I’m So Much Better, But Not Yet Great

Christmas TreeHello there friends, Merry Christmas!  I love this season, all the music, decorations, bustle and bells.  But in the midst of all of that…many of us are still dealing with the same challenges, perhaps trying to move them to the back burner while we’re cooking up holiday surprises.  I would love to sit here and wax on about the joys of the season…and I promise I will in my next post!  However, today, this post is for those who are “in it with me”. Who know how hard the journey has been, and that it isn’t over yet.  Whether you are facing a challenge today yourself, or if you are just empathizing with me for my sake, thank you, sincerely, for sharing a moment with me here ❤

This morning, I had an appointment with my GP (general practitioner) doctor for 2 reasons. First, I need his authorization every time I need to see a specialist and I am due for a check in with the OBGYN for the large ovarian cyst that they found during my hospital stay.The second reason was for pain management – which is a nicer way to say I was about out of my pain meds and my gastro refuses to write a script, and keeps kicking me to the GP even though he knows the GP hates to dole out narcotics.

Now, a few things are wrong with this whole situation.  First of all, in the past, when I’ve been hospitalized with my Crohn’s, it’s always taken about 6 months to truly get back on my feet – working, exercise, stable emotionally, and off the pain meds.  We are at an even 5 months since I was released from the hospital, but only 3 weeks off the steroids, (by ditching those, I started eating normally, lost weight, less stress, no more bone damage…but lost energy, and have more pain, it can apparently takes months for the body to re-adjust).  I have started Cimzia, the biologic inject-able which will be a long term maitnence dosage, however that can take 3 months to fully kick in before we can asses if it’s even the right treatment for me.  We are 2 months in.

All of that to say, I’m back to some work and exercise, still not sleeping, and all of these things are made easier with a little oxy. Now, I know it’s addictive, I know people have issues with it, and the fact that I need it still is embarrassing at best, and frustrating at worst.  I have, in the past, always been able to wean myself off without any outside help, but it genuinely takes a long time for my body to rebuild it’s strength.  In this case, I have been sick, in pain, not sleeping, battling my Crohn’s and gut infection out of control for a solid year before I was admitted. That means a year of mal-nutrition, muscle depletion, and un-rest, (we won’t even go into the emotional issues and the over all effect of this on our new marriage), from which my body is trying to recover.

DoctorPillsMy gastroenterologist said that it was “annoying” to take a test every 2 years to get certified to dispense pain meds, so he has sent me to several doctors, and even suggested that I just go to the ER when I needed a refill.  The GP I found to work with is so understanding, and was willing to help me, but was upset at being put in that situation, and I don’t blame him!  Also, he is retiring in 2 weeks, so then what?  He ended up filling the scrips, suggesting an anti-depressant to help me sleep, and wished me luck.

I felt awful sitting there in his office.  I was clearly stuck in the middle of these doctors and the state regulation, and felt bad asking the doctor for anything!  In fact, the hubby still doesn’t like the fact that we’ve had to return to western medicine after trying to use purely natural and holistic methods for the last year. However, I had walked in feeling pretty good about the fact that I had been biking and exercising, and gotten myself down to 1/2 a pill a day vs. the 2 full doses a day I was on when I first went to see him.  But to him, he just saw a young woman who looked like she should be well, and didn’t believe I should have been on anything to begin with…and admits that he knows very little about my disease and nothing about the Cimzia I’m taking. He thinks I should get a new gastro, but it was hard enough to find this one who has a pretty good beside manner, and was willing to work at the level of treatment I needed.  There’s the rub my friends.  I wish I could have just one doctor taking care of me, who can see the whole picture, who understands some of the unique factors in my case and the way I’ve dealt with it over the years.  In fact, as I sat there listening to his frustration with silent tears running down my face, all I could think of was that if only he knew how bad it had been, how many doctors had thrown up thier hands and said they couldn’t help me, and how hard I had worked to get back to “good”, and how I wouldn’t be crying if I hadn’t had to drive my husband to work at 3:30 in the morning because the Army is crazy and neither of us got any sleep last night.

As I walked away from his office with 3 scripts in hand, I pondered how there was no way my husband was going to let me use an anti-depressant after what he’d seen his veteran friends go through.  I also thought about how low it feels to “need” something no one wants to give you, even if they agree you need it.  I thought about how I needed to be at my best to straighten out some work stuff today, and probably wouldn’t be because of the sleep deprivation.  At least I’d have some meds to make me more comfortable right?  Nope!  The pharmacy was “out of stock” and won’t be able to fill them for several days.  Sigh.

Here is the deal – the main reason I feel the need for all this medication is because society isn’t made to let us rest.  I can’t take more time to heal, life is moving on and I need to move on with it or get left behind!  I already feel like I’ve missed so much, even lost some friends, let people down, and been forgotten in my hibernation. I want to wake up!  I want it to be summer in my life again!

So what to do?  I don’t know.  The government has made insurance more messy, so we (doctors, nurses, patients), spend a lot of time making phone calls, filing papers, and making less than necessary appointments to meet requirements and at the end of the day, I’m not really any better off than I started. I just feel a little worse about my situation, and really want to move it to that back burner again.

IMG_20141227_175335To end on a positive note…as frustrating and embarrassing and upsetting as all this is…I don’t want to seem ungrateful – because I’m not!  Just yesterday as I rode my new bike in the sunshine I was counting my many blessings.  Any way you slice it, I am so much stronger than I was this time last year, physically, spiritually, and mentally. God has been so good, and stood by me though it all.  I may not understand Him all the time, but I see His hand in the little things…in the beauty of a blue sky, the loyalty of a little dog, the laughter two people share.  When I see these gifts I know it’s true,

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I’m so un-worthy, yet I am encouraged – may I complete those good works, and be a blessing to this world before I am called home.  May it be true for you as well.

Much love to you today dear friend, and thank you again for being “in it with me”.  ~ Morgen

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If Only Skin Showed the Heart

Gettin' a lil brown sugar...

“Beauty is only skin deep, but Love is as fathomless as the sea”

I was listening to a comedian today talking about “inter-racial couples”, how he didn’t love it when people referred to him (black), and his wife (Japanese) with that term.  To him, she was just “her, my wife, and beautiful.”  He went on to cite some other stereo-typical things people say when a couple has different racial backgrounds.  Here’s what’s hysterical…I’ve heard them all referring to us! They aren’t even all bad things, for instance, he mentioned how strangers will say, “you’ll have such beautiful babies!”  Now, I love hearing that – and people do say that often which is so kind!  However, I always think of it as just because my hubby is so good looking, and I have such awesome hair, that is just has to be true.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be willing to even consider pregnancy. I digress…

Love feels the same in every color...

Love feels the same in every color…

This post is about how I’ve found Race to be proof that Beauty is Skin Deep.  Now, I’m not an anthropologist, I grew up in a “privileged culture”, so don’t attack me with all the other implication of race, I know.  But dating and marrying a partner darker than me has taught me: until we know someone, we see race, once we know them, we see soul.  And maybe what we see on the outside isn’t what the world would typically deem “beautiful”, but my theory is that anyone can look “beautiful” by the worlds standards with a little worldly help – make up, hair product, clothes, lighting, etc.  Every reality make-over show has taught us that.  But do those people change on the inside during that process?  Enough so that they carry a new attitude or world-view into the rest of their life?  We can hope so.

Let’s talk about Love.  Love covers a multitude of sins doesn’t it?  Once you’ve fallen in love with someone, it’s hard to see their faults.  Even on the bad days, you leave the house, start to miss them, remember how great they’ve made your life, and before you know it, you’re calling to tell them all those things!  Now, sometimes, as you get to know someone, you find they are hard to love.  That’s legit, sometimes personalities just don’t mesh well, or you are working at cross-purposes in the world, I submit to you that if you kept getting to know someone, you’d like them more and more, because you would be able to walk a mile in their shoes.  The movie “Ender’s Game” sums it up really well,

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”
― Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game

What power there is in understanding….and courage in loving anyway.  In choosing not to focus on detrimental flaws, but on encouraging a individual’s strengths and making space for them in our lives.  Sigh.  Love is truly so enduring, and beauty is really so fleeting.  I will give you just a quick summation of how I see this in my marriage:   When I first started dating my hubby, a friends mother saw his picture on Facebook and asked me about the “nice African American man” I was seeing.  (Ed has not a drop of African, or Mexican which is another common mistake).  Another reminder of our difference came when a friend innocently asked about a gift for his sister, “I’ve never met her, so I don’t know what color to get…is she as dark as he is?”  I laughed so hard because I just always thought of him as having a nice tan, and when people ask him his background, his says “British” – he was born there and still carries duel citizenship.  Because we’ve both lived and traveled in Europe, I think of us as “citizens of the world”, rather than a “bi-racial couple”, and that means something to us.

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight...

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…

What brought all of this home when I heard the comedian today was this discussion with my Love the other night.  I said, “hey honey, let’s go visit this community and just check it out!”  He replied, “Babe, I don’t think we’d be welcome there.”  I laughed, not on the same page, “haha, yes, we are a little bit loud and crazy from them”, and he smiled and my mis-understanding, “no my love, I mean because of me, I don’t think they are used to people like me”, I still didn’t get it.  Because he’s so passionate?  Patriotic?  A solider?  Finally the light went on, “oh…because you’re darker than me?”  He nodded, still smiling, “it’s ok baby love, we can still go if you want to.”  I mean woah!  I am so quick to forget that he feels like he stands out, because even in the military there were fine lines of light and dark in certain rooms.  In my eyes, he is Edward, my love, my husband, a man of faith and integrity, the most kind and compassionate person I know.  How quickly that skin-deep beauty fades in the eyes of love. ❤

P.S.  If you’re still curious:  Ed’s mother’s family is from Guyana, his father’s family are from Poland.  So he’s a little bit Indian…but I’m also part Native American, so we’re both super ethnic.

Ed’s Wife

palm-trees-2Well, this is my first full week in Florida...and as a wife…and as a full-time business owner.  Oh, and as a mother of 2 squirrel-y hounds. I still can’t quite believe that this is my “new normal”, a permanent reality rather than a temporary visit.  Without the constant cheerful re-assurance of my new husband, I don’t think I’d be adjusting very well.

Keeping warm together between photos

Keeping warm together between photos

What’s tough:  We had a “thing” last night about internet.  He can get by with a pay-as-you-go hub with a few gigs a month.  Between marketing, networking, and my addiction to Netflix, I need constant high-speed access 24/7.  As we used up the last of his gigs yesterday, it was time to re-asses, and he happily added a regular internet subscription so that I could do my work from home and not count the megabytes.  BUT – for an woman who is used to making and spending her own money and answering only to God…it is SO hard to ask for something like that.  It used to be that if I spent a little too much in one area in the budget, I was the only one who suffered, ate less, or stayed in on the weekend to compensate.  Now if we are careless, he can’t go to the chiro or afford school books.  AND…I’m no longer full-time at the church, so I’m shifting to working my business as my only line of income, and in the meantime I’m not contributing much to the house-hold.  I know this is stereo-typically a guy problem, but I’m sure other ladies encounter this now too?  Especially if you get married later in life?

What’s awesome: We have SO much fun together!  There is something so sweet about

Took a random detour and ended up at a car show. Ed found us a mini-van

Took a random detour and ended up at a car show. Ed found us a mini-van

img_5253

Someone’s going into the fountain here…

having taken a leap of faith to go from dating long-distance to married-in-person (as I call it).  I’m constantly amazed by my husbands compassion, work-ethic, and determination to love and take care of me so well.  We’re learning about each other exponentially every day, and our ability to communicate is our saving grace.  We survived our first visit to Bed Bath and Beyond together with registry and gift-cards in hand.  We are learning to share 1 car, take care of 2 dogs, and compromise on how we spend our leisure time.  On Sunday, we went to the little church that meets at the University, most of the other soldiers from the station attend as well.  Wow – Pentecostal/Baptist/African-American-Style/3hours of awesomeness. I cried, was blessed and prayed over, anointed with oil, and hugged with passion.  Can’t wait to see what happens week 2 🙂

 My favorite thing about being married is the

We're married!  Yup, that happened.

We’re married! Yup, that happened.

un-conditional attitude.  There is not point in getting mad – we may as well talk it out because neither of us is going anywhere.  The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear”.  I’m feeling that these days, and it is truly beautiful.  We constantly pray as a couple that this sweet season together will make us strong enough to pour that same kind of love out to others as we meet them in life. Wish us luck!

~ The Marry Team RZ

Remembering Willow…

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After 7 years of calling Willow Creek Community Church my home… God is calling me somewhere else.  Because I truly feel called to end my time here, and because there is the promise of starting a new life with my … Continue reading