I’m tired of Black Lives Matter

I am so beyond sick and tired of hearing black lives matter. You should be too at this point. Whenever I see it, it infuriates me to the point of wanting to just scream. Let me tell you why.

First off, it ticks me off because it usually follows a video or story of someone being gunned down, or a story of a child left fatherless, or a mother’s arms made empty. A video making us all eye witnesses to a death, a murder, the end for a human being on this earth. Eye witnesses… Then you see several people interrupt with “there’s two sides to every story” and they are absolutely correct. But let’s think about this for a minute… When an eye witness is brought before a court, they are only asked to give their account of what happened AS THEY WITNESSED IT. Not “what do you think the other side of the story is?” Because they can’t speculate about what they didn’t see. An eye witness is like a golden ticket for a lawyer in a trial, but it’s considered biased when it’s shared by millions on the Internet.

Secondly, I’m sick of seeing black lives matter fill my feed with pictures of ghosts. People no longer going to school, going to work, or having dinner with their families. My heart is aching for the families staring at empty chairs each time they sit down to eat with each other. A constant reminder of a senseless action that took a loved one from this planet. Black lives matter is sickening to see over and over again.

Lastly, I am filled with anger over reading Black lives matter along with an article detailing the failure of our justice system to hold its own accountable. And don’t twist this here, I support the GREAT men and women who wear blue in this country, but I pray they realize they are only hurting their own by protecting the evil hiding in their wings. I stand behind a police officer any day who truly meant that oath to serve and protect, but I will NEVER back a crooked individual on a power trip. It’s not ok to build a brick wall around the entire group because of a few’s evil actions because you’re entire group is the minority and the majority is coming to bring your walls down. Just like Jericho, the walls will come tumbling down. And the excellent WILL then be lumped together with those few. It will be too late then to call them out. It will be too late to stand up and do the right thing. The time is now. Heck, the time was long ago. Stand up to those who tarnish your badge.

So yeah, I’m sick of seeing black lives matter because it should’ve never had to be said in the first place. We should never have let it get this far. And I am sorry. I am sorry to my brothers and sisters in the black and minority communities that I have been silent so long. I have failed you. Because I should have shouted for justice the first time someone was plucked from your life and followed by insulting injustice. We all should have.

Clearing the Air on Miscarriage

I’ve been radio silent for a hot minute. I do apologize for the absence. I’ve been taking some time to figure out what all I see for this blog. I absolutely cannot blog every post about my MS because it is not life consuming for me. That sounds silly, I know, but it gets a little depressing trying to figure out how I’m going to speak out on my disability next. That is when my husband suggested I just write. Write about what I love, what I know, what I want to know, etc. He is so smart, I think I will keep him around. Today, I want to be as transparent with you as I can be and be open about something I have kept very hush hush in our family. There are only four people who know this and I feel like it is time to be honest.

We are the parents of three children, not one. Our little man is the oldest and the other two never took a breath, but they were here. They do not have names or a place to mourn them, but they will never be forgotten. They weigh heavy on our hearts, but we do not speak of them.

Why? Because miscarriage is a taboo topic and it feels shameful.

That is strange to me because nearly 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. 30%…but it is shameful? taboo?

You know someone (probably many someones) who have miscarried. But you most likely cannot bring a name to that someone. Why?

Because we don’t know how to start the conversation.

When we lost our little ones, we didn’t NOT want to tell our family, but we didn’t know HOW. And eventually time has passed enough that you feel silly bringing it up even though you do not forget. There are constant reminders of what we have lost and what could have been, but we don’t know how to tell our loved ones that they lost someone they never met as well.

Is it because we truly want to spare them the pain? Is it because most parents do not know how to process what has happened themselves?

I began to think about it and when someone passes, you never expect a call from the immediately affected family member. If John Smith died, you would be surprised to hear directly from his wife, right? But that’s the thing with parents of a miscarriage…most times there is no one to make that call for them.

So it goes unsaid. Then it becomes a secret.

I don’t want to have secrets anymore. I don’t want to keep their short lives hidden from the world. They mattered. They were loved. They were our children. And a parent would do anything for their child even if it hurt them. I’ve felt like I have shamed them and their memory by hiding. By grieving in silence, I have undermined their purpose for being on this earth even if it were only a few months.

We have three children, not one.

To the Mom with a chronic illness…

The mom you rush to judge at your kid’s sports game may be fighting a battle you don’t know about. Maybe she is giving her best, but her best just isn’t the same as your’s.

I see you there at the soccer sidelines. You’re the only one who brings a chair to a 30 minute practice and fights not to use it. You are fighting the good fight to be a “normal” mom for your little one.

After all, that’s what he deserves. He deserves the normal mom who can bake 150 cupcakes for the bake sale and the mom who is there for every field trip. He deserves a mom who can play with him in the backyard on sunny days and plan projects with him when it is rainy. A mom who can be spontaneous and take him to meet a friend last minute.

But I want you to know that he deserves you because you are giving him your best. You may not be able to be spontaneous, but you will teach him how to plan ahead. You may not be able to run around outside on those hot days, but you can show him the wonders of reading and living room forts. You may not be able to bake 150 cupcakes, but you can make the most love filled grilled cheese. You might not make it to every field trip, but you will be able to live his excitement when he gets to tell you everything that happened. And you may not be able to stand for that soccer practice, but he knows you are there. You are there. He knows.

You need to know that you are more than
enough. You will give him a perspective other children aren’t given. He will learn resilience through your strength. He will learn appreciation through your determination to be present. He will learn patience because of those doctor’s appointments. He will learn empathy through witnessing your journey. He will know love because you are more than enough just the way you are. He knows.

And when he grows up, he will look back and know even more how much you gave to him. He will know.

To the Mom with a Chronic Illness

Dear Moms

There is more than just biology that makes a mom.

When my mother passed when I was 11 years old, I never could have imagined how God would hold me in His hands and provide what I needed from her through others. Every year, Mother’s Day is a holiday that sets my brain in motion.

It brings to light all of the wonderful women He put in place to influence me along the way to adulthood. Grandmothers, stepmothers, god mothers, and even friend’s moms have provided me with mentors and guidance.

I miss my mom dearly, but I also know that her being who she was, she would want me to enjoy life and find the blessings. So here are some of the many blessings God gave me following her passing.

My Granny, my mother’s mother. She has been one of my best friends for so long. She is ALWAYS there for people, hilarious, and strong. I’ve learned to never give up on people from her and to laugh everyday.

My MIL, my husband’s mama. She came into my life at the end of my high school career when I was still wear booty shorts with heels and peasant tops (hot mess for sure!). She is one of the hardest workers I know, an amazing cook, and so much fun to be around. I have found myself having numerous mom+daughter conversations around the kitchen island with her. She has provided wisdom and guidance. I have also learned a lot of cooking skills from her.

My godmother, my mom’s best friend. I don’t recall a time where I didn’t have my god mom. She and my mother grew up together and were as close to sisters as friends can get. She shares pieces of my mom with me that I would never have had after her passing. Memories, lessons, and her dreams for me and my brother. She has taught me independence and resilience. I was lucky enough to have her teaching at my high school so I could escape when I needed to from the high school drama.

My Nanny, my great-grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family who taught me that there is nothing God cannot overcome. She was strength. Peacekeeper, witty, and loving. I miss working cross word puzzles and watching Shirley Temple movies with her most of all.

My Nanny Darlin’, my father’s mother. She taught me that family is everything. I have never seen a woman overcome as much as my Nanny D. Independent, bold, and sassy. I want to be just like her when I grow older and I pray I inherited her beautiful white hair.

My friend’s moms who always welcomed me into their families. Thank you. Thank you for seeing that you made a difference in my life. Every single one of you were inviting and loving. I felt accepted anytime I walked through your door. Thank you.

And last, but not least…my mom, my father’s wife. You were thrown a curve-ball while building your family. I could not imagine how I would have handled a pre-teen coming into a family unit after such a sudden loss. You worried about what to teach me and when was the right time. You made sure we had family dinners even on days you were beyond exhausted physically and mentally. You involved me in life even when I wanted to give up. You stood up for me when my dad was at his boiling point. You never backed down. You taught me so many valuable lessons and never cease to amaze me now. Thank you.

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate all of the women in our lives who have impacted who we have become. The women who go out of their way daily to pray for us, teach us, and care for us. Don’t forget to love your moms every day and remind them this Mother’s Day how special they truly are to you.

Final Countdown

Being different from others is what makes us who we are and just because my illness is part of what makes me different, that doesn’t mean I am any less than a perfectly healthy person.

It is finals week and the pressure is on. If you missed the post about school, you can find it here. I made a personal goal to come back to college with a bang and end the semester with all A’s. Because of that, I find myself stressing to make sure I don’t blow it with these final BIG grades. I cannot help, but have those two words light up the billboard in my mind: Stress=Relapse.

I know that isn’t always true. I am a high strung person naturally and haven’t relapsed in almost a year (KNOCK ON WOOD!), but that is what you are told over and over. To the point of hindering your everyday life. Finals are stressful for every student. Period. They just don’t have to worry about the possibility of going blind on top of filling out the correct bubble.

Times like these, I am reminded that I am different whether I like it or not. I am. Let’s face it, my circumstances cause me to approach situations in a unique manner. But there is also something that I have to remind myself.

Different ≠ bad.

Being different from others is what makes us who we are and just because my illness is part of what makes me different, that doesn’t mean I am any less than a perfectly healthy person.

Why do we fear being different? Is it because our society is geared toward systematic conformity? It is predictable and relatable, and therefore, comfortable.

Yet we celebrate those unique individuals who find success. The ones who push against the grain and accomplish their goals despite consistent adversity.

We do not, however, hear of those individuals who gave up and went with the grain after several failures. Is it because they are a reminder of our failure towards them? That the mass just wanted conformity and we fell short of support of their ability to fight for who they are.

Maybe that is partly why depression is associated with chronic illness diagnosis.

Are we setting up those with disabilities to fail and fall from our society? I believe so. There is always an exception to the rule, but I find most are thrown into an unknown world with a lot of “hopeless” jargon thrown at them.

“You have MS, that’s ok. You can apply for disability.” Why? Why jump to the conclusion that having MS means you are so damaged that you can no longer function along with those around you normally.

When I received my diagnosis, I understood that I needed to adapt. Learn and adapt became my pattern. Learn-what are my possible futures with MS? Adapt-Become qualified for a career I can do with any of those futures.

Future possibility: I could lose my ability to walk and use a wheelchair.

Response: I’m going back to school to get my doctorate in Psychology, open my own practice, and counsel others from my wheelchair.

We do not live in a world with proactive problem solving when it comes to chronic illness. We are placed into a community where we can relate and we are cast out of the “normal” world because they do not know how to relate to us. So it is better to place heads in the sand and hope they go away. Unless of course you are “inspiring” others with your kind act towards one of us. Then you are applauded by the masses. I’m not going to even start with my thoughts on that subject; we would be here all night.

All of that to say that I firmly believe that you should do you, boo. Even if you have something you are battling that others are not, that doesn’t mean your value is any lower. You are not damaged goods. Period. You are wonderful and beautiful and….you. There’s only one you and that makes you worth the world.

Sending love and good vibes to all of my fellow final taking students out there!

The Day the Platypus Taught Me a Lesson

My husband put on a show that was showing the world’s deadliest animals while I was finishing dinner one night last week. It had all of the regulars like scorpions and alligators and our son was in the zone along with my husband. I sat down for a few minutes when they flashed this adorable swimming platypus on the screen.

“If they are about to say that that cute platypus is one of the world’s most dangerous animals, I am out like shout,” I said to my husband.

He slowly turned back to me and asked, “You don’t know that those things are incredibly vicious?”

“You’re joking…”

He most certainly was not. Did you know those critters have SPURS and VENOM?!?! I sat there in amazement as they narrated horror stories about Platypus attacks. I cannot even stop from giggling as I write that line. Platypus attacks.

Then something dawned on me. Looks are deceiving. Until that day, if I had come across a platypus in the wild, I would not have taken any extra precaution besides it being a wild animal. Just imagine the scene with the rabbit from Monty Python. That would be me with the platypus.

Which brought the question into my head…Am I practicing what I preach?

I know it is just a platypus, but hear me out. I am constantly talking to others about looking beyond the cover of the book. Read the pages and stop yourself from jumping to conclusions. But there I was, not only jumping, but diving into a pool full of my own assumptions about this adorable little animal. Do I still do that when meeting people on the street?

Absolutely.

But here is where it is different. We have spent a great portion of our lives being conditioned to work a certain way. A preconceived notion will pop into our heads before we can decide how to filter it. I am a work in progress. I give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a possibility of disability, but I struggle with filtering my judgement for those “able bodied” individuals.

It doesn’t come out of my mouth, that’s where I censor it, but it does pop into my mind. And when it does pop up, I hammer that thought with questions like “What if that screaming “brat” is really just a child with autism spectrum disorder?” or “What if that obnoxiously loud bar patron is battling alcoholism?”

It may not change the situation, but it is the first steps in rewiring my brain. And besides, now if I meet a platypus, I will know not to mess with it.
Follow

The Great Divide

Chronic illness brings its own community, but with that, it’s community brings its own set of problems.

As soon as I was diagnosed, the first priority was getting through the relapse and treatment was on the back burner until all of that was clear. Once I was out of the relapse, we took a family trip to the neurologist about starting treatment. And here is where things really bother me.

Apparently, there is a great debate among the MS community with what treatments are good and bad…AND…the patients are labeled with the stigmas depending on their personal choice. Why do we feel so inclined to intrude into others very personal and private medical business?

I feel that possibly there was an initial onset of debate due to a sincere and caring nature from one patient to another. For example, a concerned parent would question their child over a choice just to make sure the child understands the depth of the decision’s consequences. But then….it blew up and took over the community like a zombie virus outbreak and now we are dividing our teams and polarizing our group’s values.

So I am proclaiming that I have NO side, but team Liz. That’s right…I’m selfish. My side is always Liz when it comes to my MS treatment because my decision affects…you guessed it…Liz.

So when Sally comes up to me and says, “I’m treating my MS with Tecfidera.” I’m going to respond with, “Awesome! How is that working for you? Loving it, hating it? Neutral?” Because I do care about my fellow citizen, but it is not ok for me to cross boundaries and become Queen in a land I’ve never stepped foot in even if I do love tiaras.

Gathering an honest opinion on someone’s treatment is great. If they are loving it, I want to see if it would be a better fit for me. If they are hating it, I want to know why and THEN maybe tell them about my treatment if it is working for me.

Here is the ironic part about the entire situation. Everyone’s MS is different. That is part of the reason it has been so hard to find a cure, find proper treatments, and even diagnose. So why would we think everyone should receive the same treatment?

If there is anything I have learned so far about MS it is that the shoe is never one size fits all. Heck, the shoe is never even the same shoe! We need to love the Gucci’s and the Ked’s.

After all of that, my treatment choice is…mine. The only time I’m going to look at you like you’re an alien is if you tell me your doctor is treating your MS with water. I’ll be leading you to a new doctor…and fast.

Let’s start to work together. A force united is unstoppable!

Follow

Why Adult Friendships are the Best

When you face a sudden change such as a chronic illness diagnosis, your friends become a huge support system.

You already know that I have a full on squad. Really, TSwift, move aside. But in all seriousness I want to tell you why having adult friendships are the very best.

I started thinking about how I always admired the girls in high school who have remained so close even after college, marriage, and babies. I wanted that, but it was next to impossible with the way my childhood unfolded and I have realized that I would not trade my friends for the biggest GF cheesecake in the world.

When you are an adult… you can have as many best friends as you want (despite what my husband says).

When you are an adult… you can leave the drama at the door. Seriously, there are too many fish in the sea to listen to Selfish Sally’s story about how EVERYONE but her is wrong, horrible, ugly, etc. Drop her like that hot pan you grabbed in the oven without the mitt.

When you are an adult…you can and should love yourself first and foremost. This one may get some backlash, but hear me out. I am talking about the friendship level. You cannot be the friend they deserve if you are not the best you that you deserve. And loving yourself first also means protecting yourself from toxic relationships.

When you are an adult…you can go through phases of being there every second for your friend or not speaking for a month because…well, life. My BFF Amy and I do this regularly. She has two wonderful kids who have full activity calendars along with her training, business, hubby, and life. We can go weeks without talking and then just one day say, “Hey, I have been crazy, but I miss you. What’s going on?” And boom… it’s like we never missed a day. As adults, we just get it. Life happens.

When you are an adult…you have had life experience that equips you will tools necessary to find and flourish better relationships. Like the old saying, practice makes perfect. After a few friendships gone sour, you learn to pick up on the traits to avoid in people. Just because they aren’t BFF material doesn’t mean you can’t keep them ,what I call, the “arm length” friend. Just know what you should and shouldn’t disclose to them. (Said the girl disclosing her life on the internet.)

All of this to say I am in love with my friends and how our relationships work. I spent years growing up bopping from place to place and it allowed me to bounce back quickly. Now I appreciate that support system more and more each day.

What do you love most about adult friendships? Leave me a comment below.

Follow

The Bed.

When chronic illness strikes, you may become suddenly aware of things you took advantage of before.

I hate my bed. I realize I shouldn’t, but it became more than a bed during my relapse last summer. It felt like a ball and chain attached to me all day and all night. I could not escape that dreaded bed.

And I found myself becoming bitter towards anything to do with a bed. I remember scrolling through Facebook and coming across a meme that said something about waiting all day just to get home and back in bed. It was meant to be funny, but it made me feel snarky and mean.

“Yeah, ok. Try having the choice of being out of bed taken away from you and we will see how glorious that bed is then.”

breeze-1516558My mind started to fill with these kind of poisonous thoughts. I felt that little rain cloud forming over my head.

And I knew it was time for a change.

That bed was not evil. If anything, it was trying its very best to help me rest and recover, to comfort me, to bring relief. So why was I so angry at an inanimate object? Then it hit me.

I was mad at my MS.

The poor bed had just become a scapegoat. What was really keeping me prisoner was the relapse and lack of options out of it. Waiting…that was all I had left to do. And I am extremely impatient. Just ask my sweet husband.

I started to think about what I could do to make the best of the situation. At first, it was little changes such as a move to the couch or recliner, looking for a new book to dive into, or journaling. Within a week, I no longer wanted to violently lash out at Facebook memes.

See with MS, like many chronic illnesses, you may not always be able to make something disappear with medicine… you simply have to wait. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait miserably. When I think of all of the times I have said to myself, “If only I had time to…” I realize I have been slowly making a list of things to accomplish when MS strikes.

Read a book, cross-stitch, write, create, learn. Those are my favorites now.

MS may think it is stopping my life dead in its tracks when I relapse, but I decided it is just a mandatory vacation from the crazy busy lifestyle we live. And I’m not letting any vacation go to waste.

Collaboration with Health and Beauty Facts

A Firsthand experience of life with Multiple Sclerosis meets the science behind the medicine.

This week we collaborated with the incredible Sharon from Health and Beauty Facts on what it is like to live with Multiple Sclerosis and the medical breakdown behind it. You can check out the article here.
Follow