Thursday, April 10, 2014

The journey that led to my soul being reborn

After being diagnosed with graves and living with it for a while I noticed that it became sort of an annoyance to others. I LIVED graves. All I thought about was graves. All I read about was graves. There was only one subject I could talk about. graves. People started getting tired of it. They all said they cared. They wanted to help. They were praying. The truth was they all moved on. A few months into diagnosis graves became old news. Ones that saw me always grabbed my hand and assured me they prayed for me. And I truly believe that they were at that very moment as long as I was in their view. Others made me promise I would let them know if I needed anything but meant it only at that moment. And there was my favorite group - the advisers. They knew all about graves after all lady Bush had it and she's fine. They knew someone who knew someone who had a surgery and life was perfect after that. I should definitely have that surgery if they only could remember what kind it was. 

Isolation. Cold heartless word. It became my reality. I stopped talking. I stopped showing up. I disappeared. All I could talk about was my graves and graves was sad news no one had interest in. She surely sounds depressed and needs some meds is what I heard last. I closed the door after that. I isolated everyone. 

The survival phase that happened for about a year after diagnosis was easy. I was determined, strong, and hopeful. It got worse. I'll never forget the moment I entered the next phase. I was standing in the elevator, my wedding ring shining in the fluorescent light. I looked at the mirror and saw a smile. Silly newlywed. Life was good. I have a graves disease. I could hear it so loud. The smile faded. It hit me. For the first time I realized it was my new reality. My brain finally registered it. I could feel it in every cell of my body. My body went limp. My breath burned my lungs. Panic set in. The pain. The fear. The why… I fainted. 

I stayed strong. Through pain, anxiety attacks, graves rage, fear, hopelessness. I prayed. 

James was diagnosed with graves the same day I was. Different symptoms, the same disease. Less physical for him. Heartbreaking. His eyes lost the spark. His body lost its strength. His shoulders slouched. I once heard him cry at night. I knew right there he begged God for healing. No words. No thoughts. Just tears. Defeated men's tears. He was my rock. Patient, understanding, compassionate, loving. He let me fall apart, be broken. He just kept on loving me. 
I wanted to love back. But how could I? I felt undeserving of that love. What was I doing to him? Why was I put in his life? Why was he being punished? I was deflecting. If I made him a center of my thoughts maybe I could deal with graves in a different way.

 You need to grief. Excuse me? I asked my therapist. No one died what should I be grieving? You died. Eyes wide open. Excuse me? Wasn't I sitting right in front of her? You need to grief Monika before graves. Sure I do. I rolled my eyes. Why the hell did I decide to come here? I had graves. I didn't know how to deal with it. I've gained 80 pounds. My eyes look like two ping-pong balls. I can't walk... Oh my, she was right. Tears started choking me. She hesitantly spoke. Are you able to talk? Deep breath. The woman was staring at me and I wanted to punch her. I felt it come. The rage. Breathe. James isn't around to calm you down. Breathe. Anxiety. Keep breathing. Tell me what's going on. What's going on is my life is over and I can't do anything about it. It felt good to say it. Good, we can talk about it. Did she just say good? What is there to talk about? My life ended. 

Isolation leads to a belief that no one cares. We close our minds and hearts. We escape. No one could get through that wall. No one was getting in. It was me and James. It was me and God. 

18 months after diagnosis I was in peace. I had a routine. I quit my prescription drugs. I was in a good place with God. I knew there was a purpose. I grieved and came on another side. Weak, scared, lonely but alive. I stopped praying. I started begging God. Asked for a miracle, a shift. One positive action. A glimpse of home read heaven. And He delivered or so I thought he did. I was caring a child. The pain, the fear, the if’s and what's didn't matter any longer. I was with a child. James, my sweet James. He's eyes were once again full of joy. God delivered me from the darkness.
It won't make it. The words pierced my heart. Your baby won't make it. She listed my options. Gave me her medical advice. Told me what was done was done and tears wouldn't change it. It was time to move on. I couldn't move on. The baby was still there. Still alive. Waiting to die. And so I waited too. 5 weeks. It took 5 weeks for my baby to die. At 12 weeks the pregnancy was ended in a cold surgery room. The nurse held my hand. Wiped my tear. She prayed for me. I wanted her to stop. I didn't want the prayers. God crossed the line this time. He saw me standing at the edge of the cliff holding to disappearing hope. He heard me begging him to make me strong, offer me a change. He pushed me off the cliff. Just like that. All hope lost. 

I came out from isolation. I needed help. I felt cheated. I knew this was the end for me. I didn't have anything this time. Life was never easy but there was always hope, there was always God. This time there was nothing. God has left me. I needed people. I needed support. I needed love. Human love since God’s love was gone. 

Humans fail us easily. Humans failed me just like God did. They judged. They advised. They probed. They pushed. They hurt. 
Some hurt for me. They didn't have words. They sat with me. Held my hand. 

I'm sorry but now that you miscarried your graves is out of control. It's bad. Surgery. Another one and one more. No hope. No care. 

Wake up. Eat. Work. Sleep. I had to tell myself to exist. The world felt like hell. God why did you leave me? 

I heard Him on my way to work. Clear voice. Clear words. One task. I followed. Hesitantly. He took it away from you so you would change your direction. Excuse me? The baby. What? I'm sorry I'm not sure what this was about. Of course you aren't you don't know me. I didn't say that. Instead I smiled at her. I didn't know her. A kind stranger God used to speak to me. And once again the following day. The same words. 

I understood. 

When diagnosed with graves I thought my life was over. I knew the disease was going to shorten my life.10 years on average. That's a solid statistical data. I was angry thinking I was loosing 10 years to graves. Until I realized I wasn't. Everyone's days are counted by God. He knows our last day. He knows my. He may use graves to bring that day closer or he may choose a bus to hit me. Graves is not shortening my life. My life will be as long as God planned it. There will be no what if’s and regrets when that day comes. None. Because I know that my life was designed to as long as it needs to be for my soul to accomplish its earthy goals.
Graves will lower quality of my life. I won't be able to... What exactly does that mean? My life is different but it's not worse in any way. It's just different. 

Peace. My heart is at peace. My heart is with God. My grieving process is complete. The me that died is now reborn. Not any stronger or wiser just different. 

If I could go back in time and change anything I wouldn’t. I would choose to have graves. I would choose for my young soul to die and to be reborn the way it did. Mature, wiser, more fulfilled. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I learned while my soul was silenced...

When things go bad I do one thing very well. I fall into survival mode and face the yucky. I always did it all wrong. Step one was usually isolating everyone I know. I didn’t want anyone to be bothered by my misfortune and I didn’t believe they would know what to do. I am here to encourage others not for others to encourage me. I’m too proud and too independent. I sadly had no faith in my friends. Step two - I start praying like a mad man looking for answers and grow frustrated when I don’t hear anything back. I keep going. I don’t sleep, I don’t listen, and I keep going. Eventually things pass leaving me feeling exhausted, lonely and depressed.
This time was different. This time crap happened that I had no strength to deal with. This time God forced me to do it right. He forced me to give up because giving up meant letting Him and others in. This time I didn’t want to survive, quite the opposite, I started thinking about giving up and dying. I didn’t want to isolate anyone. I let them in. I let them listen. I let them feed me. I let them take care of me. I didn’t care to do it on my own. In result I felt loved. I gave up but not my friends. Some held my hand; others went above and beyond to make sure I was ok. Some have done much more than I thought I deserved. And God… Well He was listening. Just like every time I shouted out to Him before He was listening. And as always He answered except this time I was able to hear Him back. I wasn’t busy fixing it on my own, I wasn’t determined to persevere. I was in a place where all I could do is let others love on me and hear what He had to say. In words He put in others mouth He said to me over and over ‘I took it away from you so you would change your direction’. I hated Him for that. I hated all He has done. I didn’t understand. God why?
Today I sit here, only 11 weeks after the storm started and only 2 weeks after it’s ending, stronger than I’ve ever been. The joy is bursting out of my heart. My soul is singing. God knew what to do. As cruel as His doing felt at the time today I am thankful for it. He taught me the greatest lesson of all. I – One – Me – Myself – My – has always done it wrong!
I could hear Him this time because there was no other noise in my life. Others took on all my survival tasks upon themselves so the noise was silenced. They took care of me while I had one task only – to listen.
Today I for once know who I am and why He created me in this way. For once I feel like there is a deep reason for all I hold in my heart and soul. I hear the whispers louder and the gremlins saying I cannot much quieter.
I suffered. I surrounded. I survived. I came on the other side reborn. For once I didn’t try to persevere. That was one step, I will forever forgo.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I haven't...

I haven’t written in a while.
I actually haven’t done anything in a while.
I spent the past two years in hiding, feeling lonely, suffering from an invisible disease.
If you asked me two years ago what my plans for the next two years were I would have given you a long list. I would have had plans and dreams, mostly unrealistic but still mine. I would have told you about all the blessing that were going to come my way. I would have named all the people I was going to meet or spend time with. I would have described all the travels I hoped to journey through. I would have giggled and made silly faces talking about the future. Future was always good in my books. It was always full of God’s blessings.
I didn’t know that my next two years weren’t going to go well. I didn’t know that I was going to become a shadow of a girl that used to be and I didn’t know, nor I could have known that God was going to go to an extreme to open my heart for his love once again.
In October two years ago I got engaged. How could have I possibly thought that those magical words ‘Would you marry me?’ were going to be one of the last sweet memories of the person I then was. Full of light and giggle. Skipping instead of walking. Hamming songs about forever happiness.
I haven’t been this person for a while. I haven’t giggled nor skipped. I haven’t danced. I haven’t bough silly ruffly skirts and I haven’t blown bubbles just to see them bounce of the grass. I haven’t made many new friends nor I have kept in close touch with those I already have. I haven’t done yoga, swam, wore a tank top in public. I haven’t looked up to the skies and said ‘for all those blessings I am thankful’.

I haven’t lived in the past two years.

I coexisted with people and objects that surrounded me. I worked, made it to my doctor appointments, shopped for bigger and bigger clothes while my body grew and grew. I haven’t read any books that make me happy, instead I’ve researched any possible cure for my disease. Except there aren’t any.
For two years I lived a life of a broken person. Keeping strong faith and hoping that God was going to take me away from where I was. He was going to save me. And when I finally end up standing at the edge of a cliff looking up into the sky and begging for love and change, He came through with one little miracle that was going to change my life. One short lived miracle that He took away as quickly as He gave it to me. And He pushed me off the cliff. And there I was, with nothing left. My faith dried out, my anger grew. I had nothing to lose or gain. Nothing to pray for. Nothing to dream about. Nothing besides a very dull, empty pain. Silence in my soul.
And then He spoke to me. First came a whisper. Three words that were stuck in my head on a repeat. Like a broken record. Getting louder and clearer. With no meaning. I followed. And with that came more words. A stranger speaking a message from Him. A stranger that said words she could not possibly come up with on her own. She didn’t know me how could have she known about me. And another stranger. And then a paper sign. And another stranger who used the same exact words that the first one did. Neither knowing what they just said to me. Neither knowing that God used them to speak to me. I was silent, He was loud.
I listened. I understood.
I know that no matter what the next two years will bring I will look back to these very few weeks and know that this is when a profound change happened in me. My strength was restored. Faith once again filled my heart. The giggly sound came out.
I haven’t felt this joy in over two years. I haven’t … but from now on I will.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Itchy hands

No, my dear readers, I do not have any type of allergic reaction or dry skin on my hands. The itchy feeling is much more advanced. It's coming from deep inside. I'm itching to touch some paint, and paper, and wood, and oh my goodness it's almost impossible to breath when that happens. I NEED to create. Now would be awesome... End of the working day please come soon. And my sweet working day - please don't push miss inspiration out of my heart today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I felt a profound shift inside of me

‘ I felt a profound shift inside of me.’ are the words copied straight form Naz Laila’s blog post which she said was inspired by a comment I made about my latest’s visit with my doctor. Something changed within me that day and Naz put it in perfect words. A profound shift.
Call me shallow – so many already did – but while my body was changing and my face was becoming almost unrecognizable I started feeling like I’ve lost it all. I never knew how much of who I was was dependable on the way I looked liked until now. Not what I did, not what I wore but what I looked like. My face. I used to start my days with a long stare at the mirror. When sad, I made silly faces at myself, when scared or defeated, I practiced a strong mile. I looked at my face while practicing English words and trying not to rrrrroll the ‘rrrrs’. I never left the house without blinking an eye to myself and saying ‘make this day count’. The reflection of my face, the strong, determined look in my eyes, and a sneaky, courageous smile became my daily inspiration. It’s what kept me strong, undefeatable, and confident. The daily pep talk I received from my face was what helped me with every step I took in my life. And then all the sudden it was gone. My face slowly started looking different and I stopped looking at it. The girl looking back at me wasn’t me any longer. I panicked. I had nothing to carry me on. I had no one to tell me to go on. I didn’t want to listen to God, my friends, my family. I didn’t want to hear that I was still the same person when I could SEE I was not.

Fear. Shyness. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Self-Doubt. Weakness. That was new me. Too shy to speak up. Too scared to take a step forward. To doubtful to believe and trust again. To weak to keep going. Broken.
The shift inside of me happened so unexpectedly. It was just a casual visit with my doctor. No change was good news. New treatment was discussed. So much trust was given to his words. The medications were discussed. Best wishes for New Year were exchanged. Hellos and goodbyes were said. Before the last goodbye the new step was added to so well known routine. The pictures of my face had to be taken. Fear. Anxiety. Tears. Deep breath. I knew I needed to ease the pain. I asked for a make up and hair artist, asked whether we could play with the light. The nurse laughed. Deep breath. The anxiety settled down a bit. The nurse promised not to sell the images to US Weekly. Deep breath. Please keep talking to me, tell me about your job, how was your weekend, what did you eat for breakfast. Deep breath. The anxiety is still here. I can persevere. Deep breath. Please don’t make me look. Tears.

Who is that in the pictures? I felt the nurse hand me a tissue. The tears made my vision blurry. Close your eyes. Deep breath. Say it. I know you can. It’s not the face that kept you strong, it’s your soul. Say it. Say it at loud. As loud as you need to. Listen and hear. Say it. ‘You are strong’ the whisper broke. Louder ‘You are strong’. The shift happened.

Stare. This time I spoke to my face. I blinked my eye. I smiled. I said what I had to say. I left with ‘keep your chin up’. I left smiling. Proud. Strong. The courage started to come back. I didn’t need my face any longer. I recovered my soul. I let go.
In one year my face changed and with
the change something broke in me
 Today marks a week since that visit. And for the first time in months I walked into my studio with a desire to create. Not to decorate it, not to refurbish another piece of furniture, not to sit in my chair and observe the sunrise. Deep, almost painful desire to create. I gave in. No anxiety. No fear. No criticism. No self-doubt.

Let go and your soul will bloom. I blinked my eye and said ‘you go girl!’ A tiny pep talk. 

Let go and your soul will bloom.