In Sickness & In Health

A few months ago, I changed things up a bit and shared my daughter Chanel’s thoughts on living with a parent who suffers from a chronic illness.  Now I want to allow my husband Carl the opportunity to share his experience.  Carl has stuck by me and has been my rock through this journey and I think it might be helpful for others to hear things from his perspective.  I’m sure when we were married, neither one of us could have ever imagined walking through this journey called Lyme Disease! #insicknessandinhealth

So here’s Carl in his own words, I pray you find this helpful.

Q: Carl, what has been your experience living with someone who has a chronic illness?

A: My experience has been challenging and overwhelming, at times. This may sound crazy, but I’m so glad God chose me for the task. In my eyes, it has made me a better person and definitely allowed me to have a better relationship with Him.

Q: What has been the most challenging?

A: I say this in the most kind and forward way I know how to. Please hear my heart and not read this answer as me complaining. One of the most challenging things I tend to navigate through is not knowing who or what I’m waking up or coming home to. Some days I may come home to a wife that is full of energy and ready to conquer the world and other days is one where she needs to be nursed/taken care of, because she is having an episode of excruciating pain that will not allow her to move.

Q: What would you say to other spouses or family members living with someone who has a chronic illness to encourage them?

A: Not just learn, but become as close as possible to an expert about the illness (the more you learn, the more you will be able to understand and help your spouse/family/partner to navigate through it). Join some type of support group, if not a group then a person that you are able to vent to (or talk you off the ledge). Finally don’t give up! For every reason you can think about leaving, I can give you ten for staying.

Q: How do you stay positive?

A:First and foremost  GOD. Staying in the word of God is key to overcome all obstacles life presents. I have lived long enough to know today is Windy that is ill, but tomorrow that could be me. I try to live everyday (to be transparent some days I fail) loving and caring for Windy, the way I would like to be cared for, if it was me suffering from an illness. I know there will be times that I must wear a shield not just to protect and guard my feelings, but also to protect others from my flesh. 

Q: Is there anything else you want others to know?

A: This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Be mindful that depending on the illness it might take years to overcome it (if it has a cure). Extend lots of grace and empathy to your spouse/partner. Pace yourself and don’t walk this out alone!

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My favorite picture of us!

Thanks for your support!

XO, Windy

Good Day-Bad Day-New Day!

I recently celebrated my 48th birthday and spent some time reflecting on the past few years.  All the challenges I have faced and the impact chronic illness has had on my life. Fast forward to 2020, I realize with everything going on with COVID-19/Coronavirus, that my emotions have fluctuated from good to bad in a matter of a few minutes.  It’s easy to become fearful of the unknown as we all try our best to get used to our new normal. To navigate the reality of the changes in our daily routine and to wonder what each new day will bring. I must admit that I try to limit the amount of news I take in each day as it can be quite overwhelming.  I put my hope and trust in God, knowing he is in control.

When thinking about my journey, what do my Good Days look like?  These are the days when my symptoms seem to be in check and I am able to navigate through the day with minimal issues.  Some days I feel so good, I forget I’m sick.  I am able to do a little more than the previous day.  I am able to be present in family interactions, chat a little longer on the phone without losing my train of thought (short term memory loss) and do more around the house without feeling like I’m about to pass out.  I look forward to these days, where I feel a little more like myself.  While it may not look the way I want it to look, I am still very grateful.

Then there those days when I am reminded of how my symptoms continue to ebb and flow with new treatment and medications. Insert Bad Day: At times it is easy for me to get caught up in my emotions and feel sorry for myself and become bitter about being sick, really sick and for a long time. The flare ups, the brain fog and fatigue can feel like a lot to handle at times.  Some might think it’s ok for me to feel frustrated given all I deal with on a daily basis, but it’s important for me to stay the course and stay focused on the promises of God.  To remember that in this life there will be challenges, but joy WILL come in the morning.

Lastly, I look forward to each New Day and all that it has to offer.  Each day is a fresh start, a new opportunity to experience God’s love, to encourage others and to get one step closer to living out God’s purpose for my life.  I know this illness is my testimony to others about the goodness of God.  Throughout my entire journey He has been with me, provided for me and my family and protected me.  “I know the plans I have for you” Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me and I believe this too shall pass.  My hope is that by sharing my journey with chronic illness, others are Empowered | Encouraged | Inspired to never give up no matter what you are facing.  I continue to pray for others who are facing challenges knowing that we will get through this together!  

XO & Be Safe,

Windy

Be thankful for where you are now and keep fighting and working for what you want to be tomorrow

 

 

 

 

You’re Tougher Than You Think

Walking through this chronic illness journey has really caused me to reflect on all the things that have transpired, especially the past 2 years which have been really rough for me physically and emotionally.  It would be easy for me to get upset and become bitter for the loss of my former self.  To wallow in self pity, feeling like the world is against me.  I’m sure many of you would say I have every right to feel betrayed somehow, but you know what…I’m learning that I’m a lot tougher than I thought.

I have been living with Chronic Lyme, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia since 2003 (maybe a little longer for the Fibromyalgia) and it has not been easy.  Each day brings with new symptoms, lots of pain and fatigue.  I wake up each day not really knowing how I’m going to feel or what I may or may not be able to do that day.  The hardest thing for me so far is not being able to work.  I deal with a lot of cognitive issues, short term memory loss and brain fog.  I can’t control the things I can remember and it’s very frustrating.  I try to write things down so I don’t forget, but that sometimes poses a challenge when I can’t remember where I put the note.  Some things that have I have been doing for years are easier for me to accomplish, but even those things start to become challenging for me.  I thank God that those who love me and those I do life with extend lots of grace and are very patient with me, which is a huge relief.  I will admit at times it does cause a disagreement with my husband or family member when they tell me something I said or did and I can’t remember.  In my mind, if I can’t remember it, it didn’t happen.  Slowly, I’m learning to say, “You might be right, but I don’t remember that”.  That helps keep the arguments to a minimum, but at times I have stood my ground and that’s no fun!!!!  As hard as it is, I am learning that it’s ok to forget and it’s ok to say “I’m sorry”.  (My husband will love that I said that).  Ha!

When I was growing up, my mother would always say “To whom much is given, much is required” and I truly believe that with all my heart.  God has been so good to me and my family over the years.  He’s given me “much” therefore, “much” is required of me.  Yeah, being sick sucks at times but guess what…this too shall pass and I’m learning with each passing day that I’m tougher than I thought!

Until next time,

WJC