The Road is bumpy, Real bumpy!!

Whew!!! Its been awhile I know. So much has been happening in my little world and although writing is such a great outlet for me sometimes life is so overwhelming that writing is the last thing that I can do. Sometimes you have to just retreat into your safe place and regroup, that is where I have been, in my safe place trying to regroup. Some of that has been successful some of it not so much.  Right now I am at a place in my journey where I am seriously asking “What could I have done to deserve all this?  What now, what do I do? Where do I turn? How will I be able to get through this?” I am only one person and everyone has a breaking point.

Life has thrown me yet another curve ball. At every turn just when I think there isn’t anything else I can handle there it is right on my lap. On February 27th I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At first it was just a few days of shock and maybe even some relief because at least now I had an answer to the extreme pain, stiffness, and swelling that had started to occur. I had sudden onset and when it came on it hit with a bang. I went to bed one night and felt ok and when I woke up the next morning my left wrist, hand, and fingers were swollen, tight and extremely painful to use. I initially thought I had slept on my arm wrong and a previous shoulder injury possibly had aggravated it. The next morning I woke up and the exact thing was happening to my right wrist, hand, and fingers. After about 4-5 days of trying to navigate through and live with that pain it began to subside. Within a week of those symptoms I woke up one morning and my right shoulder was in severe pain. I couldn’t raise my arm, I couldn’t use it hardly at all. Within hours my left shoulder begin to feel the same way. For almost a week I was unable to use either of my arms from my shoulder down to the tips of my fingers. This was a pain I had never experienced. I will remind you I am no stranger to pain in my life. My life has been rooted in pain from before I could ever even remember. My body has been through more things than most people can’t even imagine, but this pain, yeah this pain is a beast. I have never been faced with a pain I can’t push through. I have always been able to focus and push through the pain to do what I need to do and get things done but this mess just locks me down.

When I went to my doctor on the 27th I had a suspicion that this may be what was happening but I was definitely praying against it. After a thorough exam, review of symptoms, and family history she was pretty sure about the diagnosis but as I found out there isn’t one definitive test that can be done. Diagnosis is made through a combination of things. I was sent to the lab to have some blood work…..and then you wait…. Three days later I received the results and they were not good.  The three main test that the doctor was concerned about was the RF factor test, the A-CCP test, and the ANA test. All three were positive. Positive reading for RF factor would be <14, Mine was 252. Positive reading for the A-CCP would be Strong positive >59, Mine was >250. Positive reading for ANA, it came back with a positive IFA with a speckled pattern which is associated with mixed connective tissue disease. My mind was reeling. With everything combined I now have a definitive diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis and it was bad, I am confirmed seropositive and the disease is progressive and very aggressive. It was coming on hard and fast.

I am 35 years old, I am already an amputee that deals with severe nerve damage, neuropathy pain, degenerative disc disease, and now this potentially debilitating disease where my own immune system attacks my joints. I think this is it. This may very well be my breaking point. This last month I have spent many days in bed, hurting so bad unable to move much. I need my hands, my arms to transfer my self from one place to my chair, and then I need my hands to push my wheels. A lot of days I am just left feeling helpless and hopeless asking myself and God if I am being completely honest Why, Why God are you giving me another thing to carry. I have stayed quiet telling very few and trying still to just process what this means for me now, what it means for my family. Waiting for dawn and what each new day will bring sometimes with a fear in my heart that each time I wake up it will be with an immobilizing pain and I will once again be frozen in time as everyone else continues on with life around them.

The one thing I can say about this new phase of my journey is that it has probably saved my marriage. Brian and I have been in such a vulnerable place. For so long we have been going in opposite directions. Love was not the problem, we have plenty of love but we all know that marriage takes more than love. This has all reminded me of my safe place, my soft place to fall and that is with Brian. Neither of us is perfect and man do we have work to do, but I am so grateful for this Godly man that has stuck by me through every bad thing that has occurred in my life since I have met him. All of our problems have not disappeared however right now we are focused on some of the bigger things occurring and our children. Our children need us to give them some of our time and energy.

I know I will prevail and I am so appreciative of the few of you that have known and been there to love and support me  and for those that are just now finding out I pray that you will offer your love and support and will understand if I am just not able to physically keep up with the physical demands that most of you are able to operate at with ease on a daily bases. I will always do my best and try at being better at asking for help when I need it. I love you all, thank you for taking this journey with me. You all are my motivation.

The people spoke, but what did they say?

I am no different than millions of people across America right now trying to understand what happened, where did things go wrong? For as many of us that think things went wrong there are three times as many people that think things went right. Those people think we are stupid, crazy and clueless for not wanting Donald Trump in office and I am here to present a different thought process. We aren’t stupid, crazy or clueless, we are simply a little fearful. We don’t want to move backwards. So many people are stuck on just the Presidency part of it and I am not sure they are thinking about the day to day lives that this changes. People are stuck on the thought that democrats are upset that republicans are in office and I don’t know if I want to laugh, scream or cry. People wake up I promise you not as many people care that republicans are back in office as you may think, it is this certain republican.  I will let that sit with you for a moment. It is not the party, it is that man!

I have seen lately people trying to compare Trump to Obama saying “Now you know how we felt” so forth and so on, however I am not sure how people compare the two. Obama was not and still is not a man of scandal. He did not run his election threatening to deport people for practicing their constitutional right of religion, he did not threaten to build a wall as a scare and intimidation tactic, nor did he result to making fun of, mocking, degrading, calling names, and using vulgar names when speaking of other humans yes that’s right I said it humans. So I challenge you all to ask your self what reason would you have had to be scared of Obama as an incoming president? Surely not because he was a democrat or black man because we do not fear the republican party. Many of us have lived with republicans in office for centuries and there were no protest. Just as many people have pointed out there were no protest going on when Obama was elected. That doesn’t just speak to the people of this country but to the man that was becoming president.

SO I WLL SAY AGAIN, IT IS NOT THE PARTIES IN OFFICE THAT IS FEARED IT IS THE PERSON REPRESENTING THAT PARTY!!!

As I began researching for this blog I came upon story after story of hate filled bullying and crimes that have already begun and Mr. Trump hasn’t even been sworn in yet. As I was reading through them the question began to rise in me are there really that many people in My America that are clueless to damage that this man has the potential to cause to so many people and cultures of people? Now that is one question that I can easily admit was applied to President Obama and as many can see he did not use his power to inflict damage as so many thought he would. So I will admit the same is possible with Mr. Trump.

My goal in sharing this blog today was to share my heart and my insight with those that I love that are on the opposite side of this issue. I just want to help others understand where the fear, feelings and outrage may be coming from.

When the leader of our free country stands before the people and he uses derogatory terms clear and out in the open then the people will also begin to do so without fear of any repercussion. Bigotry should not be a way of life that is just accepted and laughed about as if it is the American way. Whose America?  Woman should be able to stand with full confidence in any capacity at any podium and know that they are not viewed as just objects but as equals or are we really trying to set our country back 100 years?  If racism wasn’t evident before it will be now because the leader of our free country refers to African Americans as “The African Americans” and has stated and I quote “If Black Lives Don’t Matter Then Go Back To Africa.”  Clearly he doesn’t understand that 1) all black people didn’t come from Africa and 2) that the movement Black Lives Matter is trying to bring attention to the fact that for centuries black lives have not mattered and we want that to chance we want Black lives to matter too. As if that isn’t extremely close to home how about the mockery and disrespectful way in which he interacted with a disabled man. People with physical disabilities are often stared at, laughed at, made fun of and bullied sometimes on a daily bases, but now we have the President of the united States doing it so who is going to set the mandate to stop bullying in our schools? These things I have spoke on are just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even touched on the infamous wall and eradicating Muslims from the free country. You all do remember that right. This is supposed to be a FREE country, but not if you are gay, black, Muslim, Mexican, and only if you are a submissive woman.

These are some of the reasons why people are in the streets protesting Mr. Trump.  These are some of the reasons that people, a great number of people are afraid right now.

With that being said I will play devils advocate, no pun intended. We are here now and the man deserves the chance to see what he can do. For those of us that have been in his cross hairs during his campaign, the brunt of his jokes, at the end of his nasty words, all that we can do is pray that the things he said were part of a tactic to win and not things he actually intends to stand by. I pray he does not make good on some of those promises.  So many people believe that to be against Mr. Trump must have meant I was pro Hillary and I won’t denied on some things I was. I will remind everyone there were actually more than two people to vote for. I wish more people would have realized that.

I am a Citizen of the United States and I want to know that I have the right to chose whatever religion I so chose even if that is converting and becoming a Muslim. I am a disabled woman and I am not garbage as been implied by  Mr. Trump, I add a lot of value to this world. My children are Bi-racial and my husband is black and their black lives matter too, they were born right here why should they ever be told to go to Africa. The America that so many people are excited to go back to is an America without Equality, without tolerance, without acceptance and knowledge of others different from you. It is an America where my family and many other families much like mine have no place much less feel safe.

 

May I fall apart now, Sir?

Life happens sometimes to fast and to often. We get going at a speed often thinking we are comfortable and able to handle all that is coming at us, putting things in their proper places or on their proper shelves and I don’t mean physical things I am talking all the mental.

Recently my family went through one of the hardest things I think I have ever went through. I was faced with holding my family together during a time when I didn’t even want to hold myself together much less anyone else. It’s something I have always know about myself, the ability to find strength and push through even the hardest of situations. It is how I was able to lay my mom to rest for the most part by myself, at the age of 25, and it is how I was able this time to rise up and care for myself, my home, and children after my husband attempted suicide on August 11th 2016.

I have known about this demon my husband battles since the moment I fell in love with him 15 years ago and it is something I chose for better or worse when I said I do 13 years ago this November. Mental illness is no stranger to me, it is something that has plagued people I love for as long as I can remember, many of them trying to combat and fight it only to find themselves slaves to another demon altogether, addiction. There is a pride that comes with seeing how hard my husband has fought all these years; because this disease has tried to take his life on more than one occasion. Yet on this night, one action, one thought, everything changed with just one decision.

We don’t have much support or guidance in way of parents, a lot of his pain comes by way of saying goodbye to his mother and father just 3 years apart beginning in 2008. When you lose the two people that are responsible for putting your fleshly body here on this earth it can do something to a man’s heart and way of thinking. Well in complete honesty we don’t have much support at all. You truly find out who your real friends are when your husband is in a lock down unit for 6 days in the hospital. When you are left with handling everything from taxiing the children, to school supply shopping, not to mention the practices and school functions. The beautiful thing about it all is that you also find out you had friends in the most unlikely places and sometimes that is how God loves on us. He uses these heartbreaking times to build a new friendship or build a bridge between a strained relationship. However, with every good side there is a bad side and you also see who isn’t your true friend.

I know that most people in general just don’t know what to do when someone is in crisis so the go to statement is “please let me know if you need anything.” I learned sadly from experience that when you are in crisis you more often than not don’t know what you need so you can’t tell people how to help you so you just go about doing the next thing. In the 7 days after my mom died and in the 6 months after her death I would have loved to have been able to tell people what I needed, but I did not know so how could I tell anyone. In the 6 days after my husband tried to kill himself I would have loved to tell someone what to do to help me with my 4 kids, but I was in autopilot. I was just doing the next thing. What I am recognizing now is that people know how to rally around him because it is easier to identify how to help and support him. I am the strong one keeping it all together and holding it down. I didn’t know and don’t know how to really ask for help or what to even ask for so no one really helps or even just stops by to be my friend, but they know how to help him. There has even been a few situations where I have suffered some negative consequences for his actions. I feel like I have been failed by those that should have showed up the most. My wall is up, I am shutting down and that is why I am able to survive.

The truth is this, I don’t ask for help because I am a fighter and survivor. I have fought my way through life since that fateful day in May 1982 when I was ran over and began to fight for my life. I fought through my parents drug addiction, through a bad childhood riddled with poverty and abuse, I have fought and survived my own physical aliments and obstacles and endless surgery’s only to come out the other side an amputee and will continue to fight every day the rest of my life for things that most people with take for granted. I am a survivor and a fighter and us survivors don’t know how to ask for help or what to even ask for, we just do the next thing.

It is only now that Brian is home and that we are in the rebuilding phase working on putting our family back together and healing from this life altering experience that I start to fray. It is only now that I start to look at doing a few things for myself and work on some serious healing in our marriage that I look to the heavens and I fall to my knees and I ask my heavenly father is it now? Is the time now?

Because when you have four children and a husband with a fragile heart and soul. When you have no mom to call upon and no soft spot to fall, when you know that you are the survivor and always the fighter and everyone looks to you for strength, it’s up to you to know the right time to look to your savior and ask……

May I fall apart now, Sir?

Motherhood: Overwelmed with Life and Childhood

 

I made it!!! The end of the year is here, but its bittersweet. Change has never scared me and in most situations doesn’t even cause me much anxiety. I can probably thank my crazy childhood for that. The one area that causes me any issues when it comes to change is with my children. I think it’s because I don’t want my kids to ever experience any of the pain or feelings I did growing up. With that being said with the end of this school year upon us I knew it would mean a lot of change was about to occur.

For the last 18 years I have had an infant/toddler in my life up to now. My baby is now 4 and my niece just graduated high school. I really thought that my niece graduating was going to be the hardest obstacle for me to overcome.katie grad I thought that because of my relationship with her all these years that experiencing this last youth milestone with her would cause me to come undone, but instead it opened my eyes to some realities that I have been scared to acknowledge and communicate in the past.  My Sister (in law) has done an incredible job with my niece and nephews. They are just great kids but they are not mine. That was the biggest thing I had to realize and that’s why I think it was  probably the hardest because I feel like I played a part in helping to raise them. I have loved them and treated them as my own all of their life but they are not mine. I had to let go and so I did and my heart broke, healing it will take some time.

 

The beginning of the school year brings about some of the biggest changes our family has ever faced. I am anxious, excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time. My firstborn child, my daughter starts high school.Bri The first issue is that I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that I have a 14-year old. Since when did I get that old? Like I remember when I was 14!!  Some days in my mind I still feel like I should be a teenager. As she enters this new phase of her journey she has already gone farther academically then I ever did. She is far more than I ever imagined and she is just beginning. 4 years and she will be off to start her life in this world, 4 years and she will be done with the youth phase of her own journey.

As my oldest begins that phase my youngest begins her new journey.Brookie Brooklenn will start kindergarten in just 2 and a half short months. For the first time in 14 years I will have an empty home. No little toddlers running through the rooms. No lunches to fix, no toys to clean up. For most people this probably sounds amazing and most of the time to me it does to, but I just don’t know what I am supposed to do with myself. I have never not had a child in the home to care for. My baby, my last born little girl is about to enter the academic world and I know she will never be the same again.She will be better, she will be amazing and she will achieve great things in the world. It’s going to be the ride of a life time. I am so thankful I get to go alongside her, however my baby is no longer a baby.

Even though my sweet little Brayden hasn’t hit any big milestones this year his is promoted to the only big brother in the school with Brookie and there is nothing more fitting then Brayden being the one to escort his sister to school everyday, because they are truly best friends.brayden last day 2nd They have the type of relationship you see in movies. It is a sweet and precious gift to see how they have grown together and how they are with each other not only in public but more importantly when no one is watching. Brooklenn Goyce is one lucky girl to have Brayden as her big brother and best friend.

As if those things weren’t enough my oldest son Bj has left elementary. This year he was bj 2024promoted from 4th grade to 5th. He will enter Canyon Ridge Intermediate where they will help prepare him for middle school. This is his first step into no longer being a little boy but becoming a young man. He worked so hard this year and had so many ups and downs but in the end his hard work paid off and I really am so very proud of the young man he is becoming. Once again I sit and think where has the time gone and where was I when it was passing because I don’t know how we got here.

Yes, this year holds so much change for my family and I want to be able to handle it with a Grace and strength that will make my family and friends and mostly God proud. That is not something I have always been good at. I have tried not to be sad about the developments that have occurred in the family, but as I attended my son’s 4th grade celebration I realized I have now had 2 out of 4 of my children pass through this schoolbri bj mve.png I currently have my 3rd child in that elementary and my 4th is about to enter it. They may very well throw a party once these last two leave, I probably would. In all honesty the administration of Mustang Valley have become family. They have gone above and beyond to support our family through these last few years, I know that the first part of this journey is over and the second half is about to begin.

If I ever in my life wished I could see into the future or had a crystal ball where I could see what was going to happen this would be the time. I would love to be able to know what’s going to happen, the mistakes that are going to happen. the sadness that is going to occur. I wouldn’t change any of it because I know that it is gong to shape my children into who they are going to be but maybe it would help me know how to better support and/or help them through it. Its been hard to be a mom when you don’t have a mom. It’s hard to know what to do when you have nowhere to turn for advice, comfort or support. Sometimes its just hard not having the one person in this world that you know that would have cheered for you loudest.

It’s all overwhelming but in the end I know we are all going to be ok  and I am most excited to see my babies come into their own. My heart is clenched just a little tighter but it’s still open for what is coming. I am so thankful to God for choosing to give me the opportunity to be the mom to these kids and I pray he continues to give me the strength and guidance to be a better mom everyday. I pray that there are more happy days in these coming years than sad and I pray that as my children look back they know that mom gave it her all.

Yes a lot of change is about to occur but when we are at the end of this phase of our journey we will look back and say we did it with smiles on our faces, laughter in our voices and a gratefulness that beams through us.

 

 

Reeling with Raynauds

    If you have never had children then the agony I am about to describe when you see your child go through physical pain won’t make sense. There is a fear that hits your brain, hits your soul when one of your children comes against something, that they much less you has no control over. Most mothers from the moment we find out we are pregnant change our whole lives to protect and give our children the best and healthiest life possible. With 4 children I knew that my chances of having all of my kids healthy was probably slim to none especially considering the fact that one by one I went into premature labor with each one. They all were born early and up until our 3rd child they were healthy. Brayden was born 5 weeks premature and he was in the NICU for 7 days and has had asthma and allergy issues ever since, but our first-born she was healthy from day one. With the exception of a few ear infections as a baby she has always been happy and healthy so when she started having some discoloration and temperature issues in her extremities we didn’t immediately jump to any conclusions or freak out right away.

    Time stands still when you hear words like disease, cancer, no cure, manage the symptoms. The day of her doctor’s appointment we heard words that made time stand still. We heard ” Briana you have Raynauds Disease, there is no cure, but there are things you can do to manage the symptoms. Everyone is different so we aren’t exactly what sure what symptoms you will even have.” My daughter and I got through that exact moment by telling each other that it could be worse, it could have been cancer. She could be loosing a limb like I did, she could be dying. There were so many worse things the doctor could have come in and said, but in my head I was screaming all those things don’t matter this is my baby. I was devastated.

    See this child at her mere 14 years at age had already been through so much. She had to experience the death of 3 of her grandparents, 1 of which was my mom whom she was extremely close to. Then at 10 she began the task of caring for her 3 younger siblings because I had decided to have reconstructive surgery on my foot that ended up being 7 surgeries 20+ skin grafts, 2 external fixators. And in the end after 2 years of all that I ended up having to have that foot amputated. Our youngest daughter who was 7 months old when I had my first surgery called Briana mama first and for good reason, Briana had been taking care of her the way a mama would. She has been my right hand man as they say. I couldn’t have gotten through all of these obstacles without her help and she has done all of that while maintaining fantastic grades, and extracurricular activities. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that on top of all the things she had willingly took on to be a help and blessing to others and now she was facing this disease .

    We are in the beginning stages of this disease and already it is proving to be an ugly opponent. As a parent it is beyond frustrating when you see your child cry out in pain and there is nothing you can physically do to relieve the pain. Briana is a tough girl and usually can deal with any pain but she has met her match with this disease. There are days, days much like today where the only thing I can do is hit my knees and cry out to God on her behalf. I beg him for mercy and relief for her. I beg him to please deliver her from this disease. I beg him to please ease her fear and uncertainty and to help me be the best mom for her I can be.

bri foot.png

    When your child is hurting you feel it to. Its like you’re connected. There are times when we may be able to do something to help ease whatever they may be feeling and those times are great gifts. However, there are more times when there isn’t anything we can do and it feels like pure torture. As I watch my daughter, she moves around and I offer to rub her feet because they are cramping so bad she can’t walk, my heart is breaking. I would give my other leg if only she didn’t have to go through this. I know I can’t take this from her or go through it for her so I just pray that God will use it in her life and she will be stronger, wiser and a warrior for his kingdom. We will continue on this journey and learn more about Raynauds. My Daughter will become a voice for this disease and she will conquer it. I will turn my frustration, fear, and anxiety for my child into drive to maker her life the best I can. In the meantime as she begins to step in 2 her lyfe I will just sit back watch and admire and be inspired by the incredible young lady God has created in spite of the obstacles before her .