Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joys of Being a Nan

I am the proud Nan of a beautiful 8 yr. old granddaughter named Addison(Addie). She is my pride and joy. She fills my heart with such love.

That is her sweet little hand giving me a beautiful dandelion. Since she was able to walk we have picked dandelions, strawberries, green beans, peas and many flowers. I have tried to instill in her a love of flowers, nature and in general to find beauty in the little things.

We have been blessed to have an active role in her life up until this point. Our time with her has dramatically decreased because of unresolved family issues. Thus, we make the most of what time we are able to spend with her.

She has developed a routine of things she likes to do during each visit with Nan and Poppi. She tries to fit in all the activities even if her visit is a short one. She loves having her own room here with her special things. In her room she has a vanity for her makeup that Nan lets her play with. Nan always gets a makeover.LOL She also has what she calls her "research table." Poppi has taught her so much about fossils, shells and rock collecting. We also have art supplies here for her. She has been painting since she was in a highchair. This is something she doesn't get to do at home. She always leaves us with some type of artwork or creation.

The last two visits she has wanted to take as she calls them "nature walks." Yes, having MS and chronic fatigue makes these little walks a challenge for Nan but a challenge I gladly accept. We have a wonderful time and at the same time are creating lasting memories with her. The matching colors was not intentional I might add but looks nice if I do say so myself.

My daffodils didn't do very well this year and this was the only one that bloomed. I am so pleased it was blooming this past weekend so Addie could pick it and present it to me.

I do know this. She is very aware of Nans favorite things; her, flowers, nature, rainbows and music.

My wish for Addie is summed up in the Lee Ann Womack song 'I Hope You Dance'. Yes, she has heard this song many times.

Dedicated to my loving Addie who is forever in my heart...

Kelli aka Nan

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pile of Junk or Little Pieces of Beauty?

This junk pile caught my eye this past weekend and at the moment I saw it I thought "this is what I think MS has done to my life, reduced it to a pile of rubble or junk." I am sure there are others who can identify with that thought.

On closer inspection I found the beauty in the heap of all that stuff that at first glance appeared so negative to me. The old screen window suddenly become memories of spring breezes that once gently blew through it. How many times did someone look through that screen window and see something beautiful or inspiring?

The old boards and lumber made me think they at one time were probably a useful farm structure of some kind. Part of a productive barn, hog house or chicken house possibly. I can only imagine the wonderful things that happened within those structures. The birth of new life, the work of a farmer making a living for his family or children playing. I remember those days of farm living.

The pile of beauty now serves as an animal habitat. Many kittens have been born there. I feel certain many mice have been caught there too. Poor mouses. It is all still very useful and serving a purpose even though some might see it as unsightly.

We can see things as junk, rubble, negative or make a choice to see something positive. That is our decision to make in our lives.

Life in general, with or without chronic illness contains too much negative. I am working very hard to see the positive and to see I am in control of what kind of day I have.

Today I choose to see beauty in what most would refer to as a pile of junk.


"Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them."

David Hume

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beauty Beyond the Window

I just happened by my window today and saw the beauty of the redbud tree. I am not sure I can explain my feelings at that moment but I shall give it a shot.

I think those of us living with MS or any other chronic illness or disability feel like we are watching life passing us by. It is like watching the world through a window. Am I having a down day? Yes.

I am currently dealing with the daily struggles of MS and all its bumps and curves in the road. Most days I manage to handle it all in stride to the best of my ability. There is always a disclaimer with MS isn't there? We do live day to day if not moment to moment.

Stress as we all know plays such a tremendous role in our lives and with our disease. At this moment I feel like I am behind that window looking out and it is impenetrable. Where is my hammer or a big rock when I need them? The problem with breaking the window, is it is just an illusion in my mind. I hate being emotionally locked out and being at a loss as to what to do. I was always a fixer. Now I would like to be fixed.

This disease certainly doesn't make so called normal life issues any easier to cope with.

I think I will walk out my door and go sit under that redbud tree and wait for guidance, inspiration or just enjoy the beautiful purple blossoms. Thank God for doors.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I thought I would dedicate this blog to my Mom. She loved being outside and planting flowers. Her battle with cancer ended on this date 22 years ago.

Dedicated to Mom


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pets, Pleasure & Health Benefits

As you can see we have our share of pets to bring us pleasure and to have positive effects on our health. Of course I have been inflicted with a few bruises from the goat head butting my leg and knocking me down but she is so much pleasure to watch. Goats have odd habits you know. They definitely are head strong little critters. We got her when she was a wee baby. That is another picture and another story for a different day.LOL What an experience. I can watch Daisy May(goat) from the window by my computer. What a joy.
This is Bailey. She is 10 yrs. old and our special baby. Yes she is quite large and she is a house dog. She loves to play with the cats catnip mouse toys that they ignore. Just like kids they want what the other one has. She is having arthritic problems but it doesn't stop her adventures off into the woods with the neighbors beagle from time to time. The next day she is as stiff as I am and can barely move her hind quarters. She too has her medication for those times she prefers to push the envelope.

This is Otis or Ohee as we call her. What can I say, I am not great at determining the sex of cats at an early age. She is our eldest cat being 14 yrs. old. She is so loving and sweet to the point of being absolutely ridiculous. Rub, rub, rub. You need some loving just call Ohee.

This is my hubby's best bud. Junior is his name. Yes, I thought he was a female when he was born and he went through an unnecessary surgery. No female organs present. I bet the vet felt crazy too. When he was born his legs had been folded up over his back in the womb and he could only pull himself with his front legs. The nurse in me decided I could also be a physical therapist to Junior and my therapy was a success. He walks on all four legs. Diligence pays off. His tongue does protrude doesn't it? I couldn't help him there. He has a swagger to his walk like John Wayne and hops like a rabbit from time to time but he is special. You haven't lived until you have had to hydrate your cats tongue because it is turning brown. True story. He seems to have some problems with impulse control. He sleeps beside my husband and during the night just reaches up and gives little love nips. Problem is hubby is on blood thinners and sometimes these little nips cause much bleeding. He seems to like my hubby's nose. I could go on and on about Junior. I will spare you.
Let me introduce you to Callie. She appeared on our doorstep one day about 8 yrs. ago. Poor thing had a compound fracture in her left back leg. So to the vet we go with a cat that isn't ours, she had surgery and the break healed without any problems. The vet knew she wasn't our cat and only charged us $30 for doing the surgery. What a compassionate man. She doesn't like to be cold as you can see. She sat in front of this heater every chance she got this past winter. We believe she is quite old and arthritic but does she ever have a wonderful motor. Her purr is beautiful.
I must say we have one more cat named Baby and I couldn't fit her pic on the page but she does have a special story so I will dedicate a day to her sometime soon.
Do they bring us pleasure? Most certainly. Decrease our blood pressure? Probably so. Do they accept us no matter what? YES. Does my dog and goat motivate me to get outside more than I probably would without them? YES. Do I ever feel blue and look out at the goat and she makes me smile? YES Is it nice to be loved my the cats and hear their purr? YES
My conclusion is that pets definitely are a health benefit whether it be physical or emotional.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Anxiety, MS and Coping. Am I ?

Those of us with MS know a multitude of conditions come with it. Aren't we lucky? MS=Much Sh_ _.

My current challenge is trying to chat in a chatroom. Not 3 months ago I was hosting chats on this particular site. The participation in chat went up and so did my anxiety.

Don't get me wrong I am thrilled with the increased participation but it became too much for my cognitively challenged brain.

I have had an anxiety issue for quite some time even prior to my MS diagnosis. Hmmmm? A possible piece of the puzzle way back then. Isn't that how MS goes? Over years of symptoms and finally all the pieces fit.

Anyway, back to anxiety. Did I mention I was cognitively impaired? When it comes to my train of thought, I have a very short train. My anxiety has stayed under control with the use of medications for some time. During times of increased stress I find it has a mind of its own and disregards the meds. Yes, the doc has increased my dosage at my request.

Oh yes, chat and my anxiety. I resigned as chat host for obvious reasons. Increased anxiety with me brings on impatience and a decreased level of tolerance and that is not the real me. Oh yes it is, it is me, I have flaws. Imagine.....

As my coping method I have been avoiding the chatroom. I feel certain those of you who have anxiety issues will understand. Have you ever gone shopping and WalMart starts closing in on you, you become dizzy and your only option is to take flight. WalMart has emptied a few carts of stuff left my me. It keeps the employees busy right? I have found the same feeling in the chatroom, too many people. I find just seeing at their names too much to handle. Not to mention trying to converse without getting nauseous, dizzy and feeling the need to flee. I have made a few quick exits.

Yesterday I decided avoidance wasn't working for me so I tried chatting with just a few people and only stayed for a short time. I was successful! I didn't even want to choke that one person who has been driving me nuts. So I am going to take it slow, make it brief and hopefully this too shall pass.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Impact of Pain

Most of us who live with chronic illness/disabilities have one significant thing in common. We suffer with pain in some form either intermittent or chronic. The severity of the pain can fluctuate from minimal to severe and may change at the drop of a hat. We wake up never knowing what the day has in store for us.

Does pain have an effect on our emotions? I know it certainly does mine. I find myself more irritable, with less patience, less tolerant and more sensitive to what others might say or do.

Then there is depression which can be a problem in and of itself but also usually occurs hand in hand with pain. It is a vicious cycle that we deal with in our lives of illness and disability.

What we must remember is each and every person has their own daily struggles and trials to contend with as best they can. Each individual also has their own way of coping.

Yes, of course we should be mindful of one anothers feelings at all times. None of us are perfect and sometimes words are a cry for help, feelings of frustration or an indicator of someone in deep distress. My wish and hope is this, that instead of responding negatively we try to respond with kindness and compassion. If for whatever reason that isn't possible for us then we should just withdraw from the situation. That is ok too. Sometimes we have to think of ourselves and just don't have the energy to cope effectively with someone else at that particular time.

Practice mindful speech by using Socrates' triple filter. Ask yourself: Is is true? Is it kind? Is it helpful?

Lucy McDonald

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A little about my life:
I felt the need to write some of my thoughts to you. I did tell YOU to try writing your feelings down so I am going to try.

I don't claim to understand life and why things happen. I do feel it is a waste of time to try to figure it out or make sense of any of it. I do know we are given choices. It is up to each and every one of us to choose how to respond to what life gives us. I have told you before that I don't believe in passing judgment on another person. I try very hard not to do that. Am I perfect? NO...

I grew up with a very ill Mom and watched her go through hell/pain all my life until 1987 when cancer took her away from me. The greatest gift she gave me, other than life, was that she showed me strength. She fought for her life when she was only 22 yrs. old to be able to raise her 3 children. Not only did she raise us but she was able to meet all 5 of her grandchildren. She prayed to be able to raise her children. We saw her go through so much pain and humiliating situations but she persevered. For whatever reason she had to die in excruciating pain. Fair? Not hardly. A purpose or a reason for it?????? Maybe someday I will know the answer. All I know is her strength gets me through every difficult situation. I heard her once, after she had passed away. She told me "Kelli, don't you know I am always with you?"
I had the most wonderful brother anyone could ever ask for. He was my best friend, my brother and my rock. He too showed me the meaning of strength and faith. He fought until the bitter end. My sister and I were blessed to be present with him during his last 2 weeks and care for him. What a blessing for us. It was the best time my sister and I have ever spent with one another. Strange isn't it? I believe that was a greater power at work.

Then there was good ole Dad. He was so much like what you describe yourself before your injury. He lost his ability to function to alcoholism. Prior to their divorce my Mom always knew he would find a way to make ends meet or things work. He could do anything. Mechanic, carpenter, plumber, electrician, truck driver and anything else he set his mind to. It was difficult for him being married to my Mom with her so ill all their married life. And of course his alcoholism.

He became unfaithful to my Mom who was incapable of meeting his sexual needs, as if she didn't feel bad enough, right! She had a colostomy on one side of her belly and a ureterostomy on the other side of her abdomen. She had to wear 2 bags for her bodily functions. She really felt feminine. Then Dad left her for a woman 20 yrs. younger than her. I listened to my Momma cry every night for what seemed like years. She did overcome though. Strength, determination and faith!

Dad, his alcoholism, smoking, genetics and fate caught up to him. He was living on the street more or less in Kansas City. He was a pitiful site. So my Uncle decided "we" needed to do something. We, really meaning ME. Somehow I was fortunate enough to find a social worker at the Division of Aging that bull shitted the king of bull shitters and he was put in a nursing home in Kansas City. It was an awful place but he had a roof over his head and food regularly. Then my Uncle decided to move my Dad back to our home town. Not only did he move my Dad back but he moved his new found nursing home girlfriend back to our home town. She is a another story.

He kept drinking of course but his brother and sisters felt better knowing he had a roof over his head, food to eat and they could see him. Then he found out he had throat cancer. I was again blessed with the ability to care for my dying parent. Throughout those weeks many old wounds were healed between us. We had serious talks and many laughs. I was right beside him when he took his last breath.

Yes, I have lost 3 of my closest family members and I feel blessed to have been with all 3 at the end of their lives. Would it have been easier to have been hundreds of miles away, my sister says it isn't easier. I have to take her word for that. I feel so fortunate to have been with all 3 at the end. I was able to care for them, talk with them, talk to them and to forgive many things.

I guess I have seen excruciating, under medicated pain and felt the helpless and hopeless feeling. I have seen them suffer needlessly and inhumanely. However the lesson I learned was how strong my family was and continue to be. I have been taught strength, determination, to have faith, hope and to take one day at a time. I was also taught compassion and empathy.

I could dwell on the why's of all I have witnessed and what each of my family members suffered. Does that get me any closer to an answer? No. If I had the answer would it make a difference? I think not. Anyway I look at it I was taught valuable lessons by being given the opportunity of being present with my loved ones at the end of their lives. For that I will always be grateful.

Faith, Hope, Love & Laughter!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bird On A Fence Post

It is a good day for me to try to get some feelings down on paper. I had a very unpleasant exchange of words with my 29 yr. old daughter last night regarding our ability to see our precious granddaughter, who is 8 yrs. old. My daughter and I have had a strained relationship for many years. We have been allowed to play a very active role in our granddaughters life until the past several months. Our granddaughter has a very special bond with us and we are being weaned out of her life. There is so much to this story I could write a book. Maybe I should write a book, maybe all this crap would make sense to me then.

Anyway, I am having feelings of loss of the relationship we once had with our granddaughter and this brings me so much sadness along with fear for her well being emotionally. My emotions toward my daughter are so conflicted to say the least. I feel such sadness, powerlessness and absolutely sick inside. My heart hurts so deeply.

So many questions running through my mind. Will she ever be able to come see us again? Will she remember how much Nan and Poppi love her? Will she remember all the things we have done with her? Will she remember what we talked about the last time she was here? That she is always in our hearts and we are always in hers. That all she needs to do is think of us and imagine our arms around her. That none of this is her fault. Will she remember?

A very dear friend brought to my attention this very morning that I had to have faith that the answer to all these questions is "yes."

Yesterday I looked out my window and saw a bird sitting on a fence post. I thought to myself, "that is how I feel, like a lone bird on a fence post." It made me feel sad being alone on that fence post. Through my tears I looked out the same window this morning and saw a bird on the same fence post looking alone. Then it flew away making me feel realize it had a choice to sit alone on the fence post or to fly and spread its wings. I realized at that moment I could let myself feel all of these negative emotions or I could be brave like that bird and fly off that fence post teaching my granddaughter about faith, hope, love and strength.

I choose to fly. This isn't going to be an easy flight for any of us involved but Addie will know her Nan loves her. I will have faith that she will remember.

I love you my precious Addie....