Telling your Loved ones

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When I first became aware of what my illnesses were going to do to me, I panicked and was so sad to have to tell my children what was coming. It is easiest for me to write out my words and so that is what I did. A two page letter explaining each disease and what it was and what was coming in my future.
I gave them all the letters at the same time and asked them to read them privately. I knew it was going to be hard to watch their faces and see the fear they would feel for me. I had always taken care of them and been strong for them. Now I had to tell them that I had all these weaknesses that were going to consume my life.

However you chose to tell your families about your illnesses, I think it is very important for them to know what to expect. For me it was imperative that they knew, since eventually I was going to need their help to function. I also had to be prepared for my birds so that they would be cared for, when the time comes for me to say goodbye to them. Trust me my heart ached with every word and decision that had to be done, but it would not be fair to anyone if I didn’t.

When a person has chronic illnesses, each day is a gift. We have no idea when things can get worse or even end. We have to take the time (regardless of how difficult it is) to make all the needed preparations and put things in place so your family knows what to do. None of us have a promise of a certain amount of time so this truly applies to everyone. For me the chronic illnesses just made me more aware of the time I have left.

Sharing with my family was also important due to my depression. They needed to be aware that there will be days where I am in tears and I cannot hide it or pretend that it isn’t happening. They needed to know that there was nothing they could do to help or change it, but just love me through it and leave me be.

I also have days full of pain where it is very difficult for me to do anything, including walking or even turning on the faucet. There are times where I can’t lift anything but the lightest of items. These times I need their help greatly and they needed to know this ahead of time.

The thing I hate the most is the memory loss. There are days where I struggle to remember the simplest of words at times. I had to share this with my children though so they would understand it and know it would happen from time to time.

The hardest thing of all though is feeling their pain for what I am going through and seeing in their eyes how much they wish this was not happening. So while I had to let them know everything that was happening and going to happen….it breaks my heart to see and feel their pain.

For those of you that are having to tell your families about your illnesses, I truly understand that this is the greatest of all the pains you will ever feel. Nothing is harder than having to share this sadness with your loved ones. My heart goes out to all of you who are going through this and I pray for you all to find peace in your journey ❤

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We have to Love ourselves

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When we struggle with chronic illness, we tend to hide ourselves away and keep our pain quietly inside. I know because I have done this myself. We never expected our lives to become so full of pain and loneliness. We try hard to hide it all away. We give up and stop believing in hope. We see our futures as bleak and sadness. I wont even pretend to say that everything is going to be better, because chronic illness does not go away. However we can learn to accept it and even find happiness. We need to surround ourselves with positive people who truly care about us. We need to open up and be able to share with others the pain that we carry around. We have to stop putting on a fake smile and saying “I am fine”. We still matter and we need the world to know what we go through. We especially need to have those who are part of our lives to understand and be willing to listen when we need to talk and share.

We are here for a reason and our illnesses are a part of our journey in this life and I believe with my entire heart and soul that it is important to share and bond with others who also are hiding behind a mask. We have to live just one day at a time and stop looking to far into the future.

We have to LOVE ourselves enough to keep our life as positive as possible, share with others and show love to anyone who is also struggling. Feel patience and empathy for those who do not understand as they are missing out on our loving hearts.

The most important thing we must remind ourselves each day is that we are not alone. When times are really rough, we are being carried. The Lord wraps his wings around us and keeps us safe. Each of us is his child and masterpiece. We are not broken we are here for a reason. I give thanks everyday for my life and I pray when I am gone, I will be remembered as a loving person who shared kindness and faced my challenges with a smile and courage.

My Story is Far from over

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When I first began to be diagnosed with illness after illness, my life fell apart and I was slipping into a dark place. I couldn’t understand why all of this was happening to me. I spent my entire life loving God and trying to be a good christian and give back to the world whenever I could. So why was my body attacking me and at such a fast pace. I was terrified and felt so alone. I struggled with depression and anxiety. I felt hopeless.

After these past few years I finally found a strength, I turned to God for my answers. I still do not know why all of this is happening but I know I need to give it my best fight and also help others along the way. Not to say there wont be those low moments but I am gonna give it all I have to keep myself strong and healthy for as long as possible. I am not giving into any of this. I will take it all and use it to share Gods Love and Grace. He did not do this to me, but I know he would want me to help others with what I am learning and going through. I refuse to let this get the best of me….every scar is a reminder of who has carried me this far.

For all my beautiful friends who are struggling, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers always. I pray you can find your inner strength and hope, to get you through any of your dark days. And for those who are not ill, I pray you find it in your hearts to help others with kindness and words of hope. We are all beautiful, especially when we come together.

I may never be the person I was, but that is ok…..I am not going to allow the shadows to consume me. My life has been so blessed that I cant even begin to count how many blessings and I know the Lord has never left my side. I will walk in the light of Grace and my new journey has just begun. My story is far from over.

Beyond Blessed

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This beautiful pillow sits on my bed to remind me that my life is blessed.

 

When all my health issues first started, it was very hard for me to think of anything good or that my life was blessed. All I could find was anger and depression. I was furious that I was struggling with one illness after another. I wanted to cry and find someone to blame. I wanted to feel sorry for myself and just wallow in self-pity. This is something that anyone with chronic illness will experience. And while we each need to get the tears out, we also have to remember the good parts of our lives so that we do not allow the pain to consume our every moment.

Each day when I am able to find even one thing to smile about, it is a good day.  I needed some help to manage my depression so my doctor helped me find the right medication for me. This has honestly been a blessing as I had been spiraling down a very dark hole. I use to believe that each person made their own happiness, but now I understand that my thought was completely wrong. Depression is a real and serious illness that is due to a chemical  imbalance in the brain. I don’t know where I would be today if I had not accepted the medication to help me. 

With all the pain and depression, I had forgotten how wonderful my life truly is. I had been blessed with a wonderful loving family, My son, daughter and son in law are three of the most amazingly beautiful people inside and out. They all have hearts of gold and I am truly grateful to have them in my life. My grandson allows me to see the world through his fresh eyes and remember that life is amazing and good.  I also have to include my precious feathered babies that hold my heart. My illness has made me even more aware of how unfair it is to keep birds in captivity. I now can barely go out of my home, I can only imagine how hard it is for these precious ones that should be flying freely as God intended. Then there are my dear friends who are treasures to me, they understand and accept my moods and are still there when I need to talk. Sometimes it is very hard for me to remember that while my health is not good, my life is still full of love, but I will continue to try.

With my joints failing me I have had to find different ways to function. I have found different tools to help me with opening bottles, cooking and lifting. These items didn’t bother me but when I was finally faced with having to use a walker I was not very happy about it. I fought it as long as I could but finally I had to accept that I couldn’t continue walking without some support. So when I finally accepted that I needed a walker, I decided to find the prettiest one available. I found a purple one that I think is pretty and it makes me smile. When I have to go to a wheel chair, you can bet I will find a pretty colored one that will make me smile also. I have to learn to find joy in every part of my life now. And make everything as pretty as I can so that I can enjoy my life as it is. 

My brain fog was one of the things that upset me the most, not being able to remember a word when in a conversation was quite embarrassing. It could be the simplest of words and I would struggle to remember it. Now I try to laugh it off and one of my family members always helps me with the word. My memory use to be amazing, I could remember dates and things from years and years ago. So while this will always bother me, I will continue to try to laugh it off. 

I have several different surgeries that will be coming up this year. I am one of those odd people who actually enjoys my stay in the hospital. I have been in and out of hospitals so many times that I feel very comfortable in them. Mine is amazing and the nurses are incredible. I also look at it like a little vacation where I get yummy food served to me and lovely nurses who chat with me and take wonderful care of me. I also have the most wonderful loving doctors that I trust completely.

I no longer can keep my home spotless, and while I still struggle with my OCD and accepting a less than perfectly clean home….I am finally able to choose what things are the most important and leave the rest. My bird cages are not cleaned daily as they use to be, but I still try to get them each done two or three times a week. My birds are still cared for and loved completely. I have help whenever I need it. And once I can no longer clean or care for them properly, my daughter will take over caring for them when she can and we can hire help if and when needed. I am working on a complete list of food to be served to them, who prefers what, how much to put in each bowl etc. I also encourage everyone to make such a list so that if an emergency happens and you cannot care for your birds, at least there will be a list for someone to follow.

Something that all of this has taught me is that I am not the only one who can do things in my home or for my birds. I also have learned to allow others to help me, and feel blessed that I have those who offer to help. I have learned that my way is not the only way, and accepted that others can do the job without me helping or piping in.

Before all the illness I was an active person that was always happy. I found life exciting and beautiful. I loved taking my children on any small or grand journey that we could think of. I always told my children that “Life is what you make it” Everything that has happened to my body not something I had ever imagined. I did believe when I became elderly there would be some issues, but I never expected what life has handed me so early. However I now try to hold onto how blessed I am to have all those special memories and to be thankful that I had as many years as I did pain free. So now I must try to practice what I preached to my kids and accept how my life is and make it something good. I will always have my moments when the pain takes over or the depression sneaks in, but then I push myself to remember that I am Beyond Blessed and this is just another part of my journey in this life.

Deborah

I hope that by sharing my own story, it may help others who are also struggling with chronic illness or depression. 

 

Birds-eye view

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I asked Lisa for permission on sharing this article and she of course agreed.
She asked that I add this though….

“I am just a link in the chain and there are so many out there doing the exact same thing.”

Here is a link to the original article:

Birds Eye View

Meet the woman who runs a parrot rescue mission out of her Owasso house.

Lisa Moser also houses parakeets, macaws, Amazons, Cockatoos, Cockatiels and love birds.

Lisa Moser also houses parakeets, macaws, Amazons, Cockatoos, Cockatiels and love birds.  Valerie Grant

 

“He’s flirting with you,” Lisa Moser assures me on a recent visit to her home.

The signs were there: the puffed-out chest, the slight cock of the head and the seductive sideways glances. But the gentle nips on my forearm and the constant circling threw me off.

Moser’s house is filled with parrots — everything from African Greys, like my flirtatious friend — to tiny parakeets and imposing macaws.

A cacophony of squawks and a riot of tropical color greet every visitor at Moser’s Owasso home. A true friend to the feathered, Moser and a sympathetic volunteer crew of avian activists have taken in countless parrots in need from across the U.S.

Through her nonprofit, Soft Landings Parrot Rescue Inc., Moser has matched over 30 displaced birds with loving humans, while fostering an additional 60 or so at any given time in her own house. What started out as a single rescue has turned into an all-out family mission, with Moser, her husband and her kids sharing their lives with an ever-expanding flock of flying friends.

“My husband and children are a huge part of this mission, and without their help and support I could not do what I do to the scale that we do it,” Moser says. “We have given up a lot of things to do this, but we have also gained things.”

Valerie GrantValerie Grant

When not working nights as a nurse, Moser spends significant time rescuing parrots, caring for those she has saved and finding new homes for these birds. Her husband, Chad, and their six kids support her mission, whether it requires them to drive cross-country to fetch an abandoned pair of cockatoos, fill water bowls or clean cages.

“This is a complete family endeavor,” Moser laughs over a din of squawks and the flapping of wings.

The birds are messy and extremely intelligent. Some can live 75 years or longer. Moser says many owners don’t understand that when they bring one home. The result is countless abandoned or mistreated animals.

For Moser, the key is education. “Parrots aren’t domesticated,” she says. “We’ve brought the wild into our home. Often what gets labeled as a behavioral issue is a natural behavior.

“We have to understand that they are what they are, and to think out-of-the-box in order to accommodate them so they can have an enriched life.”

For more information, visit softlandingsparrotrescue.org.

 

Depression is a Disease by Mike Guy

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The brain is an organ like any other, and therefore, can get a disease.
Being depressed, and having depression are two different things. Being depressed is a normal emotion that passes with time, and can be worked on (cheered up, if you will).
Depression, on the other hand, is a neurochemical transmitter disease. Because of a severe underproduction of serotonin, the receptors in the brain can not produce enough dopamine. Dopamine allows for emotional control, emotional stability, contributes to what ‘happy’ feels like.

That means a person with depression is simply not capable of getting past traumatic experiences, or in many cases of depression, unable to deal with the minor stresses of life even. The brain effectively shuts down. The body wants nothing more than to sleep, and basic day to day tasks become difficult. Things that once could have been shaken of as mere annoyances now become traumas. Our brain simply does not allow us to respond any other way because it doesn’t work correctly. It is not a personality issue. Sometimes the brain never works right in the first place, in many cases the emotional control centers of the brain stop functioning normally after either a single, deeply traumatic experience, or years of bullying/abuse/etc.

This can go on for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years before the brain picks back up on serotonin production. But this wears down over time, the brain recovering less and less each time. Eventually a person with depression will need serious help. I strongly believe that medications that aide the production of serotonin should be a central component of this care.

I know all of this so well because I live with it in my brain, and I have for most of my life.
The point of this post is that I have been seeing lots of comments here on FB in relation to Chester Bennington’s death; saying that they don’t understand how he could have been so depressed when he was a popular, world famous, multi-millionaire rock-star.
So I hope I have successfully educated some of you reading this, and hopefully you will now be able to star more effectively helping those that live with the disease of depression. Remember, telling us to ‘just get over it’, isn’t helpful at all; we’d love, but we can’t, our brains have a disease that prevent it from functioning properly.

-Mike Guy

Gentle squishes, positive light. from Audrey Straker

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written to me from my dear friend Audrey Straker

“Gentle squishes, positive light. As a fellow chronic disease sufferer I won’t tell you to feel better soon because it is not possible, I won’t say stay positive, not possible, I won’t say push through it all, not possible. I will say be gentle with yourself, I will say lose the guilty feelings, I will say take whatever is necessary to get through a day, I will say I am always your friend even in your absence because I live the same way you have to.”

This touched me so deeply, because those who are suffering from chronic illness are the only ones who can truly understand that our battle is never going to be over. There is no cure. Lots of surgeries, pain, fatigue and the list goes on and on. Some say that God only gives us what we can handle or it makes us stronger. The truth is that we weren’t chosen for any of this because of our strength, we just have to go on because there is no alternative. We are not heroes or special at all. For what ever reason life decided to serve us up a cart load of lemons and we have no choice in the matter.

We have days where we feel positive and want to interact and can do a little more than other days. But, we also have days where we cry, and ask “why me”. When our own bodies are attacking us internally, it makes for a very wicked brew emotionally. There are not enough pain pills to ever get rid of all the pain. And the ones we do take, wont work very well if taken for long periods of time. Still we manage to move forward. We keep our tears hidden for the most part. Nobody can see the emotional scars that we carry. We become an emotional broken mess inside, and yet we try to hide it all with a smile. We know that most people just do not know how to handle our struggles. It makes people uncomfortable, and I do understand that. It is hard to comfort someone when you truly can’t do anything to help.

So for all those who are suffering, please know that you are not alone. There are many of us who do understand and the only way we can help one another is to talk about it. Find groups or others who also have chronic illnesses. Please trust me when I say, it makes a huge difference having someone who understands what you are dealing with. When we have these ailments one of the things we all tend to do, is seclude ourselves and that can hurt us even more emotionally.

So in my dear friend Audrey Straker’s words….”Be gentle with yourself, loose the guilt and do whatever is necessary to get through the day”

Gentle hugs, Deborah

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy’

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Saw this on my dear friend Bonnie Grafton’s page

“Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

— Matthew Scully fr ‘ Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy’