Stories to tell

I have been wanting for some time to write a book, a memoir of sorts, that tells all about how I lost my hearing and vision and how I made it through (spoiler alert: it was Jesus). That desire to write has waxed and waned over the months, but it’s back strong again. So. I made some progress on writing the book this past week. Okay, not in the actual writing, but I’m getting closer to that. Progress is progress.

The planning phase is important to me. I’ve been reading through my old journals from when I got sick in 2013 until now – I wrote a lot so I’m not even close to finished – and as I’m reading I’m jotting down the stories I want to tell. And I’m thinking that these stories might be good chapters. I don’t know if this is how the professionals do it, but it’s working for me so far. At least it FEELS like it’s working. It’s keeping me motivated and inspired to write and that’s probably the key element in actually completing this goal. This is what I have so far, in no particular order:

The time I got lost in my house
The time I got a pupil massage
The time a bulldozer drove over my head
The time I drove with one eye closed
The time I wanted to die
The time I cut an apple
The time I walked through Office Max, sort of
The time I got shots. In my EARS
The time the preacher pushed me

 

My line of thinking here was that though I have never written a book, I love to tell stories. And a book is essentially just a collection of stories, right? So that’s my starting point. This is so scary to me, but it’s still something I really want to do and so I can’t let fear stop me. I’ll just keep moving forward, one absurdly slow step at a time.

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Victories over anxiety

I’ve struggled with extreme anxiety for the last several years but I had a breakthrough and I thought I would share it here. Yesterday was Halloween, so we had a couple families from church joining us for trick-or-treating. They live out in the country just a few miles west of us, and we are in your typical neighborhood with lots of kids and plenty of free candy to be grabbed. So around 5:30, a half hour before go-time, I was putting out snacks for our guests and grilling cheese sandwiches for the family. Our friends and their kids started showing up while I was cooking, and here’s where I noticed the difference. In hindsight, of course. After it was all over, I realized that through all that noise and chaos I remained calm, without even having to tell myself to. And not just calm, but actually enjoying having everyone there! The kids had a fantastic time, the weather was perfect, and the night felt like a true success all around.

Those who know me best know this is a huge thing for me. I’ve had some pretty big struggles with chaotic situations, leading to crying fits and panic attacks. But for the past year I’ve been on a low dose of medication and I’ve been practicing breathing techniques and really evaluating my thought processes every time anxiety rears its ugly head. And last night showed me that all of this has been working!

So that has me a little bit on cloud nine. The downside – cuz sometimes there has to be a downside – is that I must have overdone it yesterday, because I’m in a lot of pain today. It started last night with my left calf and foot, and today it has spread all the way up my leg and jumped up to my left arm. It’s a dull throbbing deep in the muscle tissue that I can only assume is nerve pain, so I’m praying a good night’s rest will make it go away. If not, I’m hoping a quick morning run will help get all those muscles stretched out and warmed up.

I can’t believe it’s only Thursday. All day I kept thinking it was Friday. Because I’m done with this week. Done, I tell ya. Stick a fork in me, I’m done!

Cookie Magic

Long ago, before I got sick and lost my hearing and vision, and perhaps even before that when I was swamped with college and work, I used to bake a lot of cookies. I was good at it, and people loved my cookies. Not any special or fancy kind of cookies, but plain old chocolate chip. I have my secret tricks for making them the perfect, delectable texture (crispy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle). Of course when I lost so much function of two primary senses, hearing and sight, I lost my touch. I’ve since tried to make the perfect batch of cookies but every time they just don’t seem to come out the way I remember them. Until yesterday.

I was commissioned to contribute a snack for my daughter’s Halloween party at school so I offered to send cookies and carrot sticks. My son thought I was nuts to send carrot sticks and doesn’t think anyone will eat them, but I sent them anyway. You never know. If nothing else, the kids with allergies can eat them. Anyway, I baked these cookies just the same way I used to but this time… this time they turned out amazing and perfect and EXACTLY the way I remembered them! The problem was, I couldn’t EAT them! Because there were just enough for the kids in the class, with that one to spare for me to taste test.

It made me a little sad, but also kind of excited to think that maybe I got my cookie magic back. So now I am trying to think of all the people who will want to eat these cookies so I have a good reason to keep baking them. I will probably start by baking them for all the friends who drive me around on a regular basis, to offer my thanks. Now I just need to stock up on the supplies. I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime 😉

Sweet dreams

I went back to bed at 8:30 this morning for a nap. I woke up about an hour after and still felt like I didn’t want to move. Mostly my legs didn’t want to move, but really all of me. The bed is so warm and cozy. So I went back to sleep for another hour and a half. I was having a really vivid dream where I was sitting in a living room, talking to my friend Heather about how I had been feeling. That a friend from church’s mom died recently and I was thinking about how I would die someday. That I was afraid I would die young and my kids would be left without me. And as I was saying this last part I started sobbing, and she reached over and hugged me tight. Then I woke up, with tears in my eyes and it still felt like her arms were around me. And I stood up, wiped the tears from my eyes, shook off the sadness, and got dressed.

I think I need to keep going to therapy.

Magic Washer?

The other day we observed what we believe to be Piper’s birthday. She’s four years old now, so to celebrate we gave her a new squeaky Kong. She spent all day with that Kong, and miraculously the squeaker was still functioning at the end of the day. So when hubby was trying to take a quick nap before driving the kiddos to Grandma’s house, she w20181020_094835.jpgas making quite the racket outside in the hallway. I was across the hall working on laundry so I took the ball from her and placed it on top of the dryer. When I was done in the laundry room I took the ball and brought it downstairs before giving it back to her.

Fast forward a few days… now every time I walk upstairs, she leads me right back to the laundry room. To beg for a ball that isn’t there (pictured left). I think she must believe that’s where we are hiding them now (we buy a bunch at a time and keep them in our bedroom closet). Either that or she thinks the washer magically produces squeaky Kong balls. Wouldn’t that be a dog’s dream come true?

I honestly don’t know when I became a dog person, but there’s no doubt it happened. I suppose I can live with that.

 

My first 10k and my 40th winter

I logged on here to share my struggles with the coming of winter and cold weather and then remembered I hadn’t blogged about my 10k race last weekend. So we’ll take care of both here, if you don’t mind.

Yes. The cold weather. I don’t hate it. I love winter. I grew up in Michigan and I love all the seasons, but winter is a favorite. However, my body does not love it. It really resists the change. So as we are crossing over into colder temperatures, my body is screaming at me in protest. My joints ache, my muscles spasm, I have random throbbing nerve pain, and I’m just plain ol’ tired. All I want to do is curl up in a couple warm blankets and hibernate the days away. Which I could totally do, if it weren’t for all the things that need to be done. I’m behind on the laundry, dishes are constantly needing to be washed, children and the hubby like to eat once in awhile. Oh and I have doctor appointments to set and bills to pay. So now that I’ve pushed all of those tasks to Friday, it’s a pile threatening to overwhelm me. Argh. One day at a time, Mindy. One day at a time.

And then there’s the race! I actually ran the 10k I had set out to do, and I ran it in just under 90 minutes. An hour and 26 minutes, to be exact. I keep saying to people though, it was so much harder than I had expected it to be. But I don’t give up. My dad took a video of me finishing and I look incredibly hit up and worn down, as if I might possibly be actually dying, but then a minute after the finish I was smiling and laughing. Because I had finished. On my own two feet.

What was really extra special about this race is that I had my dear friend, Staci, running right by my side the whole way. She was my eyes and ears, to make sure I stayed on the course. It was wonderful to have her there next to me. Also, my brother Brett and sister Kari ran it as well, though they are faster so they ran ahead and met me at the finish line. My dad and younger brother, Josh, were there to spectate, so it was really a sort of family affair, and they were all celebrating with me. I think they all understand how far I’ve come and can truly appreciate what a victory it is for me. I could not have done any of this without their support and encouragement along the way. It was an extremely memorable day.

In the aftermath of that difficult race I was saying I would probably not be running a half marathon any time soon, as I had previously hoped. It just seemed too daunting. But then I was chatting with a friend on Wednesday and somehow we both decided we would train together to run a half marathon in the spring. So we will see how this goes! Training through the winter will be more of a challenge, but having a friend doing the training with me to hold me accountable should help.

I saw my neuro-ophthalmologist this week and shared with him my running victories and plans, and he cautioned me about training too hard. He suggested I talk to my primary neurologist for advice because she’s a runner and could give me some sound advice for training with multiple sclerosis. It’s a tricky thing, to find a balance so that I’m training enough to be prepared, but not so hard that I throw myself into a relapse.

I can’t think how to properly wrap up today’s post so I will just wish you all a Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

Souper hobbies

I have recently discovered that I love making soup. Something about the slow pace of the process, and the room for creativity (i.e. mistakes) really appeals to me. And then the satisfaction after all that work and waiting, when you have a delicious meal to enjoy! And at my house, since no one will eat my icky vegetable soups, I get to enjoy the leftovers for days!

Last weekend my dad and stepmom were in town for my son’s football game and I invited them over afterwards for beef stew. I had most of the ingredients but still needed to prepare everything. They both love to cook so they helped me put together an amazing stew. It was so much fun to work together as a team. Not rushed, just chatting in between tasting and smelling. Soup-er fun.

So, it’s been ridiculously warm for October lately. Seriously, 80 degree temps is nuts, even for Michigan. However, it looks like the cold weather is finally moving in as of this morning. It is currently 39 degrees, right where it should be. I turned on the heat, of course. Earlier this week I had the a/c on. This makes me chuckle, a little. I made vegetable soup yesterday and so of course I’ll be eating the leftovers today. Cold days are perfect days for eating hot soup.

But! As excited I am to eat some hot soup and snuggle on the couch with my crocheting, I’m nervous about running a 10k race tomorrow. That’s right, the 10k is finally here! I decided on my 40th birthday in March that I wanted to run a 10k, and though for awhile I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I know now that I can. Training works! This cold weather has me a little nervous though. I had my race clothes all picked out but now I’m wondering if I need to wear something warmer. Will I need gloves? A hat? Will my headband keep my ears warm? See, I don’t have much experience running in cold weather because the cold weather hadn’t yet come. So maybe today I’ll go out for a trial run and see how it goes. Yes, that’s what I will do. Practice run, and then cuddle up on the couch with my hot soup.