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Focusing on the grace…not so much the race

17 Jan

This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a long time. I’ve written probably fifteen iterations of it over the last few months and every time I let fear win…I delete…I walk away…I keep it to myself.

I’ve not landed on a word for 2020 yet. I had one last year…I’ll probably decide on one this year, but it’s something I do with prayer and intention…but I can tell you that a theme I keep hearing in music, in scripture, in prayer and in life – is SHARING. So, I’m going to DO THAT. When I feel something resonate with me that I hope can help others, I have a natural inclination to want to share it. So here it is today:

Having something wrong with you that others cannot see is a struggle. When I show up at Bible Study with my hair curled, a dress on and my shoes actually match…you don’t know that I had to wash my hair the night before because there’s no way I can wash, dry and fix my hair without a break in between. You don’t know that I had to pick out my clothes the night before to make it easier for myself the next morning or that I decided against makeup because holding my arms up for extended periods of time makes me exhausted. You don’t see the tears I cried last night because I didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my family because I knew it would wear me out and that a bath would be out of the question….because even that is tiring. You don’t see the depression that cycles from missing out on life events…the anxiety that comes with planning anything – literally anything – because I am afraid that when it rolls around I will be too fatigued to show up. You don’t see the worry that comes from letting people down and fearing that they won’t give you grace – again.  You don’t see the disappointment from getting excited about getting out and doing something but then it’s “one of those days” and there is NO way you can make it out of the house….and quite frankly, the bed.  You don’t see the way I miss the race of deadlines and a work family and last minute presentations.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a THING.  It is one of MY things and I have truly tried to own it.  To just live with it…to give MYSELF the grace that I’d extend to any of my loved ones.  To pace myself. To do what I can and focus on THAT.  Focusing on the things I can’t do…the things I run out of steam for…the things that do not get crossed off of the list? That leads to frustration, shame and sadness.  Which puts me in a funk…which leads to a depressive state…which….are you seeing a pattern here?

When you see someone with a cast or a sling or hear them coughing or see visible scars – is your inclination to judge them or feel a certain pang of hurt for their illness/injury?  Just because all scars are not visible does not mean that we don’t all have them and need that sympathetic/empathatic smile you’d give someone that you knew was going through something based on their appearance.  I have to tell you, I barely made it through this afternoon.  I overcommitted myself this week and I was struggling this afternoon.  Once I had the chance, I got comfy and I slept for HOURS. I needed it. It didn’t mean I am lazy or worthless or unproductive.  It meant I was taking care of a need.  I needed rest.  But don’t think I didn’t go to my calendar, make a line for rest, draw a box AND CHECKED IT OFF.  Focus on what you CAN do, friends.  It makes a world of difference.

*******SIDE NOTE TANGENT BELOW*******

While I’m at it…a reminder…check on your friends.  The sick, the well, the strong, the weak.  The busy, the bored, the employed, the retired, the traveling, the homebodies….ALL THE PEOPLE.  Ask how they are…and listen to the answer.  And y’all…if someone asks how you are, TELL THEM.  I don’t know about you but I mean it when I ask someone how they are really doing….I want to hear the truth.  I don’t want to a hear a standard answer or a flippant reply.  I want to know HOW they ARE….how can I be praying for them….have the prayers I’ve been praying been answered?  I value my friendships…I value my prayer time…and I want to be sure that my friends know I am praying for them with intention, as specific as possible and as often as I say I am.

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 5)

14 Jan

So – I am WAY behind, what else is new?

The last time I updated Mike and I were still in NC and he has had a couple of appointments since then so I thought I’d just type out a little update for those that have asked…and for me too…because my memory…YEP!

Since we returned home to Texas he has been seen by his Primary Care Physician and his Pulmonologist here in College Station.  His PCP reviewed his labs, notes and all the information from the cardio team and did not find anything alarming or that he felt that was missed.  He agreed that on paper, Mike was not at risk for a heart attack…which is one of those things I keep hearing but also keep thinking of all the ways we could live better, exercise more, blah blah blah…but in the end, I truly believe that was God’s plan.  All the things are, and that was His plan for my hubby on that day and I will just have to rejoice and be glad in it.  Okay?  OKAY?  🙂  It taught me a few things and I’ll get to that eventually but for now….just trying to stick to the facts!

His Pulmonologist has suggested another sleep study (scheduled later this month) and Mike is VERY receptive to finding a CPAP mask that will work for him.  We already know he has sleep apnea.  He has been kicked out of a lab before because basically it was very clearly and quickly seen that he had it…that he needed a machine….but he has very very very particular about this process.  So…this is a huge triumph as in the past he has been….ummm….well….ya know.  I am ever so hopeful that this will be a game changer and will give him a restful sleep.  He wakes up SO tired and I can see the exhaustion by the time he comes home at night.

Speaking of him coming home at night………I am PROUD to say that he has been going into the office later and leaving every day by 5:30!  This has NEVER happened in the history of our marriage (and likely before) so I am extremely happy that he has taken this drastic measure and has the support of his team at work as well.  Finding a work/life balance is a huge issue for so many and I am very thankful that it didn’t cost my husband more than it did before he made this change.

His first Cardiac Therapy appointment is this week so he will learn more then about what is expected of him exercise and diet wise.  He is already eating better and eating less (portion wise)…drinking more water…trying to make better decisions and just getting more active, but he knows he needs to be guided by this great group of people that specialize in heart patients!  Again, this is a win – if you know my sweet but stubborn hubby.

Okay, without getting all mushy and in my feelings, I just wanted to give y’all the facts you want about “how Mike’s doing”….and I’ll keep you updated.  I cannot tell you how much it means to him and myself to get a text, email, phone call or card that asks about how he is feeling….it really does lift his spirits, and mine too.  We have for sure been blessed by some amazing family and friends.

Bye for now…more later…much much much more!  🙂

JJ

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 4)

27 Dec

I said I’d update after Mike’s appointment and I promise I meant to right away but……Christmas!  Whew!  What a busy and amazing and wonderful and blessed time of year….but….busy!  🙂

His appointment was A LOT.  I had several questions, naturally.  He had a few too….but he let me go first!  (He is SO smart, y’all!)  I had some small questions about his new meds and new diet and exercise….but my biggest, scariest, most important question was…..how likely are we to go through this again?  I know there are no guarantees and that there are so many variables that are involved but I also know that many health conditions or episodes are likely to happen again once you have had them once.  I wanted to be realistic and knew that the answer might be one I didn’t want to hear but I needed to know.  She gave me the best answer EVER.  Through a lot of technical reasons (lack of blockages in his other arteries, success of the stent, etc) and historical data….she says it is very likely that this could be an isolated incident!  Of course, that all depends on him taking his meds correctly, exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, decreasing his stress and addressing his sleep apnea.  That is a long list of things to do, yes…but I think he is more motivated than ever.  He detests the thought of a C-PAP machine but he has promised to try it.  (He’s been kicked out of the sleep lab before hahahahaaha – y’all he’s kinda hard headed and every machine he’s tried has not been a good fit for him.)  He had just started to exercise more regularly and has an amazing friend that is willing and a such a blessing to us that he will help him in that area.  The food is my area since I cook for him and he has promised to be more open-minded about trying different things (fruits and veggies are a big deal and he hates about 99% of them).  He also has committed to taking a lunch every day and actually getting out of the office.  His Dr has had several conversations about this with him and how important it is for him to take a brain break.  He is also going in later than usual so he can sleep a bit longer and THAT is a blessing to me (and also is going to take some getting used to as that was a good thing for me to get up early and get my Bible time in…so I have to figure out how my day is structured when I get back home!).  The hospital we use has a great cardiac rehab program that he will be taking advantage of and I am happy that he was open to that immediately.  He already has an appointment with a sleep specialist so we are on our way to a healthier (and hopefully less dramatic) 2020!
We are currently in NC visiting our families and enjoying this season.  It has been great to rest the last two days…since leading up to Christmas is a bit of a crazy time….and we have done just that.  Mike is still a bit tired and the Dr says that is normal and expected.  He played golf yesterday locally though and said he felt tired towards the end of the round but that he never felt “winded” as he would have normally.  THAT is such a blessing to hear!  I am telling you, God can make any situation GOOD.  I am so thankful that Mike is feeling better, is heeding the warnings and is listening to the team that is caring for him.
Again, I cannot say enough thank yous to all of you who have been praying for him (and me too) so faithfully.  We feel the love and we are so grateful.
I’ll update again in a bit once we have more information on the sleep apnea because I know that will make him feel so much better if he can get GOOD sleep!!  Hope each of you had a Merry Christmas!!!

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 3)

17 Dec

That was scary, y’all.

Though I have heard all the words that revolve around heart attacks and heart issues, learning about them through the lens of how they affect my husband has been quite an experience. I think in Part 2 I left off with us getting home on Thursday. I think we both slept SO hard that night. Post-hospital exhaustion is so real!!

Mike listened to the advice of the physicians and took it very easy over the weekend. No working, no lifting, just lots of rest and fluids. I was very proud of him for being a good patient. He can be very hard headed in case that was not obvious to y’all by now! 😉

Monday was a big day! He went back to work…but instead of getting up at 4:50 and leaving around 5:45 or so he got up around 6:30 and left around 7:20….which of course changed my schedule around but soooo worth it if it alleviates some stress for my sweet hubby!

I took him lunch around 11:45 and he sat in the car with me to eat for about 30 mins…not talking about work but just chit chatting about kids and our upcoming trip home to NC and how he was feeling. No rushing to get back in the office, just enjoying the time together.

MJ had a basketball game that was earlier than normal and he met us there a few minutes before 4 pm so his day was short. It was probably the perfect scenario for the first day back from his episode last week. The Lord really worked that out for him….not a stressful day back at all. So many of his work days are and I am so grateful that the Lord saw fit to spare him in countless ways!

He has been SO tired. Exhausted, really. I am not sure if it’s the meds, the after effects of the trauma and emotions and lost sleep or the return to work yesterday but he was asleep by 8 pm last night! I had to wake him up to take his nightly medicine with some toast! His wrist was sore last night, likely from using his laptop keyboard – and it’s his right hand – and he’s right handed…so I sort of expected that. The site of the entry looks fine – so thankful for that! He has had ZERO chest pain since before the stent. Other than a mild headache he has really been amazed at how he feels!

We have had so many conversations about how the whole thing went down last week and there are so many ways that we can see how God shaped and orchestrated the days leading up to THE DAY. There are ways that we have both been blessed by family and friends and strangers that I can’t even recount them all. There are new fears and new worries, yes. But there are also renewed promises and faith and knowledge that through it all, we were blessed.

I can’t thank everyone who was praying for us enough. I heard from people far and wide and we felt your prayers. We felt peace. We felt love. I am so incredibly grateful.

Mike’s follow up appointment is tomorrow and I sure hope they are ready for me…I mean him! LOL Let’s just say I.HAVE.QUESTIONS. This post heart attack life is going to be different….we are going to learn from it and we are going to move forward with renewed hope that we can make it through anything with faith and with one another!

I will update again once we have that appointment with any new information that we learn and I am certain I’ll have more thoughts and emotions and yes…probably more questions!!!

New Home, New Group

7 Jul

As some of you may know, I am a Thirty-One consultant.  I decided to refresh my page (since I’m a Texas resident now!) in hopes that I can spend a little more time on that business and meet some news friends in the process.  Head over to:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/bcsbags/ if you would like to join!  Feel free to contact me at mrsjmejones@gmail.com if you want to order something directly or find out about becoming a consultant (OR just to find out about that awesome $99 enrollment kit!!).  july-customer-graphics

Patient Patience

23 Sep

To say that I’m exhausted from pain is an understatement.  Let me just give you a quick rundown of what’s going on….(and if technical, lady-business words make you uncomfortable – skip this one!)  I posted this ten days ago but updated it today 10/3/16.

April 2013 – intense pain and cramping during periods, had an ablation to help with pain

October 2015 – pain starts back up and surgery is scheduled, due to endometriosis

December 2015 – hysterectomy performed (partial, kept ovaries)

June 2016 – pain is back, but only in left side…checked for cyst – negative….GYN thinks due to endometriosis.  Suggests removing ovaries will kill estrogen and therefore stop feeding endometriosis.

June 2016 – Ovaries removed. No hormones prescribed so as to remove as much estrogen as possible.  Pain continues.  While performing surgery, notices there is significant endometriosis on colon.

July 2016 – Pain continues. Visits to primary care physician, GYN and general surgeon to discuss options.  Surgeon orders colonoscopy and EGD to check for any blockages or other issues.

August 2016 – Colonoscopy performed.  No blockages.  Colon is “floppy” but not showing any signs internally that endo has damaged.  Surgeon not convinced that endo is source of pain.  GYN is sure endo is.

September 9, 2016 – Follow up with general surgeon and he now wonders if pain could be from femoral hernia.  He checks and feels “something”.  He performs ultrasound and sees “something”.  Orders CT Scan.

September 20, 2016 – CT Scan performed and awaiting results.  Still waiting.  Not patiently.

I’m so hoping this pain can be a distant memory soon.  Until it is, I am just taking one day at a time….sometimes an hour at a time.  The pain is on my left side, is worse when I’m standing and appears for most of the time when I am standing/walking/sitting and if I am laying down it is more than likely THERE but maybe not as “sharp”.

September 26, 2016 – Follow up with general surgeon to discuss CT Scan.  He started to say the words that I dreaded hearing…”The scan did not 100% confirm….” and I have to be honest, I didn’t hear much else.  I broke down in tears and just stopped listening.  When he was finished I confessed that I wasn’t listening and he started over with “I still think you have a femoral hernia…” and that was enough to make me feel better.  He thinks maybe the scan didn’t show because I was lying down and the hernia could correct itself while I’m lying down – so he wanted to proceed with surgery.  While discussing the surgery details, he let me know that he wanted to perform the surgery using robotic assistance so that slimmed down the time slots and hospitals.  It would be at Rex’s Raleigh campus and the day was up for grabs (depending on who could proctor and when the robot rep was available to be on call).  He wanted to use this means in order to explore my abdomen/intestines/colon to check on the endometriosis.  OH YES…..I was so happy.  We scheduled the surgery….and then rescheduled (based on all of the above) for just 4 days later, Friday, September 30th.  I was so happy it was going to be on Friday instead of Thursday since Mike was in Boston but due back late Thursday night!  (To be honest, I would have still had the surgery, but I was glad I didn’t have to without him!)

September 30, 2016 – Surgery day!  Woke up at 3:30 to leave the house by 4:30 am.  Traffic was very light!  LOL  Getting the IV in……not easy.  This is just one of my arms and the other was as bad…I think they stuck me around 6 times.  When they finally get one, they broke my heart by saying, “Since your surgery is robotic, you have to have two IV’s.”  They quickly followed that up by telling me they would do the second one after I was asleep. (Thank you Jesus!)

20160930_205319

My Mom and Mike were there (my Daddy and in-laws were on MJ duty at a school program) and by my side until they took me back.  FAST FORWARD —

When I woke up from surgery, I remember being so scared!  I remember worrying right then that I’d still have the pain that has been my enemy!  I panicked and they gave me more oxygen as it had fallen to 91%.  After that, I was okay…got more pain meds…drank Ginger Ale, ate my graham crackers and got out of there!  I was so ready to be home and in my own bed.  I don’t remember much about the ride home at all!  Just that Mike checked on me and held my hand most of the way!

October 3, 2016 – It’s been a few days now and I have to tell you I’m really surprised at how much these incisions hurt!  They are bigger than my previous surgeries (and I mean my poor belly button has had three surgeries now in just 10 months) and feel more tender.  Getting up and down out of a chair or the bed feels a bit like someone is ripping muscle in my abdomen….but no big deal…ha!  I do feel better every day so that’s a positive.  The leg pain that had started as a result (we believe) of the hernia is GONE – praise God!!

I am so thankful for friends and family who have reached out, helped out and prayed diligently.  I may not have a large family but I have an amazing husband and kids, an awesome set of parents and in-laws and many cousins who have prayed and checked in on me.  I’m blessed.

I can’t believe all that has changed in three months.  I went from a workaholic to a stay at home Mom.  A relatively healthy 37 year old to a 37 year old hermit in chronic pain.  Making the decision to leave my stressful, travel-heavy job was a hard one but I am so grateful that my husband and family supported me in it so much.  There is absolutely no way I could commit to working at this point.  I’m thankful that I have always had a job, since I was 15 (shout out to Jimbo’s Grill and On Cue!!) and I have had amazing opportunities, met wonderful people and learned many things (shout out to pivot tables, vlookups and incentive programs).  The season I’m in now is one of waiting and being still and having faith.  It’s uncomfortable but I do believe that the Lord is with me and is guiding me through this.  He is giving me strength to do things that matter.  Homework with MJ, moving my oldest to college, getting ready for doctor appointments, cooking dinner for my sweet husband….the important things.  I am just learning every day to be a patient patient.  It’s not easy.

Water, Water, Everywhere

21 Jan

My prompt for today:  What is your biggest concern about the future of the environment?

Obviously, I’m concerned about the future for a few reasons….  Of course I just CARE.  I’d like to see this world we live in thrive and be green and pretty and all that jazz…  However, if the Lord doesn’t return soon and I leave this world before my children are left to hang around and endure it – I’d like for them to have pretty things to see, air to breath (that doesn’t harm them), animals to observe and clean water to drink.  I think water is a big deal for me for a few reasons….I LOVE IT first of all.  I love to drink it, swim in it, see it, you name it!  My job is obviously greatly affected by water.  We want people to ENJOY it…we want people to benefit from the cleanliness of it…we want to MOVE it…  It’s a big deal, y’all!!  I could give you lots of stats but you all know the deal.  There’s a lot of water.  There’s a lot of pollution.  There’s a lot of work to do…we just need to be sure we’re all doing it, that our government is funding someone doing it and that we are all supporting it!!!

 

Working on Empty

2 Jan

Interesting that my blog prompt today was, “Which daily tasks take up the most of your energy?”  Interesting since today was my first day back to work in a few weeks.  Interesting in a really not funny way.  So, obviously, most days I spend MOST of my day/time/energy working.  I get to work from 7:30 to 7:45 and enjoy a few quiet moments before everyone arrives.  I usually start coffee for everyone while my laptop starts up and then I get started!  I am a Marketing Manager for a company that manufactures pool equipment.  What I actually DO has nothing and everything to do with that. I manage our incentive programs and that means a lot of approving, a lot of spreadsheets, tons of numbers and an annual event that takes the best part of a year to plan.  I have a team that is awesome and I work for an executive that is amazingly present even when traveling the greater majority of the year.  I have conference calls and meetings and process improvements and employee reviews and emails and voicemails and travel and budget review.  It take a lot of energy to keep up with the pace that our department runs.  We have no down time to speak of…we have a seasonal industry but we are global so we are constantly shifting from one market to another.  It’s the best of things and the worst of things.  No time to be bored but so fast that you can’t even decide which is your favorite part!  I love it though.  I don’t know how I would function in a place that wasn’t moving so quickly.  It’s certainly the way I operate and the way my colleagues seem to as well.  I think we have all adapted and am pretty glad that it’s the case.  I recharge each night with my family.  They keep me going, as I wrote about yesterday.  Each day is a new challenge, full of opportunities.  I only hope I take advantage of the right ones on a consistent basis!

 

Love and Marriage…and…Progress Reports??

28 Nov

Of course when I was in school…progress reports were not my favorite thing.  Once I discovered boys started high school I sure didn’t like those two words together.  I never thought I’d yearn for a checkup of how I’m doing!  However, as an adult who works full time in a fast paced role, I look forward to performance reviews to be able to have that check-in with my boss (a busy, Global Vice President). I need to hear the good, bad and ugly of how I’m doing so I can act on it. As a Manager, I welcome the opportunity to do the same.  I take it seriously.  I’m probably one of the few people who really enjoys it!!

Well..as a married woman who love love loves her hubby so much…like SO much..I often wish I had a template of a marriage progress report to measure my performance.  To feel like I know what I’m doing right and wrong and in between.  I’m going to create one.  I want to.  I might.  I should add that to my bucket list.  Mike and I have our own detailed conversations about this and daily I truly do attempt to do something that translates the WORDS I love you into an action…but life is busy and chaotic and sometimes you just want to be sure that’s the message you’re conveying!   Somewhere between the “Honey, can you pick up supper?” and the “I have no idea where your socks are.  I don’t wear them!”, you just want to know that the love is shining through!

Hmm. More on this later. Need to wash some socks.

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