Tuesday, January 12, 2016

She Laughs without fear of the future.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31. I know through many hard and trying times I have struggled over the last several years scriptures like this one have really hit home for me. Being a mother of two girls I am so over protective of them after the horrible hurtful times I have had to endure. I read about bullying and hear stories about children getting harnessed or picked on and it breaks my heart. I know as an adult how hurtful it has been for me to read the lies and negative things written about me by a stranger, I can't even imagine being a kid going through this at school or online.  As a child I never went through things like I have as an adult. I have always been a caring person, I have always had a soft spot for anyone who has been through trying or hard times in their life. This has lead me to be hurt by people that I allowed into my life because I felt sad or bad for them, wanted to be there for them when they were having a difficult time in their own life, and just wanted to help in some way. I have always wanted to help people and be there for anyone who was going through hard time,  only later to realize I was being used or taken advantage of.  

I lost my farther and both my mom's parents, my grandmother and grandfather all within months of each other. I never took the proper time to grieve for them because I was so concerned for my mom and later it all snuck up on me. Feelings of being alone, sadness and anxiety. My father fell ill and was diagnosed with leukemia just weeks after the birth of my first daughter. He was in the hospital for a year and then they allowed him to come home for the holidays only months before what would be his last round of chemo. I cherished every moment with him when he was in the hospital and when he was allowed to come home. I am so happy I made the decision to have him with me during the birth of my daughter. My original plan was to have just my husband and mom but when it came time to deliver I felt I needed my father to be with me. I was always close to him,  being his youngest child and only daughter. He wasn't able to be present to see my brother or myself born because back then they didn't allow it. We didn't know he was ill yet but I just felt he needed to be there, just as strongly as I needed him to be with me and weeks later he collapsed at work then we found out he was sick, I realized in that moment that choice was something I will always look back on and remember, and I am so happy he got to share that with me. That I was able to have him be a part of that. Years later I had my second daughter and it was so hard not having him with me but again I could look back able to appreciate that he got to share the birth of my first daughter. 

The day my father passed away plays over and over again in my mind, my dreams and every time I hear the song that played that day. I went to visit him in the hospital it was only just a few days shy of his birthday and I would visit him sometimes a couple times a day at this point. He had gotten pneumonia and was no longer able to speak due to being hooked up to a ventilator. It was so hard for me to see the man who was always my rock, so strong and never had I seen him shed a tear till the day my daughter was born. We all cried that day I have the video and the moment the doctor laid her on my stomach you could hear everyone in the room crying and weeping tears of joy, of happiness that she had arrived and was healthy. We were all so happy that day. While he was sick I had to see my rock the man who never cried shed tears of sadness, pain and anger. 

 On this day at the hospital I had come by earlier in the morning to visit with my daughter, he would always ask for her every day and at times during his treatments it was not advised for a newborn or baby to be around him due to his compromised immune system, but he would argue with the nurses and doctors telling them that she was what kept him fighting, he had to see her. He would wear a mask and he didn't care if she got him sick he had to see her. He would call every day around ten am, if I had not already been there to visit begging me to not forget to bring her. 

That morning I took my daughter and when unloading the stroller from the car to place her in a feather fell at my feet. I had parked far from the entrance and there was an area with a lot of trees. I never liked to park there because I would come out to bird poop all over my black car but the hospital was in the process of building a new garage and some days it was the only spot you could get. At the time the feather didn't stand out later on all these times in my life even prior to the time we found out he was sick feather stories came up. There was the time when I was seven months pregnant and walking our Jack Russel Terrier in our apartment complex, we had a lake around the back that separated the apartments from the golf course. My dog loved ducks and would chase after them like a maniac. My husband and I were heading out when he got a call so I went to walk the dog myself, we had just rounded the walk way and buildings when he saw the ducks, I was clumsy and when he went to take off I let go of the leash tripping then twisting my ankle on the edge of the concrete for the walkway. I fell to the ground landing on my stomach. The dog took off chasing the ducks with feathers flying all around me. I tried to get up but my ankle hurt so badly, I also felt pain in my leg and foot. I yelled for help but no one was around. Moments later the dog returned to my side and I tried so many times to get on my feet, finally I sucked up the pain and started to stumble towards our apartment, I was crying and so worried I had hurt the baby, or that I wasn't going to have the strength to make it to my apartment. I got to the building and at the time we lived on the second floor, I couldn't make it up the stairs so I just yelled to my husband and finally he heard me. I remember he came running down the stairs, he said I was covered in dirt, had scrapes all over my legs and arms, he immediately drove me to the hospital. When laying in the emergency room waiting for my doctor they brought me a gown to change into and when I removed my clothes a feather fell out of my top landing at my feet. My husband asked me where it came from and I told him it must have been from when the dog chased after the ducks, I had a vivid memory of the feathers flying all around me after I fell because the dog had chased after the ducks. This is just one of many feather stories. I have also had an on going experience with butterflies that stands out like the feather stories. I don't want to drag into endless stories of things that made me feel they had some type of connection or were a message I would be here for hours. 

Back to that day, after my visit with my daughter I went home to feed her lunch and lay her down for nap. Later that evening after dinner my friend called me to go to the gym. I told her I was going to pass by and visit with my dad so my mom could go have dinner with some of her friends that had come to visit then I would come pick her up for the gym. I arrived and spent an hour or so alone with my dad while my mom went close by for a quick dinner. He couldn't speak but we sat together holding hands, he cried and wrote several messages on his dry erase board for me. When my mom arrived back from dinner I remember kissing him on the forehead then saying to him I love you, I will see you tomorrow. As I turned to walk away he grabbed my arm and squeezed it tight looking at me with this sadness and pain. I wiped the tears from his face and told him don't be said daddy I will be back, I love you. I then leaned down and whispered to him not to worry about me I was going to be okay. I left feeling more emotional then usual, I remember getting into my car and rolling down the windows then I heard the song on the radio. I turned it up and as I sang along to the song I got goosebumps all over, I suddenly was filled with such strong emotions I began to cry. The song was by Pink Floyd, On the turning away. I pulled into the parking space in front of my friends apartment just as the song ended, I looked up from the steering wheel and saw her on the phone standing out front. As soon as I saw her face my heart sank, I knew what was happening. The rest is blurry to me but I remember getting out of the car and she grabbed me, hugging me and telling me she was so sorry. Moments after I left probably before I even was out of the parking lot my father passed away. I returned to the hospital to sit with my grandma and mom but my mom sent me home she didn't want me to see him like that and they hadn't removed his body from the room. I play that moment in the car over and over again in my mind so often. Was he telling me good bye? Was it a sign or just a coincidence. The song, a song we both loved and had sung together in the car, while working in the garage together, the lyrics to the song had such deep meaning and just the feeling that came over me. 

Before I lost my father I never really felt like I had bad luck. Like how you have those streaks where nothing feels like it is going right or you just feel like everything that could go wrong happens. After that day I felt like I was in a nightmare or a path of destruction. The day of my father's memorial service we were running late and got a flat tire getting off the exit. There was a strip of wood with nails and of course we ran it over then blew out the tire. I almost missed my own father's funeral. Then my aunt showed up drunk and caused a scene, I was left to deal with her because my mom just couldn't which lead to a huge argument. Just what I needed after the day I had already had. Then months later my grandfather had a heart attack and passed away within days, then my Aunt's long time boyfriend who was like an uncle to me, had been fighting a brain tumor and cancer, he lost his battle that same week my grandfather passed away. Then that week was 9/11 so I missed both funerals due to closer of airports and flights being a mess. My mom told me when she arrived home that she was going to move to Vero Beach which was two hours from my home to take care of my grandmother who had found out years earlier she had hepatitis C from a blood transfusion she had when she was younger. Not long after she passed away also. It had been the worst year of my life. 

It took me awhile for it all to really sink in and hit me, around the time my daughter was three I got super depressed. When my father passed away my daughter was a year old so almost two years I had buried myself in work, my hubby worked 12-16 hours a day and my mom was living two hours away. After my grandma passed she decided to job in her old apartment till they decided to sell it. I think being alone so much and really being over stressed I finally just lost control of my emotions. It took me awhile to realize what was going on. It wasn't till I decided to seek counseling from a psychologist that I realized I had never taken the time to mourn. Just think I had a baby and within weeks find out my father is terminally ill. Then the year and a half that followed was filled with lows and loss. One struggle after another. Once I met this doctor and he started telling me all kinds of things like how my hormones must have been all over after the birth of my daughter, then the not grieving the loss of my father and grandparents it was a miracle I had not fallen apart sooner. I was so ashamed of myself at first. I would cry myself to sleep, or break down in the shower before work, a song would play on the radio and I would become so overwhelmed with emotions or anxiety it would make me sick. After a month or two he had prescribed me lexapro and I started going to grief counseling. During that time before my treatment I would wake of filled with fear and anxiety, it was the scariest feelings ever. I had given up on my dreams and was working at Home Depot just pushing myself to get out of the house. I lost so much weight I looked sick, I am 5'8 and healthy normal weight for my height or body is around 130-140 I was a 118 lbs. It took me a little over a year before I weaned off the medicine and felt myself again but I will never be 100% hole again. I miss my dad so much it hurts just to talk or think about him. It has never gotten easier only harder for me because every milestone or holiday I miss him so deeply. 

Years later we had our second child. My first born was almost eight when she was born, I had a long difficult pregnancy. My ankle I had fractured during my first pregnancy thanks to my dog chasing the ducks started bothering me in my second trimester and the more weight I gained the more it hurt. I was sick morning and night but worked up until my fifth month of pregnancy before deciding it was time to stop. At the time I was waiting tables I had bartended before I found out I was pregnant but didn't want to be behind the bar or around cigarette smoke so I switched to waiting tables and the lunch shift. After my second daughter was born I had a hard time my baby was born with acid reflux and colic, she would cry all the time and didn't sleep longer then a couple hours at a time. When she was three months old I had to take her to a specialist for the reflux and I remember her crying the entire 35 minute drive, for another twenty minutes trying to find parking and then in the waiting room while I tried to fill out the paper work. One of the women waiting in the office looked at me and said don't you have a pacifier for her! I lost it. I started yelling at the women telling her don't you think if she would take one I would have given it to her or if I could get her to stop crying I would have. Then they called my name and I hadn't even half way finished filling out the papers. The nurse took a look and told me take a seat and when you're done we will call you back, I broke down. I started crying and was telling her I couldn't focus because of the baby crying then told her how she cried the entire way, the nurse took me straight back to the room and they sent in a female doctor who was trying to calm the baby and myself down. They were so worried they called my husband at work and told him he needed to come to the office. He of course couldn't come he was tied up at work and doesn't have a job he can just leave like hey my wife is at the doctor with our baby and she lost it because the baby hasn't stopped crying. I pulled myself together and endured the long ride home with the baby crying again the entire ride. When we got home she passed out probably from all the crying and that's when I called the same doctor I had gone to when I was struggling after losing my dad. Within weeks that doctor and my gyno diagnosed me with postpartum depression. It was not the severe form but 100% I was suffering from the stress and hormonal imbalances. I didn't want to take medication but after much consideration I took it because I was worried for my older daughter she was watching me cry every day and I didn't want it to harm her down the road. One day when I couldn't get her sister to stop crying she looked at me and said you wanted another baby not me. I couldn't believe it, an eight year old saying that. Luckily I got help with that and my baby eventually grew out of the reflux and colic phase. 

When she was six months old we bought our current home and gutted it doing a full remodel. For years I had dabbled in interior design and at the time had started baking cakes, doing event planning and decorating for parties or corporate style events. It had taken off and I had so much work that once we finished the house I started my own business. For several years I had amazing success and luckily didn't have any issues with my anxiety or feelings of depression. During this time I was also battling with major health issues.  I had been having chronic migraines, pain and fatigue.  I had exhausted doctors, tests, labs, and specialists only to be looked at like I was crazy.  They saw this young healthy woman and couldn't imagine I would have anything wrong with me.  I know my body and I knew something was wrong, this led to anxiety and depression.  I would pray the evening before my doctors appointments for them to find answers or be able to help me with my issues only to leave crying or frustrated because they didn't listen to me, believe me or help me.  I would hear I needed to see a psychiatrist that my symptoms sounded like depression.  I had been depressed before when I lost my dad and after the birth of my second daughter this wasn't the same.  Sure I felt feelings of depression, when you spend days laid up in pain, wake up with no energy or spend days with a chronic migraine unable to do anything it will make you down.  Seeing all your friends on social media out enjoying life while you lay feeling bad is not fun.  I felt so alone I would call my friends and they would tell me take a shower and get dressed that will make you feel better, I had done that many times it was not going to take away the pain, numbness and tingling or scary feelings I had that something was really wrong.

After years of pushing I finally met a doctor who ran some tests and came back that my hormonal levels were all very off and he also diagnosed me with fibromyalgia.  I didn't feel good about this diagnosis because the more I read it was more of a diagnosis you get when doctors really can't explain what is going on.  I started the botox injections for my chronic migraines and this helped me a lot and I was able to return to working full time, but my immune system was still low I would catch everything and it would be times ten of whatever the person I caught it from got.  Then last year in November ( a year ago this passed Thanksgiving) it all started to catch up with me.  I had been to see several specialists and was actually scheduled by an MS specialist to have numerous tests, studies, labs and scans done.  I had woken up with numbness and tingling in my right arm and one morning couldn't even move it for hours.  Thought maybe I slept on it wrong.  Then I got a call from my primary doctor telling me my Lyme test had brought back a positive but sometimes this happened so they wanted to retest me along with testing me for Lupus which had similar symptoms.  I went for the  labs again but this time the lyme came back negative and the Lupus test as well.  On Thanksgiving Day I had collapsed in the kitchen while baking and had difficulty getting up from the dinner table after eating.  I had gone to bed early exhausted from baking and putting the christmas tree up with the kids, but woke up to use the bathroom and collapsed on the bathroom floor.  I went to the ER and they did a series of scans and MRI's my leg was numb I couldn't' even feel it when I touched it only with my hand but my leg didn't feel it, the only time I felt like this was after my epidural after my girls.  It started to wear off after several days but then I was told by the doctor that a spinal tap needed to be done that they were pretty sure I had MS.  I had heard this a few months earlier and was putting off the spinal tap because I was completely scared of the needle and the answers.  For once I almost didn't want to know but I knew I needed answers,  I was so close to finding out what was wrong and what was causing me so much pain, discomfort and other symptoms.

After the test I had a headache for days and was laid up still struggling with numbness and tingling in my right side of my body.  Getting the results was hard and then I had to see the rheumatologist to only find out I also had Sjorgen's syndrome.  This explained the flair ups of dry eyes, mouth and the soreness I would get in my mouth, with cracking lips and dry tongue.  At first the medicine was a nightmare, the side effects were the worst I had ever experienced from any medications.  Then to find out after six months of infusions, injections and medications that the treatment had not been affective was so depressing, I literally spent days in bed depressed.

I had to take some time off and a much needed break to gather my strength up again for new treatments and more side effects but things have been better this time around. I am having trouble sleeping, I am only 38 turned 38 in August and pre menopausal, scary but cool too no more period isn't bad but hot flashes and weight gain not fun. I am currently working on joining support groups and starting my own maybe. I take every day one-second, one minute and one hour at a time. My doctors want me to file for disability and quit my working something I am considering but I love my job so much. I know it would take a lot of stress off me and hate missing work or looking unreliable. It has been so nice to have a career I love and something I am passionate about. It would give me more family time and more time for my blog along with my new business adventure I have been working on launching. I'm a goal digger and hustler at heart so I will be doing something no matter what. I am happy I got to share a little of my story with everyone and please know you are never alone. Everyone is struggling or battling something you don't know about, no one has a perfect life no matter what they may portray on social media or online sites. We all have experienced loss, depression, illness, heartaches, some form of bullying, harassment or haters. You can't escape it its just life. You're only choice is to deal or just keep private. Me personally,  I love to share the things I love, enjoy and I am passionate about. I won't be going anywhere anytime soon.  I am sorry.

Keep an eye out for all these lovely tees by the Light Blonde in upcoming feature and blog posts. Also on my daily ootd posts on Twitter and Instagram. I have some great styles for each tee lined up for my upcoming shoot and am so thankful to the owner of Light Blonde, Ali for allowing me to collaborate and feature her amazing positive message tees. Check out her Instagram @TheLightBlonde, right now she has a limited edition Lovers gonna Love tee like mine but in white and red instead of ivory and burgundy. Perfection for Valentine's Day or just everyday. Love you all and thank you to everyone who has supported me, given me strength and been so kind to me. Means the world. Please everyone be respectful of my post, it took a lot to share my loss of my dad, story of being bullied and slandered, along with my health issues. I really don't want negativity or rude comments. If you are part of the mean girls group save it for another time please. Just think before you comment and remember words hurt people deeply. If you have nothing nice to say don't say anything. My mama and Grandma taught me that growing up. You should always treat others with the same kindness and respect you want to be treated with. Then like I started this post with passage from the bible, I am clothed in strength and dignity, I laugh without fear of the future.  I have been through so many hard times and still have strength to come out on top, nothing is going to stop me.  No one is going to hold me back with petty lies and BS, I just pray for them that they find some inner peace in their soul the same way I did when dealing with them to move on.  It was the best thing I ever did and I feel so much better inside about everything.  Every day I miss my father a little more and have memories of him all the time.  If a song plays, the smell of fresh cut grass ( he owned a lawn service and landscaping business), I see someone who looks like him from far away, or anything that just reminds me of him.  Now instead of feeling down I appreciate the memories and try to enjoy the moment.  Take care and Bless you all. XoXo 😘💋

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