Monday, August 29, 2011

Things We Don't Like

Jane doesn't like diaper/poop checks.
I don't like being away from home.
So today I'm going back.
Am I cartwheel ready?
But going home is a start.
And I've promised Jane we'll keep the diaper checks to a minimum.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

6 Reasons I'm Smiling Today

*Painting by my mom, Margaret Harrell. Yep. She's awesome.

1. My father renames movies and tv shows. He never calls them by their proper titles. That would be boring. For example, Pet Cemetery is "That Dog Show" and The King of Queens is simply "Doug and Carrie."

2. My sister Rebecca was cooking dinner. She burned her finger on the stove, and in a scene that looked like slow motion she opened her mouth to scream and simultaneously caught a glimpse of Jane, so it came out edited "MOTHER OF PEARL."

3. My Mom is obsessed with defeating Matt in Word Twist. And he is obsessed with beating her. She tries to razz him. It's a bit like watching Myrna Loy try to trash talk on a basketball court.

4. Jerusalem has a wailing wall, and my parent's house has the booger wall. I sleep right next to it. That's a story for another post. Or a book.

5. My Dad yells about the government and taxes that are "high as a cat's back."

6. Jane has developed the perfect fake cough. I sense a flare for the dramatic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

State of the Union

So how am I? Well, I find myself in a new reality. When you go from a totally independent, healthy, working person to, well, something different... it changes things. But you want to know something? I've started putting away my checklists. I've stopped trying to make everything work out. I've slowly started to learn to wait on the Lord.

When faced with the things I always feared, God is becoming a bigger, more ever-present figure in my days. I believe he wants good for me and not bad. I believe things will get better.

I came across this verse last night and it stopped me short.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

I've been on the receiving end of a lot of comfort lately. And when I read this, I realized God wanted me to pass on the comfort, so to speak. So if you're reading this, know that God sees you. He knows your name and the number of hairs on your head. He sees you at your computer right now, at work or at home in your pajamas. Whether you're happily sipping coffee or wiping your bleary sleep-deprived eyes. He knows about your job. He knows about the bills, or the diagnosis, or the fight. He has heard the longings of your heart that perhaps you haven't shared with another soul. He has heard you. He is as close as your next breath and He will never leave or forsake you. He has good planned for you and not bad. And if you, like me, are facing a seemingly insurmountable monster, sit back and wait on the Lord. He is never late. He never forgets. He will deliver you.

I love you all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tummy Time, Meh

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago. Since then Jane has blossomed into a marshmallowy beauty with more puckers and rolls all over. I love it so much.

But one thing that hasn't changed in the past few weeks is her absolute and total loathing of tummy time. She kicks and strains and presses her little face into the ground while squealing like an angry little piggy.

We find a mirror helps. No matter how foul her mood, she always manages to enjoy looking at herself.

Kisses afterward help too. Actually, they're mandatory.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Just When Things Seem Gloomy...

...someone with big hair comes along and puts a smile back on your face.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Good Attitude Is Hard To Find

A good attitude is hard to find in times of hardship and sickness. I should know.

But, I'm taking notes from my daughter. For example: she hates getting her boogers sucked out.

And yet somehow, she smiles anyway.
I love her little spirit so much.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happiness Is

Jane perched on Paw-Paw's shoulder like a chunky little parrot and Grandmama taking pictures like crazy.

Paw-Paw trying to wipe Jane's spit up.

Jane not appreciating it.
But she appreciates Paw-Paw and Grandmama.
And that makes two of us.
Happiness is.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Facing the Wall

Every doctor I saw in UAMS thought I had MS. I could see it in their faces. And these weren't just any doctors. They were some of the best doctors and neurologists in the country. I would tell them about my hands tingling, my eyes jerking back and forth, the unbelievable vertigo and they would set their jaws and the pupils in their eyes narrowed.

On a side note I was relieved to find out how I got a false positive on a Lyme test. Know how to find out? Go through a lumbar puncture. Two words: never again.

So they ordered a bajillion tests. They put me in the MRI machine and I lay there with my ear plugs for 45 minutes, praying my face off. I knew from my symptoms and from the doctor's reactions what probably lay ahead, but I prayed for the impossible. I prayed that God would change his mind. I prayed he would give me back my health so I could see Jane become a woman and grow old with Matt. And then I remembered a Bible story from those VBS classes so long ago.

2 Kings 20:1-7

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you..."

So after the MRI was over they wheeled me back to my room, where I proceeded to have a full nervous break down in front of my entire family. I didn't just wallow in my misery, I bathed in it. And then that night, Dr. Saleem and my nurse Bella came to my room. She was a striking Muslim lady, covered head to toe in black, and she had a smile on her face.

"Mrs. Owen, you have no MS. We all thought you had MS, and you do not. God is good. This is a wonderful thing. Now be strong, be strong for your baby." (I can only assume my day's worth of crying and wailing had become legendary around the hospital floor at that point).

And then Bella reminded me that my strength comes from the Lord.

So that's my story. I'm still sick. Apparently vertigo like mine is a common symptom of migraines (especially with my long family history of regular migraines). Until we find the right medicine I'll still have vertigo. But I turned my face to the wall and prayed. I feel that God changed his mind. I don't understand that. I don't understand how sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. But I do know that an entire team of brilliant neurologists thought I had MS... and somehow... it turns out I don't.

Thank you Lord.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I'm home from the hospital. I missed this little girl so much I thought my heart would split in half. I still can't take care of myself, much less her, but I'm so thankful to be under the same roof at my parent's house.

So here's the good news. After extensive testing here's what we know. I do not have Lyme. I do not have MS. I do not have cancer. Praise God.
What I do have is a case of shingles that tried to rear it's ugly head. I probably have migraine associated vertigo and a small possibility of Menierre's disease (although no hearing loss, so that's a good sign).
It's going to be a long road back to health. Lots of drug trails. I really hate drugs. I really hate how loopy and dizzy and nauseous I am. But I have a beautiful little girl. I have a wonderful husband who is standing by me. I have precious parents who have put their lives on hold to take care of me and my baby.

And while I've had a lot in common with Jane's picture here... and I have no idea what the future holds or when life will look normal again... I'm still so very thankful. I'm thankful and I love God, even though life isn't fun right now. I wish I were doing this more gracefully, this whole faith thing. But to quote my mom, "Sometimes you just wallow through the tough times and that's as good as you can do." So that's what I'm doing. Wallowing, but still thankful.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wedding Pictures Coming Soon

Lyme-Watch Day 10, no 11. Heck I Don't Know. My Brain is Fried.

Folks. I'm pooped. It feels like I'm a giant wet noodle with legs trying to imitate a human. This is rough. On the other hand, I love being home. I loved it this morning when my dad asked me if I wanted "cat head biscuits" for breakfast. It's good to be home.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Questions About Lyme

1. How did you get Lyme Disease? Did you get bitten by a tick?
Yes. In fact, I got bitten by two in early May. However, people in the south and rural areas get ticks all the time and never contract Lyme. I don't want to cause a panic. :)

2. How do you know you have Lyme?
It's an awful, tricky little bacteria. Symptoms are different for everyone and not everyone gets a bulls eye rash where the tick bites. In my case it attacked my vestibular system and caused the serious bouts of vertigo. As it progressed I also started to get exhausted with rounds of fever and aching. It also made me feel, well, mentally off. I cried constantly and felt like I was going crazy. By the time I got on antibiotics I was having numbness and tingling in my hands and feet. Interesting point: it often mimics MS, Lupus, and Menniers Disease (among others). My doctor did a blood test and sent it off for testing. It confirmed that I have Lyme.

3. Is it treatable?
Yes. Antibiotics and lots and lots of rest. There are, of course, horror stories on the web, but those are always worst case scenario. People all over north Arkansas get treated for this and recover... if it wasn't "recoverable" half the population of this state would be down for the count (my father included). The earlier it's treated the better, and I had it for three months. The serious cases with long term effects are generally people who have it for years without knowing it. Had I not been blessed with finally seeing a smart doctor I would have been in trouble. Two ER doctors as well as an ENT didn't mention it. One ER doctor gave me valium and told me I was "hormonal" after pregnancy. The ENT also missed the cyst on my thyroid. Not the sharpest tools in the shed.

4. Are you still working?
Thankfully my bosses have been beyond kind and concerned for my well-being. I look forward to getting over this and returning to work as soon as possible.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Good News/Bad News/Wedding News

The bad news is... I have Lyme Disease.
I feel like serious doggy doo.
Seriously folks.
Never, ever have I been so sick in my life.
This stuff makes pregnancy and labor look like a piece of cake.

The good news is... I have Lyme Disease.
Now I know why I feel like serious doggy doo.
I've had it for about three months.
Thank you for your prayers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I believe God has taken care of me,
and I believe He heard every one of your prayers.

In wedding news... Rebecca and Jon-Perry got hitched today.
My new brother-in-law is pretty adorable.
And best of all he loves my sister.
Also? I made it through the ceremony without passing out.
But then I had to go to bed and miss the reception.
I didn't get any cake.
I didn't get to see her leave.
But she called me from the road just to tell me she loves me.

And now I'm going to bed. What does this picture of my earrings have to do with Lyme Disease or Becca's wedding.? They don't. But you ladies know how I feel about picture-less posts. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Red Hair, Home

It's been a long time since I spent this much time at home. Probably not since high school. Right now Dad is in the basement. He has a room down there where he stores his hunting equipment (which he hasn't used in years) and a desk where he puts together lessons for the Bible class he teaches. My Mom has been on a mission to give Jane lots of tummy time because, "She spends too much time like a sack of potatoes in the froggy, her arms are likeflippers." It's hilarious. Jane snorts and squeals like an angry little pig.

I've never been so worried or physically felt so bad, but at the same time there's so much peace in this house I grew up in. I look out at the mountains and the sun shines through the green trees and I remember feeling like it was a big tree house.

I've been remembering things I'd forgotten from childhood. There's evidence of it everywhere, from the booger wall in Rachel's room to the height chart marked in pencil in the dining room. I'd forgotten. It's been along time since I slowed down and had time to just think and remember.
I took these pictures a few weeks ago. This was my favorite doll growing up. I named her Vivienne (homage to Vivien Leigh I suppose). Red hair was the most beautiful thing in the world to me. I hated my brown hair. I used to think Anne Shirley was nuts.

But I've been remembering these things. My childhood longing for red hair. The hole in the window upstairs where Rachel hurled a sock full of pennies at Rebecca's head and broke just one layer of glass. The time Rebecca hid behind our great-grandmother's casket and proceeded to poop her pants at the funeral. The way Rachel ordered at restraunts, eyeing the waiter through her round Harry Potter style glasses and reiterating, "I want cold, white milk." The way summers used to be still and long when the locusts called from the forest.

I'm still waiting to find out what is wrong, but I'm doing it in the happiest place possible.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Not a Wedding Person, But...

It's no secret that I'm not much of a wedding person. Don't get me wrong, I like attending them. But brainstorming for decorating ideas, hairstyles, shopping trips... gah. There was lots of tulle and fake pink roses at my wedding. Why, you ask? Because they were free from the church storage closet. Just call me the wedding Grinch.

BUT, there are times when I make an exception. Every blue moon I get inspired.

Meet Mel and Jordan. They're our friends and fellow church-goers. They are cute-tastic.

Mel used vintage postcards for her save-the-date notifications.

She used lots of cool stamps for the invitations. This will no doubt be one fabulous wedding. So I take my hat off to you, Mel and Jordan. You inspired a non-weddingy gal. May God bless you both as you enter into matrimony, wish we could be there!

My sister Becca will be walking down the isle very soon. She's just like me. She made catering decisions in 30 minutes. She found her dress in one shopping trip. She has to be cut-throat though, she only got back from China a month ago. And she's going back for another year. It makes me sad every time I think about it. So I don't think about it. I just concentrate on the fact that I get to see her all summer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

(*photo found here)

People are awesome. They ask me, "How are you? Are you better?"
And honestly, no.
I feel like my body is rebelling.
They're testing me for Lyme Disease.
They've also found a growth on my thyroid.

How's that for a batch of good news?

I've felt like the little blue train.
"I think I can, I think I can..."

But when I get down in the dumps all I have to do is look at this picture.
My own little hoot owl.
I love her so.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Monday, August 1, 2011

Overboard Fans Will Get This (Sorry To Everyone Else)

Growing up I loved the movie Overboard.

There's a part in the movie where Goldie Hawn picks her boys up from school and gets into a skirmish with their principal. She yells:

"They may be monsters, but they're MINE."

I've always loved that scene. And now, I get it.

I don't care what happens. She'll always be my baby. And I'll always love her.

Even when she's in a monster phase.

But right now she's sweet as sugar and chirps like a little bird when she's happy.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to apologize to my mom for all all those monster teenage years.

P.S. I'm still staying at my parent's house, and things are up in the air. Continued prayers are much appreciated.