Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What Grace can I share?

I've been sick with an upper respiratory illness since July 6th.
And panic stricken with anxiety for a while before that.
My blood pressure has also been on the rise.
I'm sleep deprived from waking in terror, at God knows what, 
at 3:00am every night.
I'm short tempered... more so than usual, due to that deprivation.
The grand kids, the lord bless them, have felt it more than anyone.

I don't like being sick. It worries me. Why am I always sick? Am I always sick?
Am I being overly dramatic and simply being a hypochondriac?
I post a lot about feeling unwell on this blog.
Write what you live...Live what you write...is this true?
What about this one ...What you think about is what you live with?
Or What your thoughts dwell on is what you will experience in your life?
Am I causing my own misery?

Here's the thing-
I don't like appearing weak. Or needy. Or depressed. 
Or dumb or stupid or lazy or wrong.
Or having anxiety.
I have had issues with anxiety most of my married life. 
I would like to place some of the blame for that on him.
We lived a volatile existence for nearly 28 years, him and I.
Too much alcohol and not enough talking or praying or trusting from either of us.
I did the best I could with what I had to work with at the time.
I will say the same goes for him.

But he got well...ahem..."We" got well, and my anxiety has remained.
I just worry about different things now.
Grand kids becoming ill or dying. Car accidents or maybe a relative getting murdered. Tornado's or house fires or dropping dead from a heart attack. 

What is this madness???

Friday at my doctor appointment I was offered an olive branch by the Nurse Practitioner.

I told ya'll about feeling dismissed by my doctor a couple of weeks ago.
How she only wanted to prescribe me anti-anxiety meds...how she said that some people just have anxiety, and how I didn't really agree with her statement. 
I wanted a diagnosis; a reason FOR the anxiety.
Plus, I was too afraid to tell her that I am afraid of anxiety meds.
How's that for a statement?? I have anxiety over anxiety medication.

Anyway the Nurse Practitioner sat with me and listened to me. 
I told her about the rushing sound in my ears. I told her that the sound of my own heartbeat in my ears is starting to drive me mad...like the story of the Tell-Tale Heart. 
I told her about my headaches and my sleepless nights and gasp! I even told her about my 3:00am anxiety attacks.

When she touches my overheated skin with her icy cold hands I feel relief.
I feel a healing element pulsing beneath the touch of her fingers.
And it feels like compassion. It feels like grace. And it feels like I want to cry.

She discovers both eardrums filled to the brim with a thick glue like fluid.
"Have you had this since July?" she asks me
"Well it's no wonder you can't hear anything besides your heartbeat. It's also why you're not sleeping. The fact that you have an infection in your ears from this fluid plus the aggravation from the noise of that fluid pounding against your ear drums is causing you to lose sleep.
You need to sleep" she tells me. "Not sleeping is also causing your blood pressure to rise."

She prescribes a strong antibiotic, and also Mucinex to thin the fluid in my ears and....klonipin.
Klonipin....the dreaded anti-anxiety medication.
"Try it" she tells me. "Just take one. I'm giving you a very low dose. 
And I'm only giving you ten pills.
See if it doesn't at the very least help you stay asleep so we can address this blood pressure issue." 

I stare at that bottle of pills for an hour after I get home before I crack it open.
Down at the bottom are 10 yellow pills staring right back up at me.

"Take one", he says from behind me.
But I'm afraid to, I tell him.
"Nothings going to happen except you will fall asleep" he says.
But what if I feel weird after I take it? I ask him.

It feels like a weakness to me having to rely on anxiety medication.
I'm stronger than this, aren't I??
Anxiety, the wretch, always has to have its say, doesn't it?

I take one with a full glass of water and try to convince myself that I will still be alive in the morning.
I am hopeful that I won't wet the bed due to my euphoric stupor of taking this anxiety pill and then finding myself too paralyzed by the side effects to walk and too drugged to do anything but lay there and drool.

Good Lord but I am a head case, right??

Want to know what really happened after I took that pill??
I went to sleep. And slept all night. For 8 straight hours.
No drooling. No paralysis. No wetting the bed. No dying. No anxiety.

So today when I had to go back for a recheck she asked me how was I doing.
My ears are much better! No more heart pounding! No more headaches. 
And the blood pressure is almost back to normal...readings are much lower.
"How's the sleeping?" she asked.
The Klonipin worked wonderfully I admitted. Would it be alright if I got a 30 day prescription?
And just like that I offered up grace to myself.
I decided that it doesn't make me weak or wrong or dumb or lazy or stupid or anything else, to need that medication. It also didn't make me feel wonky so there is that.

I'm not sure why I insist on judging myself so harshly over this issue.
But for the time being I am allowing myself to just take it one day at a time.
Hmmm....Where have I heard that saying before?

So. What grace can I share?
How about this?


Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Friday, August 4, 2017

LaCrosse

The question I posted last week was-
What beauty can I behold?

We went on a quick little getaway last weekend, him and I. Took our little dog too.
First we headed up to our favorite place Devils Lake, Wisconsin.
On the way to Devils Lake we stop at our favorite rest stop in Janesville.
We are both creatures of habit, him and I.
We know what we like and we like what we know.
Stopped there to pee, let the dog go potty, and fuel up the truck.
He grabs a diet Coke, I grab a cold Starbucks Frappucinno and we're off again.
Is there beauty in any of that?
Probably not but it did feel good to pee after 2 hours of driving....

The scenery flying by the truck windows is mostly cornfields.
There is the occasional farm or pasture full of cows or pigs...smelly, but not beautiful.
I start noticing wild flowers by the side of the road.
Pink tufted twisted weeds (the pink was exquisite), purple daisy type flowers,
pink Clover, green and white Queen Ann's Lace, iridescent grasses, yellow flowers in all shapes and sizes.
The sky is a blue that I've not seen before...so bright and clear and nary a white cloud to be seen.

We make our way to the shit box town of Ontario, Wisconsin.
Sorry but that is an apt description right there.
Just outside of shit box Ontario is a winding road that leads to an Amish village.
And by winding road I mean steep, switchback, nausea inducing roads.
Half way up the dog sits up in her car seat and gives me a look that I interpret as:
"I'm getting real dizzy and gonna vomit in a second"
Truth be told, him and I feel a little bit queasy ourselves...these roads are not for the feint of heart.
How in the world do the Amish get their horse and buggies up and down these roads??

Once we get to the top rise, we enter into Amish territory.
It's then I realize that the Amish rarely go up or down these paved switch back roads.
As there are no blacktop roads up here at the top, only gently rolling hills and gravel roads.

We see horse and buggies with the ever present orange triangle attached to the back sitting in driveways and in front of really clean barns.
There is a  young teenage boy on the road up ahead, coming towards us, driving his little buggy faster than seems safe on this road.
We see a young girl, so young!! driving a team of draft horses by herself, while a man (her father?) tosses bales of hay onto the back of their wagon.
We see house after house, all white clapboard with black shutters exclusively.
They all appear to be three level houses with outside decks on all levels along with lots of open windows and huge hanging baskets of flowers in white, pink and purple.
I see quite a few rather large kitchen gardens and a lots of wash hanging on clotheslines.
Rounding one bend in the road we come upon what appears to be an 8 year old blond boy, walking by hisself, barefoot, down the dusting gravel road.
He is wearing the typical Amish straw hat, black pants and a teal colored button down shirt.
He waves at us.
Other than that teenage boy at the beginning, and the small family working in their field, he is the only other person we have seen up here. And he's the only one that waves at us.

Coming down off of their, uh...mountain, is a lot easier than going up.
Pretty soon we are zipping down another paved blacktop highway heading to LaCrosse.
The scenery seems typical; pastureland, farms, Historical Markers, Rest Stops.
We see hills and bridges and bodies of water we can't identify, lakes, rivers, streams.
Five hours later LaCrosse appears on the horizon in front of us.
One minute we were driving down a country road, then BAM..there is the town of LaCrosse.
It is beautiful here. It appears clean. It seems uncrowded. We found our hotel without a hitch.
The bed was really comfy and there was a nice green grass area out back for walking the dog.
We were only there for the night but I can already tell you that we will come back again some day.

This seems like a long post about nothing in particular but our small trip to Wisconsin.
Maybe the real beauty was that we arrived to our destination safely, we arrived back home safely,  our dog appeared to like traveling and DID NOT actually throw up on those winding Amish roads.
Maybe the beauty was in the fact that we enjoyed each others company, the hotel was more than we had hoped for, and the passing scenery on The River Road that we took home was amazing.
Rock outcroppings, parts of the Mississippi River seen through lots of green trees and forested lands.
I wished we had taken more pictures.
We were so in awe of what we were seeing and our surroundings that neither one of us thought to even take the camera out of its bag.
Maybe there's a certain type of beauty in that too though.
At least it gives us a decent excuse to go back.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Beauty

What beauty can I behold?

I'll get back to you on this question.
We've got 5  days off together, him and I.
So we're hitting the road.
I'll post when we get back home.

Until then....
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Thanks


As I stated in yesterdays post, I'm going to try to answer a question a day from
a list I found on a blog post at (in)courage.com
Today's question is-
What Thanks can I give?

In all honesty I know that my list should be unending. It should be ten miles long. Infinity long.
But with this weird ass panic/anxiety thing plaguing me, I miss a lot of the things I should be thankful for. Some mornings I find it hard to be thankful for anything. Sleep deprivation makes me cranky.
I'm also trying to not "Should" myself so much.
You know what that is, right? Shoulding yourself or others?
It goes something like this....
You should be thankful. You should apologize. You should eat healthier. You should stop wearing clothes like that. You should read this book. You should stop swearing. You should listen to me.
You should be done by now. You should have called me. You should sit down.
You should be quiet.
You should know. You should not have said that. You should go to church.
You should leave.
The word should is like a weapon and it is often used for blaming and shaming.
I should stop using this word.

Back to the question of the day-
What Thanks can I give?
Listed in no particular order, I give Thanks for:
Milk on my cereal. Black flip-flops. My morning coffee. Cream for that coffee. Grand-kids. Shiny rocks. A Hummingbird in my garden. Comfy shorts. Blow dryers.  Praise music. Advil. Cranberry juice. Clean sheets. Sunrise. Lungs. Libraries. Slicing Apples. Wind chimes. Dogs. Bible verses. Jesus. Sisters. Shade trees. My laptop. Baby teeth. Cheese Popcorn. Cartoons.  Clouds. Instagram.
Green eyes. Green tea. Green grass. Blue eyes. Blue skies. Blue Moons. Rainbows.
I give thanks for every single breath I take. For Tap water that I always take for granted. Salt. A messy house. A clean house. Four seasons. Chinese Take-out.
My family. My best friend. My Blogger friends. For waking up this morning.

And Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly






Tuesday, July 25, 2017

These are the questions


I copied this from (in) courage-
I broke it down and rearranged it into a column of questions.

What has God tasked me with for today? 
What thanks can I give? 
What beauty can I behold? 
What grace can I share? 
What prayers can I pray? 
What injustice can I right? 
What forgiveness must I ask? 
What bitterness must I confess? 
What joy can I feel? 
What sorrow can I cast on Him? 


Here lately in my life I've felt undone. Overdone. 
Completely out of sync with myself.
Anxiety and worry are at the top of my To-Do list every day.
What if? is the question that I drag around with me all day long.
I never seem to find an answer to that question though; only more What if's.

When I read that blog post above it shocked me.
It made me realize that I've been asking myself the wrong question this whole time.   
Instead of asking myself What if?, I need to start asking myself the above questions.
Those are the questions I need to be answering, not the unanswerable and scary and unpredictable What if this happens? questions that rattle me and my peace of mind.

So...I'm going to try working on these questions and answers over the next ten days.

1. What has God tasked me with for today?
He's given me two grandchildren to play with and take care of. I will feed them breakfast and comb their hair and take them outside to play in the yard, maybe ride our bikes or take a walk around the block. When the humidity gets to be too much, we'll come back in and eat lunch and watch a movie on Netflix. Maybe we will build a new city using Lego's or play restaurant with the toy kitchen and play food. 
My anxiety causes me to have a short fuse and I am tired of being so snappish at them.

Today I will apply this Vow that I found on line-

My Vow to Soften
I’ve had enough of my hard edges.
I’m tired of straining my voice.
I’d like to loosen up and laugh a little more,
Be a positive rather than a negative.
I’d like to feel the upward curve of my lips.
I’d like to surrender control of things in which I have no control.
I’d like to let things unfold in their own time, in their own way.
I’d like to participate joyfully in this fleeting life.
I’d like to be softer
towards him,
towards her,
towards me.
I vow to listen to opinions – I don’t always have to be right.
I don’t always have to agree or have the last word.
I vow to hand over the hairbrush, the pile of laundry, the school project,
the task before us. “How would you do it?” I will ask.
I vow to step aside and respect a new approach.
Success might be difficult to see at first; I vow to keep looking.
I vow to be more accepting of quirks and mannerisms.
I vow to be more accepting of tastes and styles unlike my own.
I vow to remember he is in the process of becoming; she is in the process of finding her way.
And they are more apt to do it if I stop telling them how.
I vow to regard “weaknesses” as hidden strengths.
Inner gifts can be nurtured when I stop plotting ways to alter, change, and “improve”.
I vow to greet my family and myself with a loving smile, no matter what happened yesterday.
Grudge holding only hurts us all.
I vow to pause before correcting.
I shall take a moment to consider if the mistake even needs to mentioned at all.
I vow to stop nitpicking until it bleeds.
I vow to demand less and inquire more.
I vow to listen
Consider
and expand my thinking.
I vow to be a voice of encouragement in a demeaning world.
I vow to be a silver lining spotter in my family’s little world.
I vow to be softer today than I was yesterday—a softer voice, a softer posture, a softer touch, a softer thought, a softer timetable.
I vow to be softer towards the imperfect human being inside me and beside me.
By being softer, I can hear more, learn more, feel more, and love more.
At last I will fully see.
I will see his colors.
I will see her colors.
I will see my colors
Perhaps for the very first time.
The colors might take my breath away
Bring me to tears
and offer long-awaited peace.
I shall soften in order to illuminate the colors of the soul.
I shall soften so the human being within me and beside me can shine.


© Rachel Macy Stafford 2016



Image result for thoughts for the day



Here's to peace and vows and living in the present,
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dismissed


I tell my doctor that I am still experiencing symptoms.
I tell her I have had a sore throat for a week. I ask her if I can get a strep test.
She will forget about this 5 minutes later and I will have to remind her of this at the end of my appointment as she is getting ready to leave the exam room, with her hand already on the door knob.
She grabs a tongue depressor and her light and tells me to open wide.
I do and her next words to me are "Well that's not very wide. I'll have the tech come in and swab you."
She checks my blood pressure and tells me that it is high.
She doesn't address this issue any further.
I tell her that I have had 5 really bad panic/anxiety attacks since my last visit 6 weeks ago.
That is 5 attacks in 6 weeks.
I tell her it's hard to fall asleep because I keep "popping".
As soon as I feel drowsy, my chest constricts, then it feels like my heart is trying to jump start itself.
It makes my whole body jerk or pop. It also kick starts my adrenaline.
"That's normal" she tells me.
It's NOT normal for me though.
"Does anything help alleviate these symptoms?" she asks.
Yes, I tell her. I found this meditation practice that has you place both hands upon your heart and press down slowly and breath deeply 5 times.
"And that works?" she asks incredulously.
She wants to know if I feel this restlessness in my legs at night time.
No, I tell her. This is not Restless Leg Syndrome.
I tell her my feet can hardly sit still during the day, that it feels like I have too much caffeine in my system, that my foot is constantly tapping or moving back and forth as if all of the excess energy my body is producing is being funneled into that one spot in my body.
I tell her I can hear the blood rushing through my head and that I hear my heartbeat in both ears.
She doesn't check my ears.
She says panic attacks can be a normal thing too.
But they're NOT normal for me.
She asks if I've ever tried any kind of anti-anxiety medication.
I tell her no. I'm not interested in taking anti-anxiety medication.
I want to know WHY I am having these attacks, that I want to find the cause of them.
"Sometimes people just have anxiety," she tells me.

I'm not sure what I expected her to do or say or what testing I wanted her to order.
But I wanted more than I got from her.
I felt dismissed.
It felt like she poo-pooed everything I said.
It felt like she just wanted to push anti-anxiety meds on me.
It felt like she kept correcting me.
It felt like she wasn't listening to me.
I didn't feel comfort or empathy or sympathy from her.
It felt like she wanted to be anywhere else but in that room with me.
She made me feel like a hypochondriac.

I wanted answers. I wanted her to work with me. For her and I together to trouble shoot these symptoms and come to a common goal of either eliminating them without the quick answer of anxiety meds. and/or at the very least to diagnose the cause of them.

Maybe I was expecting too much.
Maybe I need to find a Naprapath doctor, or one who practices functional medicine.
Maybe I need to do Yoga.
Maybe I need to find more information on different types of meditation.
Maybe I need to stop complaining.
Because in all honesty, if I complain to her about anxiety and she offers me medicine for anxiety and I refuse that course of treatment, what IS she supposed to do with me?

Last night I bought a bottle of wine and drank two glasses.
I slept through the night without any kind of popping or anxiety.
I'm aware that it would be real easy to medicate myself in this way,
7 days a week, but I don't want to go that route.
Having lived with a drinking man for 28 years I know what that can do to a body and a marriage.

I'm thinking that I will try to find another doctor. Not right now. But for my next yearly physical maybe it would be a good idea to find another doctor, one that listens better. I don't know.

My throat is still sore, my ears feel full of fluid and today I am coughing.
As Charlie Brown used to say...
                                                                                              Image result for good grief

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly



Monday, July 10, 2017

an update


 I lay here trying to sleep but feel too keyed up and anxious to free fall into slumber.
It feels like I am having palpitations. 
My body keeps jerking as if it's trying to kick start my heart. 
My brain refuses to cooperate with any part of my body...instead rushing head long into the dangerous territory of the what if's.
My thoughts are incoherent and racing. Nothing makes sense.
I've moved to the couch so I don't keep waking up my husband with my restless tossing and turning.
It is 2:00am. 
I feel cold and slightly uncomfortable on this living room couch.
I can see a green glow from the digital clock on the microwave in the kitchen. It is so bright.
I hear the neighbors car door slam. I hear what sounds like scratching in the duct work.
A mouse maybe? I hear snoring from our bedroom. I hear the blood rushing in my ears.
I long to be back in my bed and to be sleeping soundly.
I need to pee, again.
I am so frustrated with these damn panic attacks.
I want them to either kill me already or to just fucking stop.
I know the panic attacks won't kill me but the symptoms still feel like I'm about to die.
Racing heart, shortness of breath, trembling legs, incoherent thoughts, difficulty swallowing, numbness and tingling in my face and hands*.

I learned of a meditation technique where I place one hand upon my heart followed by the other and I press down and take slow deep breaths. It seems to work for a while.
Which in all honesty makes me believe that this is indeed panic attacks I am having and not MS or a brain tumor or some other horrible plague.
But I still have no clue as to the trigger. 
Why am I awakened by these things in the middle of the night? 
What is it that is trying to make itself known to me and why in the name of all that is holy is it necessary for these racing thoughts to show themselves at the ungodly hour of 2:00am???
The other night I said to God- 
"Ok, God, you've got my attention. It's 2:00am. Whaddya want?"
He didn't answer me.
I laid there trying to pray but my racing thoughts kept getting in the way.
In the morning I am groggy and on edge. Sleep deprivation is no small thing.

Since my last post in June I have had 3 severe attacks. 
I almost made my husband take me to the ER at 4:00 in the morning one time but felt stupid because the symptoms were vague and hard to pin down. 
I have never felt so ill and ill at ease in my life.
Each time, along with the other symptoms mentioned above*, my legs went numb and my flight instinct kicked in. It was uncontrolled panic. I was afraid to fall back asleep those 3 times. 
Hold my hand, I begged him...and I held his as if it was a lifeline to keep me tethered to this world.
A few hours later the symptoms are completely resolved. That's it. Just gone.
I don't consciously feel nervous during the day. I'm not worrying or obsessing about anything. 
Well NOW I am cuz now I worry about getting woke up every night feeling panicky.

I will say that I have noticed that some of my daily devotionals have been rather supportive. 
Each one has been about  trusting Him and walking with Him and seeing the light with Him.
If you have Jesus Calling by Sarah Young  read the pages from June 23 through July 2. 
They have been especially helpful to me.
And also I found the following Bible verse to be uplifting as well.

At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don't know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words.
~Romans 8:26 God's Word Translation

So here I am with my wordless groans and my complaints and my panic attacks.
I'm feeling sort of regular today. Which is good. I slept through the night last night which is better than good.
I go to the Dr. at 1:30 today. Let's see what she has to say about these attacks of mine.

I'll keep ya posted.
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly