Doing It Scared

I bet you thought I fell off the planet, didn’t you? Nope, just super busy and super uninspired. I’ve read A LOT of books, because that’s my escape from reality for a few minutes (or hours). With books you can focus on the words and the pictures in your head and let everything else go for a while. So yeah, I’ve read a lot. I’ve used my oils religiously and shared here and there, but haven’t felt the excitement recently. I still love them and know they’ve changed my life, but I sometimes feel like I’m sharing with a black hole. Not gonna lie, that gets discouraging. But I’ve discovered that just because people don’t say the words to respond, doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. That was quite the ramble… Anyway, I have felt discouraged lately. I’m tired to be honest. I have a lot going on with my little one and with life in general. And if you haven’t read my stuff, you don’t know that stress makes me sick. Autoimmune problems are no joke. So I’ve had my friendly stress rash and I’ve felt like laying on the floor some days. All of it is discouraging. And there’s been no hockey, so that hasn’t helped the situation. Man, I love going to hockey games. Like reading, for a few hours I don’t care about anything but being in that moment and cheering on our awesome team. Apparently I need that. It started back in October, thank goodness. So far October is looking up.

I decided a month or so ago that I was going to do some things that make me uncomfortable in order to hopefully break this funk and get me moving in the right direction again. And knowing myself, I signed up for things before I could talk myself out of it. Good thing, too. I bought a ticket to Young Living’s International Grand Convention next June which is in Salt Lake City. Can I just tell you that I never travel out of the surrounding area and have NEVER been on a plane? I don’t even really like people, so the airport should be a real scream. If you see a GoFundMe® campaign for bail money, you’ll know what happened. I’m still not sure what I was thinking, but I saw the posts and watched the videos from this year and thought “I’m not missing out on that next year.” So I grabbed my mother-in-law, convinced her to go with me and bought the tickets before I could change my mind – good thing because they sold out in hours.

Then came Diamond Bound. I saw the video about it and heard the stories and thought, “I’m doing that. It sounds completely unlike me, but I’m doing it anyway.” Y’all, this thing started with a real live GALA. Black tie. I don’t even wear makeup. What in the world. But I bought that ticket before I could change my mind, too. I mean how often would it be this close to home? It was meant to be. I worried for a month about how I was going to avoid that gala and go to this thing by myself. Then a friend contacted me and put me in touch with one of her friends that was also going. They let me tag along with them, which solved one problem. Unfortunately they were pro-gala, so then I had to have a dress. It was surreal. What was I thinking?

Last weekend I went to Diamond Bound at the Opryland Hotel. I wore a fancy dress and (some) makeup. It was a lot, but I made it and had a good time. The weekend was filled with awesome speakers and encouragement, which I desperately needed. It was nice to see normal people who succeeded with Young Living. It seems everyone involved with Young Living is over-the-top bubbly and happy to a weird level, which if you know me, isn’t me. It seems fake to me and I’m not big on fake. I had gotten discouraged that I couldn’t share and make a difference at all because I didn’t have the right personality for it. Can I just tell you that hearing leaders with attitude was a relief? Being told that my greatest asset is myself and my story…yeah, that was awesome. Hearing the executive team for Young Living speak and answer questions made me even more confident in this company. Being in a room with 5000 other people with a common goal to make a healthier life for their family and anyone else that will listen was awesome. It reawakened (how dramatic is that?) the desire to share my story and teach people about a better way. Turns out I made a good decision to attend, even if I was afraid to do it at the time.

Will it keep people from acting like I’m using snake oil and believing in a cult or pyramid scheme? Nope. Probably not. But if you know me, you know that I don’t do anything I don’t want to. I don’t say things because someone says I should. I don’t get pressured to try things. No one, and I mean no one, can make me do something I don’t believe in and don’t want to do. Not for any amount of money or fame. So when I tell you that I believe in these oils, these products and this company, I’m not blowing smoke. I really do. Have I tried it all and done it all? No. Have I completely gone chemical free? No. Sugar free? Also no. But have I made great strides in my time here? Yeah. I really have. It’s definitely a process, but I keep going because I see results. I wouldn’t say I did if I didn’t. My mama didn’t raise a liar. I had someone ask me a few weeks ago about a certain product and if I was planning a class on it. My answer right now is no and I told her why. I’ve tried it and didn’t really see a benefit I can share. Do I know it works for other people? I do. And I will gladly send you their way for them to share with you. But can I with a clear conscience tell you it’s going to make a difference to you and change your life based on my experience with it? That’s it’s worth the expense? Nope. And that’s what I told her. Right now I’m not comfortable teaching it or recommending it based on my experience. I think everyone should try it for themselves, because I’ve heard amazing stories, but I’m not comfortable doing a class on it because I know people trust me to tell the truth. And I don’t take that trust for granted.

Turns out doing something scary is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself. Was it easy? No, it wasn’t. I had to leave my family for a few days. I had expenses. I missed out on some quality weekend sleep. But it solidified my belief that I’m doing the right thing sharing my story, even if it falls on infertile ground. At the risk of sounding salesy, if you want to know more about it, let me know. I’ll tell you exactly what I think and you can decide what’s best for you. I don’t regret a minute of my decision to get started with Young Living and I don’t think you will either.

Tolerance

I’m opinionated person. I know you are all shocked. I have a lot of feelings about a lot of issues. If you ask me what I think, I’ll gladly tell you. Will I try to do it in a way that doesn’t offend you? Yeah, probably. Unless I don’t like you anyway and then I’m going to skip that step. The point is I don’t think it does anyone any good to make people mad with their opinions. Be honest with yourself: do you keep listening to someone’s reasoning after they tick you off? I don’t. Thank God we don’t have those thought bubbles like you see in cartoons, right? So what exactly is the point in hacking someone off by forcing your beliefs and opinions on them?

It amazes me how many people don’t think this way. I have a lot of views that some of the most popular people in this country wouldn’t agree with. I know it and I’m good with it. Some days I would like to go up and loudly voice my own opinion. Sometimes I get mad when I hear other people talk. Sometimes I even chime in with my two cents. But I don’t feel a compulsion to force what I think on other people. I’m not going to insist you listen to me and my reasoning. Chances are good, depending on my mood, I’m not going to want to listen to yours either, so we’ll be even.

I could make a list of all the things I don’t understand or agree with going on in the world right now. But you know what? I’m over here with a clear conscience, secure in my beliefs. And guess what? I’m able to explain that to you like a rational human being. I’m not making snide or off-color comments, even though I’m sure I could. Because what exactly is the point in that? And the truth is sometimes something I hear from a non-threatening, sane person makes me curious enough to re-examine my own opinion. Imagine that.

If we would all just keep in our own lane, can you imagine how much better this life would be? I’m not asking for people to change their fundamental beliefs or always defer to someone else like a wimp. However, if we could all think about our words before we say them and give other people the benefit of having their own lives and opinions, that would be awesome. Maybe stop for a second and try to figure out why you are so opposed to whatever the issue is. Develop your own opinions based on what you truly think and not just what the people around you think. Contrary to popular belief, it’s OK to have an opinion that doesn’t agree with someone else. But it definitely isn’t OK to judge someone else based on what they believe or how they react to what you believe. Quite frankly, I don’t even care if you think it. Fine, think whatever. Screw up your own head all you want. You still don’t have to force that on someone else. It’s really simple. Show some compassion. “Tolerating” doesn’t indicate you agree. Quite the opposite. It indicates you don’t agree, but you go on with your life anyway. Like an intelligent human.

Impulsivity

Until two days ago, I didn’t even know this was a real word, much less that I was experiencing it daily. Impulsivity is how they describe the symptom of struggling with impulse control. It’s almost a disconnect between the part of the brain that tells you to do something and the part of the brain that tells you the consequences of doing it. You speak before you consider how it will affect others. You jump before considering if 20 feet is too high to fall. It is one of the many symptoms of ADHD and how it came on my radar.

Tuck has struggled since he was small with various small things. Things you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t around him consistently. He struggled with speech delay. At two he still hadn’t made much sound, besides grunting and screaming to get his point across, much less said any words. He had never said “mama” or “no”, which is pretty unusual. We began speech therapy and during that, the therapist talked to us about a possible motor planning deficit. Motor planning is how your brain tells your body to perform normal, everyday functions. Like picking up things, walking, running, talking, climbing. Things two-year-olds do a lot, but ours really didn’t. While other toddlers started pulling up and trying to walk, he never did. Tuck had never been a climber. He never tried to get out of his bed, which was odd because he didn’t sleep much and was very active. There were a lot of little things that we noticed and found odd, but never really grouped together until we talked to her. She recognized it immediately. She explained to us that it wasn’t that he wouldn’t be able to do things, he would do everything, it would just take him longer to master than other kids. He didn’t make the effort to try it new things because he couldn’t work out the details of how to make it happen. There was just a disconnect we needed to be aware of. It makes him seem uncoordinated when he tries something new, but after a few times he is up to speed. If you don’t know there is a problem, you would never notice it. Although not debilitating, it is something we have to remember, because it’s impulse to try to rush him or get frustrated when he can’t do something you feel is a simple task.

As he got older, it was obvious to us something was going on with his self control. It was like he didn’t care what you said or did or what the consequences might be, if he wanted to do something, come hell or high water, he was doing it. Punishment never had much effect. He doesn’t care what you threaten to do. He is in this moment and he isn’t worried about what happens next. Since he’s an only child, we assumed he was just spoiled and cracked down on him trying to make him understand there are rules and he was going to follow them. If you want to know the definition of frustration and despair, that’s it. But we really aren’t around other kids his age, so we couldn’t decide if this was something specific to him or just “boys being boys” his age, as people loved to tell us every time we voiced our concerns. One of the hardest parts of this particular journey is that people either deny there is a problem or tell you he’s just being a “boy/kid”. I never have figured out if they’re trying to reassure us or disregarding our intuition as his parents, but it’s hard to hear either way when you know there’s something more there. It makes you feel crazy and incompetent as a parent, which you already feel because you can’t get control of your one kid while other people juggle three.

Last year he started Pre-K. We knew this was our opportunity to get an unbiased opinion from someone who knew the “norm” for kids his age. His teacher was great. She was very structured and he thrived in that environment. At the first parent teacher conference we finally broke down our concerns for her. While she had noticed some of the things we talked about, nothing major like we were experiencing at home. At home he was having epic meltdowns. EPIC. Full fledged, our of control, couldn’t calm himself down, fits. It was overwhelming for all three of us. It was obvious he couldn’t control the episodes once they started, but we couldn’t figure out how to avoid them either. He wasn’t having them at school at that point, which immediately made us question whether he was just manipulating us. Anything you read on behavior in kids will tell you that they are more comfortable at home and so they act out there. Was that why he wasn’t having them at school? We had no clue. Pile on more frustration for all of us. While at some point he did start having more problems at school, we still couldn’t pinpoint what was going on or how to help him.

This year he started kindergarten. We were still having a lot of problems with his behavior at home. When you see your kid three hours a day and at least two of those are spent fighting for control and end with one or two of us crying, it is miserable. Family time is not happy and never carefree. You almost want to avoid it as much as possible, which adds even more guilt to this equation. You just don’t enjoy life in general. You can’t figure out if he is really this difficult compared to other kids or if you really suck at parenting. You don’t go places and do things like other families, because it makes everyone involved miserable. Tuck because he can’t do whatever crosses his mind and he is constantly in trouble, and us because nothing is enjoyable while constantly on high alert and arguing with a miniature terrorist. Along the way well-meaning souls told us we should get out more and he would learn to behave better in public. You just have to go, they say. You want to ask if they’re volunteering as tribute (that’s a movie reference, people – Google it). Because that crap is easier said than lived. Believe me.

About halfway through the year, his teacher talked to us about having him evaluated for ADHD. She had been having quite a few behavior issues at school, but didn’t feel like he could control most of them. She was concerned about first grade and wanted to give us a head start on evaluating him in case he needed to work on medication over the summer. She said he had no problem doing the work and was very intelligent, but compared to his peers and her previous students, he was having trouble staying on task and sitting still for an entire activity. That wasn’t huge in kindergarten, but first grade was going to be hard on him. He talked all the time and out of turn. He was aggressive with his classmates at times. He’s seen the principal A LOT this year. My brother has ADHD, so I was familiar with it on some level, but it wasn’t like what I experienced growing up with my brother. At that point I didn’t realize that every ADHD diagnosis is different.

So we scheduled a visit with his doctor. Each of us (my husband, myself and his teacher) filled out a three page questionnaire and sent it in before we met with him. Then we met with him for about an hour. I was nervous. I was terrified we’d get another, “I don’t see it” or “He’s just a normal little boy”. I love his doctor because he’s a no nonsense guy and doesn’t sugarcoat things. I knew he would tell us what he thought. And Tuck loves him, which is a blessing. When he doesn’t love doctors, it is a nightmare. Ask me how I know some time. Anyway, he asked all kinds of questions, both to us and to Tuck, while constantly being interrupted by Tuck, who was his normal talkative, busy self. He gave the nurse and the doctor a wealth of information on dinosaurs in that hour. After thirty minutes, he pointed out how often Tuck had interrupted us, which was pretty much an all-the-time thing for us. He told us that it wasn’t just Tuck being rude, he literally couldn’t control his impulse to tell us something and couldn’t make himself wait. Huh. That made sense. Then he remarked on how intelligent he was and how well he pronounced all the information on dinosaurs. He can says some words even I struggle with as an adult. He’s been that way since he started talking. He has a large vocabulary and uses words you don’t hear that often from five-year-olds. The doctor said that the way a lot of kids with ADHD are able to cope is that they are highly intelligent. They learn to work around whatever is holding them back and succeed, but it is harder than it has to be. We talked with him about on our concerns and his thoughts. He told us that he was not an advocate for medicating children, but in Tuck’s case he thought he needed some support. I’m going to be honest with you, the thought of having to GET Tuck to take medicine stressed me more than the thought of him taking something. At this point, our life was out of control. We were all miserable and he was beginning to struggle in school. We had to do something different. But first the doctor wanted to talk to his teacher and see exactly what was going on at school. I’ll never forget his teacher telling me that she’d spoken to him and I was like “ok, great” as I walked off. She stopped me and said she had never had a doctor actually call – they always say they will, but they never do. She was a little shocked. Again, I love Tuck’s doctor. Anyway, after that he called and talked to Jamie, because I can only handle so much stress in one lifetime. We started medication the next weekend, much to the chagrin of everyone we know. The unsolicited advice was intense. Apparently they felt we had never really tried anything else and that we were looking for an easy out and a fix-all solution to our “problem”. Or on the flip side, that there was no problem at all. Again, come back when you’re living it every day. To say that medication has been an easy solution is a joke. Besides the fact that you have to get the medication down his throat, that first one made that kid so mean and angry I was ready to run away. Not to mention he refused to eat anything. He was already tall and thin from being a picky eater, which was one of his doctor’s concerns, but this was a new level. We could barely get Pediasure down him and he was supposed to eat with the medicine. So since he didn’t eat, it made him nauseated, which meant he vomited it back up pretty often. Especially if you had to drive somewhere. You know, like school. We were more stressed and he was noticeably losing weight. It. Was. Hell. After two horrible weeks trying to see if he would adjust, we switched to a second medication. Not only has he been happier, he’s eating more than ever. I still don’t think we are at a good level, but it’s a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to do some research to see what we’re dealing with and how we can help him. That’s how I came upon my word of the week. Once I started reading about impulsivity, it all started clicking into place. The things he says and does to us, not caring that it will make us upset or earn him punishment. When your small child tells you he’s going to hit you in the face and then is shocked that you get mad, it’s weird. Then there is the nonstop, and I mean nonstop, talking. I don’t mean he talks and goes away and comes back to talk some more. I mean he talks from the time he wakes up until he goes to sleep. He talks to us and if we won’t listen, he talks to himself or the dogs. When you ask him to please stop talking for a few minutes he says “Why does everyone keep saying that?!” That’s how much he talks. Jamie and I once drove six hours from the beach with no radio and very minimal conversation. To say the talking is overwhelming and stressful for us is a grand understatement. Then there’s the interrupting conversations, phone calls, TV shows, and any other thing he can disrupt. To the point Jamie and I couldn’t discuss what to do about Tuck because Tuck kept interrupting us. At first you think he just has to be the center of attention, and to a point he does, but it’s more than that. He cannot make himself wait. Doing things that make us ask “Why did you do that?!” at least 10 times a day is the norm around here. He never knows, by the way. And he’s not joking or trying to get out of trouble. He does not know. All of those are related to impulse control.

It probably sounds weird to you to say that every time we learn of a new “disability”, we are relieved. But we are. It means that we may actually have a clue what we are doing as parents after all. It means we have a problem we can address, as opposed to knowing there’s something going on and having no idea what to do about it. The unknown will absolutely drive you insane.

I say all of this because I’m struggling right now. I know suck at saying this in person. I never seem to get it all out in a way people understand. I am much better putting it all down in words. This is stressful as hell for all of us and it’s something no one really knows is going on. But mainly I’m currently struggling to keep my mouth shut. When you have a kid with a problem that isn’t physical, people don’t get it. They see an only-child and assume his behavior is because he’s spoiled and undisciplined. They don’t see the hours spent trying to fit him into the mold of a “normal” kid. They don’t see the tears of frustration from everyone involved. They don’t see that he really can’t control it, but we are doing all we can to help him. They don’t see the tears because I worry that he will never quite fit in with his peers. That he will always struggle to make and keep friends, because he can’t control what he says to them and doesn’t understand how his words affect people. They don’t see how their comments and snide remarks make you want to slap them. Yeah, cause that’s my reaction. I’m not going to cry, I’m going defend him and you will be the one crying. I’m not one of those nice non-confrontational mamas. I’m going to aggressively defend my kid against everyone, be it family, friend or random person. Maybe I AM a mama bear…

And most importantly, they don’t understand that he sees the world differently and what they think is weird and off-putting is what makes him unique and world changing. But that’s why he has us and why I’m done trying to keep the peace at the cost of my child feeling like he’s wrong and they’re right about him. I’m done keeping my mouth shut and feeling like a failure in private for comments said by a person about things they don’t understand or want to understand. I’m just done. ADHD is considered a disability, whether either of us really understand that or not. Like with any disability, I am his advocate and I am fierce about defending his rights and feelings. I have struggled with that role. He does a lot of things I don’t condone or understand. I can see how someone would form a snap judgment. I know why kids will think he’s weird. He has a vivid imagination and sometimes the line between real and imaginary is blurred for him. However, as an adult, once you know the circumstances, and a lot of these people do, you need to adjust your thinking and how you interact with my little man. Use a little compassion or keep your words to yourself. We are critical enough of ourselves already. What we need is a little support and encouragement.

I have said since the day he made his entrance into this world that if any baby was meant to be born, it was Tuck. The odds were against him long before conception and yet he prevailed. (You can read about that in my post, Pregnancy Done The Hard Way). God has a plan for this specific child and I can only believe that the way he experiences the world around him will contribute to that plan. It makes him uniquely qualified to do something and I can’t wait to see what it is.

The Book of Faces

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I’d hazard to guess that most people do. I love that I can “see” my friends from high school and college even though they’ve moved all over the country. Granted, it’s a little stalker-esque to “follow” someone’s life through pictures, but I still enjoy it. I love being able to share my life and who doesn’t like all those “likes” you get when you post a picture? That’s the whole point, right? Facebook has a ton of good qualities. I mean I keep going back multiple times a day so it must have something I like.

What I don’t like is how Facebook can make me feel about myself and my life. Because you don’t automatically think, “well, they’re posting only the best things”, and take things with a grain of salt when you see pictures of your friends in Aruba or baking the world’s coolest cupcakes for their 10 kids. I’m a pretty straightforward person, both on and off Facebook, so I don’t immediately assume everyone is only highlighting the good. Nope. I think I’m failing as a mom or wife. I don’t travel enough. I don’t contribute enough. I have one kid and can’t get anything done and these people have five kids (five!) and are travelling and doing all these family things. I can barely get through a meal with my little heathen. And Lord, when I post that particular little truth nugget… Let’s just say my bid for mom of the year grows stronger daily. That’s honestly how I feel.

Now I can’t blame that all on Facebook. Some of that is just who I am. I will never feel I measure up to other moms. It’s not going to happen, so you can save your inspiring texts and emails about how awesome I am. I’m good. I know it’s stupid, as my sweet husband points out daily, but I can’t make myself stop. That’s not Facebook’s fault. But if there was no Facebook, and I wasn’t hooked on it, I wouldn’t have that shoved in my face as often and in living color. So I do put some blame on Facebook and social media in general.

I give massive props to people who “quit” Facebook. You go. You have the willpower of a god as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t feel like that’s a valid option for me. It’s literally the only way I “see” some of my family and friends. I also use it for my business. It just isn’t logical to stop using it altogether. But I wonder if I can inspire others to try for a little honesty on there. It always amazes me when I post something like “I hate everyone today” and people start worrying about something tragic going on in my life. I’m just posting my honest opinion at that moment, which is what I like to think everyone is doing, so why the concern? Then it dawns on me – most people are only posting rainbows and roses. They assume your world is ending if you actually post anything non-sunny on Facebook. Nope. I hate people at least one day a week on average. That’s me. No crisis, just putting it out there as more of a public service announcement. I guess I could wear some sort of sign instead, but a Facebook post lets people I don’t see daily know not to call, or God forbid, stop by for a visit. A sign on my person will not do that.

So yeah, I love it…I hate it. I’m addicted to it, even though it sometimes makes me feel like a complete and utter failure. I’m working on that. But how about we all agree to be more realistic on the book of faces? Because if I’m feeling this way, I hate to think how the more vulnerable people in our lives feel. ‘Cause I can guarantee they’re on there reading posts several hours a day. And while I have a full time job and a little heathen at home to keep my mind occupied most of the day, not everyone does. Now don’t go depressing everyone you know on there, but maybe shoot for posting about the not perfect times once in a while. It’s ok to have a bad day and shout it from the internet. I personally love giving someone a good laugh at my expense. And hey, you’ll get lots of encouragement and prayers as an added bonus! Win win.

Welcome to the Unknown

If you’re a medical professional, I’m going to go ahead and suggest you skip this one.

So. This isn’t going to be funny or profound. It’s mostly me venting and feeling sorry for myself. So you’ve been warned.

If you are one of those fortunate people who go to a doctor with a problem and get a diagnosis, you won’t understand this one. I bet you didn’t even know there was a different way. But there is. I am one of those people that leaves the doctor’s office frustrated and often crying. Today is one of those days. You see, it doesn’t matter what I go for, cold, weird pain, rash, etc., I rarely get an answer. I get a ton of “I don’t see anything” and “I’m sorry, come back if you have another symptom,” but very few answers. It is unhelpful at best and soul crushing at worst. Today I went to a doctor I love. She is my favorite of all of them. But today she got to tell me she doesn’t know what’s causing my issue. There is nothing there. So what the hell is it? Is it really just in my head? I like to think I’m not that crazy, but am I? Honestly, appointments like this make me question my sanity on top of everything else.

This is pretty much constant in my life, except a lot of times I don’t like the doctor so I don’t go so peacefully. Ask the rheumatologist at Vanderbilt who basically dismissed me, so I insisted he test me, and he later had to call and tell me I am developing a very rare autoimmune disease. Moron. Just because I don’t look sick and don’t have the symptoms you are accustomed to, doesn’t mean you get to dismiss me. That day I was in no mood to be casually dismissed by a kid doctor. He will never see me again, though I’m sure he would love to study me. My endocrinologist is a genius as far as I’m concerned. He gave me my son. When he told me they had exhausted their vast resources and were out of options, it was hard to take. It’s hard to take when you are having trouble breathing and actually break down and go to the ER and are told there’s nothing there causing it. This is my experience with the medical world.

So again, you are truly blessed if you can go to the doctor and come out feeling relieved or even terrified. At least you have something to fight. I exit, call my husband or mom, and cry in frustration. I have to remind myself that doctors absolutely don’t know everything and there are things even they have never seen. But it is very hard. Especially when you sit here still having the same problem, trying to decide if it’s real or not.

If you have never experienced this, I pray you never do. It sucks. Does it do any good to tell you this? Nope. Do I feel better? Nope. Is there a point? Not really. Welcome to my frustrating world.

It Is Well

It really isn’t. If I’m honest with you and myself, it just isn’t. I would love to give you some really impressive motivational speech. But I can’t, because I’m not feeling it either.

Have you ever wanted something so badly and for so long that it consumes you? I have. In my teenage years I always imagined a house full of kids when I “grew up”. But it was not meant to be for me. After many years of heartache, we finally did in vitro fertilization (IVF) to have my beautiful little son. Prior to that I had done a lot of things trying to make this particular dream come true. Many, many things that I never thought I would allow my body to go through. In a way, IVF was a relief. I knew it was going to be intense going in. No surprise there. There was a set process and I knew it was going to suck. I spent a lot of time on the road (I live about two and a half hours from my doctor), taking shots in parking lots and sitting in rush hour traffic after leaving home at 4:30 a.m., sometimes twice a week. Looking back, it seems unreal that I went through that. But I have my son to show for the hard work, so it was fulfilling.

Most people don’t know, but we tried again a few years ago. I spent six months in what I can only describe as pure hell. Hopes up, hopes crushed. Hopes up, hopes crushed. My body would not cooperate like it did the first time. My nurse literally told me they didn’t know what else to do. After all that work, my doctor recommended we give it a try and pray for the best. Those that know me don’t see a kid walking around, so you know how that one went. Not only is IVF an emotional journey, it’s a financial one. To spend that kind of money for heartbreak is another level of misery.

People seem to think that once you have your miracle baby, you should be satisfied and content. And I guess a lot of people are. I am not. I want a brother or sister for my son. I want the chance to have a normal, uneventful pregnancy and delivery. The memory of my last delivery and first month of mommyhood are not pleasant. I guess I should be happy I even have a child, lots of people never do. I know that. But that’s not how it is, so that’s not how I feel.

When you struggle with infertility, you try to remain level at all times. Never get your hopes up. You pray, beg, cry and beg some more sometimes, but never get excited. You keep secrets from your spouse, because you don’t want to disappoint both of you. You lie to yourself to keep your excitement down. Never get your hopes up. Never. I made that mistake recently. I let myself believe for just a second. Just a second. The devastation never gets easier apparently. On top of the disappointment, you’re mad at yourself for being so stupid. I know my issues. I know how miraculous it would have to be to get pregnant without intervention. But I see it happen for others, so why not me?

So. It is not well with my soul right now. I’m trying. I’ve poured out my heart to God and cried hysterically while my sweet husband held me. It simply never gets easier. Fortunately I have my essential oils endeavor to occupy my mind when I have free time. But it still hurts. It hurts every time I see a baby. It hurts every time I hear someone say, “We were so surprised! We didn’t even want another baby!” It hurts every time I see a story of abuse or neglect. It just hurts. Over and over. These days I pray God will take the desire from me. Just take it. The relief of not wanting something I can’t have would be tremendous. I think I would be a totally different person. But it’s still there. I have to make myself stop hoping, because why would God give me a desire he doesn’t intend to fulfill? That seems cruel. But there it is.

I don’t know why I had to get this out. Maybe it will help me, but I doubt it. More likely it will help one of you. Which is wonderful. The only thing I see that has come out of all this is I have been able to talk to other people first hand about my struggle. When I did IVF, I didn’t know anyone else who had done it. I scoured the internet for support groups and information. I kept the whole process a secret. I was almost ashamed I had to go to such lengths. Now I can encourage other people and explain the process. I can empathize. I can encourage. With all of my issues, if I can get pregnant, anyone can. The options are absolutely endless for them. Me, not so much. But I think of all I’ve done and know that I did all I could. It just wasn’t meant to be. And I am afraid I will struggle forever trying to make it well with my soul.

This day, y’all

Some days are better than others, know what I mean? It’s not that today was a bad day, per se, it’s just blah. I don’t want to be where I am all day doing what I’m doing… today at least.

Most days I really like my job. I used to love it, but “like” is better than where I was before. I love the people I work with and let’s be real, I’m not going anywhere any time soon (so y’all stop panicking). But whatever is up with me makes me dissatisfied with my present situation.

Not my home life. It’s stressful, but whose isn’t? My husband is sometimes the only thing keeping me sane. I’m hanging on to him. It’s work, I think. I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I mostly repeat myself a lot and hope for the best. My favorite part is solving problems and helping other people figure something out. Everybody deserves answers and I love trying to break it down so it’s easier the next time. And I still do that a lot. But I am not happy there right now.

Some of it is this stupid boot. It is totally screwing up my mojo. But the real problem is somebody convinced me that work could, maybe, on a wing and a prayer, if the stars align, be something different and that I could actually look forward to it for a change. It’s a far off dream and one a lot of other people have had and failed to realize. I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Are you still crazy if you realize you are crazy? I need to find that out. But right now I have this teeny tiny hope of light at the end of the tunnel.

So I carry on, confusing the heck out of people who know me well. Who is this Katie who is happy and doing something weird, even for her? I like to think it’s the new, better me, but today I just want to lay down and sleep. But have no fear, there’s an oil for that.

This stupid boot

I am currently wearing what I lovingly refer to as “my stupid boot.”  I hate this thing.  It’s hot.  It’s big and annoying.  I’m already clumsy without adding extra weight to one foot.  Now I run over random walls and door frames in addition to all the normal things I trip over.  Add that my daily driver is a Jeep, which has little to no leg room for changing into said MSB after I’ve driven to work, and you have the perfect storm.  I.  Hate. This. Stupid. Boot.

In March, my lovely husband and I went to test drive a very large truck.  We like to trail ride and rock crawl, so this was a rig for that.  It was big enough that we would be able to take Tuck or another person if we wanted, unlike all of our previous ones.  I got up in it fine.  When it came time to get out is when all the good stuff happened.  I looked down from a pretty good height and thought, “I can totally hop out of here.”  And I could.  Unless I caught my second foot on a roll cage and landed four foot down on one foot instead of two.  I literally hit the ground and crumpled into a heap.  I had always heard people say that, but seriously, I was a pile of person.  Then I laughed, of course, because how embarrassing is it really to almost kill yourself in a strangers driveway?   The truck was so tall it took my husband a minute to realize he couldn’t see my head.  He asked if I was ok and I said something along the lines of, “Well,  I didn’t break my arm, so that’s good.”  At this point the seller came back out and started talking to my husband about the test drive.  Again, big truck, so he couldn’t see me lying there in said heap in his driveway.  I finally convinced myself to get up and hobbled myself to the Jeep.  No one asked why I was walking so funny and I gratefully crept into hiding to lick my wounds.  I sat there trying to decide if I was really hurt or I was just old.  I now know it was both.   By the time my husband finished his standard thirty minute conversation with arandom person, I knew I was hurt, but figured it was just badly bruised.  The turning point was when we got out to eat and I couldn’t get my shoe on.  So then came the humiliating trip to the walk-in clinic, where I got to retell this story several times, to find out I had indeed broken my foot.  Seriously.   I’ve decided I will never survive old age.  I’ll need a keeper full-time to make age appropriate decisions, because no doubt I will be a danger to myself and those around me.  Anyway,  I ended up in MSB at that time for five and a half weeks.  I couldn’t drive at first.   You don’t realize how much you truly hate relying on another human being until you’re doing it against your will.  People were great, but I hated every minute.  When I went back for my first follow-up,  I was graduated to a Darco shoe, which is basically the thing you used to see people wearing with a cast to walk.  I wore it for ten days.  Ok, maybe it was only a week.  I really did.  But I couldn’t figure out the point.   My foot could flex and bend and it didn’t keep pressure off of it.   How was this different from a regular shoe?  I still don’t know, but apparently it is. And I know that little fact because when I went back for a follow-up, my doctor was not impressed.  My foot was obviously not healing because *groan* I hadn’t worn the shoe. He told me I had to go back to the shoe or next time I get my very own cast or possibly get to schedule surgery.  I bet he hasn’t heard an adult say “suck” that many times in his career.  But I was seriously over having a bum foot.  I basically whined like a little kid since my husband wasn’t there to shame me into acting like an adult.   Needless to say, I just went back to the full boot.  I can’t be trusted in the shoe.   I walk stairs.  I chase my kid.  I help feed cows.  I get in the creek.  The options are endless.  So it’s MSB for several more weeks.  I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that surgery is inevitable.   I mean I almost have a week of vacation saved up and that just can’t happen.  Today I am off to my second Predators hockey game in said MSB.  I actually went the first time in the rain of all things.   But it was the playoffs.  I mean the playoffs!  And I scored seats on the fourth row!  I was not staying home.  At least I don’t need the classy bag this time (see below).   It drew quite a few comments about my commitment to the team.   It was great.  Except for actually wearing it.  That was annoying.  But this boot is made for walking and I have places to be and things to do until they forcefully make me sit down.  I have a feeling I will not be a good patient.  Oh well, go Preds!

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Gloom, Despair & Agony on Me

Anybody remember Hee Haw?  Yeah, well, it was a few decades ago.  And maybe it was only in Tennessee.  Well anyway, I was not very old, but I remember watching it at my grandma’s house.  If you ever saw the show, you recognize the title to this post.  This is a song that pops in my head at some of the most inappropriate times.  Like my brain is trying to protect my sanity.  In my memory, my dad walks around singing it happily.  That may or may not have happened (sorry, Daddy), but that’s who is singing it in my head today.  When I thought about posting about the last few years of my life, this song popped in my head again.  Today I just want to hit the high (actually low) points, so you have a pencil-drawn map of the road I traveled to get here – not exact, possibly slightly crooked, but it will give you an idea of where we’re headed.

In October of 2014, our life on the Double E changed forever.  That sounds super dramatic, I know, but honestly it changed everything.  My father-in-law had a massive heart attack.  He and my mother-in-law were keeping my son every day at the time.  That was about to change, along with a lot of other things for us and my little one.  We spent several days at the hospital crying and praying in the cafeteria.  He had open heart surgery and thankfully, is still mending fences and tending his garden today.  At the time I wasn’t very familiar with heart attacks.  I knew they told us he had a “widow-maker” and that was bad, but I didn’t understand the damage it caused and the way it would affect the day to day for him and by extension the whole family.  It was a hard time.

Fast forward 6 months…my husband and I, well mainly I, decided it was a good time to try to have another baby.  Life had settled back down, I thought, and I wasn’t getting any younger.  I say try because our son is here by the grace of God.  That is a fact.  Long story short, in vitro fertilization is hard on a girl.  But that’s a story for another day.  So we began that process in April.  The first week of May, my dad had a massive heart attack.  If I hadn’t been living it myself, I wouldn’t have believed how eerily similar this was to our time six months before.  Same heart attack, same floor of the hospital, same absolute disbelief and fear.  Same crying and praying.  This time we were more knowledgeable, but no less afraid.  I’d love to know the odds of two people this closely related both surviving 100% blockages and a heart attack aptly named a widow-maker.  It’s still hard to believe how very fortunate we are.  Luckily my dad didn’t have to have open heart surgery, but today both our dads sport matching defibrillators.  I liked to tell people it was the accessory of the season.  They didn’t seem as amused as I was.

Fast forward six months…after a truly miserable six months of stress over my dad while trying to make my stupid body cooperate with my once well-laid plan, our doctor suggested a “Hail Mary” of sorts.  It didn’t work.  Again, a story for another day.

Six weeks later, on December 23, 2015, a tornado destroyed our small town.  My husband and I were in the basement with our in-laws, our 80 year old grandmother, our 4 year old and our trusted blue heeler as the tornado passed over the house.  The destruction was, and still is, indescribable.    The fact that no one lost their life that night is a miracle in itself. Add that one to the list of stories for another day.

Fast forward six months…my sweet nephew was born on April 15, 2016.  Three days later our family crowded around him to both meet him for the first time and say our good-byes.  There are no words.  He was buried on my birthday.

Life has continued on that six month cycle for a while now.  To the point I start dreading the days as I realize another half year has passed.  When you tell people these stories, they don’t even know how to respond.  I can’t blame them.  But we carry on.  Maybe we carry on carefully, sometimes with something close to fear, but we do it nonetheless.

I am not sharing these things to get your sympathy or pity; I don’t need or want it.  I simply want you to see this side of me.  Because I intend to share A LOT of funnier things along the way, but you can’t fully appreciate the mountaintop if you forget the valleys.  Man I sound like I know what I’m doing.  And I totally do not.  The reality is sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.  Who knew that was a fact and not just a weird quote?

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