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Posts tagged ‘family’

“Pushing Back the Dark” My week

“Keep on pushing back the dark”

My week has been one of ups and downs for sure. Although at this moment in time the only thing I can focus on are the downs. “Whatever you do, just don’t lose heart.”

I’ve been dealing with a medical annoyance for about a month and this week it met a height that I could no longer ignore. “One million reasons why, you shouldn’t even try.”

Okay I’m gonna get gross, only so that you can for a minute be me and feel the frustration and anger and sadness that has been this week, this month, the last 10 years. “After all you’re just one heart, a single candle in the dark.”

For a month now, and 3 years back for 2 years and 6 years before that for a year and a half, I’ve been having diarrhea at least daily and usually multiple times a day after I eat. Gross I know but the facts. My stomach/bowels will speak to me after I’ve eaten, before I’ve eaten, almost all day long and all night long. To the point that people talk to me about it or ask if I’m hungry or feed me or whatever to make it stop and no it doesn’t stop and no it has no effect but I’ll let you think it does so that we’ll stop talking about it. “And there are shadows here, feeding on your fears.”

This week I was going to the bathroom like crazy, having diarrhea 20 times in one night and that was just after eating dinner. So I decided to go to the doctor. “That you don’t have what it takes–who are you to make a change.”

I went at 3:00pm this past Tuesday and laid it all out for the good doctor. I told her about my past and my missed diagnoses. One specialist said, Ulcerative Colitis. The next said they were wrong and nothing was wrong with me. I told her that I have given up the gluten completely because when I eat it I have to run to the bathroom and pray to God I make it, I get massive migraines and become lethargic the next day with great body pains. I told her my entire history with this stupid stuff and then she did what they all do she started circling the tests she wanted to perform. “But oh, oh, don’t underestimate the God you follow.”

So I walked down to the lab where they gave me the cup to pee in, the bowl to collect the poo in and the cups to put the poo in. Then I went to the bathroom and collected all the disgusting samples and it took about 15 minutes to completely collect and fill the cups. But I was determined not to take that stuff home. “The city on a hill, it should be shining still.”

Once finished with my collection I walked back to the lab and dropped my samples off. Then the nurse proceeded to collect all my blood (not really but there were a lot of viles she was filling). Then I went back to the Lab waiting room, waiting for someone to call my name. “Every sinner saved by grace, has a purpose, has a place.”

When they called my name they took me to the X-ray where I disrobed and lay on a table in those ridiculous gowns and waited. They took the X-Ray they needed and I got dressed again. “Inside the bigger plan, we might not understand.”

I should say before she sent me to the Lab to be poked and prodded she told me what she thought. She said it could be diabetes, it could be thyroid problems, it could be kidney dis-function, it could be IBS, etc, etc. I was barely listening but I remember the big 3 “thyroid, diabetes and IBS.” She said she was sending me for labs and that we would talk on Monday once she got all the Labs back. Then she sent me on my way to THE LAB. “But if we just keep walking on, we will see the kingdom come.”

I have to tell you while sitting in the Lab and while getting my X-Ray and while driving home I was FREAKING out. Sure this has happened to me before. The first time my mom was there with me, the second my good friend Vicky was there and this time I have friends in the state and all over the country I can talk to about it. But I felt truly alone and scared. So scared. “Whatever you do just don’t look back.”

I kept thinking about the times before, the diagnoses before, the guesses before and the non answers I was given. The last time I did this, after the clean colonoscopy my Doctor turned me away. She said I was fine. And that was it. She was done. I was fine having diarrhea all time. This was it she was done with me. I had no hope then and that feeling returned in full force this week. “Oh somebody needs the light you have.”

When I got home, after being released at 5:00pm, I called my mom and talked with her. I wrote a note to my prayer group and texted good friends and still I felt all alone and SCARED. “Whatever you do, just don’t lose heart.”

Wednesday I had to work from home because my problem was still a problem. The doctor called in the morning and said what the others had said, “you’re pretty healthy.” My kidney function was good, my urine was good (something no doctor has ever said to me), my blood glucose was fine so diabetes was out, my thyroid function was fine, so she was crossing items off the list. Leaving the one thing she thought it might be IBS but she was still waiting to for my poo to come back and some other tests so we would wait to talk diagnosis until Monday in her office. “Keep pushing back the dark.”

So Thursday I went to work and worked from work but came home early and it was a good thing I did. I got books from my low carbohydrates colleague and got on and read about IBS. Some of the symptoms fit but not all. The most disheartening thing is that I’ll have to change and limit my diet all over again. “Keep pushing back the dark.”

I’m disheartened, I’m scared, I’m feeling alone, I’m frustrated, I’m angry and I’m sad. I don’t have a diagnosis yet but what else makes sense. “Oh, oh don’t underestimate the God you follow.”

She did say that my X-Ray showed lots of bowel in my colon and lots of gas in my other intestine. No impaction, no nothing. “He is the light that burns inside your soul.”

So that’s where I am this Friday. I have the day off to get some stuff done in town and I’m excited for the day off but not the day to sit in my head and keep thinking about all of this. “So keep shining until the whole world knows.”

The song that is throughout my post has been in my head all week long, Pushing Back the Dark by Josh Wilson. I’ve heard it in the car each day to and from work, from the doctor, etc. I’ve heard it in my head when I’ve woken up each day. It has made me cry, it has given me hope and it has reminded me that the diagnosis is not yet here and that this doctor seems determined to give me an answer and hopefully she won’t give up until she has an answer.

That’s been my week. Ups and downs for sure. The ups were talking with my mom and her never ending encouragement. Sharing with friends who pray for me and send me hugs from DC, Texas and CA. Sharing with co-workers who give you cookbooks, share in your frustration and those that simply say, “That pretty much sucks.” My friends, family and co-workers are awesome.

“Pushing back the dark” of my downs. I’ll let you know the endgame when I do.

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Grief: Annoying or Necessary

Grief is one emotion that seems to never end. It’s quite annoying….or is it?

Grief gives you a chance to weep for the loss but also remember the great times.

During my time at Seminary I lost two/three Grandmothers. Grandma Vi I lost early and I’ve gotten to the place where remembering her doesn’t lead me to tears. There are moments when I cry because she’ll miss out on some important times of my life. For instance, she never knew that I got two Masters: MDIV and Recovery Ministry (which I will receive in a few weeks, I would go to graduation but its 3 hours long and my sister is getting married :)). She also won’t be at my little sister’s wedding in a few weeks.

Grandma Summers I lost late. It’s been a year now without her and my heart aches. Just thinking about her and I’m weeping. She’ll also miss Rebecca’s wedding. It will be a joyful day but also a little sad because she won’t be there. I cannot wait until I can remember her for just a moment and not be weeping.

The third grandma I sort of lost was my Grandma Shirley. She’s gone. No matter what my aunts and uncles say she’s gone. The shell of who she was is still with us and this may be the hardest grief of all. Because I still have to look at pictures of the shell. Pictures that show that’s she not really here anymore. It’s completely sad but I cannot wait for her to be with Jesus. I cannot wait until she is free from the bonds of this world. I don’t know what will happen when she gets to heaven but my hope is that her mind will come back to her and she’ll be partying with all my grandmas and grandpas in heaven. My hope is that the real her will come back and she’ll be preparing a place for me.

My cousins lost a grandfather last week, a grandfather that was ready to be with the Lord and needed to go. But a loss nonetheless. To me Grandpa Ed (he’s not really my grandpa by blood but with Ed and Dorothy blood relation means nothing and they insisted that we call them Grandpa and Grandma) was a funny guy who passed out at inopportune times. He had narcolepsy (I think) and often had attacks when he had extreme emotions. He could be anxious or excited and then he would just pass out.

The family always handled these attacks with grace, they’d catch him and then set him down and laugh it off. As a kid I was never scared when he had these attacks, of course I was never in a car while he was driving as it happened.  Around me they happened in the safety of a home and I thought they were funny. I could see how they could be scary for others but the family made it safe.

When I told Ed and Dorothy of my desire to go to Seminary they were excited for me and Dorothy encouraged me. I was not as close to Grandpa Ed as his vast family but he always made me feel a part of his family and I grieve the loss of a loving man but I am glad he is with Jesus, sitting at his feet, soaking up the words of wisdom and earning his reward.

Grief is both annoying and necessary. It’s annoying when it hits you at inopportune times like the sleeping attacks that hit Grandpa Ed. When remembering my Grandma brings tears to my eyes no matter what I’m doing, when it brings me to my knees it’s absolutely annoying. I’d like to think of my Grandma without wetness filling my eyes. No matter if I’m remembering one of my last conversations with her, calling her a dumb-ass for wanting to go grocery shopping without her oxygen tank, which I think is funny and proves how awesome our relationship was or remembering seeing her in the casket (which I’m hoping to erase from my memory banks soon). I’d like to remember my grandmother without it feeling like I just got kicked in the gut. But that’s the necessary part of grief. Grief is necessary because the process allows you to go on, to move on, and to realize that moving on is exactly what you’re supposed to do.

Let’s move out of grief for a loved one because grief is more than just the loss of a person. Grief is a process that should happen any time you lose something. Of course the grief over a lost job should last shorter than the grief over a lost Grandmother. I’ve grieved several losses in my life. One of the most important places in my life that I had to get through loss was when I was abused. I had to grieve, years later, the loss of innocence, the loss of purity, the loss of feeling safe, the loss of childhood. Even if grief happens years later it has to happen. Since going through the process of grief in this area of my life I was able to let it go. To let go of the things that were taken from me, to let go of the things that never were.

The same could be said for the loss of a loved one. It is important to get through the process of grief and to allow it to happen at whatever pace you need so that you can get beyond it, so that you can see the joy, so that you can see the lost one as they were before you lost them.

Grief can be absolutely annoying but it is also absolutely necessary.

Light

Light

31 Random Things About Me: 22-24

Check out the first post: 31 Random Things About Me

Today’s Things:

  • 22. Family is super important to me.  Family includes all of its extensions and there are lots of extensions. I was going to try to include pictures of my entire family but it would take way too long and I just don’t have that kind of time. Family has always been important to me but in recent years it has become even more important. Two grandmas have passed and one grandma has Alzheimer’s, which I think is an illness straight from the devil himself. Family members are dealing with cancer and other illnesses. Other family members are going through family upheavals and other family members are getting married. It’s a crazy time and each new thing makes me realize just how important family is.  
  • mom and grandma

    mom and grandma

  • 23. I love to give gifts. It’s not about the amount of money I spend but rather the joy someone gets when they open something from me. I give gifts because I enjoy seeing the joy cross someone’s face when they open something from me. Even if I’m not there to experience the joy I experience it in the thank you that gets sent back to me. I do not give gifts to receive gifts in return but instead because I enjoy doing it and enjoy taking care of others through gifts.
  • 24. I love both cats and dogs. I used to be terrified of all animals. It was the idea that I don’t know what they are thinking and the amount of pain that certain animals could inflict upon me. For years I feared cats and dogs but then I began to see the individuality and the need for love within. They weren’t plotting my death but were instead seeking my approval. One of my boyfriend’s had a dog, Shady, who I fell in love with. Then my sister had a dog and then I met my roommate’s cat. Now I love cats and dogs ;).
  • My former roommate Kristie's cat Eowyn

    My former roommate Kristie’s cat Eowyn

31 Random Things About Me: 10-12

To see where and how this all begin check out: 31 Random Things About Me.

Today’s Random List:

  • 10. I love my glasses. When I was in the 7th grade I had begged and pleaded with my folks to let me get contacts. They finally gave in and I got them. They were hardly easy. But I liked them. I liked wearing them but I kept scratching my eye with them. Then when they came out with the soft kind I got them. But because of my weird eye shape, or astigmatism,  the contact never stayed in place and I could be driving and all of the sudden not have clear vision even with the weighted version. So I gave up on the whole wearing contacts thing and switched back to glasses. In the beginning I hated going back to glasses but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a quiet soul but I have tons of character, my glasses are your first opportunity to see that character :). 
  • My awesome glasses ;)

    My awesome glasses 😉

     

  • 11. My favorite color is pink. I am your stereotypical girl. I love the color pink and don’t understand anyone that doesn’t :). I love hot pink and if you look in my closet you will see pink throughout.
  • 12. I absolutely love old movies! One of my favorite aunt’s (Cindy) has a great collection of old movies. As a family we would visit Colorado every summer and we would stay at Cindy’s because she has a pet free zone, which is perfect for my Dad’s allergies. Anyway, sometimes we would slip away from the group and watch old movies together: Darby O’Gill and The Little People, Some Like it Hot, Pillow Talketc. Besides the cookies, time with Grandma, the pool and other things watching movies with Aunt Cindy is a favorite past time of mine and I have fond memories of our times together.

The Decision to Move

People have been asking me for days what has triggered my decision to move to Kansas. Do I have a job lined up? No but I’m looking. What is my plan? My plan is to do CPE, try to do some ministry either part-time or on a volunteer basis, and work part-time.

I am moving home, to my parents’ house. With that comes the stigma that all 30 somethings have to deal with when moving back in with their parents. Am I a failure? No, I’ve tried really hard to find a job with no luck so that lie will not reign in me.

In essence my parents are my new roommates. It’s funny to think of it like that but they are. I’m not the same girl who was living there ages ago. I’m different. They’re different.

I’m returning home, but it’s different. I’m not returning to a child’s room nor am I returning as a child. I will always be their daughter but I’m not in my 20s or my teens any more.

When I think about moving back in with my parents I think about how I will decorate my room. I think about how I will add my art and where I will put my things. When I lived with my parents before they owned all the things that were in that room. They paid for each piece of it but now I will be bringing things I made or purchased. I don’t know if I am explaining this correctly but it will be different.

I asked my father if I could move in with them and he said yes. My mom has been offering for months but I needed to ask, I needed to make the decision. I needed to let them know that I wanted this and that I am not coming back with shame in my heart but with thanksgiving for all the things they have done for me.

I’m actually looking forward to that return as well. I’m looking forward to rediscovering what Kansas City has to offer. I’m looking forward to seeing things there with new eyes. I’m no longer a tourist or someone visiting on vacation but a resident, even if it is just for a little while.

When I left Kansas, I left to go to Seminary and to really figure out who I was. I know who I am now. I know what I like and what I don’t like. I know how strong I am. I know my insides and my outsides. I know how amazing I am and what a trailblazer I am in my field. I know that I am unique and I know that I still have lots of growing to do. I am returning as a strong woman who desires to get closer to her family and to explore what Kansas City has to offer me.

When I made this decision I had to think about everything I would have to give up and everything I would gain. I had to consider the friends I would leave behind.

I was having dinner with my friend Betsy the other day and I told her that I couldn’t choose to stay because of the friendships I have made. Some of my friends are married and some are single but my friends are not going to choose to stay in a city because I’m there and I can’t do that either.

I have loved living in Pasadena and I will surely miss all my friends and the amazing weather. I think this year we have had more rain than ever (it’s even raining now) and we have had more storms this year than ever and I have loved every minute of it. I love storms. I love listening to rain and hearing thunder. I know some people hate storms but I love them. I’m not a fan of snow but you live with what you have to.

I’m not saying that Kansas will be my permanent residence, it may be my home base or it may not. If I’m willing to follow God wherever he leads I have to be willing to leave my comfort zone, I have to be willing to leave the safety of my home and go somewhere new, somewhere different.

I’m excited to go and see what life will be like for a while. The future is wide open and I don’t know what is out there but I am excited to give it a try. I want to try to see what ministry opportunites are available in my old church or churches in the Kansas City area. I want to see what kind of fun things I can do.

I have felt God saying for a long time that I’m not meant to stay in one church. I’m meant to reach the lost and they are located everywhere. I’ve done two internships in two different churches and I loved both of them.

I’m excited to see what God will do with me in Kansas. I am sad to leave my roommate and my friends but I’m looking forward to the unknown.

I’m truly at peace with this decision. It feels like the right thing to do and the right moment to do it.

A recurring dream has me asking: Why?

I keep having this dream that is full of anxiety and angst. I’m running around trying to get everything together for a flight to a foreign land. This time I was going to Germany but I don’t remember where I was going last time.

The first time I had this dream my aunt Cindy was trying to get me to the airport so we had to go pick up my laundry and then I didn’t have a ticket and the last thing that keeps happening in these trip dreams is that I realize I don’t have my passport.

Now what’s interesting is that I actually don’t have a passport so in the dream it’s not like I left it at home, it’s more like I forgot to get one so there is no way in hell I can get on that plane and leave the country.

Last night’s dream I was stuck with lunatics, one where they threw a party for me for my birthday and they let a girl get alcohol poisoning upstairs so I kick them out but on the way out they all stop to read me a poem they had written about me even though I know none of these people. Then I somehow escape the party only to go to a rummage sale where I am kidnapped and then I try to escape a kidnapping ring (some of this could be the suspense TV show I watched before sleep). Then I end up at my parents’ house and they give me refuge and hide me from the ring. My sister also gives me all of my stuff that I will need: suitcase filled with my clothes and a packet that she swears holds everything I need for my trip.

Just as I’m about to ask if my passport is in there because Tammy’s about to be conscious and awake Tammy knows she doesn’t have her passport, I wake myself up.

Because this type of dream has happened twice and because the anxiety of the dream is so palpable and because I wasn’t able to change the dream I decided to figure out what this dream is about. I can usually change a detail in a dream if I don’t like it or if it produces anxiety but for some reason I can never change this dream.

The previous time I had this dream my aunt was taking care of things but my mother came to the rescue. This time I was lost in a world that was inhospitable but my sister came to the rescue.

In my time of trying to figure out where to go next I have been kind of stuck. I don’t want to leave my life here in California. I like my friends and my support system and the WEATHER and the location and it seems so perfect. But what has kept me here the most, and I am sorry to say it is the lie I believe that: No one wants me.

That no one will indeed come to my rescue. Now the truth of the matter is that my entire time in California my mother has come to my rescue. She has saved me from a bind more than once and she has done so out of love.

This week I was talking with my therapist about my options. It’s been a while now and I still have no job that can support me and it seems as if that won’t be changing anytime soon. I have tried hard to get jobs I want and jobs I don’t want and nothing is happening. The one job I was close to getting just turned me down and the job that might have been a shoe-in was not as it seemed. So my question has been: What now? Should I just go home, try to move in with a cousin, couch surf, or what? When is the time to say enough is enough? Am I just prolonging the inevitable?

All of these questions stem from the hardest part of it all: Am I just a burden?

I don’t want to be a burden but I realize that I am. My therapist tried to get me to see that every interaction with all people makes me a burden. But I don’t like thinking of my interactions with my friends as burdensome. Does that mean that when I hang out with Betsy over tea or dinner that I am burdening her? Does that mean that hanging out with friends is a burden to them? Does that mean being with my family, all I am is a burden?

I can’t think of my life like that. I cherish each interaction that I have with those that I love which includes family and friends.

I think he was just trying to get me to see that we all burden each other in one way or another and no matter if I move home, move in with a cousin or a grandparent, just my presence will be a burden let alone my rent free existence.

Even though I can see his method I still find it harsh.

Anyway I guess what I’m trying to say is that in this dream both my sister and my mother come to my rescue without grudge, without upset and do so because they love me.

So will someone let me live with them rent free, with the knowledge that I will be burden because they love me?

Will love be the overriding factor? …….

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