Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chain e-mails aren't always bad

Please read this forwarded e-mail I got today from my in-laws.  But be warned:  it's a doozy.
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.

Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two.

Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.

Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job..

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.   No luck.

The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.

Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop.

It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids.

She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.

She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could st art that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.

She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep

This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job.. And so I st art ed at the Big Wheel..

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.

The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home..

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!

There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.

Had angels taken up residence in Indiana ? I wondered.

I made a deal with the local service station.  In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.

I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids .

I found a can of red paint and st art ed repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.

Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, ana state trooper named Joe.

A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.

The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat..

Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.

Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!

I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.

There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.

And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.

And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.

I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer:

1. 'Yes!'

2. 'Not yet.'

'I have something better in mind.' 

You may be going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that you cannot imagine.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What A World

"What a world. What a world," she cried just before her untimely demise. Do you know of what poor, misunderstood soul I speak of? Any guesses? No? Anyone still reading? No? Mom? You there? Amelia? I know my little sister knows.

As the wretched ruby slipper snatching Dorothy sloshes the gorgeous green one with water she begins melting away in steaming agony. "What a world . . . " were sadly, among some of her very last words ever spoken - at least this side of the rainbow.

Such a tragedy when all the old gal had been after were the shoes her recently senselessly murdered sister had been wearing at the time of her death. I mean, really?! What gave that bubble riding fairy the right? Who was she to bestow anything upon that undeserving, self-centered, gingham wearing brat?

Should anything ever happen to my sister -- YOU BEST NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT MESSING WITH HER SHOES! I'm just sayin'. Those Nikes my friends, wellll, they'd be mine. End of tangent.

And now back to my admittedly overly lengthy explanation of this installment's title. 'What a World' is named so because since my last entry I have felt just as the unjustly named Wicked Witch of the West felt that horrific evening at her castle.

For those not as well-versed on 'The Wizard of Oz' as my sister and myself, please allow me to explain. First and foremost when one is in her own castle and surrounded by hoards of her own faithful flying monkeys - one should feel loved and safe - nearly indestructible, if you will. And as a bonus, she even had the punk that took her shoes locked up. All was soon to be right with the world.

In case you hadn't noticed, that my loyal monkies, is a parallel to what I was feeling back in early November. The stars were lining up. My family and friends were all behind me. Prayers and well wishes brought with them a love I hadn't realized in quite some time. My LIBERATION date approached. There was no stoppin' this momentum of hope and love. All was soon to be right with the world - my world - ME - again.

I felt good just as the witch should have that horrid night. God forgive us, we may have even - amongst the high of it all, felt a bit arrogant. (No worries of that happening again as the witch done met her maker and I, wellllll . . . I just somehow now know better. Lesson learned, okay? More on that later.)

Anyways, as you know, my insurance said, "NO!" And as for the witch, in lieu of the slippers she received a bucket of water to the face. And, buh-bye! Lucky for me denial of insurance coverage didn't mean instant death my melting. What it did mean however was another trip home UNLIBERATED. And more waiting. So basically the next couple of weeks could be akin to the witch's slo mo spiral to oblivion. "What a world!"

As you know, if you know me at all, this being told, "NO!" business never sits well with me. So immediately all fired up I dive in to an appeal. A solid week after returning home I do nothing but focus on this as if my life depended on it. I tweeked and re-tweeked the first draft I posted for you 'til I thought my head would explode. And finally I settled on and sent a version as heart wrenching, fact packed, and mind blowing as I could muster.

So thanks to God first, my husband second, and my family and friends third, I now sit here this beautiful Monday morning anxiously awaiting this week's appointment. I sit looking out my sliding glass doors - snow falling - the lights from the Christmas tree glowing - my pitbull snuggled to my right - a cold Coke to my left and a warm Dell on my lap. All should be right with the world, then, right?

Wrong. My mom's got a sore on her foot. A wound rather. An open wound. And she's diabetic, remember? So healing isn't all that easy a thing for her to do. She's in horrible, horrible pain. Please pray for her.

My g'pa. He's sick too. May be pneumonia. May not. Please pray for him. My g'ma whose foot is in a boot and whose just been released to walk is having quite a time trying to take care of g'pa. Please pray for her. All this kinda makes my problems seem trivial, heh? I know. But while you're praying it wouldn't hurt to go on ahead and mention me too. Pleeeeaaaase.

But you've already been so blessed, Angela. And yes, I have. I've been given hope of a cure. I've been given a husband whose willing and able to borrow money needed to obtain it. I've been given family and friends who have generously given to help us out. I mean it's Christmas time people! Money is always tight at Christmas and there's always plenty of charities needing help, right? It's been astonishing, really!

Many fellow MSer friends of mind have even begun having fundraisers. Not me tho. Nope. I haven't asked for a dime. That's not to say should I need additional procedures and the insurance still hasn't come around, that I won't be heading a bake sale, a bowl-a-thon or dare I say even a pitbull raffle in the future. (Only kidding Gooch!) Seriously nothing wrong with fundraisers -- I'm just flabbergasted at the response to my need without ever having asked. So, yes. Yes, I am very blessed.

An Aunt, unbeknownst to me, at Thanksgiving writes out a check and forcefully gives it to Jason. She makes him promise not to give it to me 'til we've left. And he begrudgingly obeys. Barely out of the driveway that evening he hands me a small folded piece of paper and says, "Here, your Aunt _ _ _ _ y gave me this to give to you." And there it was. A check all signed and dated with generosity and love. I cried like a baby on the way home amidst "Mommy, what's wrong?" coming from the back of the truck.

I don't know why it had gotten me all shook up. I'd been given money before. My Mom had just given me some as a matter a fact before we'd left the first time. And G'ma and G'pa had given me enuff to pay for the pre-testing. And my sister wanted to pay for a night's worth of the hotel and dinner and, wellll, okay, I cried then too. I've actually become quite the ball bag lately. But they're family, right? Family takes care of family, right?

But it's not just family y'all. One lady (you know who you are) even after warnings that the house was a wreck and I was couch ridden in my pajamas, insisted she wanted to just drop by and see me. Odd, I'd thought at the time. We'd been talking back and forth on Facebook and a bit on the phone. Wonderfully kind lady. Used to go to my church. Has children all older than me. Recently was told she might have MS. Yikes! So we'd gotten closer thru this but close enuff to just drop by?

I hadn't even brushed my teeth. And I told her it would take me eons to get to the door. "No problem," she'd said. If the door was unlocked she'd come on in. I knew her well enuff. Sure. Come ahead. And she had. Gift in hand. She said, "It's not much but we wanted to help out." How awesome is that?

Allergic to cats, she sat and stayed a bit anyways. We talked about her last hospital stay, her son, my mom - a little bit of everything. When she got up to leave I stood too in an attempt to see her to the door and she just wouldn't have it. She said, "No. Now you sit back down." And with that I hugged her. And she hugged me. It was a loving, tight motherly hug. (The best kind if you ask me.)

The call, the visit, the gift, the hug. So outta nowhere. Friends you think are friends, well they might just be there for their own benefit. Or not even there at all. And then there are those you prolly wouldn't think of as 'close' who swoop in and do something like this. So thoughtful. So selfless. There are truly angels among us.

I hadn't even opened the card until she had left and realized just how generous she'd been. When my husband came home from work that night I told him I'd had a visitor. His first reaction was to look around at the house in disgust and roll his eyes. I told him that hadn't mattered at all to her and that she'd brought us a card.

I handed it too him. As the gift was still inside he stood there shaking his head in disbelief as he is not a very good gift receiver (he's a much better giver). Anyways, he continued head shakin' whilst he read her kind words that accompanied the gift and this time his eyes began to tear. Then he wrinkled his forehead and asked, "Who is _ _ _ _ _ ?" Crazy, heh? That the hubs wasn't even sure who I'd been talking about. "Ohhhh," he'd said, "my. How nice is that?"

And then at church on Sunday. Another gift. Unexpected. Gracious. Kind. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And a special prayer from Beverly to boot. Everything she'd said - perfect. And that's not all. That was all before service had even actually got started.

I received yet again another special prayer. This time I had already made my way up to the alter (thanks to my Uncle Scott who'd been preaching directly to me the past two Sundays, maybe more), I was also anointed. Emotional, much? You betcha. Jason to my left. Aunt Ann to my right. Uncle Scott across the alter. Robin close by with kleenexes. Amelia and G'ma just behind me. Cheryl with a hug. And many, many more. Have I mentioned I love my church family? Welllll, I do!

Soooo self-centered. I know, right? I'm sure everyone who had gone so out of their way for me had surely had problems of their very own. Maybe I was more like Dorothy than the Wicked Witch after all. It always kinda rubbed me wrong it was alllll about her getting home. Nevermind the Scarecrow wanting a brain, the Tinman longing for a heart or the Lion searching for courage.

And while we're on the subject did it never don on anyone that the Scarecrow was always the smartest? The Tinman the most loving and the Lion the most courageous? Just sayin'. Maybe the Emerald City we're all searching so hard to find isn't at all what we need. Too cryptic?

Maybe we ask the Wizard for the wrong stuff. He was smart enuff, right? So being sooo brilliant and wise the Scarecrow surely should've asked for about a blue million other things. And the Tinman. Why not ask for a rust free exterior? So my point? Ahh yes, my point. Get's lost pretty easy, don't it?

My point is maybe this whole ordeal hasn't been for me to realize and obtain this procedure, but to realize and receive the unwavering support and encouragement I have from soooo many loved ones out there. Loved ones I didn't even know I had for Pete's sake.

Perhaps this has been a lesson in being selfless. Pay better attention to what others are going thru. The world does not revolve around you Ms. Spindler. It's a hard pill to swallow, I know, right? Gulp! There. I did it. Now, mind if I pray for you?

Friday, November 19, 2010


November 19, 2010

Wednesday (Pt. 1)

Wednesday morning. Test to take. Doc to meet. But first things first. Put on some clothes. Brush your teeth. Splurge and brush your hair too. Geesh! Eager much? Ha! Eager was an understatement. Four trips to the potty later I was ready to go. Nervous much? Uhhhh, yeh!

Although we'd planned on raiding the free hot breakfast offering at the hotel we found ourselves short on time an opted for a Mickey D's drive-thru instead. I should clarify it was Jason that did the opting, whereas I partook of nothing but a nibble of hash brown and a forced slug or two of Coke.

In my aforementioned precarious condition I would have passed on even that had I not needed to take my morning med and be adequately hydrated for my approaching test. Nerves wrestling nerves I prayed for composure - of stomach and of self. Amen.

CCSVI Atlanta was awesome. We had arrived a bit too early. So much so that the door to the suite was still locked. Eager, remember? Back to the lobby. This MS riddled body needed a place to sit. 15 -20 minutes later the building began to fill. Everyone very friendly. "Hi." "Good morning." "How are you?"

So far so good. And then we met Finesse. Sweet, gorgeous girl. She asks, "You guys here for CCSVI Atlanta?" Why, yes. Yes we are. She introduces herself and says she's on her way up there now. She hoped we hadn't been there long. Even if we had it was still well before opening time. Our bad. Silly out of towners.

Jason told her we'd give her time to get settled in before we came up. A couple more smiling, polite people thru and we got another kind soul involved with CCSVI Atlanta, this one insisting we accompany her upstairs. She reasoned that the chairs in their waiting room were more comfy and they had magazines. Very sweet. And we were sold. Up, up, and away.

Once there, we were again greeted by Finesse. We had a very small questionnaire to fill out. A trip to the potty. The one just past the reception desk in the office vs. the one way down on the other end of the hall - thanks for that! And a tiny wait for the sonographer to arrive. I was to be her first for the day.

And what's this? She's nice too? Yep. Phenomenal experience I tell ya. The hardest part of the whole ordeal was walking down the hall and trying to stay still for nearly two hours. Free to go? Yeh. Cool. So off we went. Back to the hotel to rest up before meeting the doc.

What a joke. Rest? I was too excited to rest. Anxious much? And away we went. Time to kill we stopped for a sit down lunch. I was stoked as we'd been dining inside the truck for some time now. Lookout IHOP - we're comin' in. And it was delicious! I had a breakfast sampler. Eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, hash browns and pancakes. And I cleaned my plates ladies and gentlemen.

"On the road again . . ." Sing it Willie! And off we were to see the Wizard. I mean doctor. Of course I mean doctor. And what a quaint little area his office was located in. Just outside of Atlanta this place was like a cross between New Harmony and downtown Evansville but with more hustle and bustle.

Just past the hospital we took a left at a historic looking, yet very well maintained government building complete with columns out front. Down a couple of blocks of cute little window front shops and one more left before our destination.

Anyways, I was dropped at the curb with 30 minutes to spare and Jason headed for the nearby parking garage shared by local businesses and the adjacent medical center. And just so you know, yes, they validate parking. So they may have cost us $200, but they saved us $8 in parking fees. Whoopity doo, right? I'm not bitter.

Really I'm not. Disappointed, yes. But bitter, no. Everyone inside the doc's office was super nice. And that is a monumental feat considering they were having to be the bearers of crappy news. Ahhhh, yes - a silver lining. See it?

Has she gone mad? Nah. I'm just choosing to look at this as a learning experience for their office in case future patients' insurance fail them too. Perhaps having an appeal letter at the ready would help expedite such proceedings. Or maybe using alternate coding would be beneficial as many MSer friends have suggested.

Genuinely as taken back by all of this as I was, seemingly distraught even, everyone involved was willing to do whatever they could to help me out. One dove into steps needed to launch an appeal. Another looked into applying for medical credit. Even the doc admitted, "Your insurance has been the first to deny coverage."

I've always thrived on being a trend-setter. But, Lord please don't let this be a trend. Please, please, please this needs to me more widespread and acceptable. People are feeling better. Doing better. But You know that already as You're behind all that is good. And for that I am truly grateful. Amen.

So get to it already! What did I think of the doctor? And why didn't I go ahead and have 'er done? That is, afterall why you're reading, right? Get on with it then! I will. I will. But, maybe next installment as I have a few Christmas trees that need some attention. Priorities! I know.

Until next time . . . oxox

Decisions, Decisions

With money we had been saving up and with the overly generous offer of help from my mother we could have gone ahead and paid for the procedure right then and there. So now I have aggravated readers, right? Disappointed? Please let me explain why I made the decision I made. It sure was a tough one – maybe the toughest I'd ever made.

Shall I begin at the beginning? I was born May 13th, 1976. Huh? Nooooooo? Not that beginning? The beginning of our Atlanta journey? Ahhhh, yes. I remember it well. We left out later than we'd planned Tuesday afternoon. It was nasty out. Sloppy, pooring. We had to deposit some money at the bank and go by CVS for some meds before leaving town.

So anyone who knows my husband knows then that during this little jaunt he had checked his phone about a bazillion times. Albeit a small time frame, you never know what might be waiting for you in a missed call or e-mail. He had checked it one too many times if you ask me. “I got a voicemail from the doctor's office,” he says. “Prolly about the insurance.” Silence. “You want me to call them back?” he asked.

And in my not so infinite wisdom, I eagerly reply, “Yes! Absolutely, yes!” Drum rolllll, please. Even only having heard one side of the following convo, I could tell it wasn't going my way. “Uh-huh.” “Yes.” “Well . . .” “Ummm.” “Really?” “Uh-huh.” “We'll let you know.” Short, sweet, and sobering. Pale faced, Jason turned to me and said, “They said no.”

We continued with our errands in silence. Then in the CVS parking lot, as the rain strengthened, Jason dialed our insurance company. Luckily (for parties on both ends of the phone) he received a very nice lady who at least seemed sincerely sympathetic to our situation. She even went so far as to suggest we launch an appeal of their decision.

As their convo ended I remember the rain pounding on the roof of the truck grow louder in the silence. It was in that moment that of all things I thought back to being in our gooseneck horsetrailer listening to the rain. It used to be a melodic, soothing noise to fall asleep with, BUT as it grew louder and closer to morning it had always been unsettling to wake up to.

None of us ever wanted to have to show in the mud. Even in the indoor arenas it was never any fun trying to get ready in the rain. Funny where your mind takes you some times. Anyways, I snap back to reality to find my husband staring at my blank,distant face with tears welling in his eyes. I don't speak. I don't wanna make anything worse.

Then when he's just about to get a full blown cry on, in hopes of lightening the mood, I interject, “Well, Honey, let's just get some lunch and get you back to work.” Again with my infinite wisdom, right? Honestly, I had thought that would get his mind off of this and somehow make things better. “Ya think long. Ya think wrong,” my Dad used to say.

“Abel's not feelin' well,” I went on pleading my case to stay home. “It's prolly best we just stay home.” This brought with it less crying but more tears - if that makes any sense. Then, gripping the steering wheel, he said, “I shouldn't have listened to you. We should be on our way by now.” Pause. Silence. “We should still have the test done. We should at least talk to the doctor.”

What seemed like eons passed. Later, I agreed. Not because I really DID agree, but because my not going seemed to be breaking my Baby's heart. I needed to back track. And back track fast. Perhaps moonwalking would be in order. Smooooooth Criminal,right? What to say? What to say?

I reasoned, we were packed. All of our boys had been left in capable hands. What would our going on a little mini vacation hurt? So finally, I say, “What the Hell, Baby, let's just go! You deserve some time off work.” Skeptical about how or why I'd come to that I was met with a shrug of the shoulders and a shake of the head.

Sure, I had made a 180. My Baby had dried his face and was putting the truck in gear. A 180 well worth it. Now my eyes began to tear. Had I just made the first of a long line of wrong decisions for the week? Geesh! Hormonal much? Sure would have been a waaaay funner road trip had we not received that little nugget of information.

Next decision to make was when to call our parents and break the bad news to them. Or should we call them at all? Best not to. Why pull loved ones in to the bog in which you are trapped and sinking? Nice responsible adult decision, right? Wrong! I wanted my Mommy! *sniff, sniff* I am such a baby. Whatever! Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words'll never hurt me!

I called my Momma. Unshaken, she responds, “No biggie, right? Didn't you expect them to turn you down?” Hmmmm. Uh-huh. I guess so. Expect, yes. But I had hoped they wouldn't. OK then. Mom put it all into perspective for me again. Paraphrasing of course: Suck it up buttercup! We knew this would happen. Go down there and if he's the 'right' doc . . . get 'er done!

Can I get an “Amen?” How's about a “YAY, Mom!” A sidenote: I love my Momma soooo much. I honestly don't know what in the world I would do without her. Please, please, please if you still have your Momma with you today give her a big hug and tell her how much you love and appreciate her!

Alas, maybe it wasn't bad news. A game changer, sure. But at least the game wasn't over. Quite the contrary, it was actually just beginning. The next seven or so hours there we discussed what we planned to do. First order of business, we were gonna get the ultrasound at CCSVI Atlanta. Period.

No insurance involvement whatsoever with this. We knew this going in. They'd help us file with insurance but would not wait for insurance reimbursement. Fine. $550. Paid. Once and for all we needed to know if I did indeed have this vascular disease. Please God, I really wanna have this disease. But it's His will, not mine. Remember the sermon, Angela. Got it. But I can still want it, right?

Now we would also pay an extra $200 just to talk to the doc. The consult was to be free, but due to insurance denial of procedure we were advised our first appointment would run $200. A bit aggravated, but whatever. It would be nice to talk to a doctor that actually understood CCSVI. As many nay-sayers as I'd dealt with the past year, actually meeting and conversing with an actual believer might just be worth it.

If and only if he turned out to be a match made in heaven, the absolute perfect doc, would we go ahead with the costly procedure. We had a few thousand with us. And surely, I had reasoned (although wrongly yet again), he wouldn't expect people to just come bebopping in his office with $10,000 cash in hand. So what we had would suffice, so I'd thought. Hoped. Prayed.

Next, how would we know if he was 'the one?' What would constitute the perfect doc? With this we flipped the Yahoo! Maps print out over and commenced to writing out questions we wanted answered. #1. Why are you a believer?

And now you are thinkin' she can't be serious, right? Oh, I am! I'm as serious as a heart attack! That poor guy had no idea what was barrelling his way at over 70 miles per hour. This little 'ol country girl was gonna get her money's worth. Booyah!

And finally we'd decided that whether or not we were able to have it done we were gonna return home to the boys and drop all these shenanigans. No more CCSVI or MS nonsense! The holidays were gonna be all about them. I say 'we,' but I mean, 'I.'

I feel I had been neglecting them. And I was gonna focus on them. Feeling better or not I was gonna come home smiling. Not lying. No. If I hadn't got the procedure I wouldn't lie and say I had. I would simply say I hadn't had anything done YET but that I was feeling better. And so it was a plan. The plan. My plan.

Finally then, well into the Tennessee mountains we turned on the radio. Yeehaw. We had some singing to do. “Whoa, baby! You better get outta this turn lane!” It was nearly 9 when we'd made it to our hotel. Late sure, but we'd made good time. Just two potty stops.

Anyways, it was a very nice room with a king bed located on the very end of the hall. Quite the haul had my Drury Inn saavy hubs not known about the back entrance. We parked by this secret door and our room was the very first upon entering. Sweeeeet! (Spoiler alert: Before we left, I had Jason reserve the same room for our next visit.)

Next order of business we call the parents. The boys and the pup are doing fine. Bummer about the insurance but as I said before my Mom had suspected as much. She encouraged me to go on with it. Pleaded, even. She assured me the money would be there. Remember – me and Amelia are to her what Asa and Abel are to me. I assured her I would do it if he was the one. God's will! Remember?

Caught up with Harry Potter on the lap top and fell asleep in no time. Had Harry made a good Seeker? I dunno. Talk about brain dead . . . I had alot on my mind. My poor little mind. Never mind that it is damaged by iron deposits due to lack of blood flow out and back to the heart. CCSVI? Huh? Anyone? Sound familiar? Grrrr . . .

Wednesday morning. This is gettin' kinda long ain't it? I sure can ramble. I know, I know. So how's about another continuation? OK with you? Good. I'll cover the rest of the trip later today. Or try to anyways. Pinky swear!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Good morning world! We are on our way home this bright, beautiful, crisp Thursday morning. Why so chipper, you ask? How is it even possible, you ask? How when I was supposed to be LIBERATED - possibly given my life back? “HOW?” she screams, raising and shaking her fist in the air. I got three words for ya: God IS good!

My wonderful husband waited for me to wake up this morning before bestowing upon me the words of wisdom he'd been given in the night. He says, “You awake?” I say, “Yeh, I guess.” And then I sigh and flop over to face this conversation eager entity. What words of wisdom could he have? After an evening of near silence . . . what?

Waking, I remember a dim glow from behind the bathroom door being the only source of light in the room; however, when I had come face to face with this man that must love me more than even I can understand, I noticed the room had not been dark at all. The sun peaking thru the curtains from behind Jason reflected off the white bed linens illuminating the entire room.

He was on his right side with his head propped on his fist – his elbow bent just so. When our eyes met he smiled his gorgeous smile. Who does that, really? This guy rocks, I tell ya! Had that goober been watching me sleep? Anyways back to the story. He says, “Remember your Uncle Scott's sermon Sunday?” Well, of course I did. I was supposed to have even written about it but hadn't gotten around to it. Remember?

Before I could answer he continued, “Everything happens for a reason. And the way I got it figured is this doctor will only be three weeks more experienced by the time we come back.” Uh-huh, I'd thought. He went on, “We learned that he is booked solid thru 'til January meaning he'll see several more patients before you and maybe – just maybe – learn something that will help in treating you that he wouldn't have otherwise.”

Brilliant guy, heh? I knew I hadn't married him just for his looks. So just as I'm about to get a bit teary eyed he really lays it on thick. He says, “I think we made the right decision to try to appeal the insurance company because it is important that they recognize this procedure as necessary.” He pauses and swallows hard. Was he fighting back tears too?

He continues, “I understand completely and will fight that fight with you . . . (warning: here comes the mushy part – get out your kleenex) . . . BUT, we are coming back in December and you ARE getting this procedure!” O.K. Take a tear wiping break here. Don't need one? Well, I do.

With money we had been saving up and with the overly generous offer of help from my mother we could have gone ahead and paid for the procedure right then and there. So now I have aggravated readers, right? Disappointed? Please let me explain why I made the decision I made. It sure was a tough one – maybe the toughest I'd ever made.

[To Be Continued . . .]

Monday, November 15, 2010


MS or CCSVI - - - either way, symptoms I wanna keep track of:

Let's start at the bottom and work our way up. Shall we?

1. Toes aren't mine. They are often discolored. Right foot I can feel toes wriggle against each other. Left foot I cannot. Toes, feet and ankles swell often. Both ankles are weak and after too much use will give out. I suffer from drop foot. Right worse than left.

2. From the knees down my legs feel like huge blocks of ice. I can swear my feet are freezing but when Jason touches them he says they are warm?! Mystery. Knees are stiff and achy.

3. Thighs. Besides feeling extra huge and heavy I get a weird cool, trickling sensation down the backs of them from time to time. Bizarro, I know.

4. Whoa, Nelly! We've made it to the sacred private parts. Leaving out the gory details I will report here only that I have been diagnosed with a neurogenic bladder. Suffice it to say she has a mind of her own.

5. And her close buddy the bum isn't the most cooperative of characters either. Every 5 to 6 days is my normal. "End" of report on this (pun intended).

6. On to the belly. So big and so round I could pass for preggers. Yay, food!

7. My breasts? Nah. My rib cage. And the cursed MS hug! What's that you say? It's an immense, intense pressure beneath my breast spreading around my sides and at times clear around to my back. Constantly there but at times excruciatingly there. Yeeouch!

8. My chest. I get out of breath waaay too easy. And upon any exertion my neck and shoulders ache. The more I do the worse it gets. It gets to the point that I feel like I have a 400 lb. man on my back. Ever seen me walk all hunkered over? It's because that fat bastard is on my back.

9. Arms are okay, I guess. Just super heavy, weak and easily fatigued. Grip in my hands is iffy at best. Feeling is sketchy. Definitely diminished. Cannot tell hot from cold. And shaky and uncooperative whenever any precision is asked of them. i.e. shuffling cards is difficult and my handwriting never comes out the same. As for typing - thank goodness for spell check. I used to type over 75 wpm.

10. Finally to my head. Headaches. Some baaaad. Loud pulsing, swoooshing noise behind my right ear. Vision disturbances. Mostly blurring. Worsens with heat or exertion. Worse in right eye. And my teeth - I grind 'em. Also, I get light-headed all too often effecting balance and my ability to walk straight. One might refer to this condition as DIZZY.

FYI: [Dizzy is not to be mistaken with drunkeness or laziness as my condition oft is. Examples include but are not limited to my bumping into walls and furniture and remaining seated at church even after being asked to stand for prayer.]

Am I done then? Or did I FORGET anything? Ha! My memory sucks! The online MS community calls it "cog fog." And boy do I got it. It can be likened to what we call a blond moment around here. So what if I'm a blond and an MS sufferer?

Once an honor student, always an honor student. To explain, I have trouble understanding some things (especially 4th grade math problems these days) and even more trouble explaining. Understand? Good, 'cause I'm not sure I do.

Funny examples: Wanting to go see a movie we just saw with friends two weeks beforehand. Or asking Jason to go to Wal-Mart to get us lunch. There's no Wally World in the Vern. Question is did I mean to say McDonald's or Dairy Queen? Jason has become an excellent interpreter.

How about trying to tell the boys where their socks were this morning? I was pointing at the garage door. Saying the fireplace. And the kicker is they were in the hallway across from the bathroom waiting to be packed away for our trip. If it hadn't been for Jason the boys would have been sockless this cold November day.

Might as well laugh at yourself, right? Hehehehehe . . . considering the sobering content of this post it has been surprisingly fun. Has it reminded you of anything? It sure has me. It reminded me of a good 'ol fashioned David Letterman's Top Ten List. So we should give it a fancy name, right?

How's about "Angela's Top 10 Things She Sure as Hell Won't Miss Should They Miraculously Disappear?" Can I get an Amen?

Winning the Race

Angela racing? Huh? Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race, right? My being called slow is, wellll, a polite understatement. And steady? Laughable! So what race do I speak of?

As my Liberation date approaches my mind has been racing. To explain, I mean wandering at break neck speeds. It's the worst at night. When my head hits the pillow - BAM! - my mind goes in to overdrive.

I sit here now at 20 'til 8 this gorgeous Monday morning mentally exhausted. So much to do. The house needs straightening. Laundry needs done. We need packed. The boys need packed. Do we have enough food to send with Gooch? And yet all I feel like doing is blogging. Hmmm . . .

I'm hoping I can get some of this gunk out of my head by 9 or 10 and then get down to business. Or perhaps I'll have a breakfast break at that point and return to the couch to bestow upon you dear readers a second installment. Alas, the sermon my pastor gave yesterday deserves an entry all it's own.

But back to the title. Winning the Race. Winning Hell!? I just want to finish the race! So let's purge some of that gobbaley goo. First things first - gobbaley goo? My pastor, when explaining something, often refers to what Webster says. I, however, will refer to what Angela says.

Angela likens gobbaley goo to miscellaneous paraphernalia repeatedly found in a junk drawer. Or the plethora of treasures that accumulate at the bottom of a purse. Gobbaley goo can be anything that gets in ones way. A distraction. i.e. defining a nonsense word vs. just getting down to the meat and potatoes.

All right, already! Here it goes. It's just after 8 now and although I don't know what time it is in Atlanta I'm already on edge about Jason calling them. Will he remember to call? Will they call him? Why does it matter? INSURANCE! Remember? We were supposed to hear back Friday. No news is good news, right?

Why does it matter? O.K. It shouldn't I guess, but it does. We are very blessed to have loving, caring family that are willing to help us out financially - should we need it. Many have offered. Others, including even my 'lil sis, have snuck in gifts here and there.

Crappy timing really. Just before Christmas. Plus we just had to license and insure our fleet of vehicles. And our fall installment of super high Park Ridge property taxes was just due. You know what? I accept cash, checks, money orders, PayPal and all major credit cards. Ha! Only kidding . . . maybe!

In all seriousness though we are very lucky. Jason does well. And we are very proud people. We don't like to ask for anything. We prefer to be the givers. And should this work out we do plan to pay our good fortune forward the best that we can. Back to why I've bitten all my nails off . . .

1. Many, many MSers that need this procedure as much or even more than me, sadly may not have the resources we are blessed to have. Thus, insurance needs to start covering this! PERIOD!

2. It's an everyday procedure covered for anyone else who needs it. Just because it's "unproven" to help out those of us with MS, geesh! Let me hop on my soap box a second. I'll be careful. Promise.

[Screw double blind, seven year long trials! People with MS can and very often do get or have other diseases! For example if I have a heart attack as did my Dad in his 40s - - - will you not allow me a cardiologist since I have MS?] Deep Breaths, Angela! O.K. I'm down from the soap box, safe and sound.

3. Common sense nimrods! My MS related meds are just over $2,000 per month. So that's 2100 x 12 = $25,200 per year on meds alone. That doesn't even take into account assistive devices or therapies, etc. Anyways, the procedure is costing anywhere between $9,000 and $15,000. DO THE MATH!!! Insurance companies could be saving money. Where'd that soap box go?

[Not to mention once better there's prolly other expensive meds I won't need. Plus less Doc visits. Plus, I might could even return to the workforce. You might not even need to cover me anymore as my new job might provide better coverage. Plus I'll need a new car. New clothes. Think of the economy.] O.K. so the soap box broke, but I'm fine. Enuff already!

1, 2, and 3. Enough of an argument as to why insurance should cover this, right? I think so. You think so. Right? I'm preaching to the choir. A sidenote: Since I began inclined bed therapy and high blood pressure medicine I have not cost my insurance for any hospital stays. Coincidence or concrete correlation that perhaps many of my debilitating symptoms are due to a blood flow disturbance? A treatable venous disease. Hmmmmm.

Knock on wood, right? I am. Knocking HARD! It had been 2 years hospital stay free before CCSVI. So now, nearly a year later. Do the math. 2 + 1 = 3. Wow! Three years and counting hospital stay free. Yay, me! To recap, the BP meds, I believe, have done wonders.

Sure, they were prescribed because my MS meds cause high BP. Whatever! God forbid I could simply have inherited the predisposition for the condition from my Father who fought it most of his life. Again, PEOPLE WITH MS CAN AND DO GET OTHER DISEASES.

Just to clarify: Let's say we break a leg. Will you treat it, Doc? Will you let me have an x-ray? Will you set it and cast it? I do have MS. And admittedly I prolly fell due to the balance issues I suffer from - again, related to the MS. Clear yet?

Say we get cavities too. Is it acceptable to be seen by a dentist since the MS caused the cavity? Huh? MS fatigue causes me to not brush as often as I should. And the rare times I find the energy to floss my MS riddled hands and fingers are extremely uncooperative. Thus MS equals cavities. Will insurance pay for a filling?

So I need my soap box again. You know what? Why don't I just stay on it. You don't mind, do you? Of course I'll have to sit on it because again, due to the MS, standing for any length of time is nearly impossible.

[Back to fillings. Why not just let our teeth rot out? If the Lord tarries and we don't go out in some big kaboom we will eventually need to be spoon fed liquids or worse yet, thru a feeding tube. Too much, you say? But it's the truth. Just the facts ma'am. And so, as gruesome as they may be, it's the facts I'm givin' ya!]

So why do I want the insurance so bad? Refer to 1-3 above. And I don't wanna empty our savings. I don't wanna take from others savings. I don't wanna borrow against an already paid for vehicle. I don't wanna re-mortgage the house. And I'm sure as shit not gonna sell my soul to the devil.

Thus, if insurance don't pay I say it wasn't meant to be. And this was gonna be it at least until it becomes more recognized as real treatment. Hopefully I wouldn't be too far gone in 7 to 10 years. Blah, blah, pity party, blah. GAME OVER. I need to get on with life. The boys need a Christmas. Aside from football I'd really been neglecting my kiddos.

So my Momma tried to put things into perspective for me. She says, "Well, what would you do if it was one of the boys that needed it?" And my response: WHAT THE HELL? Well, I'd have already been on a plane and had him treated in Poland. And been back again for appropriate follow-up.

Screw insurance. "My boy?" I asked. "One of my boys?" I would have taken from anyone willing to give. I would have borrowed against anything the bank would have let me. I would have been selling a kidney or two depending on the price of plane tickets. I was offended and had quite literally gone off on her - my dear Mom.

She waited for me to quiet. And then with a tearful voice she says, "You and your sister are MY boys." Hmmmm. Wow! I guess so. Really makes you think, don't it? Which brings me to another conundrum. If I do end up needing help do I take it on this unknown doc who now has nearly 20 procedures under his belt OR wait for my man Sclafani?

Still not good enuff? Costa Rica has done 350 now. Poland started waaay before them. And there's always Italy, home of Zamboni himself. Just sayin' . . . If it were one of my boys. And for the price plus travel I'd wanna be sure to get the best possible treatment. So why not for myself? Why'd I wait around in the first place and attempt to have it done near home? FAILED. Remember?

9 o'clock on the dot and Jason calls. I can tell by his tone it can't be good. Blah, blah, blah, blah. "Clinical notes." What? Atlanta called him before he'd even thought about contacting them. They say our insurance asked for clinical notes. They said they didn't have any but gave them all the proper codes. And they prolly wouldn't hear back themselves 'til the 17th. SILENCE.

"You still there?" asks Jason. "Yeh," I say, "So?". Jason replies, "So we're goin' anyway. We'll find out when we get there." Thus, if it's meant to be, it'll be. Sidenote: Trust in the Lord. Questions? See the next blog installment based on my Uncle's sermon from yesterday.

So I return to the couch. Thankfully not devastated. They could have flat out said no. So I'll just wait longer for the no . . . or yes. Whatever. I'm disappointed, but there's still hope. Back to the blog. More gobbaley goo to clear out.

I still haven't made my before video! That's really eatin' at me. I majored in broadcasting. I've been behind the camera since we got our first one when I was 12. I love editing video. Adding visual and sound effects. Why can't I get a simple video done? I keep going over and over what I want it to be in my head. Clutter, I tell ya! Clutter I don't need.

And clutter being a perfect segway into my next bit. I need to get this house picked up. I'm proud to announce that I'd been doing a phenomenal job keeping it up since it's last big cleaning before our Halloween party. But these last three, maybe four days - I've grown a bit distracted. Lax, even. My bad!

I got alot on my mind people. Remember? It's racing!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Poem

Will she?
Or won't she?
Just why the heck don't she?

She heard of this miracle
way back in Spring.
So what is the hold up?
Ding-a-ling. Ding.

Go on girl, get it;
what the others have got.
There's a fix out there waitin'
Do you want it, or what?

The answer?
Quite simply,
She just didn't know.
Will she? Or won't she?
Go on girl. GO!

Truth is she's been on list after list.
Some have shut down;
and others too dist.
On again, off again. You get the gist.

Like Poland and Jordan,
now Mexico too.
Results are a plenty,
some cure 'em; they do.

Not all at once now;
please, don't get me wrong.
Curing us fully would take 'em too long.

One thing at a time will be fine with us.
Such as driving again
'stead of riding the bus.

Regaining feeling in fingers and toes;
or standing up straight and touching our nose.

Telling the diff'rence between hot and cold,
no choking on food;
all things to behold.

Memory. Speech. And toileting too.
Dare I go there?
Think I'll skip that part. Eww.

One hadn't walked in over a year.
Yet now post procedure she's walking - no fear!
Only days have gone by and each she gets better.
I hope there are more just like her - our trend setter.

Some say they don't feel different at all.
As sad as that'd be - the risk?
That's your call.

Will she?
Or won't she?
Just why the heck don't she?

So what if the feel-goods
don't last but a week?
What if, worse even yet,
the outcome is bleak?

The odds are real small that that'd be the case,
but anything medical - it's just what we face.
Our meds for example are scary as Hell.
Many out now can make us unwell.

So many worries.
I'd call her a sissy.
Just not to her face;
'cause she may throw a hiss-ee!

Will she or won't she?
Even SHE doesn't know.

The procedure itself makes her itchy and sore.
How does she know this?
Kinda had it before . . .

Yep, he was in there -
my veins with a scope.
Shooting down - killing -
'most ALL of my hope.

Hearing my story gave quite a few doubt,
but Doc 'S' himself said, "Girl, don't you pout!"
He feared many first timers would suffer the same
but hoped just as I did they'd stay in the game.

So that's what I did. Spring, Summer to Fall.
Now Winter approaches, does she have the gall?
Will she?
Or won't she?
Just why the heck don't she?

This time to the south she contemplates going.
LIBERATION FOR ALL ~ this movement is growing!

Would this time be diff'rnt?
Wasn't sure that it would.
Then, why is she Hell bent?

-Angela Spindler (11/2010)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

For those just joining us . . .

It all started a year ago almost exactly to this very date. CTV of Canada broke a story of a vascular doc from Italy whose wife had been stricken with that 'ol crippling disease we all know and love - multiple sclerosis. "Heart-warming fluff piece," I can see the old gruff news director tagging it.

Heart warming, yes. But fluff? Try MEDCAL BREAK THROUGH!!! It wasn't long before this man had emerged himself in the MyStery that once was MS. Love for his ailing wife driving him, he discovered this supposed auto-immune disease may just be vascular in origin.

And get this: Is it a coincidence that the majority of MSers PROPERLY tested for CCSVI test positive? I think not! To be perfectly honest I believe those who haven't been found to have CCSVI have had one of two travesties occur. Option 1: They were misdiagnosed in the first place and don't really have MS at all. Thus they don't have CCSVI. Whatcha think 'bout them apples?

Ever heard of WebMD? Several of my docs sadly have not. It's a wealth of information, I tell ya! Oodles and gobs of neurological disorders out there worthy of making it on an episode of HOUSE, M.D. many, many of which could be masquerading as plain 'ol MS. I kid you not! THINK ABOUT IT!

And my personal favorite, as I feel this one has happened to me is, Option 2: Not being tested properly. Remember this IS new territory people. For example, newbie docs set in their ways either not really wanting to find anything or worse yet wanting nothing more than to disprove this Italian vascular cuckoo. How dare he of little significance even propose their big bad MySterious MonSter of a disease could have such a simple origin. And worse yet . . . REMEDY!?

Let me clarify for those of us suffering brainfog. Yay! Another of my fave MS symptoms. Or could it be a CCSVI symptom? Anyways, why would docs wanna change the way of thinking about a disease that they learned all about on day one of their illustrious medical schoolings. Why would they wanna have to go back to school? So what if it helps their suffering patients? SO WHAT?

Or maybe they fear losing all the money they get in kickbacks from all the oober expensive MS drugs. Big Pharma? Huh?! That'll hafta be a tangent for another time. But seriously, they themselves admit they don't know how their very own drugs work against the disease because ADMITTEDLY NEUROS THEMSELVES AREN'T EVEN FOR SURE HOW MS WORKS. Duh?!?

But really. Think about it. Neuros have alot to lose with this silly little singular vascular docs discoveries. $$$$ I'll say it again. $o what if it helps their suffering patients? But I shant waste my time worrying about the greedy heartless docs of the world losing any sleep. Alas I have waaay to many MS/CCSVI symptoms of my own keeping me awake at night.

Bladder emptying issues. Muscle spasms in my legs. Throbbing swooshing behind my right ear. And last but in no way shape or form least - the beloved MS hug. If only I could see that hugging bastard, I would start by clawing his eyes out. It's as if I'm in a big medieval device hell bent on crushing my ever protesting rib cage.

But enuff about me already, this set out to be a recap piece. An anniversary celebration! Can I get a 'Yee haw!'? A year, you say? Hard to believe it's been a year since CCSVI came to light. And as widespread as it has become it has still failed to truly COME TO LIGHT! But I'm not here to rag on all my local TV stations for ignoring my countless pleas for a story. Nope. No need for that.

Much has happened in a year's time. Much. Focus on the positives. That's what I'm hear for. A nearly year long JOURNEY I've been on now. In case you hadn't noticed --- I'm growing weary y'all. Where's Bobby Knight or Lou Holtz with my pep talk already? Let's see if I can't accomplish one all on my own, shall we? Here it goes:

Seems like only yesterday I remember getting online to verify my father-in-law's hearsay that someone somewhere had , dare I say it, found a cure?! WTH? It was that fateful night that I came across the CTV news program. I remember it in eery detail. Frame for frame. Nearly line by line. And as vain as it may make me seem, I remember it more so than even the 9/11 coverage. Forgive me, this Lord, pleeeeaaaase.

But I was intensely affected by this broadcast. I didn't know it in that moment, but it would shape the next year of my life. Probably - hopefully - even longer. So there I was on my couch just as I am now watching the aforementioned life altering perhaps life saving program! Not once, but twice in it's entirety. It had been split into two clips via Youtube. I sat in silent awe of the then brief and choppy before and after accounts. MIRACULOUS!

What a weird name I had thought - Zamboni?! And to hear him talk. He struggled with his English but his PASSION came thru loud and clear! They called it the Liberation procedure. CHILLS! Everywhere! I remember thinking about one patient, "That poor bastard looks like me!" Tears welling in my eyes. Streaming down my face. I didn't dare wipe my eyes for fear I would miss something.

Denise jumping. Kathleen dancing. Marsha in heels. Yvonne's speech. There've been many tear jerking triumphs since but none has gotten to me as much as the first. The breakthru of the breakthru, if you will. I mention names you haven't heard of? I now know these ladies well. These lady pioneers!

In this time I have amassed many, many friends on Facebook from all over the world. Fellow bloggers and vloggers, all with their own wonderful stories. Boggles the mind how much I have in common with so many of these once complete strangers. I am blessed to share in the lives of so many.

Thank you all soooo much for this honor! Alice, Kimberley, Bhakti, Tina, Brenda, Tessa, Judy, Jeanine, Paul, Christopher, Ken, Diana, Dawn, Linda, Lee, Steve, Mike, Irishbear, Tommy, Carol, Devin, Sandra, Susan, Helen, Andrea, Shelly, and Thane to name just a few. As goofy as it may sound we truly have formed a wonderful family. Yay, internet! We wouldn't be nearly as far along in this miracle without you. Should I thank Al Gore too? He invented it, right?!

Alas, as always, I digress. Back to sooooo much has happened, then, right?! Docs have opened up. Docs have been shut down. One of my first new friends has passed on waiting for the procedure. Love you, Bridget! She was only 41. This is inexcusable. Grrrrr . . . And another nearly dead. Feeding tube and all. Barb is now home and resting well with her family thanks to a simple angioplasty.

There have been papers published. Conferences attended. Rallies rallied. And numerous NMSS functions crashed with handy dandy CCSVI information made available to the masses. I even hit a local walk myself, with help, of course. (Thanks, Melissa and daughter for spreading the news! And to Jason for pushing me all over downtown Evansville!)

So a year long JOURNEY! A rollercoaster. Back and forth. Up and down. Around and 'round. Then back again. And faster! You want more details? Then read my blog! Devils in the details! But pish posh with the details I say as an official MSer or over 10 years now.

Who cares which came first? The chicken or the egg? God created it ALL and I love me some eggs for breakfast and fried chicken for, wellll, truth be known - anytime hunger strikes! Whether or not this CCSVI causes MS or MS causes it is niether here nor there. The long and the short of it - the bottom line is . . . remedy the CCSVI and symptoms us MSers have thought of for years as MS symptoms are improving. Some even disappear! Period!

As if walking toe, heel, toe, heel and jumping aren't enuff - there are MSers running marathons! Riding bikes. Rock climbing. (Insert your fantasy here!) Everyday brings more good news. And bad, sure, but for every bad there's consistently ALWAYS waaay more good. And this IS my life I'm talking about so, no, I ain't lyin' people!

Some haven't seen any huge improvements. Some say none at all. That said, let me refer you back to my disproving doctors theory. Also even the most well intentioned of docs may have missed something or not done something as adequately as they should or could have. Just sayin' . . . THIS IS NEW! CUTTING EDGE!

Have I successfully gotten you up to speed? Refresher course complete? I had hoped this stroll down memory lane would fire me up to get goin' on my before video. I have a degree in journalism ya know. Emphasis in broadcasting. No pressure, right? I'd hoped to blow all the other before vids away.

There'd be super cool 80s music, of course. And it'd be all music video like utilizing my highly sought after editing skills. I've thought about mixing the wonder that I once was with what MS has done to me. But why? Why all that work? I dunno. Possibly as a distraction. My mind is racing.

Why am I not pepped? Do you feel pepped? I sure wanted to. And I don't. Maybe I should hunt down the ROCKY soundtrack and give this blog another go tomorrow. 9 more sleeps 'til the ATL. I'm feelin' like I may just need to blog. You up for it?

Or edit, or sleep, or just play Scrabble. Wait. I think my crops in Farmville may be ready. Pray for me, pleeeeeaaaaaase!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

As Advertised - Part Deux

So there's a bee in the truck. Yippee! Just what I needed as I am terrified of all insects that both fly and sting. Dare I say a welcome distraction from the increasingly apparent fact I prolly shouldn't be driving in my current condition. "Mom of the Year" I tell ya. Commence with the nominations already. I know I got it in the bag.

Alas we arrive. Thankfully early as I had hoped to catch a Dad of one of Asa's teammates to beg for his help. I should explain he's not just any Dad. Mr. M we shall call him. A great guy I have known since grade school. We graduated together. Him and his older brother used to mow our yard for my Dad. His mom and my dad worked together. Long time family friend. Completely trusted. THANK YOU MR. M!!!

The plan had been to wait on Mr. M to see if we could, with his help, do all we'd hoped for BEFORE getting out of the truck and going willy nilly in all directions. Wrongo! That's what I get for making plans. Enter the as of yet unseen presence of a killer bee. Once in park the truck doors fly open and the boys disperse. Lovely. Thankfully Asa turns to me after some distance to await further instruction. Good boy!

I advise to come and get me upon Mr. M's arrival and not to let Abel stray too far out of ear's shot. As the sun began sinking my nerves got the best of me. Should I even be driving at all? I remained in the truck with the rogue bee and prayed for guidance. Looky there. I had brought my cell phone. Smart girl. Yeh. I'd have patted myself on the back at this point had I had the energy to do so.

What do I do? I call my sister. Some of you may remember her from previous entries as Red Sonja. As many times as we'd fought growing up . . . I don't know what I'd do without her today. Anyways I call her and she's just getting herself or the kiddos or both out of the tub. What had I wanted from her? Nothing really. Words of encouragement possibly. Or maybe for her to tell me I couldn't accomplish what I'd set out to do. We all know how that gets me fired up.

Alas I accomplish nothing but establishing her whereabouts and my apparent lack of confidence regarding my ability or absence thereof. Quite the perdicament. She offers to help however she can. And I decline after having turned the key in the truck to check the time. Mr. M would be here. He would help me. Besides, many of the football parents just drop their kiddos at the practices anyways. He'd be fine.

Not two minutes later mom calls. I assure her I'd be okay. We'd all be okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. But unsure of that mantra myself I call Aunt Ann who I'd assumed would be on her way to church right about that time. Swing and a strike. She had been nearly all the way in Henderson, Kentucky readying to play bingo. Mr. M arrives just as I'm about to concede this battle. I explain my situation and he assures me he has no problem taking Asa back to his house after practice.

Yay! We owe you Mr. M! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And with that and the divine intervention that must have been what got Abel's attention to retreat to the truck. Killer bee in tow we were, in the immortal words of Sir Willie Nelson, "On the Road again!" Lift the leg. Place the leg on the brake. I can do this. Left leg damnit! Right?

We arrive safe and sound to the shelter house. The scout meeting place. Once everyone arrived we were to caravan to the Black Township Fire & Rescue just out 69. Abel asked to ride with the assistant leader and his son. Mr. B, we shall call him, also a Mt. Vernon native and well trusted long time family friend.

Relieved I said, "Sure!" I felt much more at ease without the boys in the truck. Sure I was still behind the wheel of Jason's precious beloved truck, but I could sell my soul to replace that. My boys however were quite a different irreplaceable story. I'm sure you parent readers out there understand.

An awesome visit. I'm so glad we went. The Fire Chief took us on a splendid tour. The firemen had even prepared a meal for the boys. They got to spray a hose, get in a truck and a rescue boat. Abel didn't want to leave. He said he wanted to live there. He even wore his firemen hat once home and began his activity and coloring book they'd given him. We may have a future fireman on our hands here!

As the late, great Paul Harvey used to say, "And now . . . the rest of the story." How had Asa's evening gone? Welllll . . . ?! Seeing as the fire house visit was going late I panicked. I had originally told Mr. M that scouts usually ran about an hour and that quite possibly I would be back in time to get Asa from the field. But that if I was a little late I'd be at his house to get him shortly thereafter. Great plan, right?

As the fire house festivities trudged on I began envisioning Asa not wanting to go home with the M's. I envisioned him giving them a hard time. I envisioned him refusing. I envisioned alot of things. My imagination was not being very user friendly let's call it. Call in the cavalry. Amelia? You there?

Nevermind she'd had a terribly sick little girl earlier in the day. Nevermind she'd been hard at work cleaning and planting mums for her mum all day. Nevermind she'd just gotten all cleaned up and settled in for the evening. Drop everything and come help me baby sister. And, ummm, hurry while you're at it, k? So more to the point I call and ask her to please come get Asa from the football practice fields. And although it probably is, she says, "No problem."

With that I relax and began enjoying more of our tour. Alot of walking for me but I must say that having a walker with a seat is oober sweet. Don't know how I ever made it without one. And then the cell rings. "Where do I take him once I got him?" Red Sonja queries. I report my location. Apologize and thank her again. My it's taking a long time for her to get from the school to the fire house. Enter sister. But no Asa!

What the hell? Oh my God! Oh my God! Had it not been for the seat on my walker I surely would have fallen to the floor with this news. I could see in her eyes she was distraught. Just imagine how I felt. Okay? Now wipe it forever from your memories as it will surely cause nightmares. I was sickened. I was barely 7 at this point. Practice always goes longer than an hour. Something, my friends, must be wrong. God help me.

As big and as tuff as my big man is in all his football gear he his still my baby. At this revelation I found myself slumped upon my walker deaf to the tour leaders information and boys' goings-on. Dear God, please let Asa be safe. I must admit big tuff I own a gun and I'll kick your ass Angela was legitimately scared this Halloween season. Boo!

I give Amelia the best directions I can muster to the M's house. White Blazer. White Explorer. White Easter Bunny. Who knows what the hell I had said. It was by the Grace of God that I even spoke English at this point. Please, please, please let him be safe and sound at the M's. Eventually -- after much prayer and a hopefully not too rudely ignored tour -- Asa reappeared. Thank You Jesus!!! (And Amelia.)

Come to find out he had been at the football fields all along. Amelia made it to the M's house no thanks to my horrific directions only to be greeted by Mrs. M who had not seen or heard from her footballers let alone Asa. I can't even phathom the sinking feeling Amelia must have felt at this news. Geesh! Luckily she had the wherewithall to return to the fields. And behold, Asa was there. Pissed he didn't get to go home with his buddy, but alive and well readers. Alive and well!

Amelia didn't stay to chit chat. I could tell she was done doing good deeds for the night. The week? The month? Possibly the year. And rightly so. All three of us Orth girls may have earned a few extra gray hairs over the course of the evening. And you know what? Mine was just beginning. The tour continued . . .

My legs grew weaker. I followed less and less closely behind. Mostly because of fatigue but also do to Asa's snarling at me from his disappointment of not getting to go with his friend. Normally I would have corrected that attitude. He was being rude. To me and the tour guide. But in my weakened state I let relief reign supreme and just relished in the fact he was there -- pissed off or otherwise. Yell spit and kick if ya wanna -- I didn't care.

Then it donned on me that he may have also treated Amelia this way. I confronted him with this and he said, "No. I wasn't her fault." Then I reasoned, "So it's mine?" And after a pause for thought he answered, "No." And all was again right with the world. Can I get an Amen?

In hindsight I suppose a better Mom would have told niether of them that they could have their way. That niether of them were going anywhere. Mom's a crippled. Tuff luck. Suck it up! But you know what? Even after a night like last night I'm still not to that point. As down as I've been I'm still not a quitter. Nevermind the fortitude, besides, these days I don't even have the energy to throw in the towel.

So what's next in the Spindler adventures? A pack meeting tonite. Mom's already called this morning to offer to take the boys wherever they need to go. Ya know what? Tonite they ain't goin' nowhere! NOWHERE I TELL YA!!!

As for me however . . . rumor has it I may just have a little traveling to do in my not so distant future. "Where to?" you ask. To LIBERATION my friends. I need it now more than ever. Details to follow. After me and Gooch get our naps out of course. Is that snoring I hear already? Lazy pit bull!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blog Knockin'

Wellll, tonite finally did it. Tonite has knocked the blog right out of me. I'm back sports fans. And after the night I just encountered, I'm back with a vengeance. First, to those who have been scouring the obits for my name -- I AM ALIVE! Why the hiatus? Vacation perhaps? Sabbatical? Nay. I have been in a very dark place.

So dark in fact I haven't felt like writing. And for those of you dear readers that truly know me -- you know that must mean DARK! Usually I try to make lite of the grimmest of situations I find myself in. Usually I fuse sarcasm with attempted wit and poke fun at my debilitating, crippling disease. Usually. But not as of late.

Why so long getting back in the saddle so to speak? Why bring you the audience down with me? That had never been my intention. My intent had always been to share with you the ups and downs of this horrendous disease. You surely know more now about MS than you'd ever wanted to, right? I know I do!

This blog began as a journey to LIBERATION. Trouble being the light at the end of the tunnel had been snuffed out. Why keep writing from complete darkness? "I have been inside your veins," professed the Doctor. "There is nothing out of the ordinary in there." Fine.

Next the Low Dose Naltrexone battle. We won the battle but not the war. He prescribed it, BUT it hasn't showed me any improvements. As a matter of fact I'm still getting around terribly. And after two rounds of high dose oral steroids -- NADA. No improvements. None. Unless weight gain and acne can be counted as such.

Enuff with excuses. I've been here all this time. Just uninspired to write, until this very moment. Until this very night. So here goes nothin': What to do? What to do? Jason out of town. And the in-laws out of town. Not the most ideal of situations for me to be in, BUT as I've said before . . . I'm an Orth. I got this! Wellll, tonite -- not so much. Not without the help of another Orth.

I'm not sure where I left off. But Asa is shaping up to be one hell of a football player. Abel too really. I'm so proud of them both. And of myself having only missed one of their practices. And none of their games. No joke. I love it so much I'd crawl on all fours to make it there. How embarrassing for them, right? I know, but it's football. Priorities!

Anyway tonite Abel had a scout meeting at the fire house and Asa had a football practice. Both wanted very badly to go to their own things and I wanted to make it happen. I rested all day in hopes I could make this happen. Logistics be damned! I got this. Cha, right?! First was supper. Use of the oven not my brightest of ideas. Heat = baaaaad! But the lasagna was a hit. Not a homemade hit, but for a frozen Stouffer's deal -- not so bad.

Then getting them and me ready to go. Asa, bless his soul, dressed himself pads, gear and all. Abel would need his scout uniform thrown in the dryer a bit to get the wrinkles out. Another baaaad idea. Heat from the dryer is the worst. Yikes! Wasn't aware until now that this disease apparently causes permanent brain damage. I mean c'mon Angela -- you know better than this stupid shit you are doing! Buy a clue already.

So Asa offers to help me outside with my walker and Abe finds the missing keys to the truck. Great. I'm all hunkered over and barely walking, but . . . great! I was at this point still upright and hopeful. Once at the rear of the truck I lowered the tail gate as Asa stood and held the walker. As I open it out rolls an empty water bottle. And my earth friendly son goes toward the street to fetch it. "No!" I yell, now leaning over the tailgate just to stay standing. "Help me get this walker folded!"

Welllll, he obeys. But to my surprise the french fries and various other trash from last weekends excursions remained inside the storage compartment below the walkers seat. No biggie besides the fact that the compartment must be empty to allow the walker to fold. Should I sling the trash to the curb with the water bottle? Nah. After all this is Park Ridge. What would the neighbors think?

I have Asa return to the house for a trash bag and bless his heart he obliges but returns not having shut the front door. That aside, my legs are growing weaker by the second. And I still had a walker to lift. Up, up and . . . DAMNIT! How as the walker to fit with the fishing poles? I pray I didn't harm the poles, BUT the walker, especially at this point, had become a necessity.

Abel back in the house to fetch Asa's helmet and slam the front door almost shut and off we'd go. Welllll, almost. Anyone ever try getting in their respective vehicle with a jacked up floor mat? No biggie, right? WRONG! Wrong especially if it's a big heavy rubber truck mat -- wrinkled and crooked. And that's not all folks. Trash restricting it's return to proper placement. Grrrr . . .

I know you're thinkin' "quit yer bitchin', bitch" but I reply, "BITE ME!" My legs already feel easily 100 pounds or more each and my overly weakened remainder of my uncooperative body, welllll I'm too tired now to even explain. Just enuff of my right ass cheek met with the seat to allow for some grunting and cussing and hoisting and eventually I was ready to go. As ready that was as I'd ever be.

Both kiddos nervous, and mom a little too this time, off we were in to the wild blue yonder. Chit chat about driver safety and school goings on commenced as I concentrated fully on lifting my almost completely worthless right leg to brake and/or accelerate as needed. By the time we'd reached Moll's I had thrown in the towel and started using my left leg. Better, I suppose, but still very odd.

And just to add to the thrill ride as we turn on to Tile Factory Abel proclaims, "There's a bee back here, Mommy!" Yay! Mommy loves bees.

But my eyes are growing weary now. Great. I guess I'll continue this rant tomorrow . . . if my eyes will let me. And my fingers cooperate. More to come . . . I hope! Later.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Birthday, School, and Immobility

"How you feelin' this morning?" My reply: LIKE CRAP! But it's a beautiful Sunday morning. A day the Lord has made! And we should be greatful and REJOICE in it. Amen.

It was August 15th 2010 to be exact. With soooo much to do, remember? It was my youngest son's 7th birthday. And although I hardly if ever journey into their room to wake them anymore - my precious Abe had asked me last night to wake him up very first thing on his birthday. "Mommy, pleeeeaaaase!" he said. How could I not?

So even before Jason's alarm went off, I sit up on the edge of my bed to collect myself. Now where had that balance ran off to? Could he be hiding under my bed? Had him and the strength in my legs gone on a permanent vacation? Whether or not they are to ever return, their absence this day must be overcome. "God give me strength," I prayed.

Before attempting to stand, I survey the room to get my bearings. Although the windows were covered with shades and semi-shear brown curtains I could tell the sun was already up and hard at it because although the walls remained white the deep chocolate brown bed cover and dark cherry furniture that filled the room made the master bedroom easily the darkest in the house until about 8 o'clock AM these days. Thus, I'd better get a move on if we were to make it to church. "God give me speed," I prayed.

To my feet and nearly stable I call out to Jason before I set out on my journey. First, should I fall I wanted him awake to hear my cries for help. And second, I needed him desperately if this train were to have any chance of leaving the station on time. "It's time to wake up darlin'," I'd said. I imagine he may have woke long enuff to see me standing and talking sweetly only to return to sleep thinking it had all been a dream. No way, no how his wife would be standing, walking, and speaking sweetly.

First to the foot of the bed, then hands to the tall dresser and once somewhat steady my legs slowly, carefully follow. Then the door frame, the hall, turn the corner and any suspision I'd had about the sun being up were settled loud and clear. Even before I reached the always opened door the bright orange color from their walls met me smack in the face. The sun projected the vivid orange across the white hall walls and cream colored carpet. 'How could they still be asleep in all this light?' I wondered.

Although this room is officially Abe's - since it is the largest of the others both boys share it for sleeping purposes thus far. And I know I spoke of them being spoiled earlier . . . each of them sleeps atop their own set of bunk beds. Asa's has a full bed on bottom and Abe's did have at one point but has been removed to allow for more room to play. A fabulous idea by the way should your kiddo wanna tent or fort or dungeon or whatever.

Slowing a bit to give the 'ol pupils a better chance to adjust to the light I find myself grasping the tall dresser at the head of Abel's bed nearly nose to nose with Goldie the gold fish. Aside from the sunlight bursting thru the blinds there was a light heating the fish tank atop one dresser, a light from the television left on atop te other, and a bed side stop light lamp to boot. I mean what brightly decorated boys' bedroom with a traffic signs motif would ever be complete without one of those? C'mon, right?!

As ridiculous as an extra light sounded at this juncture, in the complete dark of night it does serve it's purpose showing their Daddy the way amongst the dirty clothes and toys scattered about the floor. Most helpful indeed in the prayer saying and good night kiss having bedtime rituals. I miss out on that stuff these days too. Really sux! Luckily though we have managed to change up our routine a bit. Now before they make their nightly climbs they swing by my room to kiss and hug me good night. And some of the time Asa even sneeks me up a snack. That's my boy!

A complete disregard of the rules as I prolly shouldn't be eating in bed, but he loves his Mama and she loves her snacks! Now to disregarding the stop signs and yield signs and CAUTIONS, I trudged forward feeling first along the wall, then dresser and finally to the top bunk where he had barricaded himself behind a mound of pillows. Wonder what on earth he had been protecting himself from? And even more mind boggling was how he'd gotten a hold of that many pillows? I didn't think we owned that many pillows?! Had he raided Aunt Jean's hotel? A mystery, for sure!

Finally, I reach the well-lit, pillow hoarding, fort building birthday boy. He awakens easily, and excited. Surprised to see me, the brightness in his gorgeous green eyes brightens the room even further. (Note to self: Next trip wear sungleasses!) He immediately asks, "Is it my birthday?" And holding tight to the upper bunk's railing I reply, "It sure is!" whilst reminding God of my prayer for strength and adding an addendum to said prayer - Also grant this bed and/or whatever other furniture I might later need to 'rest' upon strength to hold me up! Can I get an amen? All addendums need amens to work. You didn't know?

So next he gets to his knees and lifts both arms asking for a hug. Shouldn't be a problem. Didn't used to be a problem. Would it be a problem? And we hug. Such a tight sweet hug! I loved it. Standing free of all support but only my 7 year olds love and hug. A birthday miracle! And then letting go he asks for help down. Yikes! Used to I'd just reach up, take him under the arms and turn to place him gently on the floor. Hmmm . . .

Nope. Couldn't risk it. Not even 50 lbs. yet I should still be able to do it but didn't wanna risk injuring him or myself. I declined by telling him how big he'd got since the last time I'd done it. Still appearing unconvinced I grasped the railing for support again and continued, "but you're 7 now. You don't need Mommy's help." Still he looked perplexed. That little booger could see right thru me. He raised an eyebrow and commenced to a solo descent. I even offered to get Daddy in there as he explained to me it wasn't that he needed help. He rationed, "It's just for fun, Mom."

Had I just gone from Mommy to Mom in that dialog? Time flies I tell ya. No more story tellin' for me I guess. Next time I just lay out the facts: "Well baby cakes you are lucky I am in here at all. I feel as tho I'm about to fall and am already wondering how the heck I'm gonna make it out of your room let alone down thestairs and to church. MS sux, my man. Just plain sux. And I'm sorry. As bad as it sux for you that I can't swing ya down from bed like I used to, just know it sux a bazillion more times for me. There's so much more things I wanna do with you.

I wanna wake you up every morning. I wanna make you breakfast. And not just the quickie kind in the wrapper or cereal. I wanna fry eggs. Bacon. Make pancakes. Maybe french toast. I wanna see you off on the bus or better yet, even drive you there myself. I miss drivin'. I miss my car. I wanna be a room mother at school. Throw parties for your class. And help out where needed. I aced a children's literature class in college and would love to take part in some interactive story times. Heck, I'd even like to volunteer a day or two a week to help out with recess duty. That'd be cool, heh?

Why not everyday then? Well, I got alot of stuff needs doin' at home too. I wanna keep the house clean including the dishes and clothes. Daddy should never have to wash a dish again. And you guys . . . why should you guys have to waste your afternoons home from school pickin' up the living room? I don't got nuthin' to do all day, right? I could do it. I wanna do it, but CAN'T because of this darned MS. Sux! I wanna have lunch fixed for Daddy when he gets home. Or when he wants to go out he should be able to without worrying about poor 'ol mama.

He should play golf or go out or whatever and not have to come home to feed me and let out the dog. Silly really I can't perform those two little remedial easy peasy lemon squeezy tasks. And when you two arrive home from school I should have snacks and an afternoon activity ready to go. Time for homework should be set aside and I should be able to help. Fourth grade story problems shouldn't overwhelm me like they do. I used to be an honor student for pete's sake.

I pray, pray, pray each and every day that you two don't get this horrible disease. It sux not only for me. I know that. I get that. It sux for everyone I love too. So more to do after school? Screw the bus, let's say I come and get ya. I'd love to ya know? I might even bring Gooch along. Wanna get involved in any after school programs? I used to play basketball and volleyball, but I used to could throw a mean spiral too. And my cousin who used to rock at soccer showed me how to dribble thru cones.

Or, I know, horses! Why don't we start showin' horses? Anything you guys want. I want for you. And I wanna be a part of. An active helper. Coach. Assistant coach. Chaperoene. Driver. Whatever. I wanna Super Mom tights and cape. No mask neccesary as I want everyone to know my true identity. And really that's who I am. I AM SUPER MOM!!! I'm just trapped inside this body that no longer cooperates with me. She sure used to though. Damn! I'm sorry I cussed little man. I'm trying to stop, but you know that.

So after our afternoon activities whilst you all veg in front of the tv, I wanna fix supper. Yes me in the kitchen - all alone. Well maybe Gooch can come keep me company, but NO helpers needed. I know you wondering, 'can mom cook?' and as a matter of fact YES I CAN! I just so happen to come from a long line of cookers and am fairly confident I could do a fine job if I were able to stand, walk and tolerate the heat from the stove and or oven. From time to time I can churn out a delicious lasagna or casserole or cake, remember?

I think Daddy can vouch for me on this one. Waaay back when we lived in the apartment I used to have supper fixed for him. Me, yes. I used to fix supper. Mashed potatoes, peas, pork chops, etc. I'm not a one trick pony. I promise. Really. When I am capable of doing -- I do! That being said my dear birthday boy, I don't think I am capable of lifting you from the top bunk and safely placing you on the ground. PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!!"

That was quite a rant, am I right? Prolly a bit much for my 7 year old to swallow so early in the morning, if at all. Alas my saying whatever white little lie it was I'd said was much more fitting of the situation. Plus had I climbed upon that soap box we surely would have missed church. First because of the time the speech would have taken. And last and more realistically -- no doubt I would have fallen from said box and been unable to make it anywhere but the emergency room. Huh! Just sayin' . . .

Next order of business then was makin' it over to the big man's bunk. Option 1: continue to follow the furniture and walls back around to his bed. Geesh, this room is huge! Or, option 2: turn supporting yourself with Abe's rail and bravely make the one huge unsupported step it would take to reach Asa's rail. Yikes, right?! Or finally, option 3: just scream!

And can you guess which option Super Mom trapped in an uncooperative body chose? "Hey, Goose! It's time to get up!" she belted with gusto. Or not. Maybe I just raised my voice a little, but either way all of the birthday boy's commotion had already caused the big man to be wrestling about with his comforter. Dun, da, duhn, would it be the big man or the blanket who prevails? And both the kiddos were on their way down the hall to their bathroom as their Daddy emerged stunned from his room.

I wish I could have greeted him with a confident hand to his chest and say, "I got this!" Ha! Instead I reached out to him for assistance down the hall. (Note to self: Lose some damn weight lard ass, and maybe your hubby could just throw you over his shoulder and carry you around!) Once downstairs it all started coming together. Bippedy, boppity, boo! And we were out the door. Had the fairy godmother mistaken our house for Cinderella's? She was gettin' up there in years. It could happen.

As always, sunday school was great. Abel and Jason had even gone up front before service to be recognized for having birthdays. The entire congregation sang our church's birthday song to them. Me and Asa hands down sang the loudest. Then when it came time for church Jason and the boys headed home whilst I was left in the capable hands of Aunt Ann. Yes, I absolutely should have went home too since the cake still needed iced and decorated, BUT the Lord had a stronger hold of me. I wanted to stay. I needed to stay.

And I'm so glad I did. Sharon sang. Oh my. One of her regulars about 'no more sorrow, no more pain . . .' -- a tear jerker if there ever was one. Gets me everytime! And then one I'd never heard , or at least don't remember hearing. Wow! I didn't know whether to hug my sis sitting next to me or crawl over the pew to curl up next to Aunt Ann. It was about loved ones over there. My tear filled eyes looked back to meet Aunt Ann's tear filled eyes and I reached back for her kleenex clinched hand. Woe is me.

And the message, as always, spot on! Did I wanna re-join my loved ones in heaven? Well, duh Uncle Scott! I sure did. And what did I need to do to get there? An alter call. I wanna go! I always wanna go. But can I? Prolly best I stay sittin'. Maybe rest my head on the pew in front of me and just say a few words from there. A wise man (yeh, my Uncle Scott) once told me you can let the Lord into your heart absolutely anywhere you are! AMEN!

So on our way out to the car two different gentlemen of the church ask if they can assist us lovely ladies in any way. Why, sure, please, and thank you kind sirs! They folded my walker and placed it carefully in Aunt Ann's trunk. And then made sure I was in and comfortable before closing my door. Sweet, I tell ya! The only things missing were the red carpet and the paparazzi. And maybe some more elegant shoes than my ratty 'ol Pumas, but you can't really see 'em for my walker anyways.

So we go to Dean's for lunch. We, of course, meaning: Granny and Papaw (both mine and the boys'), Amelia and kiddos, Aunt Ann, and me and my three hunks. How'd I ever luck into such a gorgeous crew? I'm blessed. As crappy as I may feel and as down as I get . . . bottom line is I AM BLESSED!!! And days like August 15th 2010 are great shining examples of just how! Thank You Jesus for all You are doing in my life. For all You have done and for all You will do. Amen.

Examples, you ask? Well, here ya go: All of us together. My Mom joined us all after at our house. Celebrating a birthday. Cake that was iced and decorated just in the nick of time. Abe actually recognizing the free-handed drawing of the Pokemon character he'd asked for. (I'll post a pic later. I'm a wee bit proud even surprising myself with how it turned out!) All the presents and the presence.

And whilst trying not to sound too much like a mastercard commercial, having enuff energy afterwards to pick -up a bit and make it upstairs to bed - PRICELESS! OK, I admit it. I was hoping to sound like a mastercard commercial. Waaay better than the vikings yelling, "What's in your wallet?" Anyways, back to Sunday. We game and eat candy like gaming candy fiends. Then shower. Then go to bed. It had been a big weekend and a big day. And guess what readers? An even bigger day lurked.

"Wakey, wakey. Eggs and bakey!" Wait for it. Wait for it. "NOT!" It's time for school, turkeys! How's about a doughnut? Hustle, hustle, hustle! Bing, bang, boom. A whine here and a protest there. The screeching brakes of the bus and they were gone. Silence! What's a girl to do but snuggle with her pit bull? Poor guy awoke from several different naps that day to look around the house for the boys. Silly puppy! Could he have missed 'em as much as me?

When would 3 o'clock ever get here? "Six whole hours, Mom," Abel would remind me. He calls me Mom now. Bizarro! Anywho I told him it'd go by in a flash. Had I lied to him again? The day was creepin' along as slow as molasses. Another analogy? As slow as me! Ha! Now that's funny! But would I still be laughing at 3? Tick tock. Tick tock. Was that the bus I'd heard?

More next time on the first days and weeks of 1st and 4th grade. And guess who's playin' football? Hmmmmm . . . well, it ain't me!