Category Archives: Miracles do happen

I guess R.E.M. is still my favorite band

I had several vivid dreams last night and all of them were filled with the music of R.E.M., which is ironic and weird but also really awesome because I was able to hear and enjoy the music with working, human ears. In one dream I was actually chatting with Michael Stipe so that was an added bonus. He was his strange self but also very laid back and easy to talk to. Which was nice because even in my dreams I suffer from a little social anxiety. Ha!

Those types of dreams are so refreshing and a blessing to my heart. I consider them a gift from God and I am thankful for them. I’ve been deaf for a solid five years now but I will never lose my love for music.

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Two for two

2 Thessalonians 3:16 – “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

Having just shoved the kids off to the bus in typical hectic fashion, this verse today is an answer to a prayer I was too frazzled to make. I was frazzled, yes, but I didn’t blow my top today. I was miraculously able to stay calm – ish – and I did not raise my voice. A small victory, indeed.

Also, I’m drinking delicious coffee. Coffee that’s still hot. Miracle number two.

 

 

Angels Among Us

I’ve been doing fairly well this week, dealing with this relapse with my vision and the steroid treatments. However, Friday afternoon I was approaching a meltdown. I was sitting at the kitchen table when it occurred to me that I was experiencing the dreaded MS hug. The MS hug is a neurological symptom experienced by many of us MSers. It feels, to me at least, as if I am wearing a super tight corset, and someone is pulling the strings tighter and tighter around my ribcage. It’s not dangerous or life-threatening in any way, but it can be painful. At a minimum, it’s extremely uncomfortable.

I think what bothered me about this the most is that I hadn’t experienced it in many years, and I felt that since I am currently treating a relapse, that I shouldn’t be experiencing any worsening symptoms. So, I was understandably freaked out. Knowing that I was probably overreacting, I called my mom so she could talk some sense into me. And that she did. While I freaked out, she reassuringly talked me off the ledge, consulting Dr. Google at the same time (she’s the ultimate multi-tasker), and gave me some guidance. We ended the call with a plan for me to take a warm Epsom salt bath, take a Gabapentin (the drug I take for the occasional fiery nerve pain in my feet and thankfully have plenty of), and watch a happy chick flick on Netflix. Oh, and we did a fair amount of Skyping while she helped me pick a movie to watch (I went with her suggestion of Under the Tuscan Sun). At the tail end of the call she showed me a great view of the Oklahoma sunset from her backyard. It was truly breathtaking, and left me speechless..

That sunset was the first of several ways God would speak to my heart, comforting me in very personal ways, letting me know that I am still never alone, never as long as I have HIM.

I woke up Saturday morning to a message from one of my very best friends, one whom I had purposely kept from reaching out to for help this week because she is recovering from a major surgery and I didn’t want to burden her further. It sounds so ridiculous in hindsight, and she would tell me that, I’m sure. Her message was so short and sweet, it cut right to my heart: “Love you. Miss you. And prayers for comfort.” And again I was left speechless. How could she have known how much I needed that? She couldn’t have. That’s all God right there. Grace.

One more though – ou all know I love checking the mail, right? Today my son beat me to it, so I didn’t get to run out to the mailbox like Blue, but when he handed me the mail, with a card addressed to me, I got just as giddy. A handwritten greeting card, from a familiar name. This was sent from a woman from my hometown. She knew me when I was in high school and she reads my blog. She wrote a beautiful note to encourage me and let me know she is always praying for me. I think she must have read the post about checking the mail and gotten my mailing address from my sister. But again, she couldn’t have known how much I was going to need that when she mailed it. But God must have stirred her heart to send me that note, and she took action, and my heart was comforted once again.

Guys, I believe in angels. I really do. And I believe God speaks to our hearts. I believe when we listen to that still, small voice and respond to it? We become God’s hands and feet. His angels here on earth. I have almost zero research to back any of that up, but I promise you with all my heart that it’s real to me. So you can take my word for it if you want, or you can try it on your own. Practice kindness and compassion. What can it hurt? At the very least you’ll brighten someone’s day.

The light in the darkness

It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re all ready for Christmas morning with the kids. Breakfast fixings are ready in the fridge, gifts are surrounding the tree.
We went to church tonight and were reminded that Jesus came to be a light in the darkness. Then we drove around looking at Christmas lights, a tradition we’ve been doing since before the kids were even born.
And do you know, my 9 year old son made the connection between the sermon at church (which I thought he was sleeping through) and the decorative lights everyone puts up at Christmas? I don’t know for certain the origin of Christmas lights, but I think my son might be on to something. The lights we put up at Christmas are a representation, a reminder, that Jesus is the light in the darkness. That just blew my mind, to hear something so wise coming from his mouth. I was pretty impressed. And for sure, I will remember that connection and from now on our annual tradition of driving around looking at lights will hold much greater meaning for me.
Merry Christmas, and may you find the light in the darkness.

The Social Security Office

I had to visit the Social Security office today. Here’s the long version (because that’s the only way, really):

I’ve been receiving Social Security Disability Income for a full two years now. After you’ve received benefits for two years, they automatically enroll you in Medicare. I have health insurance through my husband’s employer, so I wasn’t real interested in Medicare, but if it’s free, I guess I can’t complain. What I learned, however, is that Medicare comes in different forms, and the two I was enrolled in were Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Now Part A is free, but Part B is not.

Now Part B could be advantageous, if it covered what my current health insurance doesn’t, and saved me more than I would be paying for the premium. But I never looked into it, because I learned that my participation in Part B would deem me ineligible for another program I’m part of. I currently receive assistance paying for my monthly Tysabri infusions (for MS, $20,000 before insurance PER infusion), and if I didn’t receive that assistance I would be stuck with about a $5,000 deductible. (I did warn you this was the long version.)

So basically, I could pay $120 per month for Part B Medicare and possibly $0 deductibles OR I could pay $0 premium and definitely $0 deductible. Now I was a straight A student, and I went to college. I chose the latter.

Simple, right? Not so. In March, when they sent me my Medicare welcome packet, I returned the card stating I was opting out of Part B. Then June came, and with it a welcome letter – and a statement of my insurance premium for PART B. I called to say W-T-F and they told me that was just a standard letter and that I would receive another one telling me it had been cancelled. Another month went by and my benefits came, less the $120 for Part B premium. I was not so happy, and I called again. They acted like they knew nothing about my opting out, and told me I needed to sign a form requesting cancellation, and that they would mail it to me.

At this point I didn’t believe a word they said, but I gave it a week to see if the form showed up. It did not. I called once again, but this time made the call to the local office, in case I needed to make an appointment. They said an appointment was not needed, but that I should come down and they would get it all straightened out. They made it sound so easy but I was still doubtful. I made arrangements (thanks Grandpa!) to get to the office today and guess what? It really was easy. The hardest part, literally, was signing myself in at the kiosk to get in line, when they asked me this question:

Are you….
1) Blind/low vision
2) Deaf/hard of hearing
3) (to be honest, I really don’t remember what was after those first two, but I was looking for an “all of the above” option)

I waited for about an hour, which is what they warned me it would be, and when they called my number I had to ask a few of the people waiting where #10 was, but they were all happy to direct the obvious newbie to her station, and I found it just fine. The gentleman was exactly that, a gentleman, and immediately put me at ease. He reassured me that cancelling was a simple process, and showed me where to sign, and before I even had a chance to ask, he was telling me they would be refunding me the two months of premium I had already paid, and the check will be on its way within the week!

I was so pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went and I felt pretty silly for having been such a nervous wreck. No worries though, it’s done now and I can move on with the rest of my week. Is it really only Monday still?

 

 

Anniveraries and magic…

May 9, 2014 I received my first cochlear implant (right ear).
May 8,2015 I received my second cochlear implant (left ear).
Both days were the Friday before Mother’s Day. Being given the gift of hearing again was a pretty awesome Mother’s Day gift.

May 6, 2016 I ran my first 5k. It was also the Friday before Mother’s Day. Running it with my son, and in the presence of beloved family and friends was an even better gift yet.

I’ve decided that the Friday before Mother’s Day will now always be an anniversary to be celebrated. Whether it’s celebrating the gift of CI hearing, or the accomplishment of running a race, or whatever, each year I will set aside time to remember, reflect upon, and be thankful for what I have been given.

But really, can I just say how amazing this weekend was? Kicking butt at the 5k Friday, then having a super chill day with the kids on Saturday, and then this morning, on Mother’s DAY, my husband and children got up early so they could make breakfast for me before church. And not just those canned cinnamon rolls you throw in the oven, which was the only thing I had requested. While the kids put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher, my selfless husband whipped up some fried eggs and perfectly cooked bacon. He had even run to the store that morning to buy orange juice. And then, after I was finished eating, they all showered me with cards and gifts and chocolate (of course).

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We finished the day with a drive to take Grandma for a late lunch at IHOP, which was super duper yummy (I can’t get enough of those Belgian waffles). We visited and had a good time, and then drove home, exhausted but happy.

Oh, and I almost forgot – to top it off, on Friday we received an offer on our house! The old house we moved out of last August, affectionately called The Cottage, is hopefully getting closer to being out of our hands, and that will be such a relief. We are crossing our fingers and praying that everything goes smoothly. We shall know more in the coming days.

This weekend was the best weekend I’ve had in I don’t remember how long. It feels almost magical, as cheesy as that sounds. And of course, by saying that I totally ruined the magic, but whatever. Have a magical night, everyone!

 

 

An anniversary of sorts

You guys. I have to tell you what just happened. I was posting a video of a cochlear implant surgery on Facebook, and wanted to note that my implants were coming up on their anniversaries (for the surgeries, not the activations). My right ear was planted first, in 2014, and the left ear was implanted a year later. Both happened to be on the Friday before Mother’s Day. I knew this, but wanted to verify the dates before posting this fact, so I opened up my calendar. The first thing I noticed was the date of my upcoming 5k run – it’s on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Get outta town! That had not even occurred to me when I signed up. And I swear to you, I didn’t plan that left ear surgery to be on that day either. In fact, it had originally been scheduled for earlier but had to be rescheduled due to a lingering infection.

But stop right here if you aren’t fascinated by the coincidence of these dates. If you think it’s silly, just stop.

For the rest of you… how cool is that? It’s better than a birthday, and in a way more exciting than my wedding anniversary. It’s an anniversary of hope and healing and victory over struggles. I want to give it a name and come up with fun ways to celebrate it every year. Any ideas?