Saturday, May 7, 2011

The blessing of a loving Mom....

It's hard to believe that Mother's Day is already tomorrow! It's true what they say about the years going by faster as you get older, cause it's hard to believe it's already been a year since we celebrated mothers everywhere, but yet, here we are, almost at the first Sunday in May again!

I'm so thankful that my Mom is now out of the hospital, feeling better and back at the nursing home with Dad.  This is a very difficult time in life for all of us, as my folks have transitioned from their own home to a nursing home, but I have to say that my Mom has handled it with a tremendous amount of dignity and grace, which really doesn't surprise me at all.

You see, my Mom has always been the strong one in our family, emotionally speaking. She's tough and always has been for as long as I can remember. For my entire childhood, my Mom was a stay at home mother, but she also answered the phone for my Dad's heating and plumbing business (the business phone rang into our house from 8am - 5 pm - that's the kind of thing they did in those days), making all the appointments and she also handled all the billing and correspondence. Plus she kept up with us three kids, handled all the cooking, cleaning and laundry. She always had a smile on her face, and enjoyed the simple things in life. She never left home much, except on the weekends to go to the grocery store, but she always seemed to be contented with her life because growing up on a farm, I think she was really a homebody at heart.

She's lived her life for her family and was always there for us when we were growing up. Us three kids were 6 years apart, so for my Mom, I'm sure it must have seemed like she would never get rid of us. We weren't rich by any means, but were always comfortable. My Dad worked very hard and Mom held down the fort at home. She made most of my clothes when I was in my grade school years and I remember well when I got to go buy my first store bought blouse. I think I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade, and boy was that a thrill to go to the store with Mom to buy something a beautiful as that! I was also allowed to get some saddle shoes too, which were my favorite. I felt like a princess. I thought homemade clothes were so "out " because most of my friends had store bought ones, but looking back on it, it was a nice thing for Mom and I to do because we went together and picked out the patterns and the fabric for my outfits. I can't remember Mom getting a lot of fancy clothes for herself, she was always in capri pants and t-shirts, but she always made sure I had something nice to wear. She was always doing for me and my brothers and my Dad.

Mom sent me to a sewing class one summer, and I had to walk there by myself. It was about 2 miles down the hill at the Shirlington Shopping Center, in Alexandria, but I can remember feeling so grown up when I was allowed to go there by myself. Mom couldn't leave the house because of Dad's business, but she always made sure I tried new things. I did piano lessons for 5 years, I was allowed to ride my bike down to my grandparents duplex, which was in the other direction but also about 2 miles away.  In those early years, in the summer, I was all over the place on my bike, riding to friends houses, playing softball at my old elementary school with friends. It was a wonderful time of freedom. I was also all over the place on my roller skates, because I loved to skate. I didn't go to a skating rink, but just loved skating up and down the streets, visiting with people. We didn't have a pool like my kids grew up with, but we still had a lot of fun in the summer, creating little plays with kids in the neighborhood, and then putting on skits for our parents to come and watch. Dad very seldom came because he was exhausted from working all day, but Mom was always there, cheering me on.

My Dad was pretty strict when we were growing up. I remember one time, really wanting to go to the movies, but Dad was not a big fan of the movies. He thought they were a waste of time. I didn't ask often because I knew how he felt about it, but I did ask this time. I really wanted to go see the latest Elvis Presley movie, but he really disliked him and everything he stood for (not uncommon for parents of the time) I was crushed. But, Mom, knowing how much it meant to me, set up a quiet date for me to go with my cousin Doreen and my Aunt Margaret. It was our big secret, and to this day I don't know if my Dad knows I was corrupted by seeing "Kissing Cousins" starring Elvis Presley. I had such a good time that day.

My parents weren't very social and they rarely had their friends over and we didn't have a lot of our friends over either. It's not that they weren't welcome, we just didn't do a lot of socializing at our house There were no playgroups or Mom groups or anything like that back in those days. I can remember going to other people's slumber parties and such, and  I do remember a big 6 year old birthday party I had, but can't remember a lot of other parties, although I'm sure we must have had a few. My Dad only has one eye, and always felt uncomfortable in social situations, but even though there was not a lot of outside contact other than other family events, school and school activities, I still always felt very loved by my Mom and Dad.

We never went to formal church. My Mom did take me to Sunday school when I was a little kid and I was baptized because I have the certificate, but we had our church at home on Sundays and then bible studies during the week. Our Bible study times were always led by my Dad, and Mom was always quiet, but I always knew she loved the Lord too. The seed of faith and my love for Jesus was planted early in my life, by both Mom and Dad.

As the years go by, and I continue to grow and mature and have parental challenges of my own, the more I've realized that my parents weren't perfect, only human, and they were always trying to do what they thought was the best thing for me. I may not have always agreed with their decisions, but I knew that they loved me, and that is the most precious gift a parent can give their child. There is no one in the world that loves you like your parents, because they love you just like our Heavenly Father loves all of us --unconditionally.

You will make many friends throughout your life, but there is no one like your family, especially your parents.  Their heart breaks when your heart breaks. Love them while you have them, because you never know what the next day will bring. If you are a parent yourself, you know exactly what I'm talking about, if not, then I pray that the Lord will bless you with children of you own someday so you can experience the many highs and lows of parenthood. It truly is the blessing of a lifetime.

So thanks Mom, for everything. Thanks for always being there, through good and bad, thick and thin. Thanks for putting up with all the stupid mistakes I've made along the way, and thanks for always reaching out to me even when I didn't deserve it. You were and are the absolute best! And, thank you Lord, for a devoted, Godly mother. I know she is a gift from Heaven above~~

My verse for today is from  Proverbs 31: 2

"Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her."

My prayer for today:
Thank you Jesus for my mother. Thank you for her dedication to our family over the years. Please watch over her each day and give her comfort. What a blessing she has been in my life and I am thankful. Help me to be the kind of Mom to own my kids that she has always been to me.

In Jesus name I pray,

                                              Mom in the 1940's at home in Floyd, Va.

                                                       Dad, Mom and me, 1956
                                 ~~ Mom's 80th Birthday with brothers Mike and Robert, me, Dad and Mom ~~

Friday, May 6, 2011

Just a simple trip to the doctor--here we go!

A few weeks ago, I went to meet yet another new neurologist in my arsenal of MS doctors. I now have neuro's in Tampa, Asheville, NC, and Sarasota. Since I live in Sarasota, my husband especially feels I need to have a local neurologist that I can depend on. I'm still not sure about that one, but am abiding by his wishes, since he is my caretaker. Since I had my CCSVI procedure 8 1/2 months ago, I don't really think of him as a caretaker anymore, cause I'm doing more and more things to help myself.

I fired my local neuro of 13 years a month ago, being a bit disgusted with his NO more CCSVI for you attitude. I had asked him about what he thought about CCSVI last June during my every 3 month visit and he flat out told me, No way, "I do NOT want you to do that, it is too dangerous, people have died from that, this is just another one of those crazy things on the internet." I respectfully debated the point with him and left the office, more determined than ever to find out everything I could about CCSVI.

So, I went about my way, with God as my wing man, educating myself and then setting up for my own CCSVI procedure in Tampa (which is only 60 miles from my house) - that was a total God-Thing too. The Lord just opened up every single door for me, almost as if He was saying, "Well, what are you waiting for? I've been trying to get you off those drugs for years, I've found a new and better way that's gonna make you feel a lot better. Trust me, I've provided your out. Go for it." So, I did "go for it" with some pretty remarkable results, feeling way better than I have in literally, years. 

Fast forward to my new neurologist in Sarasota. He was in partnership with my old neuro, and just left their practice about 6 months ago to branch out on his own. He's a very smart guy and is known in this area as the best MS doctor in these parts. I had seen him around the other office for years, waving to him, and he attended some of the those early MS walks held here in Sarasota. So I thought "Why not give him a try?" He's the best MS expert in town, let's find out what he thinks about CCSVI, plus it would be nice to have a new perspective on my 5" thick MS file- another set of eyes to peruse my crazy and strange MS case.

Not surprisingly, although his stance on CCSVI was a bit more open minded than my other Sarasota doctor, he was still in the let's wait for more data, there are some trials going on in Buffalo, it's too new, mode. My husband proceeded to tell him that I was the "poster child for CCSVI in this area," totally throwing myself (hook, line and sinker) into everything CCSVI, which he chuckled at. He acknowledged that yes, he had received the invitation I sent him to our Opening Minds for CCSVI Educational Seminar, but he couldn't make it because he was swamped (I wasn't buying that one, but I just smiled.)

Through the course of the appointment, I told him emphatically that I would be doing the CCSVI procedure again if and when needed. "Why shouldn't I?" I said. "It's so simple and it's helped me more than any of the different MS drugs I had been on over the past 13 years." He winced a little at that. He pushed hard to get me to check out Gilenya and when I told him that I had read there had been 84 deaths in the clinical trial phase of the drug he told me, "No - you are wrong about that." I said "No, I don't think so, I read there had been 84, I clearly remember," and he looked at me with that  - "yeah, right, she's got MS, she can't remember anything clearly," arrogant look. 

All in all, it was a nice, long visit, and I was surprised when that he spent almost 90 minutes with me and my husband--ok, I'll give him one score for that.

I came home and pulled up the article on Gilenya about the 84 deaths, printed it out, highlighting the 84 deaths (only 12 were from MS, and 72 from renal failure) but still there were 84, put it in an envelope and mailed it to my new doctor. Might as well start breaking in the new guy now. Those days of " You're right doctor, you know everything about MS and I'll follow your advice to the tee days, are so OVER for me." 

So, let's take a poll on how all my various neurologists stand on CCSVI:

Asheville, intrigued and open minded. Watched both my before and after videos. Had his PA call me for more information because her Mom has MS. I would put him on the plus side. Definitely opened minded (+)

Sarasota, past - Very closed minded. Has his head in the sand about it, although he did refer another one of his patients to me to learn more so I know there's always hope. Very negative (--)

Sarasota - current - Still on the fence, but says he's open minded. We'll see about that. For now, I say negative (-)

Tampa up at USF--Thinks there is definitely a connection between MS and CCSVI. Has a list of IR docs he hands out to his MS patients who are interested in finding out about it. Pulled me from my exam room, during my appt. to come over a talk to another one of his patients who was interested in it and wanted to learn more.
Very excited about the possible connection. (++)

So, there you have it, four neuros split right down the middle. I think the CCSVI acceptance tide is turning, and it's only been a year! Thank you Lord for my healing from CCSVI. It has been the desire of my heart to get well and you listened.

My verse for today is from Psalms 37:4

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

Dear Heavenly Father:

Thank you for watching over me each day. Thank you for my continued healing. Thank you for answering my many prayers and delighting me with the desires of my heart."

In Jesus name I pray,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In the face of evil...pray

Yesterday, May, 2, 2011, we found out that the most hunted terrorist in the world, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the unprovoked 9/11/2001 attacks on our country, was finally been hunted down and killed in Pakistan by an elite force of American Navy Seals.

I will never forget the mayhem that overtook our country those 9 1/2 years ago, when the World Trade Towers were struck and fell, the Pentagon was attacked and those brave Americans overtook hijacked flight 93, also headed for Washington, and drove it into the ground in Pa. Almost 3,000 American souls were lost on that tragic day, making it the worse tragedy on American soil, ever. Can any of us, ever forget? I know I never will.

I remember well where I was when when I saw those horrible images on TV. I was absolutely mortified. I was scared, I was heartbroken. It was hard to fathom what was happening. It was a totally surreal moment, I'm sure for all of us. That kinda stuff just didn't happen in America, it always happened in all those other know -  over there.

But it did happen here in America on September 11, 2001 and it was pure evil. My first thought was sheer panic, thinking about all the people lost and then I thought about my own kids and husband. Even though I live many miles from NYC or Washington or PA., the President of the United States, George W. Bush, was down here, about 5 miles from our house, reading to a local elementary school class, when he got the news. Would he be the next target? Was our city going to be the next one hit? Was there going to be bomb dropped or a plane crashing somewhere in Sarasota too?

So I began to pray, like I had never prayed before. I prayed for the people who died instantly, not knowing when they woke up that morning, that their life would end in an instant I prayed for their souls. I asked God to give them mercy and give their families peace in the midst of all the terror. I prayed for the safety of our President and others leaders in our country and I prayed for the safety of my own family. I prayed for our military and all the first responders to this terrible "thing: that had happened. As I watched in horror as the reports just kept getting worse and worse each minute on the TV screen. I asked God to watch over our Nation in this deep hour of despair.

But, in the midst of tragedy I also remember being tremendously proud of our citizens, and crying when I saw the members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capital and singing "God Bless America." Thousands of us lined up in blood banks to help victims of the disaster. People in the NYC, Washington and Pa. were reaching out to help find victims and provide food for the rescue workers in their gruesome tasks.

In our grief and in our worst hours, all of us Americans seem to pulled together and cling to each other and to God Almighty. Church attendance began to climb in the days after the attack. We were reaching out to the Lord, asking him to protect us and help deal with our grief. We prayed for our leaders and each other. The United States of America is a nation that was founded on Christian principles, but it seems like sometimes it takes something terrible to happen for us to reach out to God and ask for his help. But pray we did, and God slowly began to heal our land.

Almost 10 years have passed since that terrible day happened to America. Ground Zero is now being rebuilt and the new Freedom Towers are fully under construction. Life goes on, people rebuild their lives and move forward. But for the those who lost their loved ones that day, or to the military families who sent their sons and daughters off to find that lunatic who perpetrated this atrocity on America, this thought of Osama Bin Laden, was still living in their heart, hanging over their heads or in the back of their minds each day - until yesterday. Obama is Dead, the headlines screamed!

I don't know about you, but for me, hearing about all this again and seeing many of the same images again, after all these years, began to unsettle me. I was glued to the TV again most of the day yesterday, just like I was on Sept. 11, 2001. Although this was a clear victory for our country, I began thinking about all the victims of that one man. I can't begin to imagine the hurt and anguish their families have endured because of his actions. Their loved ones were snatched from them by the evil residing in him. Thank you God that he is gone. Thank you that he is not here to perpetrate any more evil actions on innocent victims. There is justice in the world, and we will all sleep a little sounder in the days, months and years to come, won't we?

We live in a scary world. There is evil all around us. Osama Bin Laden was just one man, and there are lots more where he came from. So, what do we do in the face of evil all around us? What can we possibly do? We are each just one person floating around this Universe in this particular time in history. How can we possibly make any difference in the light of everything going on around us? I mean, let's get real. What happened yesterday was a positive for the world, but there are still a lot of people out there that want to harm us Americans.

But, I believe we CAN make a HUGE difference in the outcome of our lives and in the outcome of the course of our nation. We can pray. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says

" If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

I am glad that Osama Bin Laden cannot hurt anymore people. That is a good thing. Maybe his demise will start to mend some wounds, and that is a good thing too, but the evil that existed in Him is still around, so we need to pray. 

We need to pray for God to begin the healing for those families that lost so much on 9/11. We need to pray for protection for our military that is still out there facing that evil every day. We need to pray for our President and our other leaders to make good, Godly decisions in protecting our nation and we need to pray for ourselves and our own walk with God. 

Everyday, we make many choices in our lives. We can choose to live good upright lives, seeking God's face, or we can choose to go our own way. But the Bible instructs us to follow God's word to find true life in Matthew 7:13-14:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it." 

I choose the narrow gate. It isn't easy, but it's the only road that leads to true life on earth through you. I choose to make my daily walk with the Lord in faith, seeking his will for my life, even in the midst of the chaos of the world we all live in. Please Lord, bring others to seek the narrow gate that leads to eternal life and you.

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Holy God: 

Thank you Lord that Osama Bin Laden is no longer a threat to the world. Thank you that the operation went off smoothly and there were no casualties among our own men. Please give peace to the hearts of those families whose fates were forever changed that day. Please protect all our military who face evil every day to keep our country safe. Please give wisdom to our President and to our leaders. Help us Lord, to turn from our ways so you will protect us and heal our land. Help me to always choose the narrow gate that leads to you.

In Jesus name I pray,