Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'd Rather Experience the Arrival of Fall

Writing for pleasure, it seems, is becoming like a chore. Or, it's something I have to make time to do or it just pops into my head at one random moment. Lately, writing for pleasure or for this blog is something that occurs on a whim. I can't schedule it; make time for it, because I think it makes time for me. The conundrum of daily life, the daily grind, and the stuff that keeps us busy from the other stuff we want to enjoy, that's the premise of this piece. It's a departure from the usual posts. I'm sure there's a Bible verse woven in here somewhere and also a bit of faith to tap into, but it's not blatant. More or less, it's just cathartic release. 

Pausing for a moment to see the view.

Do you ever have a problem stepping away from the daily grind?
Do you get to the point where you're too connected to unwind?
It feels like things won't get done,
So you read your email, every last one. 
It's as if the tasks will never be complete,
So it's with your own self you compete. 
I sometimes get lost in the groove,
My stress, my fear dares me to move. 
Clackity-clack, my fingers type
If I don't, you'll hear me gripe!
But I don't want to do it at all,
I'd rather experience the arrival of Fall. 
So, my darling, put me at ease 
Help me let go of this nonsense, please. 
Together we deserve so much more,
you, my attention and we should soar!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Pulsating Joy of Life: Part 1

The promise of this blog is to inspire and encourage. Some of the best advice and encouragement I receive comes from people who speak from experience. This is part one of a series called “The Pulsating Joy of Life” based on my recent experience with health scares, doubt, the struggle of faith and the ultimate joy of living each and every moment. The series isn’t designed to take away any other person’s experience with illness and recovery, but rather it’s to open up a dialogue about real fears, emotions, and the struggle to rise up in hope. 

"It might be cancer."

On Friday, November 14, 2014 at approximately 4:25 in the afternoon, I heard those words. 

"I wish I had better news," the nurse practitioner said.

"Any news is better than no news," I heard myself say. At some point, I felt my whole being go from calm, academic and collected to a tailspin downward spiral of emotions.  I was already crying when I hung up the phone. It was an ugly cry, like one of those mascara smearing, 'what the f***?' kind of cries. 

It might be cancer. I had to wrap my brain around it. I already knew only 1% of the population is diagnosed with this kind of cancer. Really, it won't kill me and it's the best cancer to have in that regard. It may not even be cancer. 

But, it might be cancer. 

The symptoms are so vague that my doctors have been treating the symptoms for years. It's a laundry list: fatigue, anxiety, forgetfulness and memory fog. The laziness feels so draining sometimes I will skip a meal just because I am too tired to move. 

I work an overnight shift. I should be tired. I should feel lazy. So, why on Earth would anyone think anything may be wrong? 

Well, I trust my gut. I trust my instincts. I found a doctor and the first lab results came back with one major concern. My calcium levels were high. 

"I am not well," I told my Mom. I rarely felt well. I winced at the thought of cooking, even though I love to cook. 

So, then I had another blood test, and then another. My blood calcium kept increasing. Then, there is a little something called parathyroid hormone (PTH). It was up too. Not a lot, but enough. 

I started to forget simple words, events, and slept through my alarms. All of them. I missed an event I promised to be at. Not being well started to affect my relationships. I hurt the people I wanted to protect and love. 

Immediately, I was referred to a hospital for special imaging. Well, thanks to bad information several weeks went by. Then, I spent nearly seven hours of my life under examination. 

Radiology at Baylor University Medical Center
The exams are intense, almost like being trapped in a space shuffle beaming off to some far off galaxy. I was strapped in, covered with warm blankets and told to hold perfectly still. I hate tight spaces. I don't do that well, and instead of shaking and freaking out, I did it. I had too. One wrong move and maybe I would never know what was wrong with me. 

They stuck a freaking IV in me. I looked down at that thing and suddenly it became real. Something is wrong with me and we are trying to figure out what it is. 

By the time I got to ultrasound, I was emotionally drained and now I had this glue stick kind of device pressing on my neck. A gooey glue stick looking for tumors. The radiologist walked in and consulted with the ultrasound technician. I'm thinking, ‘Hello, I am right here!'

Suddenly I hear, "Show me the right lower side."

"Ok, this is what we are looking at - maybe it could be right there." 

"Now, show me the upper left."

"What is that?"

"It might be this."

The radiologist explained to me she needs to compare my other results. Then, they both leave the room. 

Here I am, lying on this table with goo stuck to my neck. It's gross. Then it hit me, "I have two."

Two of what, I didn't know, but it probably wasn't anything to worry about. I did my research and I knew it all could be fixed with surgery. After all, it's not cancer. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Letting Go of Selfish Frustration

I got busy. I never thought I would become so busy, so tired, so fatigued and distracted to stop writing on this blog. Writing, for me, is like breathing, or medicine, or some sort of necessity. Somehow, I found temporary fulfillment in Facebook and Twitter posts. When, at the end of the day, God calls me to put more on a page than 140 characters. I forgive myself though, because we all get busy. If my goal is for my posts to help and encourage others, then shouldn't I allow myself to do that however it makes sense at the time? Then, that's what I did. 

This topic is about reacting instead of responding, it's about feeling things in the moment and letting the fear control our response. It's important that we all understand the necessary step of kicking fear to the curb, owning up to our own responsibility and stop blaming the rest of the world for the difficulties we are in. 

Grace will help you move forward, and me too. 

Originally Drafted June 2, 2014

I feel guilty in the instant I realize it’s happened. I reacted. Something someone said, did, or my circumstance in the moment triggers a reaction and before I know it, I’m in a tug of war with the words coming out of my mouth. 
I really let work get to me today, and in the process I forgot about using “I” statements and threw around the word “you” a little too much. 

“You talk so fast, I can’t process what you’re saying!”
“Maybe you can delegate more?”
“I know you have a lot on your plate, but…”

I know I’m not alone. It happens to us in our relationships with our spouses, our children, and with even mere strangers. I like to call it selfish frustration. We turn the annoyances of our situation on everyone else, because in that one moment we think, “How could it possibly be because of me?!”

Grace is a word I throw around a lot on this blog and in everyday life. Really, I should throw it outwards and to people a little more often. It’s easier said than done, I know. 

Even though I recognized my statements were not helping my situation, I didn’t immediately apologize. Instead, I seek forgiveness from God and ask Him to guide me through my next encounters. Dear God, please help me to respond with calm when I run into difficult situations. Give me a second to breathe and think about what I’m saying. Amen.

It’s just a simple prayer, but it’s one I hope to tuck into the recesses of my brain to be able to pull out at any point. All it requires is about 10 seconds of breathing!