Walmart before they opened.  To say it looked like a zoo would be an understatement.  We stood back away from the crowd do prevent being trampled when the opened the doors. I was on a mission to find video games at a fantastic price.  We slowly made it back to the video game department only to find out that none of the games were there.  They were all back at the front of the store in the Produce Section!  Really???  By the time we were able to get back to the front of the store, they were all gone.  I figure this is all part of the learning experience.  Kate and I shopped around the store and had a lot of laughs especially when we saw the guy who brought a lawn chair so he could camp out by the tv that wasn't going on sale until 5am!

When we left the store, it was bitter cold and slippery from the snow.  We walked to the car like little old ladies hanging on to one another making sure we wouldn't slip and fall.  From there we headed to Target.

Target was much more normal.  Even though we got there an hour after they opened, I got what I wanted!  We only shopped there for about an hour and headed for home.

The entire evening I kept thinking how lucky I was.  In the past, I couldn't walk at night and walking in crowds would have been impossible.  I had a really fun time this evening with a good friend.  Now I can cross one more thing off of my bucket list!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Beyond Words

Tonight I was able to play with my baby in a way that I never thought possible.  I am so incredibly thankful that I can experience so many new things each and every day.  Since words can't explain my feelings I thought I'd attach a video.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Long Day

Unknown to me, I left the house this morning without taking my medication.  When I got to they gym, my friend asked me why my walk was so different.  She thought it seemed a little off and wanted to make sure everything was okay.  I explained that I haven't been getting enough sleep and that things have been a little stressful.  I didn't realize until our 30 minute walk on the treadmill was over that I had forgotten to take my life line.  We cut our workout short and I went home and took the little pill that allows me to live my life to its fullest potential.

My walk did get better as the day went on, but I still wasn't quite right.  At girl scouts I spilled punch all over the kitchen floor and later this evening I spilled a glass of red wine on my living room carpet.  Without taking my medication correctly and a lack of sleep, my hands have difficulty holding items.  I was just glad that I could run and get a towel to clean up both messes I had made!

Tomorrow is a new day and I look forward to spending it with my mom shopping.  Let's just hope I don't crash John's stroller into a big display.  Now that would be a mess!!

Have a good evening and thanks so much for your support!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Getting The Hang of It

I just finished hanging a couple pictures and this excites me because I have never hung a picture before.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out or if the frames would fall to the floor as soon an the task was completed.  In fact, I placed bath towels on the floor in front of where I hung the photo in the bathroom in fear  it may break when it hits the floor.  It's been an hour and I haven't heard a crash, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

This is one of those things that I wasn't sure if I was capable of completing on my own  I had asked Steve to hang the photos and he's been too busy with work and coaching basketball.  I can't help but pat myself on the back for taking a chance and risking failure.  Luckily, this leap of faith turned out successful and that puts a smile on my face.  Now I just have to ask myself, "What should I try tomorrow?"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Made Easy

I have been voting every Presidential election since I was legally old enough to do so.  The Bush/Gore election is what always sticks out in my mind.  I was pregnant with Winona and stood in line for over two hours.  It was no easy task.  Even though I had to scale the wall to keep from falling, I did it.

This year was so different for me.  I grabbed John from the back of the car, walked into my polling place and voted.  I was glad that there wasn't a long line, but if there had been I could have handled it with out any problems.

I have to be honest and say that I didn't want to go vote today, but I know that not only is it my duty as an American Citizen, how can I let that woman (the old me) down.  Without complaining and without any assistance she struggled in line TWO HOURS waiting for her turn to vote.   Today voting was more than a privilege, it was a gift.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Longer The Worst Night Of The Year

My how my thoughts on Halloween have changed over the past years.  Halloween was always my least favorite night of the year.  As I'm sure you can imagine, it wasn't easy for me to struggle walking from house to house in the evening and carrying a bag of candy didn't help the task any.  I always felt conflicted.  I didn't want to try and change into a costume (getting dressed was a difficult task) and my walking only got worse as the day went on.  At the same time, I didn't want to sacrifice time with my friends and ALL that candy!  I always struggled through Halloween trick-or-treating, but I was always glad I did the next day as I'd sort out the piles of different chocolate.

When my girls were young, I would ride my scooter with them, but could never go to the door with them.  Those few stairs from the driveway to the door always blocked my view of the girls ringing the door bell and eagerly taking candy.  However, I was just happy I had a scooter so I could go with them and not stay back home.  The kids didn't notice that mommy was a few feet behind them.
Winona sorting her candy
Sharon excited that she got Mt Dew



Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I could walk from house to house trick-or-treating and not feel the urge to stop.  Now I truly get why all my classmates LOVED Halloween.  What's not to love!  I bet we covered a mile of houses and the girls each have several pounds of candy.  To say I am thrilled that Winona and Sharon can enjoy Halloween would be an understatement and I feel so blessed that they are nice healthy kids.  Life doesn't get any better than this.



My Wonderful Family

Monday, October 29, 2012

Taxi Driver

I had quite the busy evening!  I had conferences at school at 4pm (both girls are doing fantastic), brought Winona to basketball practice at 5:30 and Sharon to Girl Scouts at 6pm.  Even though it was hectic, I couldn't help but take the time to appreciate that I could drive my girls AND walk them inside to their events.        It wasn't long ago that I had to ask others to help me drive so my girls could be involved with sports and other activities.  So, tonight I am feeling especially grateful for my crazy busy life.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Off Balance

I am trying really hard to get everything done around here.  It's physically easier to complete the tasks, but I am expecting too much from myself.  That's when the stress begins to kick in and my muscles begin to ache.  There isn't enough time in the day for me to accomplish everything and I haven't yet learned how to handle this.

I have to figure this out because my hamstrings have been cramping up and are beginning to stiffen.  It's also affecting my arms which are have been sore for well over a week.  I have to slow down and let myself know that it's okay if everything doesn't get done.  As long as I have young kids, I won't have a clean house.  At least not for longer than an hour at a time.  I have to make sure I take care of myself.  If I don't reduce this stress, I will only do more harm to my body.  I have more responsibilities than I have ever had before.  There has to be a balance and it's going to be up to me to figure out exactly what that is.  I'm sure in time I will come to a conclusion.  I just hope it is sooner than later.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cook, Cook, Cook

I have to make this entry a quick one since I have vegetable beef soup on the stove and turkey meat loaf and squash in the oven.  Yes, it has been a VERY busy afternoon of cooking for me.  I have been on a soup kick.  In the past week I made split pea with ham, chicken and rice soup and now vegetable beef soup.  I love that I can shop for the ingredients and then come home and chop them all up!  It is such a gift to have the abilities to stand at the kitchen counter and peel, chop and slice for over an hour.  I'm thinking my next feast should be a potatoes soup of some kind.  I'd love to hear your suggestions.  Oh, and don't worry if you think it's too difficult or time consuming.  I'm up for the challenge.  In fact, I can't wait.  I must add that I also made banana bread today and the girls loved it!

When Winona walked through the door she commented on how wonderful it smelled in here.  It reminded me of when I would come through the door after a long day at school.  My mom was a really good cook and the house was always full of flavor.  I'm so grateful that I to can create happy memories for my girls.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heels and Flops

My wonderful mother-in-law just reminded me that it was two years ago today that I wore heels for the first time.  I decided to wear them to my sister-in-laws wedding simply because I could!  After having them on for a couple hours, I realized that heels are very over rated.  My toes were in pain and I decided to toss the shoes to the side.  I substituted them with the flip flops and was just as happy because that to was a shoe I could never wear!

Me,  my hubby and my heels!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mingler

Last night Steve and I went to a dinner party for his work.  Before we left, I took an extra dose of my medication assuming that I would be standing quite a bit through out the evening.  I'm glad that I listened to my gut, because I found myself standing in a crowded room for well over an hour.  Luckily for me, my balance was just fine and I didn't find myself swaying back and forth.  I could not help but think back to all the parties I've been to in the past for Steve's work.

Back in the day, Steve would help me into the event and find me a chair to sit in.  He would always stay by me, but we were never able to mingle with all the guests.  Plus, I would always feel a little out of place being the only person not standing.

Even though I didn't know anyone at the party last night, it was nice to know that I didn't stick out like a sore thumb.  In fact, I don't know that anyone there even knew that there is something phsyically wrong with me.  They don't know my past and probably won't ever know what I had to endure and I find that unbelievable.  Thinking about that puts a smile on my face.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall into Happiness

This past weekend I was given an amazing gift.  It wasn't a vacation, jewelry or even a large amount of cash.  I was given the opportunity to run and jump in the leaves with my two amazing daughters.  I can't put it to words how happy I felt, so I thought I would just share the video.  I know I may look silly and childlike, but that is just one more reason I think this is so special.   





video

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cookie Monster

Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies with the girls.  It was the first time I made cookies with out the help of my mom or Steve.  I was always able to measure and mix the ingredients  but I was never able to take the cookies in and out of the oven.  Plus, I would have never been able to use a spatula to remove the cookies from the hot cookie sheets




They each made a big cookie
For the past week, I've been wanting to make cookies, but I really wanted to wait until the girls could do it with me.  They did such a great job measuring and mixing and I was so happy that the three of us could make this memory together.  It reminded me of being a little girl and helping my mom when she baked cookies.  Those were some of the best times in my life and now I can do the same thing with my daughters.




Thursday, October 4, 2012

More Than Just a Pony

The other day Sharon asked me to put her in a pony tail for school.  Gladly, I had her sit down with me and did her hair.  To most mom's this would be a chore.  I was delighted that I could hold a brush with ease and wrap a rubber band into her hair.  Not only was I able to do it, it looked really cute!

When the girls were toddlers I wasn't able to do their hair.  It was always left up to either my mom or Steve. I never got to enjoy putting piggy tails in their hair.  The fact is their too old for that now and I missed out.  Of course, you know me; I have to look on the bright side.  My husband is the BEST at doing little girls hair!  I don't think there are too many dads that can put a pony tail in their daughters hair and my husband can even do braids!




I know the girls won't look back and say, "my mom never did my hair."  Instead, they will look back and know that their dad did a wonderful job making sure they left the house looking as cute as can be and I think that's wonderful.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why Me?

Being able to walk is a gift.  Even back when it was very difficult for me to walk, it was a gift.  It was a gift that I didn't have to be in a wheelchair all the time.  With help, I could walk.  So, when I had to get around in public and there wasn't an elevator, I could still get where I wanted to go with help.  I always felt that I was blessed; even with all the inconveniences of being disabled.  I knew that I didn't have it easy, but there were many people who had it much worse that I did.  I had the opportunity to reflect on this yesterday afternoon while I was walking Winona and her Girl Scout Troop to their meeting.

As I walked the four blocks from school to the leaders' house, I couldn't help but thank God for allowing me to be with those 12 amazing fifth grade girls.  Not only was the weather gorgeous, but I was able to put one foot in front of the other without worrying about whether or not I would fall.  It's still hard for me to keep myself from tearing up in times like these and I can't help but wonder "why me?"  Out of all the people in the world with limitations why is it that God chose me for a miracle?  I don't have the answer to that question, so all I can do is live my life to the fullest and appreciate all He has given me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Party Time

The other night I went to a party to celebrate a friend getting married soon.  I was able to drive myself there, help set out some food, write out name tags, play a dice game and so much more.  Not long ago, Steve would have had to drive me there, walk me in and help me to a chair.  Then I would have spent the rest of the evening sitting in the same spot until he would come pick me up to go home.

It was such a gift to feel relaxed and not have my arms and legs all cramped up into balls.  No one had to help me dish up my food or help me get to the restroom.  I was able to laugh and have fun all evening long and really help a friend celebrate her up coming marriage.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Line Dancer?

Wow, it's another crazy busy day for me.  I woke feeling stressed and overwhelmed with everything I had to do, but I new had to make it a priority to go to the gym.  Instead of lifting weights, I attended a Line Dancing class.  Yes, I know I have absolutely no rhythm, but I feel like I got a really good workout.  I found myself, doing many things I could have never done before such as: stepping backwards, turning around, kicking to the left and right and so much more!  It felt great to do some aerobic activity. After the work out, I felt like a weight had been lifted.  It will be fun to see what other classes are like there.  Everyday there will be a little adventure waiting for me!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Than Dessert

Tonight I made apple crisp for the first time.  I had never attempted it because I didn't have the dexterity to peel and cut up apples.  Luckily for me, the dessert turned out well.  Winona said that she, "loved it," and then informed me that she had never had apple crisp before.  Her response triggered my emotions and I couldn't help going from happy to sad so quickly.  Because of me, she had never tried this very common American treat.  I can't help but think that there are many other things that she hasn't experienced.  Now that this information is with me, I need to have her suggest things for us to try together.  We can do anything we put our minds to.  I just hope that she doesn't ask me to sky dive!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Up High

I've got to make this a quick post, because I'm a woman on a mission!  :)

This past Spring we got new kitchen cabinets to give us more space in our small condo.  Today I decided that I needed to start putting our holiday decorations away.  I started with the Halloween decorations, so I thought I'd put them up on the highest shelf of the tallest cabinet.  I set all the items on the kitchen table, grabbed a chair to put in front of the cabinet and then looked at the shelf above me.  I nervously grabbed on to the back of the chair, took a deep breath and climbed onto the seat.  I am afraid of heights and have not yet had the chance to put thing up in high places.  The fear of falling was defiantly  there, but I knew I just had to do it!

Reaching above my head while standing on the chair was not an easy task, but you know what?  I did it!!  I didn't have to wait and ask my 6'7" husband to do it for me.  It's an amazing feeling to know you can do so many new things on your own.  I have come such a long way in this past two years.  In fact, when I first began taking my new medication I felt like I was going to fall backwards all the time.  Why, you may ask.  I felt like I was going to fall backwards because I had NEVER stood up straight.  The first 30 some years of my life was spent standing leaning forward.  So, as I write this entry, the tears are stinging my eyes because I am so incredibly grateful that I can not only stand straight, but I can do it standing on a chair!  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Walk With Me

It's amazing how different my life is.  When the girls started school, I had to ride my scooter to the bus stop with them.  Now, several years later, I'm not only able to walk the girls to their bus stop, but I'm able to carry John in his baby bjorn as the older two walk on either side of me.

I was very hesitant to put the pack on my back and depend on it to hold my baby for me.  It worked quite well.  As I stood at the bus stop, I kept thinking about how in the past I couldn't stand on my own. much less hold another human being.



Everyday, I feel like I'm living in a dream and pray that I don't wake up.  My three kids are such a gift from God and I can't take any of these precious moments for granted.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Miracle in the Badlands

This past weekend, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hike in The Badlands.  Using my hiking poles, I was able to walk independently with Steve and the girls.  As the sun beat on my face and the silence rang in my ears all I could do was thank God for the wonderful gift He had placed before me.  I couldn't keep the tears from my eyes and felt that I had to tell my girls how lucky we were.   Not only were we able to look at Gods beautiful work, but we were also blessed to be right in the heart of it, together as a family.




There were several times on this walk that I wasn't sure if I could make it all the way to the end of the trail.  Every time I found myself up really high on a rock or on a narrow path, Steve assured me that I could do it.   Every step of the way, I could tell that he was proud to be with me on this exciting experience.  I desperately needed his support and because of it, I was able to make it to what felt like the end of the Earth.




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And...She's Down

I can't believe that I biffed it in the Costco parking lot.  I had barely gotten John out of the car and I slipped on a puddle of water and found myself sitting on the wet asphalt.  I hurt my knee, my ankle and my pride.

It's been two years since I've fallen out in public.  Falling had been a part of my daily routine, so I can handle a little embarrassment in front of all those Costco shoppers.  When a woman came over and asked if I was okay, I couldn't help but think that she has no idea that I used to use a scooter to do my shopping.   It never crossed her mind that there was a day when I fell all the time.  To her, I was just a mom running errands.

Even though my knee is skinned up and my ankle still hurts, I'm glad that I fell on my tail today.  It made me realize that I need to take time out of my day to thank God that I can do so many things that I couldn't do before.  Yes, my pride was bruised, but I know that I no longer have to worry about falling every time I take a step.  Of course my balance isn't the same as most, but I can do so much with my life.   I just need to make sure that I don't take it for granted.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

John's Baptism






Last night was an emotional evening for me as I watched John be baptized.  As I stood and held my son at the back of the church all I could think about was when the girls were baptized.  When they were baptized, Steve held them and I held onto his arm for dear life trying to hold myself up.  I didn't get to stand with ease and enjoy the moment.  I was far to worried that I would tumble to the ground.  Last night, I felt like I was living someone else's life.  How is it that I was able to hold my own child as he received the sacrament of baptism?  As I held back my tears, I thanked God for all He has given me.  


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Under Control

My high level of stress from this week has passed and I am so grateful.  Stress has always affected my symptoms and since my correct diagnosis of DRD that hasn't changed.  This past week, I kept losing my balance.  Luckily, I never fell, but I came close a few times.  The girls were with me in the garage and I was carrying John in his car seat and trying to open the door.  Out of nowhere, I stumbled.  The girls looked at one another and then at me.  They both asked if I was okay, which was so sweet of them.  Maintaining my balance isn't my only issue.  

When my body is under stress or I'm lacking sleep, I twitch.  I tend to notice it more in my hands than anything making it difficult to hold items in my hands.  However, yesterday I was sitting on a stool next to a friend and I kept kicking her.  Actually, it was more like a tap, but I couldn't control it.   

I try to keep my stress to a low, but it isn't always possible.  I'm trying really hard to put myself first, because if I'm not well, it will make it that much more difficult for me to take care of my family.  This week I have been exercising 45 minutes a day on the Wii.  That has really helped.  Plus, it's fun.  I tend to do Just Dance for 30 minutes and then different balance games on Wii Fit (thanks Gary!).  

Even though I have been on my new medication for 2 years, I have so much to learn about myself.  In the past, I was so limited as to what I could do.  Now, I have to learn what my daily limits are.  Because there are so many things I can phsyically do, I want to do them all at once.  Unfortunately, that isn't possible.  I need to pick and choose what needs to be done so my body doesn't have to deal with stress. This is all a good learning experience for me.

I am so grateful, that I can do so many things.  I have a wonderful family that I get to take care of every day. What a wonderful gift that is!  


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stressed

Since my correct diagnosis, I have come to learn that a lot is expected of me.  It's my job to make sure that my family is taken care of.  I really enjoy this, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There never seems to be enough time to do all the laundry, run all the errands and do all the fun things I wanted to do with my kids this summer.  Even though I can't seem to get it all done, more is added to my list each and every day.  

My life has become easier, but it has also become more stressful.  That may not even make sense to most people, so I will try to explain it.  Back when I could barely walk, I wasn't able to cook, grocery shop, Target runs, take the kids to their activities,etc.  Therefore, I was never stressed about getting it all done and I wasn't expected to get it all done in one day. 

Now days, however, I'm busy trying to do fun things with my kids, try to do new things for myself and everything else that comes with being a stay at home mom.  The reason I get so stressed out trying to accomplish all of it, is because I never really learned how to manage it all.  I try to be a really strong person, but at times I feel like I am failing my family as I'm not able to complete my daily tasks.  More than anything, I want to be a great wife and mother and I guess that's why it can seem so stressful at times.  

With that being said, I think I need to take a deep breath and tell myself that tomorrow is a new day.  All the things I didn't get done today, that probably won't get done tomorrow either, don't really matter when I look at the big picture.  What matters is that I have a wonderful, healthy family and the physical and mental capabilities to take care of them.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Black Hills

I'm in the process of planning our family vacation to the Black Hills.  As I browsed the internet last night I came across an entertainment park for the kids.  As I looked at the photos of bumper boats and go carts, I realized that I have never done either of those activities.  I figure that even though I'm 36 years old, I've got to go on those with my girls!

There are so many things that I was never able to do as a young child and teen.  I was missing out on fun, yet I never knew it.  So, as I plan my trip to the Black Hills, I think I'm going to see what other fun things I can try for the first time.  I see you can go horse back riding and I am seriously thinking about adding that to my list even though I would be deathly afraid to do so.  You only live once and as I see it, I've got to live my childhood as an adult.  I've got to put my fears behind me and just have fun with it all!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Anniversary Steve

Steve and I are coming up on our 12th wedding anniversary and I can't help but think how lucky I am to have him as my husband.  As a young girl and teenager, I never thought that I would marry and have a family.  My mom would tell me that I would end up with the nicest guy of all, but I thought that I would just try my best to be the best aunt ever.

It takes a very special person to commit to someone who has a physical disability.  Luckily for me, Steve was that special person.  After being good friends for two years we decided that we wanted more.  It didn't bother Steve that I had to use a mobility scooter and that we wouldn't be able to play sports together, go on bike rides, etc.

Steve has been there for me during the best of times and worst of times.  He has had to assist me with things that most husbands will never have to help their wives with.  I'm sure there were times when Steve wanted to throw up his arms and tell me to go fly a kite, but he never let on.  He has a love for me that I never thought I would ever have.  


I'm so glad I can share all my new experiences with Steve.  When I married him, I never thought that some day we could hike together, kayak together, go tubing behind the boat together and travel so much easier together.  I am a lucky woman to have him by my side each and every day.  He is the love of my life and I am proud to call him my husband.
On our 10 mile hike of Pictured Rocks, Lake Superior
Kayaking the Sea Cave on Lake Superior

Hiking in Canada


A Day On Our Pontoon


A Stop on the Circle Tour of Lake Superior



Hiking an Island in Bayfield, WI


The Birth of our Son

  

I must add that once again my mom was right.  I did end up with the nicest guy of all!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scooter

I made a quick run to the store today.  As I was pushing my cart towards the checkout I saw a woman about my age riding a mobility scooter provided by the store.  As I watched her ride away from me, all I could think was, "that used to be me."

I have no idea why I have been blessed with so much in my life.  I will never be able to thank God enough for all he has given me.  My friends and family were always there for me when I needed them most.  And still are.  I know I don't say it often enough, "Thank you."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kick, Kick, Kick

As I sat watching the girls swimming lessons last night, I heard the instructor saying, "Kick, kick, kick.  Kick those legs."  Hearing those words brought me back to being a little girl at the swimming pool with my mom.

In my elementary years, my mom would take me to the pool to work on my swimming.  I was able to swim under water, but was never able to stand back up on my own.  I would have to raise my hand and then my mom would assist me in getting my feet to the floor of the pool.  Not being able to stand back up was not my only problem with swimming.  I was never capable of using both my arm and legs at the same time.  If I was kicking my legs, I was not able to paddle with my arms and vice versa.  My mom would work with me and was so patient about it.  I would swim away from the pool wall towards my mom, paddling my arms as hard as I could.  Below the surface, I could hear her kind, enthusiastic words, "Kick, kick, kick."  I would then begin kicking as hard as I could to only find out my arms had stopped.  I would raise my hand and my mom would rescue me.  As always, we'd give it yet another shot.

I'm not sure how my mom could stay so positive during these little swim experiences.  She never gave up on me and always let me know that she thought I was doing a great job.  I'll never be able to thank her enough for being such a supportive parent.  I'm sure she was stressed and a bit sad that her daughter couldn't do the things that most kids my age could master, but she never let on.  She was always proud of me and loved me, no matter what.  Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence

The past two days have been unbelievably busy getting everything ready for a long weekend at the cabin.  I can't believe how much I got done.  I got more done in these past two days than I would have been able to accomplish in a week back when my life was more phsyically challenging.  I made homemade tuna salad and potato salad.  This amazes me because a couple years ago I wasn't always able to drain noodles.  Yesterday, I cooked and drained the hot noodles with out giving it much thought.  I didn't get frustrated with my hands not being able to cut vegetables and I didn't have to worry about falling to the floor.  I was also able to make Special K bars with Winona.  There's just something about baking with your daughter that I now get to enjoy.  In between all that cooking, I had several large loads of laundry to get washed, folded and put away (Sharon helped me).  Today, I was able to load up the coolers, finish packing and then load  it into our vehicle.  This was a lot to get done, especially since I had to stop and feed/change John in the middle of those tasks.  

It brings tears to my eyes to know that I was able to get my family ready for a mini vacation at the lake.  It was a lot of work and my feet hurt from standing on the hardwood floors for such a long time, but I did it.  And I did it with ease!  I have so much to be thankful for and I don't know if I will ever be able to express my gratitude enough.

I hope that over the Fourth of July weekend you can take a moment to reflect on everything you can accomplish in life.  I know that raising a family is a lot of work, but it is SO worth it!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

No Worries

I live in a second floor condominium.  The elevator is out of commission for two days as they put new tile in it.    I love that this doesn't really affect me.  I can easily climb the two flights of stairs to get to my home, even while carrying John in his car seat!

When Steve and I were trying to decide if we should by this place just 2 1/2 years ago, I was using a mobility scooter and was very concerned about living upstairs.  At that time, if the elevator was out of service I knew I would be stuck in my home until it was fixed.

You won't hear me complaining when I have to carry a trunk full of groceries up the stairs this afternoon, because having the freedom to come and go as I please is suck a blessing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To The Doctor We Go

It feels wonderful to know that I can take my children to the doctor without having my mom or Steve take us there.  The life I'm living is not what I thought it would ever be.  Not once in my first six years of being a mother did I think I could take an infant to a well baby check up on my own.

While at the appointment, I was able to carry John into the office, undress him to be weighed and hold him while the doctor talked to me.  These are all things that most mothers can do.  It's so wonderful that I too can make sure my children are taken care of without asking others to help me in doing so.  I'm also happy to say that John is 10lbs 3 oz and has grown 1 1/2 inches in his first month of life.  I have so much to celebrate!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ups and Downs

This past weekend we went to the cabin (baby John's first visit).  When Steve pulled into our parking spot, at the top of the hill, I got out of the 4Runner and grabbed John and his car seat.  I began carrying the heavy car seat down the hill to our cabin.  Halfway down the hill, I realized that not only was I walking down the hill without assistance, but I was also carrying a 10+ lbs in my arms.

The first five years we owned the cabin I was not physically capable of walking up or down the hill that leads to our home away from home.  Steve always had to take my arm and at times carry me up the hill.  At that time, I had absolutely no independence at our lake place..  It amazes me how far I have come since my new diagnosis.

As I walked down the hill carrying my son all I could think about was that I used to be carried down the hill, but now I am the one carrying a heavy baby down without the fear of wondering if I will make it.  God is wonderful!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wonderful Life

The house was calm for about an hour this morning.  So as the baby slept and Winona rested (3rd day of  fever), I cleaned the girls bathroom and vacuumed.  When the girls were babies, I had no choice but to take a nap while the house was quiet.  Naps were necessary for me to function later in the day.  I know it doesn't make sense to most people, but my muscles would get stiffer as the day went on.  By afternoon, I would have been bound to the couch.

I still need to rest during the day so my body can produce more dopamine, but at least if I don't get a long nap in I can still function.  Having an infant in the house has really made me think more about all the little things I can do that I couldn't do just a short while ago.  Many of the things I am grateful to be capable of are things most people would rather not have to do.  I can make a bottle, change diapers, change my baby's outfit after he has spat up on it, clear the table, cook a meal, all the laundry and the list goes on and on!!  The amount of appreciation I have to do these simple tasks is immeasurable.  To say I am fortunate would be an understatement.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sheet

For the first time ever I put a sheet on a crib.  When my girls were babies my arms didn't allow me to lift the mattress and place the sheet over the corners of the bed.  As I started to replace the sheet, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to complete the task with ease.  The only thing that may disappoint some of you is that John's new crib sheet is Green Bay Packer themed.  Thanks Kay, for making that for my sweet little boy!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Walk and Roll

The kids and I took advantage of the wonderful weather this morning.  I put John in the stroller, the girls hopped on their bikes and the four of us went on a walk.  Even though I'm really out of shape, I kept thinking how lucky I was to be able to walk pushing my baby in a stroller.  Plus, I was able to keep an eye on the girls who were riding their bikes ahead of us.  

Never in a million years would I have thought that after giving birth, just two weeks ago, I would be capable of walking nearly a mile.  After the girls were born, it took me about a month to get back to normal.  Even then, I was only able to push their stroller a block before I had to turn around and go back home.  To be able to walk 3/4 of  mile today was a wonderful gift.  I can't wait to take John out again tomorrow and attempt to go the full mile!  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh, Baby

On May 20th, I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy that we named John Stephen.  I always find it so amazing how fast you can love another human being.  I also can not believe how much easier it is this time around.

Like my daughters, baby John is a really good baby.  He eats well and sleeps well.  Because my mobility is so much better than it was when my girls were born, I find true enjoyment feeding this little guy at 3am.  My legs can walk me to the kitchen to make his bottle and my hands allow me to easily change his dirty diapers.  It was so challenging taking care of the girls.  I could do it all, but it would take me so much longer to snap up there sleepers and fasten their diapers.  I may have three children now, but today was the first day that I ever gave an infant a bath.  Steve always took care of that for me in the past.  Even though John cried the whole time, I loved EVERY second of it and can't imagine ever forgetting that I did it on my own.

I can stand while holding my baby! 

Just two days old


My life is very busy taking care of two girls (ages 10 and 8) and my one week old son, but I can honestly say that I have never been this happy.  I have everything I could ever want: a great husband, three healthy kids and a safe place we can call home.  I wouldn't want to trade places with anyone else in the world and thank God for all the wonderful gifts He has given me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Huge Accomplishment

What an evening.  My Martial Arts instructor came over tonight so he could work with me on my kicks.  Even though I could have this baby any day now, I stretched and prepared for the lesson.  He patiently reviewed several different kicks with me and I did each one a few times.  I was really surprised how well it was going since my balance has been off during this last month of pregnancy.

When we were all done going through the kicks he left the room momentary and returned with Steve and my girls behind him.  I could see that Sharon was holding something behind her back and was stunned to see her holding a white/gold striped belt that was meant to replace the white belt that I have been wearing for over a year.

My instructor than handed me the official certificate that stated I have earned my white with gold striped belt.  I couldn't help but smile and look at my mom sitting on the couch and say, "I bet you never thought you'd see me do this."

Then my instructor handed me a red star patch (goal patch) and had Steve read yet another certificate.  As he read it, I could feel the tears in my eyes and could see my father tearing up as well.  I don't think anyone in the room ever thought they'd see the day that I would accomplished something in a sport. Certainly not me.  This certificate says the following:

This Goal Star Award is Hereby Presented to:

Jean Abbott

Your Indomitable Spirit, Perseverance, Self Control, and unwavering Integrity is an inspiration to everyone.  To have overcome what you have, without spite of others, and always looking ahead to new challenges with the perseverance to conquer what stands in your way, you inspire others to be better then what they are and show them a path to that goal.


I think that these are some of the nicest words ever said about me.  The fact of the matter is, I could not have accomplished this goal without my instructor or my family.   With that all being said, I think it's time for this baby to be born!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Looking Back

I realized something today.  I'm not nearly as strong of a person as I was two years ago.  As I look back at how I handled my previous two pregnancies, I don't know how I did it (and with such a positive attitude).  Back then, I couldn't do anything for myself.  Steve and my mom had to help me get dressed, use the bathroom, drive me to work, make all my meals and so much more.  I can do all those things myself this time, yet I feel so exhausted and miserable.

I can't help but think that back then I had to prove to everyone that I could do it.  I could be disabled and still not only handle being pregnant, but I could be a good mother as well.  I can't help but ask myself, "was it knowing that so many people thought I couldn't/shouldn't be a mother that made me so much stronger just so I could prove them all wrong?"  Maybe.  I guess I'm okay with that.

Everything in our lives has an affect on who we are and who we will become.  I always felt that growing up disabled made me a stronger person. As I look back on her, well me, I can't help but think that she was an amazing woman.  I'm sure if I dig deep enough I can find that strength once again.  I just have to take the first step in doing so.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Butterfingers

As I begin my ninth month of pregnancy I have noticed an increase in my DRD symptoms.  This morning my right hand has been giving me more trouble than usual.  I think I have dropped my car keys three times and I spilled a glass of lemonade (all before 11am).    Just call me "Butterfingers!"  I've even noticed my hands cramping up and I never had issues with that in the past.  

I can't help but think the reason for this is my lack of sleep.  My body doesn't make enough Dopamine so I need to supplement it with medication.   With my increase of weight, I won't disclose the details of that ha ha , I think the medication must not be enough to really take care of my issues.

The good news is that I only have about three weeks left and then I can hold my little boy in my arms.  It will totally be worth everything I've had to experience in the past few months.  We are all so very excited!!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Polished

I really enjoyed painting Winona's finger nails this morning before school.  It was nice to be able to have the dexterity to take off her old polish and give her the new bright color that she wanted.  It's the little things that matter most in life.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Exhausted, Yet Grateful

Well, I'm nearly nine months pregnant and very tired.  The laundry doesn't cease and the family still needs to eat dinner.  Yet,  I am still able to do it!  As the family and I watched a movie tonight, I was asked to make popcorn. At first I thought, "You've got to be kidding me."  Then I thought back to when I was pregnant with Winona over ten years ago.

Back when I was pregnant with Winona, Steve had to drive me to and from work because I could not do so myself.  He would bring me back to our one level Georgia home, help me into my pajama's, give me a quick dinner and then he would head off to Atlanta for his graduate classes.  As for me, I would have to spend the rest of the night in bed, because I physicality couldn't move any more for the day.  This was a really difficult time for me, but I not only made it, but I brought a wonderful girl into the world by doing so.

So, even though I didn't feel like making popcorn, I did;  because 10 years ago Steve took care of me without any complaints.  Everyday is a gift and I must give thanks for being able to make my family happy on movie night at the Abbott's.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Count Down

Well, I have six weeks to go until I meet my baby boy.  I am trying to keep a positive attitude.  I have so much to be thankful for even though I'm not enjoying being pregnant (not that I thought I would).  

When I was pregnant with the girls, I really wasn't able to do anything for myself.  I couldn't cook, walk or even buckle my own seat belt.  I am trying desperately to remind myself of all the little things I can do 8 months pregnant that I could never do before.

Yes, the heart burn is a pain and dealing with being light headed each morning is difficult, but it will all be worth it in the end.  I just need to remind myself that this is much easier than my other two pregnancies.  Plus,  there is a little boy waiting to meet his mommy.  Luckily, that woman is me!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2 Year Anniversary

It's really hard to believe that I was diagnosed nearly two years ago.  Good Friday will mark the day that changed my life forever.  I was so skeptical that day.  I wasn't even going to fill the prescription thinking that there was no way I would ever live a 'normal' life, but here I am doing exactly that.

People often ask me if I'm angry that it took the doctors so long to correctly diagnosis me (33 years).  I don't know how I could possibly be angry that I now have so many more capabilities.  If it wasn't for the correct diagnosis, I would not be pregnant with my third child.  How do I answer their question?  The answer is simple, at least it is to me.

I grew up as a very happy girl in an unbelievable loving and supportive family.  My parents pushed me to do things that were physically challenging, yet I always gave it my best.  Plus, I always had a lot of good friends.  It was all of my life experiences (good and bad) that made me the person I am today and I like me.  Who knows who I would be today if I didn't grow up with the wrong diagnosis.  I have to be honest though, I don't know if she would have been as happy as I am.  Why?  I probably wouldn't have gone to Winona State University where I met my wonderful husband, Steve.  Therefore, I wouldn't have my daughter's Winona and Sharon.  Everything that I had to endure to make me the person I am today was well worth it!!

Thanks for all of the support!  I look forward to sharing even more with you over the next year.

Jean

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Count Your Blessings

Not a day goes by where I don't give thanks for my newly found mobility.  What amazes me is that my daughters haven't forgotten what my inabilities used to be either.  Yesterday morning I ran to answer the phone in the kitchen and Winona smiled at me and said, "You couldn't have done that two years ago, Mommy."    

I love that my girls get so excited whenever I'm about to try something new.  I hope that they apply this to their own lives and cheer on not only their friends, but themselves as well.  Take a moment today and make a mental list of what you appreciate in life.  You may even surprise yourself  by how many little things you have that you wouldn't change for any amount of money in the world.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peeler

Today I peeled an orange with my hands.  I didn't have to use a knife or ask someone to do it for me.  This is a first!  I love that Sharon was there to experience this with me.  Her eyes got really big when I told her it was the first time that I peeled an orange.  I guess that would seem kinda silly considering I'm 35 years old!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Snap

We received a wonderful baby gift from one of the girls on Steve's basketball team.  Cute bodysuits, shirts and denim overalls.  As I held up the overalls, I couldn't help but think how adorable they will look on my boy in just a few short months.

After a minute or two, I realized that I couldn't have had my child wear this before my new diagnosis.  You see, it has snaps that would have been far too difficult for my hands to not only unsnap, but re-snap after a diaper change.  This time around, it won't be a big deal.  I'll be able to dress this baby in whatever I want. I no longer have to sop and think, "can I get this on the baby."  What a gift!  In more ways than one.

My only problem now is that I'm too excited to wait and see this baby in his cute clothes (that I will put on him all by myself) !!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slow Down?

I had to go in to see my OB doctor Friday because I was having issues with being light headed and short of breath.  I thought maybe my blood pressure was low, but it turned out that everything is fine.  She suggested that I drink plenty of water, eat every two hours and try not to stand for long periods of time.  Finally, as she was walking out the door she said, "And you need to slow down."

When the comment was made I laughed out loud and said, "I never would have thought that a doctor would be telling me to slow down!"  This seemed comical to me.  Growing up, I was never able to do a lot at one given time.  As an adult, previous to my diagnosis, I was never able to do too many chores in one day no matter how much needed to been done.  What I wanted to do and what I was capable of doing were always two different things.

As difficult as it's going to be, I will take my doctors advice and slow down.  I only wish that she had known me before so she could see how different my life is now.  Plus, I think she'd understand why I thought her comment was so funny.  As soon as I left the clinic, I had to call my mom and tell her that for the first time in my life I was told to "slow down". So, for the next three months I will have to enjoy the little things in life at a bit of a slower pace.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Helper

It feels wonderful to be able to help others.  Yesterday, I drove around delivering Girl Scout cookies to those who had ordered them from my girls.  When I had finished that task, I had to go to the Cookie Cupboard to pick up more cookies for our troop.  There was a little bit of a fiasco, but I'll spare you the details.  What I will tell you is that by driving around town and going to a couple different locations, I was able to solve the problem on.  

It felt great to help out my co-leader.  She didn't have to run all over town because I was able to do it for her.  Just two years ago, I couldn't even take my daughters to Girl Scouts.  I had to plan and arrange to have either my mom or a friend take them to their fun meetings.  I LOVE that I can not only take my daughters where they need to be, but I am also a leader and a huge help to another mom.

I feel like I'm finally able to give back to society.  I'm more than willing to do whatever I can to help out.  My whole life I needed the help and wonderful people were there for me!  You never know what curve balls life is going to throw your way and what your abilities will be in ten years from now or for that matter next week.  Things happen.  Accidents happen.  Don't take things for granted while you are able to do them.  Life is a journey that we all take together.  Therefore, we all need to be there for one another and give a helping hand.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Give A Little Bit

Yesterday was such a busy day filled with activities that I could not have done a year ago.  I was able to go pick up a car load of Girl Scout cookies and then carry them all into my co-leaders house.  Even with my pregnant belly I was able to do it, which put an even bigger smile on my face.  Afterwards, I picked up my daughters and their two friends from school.  The five of us relaxed for awhile and then it was off to church classes (that I help teach).

I was really busy yesterday, but it feels wonderful to be the one giving help rather than receiving it. It really is better to give than receive!!   Life is great!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pass It On

Wow, I feel like I got so much done today.  I cleaned the girls bathroom, helped them with their bedroom and made taco dip and artichoke dip for the football game this afternoon.  Of course we started the day off at church.

Now that I have my new diagnosis, it seems like I get choked up quite often during mass.  I have so much to thank God for (even things that most mom's hate to do).  Believe it or not, it is a gift to be able to clean a toilet. That may sound funny, but it is so true.  When I clean the bathroom these days, I don't worry about falling face first into the bowl.  That my friends, is a gift!  :)

I wonder how many other people are out there living their life with the wrong diagnosis?  Is there another mom who is trying to change her daughter's diaper, but her arms won't allow her to because she has Dopa Responsive Dystonia?  Or maybe there's a little girl who wants so desperately to ride a bike, but her balance is too off.

Please pass this blog onto your friends and family so we can try to get the word out about DRD.  Hopefully, we can educate at least one person and they to can begin to live a life similar to mine.  All you to do is press the  +1 button and/ or click the Facebook Share button that is located just below this entry.

Thanks!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I cooked

Before my new diagnosis, I HATED cooking.  My hands didn't allow me to chop vegetables or even open a can easily.  The idea of standing at the stove to brown hamburger seemed nearly impossible.  I would always have to cook the family dinner in the morning (that's when my muscles were at there best) and then heat it up in the oven or microwave at supper time.  Whenever a cookbook gave a prep time on a recipe, I knew that I had to triple the time.

Today I made Chicken Penne Pasta, a recipe from my good friend, Angie.  She gave me the recipe 11 years ago and I only made it once because it took me so long to make.  When I was done cooking it, I was so exhausted that I didn't know if I had the energy to eat it.

When I made the delicious dish this afternoon, I enjoyed chopping the red pepper, onion and asparagus.  I was able to cut the chicken up AND fry it up over the stove.  I boiled the noodles and was able to drain them without burning myself.  It may have taken me an hour, being a new cook and all, but I did it!  And it was yummy.  I was able to make dinner for my family and still have the energy to clean up afterwards.  That never happened before.  Sure, I may love eating dinner out, but I'm looking forward to cooking many new dishes.  In fact, I'd love for you to send me some to try out.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Play Ball!

My weekends in the winter are filled with watching my beautiful daughters play basketball.  In fact, this weekend Winona's travel team played two games Saturday and one game Sunday.  Naturally, I sit on the sidelines cheering for Winona as she runs up and down the court.

I found myself wondering if I would have played basketball as a kid.  As a little girl, I loved going to my brothers basketball games.  I would bring my pom poms and cheer away.  At the time, the thought of dribbling the ball up the court never entered my mind.  As I reflect on child I used to be, I think I would have really loved playing basketball.  I'm not saying that I would have been any good, but I believe that I would have given it my best effort.


There's no reason to dwell on the past and what could have been.  I'm going to continue to cheer for my girls and thank God that they can play ball!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crowded Walks

This weekend Steve and I took the Girls to the Wisconsin Dells.  We stayed at a Lodge that has three water parks that are connected to the hotel.  The plus side is that you never have to face the bitter cold.  The down side is that we had to walk long, crowded hallways, up and down stairs to get there.  Each and every time I walked to get to a new destination I was amazed that I was doing it. I must have walked five miles on Saturday!

 In the past, it was nearly impossible for me to walk anywhere near others walking. If someone gently brushed up against my shoulder it would have caused me to lose my balance and tumble to the ground.  Two years ago, I would have had to bring my scooter to this lodge because there would have been far to much walking for me to handle. In fact, tonight my calves are sore.  :)

I am exhausted from the weekend, but feel so blessed that this experience was so much easier than it would have been for me not long ago.  Life is good!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brrrrrrr!!!!

It was about -10  today here in Minnesota.  Even though I felt chilled to the bone, my muscles did not feel any differently today.  Before my diagnosis, extreme heat or cold would nearly paralyze my body.  The simple task of maneuvering my body into a car would feel nearly impossible.  It wasn't like that today.  I was able to run all my errands without help.  So, even though it is freaking cold outside, I really hope that you'll take the time to realize how lucky you really are.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gotta Be Strong

Every Wednesday evening I help teach Sharon's religious class.  Tonight we  learned about reconciliation and went to view where the kids will confess their sins to the priest.  While I was walking to the confessional with the group of children a fellow parishioner (whom I've never met before) stopped me and asked if I am strong.  I had to think about that for a second.

"Kind of, " I answered.  "It depends on what you need."

He said that he needed help carrying a candle from the back of the church to the gym.  I figured that I could handle it without any problem and I followed him back to the church.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the candle that he was asking me to carry.  It was about 3ft tall and 4 inches in diameter.  He handed it to me  and I'd say it weighed about 30lbs.  Plus, it was awkward.

Just as I was about to walk with it, he informed me to be careful not to tilt it.  Apparently, the top is filled with oil.  Then he joked, "Father will be really mad if you drop it cause it's a $500 candle.  If you do, you'll have to be come a Lutheran."  No pressure!!

I slowly carried this cross for a long three minutes from the back of the church to they gym.  My left wrist and bicep  were burning.  Even though I was concerned that I'd spill the oil from top of the candle I knew that I could do this and even felt close to God in doing so.

Two years ago, no one would have ever asked me to help carry anything.  They would have been offering to help carry me!  It felt great to help someone with a task that they couldn't do on their own.  I also find it funny that this guy that I helped out tonight has no idea that I used to use a scooter  and the idea of carrying a tiny votive would have freaked me out much less a candle that's half as tall as me.  This is going to make me smile for quite some time!


Friday, January 6, 2012

Ms. Mechanic

I have never done any maintenance on a car that I have ever owned.  Physically, I could never have done it.  I always paid to get my oiled changed and either my dad or Steve would change the car's headlights or add air when my tires were low.

For the past week, I have been driving around town with slightly low tire pressure.  The only reason I know this, is because the light on my dash tells me so.  Since Steve is still recovering (doing much better, but needs to rest) I thought that I better take care of these tires before I end up on the side of the road with a flat.

A long time ago, Steve put an air pump in the trunk of my car.  It has sat there for the past year without my knowledge as to how to use it.  On my own, I was able to figure out how to use it and put air in all four tires and check the tire pressure.  I know that most of you may be thinking that this isn't a big deal, but to me it is one more thing that I have conquered.

Prior to my diagnosis, I couldn't even stand at the pump to put gas in my car, much less bend over to put air in my tires.  My fingers would not have had the dexterity to take the little cap off of the tire thingy (need to work on my car vocab!  :)   ) to add air.  I finally have the physical ability and the confidence to do this on my own. This is a big deal to me.  Plus, it is one less thing that I have to rely on Steve for.

So, now that I can add air to my tires, do you think I should change the oil in my car?  Nah, I think we all know better than that!   :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not My Turn

My whole life I have been the patient.  Growing up my parents took me to more doctor's appointments than I could count (as well as scheduled surgery's).   As an adult, either my mom or Steve took me to all my appointments.  My parents and Steve were with me when I had to have my Bachlophen Pump implanted and they were there for me last year when I had to have it taken out.  It was always me in the hospital bed.  I never knew what it was like to be on the other side, until this weekend.

Steve was admitted into the hospital New Years Day with a swollen Epiglottis.  The ENT specialist sped the whole way to the hospital and had an OR booked in case he had to put a breathing tube in him.  I sat in the uncomfortable chair as Steve lay in the short ER bed thinking that it should be me, not him.  The ENT specialist placed a scope down Steve's nose to get a good look at his swollen throat.  Luckily for us, it wasn't to the point of sending him to the OR.  However, Steve would be placed in the ICU overnight as a precautionary.  I was assured that he would be okay.  He was given an IV to receive antibiotics and steroids for two days and not allowed to eat (in case they had to put him under).  This was all so scary and I didn't have my partner to lean on because this time it was him that needed the help.

I kept thinking the same two things over and over. 1) Please let him be okay.  2)  Thank God that I have the physical capabilities to have gotten myself here so I can be with him.

A year and a half ago I could not have parked in the hospital ramp and walked all that way.  I was able to be by my husbands side when he needed me (even though he told me I didn't need to be there).  I could go get the nurse when he needed something and I could just be there for him.

When I went home that Sunday night, I could tell I was getting a UTI.  I called my OB and she sent me to the maternity assessment center at a nearby hospital for lab work.  I was exhausted from the unbelievable stressful day I had just had.  All I wanted to do was try and get some rest. In times past, it would have been Steve to take me to where I needed to be.  I didn't have him though.  All I had was myself, but that was okay this time.  I had to get there on my own and thanks to my new medication, I could do it on my own  (tears and all).

I'm not sure how I would have handled this weekend if I was not on my new medication.  The stress of it all would have made my muscles even more unmanageable than ever before.   I am blessed in so many ways:  my husband is alive and safe and I know that I can take care of him as he has always done for me.  Thank you God for these wonderful gifts.