It’s been a long time since I’ve showed up here on Surrender the Day. I’ve been doing quite a bit of journaling but decided to give myself some grace in the Blogosphere. You see I carry around this guilt with me that I have a gift and a love for writing and I “should” be posting here at least once a week and it needs to be polished and quirky and funny. And, it most definitely should be leading me towards my first book deal – hence, followed by my first book tour (which will be wildly successful, of course). I get too caught up in writing with only my audience in mind – what they think of me when I write, what they think of me when I don’t write… but that’s not the purpose of my writing right now. Actually, it’s been quite selfish lately. Only for me. (Oh, and I guess the Big Guy sees it, but that’s okay, He knows it all anyways.) I’ve needed the comfort and security of solitary writing because my life feels shaky and unpredictable.
Since my last post, my man, my mini-men and I have sold a house, bought a house, moved into our house essentially three different times (don’t ask), and had two ceilings in our new house cave in and then numerous holes knocked into our walls due to a fun game I like to call Find That Pipe!. It was hard to say goodbye to Old Dairy Court but we are loving our new home and neighborhood.
After the longest school year known to mankind, we took two separate road trips to support family members through various challenges or transitions. It was wonderful to see them but not exactly “summer vacation” restful – both the travel and the emotional stress of seeing loved ones struggle took a lot out of me and I was pretty much a weepy mess by the end of it but it was worth it. We enjoyed a visit from Josh’s Dad, which was a treat as it had been years since he’s been able to come to Virginia. The kids kept the rest of Summer exciting with a broken arm, day trips to the city, poolside fun, a birthday and a case of the chicken pox. And, Josh and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary – another year of crazy without killing each other! Yay! We’re such romantics.
September snuck up on us quickly and Will and Michael started 2nd and 1st grade in a new school (Score! No one was sick the first week of school this time!). One kid is thriving in school and has a social/activities calendar I find personally exhausting and he has a serious case of 8-itis (a know-it-all, cocky, mouthy kind of attitude). The other kid may or may not be on verge of a nervous breakdown and we’ve had one too many of “those” kind of meetings. But, both have rockin’ teachers and are making friends in their new school, so we’re blessed there. The boys have ventured into the world of Cub Scouts an in a moment of insanity I agreed to be a Den Leader (because I look super sexy in khaki men’s button down shirt with cool badges and a neckerchief).
Josh has been kicking butt at his new(ish) job where he works at home and travels about once a month. This has been an interesting shift in our marriage – a mixture of perks and pitfalls. Adjustments all around. Unfortunately, my gallbladder went on strike and had to be removed this September, which was just in time as it was three times its normal size and ready to burst with bile. (Gross, huh? I’m all sorts of exciting.) I asked if I could keep it in a jar but apparently they send removed organs to a funeral home to be properly disposed of and if I wanted I could pay an exorbitant amount of money and get my gallbladders ashes. I found this hilarious and almost did it just to say I had my gallbladder in an urn on my fireplace mantle. How cool would that be?! Josh’s mom blessed us with her help while I was recovering.
Since surgery, there is just the natural ebb and flow of life — schedules, bills, paperwork, house stuff, homework, school projects, tae kwon do (and then some more tae kwon do), after school activities like chess club and robotics, travel, colds and coughs, a stomach flu here and there, and all sorts of very normal life stuff. One exciting change is a new addition to our family with a rescue pup named Dalton! It was love at first sight and he has added so much fun.
And then there is me. A weary wife and mama who desperately wishes she had a body that could effectively keep up with all this ordinary life. But time and time again, my body goes on strike and I am stuck in bed. We’ve made some big medical decisions lately and others are still looming. After consulting with a new doc and a host of new pokes, prods and pictures, I have been diagnosed with Lyme disease and Bartonella (Lyme’s evil twin). My sister has been fighting a three year battle with this beast, and the theory goes we both have had it since our college years and it has been wreaking havoc ever since. It took a lot of convincing and research for me to agree to treatment, but here I am. I’ve taken the supplements, probiotics, I’m drinking the green smoothies, and trying to care for my body as much as possible as I jump into a 6-12 month treatment for these beasts. I refused IV therapy for now, but I fear that is in my future seeing as the disease is definitely in my Central Nervous System and there is really no other way to effectively cross the blood brain barrier. Kind of like a chemo, they pulse a myriad of strong, toxic drugs and do “cycles” to attack these invaders. And, yes, this will make me sicker and weaker and pukier (Josh is super excited about this). Upside is I may lose this weight my meds have put on. (Oh side effects. I hate you.) My chronic CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leaks continue to be a daily problem and I still have to get flat every few hours. We’ve run out of the “easy” options and next steps include scary words like “shunt”, “dural reduction”, “dural grafts”… you know a little brain surgery there, a little back surgery here. Right now, our choice is to not choose and wait and see how the Lyme treatment affects everything.
Some days I am okay with all of this and some days I am not. And, it’s okay to not be okay, because in my family’s world these are big deals. We try to focus on all the good, but stress has a way of wearing on us and it’s so easy to forget the blessings. I’ve included some fun photos of those blessings for you to enjoy.
I will leave you with my new favorite Bible verse (I have no idea what version this is or where I read it, but it’s perfect for me right now):
We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory strength God gives us. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us. ~ Colossians 1:9-10
I’m trying to find this “Glory Strength”. But, that’s my next blog post. Until then I’ll be hanging on for dear life and finding ways to smile through even the scary moments (just like my brave boys)!
Stephanie, how I love reading your writing! I’m glad you gave yourself grace to be quiet in the blog world yet I fully enjoyed reading your latest post. You are an incredible inspiration! You have impacted more lives than you will ever know. May God give you that glory-strength one day, one hour, one moment at a time!
Good to hear you, Stephanie. What a time of trial and perseverance. This Lyme is a devious and crafty competitor, who definitely deserves defeat. Your battle-hardened self is amazing. We’re with you out here in blog world!!