Monday, December 12, 2016

Life's Challenges

I promised myself I would not go through another day without blogging. I noticed this past weekend that it has been almost three months since I posted anything. I have done some writing since my last blog post, but it was writing done just for me. That is one of my biggest challenges with having a blog; being an authentic writer while still not doing damage to other people in my life.

A LOT has happened since August. It's funny because I kept telling myself, "Oh this would make a great blog post" or "I should write about this." But sometimes I get like that: I just want to experience life without feeling obligated to write about it all the time.

In August, my husband and I took a dream trip to Ireland. It was a trip we had been talking about since we started dating over six years ago. We had the money saved but I kept stalling on planning it due to my health issues and my fears about being in another country with said health issues. I finally got over that and we had this amazing eleven day adventure (with prednisone on board to get me through the adventure) of Northern Ireland, Co. Donegal, Co. Mayo, Co. Galway, Co. Offaly and one of the Aran Islands. That is a topic I will still probably blog about at some point in the future!

About a week after we got home, we got SLAMMED with one crisis after another, some major, some annoying. We had some large, unexpected expenses, an unwell family member, a major family relationship conflict, and then our fifteen year old dog, Molly, ended up in the E.R. and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We had to make a decision and we decided to go ahead and bring her to a cardiologist for treatment. She is doing better in regards to her heart, but the side effects of the medications have made life much more challenging for my husband and I. And if you've ever had an elderly dog, you know the expense that comes with keeping them comfortable.

Molly has also had some challenges just in terms of getting old. It would appear that she has very little, if any, hearing and this past weekend we noticed that maybe her eyesight is becoming an issue. We did decide that we will likely not go any further in pursuing treatment when the next medical crisis for her comes along. We were hoping for her to get through this Christmas and with less than two weeks to go, that possibility looks very likely.

That was all in September. In October, we got news that one of my closest friends, Steve, who had been living with Stage 4 colon cancer for over two years, was getting sicker. We are an hour and a half away from him and his family, so a lot of October was spent traveling back and forth and spending as much time with him as possible.

On November 5th, my friend lost his brave battle.

That experience with him was life changing for me and it was one that requires and deserves so much more than what I am going to write here today.

A story for another time.

Then on November 24th (Thanksgiving Day), my sister-in-law, Stacie, passed away very unexpectedly. This was made more difficult by the fact that we live fourteen hours away from where she lived. She was the first person my husband ever told me about when we started dating. I knew her death was going to be earth shattering for him.

I just realized this afternoon that I still have not fully processed her death.

As I am writing this, I think it is hitting me that I have been in survival mode since August, even with the vacation. One day at a time.

Get things done.
Be present.
Just get through the next hour.
You can do it.
You can survive this.

And I did. Of course the stress contributed to a major autoimmune flare for which I am currently on a three week run of prednisone of my tougher prednisone runs, that is for sure. And, I have been having some issues with anxiety which has not been a major issue for years. But, I have people helping me with that and more importantly, I know how to help myself through that.

My attitude right now is to go into Christmas taking care of myself as much as possible. This has meant making some changes to our routine and traditions this year. It has meant a lot of tolerance and understanding from my husband towards me and from me towards my husband. The past few months have reminded me of how important it is to choose well when it comes to a life partner.  It has also reminded me of how very important it is to choose well when it comes to the people we surround ourselves with.

Isn't that mostly what life is about though? Going through life with people? In the past few months I have learned so much about myself, my husband, and who is going to be there at times when the phone rings at 8am and your friend of thirty years tells you he has about two weeks to live and you are in the car headed out of town less than an hour later, not sure of when you will be back and what your life will look like when you do get back home.

Those are the moments that define you.
And the people who loved me through it are the ones that remind me of how rich my life is.

Go love your people.
Tell them.
Show them
Put your phones away and be with them.


  1. Christine, you have been through a lot and I really hope you do spend some time over the holidays taking care of yourself. You need it!

    I am glad you took the trip and have some lovely memories stored in your heart and mind to bring out on tough days. For me, those happy memories are what often carry me through a tough flare. Be good to yourself.

    1. Thank you, Cathy. I hope you are your family have a wonderful Christmas!