Awake again …

Meningitis makes you tired. Very. It’s not just during the active part of the virus either. At least not for me. The two times I have had it the fatigue lasted a very long time. The first time it took me about 8 months for my family to really notice a difference. That’s a long time. And I think that must be my standard. Where I felt the heaviest of my fatigue pass in about April this, 6 months after I was diagnosed, my mornings remained very difficult.

I have ALWAYS been a morning person and for most of my life I’ve needed less sleep than is typical. But not since October. And it has been a hard adjustment. Don’t get me wrong, I am very pleased, as are all my doctors, with my recovery. I’ve done exceedingly well. I am beyond grateful. But the struggle I’ve faced waking up has been a real life changer. I decided sometime in May to make peace with it. It wasn’t what I wanted but I had to accept that the old me “morning me” may never return. I needed to forget about the woman who bounced out of bed in the morning before most people in her timezone ever woke up, HA! I needed to be thankful for all the extra hours God had so generously given me in the past to enjoy my day. I needed to move on and embrace the me that was left after surviving another of life’s battles. And I did. 

The came June. I’m needing less sleep and rising with a familiar energy that seems like I’ve found a long lost friend. I’m enjoying the silence of a sleeping home again. I’m working out earlier. I’m getting more accomplished throughout my day. I can’t say I’m 100% myself, but I am pretty darn close. And I really couldn’t be happier.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel AWAKE again!!!

Proud … 

If I had to describe this past school year I would describe it as CHALLENGING. It started off as any other year had … and then craziness ensued. Getting sick is one of the most selfish things I could have ever done to my kids, my family and my friends. It derailed all of us.

Do I really believe it was my fault?

No. Of course not. But I still feel a tremendous sense of guilt especially when it comes to my kids. They needed me and there were days when I could hardly lift my head. My heart broke each time I couldn’t do something for them. I was angry when they had to struggle without me. They had to step it up and do so much on their own. Things that I normally would do for them or with them. They missed out on our talks. Moments that they used to deflate from their day or share their excitements. They handled stress and problems without me. Again. It broke me.

Today my son George graduates from high school. Goodness I love this kid of mine! He is gentle, kind, compassionate and brilliant. And throughout this past school year he grew into so much more. He matured naturally but also because he had to. He didn’t fight it. He never acted out. He wasn’t bitter. He just went with it. He helped so much. He took on so much. And he accomplished so much. As painful (and wonderful) as it is to admit this, my baby boy grew up in what seems like a few short months. He had to.

Today feels surreal. I want to cry because it’s over and cry from a sense of relief. This was a tough school year but George did it. He finished despite the curve balls life threw at us. And he somehow managed to thrive.

If we are lucky, as parents, sometimes we get a glimpse of reassurance that our kids are READY to take on the world. They get it. They can do this. Those moments when we see clearly that they are exactly what God meant them to be in this time and in this place. I gratefully had many of these moments this school year. They came as a result of time and nature but also out of pain and need. I don’t believe anything happens by chance so I cannot look back on this school year bitterly. All the events that unfolded have delivered us to this day. My baby boy’s graduation day. He got here precisely how he needed to and in a way that has left him better and more capable. What an amazing young man he has become. Indeed.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are proud!!!

A dream filter …

I’ve been wearing my glasses a lot lately. Which also means I take them off a lot. I only need them for distance. I still wear my contacts but I have found that since I got sick in October that I see much better up-close without them. Weird, but true. However, this can be quite shocking when I forget to put them on after reading and just start walking around like a normal person. Whoa!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t feel like someone suddenly switched you to a dream filter on a photo-editing app!!!

Happily and gratefully sitting this one out …

I’ve been quiet about this but here goes. About 10 days ago I got sciatica on my left side (now about 95% resolved). It threw my walking off onto my “bad” foot. The one I broke twice and sprained more times than I can count. Did I mention the arthritis? Oh yeah, that too. Anyway, it worried me because I’ve been warned that that foot can easily break again, even if compromised just a little.

Unfortunately, as a result of the uneven walking I had some pain in that foot by my 5th metatarsal along the outside of my foot. I also had traveling pain that occurred next to the arthritis in my 1st metatarsal and in the ball of my foot. I described it as a lava lamp of pain. It was never constant or in the same place. Well, early Monday morning I woke up with what felt like the beginning of a foot cramp. I jerked my foot up and then felt a horrible pain shoot through my second and third toes and up the 3rd metatarsal (where my old break was). I immediately thought the worst. I broke my foot. AGAIN.

With my race less than a week away I went in for x-rays. When the first image of my foot went up on the screen, I said, “There it is!” Like a beacon of light, I could see the problem staring back at me. A break. The tech couldn’t confirm the break but asked how long I had had pain there. I told her since 3 am that morning.

I didn’t receive the official results until the next day and spoke with my ortho. I was confused because my results stated “no acute fracture” but a new stress fracture was also clearly noted. The medical social worker in me likes all these details answered. It comforts me. But what I was told shocked me beyond belief … and then gave me a clarity, I never knew I needed.

My ortho said that the reason my results stated “no acute fracture” was because I didn’t break my foot Monday. In his estimate, I broke it 2-3 months ago.

SAY WHAT?!?!

I was utterly baffled and so was he. Up until the sciatica I had only some pain in my feet on my long run days. By the next morning I was fine. I’ve told my family and friends repeatedly that this has been my least painful marathon training EVER. I definitely did not push myself nearly as hard has I normally do. Don’t get me wrong. Anytime you run 18 and 20 miles, you are pushing yourself, HA! But trust me, I let a lot go this training. I was just happy and thankful to be healthy enough to run distance again.

I’ve had some doozies in my life. Many things I cannot explain. Experiences I like to call GOD MOMENTS. This is one of them.

After the getting meningitis in October and the terrible drug reaction that followed I knew that I needed this training. And not just to help me get stronger physically. I needed it to heal me mentally. I was scared I’d never feel like myself again. I was scared of getting meningitis a third time! And what would it rob me of then?!?! I wanted my kids to have their mom back. Their healthy, happy, active mom. Heck, I WANTED HER BACK! And the only way I knew how to find her again was to literally run back to her. So after clearing it with all my doctors, I did. I began marathon training in late January.

Almost every training day I was forced to face my fears and I had to fight through a brutal fatigue. There were days when I straight up questioned my judgment. And sanity. There were days when I wondered if I was doing more harm than good. But I ran anyway. I honestly couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my family and friends. I finished a training that I never thought I could finish and was able to put my demons to rest. And God was with me the whole time. I truly believe that He protected me from the pain of the initial break to give me exactly what I needed to fight the thoughts in my head. I believe He revealed the break to me now to show me that He’s been healing and protecting me more than I ever knew. That He is capable of more than I can ever understand in my humanness. He humbles me with these gifts. And I am so thankful.

So the big question that now remains is, “Will I run my ninth marathon on Sunday?” The answer is, “Probably NOT”. Despite there being no medical reason I cannot run Sunday I think I want to pass on this one. My foot still hurts, in my opinion, too much to run a full marathon. And after everything that has been revealed to me over the past 24 hours I think that I discovered that the race itself was never the real lesson. God was all about teaching me and growing me through the journey. That’s just how He rolls.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you happily and gratefully sit this one out!!!

$#!% just got real …

I know I’ve been training, but I still find my upcoming race a bit surreal. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far. Being sick is so fresh in my memory. Heck, I don’t even feel completely like myself yet. But here I am. Less than three weeks until race day. WOW. Today I even received a race day information email. HOLY MOLY. That certainly drove home my reality. Whoa.

Well, I hope you all have a day where $#!% just got REAL!!!

Six years later and still going strong … 

Today is my 6-Year Blogiversary. I can’t believe it. What started off as a few friends encouraging me to formally do something with my qwerky daily well wishes has turned into so much more. It has truly become my hope. There are days when I don’t want to find one positive thing to say about my world. But this blog has motivated me to do it anyway. It has been a gift. A very unexpected gift.

Six years ago today I set out to do a daily blog. A place to find hope for each new day. Even if it was silly or not very hope-filled, I still wanted to keep at it every day. As the years passed I often wondered what would stop this daily writing streak of mine. I didn’t know. But unfortunately I found out last Fall exactly what would stop me.

I was recovering from my second round of meningitis. At first I found myself able to blog daily even through my hospitalIzation but a terrible drug reaction set me back. WAY BACK. I was so sick I couldn’t stay awake for more then a few minutes at a time. It aggravated the pain still lurking in my head from the encephalopathy. I couldn’t stay focused and I had ringing and buzzing in my ears. I was a mess so I reluctantly decided that I wasn’t going to blog until I got better. It took 21 days before I was able to write again.

There were days early on when I didn’t miss blogging one bit. Rest and sleep was all I wanted. That made me so sad. But what made me even sadder was when I became well enough to be aware that I couldn’t keep it up. That my body and mind were not THERE yet. So I waited and thought about the many times when my little blog had pulled me through tough days. I was so grateful to have THIS THING and for the people who encouraged me to start it in the first place. And for the kind souls who actually read my blog entries. Their comments on and involvement with these penned words of mine mean the world to me. And only after having to give it all up did I realize how much this blog had become a part of me … and I missed it dearly. It wasn’t until those 21 days that I realized how important it is that we lift ourselves up EVERY SINGLE DAY. We need to force ourselves to see the good in our lives, even if we don’t want to. Whether it is written on paper, spoken out loud or a thought in our head. Finding even a shred of something we can be hopeful about will do our souls good. I have lived THIS for 6 years now, probably longer. And I can tell you that those 21 days without a conscious decision to diligently seek that hope out were some of the darkest days that I have ever known.

So when will I stop blogging again? I can honestly say that I don’t know. I’ll certainly know it when that day comes around again. But until then, I’ll just keep writing and running and hoping my way through each new day.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate that you’re still going strong!!!

Changed for the better …

I have been fighting a cold all week. Yuck. Unfortunately this little virus has made the residual fatigue left from the meningitis, that much worse. Sadly, I had this problem before. For the first few years, after my initial bout, anytime I’d catch a minor cold I would get very fatigued and experience stiffness in my neck. Yuck, yuck. But it’s OK, it passes. It’s also a good reminder that I’m still not 100% myself yet. “Good” meaning that it reminds me that I still need to cut myself some slack regarding my recovery. I can be very impatient with myself. If I’ve learned one thing from recovering from this virus (twice) it’s that it teaches you to be patient. To slow down. And be kind to yourself. It’s truly a life lesson in self care. Or two, in my case. HA! Anyway, my kids know that I’ve been struggling a bit this week and have been great. They have kept me laughing and have been super helpful. These kids have such kind hearts. I am truly blessed.

Last night Libs and I stayed up later than we had hoped to. We were pretty busy and at the end of our night when we were chatting we both realized that time had gotten away from us. It was late and we both needed sleep! I set my alarm clock and fell straight to asleep. I woke up once at 2 am and fell back to sleep right away. Which is unusual for me. Sadly, if I wake up, I’m up! Another indicator that I am not feeling like myself. 

Well, the next thing I know it’s 6:25 am! I accidentally set my alarm for 6:30 am, not 5:30 am. Ugh! I bolted from my bed to make sure G3 and Libs were awake but what I found completely shocked me! Both kids were not only awake and ready for school, Libs had already left! She even remembered that she has her first a physical therapy appointment this afternoon and brought extra clothes to change into. HOLY MOLY!

Now granted, Libs and G3 are teenagers in high school but this completely blew me away. There were days early in my recovery that they had to be quite independent. But as I got better we started to assume the same routines again. I guess it all stuck with them. Their independence has surprised me time and time again since October. Which is GREAT since G3 leaves for college in August. Their compassion and their ability to read when they need to “step it up” to help another person has been incredible. My kids had great hearts before I got sick, but since then, it has made them so much more in tune with the needs of others. And they willingly put themselves out, to help.

Meningitis is an awful unpleasant terrible experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But I can’t deny that it has positively influenced all of us. It has fostered determination, independence and compassion. Things that I never thought that we lacked in our hearts. Which you would think should frustrate me, but it doesn’t. Why?!?! Because I know that no matter how “evolved” we think that we may be, God can still prepare us for even bigger things. Things that we can’t see or understand without change. And I like that. I like knowing that God has more planned for us and that we aren’t done becoming the people we are meant to be. For me, it makes all the struggles … worth it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you change for the better!!!