Give a warm welcome to a good friend and blogger, my first ever guest Blogger Stina! @ http://stinasjourney.wordpress.com/
Hi! My name is Stina. I’m a 37 year old blogger with two young boys, a great husband and a variety of chronic illnesses. When Angel asked that I be her first guest blogger I was so touched. What an honor to be allowed to share my story with all of you, her fabulous readers! Mine is a tale of varied life experiences and how I attempt to use my difficult circumstances to learn and grow as an individual. Angel asked that I write a little about how I cope with chronic illness and how it has affected my family. Just recently I finished a very long recovery from having both hips operated on. My Dr found something called Avascular Necrosis and we attempted a procedure that would help me preserve my joints. This resulted in a three week stay in an orthopedic rehab hospital followed by three long months of not being able to put any weight on my legs. So when Angel specifically mentioned her interest in knowing how I juggle my health struggles with my family, it was a timely request indeed. Let me tell you, your kids have a really hard time taking you seriously when you ask them to “stop running around the house” and you can’t catch them because you’re attempting to chase after them with your walker. Um yeah, not my best mothering moment for sure!
In the weeks following Angel’s request, I have been struggling to know what exactly to tell you. I often feel that I don’t have that much to say because I’m learning as I go. Each day brings its own challenges and I sometimes have to live life on the fly as I figure out how to overcome them. I struggle like anyone else to make it from one day to the next and learn whatever lesson I’m supposed to be learning from this crazy mixed up thing called life. So I hope that what I share is helpful in some way to somebody, if only to let you know that there is someone out there who might relate.
It occurs to me as I prepare to write this that I should probably provide links to various websites that offer a more in-depth description of my illnesses, some of them you’ve probably heard of and some you may not. So instead of launching into lengthy descriptions here I think this will be helpful. I’ll include a list at the end of my post. I know; you’re really looking forward to expanding your medical vocabulary! (As you’ve probably guessed one of the ways I cope with life is through humor and sarcasm.)
I have never been a healthy person. Even as a young girl my parents worried over me constantly, I was always sick with one thing or another. I suffered from chronic strep throat, I contracted scarlet fever several times, I often struggled with unexplained severe stomach pain, when I reached my pre-teen years I began having debilitating migraines, and when I was a young teenager I was diagnosed with endometriosis. My endometriosis was so severe that I was forced to have a hysterectomy at the age of 24 effectively ending my ability to bear children before I had even had the opportunity to try. Roughly six months after my hysterectomy I was diagnosed with melanoma, the worst type of skin cancer you can have, indeed one of the deadliest cancers there is out there. Let’s just say I got really lucky, finding the spot very early on most definitely saved my life.
As the years have progressed I wish that I could say that my troubles ended there, but I can’t. In recent years I’ve been diagnosed with the following list of ailments: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Meniere’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Insulin
Resistance and Hypoglycemia, Psoriasis, and last but, certainly not least, Interstitial Cystitis. In addition to these daily challenges, my two beautiful sons battle some hefty struggles of their own. My oldest has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder, and my youngest has ADHD. To top it all off my husband has ADD. Needless to say I spend much of my life quite honestly exhausted and in pain.
I don’t mean to sound bleak or depressed. I’m actually not, surprisingly enough. I really try my best to stay positive about life and find humor in all of it. I mean, seriously, I’m not quite sure that I have any other choice than to laugh about it all, right?!? Well, I’ll be honest, there are days when the chinks in my armor start to show through despite my best efforts. I am only human after all but, what I have found is that my struggles give me a profound sense of compassion and empathy. As I share my experiences and write my blog I hope that others can feel that emanating from the page.
Angel asked that I write a little bit about our family’s experience with adoption as well. My oldest was fairly simple… and, by simple, I mean that the mechanics and legal details were easy compared to our second son but, the emotional toll it took was huge. You see, my eldest is my sister’s baby by birth. Say that ten times fast! She and her boyfriend found themselves pregnant at a time in life when neither was capable of caring for a child. My husband and I had just gotten engaged and so, it was with great trepidation and elation all at once, that we adopted Sean just 6 short months after we were married! The emotions involved in adopting a sister’s baby are staggering to say the least. Imagine for a moment coaching your own beloved sister through a trying birth experience only to walk out of the room with “her baby” leaving her bereft and alone. She insisted that I go but, that was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. Since that time my sister and I have grown closer than we ever were as children. Ironically she and I could never learn to share as little girls so it was surprising to find ourselves in this situation, able to share such a great joy and sorrow together.
Everyone knows who Sean’s birth parents are; we make no secret of the fact that our children are adopted. At first, when I told my husband-to-be that we would be adopting, we both agreed that a closed adoption was the only way to go; closed meaning that there would be no contact with the birth parents of our children. As you can imagine, having such an arrangement when your aunt is your birth mother is quite impossible. We have since come to the conclusion that an open adoption is nothing to fear, rather we see the wisdom in allowing others who love our children as much as we do to be a part of their lives. We don’t see my youngest son’s birth mother as often because we live too far away, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t allow her to take part in Alex’s life as much as she would like.
Alex was a little more complicated to come by. We had two failed adoptions before we were blessed with little Alex. The failed adoptions were financially and emotionally devastating. We suffered greatly as the laws in the US don’t provide any protection for adopting families. I am not saying that the birth mother’s rights should not be protected; however, there are those birth mothers who have learned to work the system to obtain as much money for their babies
as possible. Then, when they change their minds as is their right to do, the adoptive parents are simply out all of their time and money without a baby to show for their tremendous heartache.
I know that it can seem as if our adoption experience was a bad one. I want to be honest about adoption. I think that there is a misconception out there that all you have to do in order to adopt is go find one of the thousands of children without homes and graciously accept the responsibility of caring for one of them. I think that the general population is misinformed on that fact, almost as if they believe that there is “baby store” where you can go “shopping” for the one you like. Uh huh, it isn’t that simple and I always tell people to enter the process with their eyes wide open. On the other hand, I don’t want it to seem that adoption is all doom and gloom. On the contrary, for us, it has been a tremendous blessing in our home. If it weren’t for adoption, we would not have the family that we enjoy today. We are wonderfully blessed to have our two boys. Adoption can be a difficult struggle but, as with all good things in life, it is worth every penny spent and every tear shed.
So, how do I cope with all of this? Some days I don’t. As you may have read, most of my diseases are caused by the fact that my immune system is an overachiever. I mean, I’m glad that it is working, but I wish it wouldn’t work SO DARN WELL! I wonder sometimes if people truly understand what it means to have an autoimmune disease. The names and descriptions of these ailments give the feeling that they only affect a specific area of the body. Indeed they do but, their effects are not isolated to that one affected area. Take RA, for example, when you hear Rheumatoid Arthritis you probably imagine that my joints are sore and swollen and you would be correct. However, that is not the most difficult part of the disease for me to deal with. At least, for me, I find that the chronic pain and fatigue that I feel throughout my entire body are the hardest to cope with. It often feels like I’m coming down with the Flu, I ache all over and generally feel run down. But then, take that feeling and compound it by the fact that I have several autoimmune diseases and there are days when the act of simply waking up seems like too much to handle.
What do I do? Well since you’ve asked, I’ll tell you. I try to stay positive, I use humor to help me see the brighter side in life, and, most of all, I turn to God and rely on his help and guidance. This is a personal choice I made long ago that has served me well in ways which are too intimate and sacred to share in this forum. What I want you to know is that without my faith in God I would be nothing. I would have given up the fight long ago. I would have surrendered to the pain and refused to go on. But with God’s help I find myself able to take life one day at a time and enjoy the tender mercies that he sends my way.
For instance, if it weren’t for my illnesses I would probably be running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting “stuff” done. Because I don’t feel well and my body responds negatively to stress I am forced to take it easy even when I don’t want to. What I’ve found though, is that in slowing life down I am able to take notice of my sweet children and be a better mother to them because I have the time to really listen to their wants and needs. I’ve found that you can find something to be grateful for in every situation. No matter how frustrated and saddened you may be by what you’re experiencing, there is always room for
gratitude if you’re willing to look. I would say that gratitude and faith are essential to the survival of my mind, body, and soul.
There you have it, me in a nutshell… or roughly 4 pages of writing. I tried to keep it brief but, I find that I always have more to say than room on the page. Sorry about that! I hope you found something here that you connect with or can relate to. I hope that during this Holiday Season you’re able to overcome whatever challenges or struggles you may be going through and find ways to enjoy life. This life isn’t always what we expect or even want but, I’ve found that it is a beautiful and wonderful gift. Live every day to the fullest even when you don’t feel like it and you’ll find joy where you thought there was none!
Ta ta for now,
PS – Here is that “fun” list of links I mentioned earlier, enjoy!
Avascular Necrosis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/avascular-necrosis/DS00650 Endometriosis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometriosis/DS00289 Rheumatoid Arthritis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020 Ankylosing Spondylitis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ankylosing-spondylitis/DS00483 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ehlers-danlos-syndrome/DS00706 Interstitial Cystitis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/interstitial-cystitis/DS00497 Meniere’s Disease: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menieres-disease/DS00535 Crohn’s Disease: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/crohns-disease/DS00104
Insulin Resistance (Metabolic Syndrome): http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/metabolic%20syndrome/DS00522 Hypoglycemia: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypoglycemia/DS00198 Psoriasis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/psoriasis/DS00193 Asperger’s Syndrome: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aspergers-syndrome/DS00551 ADHD / ADD: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275
My thanksgiving was pleasant with my boyfriends family. Then I went to work for two days for Black Friday at my boyfriend store at H.H. Gregg and it was the most rewarding experience ever. I’m really happy I can finally say I’ve held my first job ever. Now my sad part is that I went to the hospital this past Monday because I was having a panic, anxiety attack. I also had pneumonia. But I’m now feeling much better.
Uploaded on Apr 29, 2011
http://www.kidstalk.org An organization with a direction to enhance the lives of children who are less fortunate by embracing philanthropy early in life. They volunteer countless hours to bring smiles to all they meet. They take pride in offering a hand-up rather than a hand-out and encourage children to believe in themselves and their dreams for a brighter tomorrow.
I have said this before I am a volunteer of and for Kids With A Cause since 2004! I was Kids With A Cause Member of the month for the year 2005 and 2008. I have had many, many wonderful conversations with its Founder/Executive Director Linda Finnegan.
In fact I was able to talk to her today on the phone and I couldn’t be happier that we where able to catch up for a bit. Linda and I have become good friends and I hope to one day meet her and be at a Kids With A Cause event.
The thing is I have not been able to help as much as I’d want as I used to but I do hope to help every now and then when and how I can, I really do. I really like this charity and believe in what’s about.
You may visit it at http://www.kidswithacause.com
Last week my boyfriend and I went on a mini vacation for his birthday. We stayed at a really nice hotel complex where we had gotten a good price for a small one bedroom apartment that was part of the hotel with a beautiful ocean view .
Sadly though he became sick. He had lower abdominal pain and stomach pain. He could hardly even eat! That’s something big in his case. I did all I could to make him as happy as possible for his big day. I went outside and walked until I found a restaurant near our hotel and I got him some soup, I got him an ice cream cake and a birthday card. He ended up in the hospital the next day near our house but both he and I are glad we where able to get there and that I was able to stay with him during his stay from Friday till Sunday. I love my boyfriend with all my heart and I was not leaving him in his time of need. I love him through thick and thin and that’s that.
We are still very happy we where able to leave to a little mini vacation we both needed it and even though things where not ideal we loved it and we are glad we did.
First I’m getting ready to go on a mini vacation for three days and two nights for my boyfriend’s birthday this week.
Then I’m starting to get ready for our future move in January. I have made sure our cat Lily is in tip top shape for our upcoming move with all her vaccines and such since I took her to the veterinary Nov.7, 2013.I’ll also be buying her a new bigger crate and disposable cat litter boxes once I get paid from my Seasonal Job.
I have also cleaned my 3 and 2.8 gallon tanks with extremely hot water and pure robbing alcohol. I also cleaned my other decorations, small critter keeper and gravel in the same way.
I shall use the 3 and 2.8 gallon tanks to house yhe future betta pair male and female before and after spawning in their own separate tanks. The gravel will be used for the bottom of their separate tanks. The small critter tank will be used to hold the female in the breeding tank till she’s ready to be realeased to start breeding.The silk plant decorations will be used to give hidding places for both the female and frys. The small filters that are for a one gallon tanks will be used for the fry tank and grow out tank.