March 26, 2008


My mom called me the other night. We have been talking on a somewhat regular basis, and for those of you that know me well know how huge that is.

This time I could hear in her voice that she was not doing very well. She had the flu on Sunday and anytime she gets the flu she runs the risk of having a relapse with her MS and with the recent drug that she is on there are limited options of treatment when she does have a relapse. Monday she started the safe treatment and was having a rough day.

She also received an email from someone in our lives that is currently very upset with her (let's call her Jane). As my mom told me all of the things that were in the email, I cringed. Many of the things that were in the email were things that at one point I desperately wanted to tell her as well, but hearing them now just made me sad. My mom was actually trying to find the truth in the email. She wanted to know what things that Jane told her were things that she needed to work on.

That conversation was deeply healing and strangely saddening. I am amazed by the place we are at. I am so glad that my mom and I can have that kind of conversation and the only tears that might be shed are because of compassion and not anger or hurt.

My fear in beginning to talk to her again was that we would end up in the same place we always end up. But this time, something is different. It feels healthy. I am full of hope that this will continue to grow, and full of gratitude for the healing that has occurred.

I find myself so depressed about my back and so focused on the current pain and frustration I am in and forget what has already been done. One year ago, I was ready to cut my mom out of my life completely (and did for some time). I didn't see any other option. Now, I don't see how my back is going to get better.

But in one year, who knows where I will be. My back most likely will be better, but I am sure there will be another difficult situation that we are smack dab in the middle of that makes us feel like life is impossible.

So there is hope. I am trying to choose to stay positive (which is really challenging for me) and look at the good that is happening. So that is why I am writing.

March 24, 2008

A Set Back

Last week I was making a good amount of progress with physical therapy. I had minimal pain in my back and the pain no longer went down my leg. I was able to walk a lot more, and I was very hopeful that I would be back to normal soon.

And I quickly learned how fragile I still am, how soon progress can stop. Thursday I accidentally slept on my stomach, which lead to a very painful Friday. After doing my stretches and trying to stay active, I felt a bit better.

Saturday morning I went to the chiropractor and he could tell I was in pain. I was frustrated and chose to ignore it. We continued with our plans and I convinced myself that walking and staying busy would help keep the pain at bay. For the most part it did. I was in barely any pain all day, until we got home and I started to relax.

Yesterday we decided to stay home instead of heading to Muskegon for Easter dinner. I was in quite a bit of pain, and I knew I needed to stay home. I have to get better.

So today when I went in for physical therapy, I told Rick about this set back and the pain I have been in. He seemed concerned and left the room for a second. He came back in on his cell phone, making a phone call to Dr. Faber. Rick informed Dr.Faber of what was going on and requested an MRI.

When Rick got off the phone he explained that he is not freaked out, but that he wants to make sure that he isn't missing something.

At this point I was in tears. Not only was the pain intense, but I was sick of the emotional ups and downs. I am ready to get better. I need to get back to work. I am sick of not being able to do anything without being in pain.

So, the plan is to continue with physical therapy and chiropractic care. Rick is going to get in touch with me when he knows more about the MRI. And I am doing everything I can to get better.

I just hope the next time there is improvement that there isn't a set back shortly after.

"And it came to pass."

March 18, 2008


I am still laying on the floor. I am still off of work. I will be off until March 29 (at least).

The current plan involves physical therapy three times a week and very frequent visits to the chiropractor. Fortunately, my physical therapist (Rick) and my chiropractor (Dr. Kik) both respect each other and are working together well. I have found that chiropractors and physical therapists don't usually play well together. They are a bit like cats and dogs. Which is a bummer, because while you could make arguments why one animal is better than the other, the world clearly needs both.

The somewhat official consensus is that I have a bulging disc. My physical therapy appointment consists of a good half hour of painful muscle work where Rick finds the muscle he feels needs to be relaxed and pushes on it until it releases. This usually takes about eight to ten minutes for each muscle he works. Then I go to this room where they give me an ultrasound (to increase circulation) and then hook me up to electrodes and lay a heating pad on my for fifteen minutes. After that I go to the gym where I do my stretches, and they send me home. I currently have a bruise the diameter of a golf ball on my hip.

I actually really like Rick and everyone that I work with at Health Motion. They are all very friendly, and actually care, or at least do a good job at pretending to care, which is good enough for me.

I have made progress, but today I am really sore. I have been doing all of my stretches at home, and we have been walking as much as I can. If there isn't significant improvement in two weeks, they are going to schedule an MRI.

So for now, I lay on the floor. I started reading the book Cold Tangerines and am almost finished. I have watched far too much television. If anyone has any book recommendations, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

With spring right around the corner, I hope to be better very soon so I can thoroughly enjoy the season.

March 11, 2008

East or West?

Apparently, it is extremely important to know the answer to this question when getting on the highway. Since I have always struggled with being aware of directions, this is something I continue to struggle with. It is so helpful when going into unfamiliar territory to have Tony with me. He is always aware of which way is east, which way is west. Me- notsomuch.

Living in Muskegon for most of my life, and learning to drive there only furthered my inability to learn directions. I never needed to know which direction I was going, just which road to get to or exit to take. Living in Jenison and so close to Grand Rapids, it is still fairly basic what I need to know, but I have days that my knowledge is challenged.

So today I was so proud of myself when navigating my way home (alone) from my physical therapy appointment in a part of town I have yet to become familiar with. I went back the way I had come, and was able to find the ramp to get on and quickly decided with confidence that I wanted to go east.

About ten minutes into the drive I realized that it did not take me this long to get down town, and the exit numbers were wrong. I quickly called Tony, at this point to confirm that yes, I did go the wrong direction, and he helped me to determine the best exit to take to get back going the correct way.

A good half hour later, I was pulling in the driveway. Darned directions.

March 08, 2008

Two Weeks

This week has not been the best week ever. I have been in pain due to issues with my lower back. The back pain started in July, and I have been going to a chiropractor since. There was significant improvement and about a month ago I thought I was finally better.

Then slowly the pain came back. Now it is on my right side instead of my left like it was at first. It is lower too, most of the pain is in my right leg and walking proves to be rather painful, especially when I first get up.

I have missed a considerable amount of work because of this, and Target has not been too happy about it. This week was the first time I realized I qualify for FMLA and that these days that I have missed because of the pain shouldn't count against me. So I had my chiropractor fill out the paperwork today and he said I can't return to work until March 22. Two more weeks. No work.

On one hand, I am glad. Who wouldn't want to be off of work for two weeks?

Unfortunately, it is unpaid time off. And it isn't a vacation. I can't really do much. I have a doctor appointment on Monday, as well as an appointment with a massage therapist. Yey for massage therapy. I am also going to hopefully start physical therapy this week.

I am worried about how this is going to affect our plan to go on our adventure this fall. This combined with another complication we didn't foresee, it looks like something unexpected is going to have to happen in order for it to work.

This also means I am not going to be able to go with Pam for her doctor's appt. in California.

It is soo frustrating when everything seems to be figured out and planned, and then wham! something comes along and changes it all. I am trying to stay optimistic and have perspective.

I mean, really the worst thing that could happen? We don't go on our adventure. We stay in our nice duplex, or downsize to a smaller place. I know I am going to get better, I just have to be patient. And my job isn't worth worrying about.

I have hope.

March 02, 2008

Grace and Peace

Rob Bell is doing a one year series on the book of Philippians at Mars Hill. We are currently still in the first chapter. So far the focus has been on grace and peace.

Each Sunday as we leave I feel as though that message was specifically designed for me to hear in that exact moment and hope that someone else was able to connect with it as well despite the deep connection it had with me personally.

I am realizing how rich my life is, how beautiful my story is.

I just got off of the phone with my mom. We discussed my ongoing back pain and she gave me her opinion of what to do, we discussed Bethany, and we laughed. We laughed a lot.

Earlier I talked to Pam. She was calm. Her dad was over this weekend and helped her get organized in her home. She has an appointment with a doctor that specializes in her disease.

Nicole is going to Indian Trails Camp this summer. Tony and I did some research on it, and when she came over we told her about it and she was excited. But she had already heard about it and later we found out that the school had made arrangements so she can go- and it was already paid for.

There is still pain, but beautiful things are happening. Amazing, unexpected, undeserved, long awaited, truly good things are happening.

Grace and Peace