Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October is Lupus Awareness Month... Did You Know??

This is a re-post of a post I wrote not long after getting the diagnosis of Lupus with Fibromyalgia ... since the original post I have also been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and neuropathy of the hands and feet and a mild seizure disorder - Lupus related- that has since resolved but leaves me constantly on the look out for a recurrence of this problem. If you know someone with Lupus, Fibromyalgia, RA , MS or any of the ever increasing auto immune illnesses and syndromes please take the time to let them know you care, give them a hand, lend a listening ear... You have the power to make a difference in someone's life... Use it! 



LIVING with LUPUS

DID YOU KNOW?
MORE PEOPLE HAVE LUPUS
THAN AIDS, SICKLE-CELL ANEMIA, CEREBRAL PALSY,
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, AND CYSTIC FIBROSIS
COMBINED!

Source: Lupus Foundation of America, Inc., Lupus Fact SheetProvided by the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.
This Means SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS LUPUS!


Some of you know that I was diagnosed with Lupus just over a year ago. Of course the disease was around long before that , and I like many others, went through a series of frustratingly disappointing tests and dialogs with Doctors over many years along the way to accurate diagnosis. 
I try not to talk about my illness with people in general... only those who have it, or an equally debilitating problem, that can relate to how I feel and what I go through daily trying to Live with Lupus.
But I decided to change my focus and see where it leads me... thus far I think it is leading me in a positive direction that I think will help me to help others.

What is Lupus? 

Well, that is a loaded question so I will give the easy to understand version, but you must bear in mind that it is much bigger and more vastly affecting than I can even begin to describe here on my simple blog pages.

Lupus is an AutoImmune illness.
Simply put it means that my immune system is attacking and destroying the cells of my body like they would a germ or bacteria that cause the flu or a cold. For whatever reason, my immune system has become the Super Hero-SUPER IMMUNE SYSTEM ! It takes on all cells- friend and foe alike- without discrimination. Ok, anti-discrimination is great when you are talking about equal housing opportunities, job candidates, college scholarships... but when we are talking about the building blocks of every being, it is not such a good thing to have a Super Hero on your side! 
SUPER IMMUNE SYSTEM causes inflammation and swelling in the soft tissues and connective tissues within the body; like the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. It cause joint pain and swelling, which lead to arthritic-like pain and often the inability to sit , stand or walk for significant periods of time. It causes pain for no apparent reason that is random and unpredictable, that comes and goes without any warning, and can leave a person writhing in pain and exhausted beyond belief.
Our Super Hero can also attack the Central Nervous System ( CNS) by causing swelling and cellular changes in the brain. These symptoms may come and go without rhyme or reason with increasing severity along the way. Forgetfulness, confusion, severe headaches, vision disturbances, loss of coordination and notable difficulty making your body do what you ask it to do, like lift a leg to go up a step, become more frequent as time goes by.
Chronic Fatigue, exhaustion, insomnia... these are all familiar symptoms known to those of us LIVING with LUPUS and our friends and families.

The Bad News is ...
There is NO CURE for this illness or those related to it like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Scleraderma and the many, many more that I cannot possibly list here. 

The GOOD NEWS is...
Research is being done to develop new medications and treatment programs to make increasing the QUALITY OF LIFE for those LIVING with LUPUS an attainable and long term goal.

How can I make Others Aware of LUPUS?
This is the question I asked myself. 

What can I DO to MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
The Answers I gave myself are these...

Tell SOMEONE about LUPUS and Show Support for Lupus Research...



DID YOU KNOW?
  World Lupus Day - May 10World Lupus Day provides both a day and a forum for various findings to be shared with the global lupus community. In addition, observing World Lupus Day offers lupus patients the comfort of knowing their condition is recognized and being addressed on a global level.
OCTOBER is LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH
It doesn't have to be October to help spread the word about lupus.If you want to know more about lupus, contact The Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Follow Your Bliss... Say WHAT?

Imagine this...

A refrigerator magnet. About the size of a business card. On a refrigerator. Go Figure.

On this magnet is a cartoonish drawing of a lady who is obviously pregnant walking... er, waddling, along.
Under the figure of the pregnant lady are the words:
Follow Your Bliss

I liked it. Actually, I really liked it. The image of a woman living her life and happy as she is about to embark upon the adventure that is Motherhood.

However, it got me thinking.
What does Follow Your Bliss actually mean?

Okay...
Follow your dream... that I get.
Follow your heart... I get that.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road... I can even understand the sentiment behind that... 

But Follow Your Bliss?
Say WHAT?

The dictionary definition of Bliss is:
Perfect happiness; great joy; utter contentment; the joy of Heaven; a state of ecstasy

Alrighty then! 

That clears it up.... Not At All!

I think this is one of those things that is situationally interpretive...
I mean that it means something different to everyone who reads it and it's meaning changes as the circumstances of that person change.

For me... Follow Your Bliss means...
Take the path that leads to my own personal happiness and contentment with my life and the choices I have made.

Would the picture be that of a pregnant woman happily strolling along?
Probably not, at least not at this point in my life.
However, about 15 years ago... yes, yes it would.
Back then I had been told I would not be able to have any more children. 
Back then I wanted to have one with HeMan Hubby... I wanted to create a life with him, a family with him and I believed that I would not be able to give him one of the things that he wanted most in the world... a child.

Of course, miracles do happen and we were able to have not one, but 3 children... and the doctors have no idea how or why I was able to carry those children to term. 

Six years ago the image would have been one of a healthy, fit and trim woman walking along, holding the hands of her children... my health was deteriorating, I was over weight, constantly tired from either just getting off work or getting ready to go to work or taking care of a baby or running one of the older kids here or there; I was ill and in constant and often agonizing pain...
Then I had a hysterectomy, and 3 different types of cancerous lesions and cells were found and removed,  and my body began to heal, the pain to abate and become something that although not gone is at the very least, bearable.

Now? The image that would accompany that statement would be that of a woman who is strong in her sense of self, happy and secure in her place in the world, this woman would look a lot like Katherine Hepburn and give off her aura of self- confidence...

Follow Your Bliss... for me it means finding a way to be the person I want to be, not the one I think I should be, a way of balancing the woman I am on the inside with the woman that I am perceived to be on the outside... 

I started blogging as a way to give voice to my feelings and thoughts and fears and dreams on my journey to finding out who I am and what my purpose in life truly is... I'm working on it and I think that I need to 
Follow MY Bliss...

And perhaps, just maybe, so do YOU

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Worrisome Worrier Am I

Many of you, at least I am assuming there are many of you reading this, know that I am a busy Mom of 6 children.
You also know by now that not all of my children still live at home.

There is GoodMom who has entered her 30's, has a husband, a mortgage and two adorable children, FancyPants and BabyG.

Then there is SmartGirl, not quite in her 30's and only recently employed in a field related to her college degree and more recently moved into her very own apartment.

Finally, there is ManBoy, who went to college, for a while, now works at two jobs and was the most recent, like within the last month, to move out and into the life of an adult-like person. Thank goodness for his room mates or he would not have been able to move out at all!

That leaves me, BusyMom, and HeMan Hubby, the most wonderful man on earth, home with 3 teenage children who think that they know absolutely everything about absolutely everything.

TeenBoy is 15, BratChild is 14 and SIX is 13.

I worry about our financial stability. Our ability to meet the needs of the children, beginning with TeenBoy in a very short 3 years, and followed rapidly by BratChild and then SIX as they graduate from high school and begin their pursuit of higher education.

How the heck am I going to put 3 more kids through college?

Add to this constant concern is the very wonderful, yet awful event that has made me feel even more guilty and inadequate where the kid's futures are concerned.

A local private school approached us about SIX. They want him to play football for them. They want him to take the entrance exam. Money? We can work that out...I spoke to several parent's of children currently attending, some were strangers but surprisingly some were not. I know them and know that they, like us, do not have the resources to afford 13k a year in tuition for high school. Do not worry they all said. The money will appear, it is amazing how it works out.

Yes, this is amazing. If my child scores well on the tests and the coach really wants him to play the school will find the money for him to go... and yet...

What about TeenBoy? What about BratChild?

I cannot afford 1 year for 1 child let alone any years for 3 children. But how can I send SIX and not send the other 2? Can I give 1 child the opportunity to go to a school whose graduates historically are accepted, and recieve amazing scholarships to, NYU and Stanford and UNC and Harvard and Yale...

While their current school, the public school, has graduates that are attending the local community college, Morgan State College and Mt. St. Mary's University and Frostburg and ITT Technical College...

Is it fair to offer advantages to the one child and not the others?

I know life is not fair, but a parent should be.
We should love our children equally.
We should provide the same opportunities and experiences to all of our children equally.
We should never let our children feel that one is better than another, or give them a reason to think it, even if it is not true.

I know some will say I am being overly concerned about this. And yes, I know that I am. But with good reason.
My older brother went to private school because my parents felt the public school was unsafe. He then went on to the college affiliated with the prep school he attended.
WE, my brothers and sisters, we went to the public school, the one my parents felt was unsafe, or not good enough, whatever, for our oldest sibling, but was apparently just fine for us.
We did not go to college, there was no discussion about any higher education in our home, no plans made for scholarships or college brochures ordered or visits scheduled.
We got the most from our public school educations and planned for our futures while in high school.
Me, I went to nursing school while in high school.
My sister? She did work study with a government agency and went there to work full time upon graduation. My brother? He followed in her footsteps and worked right out of school for several years until he found a way to be able to afford to go off to college and earn a degree.

My guilt is enormous. I helped the older 3 when and how I could.- college tuition, help with rent, money for groceries, or the actual groceries from my pantry when they needed it.

I am not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. The economy has made all of our plans null and void. All of the things we thought we would be able to do for, to provide our children are no longer possible.

But I can provide equal attention and love. I can make sure they have the best opportunities available within our means. I can make sure that they are all treated the same and never feel that one is better or worth more than the others...

So, my decision kills me inside, but it is the only one I can make and live with.
SIX will go to public school with TeenBoy and BratChild. He will play football with TeenBoy. He will be in Geometry with BratChild. All of them will travel in the same circle of friends and have similar high school experiences.
We may have to move, to downsize to be able to afford college for them and I am fully prepared to give up our home and sacrifice what we worked so hard to hold on to...

For my children I will do what I need to do...

Because that, after all, is my job as a parent...
To give them all the best that I can in every way that I possibly can

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Song... A Writer's Workshop Endeavor

Every week Mama Kat sends out 5 writing prompts. The idea is that bloggers can choose one of the prompts to write about and then link it to the Writer's Workshop on Mama Kat's site.
This week I am not crazy about any of the prompts but I'm going with #2:
---Tell us about your song--- 


The only problem with this is...
I don't really have A song.
Sure, I have songs that I really like. 
Songs that I sing along with on the radio.
Songs that make me cringe or smile or wonder what the heck the censors were doing the day that one was released.
But a song that I consider My Song... Nope, nada, can't think of anything.


Unless you count the songs that have meant something to me at various times throughout my life.


Queen's We Will Rock You / We are the Champions...
 that was my football team's song back when I was in grade school and a cheerleader for the community football league... the team that won the county championship every single year for 6 years running.


Then there was Slow Dancin' by Johnny Rivers 

That is the song that I had my very first kiss to... I was 12 and he took my face in his hands and slowly leaned in and gave me a lingering, heart felt kiss... it was Labor Day weekend and the summer of swimming and holding hands while we took long walks in the woods by the river was at an end...

Then there was Sweet's Love is like Oxygen and The Bee Gee's Too Much Heaven...

 Or any BeeGees song for that matter.
My first True Love and I loved the BeeGees. We would sit in his room and we would put on a 45 and drop the needle randomly on the record then would guess the song... in as few notes as possible. The BeeGees, Queen, Alabama, Lee Greenwood, Styx, Air Supply... I know, it was the 70's and let's face it, music was going through some serious transitioning back then. These songs take me back to when things between us were really good and we were really in love and planned to spend the rest of our lives together... before we grew up and got married and had kids and it all went so very wrong...

The 1980's were my high school years. My trying to find myself years and the music that was being put out there was perfect for me... Soft Cell and Adam Ant ...
And Blondie and Madonna and Pat Benetar and Joan Jett and Loverboy...

Disco and Pop and the beginning of Rap and Techno all being played on the same radio stations... it was totally awesome!

Blasphempous Rumors by Depeche Mode and Corey Hart's Never Surrender....


they are the songs that take me to that day in July when my brother was killed in a car accident. Corey Hart's song came in the radio for the first time as I was driving home from identifying his car and personal effects... and it said everything about my brother that was worth remembering...

Bryan Adams and Garth Brooks and Faith Hill and Green Day and Fire House brought me into the 90's and into a new marriage and more kids and more stress and strife and... the chance to be myself for the first time since I was... well in a very long time. I could wear what I wanted, color or cut my hair, have my own friends... and always have the support of my husband in everything I wanted to do.

Butterfly Kisses... that is the song that is my husband and my youngest daughter's song... the song that I heard for the first time when I was driving home from the hospital to take a shower, get fresh clothes... she was 6 days old and had been in a coma for 3 days and the doctor said she may not make it... that her daddy might never get to play soccer in the yard with her, see her off on her first date, walk her down the aisle...
But miracles do happen and she pulled through and she has grown into the beautiful, spoiled, intelligent and caring BratChild...

Linkin Park, Killers, Good Charlotte, Bruno Mars, PINK, Katy Perry... I love them all but I think that the song that best describes me, the me the way I see me?
Well then it would have to be..a song that is a little off, a little strange but in a good way... it would have to be Mr.Big's Green Tinted Sixties Mind...


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Life and Times of.... BusyMom!

BusyMom here...


Yeah, I know it's always me and I'm always Here.


But sometimes, okay, a lot of times...


I wish I could be somewhere else.


Like...
When I come in from a long night at work to find TeenBoy asleep in the dark on the sofa instead of on the school bus I just passed coming up our street.


When I come down in the morning only to find half-eaten bowls of cereal and cups of hot chocolate on the computer desk and breakfast room table, milk and cereal splashed everywhere, covered in ants who believe they have found The Promised Land and quickly sent out word to family and friends... all one million of them! 


When I get in my van and am hit with the noxious fumes from the dirty cleats and sweaty t-shirts and shorts and Under Armor soccer and football gear someone, Not Me most likely, has shoved under the back seat.


When I walk into the living room only to discover I am standing in yet another puddle left by StupidDog for me to find... usually the day after I steam cleaned the carpet, of course.


When I look at my day planner and calendar and try to sync them only to realize the computer program just won't let me be in 4 places at the same time... Silly computer! Doesn't it understand that I am BusyMom- a Super Hero in my own eyes?


I have been known to think derogatory thoughts about women who walk away from their children, their maternal obligations, to live lives unencumbered.
And yet...
Sometimes...
Just Sometimes....


I think that maybe I can understand the need to just be somewhere else...


And then the kids come home from school...


And SIX gives me a hug and a smile and that daggone dimple in his chin and the twinkle in his baby blues just gets to me...


BratChild hands me an order form for her soccer uniform sweats and I am so proud of her starting position on the High School soccer team I could cry...


ManChild drops by to spend a few hours before going to work... something we don't get to do now that he has moved out and is making his own way in the world like a real ADULT...


When GoodMom calls just to tell me BabyG smiled or FancyPants is finally interested in potty training...


When SmartGirl has a day off and goes to TeenBoy's football game with me and I see her cheering for him and the pride that shines through for her not so little brother... 


The same pride and love that all of my children show for one another... on occasion and not usually in public


I cannot imagine being anywhere else, living any other life, having any other family...


So...
BusyMom here...


And Here is where I'll stay.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Will Survive... October's Theme Song





In the words of Gloria Gaynor-


You think I'd crumble?  You think I'd lay down and die?


                        OH NO!  NOT I!


                         I WILL SURVIVE!


These words, this song has inspired millions of women...
and men...


To overcome incredible odds...
To fight the un-winnable fight...
To Dream the Impossible Dream...

Choose to Support Cancer Research TODAY!!!!
                                              


Music is a strong motivator.


Music is a strong sensory memory trigger.


Just hearing the 3 opening notes to Queen's Another One Bites the Dust 


transports me instantly to my childhood


to the county football field


to a sunny Fall day


to yet another win for the team I cheered for


and the team I played street football with


and the tackle that really messed up my knee


that I didn't tell anyone about because...


well, I was a girl in a cheerleaders costume playing tackle football with the football team...


I Will Survive...


just those 3 words...

inspire
uplift
give hope
give strength


So...


For all of my friends who are searching for...


In need of...
Praying for...
The strength to carry on....


This is me...
sending a little bit of mine...
To You...


I HEART BOOBIES.... available @ Keep a Breast Foundation
                                           and Zumiez