Posted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Courage, Gastroparesis, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Rare Diseases, Strength

Broken

Yes but no one whats a broken crayon

I saw this quote on Pinterest a few days ago and as a person living with a rare and several chronic illnesses, it made me stop and think about life.

When you buy a box of crayons, you expect unbroken crayons with those perfect little crayon points. You don’t expect a box full of pieces of crayons. As a matter of fact, most people throw away broken crayons. I hadn’t really thought about it until I saw the quote, but broken crayons do still color, so why do they get thrown away?

Living with multiple chronic illnesses, I can relate to the broken crayon that still colors. Due to illnesses beyond my control, my body is “broken.” I have pain and weakness in my legs and feet and am unable to walk. My stomach doesn’t empty, which makes eating difficult. It also adds to my weakness and causes me to be tired. Sometimes, I feel like people treat me like the broken crayon. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong, but it seems to me as though I get left out of things and I’m sure it’s because people think I’m “not able” or “don’t feel like it.” Maybe they are afraid to ask out of fear of hurting me.

Sometimes I feel like I, like the crayon, have been thrown out because I’m broken. However, like the crayon is still able to color, I still have purpose and am useful. I may not be able to run marathons or win pie eating contests, but there are lots of things I can do and am good at. My ears work fine and I’m a good listener. While I may be physically weak, I’m spiritually strong and am willing to be a shoulder for others to lean on. I may spend most of my days in bed because I simply do not have enough energy to get up, but I can talk on the phone and send emails. I can also inspire others going though similar situations by blogging about my experiences. When my carpal tunnel and neck pain cooperate, I can knit, paint, and do crafts. I may not currently be physically capable of working, but I still have purpose.

Being disabled doesn’t make me useless, it just points my life in a different direction and gives me a new purpose.  Small chunks of broken crayon are often disposed of because they are difficult to color with. However, I have melted broken crayons before and used cardboard and plastic molds to form them into new crayons. Instead of putting them in the trash, I made new, often larger, multi-colored crayons. Just like crayons broken into little pieces can make coloring a little more difficult, CRPS and gastroparesis have made my life more difficult. Many of the activities I did before CRPS (hiking, playing volleyball, etc.) are no longer possible. With gastroparesis, I can no longer eat many of the foods I once enjoyed. Just like I took the broken pieces of crayons, melted them. and molded them onto new crayons with new purpose, I’ve had to take my broken life and put the pieces together in a new way to find purpose. I’ve had to find ways to adapt. I’ve learned new things, found new hobbies, and adapted to my new life. I miss my old life before CRPS and gastroparesis, when things seemed easier and life seemed less complicated, but I’ve come to accept my new life and continually look for things I can do to make life better, both for me and others.

If you are struggling with a new medical diagnosis or changing abilities because your chronic illness is getting progressively worse, I encourage you to keep fighting. Don’t give up. As chronic illness warriors, we must stand tall and stick together. Talk to others fighting the same fight. There’s strength in numbers. You may feel broken, but know that broken crayons still color. No matter how broken your life may seem, you are very important. You are loved. Your life still has purpose.

 

Here are a few more broken quotes I came across that I liked..

King David committed adultery & murder - he sinned big, but repented bigger - he is a model of what real repentance looks like - he wrote Psalm 51 as an agonized cry to God for forgiveness - God not only forgave him but called David "a man after His own heart" Like & Repin thx. Follow Noelito Flow instagram http://www.instagram.com/noelitoflow

Beautifully Broken Quotes | Broken clouds pour rain, Broken soil sets as fields, Broken crop yield ...

 

Posted in Dogs, Life Lessons

Oh me of little faith

Sometimes in life, it’s better to live in the present and not worry over what may or may not happen tomorrow. I worried all day yesterday because my dog was sick. I know she is getting old and I was afraid the vet was going to tell me she needed to be put down. It turns out that I was worried for nothing. Lucky has colitis, which is causing her to run a fever and pass blood from her bowels, and what I thought was fluid was just fatty benign tumors. The vet prescribed her antibiotics, probiotics, and something to coat her stomach and intestines.

Lucky showed us how much spunk she still had in her while we were at the veterinarian’s office. She didn’t want any strangers touching her and she made that pretty clear. It was a new veterinarian and a new office. Who doesn’t get a little nervous when seeing a new doctor? She didn’t want them to check her temperature or check her for worms. She didn’t have any worms, but they had to put a muzzle on her to keep her from biting anyone while they checked. A few days of medicine though and she should be back to her old self. The vet explained everything to me about how the digestive tract works and what each medicine does. When he finished, I laughed and said, “I have digestive tract issues and you just explained everything about my dog the same way my doctor explained my issues.” I think he wondered why I set there and allowed him to explain it all. I was trying to be polite and allow him to do his job. It doesn’t hurt to get everything explained again.

While the vet was explaining the medicines and I was paying the bill, mom took Lucky outside where she could calm her down and take the muzzle off. Lucky was sitting in the van smiling at mom when I came out. Lucky had laid in her kennel yesterday and not done anything. This morning she wouldn’t eat her food and acted like she couldn’t get in the van. All they did at the vet did was a thorough exam. Lucky didn’t get any medicine until we were home. Mom said when they went outside to go home Lucky jumped up in the van like nothing was wrong. Lucky laid in the back of the van and smiled all the way home. I think she knew where we were going and that we had medicine to make her feel better. All my worrying and it turned out my dog was just trying to be like me. Dogs are smart animals. Sometimes I wonder if they are smarter than their owners.

Posted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Faith, Gastroparesis, Invisible Illnesses, Life Lessons, My Life, Normalcy, Physically Disabled, Rare Diseases

I’M NOT BROKEN!

Some days, all I want to do is scream out for the whole world to hear, “I’m not broken and I don’t need you to fix me!” I’ve looked my wheelchair over from top to bottom and I’ve checked myself from head to toe for signs indicating or requesting that every person who sees me out of my house stop me and act like it’s their personal mission to heal me. Before I go on, I would like to say, I don’t have a problem with prayer. I’m a Christian and I believe in the power of prayer. However I’m sick of people preying on the disabled.

I was at Kroger the other day, minding my own business, trying to quickly pick up some low-fat, low-fiber, protein packed food. The foods I rely on for protein are not available for purchase anywhere in my small town. I have to travel at least 45 minutes to the nearest Kroger or Wal-Mart, just to buy tofu. I asked about tofu one day at a local grocery store and had to explain what it as because the store employees didn’t even know what it was.

So, I was at Kroger. I’d just passed through the fresh produce section and entered the area where the soy products, such as tofu, were located. An older looking gentleman stopped me and asked a simple question, “What are you doing in that?” He was referring to my wheelchair. I wanted to scream, but I was taught as a child to respect my elders and to be kind to everyone. I thought to myself, “Isn’t is obvious?” Given he was a complete stranger, he received the short sweet version…I have complex regional pain syndrome and it causes pain and weakness in my leg. The man went on to tell me he had a back surgery and it had saved his life. Then he went on to tell me everything I needed to do to get better. The only part of his plan that stuck with me was “massage.” Just the thought of someone touching my leg makes me hurt. I thanked him for his advice, although I don’t really think I was thankful, and went on shopping, thinking I’d probably never see this man again. I was wrong. During that very same shopping trip, every time he passed the aisle I was shopping in he stopped to talk. Although I know it’s a rude behavior, I’ve become pretty good at ignoring people like that. When I pretended to be so interested in rice noodles that I didn’t hear him, he started talking to my mom. He asked her if she was with me. At one point, he passed the end of the aisle I was shopping also in and commented, “She’s not been healed yet.” I suppose he was expecting a Kroger miracle.

On the way home, mom and I discussed what had happened to us at Kroger. I kept asking, why do people ask “What a person is doing in a wheelchair?” To me, it’s obvious that the person has mobility issues and is using the wheelchair to get from point A to point B. For some reason, although wheelchairs, walkers, and canes come in all different sizes, people think they are daily living aids for old people, not the young. I jokingly told mom that I should have told that man I was just sitting in that wheelchair because I thought wheelchairs were sexy and I wanted to see how many creepy old men I could attract. Of course I’ll probably never really say that in public, because I would be too embarrassed, but come on, what did he think I was using a wheelchair for. They aren’t cheap and you don’t just choose to use one because it’s the latest fashion statement. Maybe I was using that wheelchair to try to get a suntan inside the Kroger store or to walk my invisible dog or to imagine I was deep in the ocean in a submarine. I’ve always heard there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but sometimes I feel like giving sarcastically stupid answers.

Like I said, I am a Christian. I do believe God has healing powers, but I don’t believe in picking out only the obviously disabled to pray for or prey on. If you see me in the store and want to pray for me, go for it. No one is going to stop you. You don’t have to know my name or what’s wrong with me in order to pray.  When you pray for that girl in the wheelchair, God is all-knowing and He is going to know who you are praying for. God wants us to pray for the sick and injured, but He also wants us to pray for the healthy. If your going to pray for me, I ask that you also pray for yourself and every other shopper in the store. Everyone needs prayer.

I haven’t yelled at any one yet, but I can’t make any promises not to yell in the future. When you see someone in a wheelchair, please accept that we are just like you. We have feelings just like you. We came to the store to shop, just like you. Just because we are rolling around on wheels instead of walking on two legs doesn’t really make us any different. Many of us have been in a wheelchair for years and we are tired of the million and one people who are always offering advice on what we should be doing different. I realize you may think you are helping by offering the solution that worked for your dear aunt’s coworker’s bother’s friend or by praying for healing, but drawing attention to every disabled person you meet in life is just that, drawing attention to our differences. Our bodies may work or look a little different from the majority of the population, but deep inside we are just the same as everyone else. We are trying to live our lives to the fullest. Our physical appearance and abilities may be different, but we wish to be treated with dignity and respect the same as anyone else. If you aren’t going to stop everyone that looks healthy and able-bodied, why stop me?

 

Posted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Gastroparesis, Invisible Illnesses, Life Lessons, Rare Diseases

Just Chillin’

For those of us living with chronic health issues, life can get a bit overwhelming at times. Doctor appointments, treatments, etc. can be stressful for anyone, but when you figure in the uncertainty of chronic illnesses, things can get out of control pretty quickly. We quickly learn to look for ways to make life a little easier. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m willing to try anything if there’s a possibility it might help.

With my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, pain medications didn’t control the pain. They just made me sleep 18-20 hours a day. When I was awake, I was tired and didn’t function well. I basically didn’t even know I was alive. I just knew I was in pain. I didn’t like the way the meds made me feel, so I refused to take them. I told my doctors we needed to find another form of treatment. Like most people with complex chronic illnesses, I’ve tried many things. I’ve researched CRPS and read books on how our bodies process pain. I’ve done relaxation, psychology visits, physical therapy, graded motor imagery, mirror box therapy, injections, blocks, etc. The list of things I’ve tried seems endless. As I’ve mentioned before, my doctor implanted a nuerostimulator in 2004 to help block pain signals. I think everyone living with CRPS would agree that it’s very painful. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The nuerostimulator helps make the pain more tolerable, but I still cannot walk due to pain and weakness. It’s not a fix, but I’ll accept every little bit of improvement I can get.

Gastroparesis has been just as challenging. My doctor diagnosed me with idiopathic gastroparesis. Idiopathic means they don’t know what caused it. I imagine that diagnosis must be just as frustrating for the doctor as it is for the patient. It’s very difficult to fix something, when you don’t know what needs to be fixed. They do know that my gastric emptying scan shows that my stomach isn’t emptying my food into my small intestines. They also know that a biopsy of my stomach wall shows a lower than average number of nerve cells. However, they don’t know what is causing those two things. We tried medicine and that didn’t help. The trial gastric neurostimulator raised my stomach’s ability to empty from 30 percent to around seventy percent, so I agreed to have a permanent nuerostimulator implanted. Again, this nuerostimulator isn’t a fix either, but it is an improvement. I’ve also had to make some major changes to my diet. They say fat and fiber slow down digestion and since my stomach is already too slow, they have encouraged me to stay away from fatty and high-fiber foods. It has taken some adjusting to learn how to make tofu and other vegetarian protein packed meat substitutes taste good, but it’s better than being sick all the time.

Somewhere along the way, I started hearing about restorative yoga, essential oils, and aroma therapy. I live in a small town where these alternative treatments are not readily available, so I did some internet research. I thought I might find a restorative yoga class online that I could do at home while watching a video. I’ve still not found a restorative yoga video that fits my specific needs, but I did find some yoga positions that help ease Product Detailssome of my pain. I also found something on Amazon called Pinga, which is advertised as a 30-day pain relief program for treating and defeating complex regional pain syndrome. The entire program costs less than ten dollars and claims that it may free a person of chronic pain in as little as thirty days. I must admit, I was pretty skeptical, but it sounded simple and I was willing to give it a try. The book comes in paperback and digital format. The digital book was cheaper and allowed me to start reading instantly, so I downloaded the book from Amazon here. While the book contains scripts of the four recordings (introduction, session one, session two, session three), I felt I would benefit from having the MP3 recordings to guide me. The digital book cost almost six dollars and each of the four recordings was less than a dollar each. So, you are probably wondering  “What is Pinga and how does it work?” The book basically explains that you must do any of the three sessions, three times a day. You can do each of the three sessions one time each day, one session three times each day, or any combination of the three. The book explains that the most important part is to make sure you do three session each day for at least thirty days. Each session lasts from ten to fifteen minutes, so it doesn’t take a lot of time. In each session, a gentle relaxing voice leads you through focused breathing, relaxation techniques, and guided thinking/imagery.

 

As skeptical as I was, I wanted to complete the program and see if it worked. If you are still reading this post, I’m sure you are wondering, “Did it work?” My answer would have to be yes and no. I know that doesn’t seem like a fair answer, but it’s the one I have to give. After thirty days, I’m not pain-free. The program didn’t heal me. However, I’ve continued to use it periodically since purchasing it in 2014 and I’ve discovered that on days that I’m having more severe flare-ups, I can turn on a session of Pinga and relax. It doesn’t make my pain go away, but it does help me relax, which relieves the tension the pain is causing in my body and helps ease the pain a little. On nights when I am having trouble sleeping because of my complex regional pain syndrome and/or gastroparesis, I find myself turning a session of Pinga pain relief on, putting it on repeat, and letting it play all night long.

Will Pinga help everyone relax and rest better? Absolutely not. The guided imagery requires a person to be able to turn loose of their mind and let their imagination take them wherever the session leads it.  Just like everyone doesn’t get the same relief from medications and other treatments, meditation and guided imagery doesn’t work for everyone either. Like I said, it didn’t defeat my CRPS. Some days it doesn’t help at all, but on the days it does help, it’s worth it.

I share all of these things that I’ve tried as a way to encourage others not to give up. We get our hopes up, thinking a treatment might work and then if the treatments fails, we feel defeated. Every treatment option doesn’t work for every person. Our bodies are all unique and what works for me might not work for you. I encourage you to do your homework. Regardless of what chronic illness you might be fighting against, research the available treatments and don’t be afraid to try even the most simple things. No matter how silly something might seem, you won’t know if it works for you until you’ve tried it. A person can only fail, if he/she fails to try. Stand tall, hold your head high, and show your illness that you are a warrior and you aren’t giving up or backing down.

Posted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Courage, Life Lessons, My Life, Rare Diseases, Thankfulness

Lost and Found

As you my followers know, I keep asking myself why I am sharing my story.  I’ve been blogging since September and haven’t even told anyone who knows me about my blog.  I was surprised when complete strangers started following my blog.   I found myself questioning whether or not this was a good idea.  I’ve been scared and tempted to stop writing, but there is an inner voice within me that won’t let me stop.  It tells me to keep going.

I realized today what it is all about.  Today, through a video on the Mighty, I found a fellow warrior.  This young lady has CRPS, writes for The Mighty, and also has a WordPress blog #SIMPLYSABRINA.  I share this because her writing titled “2017: Acceptance” put what I’ve been feeling in words I couldn’t come up with.  Sharing my story on this blog has helped me accept my circumstances and has set me free.  Writing this blog has allowed me to open up and be me.  I’m learning to accept my life as it is and embrace my differences.  I’m learning that I don’t have to meet the expectations of others.  There may not be a cure for CRPS and gastroparesis, but through sharing my story, I’m finding emotional healing.  I feel free to be me.

Thanks Sabrina for helping this lost writer find her way!  Supporting each other…that’s what it’s all about.

Posted in #MyMightyMonth, Center for Courageous Kids, Courage, Faith, Life Lessons, My Life

Day 3 of 30

January 4…Wow, this is more difficult than I imagined it would be.  Some of these prompts cause you to stop and think about what’s truly important in life.  I debated on whether I should share today’s writing, but decided to go ahead.  So here it is.

Personal Prompt:  Write a letter to you future self.

Dear older me:

I couldn’t resist using that as my greeting.  If you remember your younger self, you know that we used to listen to K-Love a lot on the radio and their was a song about someone writing to the younger them and it started out “dear younger me.”

I’ve had a difficult day today, but looking back you may or may not remember it.  The important thing is that with God’s help, we made it through today. The road may not be easy, but with God all things are possible.

I hope you still go to church and trust in God.  I’m sure you’ve been through a lot, but I know He has been there for you.  No matter how difficult things may get, don’t give up and don’t lose faith.  There are going to be people who don’t like you, but that’s okay.  Just be yourself and do what is right and everything will be okay.

With Love,

A younger you

Creative Prompt: Write a letter to someone you admire.

Dear people I met at CCK:

You may not see yourselves as heroes or someone to be admired, but I do. Each of you will forever have a special place in my heart.

To the CEO and staff, you gave my niece and nephew a weekend of fun, with me their aunt with a disability, that we will never forget.  Who would have known that a weekend at a camp designed for children with disabilities would have been so much fun.  I admire what you have made available for children living with chronic illnesses.  Ms. Betty had a big dream when she built the Center for Courageous Kids and her dream has brought lots of smiles to children and adults alike.  A camp that accommodates the special needs of children with chronic illnesses was a great idea.

To the children we met, you are truly amazing. Although your lives may be difficult, your happiness and smiles bring joy to others.  Your courage gives me the strength to keep fighting.  You inspire me to be the best I can be.

To the parents of the children, you deserve the worlds greatest honors. Your love for your children is evident in the way you care for them and make time in your schedule to spend a fun-filled weekend with them at camp. You give of yourself and time to make their lives more enjoyable.

To each of you, I say thanks.  Thanks for being an inspiration. Thanks for letting me be a part of your life.

DR

 

Posted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Courage, Gastroparesis, Invisible Illnesses, Life Lessons, My Life

A Love/Hate Relationship

Have you ever thought you really hated something only to realize you actually love it?  I know people who wouldn’t even taste certain foods as a child, but have found them to be their favorite foods as an adult.  Well, my love/hate story has nothing at all to do with food.

The relationship started when I was a teenager.  I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.  While many of my so-called friends no longer had time for me,  a new friend came along.  Everywhere I went this new friend came along.  This friend was very supportive, but I didn’t want this friend.  You see, this new friend was a set of wooden crutches.  The pain was so bad and my right leg became so weak, that I couldn’t walk on it.

love-hate

Looking back, I realize that as much as I hated those wooden crutches, they carried me everywhere I went.  They helped me finish high school and start college.  As much as I hated them, they were always there when I needed them.

dscn4842I walked with crutches on an as needed basis for about six years.  Then my RSD got to the point that I was needing them all the time.  Wooden crutches became a thing of the past and I began walking with shiny silver-colored aluminum crutches.  For the next ten to twelve years, I had to have new crutches every two years because the hole that adjusts the crutches to my height would wear out from use.  Several pairs of old crutches now stand next to our washing machine…just in case someone else needs them.  They will work fine for anyone who isn’t the same height as me.  I gathered them together for a group photo…yes I believe I’ve had a little too much time on my hands.

dscn4845After about twelve years, moving became complicated.  My new-found friend was still willing to go with me and provide that much-needed support, but my legs didn’t want to cooperate.  That was when I realized I didn’t hate my crutches.  When my way of getting from point A to point B became a black aluminum wheelchair, I realized I didn’t hate my crutches as much as I once thought I did.

I spent all those years hating crutches and wishing I could get rid of them.  Now I’m wishing I could walk on them again.  I’m trying to build my leg strength so I can walk again.  Currently I can walk about six feet with a shiny, silver-colored, aluminum walker.  Six feet may sound like a short distance to everyone else, but for me it feels like running a marathon.

dscn4846dscn4847Each time I walk that short distance and collapse into a chair, I remind myself that we all crawled before we walked.  It will just take time.  With my gastroparesis and malnourishment, it’s probably going to take longer than I want it too, but I believe it will happen someday.  No matter what life throws at me, I refuse to lose hope.

By the way, if you noticed the small blue dog bone hanging on the wheelchair…that’s my doggie bags.  I’ve heard people I know refer to the take out containers at restaurants as doggie bags.  Those of us living with gastroparesis need doggie bags any time we eat.  Trash cans and commodes aren’t always readily available.  Those small rolls of bags they make for disposing of baby diapers or doggie doo are just the right size to carry with me when I am out.  I can cap them over my mouth, vomit in them, tie them up,  and dump them in the nearest trash can.  When I bought the dispenser, I had two choices…a dog bone or a fire hydrant.  As for the walker bag, it’s a one of a kind.  I made it using plastic canvas and yarn, both from the craft section at Wal-Mart.

Note:  After posting this, I thought of something I had recently read.  As I looked back at my Love/Hate image… yes I created that… I thought about an article I had read recently at TheMighty about asking personal questions about people’s disabilities.  I appreciate the writer’s openness and honesty.  The writer explained that someone had asked about her being to young to use a walker.  The writer of the article said the “Fantasy-Me boldly said, “You’re too old to be asking rude questions.””  There have been times in life I would have probably said that if it had crossed my mind. While I made the crutches different sizes in my image to create letters, after finishing it, I was reminded that mobility devices come in all shapes and sizes.  Chronic illnesses do not discriminate based on age.  Crutches, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs come in all sizes because they are for all ages.    For those of us who need them, they are simply tools or modes of transportation.  At 16, my classmates got cars… I got crutches… at least I could get from point A to point B on my own.  No, I’ve not always liked my mobility aids, but I’m learning to accept them and love them for what they do for me.

 

All photos/images are from my personal collection and are not to be used without permission.

Posted in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Faith, Gastroparesis, Invisible Illnesses, Life Lessons

Lessons Learned

I truly believe everything in life happens for a purpose.  It’s all a part of a bigger plan.  We may not understand everything that happens to us in life, but everything happens for a purpose and sometimes, the most important thing is what we learn from the situation.

When I was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD, I was only fifteen years old and I can’t find words to describe how I felt.  As a fifteen year old I was just a kid.  I didn’t understand what was going on or why I had gotten this disease.  It seemed as one day I was a normal teenager hanging out with friends and having fun and then I woke up in pain and my friends all disappeared.  I was different and the teenagers I thought were my friends no longer had time for me.

When I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in my thirties, I realized life really hasn’t changed much.  I was diagnosed with another chronic illness that is poorly understood and I didn’t know why I ended up with it.

Both diseases have taught me many lessons.  Some of those lessons have been good and made my life better, while other lessons I’ve learned haven’t been good and need to be changed so that my life will be better.  I’ll briefly mention some of those lessons here and then elaborate on each lesson.  I would have to say that the most important and valuable lesson I’ve learned is to not take life for granted.  Another valuable lesson is to never lose hope or give up.  A lesson I learned that wasn’t so good and I need to change is hiding behind my smile and not being honest.

Don’t take things for granted… I’d like to be able to say I don’t take things for granted, but let’s face it… we all take things for granted… our family… our friends… our health… our jobs… etc.  As a teenager and young adult, I often complained about being on crutches and looked forward to the day I wouldn’t need them.  Today, I’m in a wheelchair and look forward to the day I will be strong enough to walk with a walker or crutches again.  However, I am trying to keep in mind how blessed I am to be able to get in my wheelchair and go places because there are many people in the world who are Belfast and can’t go anywhere.  I’m trying to not take my mobility for granted.

Never give up… never lose hope… each day I have to remind myself not to give up or lose hope.  There are days that I’m so depressed that I don’t think things will ever get better.  However I remind myself that with God nothing is impossible.  Tomorrow may bring healing or a great medical break through.  We none know what tomorrow holds.

Fake smiles and okay… Over the years, I’ve learned to smile through the pain and tell people I’m okay… even when I’m not.  With invisible illnesses, it’s often easier to smile and say I’m okay than to be honest and deal with disbelief and people who know how to fix everything.  I don’t like to think of myself as fake or a liar, so I’m working on unlearning this behavior.  I’m trying to be more honest with people.  However, I’ve found it’s easier to be honest with people who seem sincere and really want to know how I feel.  If someone asks how I am, but seems rushed and uncaring, they still get the smile and “I’m okay.”

There’s several other things I’ve learned, but I’ll save them for a later post.