Archive for September, 2009

I’m Permanent

September 28, 2009

So, Reality….. it’s been awhile since you and I have met in the ring for a match. I have to say it’s been interesting watching how our battles have grown, strategies changed, fighting styles matured even. And sometimes when you think I’m not looking, you try to throw a left hook in there to knock me off my feet. But what you keep forgetting is how my fighting style has changed, has grown, has matured. And you also seem to forget that I have one hell of a spinning back kick that has the force to break ribs (and has broken many boards in my lifetime!)

When we first started this little sparring match, I came out swinging with everything I had in me. I won a few rounds, and lost a few. I will say, I had some strong knockouts in my corner, but the rounds I lost were pretty brutal. Not only from a physical aspect, but an emotional one too. What I didn’t realize at first was that my wins were not enough to hold me through the losses. As I said before, in battle, the psychological warfare is just as important as the physical one. Where I once proudly wore the label of winner, I allowed you to replace it with one of damaged goods. Where I had gotten comfortable with the idea of being single, you made anger become my new companion. My hot air balloon that said I was going to be larger than life, you deflated. All of the essence that I felt made Lindsey, that defined me – you slowly took them away, one by one; leaving me empty. I needed more artillery. I needed a different strategy, my body wasn’t physically strong enough to just fight on its own like I had for all the years before with MS. A few months ago I wrote about how my strategy was changing, that I was no longer going to fight this fight by myself.  To take on me, you had to take on my army. (and need I just remind you one more time that my Dad is really not someone you want to piss off….. he was and still is one hell of a fighter and an incredible martial artist)

My new strategy was inspired by one of my martial artist heros – Bruce Lee. He was formally trained in Kung Fu, but later on developed his own “style” Jeet Kune Do, which means the way of intercepting the fist. That’s what I needed – a way to intercept your fist Reality. He felt that traditional styles of martial arts was too restrained and rigid, that the techniques were not practical for real-world street fighting. And I have to agree with him. Take for example one of the forms for Tae Kwon Do. It has me fighting off 6 attackers. But in the form, not all of the “invisible” attackers will attack at the same time, they remain stationary as you work your way through them. If I were truly in a street fight with 6 people, I guarantee you that three of them will be trying to hold me down while the others attack. (good luck with that by the way…) So, Bruce Lee developed his own philosophy that was outside the box, but better prepared his students for combat. I tried to take a similar approach, think a little outside the box, but better prepare myself for combat. That’s where I created my army of soldiers that have vowed to fight with me till the end.

And I’m proud to say that my new strategy is paying off! Today, the cardio told me he thought my heart sounded strong. That’s right, you heard me correctly Reality – STRONG! I’ll say it one more time, not weak but STRONG! In fact, he read my last echo to be 10% higher on my ejection fraction than what was previously reported. Do you know what that means???? I am safely out of the range of needing a pacemaker or defibulator in my chest. My heart is strong enough to pump/beat on its own. My heart is strong enough for me to start physically building back up my core strength. And when I do, buddy you really better watch out because the two things I want soo badly are back in my dance class and back on the mat in the dojo!

Learning to survive and adapt to this new life is my mission. Out of everything my army has given me, I feel like time is the most precious gift I can give back, and that’s just not something I’m willing to give up to you anymore Reality.

For some reason over the last couple of days, the song “Permanent” by David Cook has been playing on the playlist shuffle on my ipod. There is a line that has really stuck with me, “Will you think that you’re all alone, when no one’s there to hold your hand?”. See, that’s the point Reality. You wanted me to believe I was all alone. But I know that there isn’t a second of this fight, there isn’t a beat of my heart that goes alone. My heart would not be in the place it is today without my army.

Hope and motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s the Father that calmly prepares his daughter for the LSAT with his infinite words of wisdom or the Mother that firmly stands as that rock you can always lean on when you’re too tired to stand. Whether it’s that friend that won’t stop pushing you until you take that test or the sister that reminds you of how important you really are. Whether it’s a bite size snack that makes your sides hurt from laughing so hard or the goofiness that occurs from mixing chicken rings with Grey’s Anatomy. Whether it’s the Days of Thunder that make your heart feel alive again or an inspiring new friendship wrapped up in a Vince Dooley tie.

Not only am I not alone, Reality. I’m Permanent!

On Bruce Lee’s gravestone it says, “Your inspiration continues to guide us toward our personal liberation.” How true that is for me. Bruce also said that they key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. I’ll venture out there to say there are a handful of people who think my life is worth remembering. Again Reality, I’m Permanent! I’ll go ahead and score this fight as a win for Team Lindsey!!

Permanent by: David Cook
Is this the moment where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my broken promise that you’ll never see me cry
And everything, it will surely change
Even if I tell you I won’t go away today

Will you think that you’re all alone
When no one’s there to hold your hand?
When all you know seems so far away
And everything is temporary, rest your head
I’m permanent

I know he’s living in hell every single day
And so I ask, oh God is there some way for me to take his place?
And when they say it’s all touch and go
I wish I could make it go away but still you say

Will you think that you’re all alone
When no one’s there to hold your hand?
When all you know seems so far away
And everything is temporary, rest your head
I’m permanent, I’m permanent

Is this the moment where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my promise that you’ll never see me cry

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Realizations

September 23, 2009

Sometimes I think reality has to slap us in the face to get us to wake up. Sometimes God brings people into your life to help get you through a situation or help guide you down the path you need to go. Sometimes He puts people in our lives that challenge us to be better people. In every experience you have, with every person that enters your life – whether good or bad; you have the opportunity to learn, to grow and to be an example.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is born.” I have always said you should be careful how you treat people because you never know the demons they are facing. Some demons are bigger than others, but they all haunt you none-the-less. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds that we feel maybe crumbling apart at any minute. Or locking ourselves into that safety deposit box we conceal ourselves in from the true outside world. It’s easy to forget that there are people who are facing bigger battles than we could ever possibly imagine.

It is often safer to wrap our arms around those material things we feel can give us comfort. Or take that drink, snort, shot or puff of magical essence to take the pain away instead of turning to the one that can heal you with His touch, with His word.

2 Corinthians 4:18: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that each and every one of us are here for a purpose. It is our duty to honor that. It is our responsibility to be an example of His love and grace. Lately I have been wallowing in some self-pity. I’ve been heartbroken over a friend whose poor judgements forced me to make some tough decisions that I didn’t feel were fair. I’ve been disappointed over a friend’s unwillingness to stand up and do the right thing. I’ve been frustrated at myself for so easily passing judgements in these situations. I’ve been sad because some long, deep friendships have been dramatically hurt and I don’t know if the damage can be repaired. I’ve been consumed with secrets that are not mine to know, keep or share. I’ve been scared to reach out and grab that hand that is offering me a second chance I thought would or could never come along. I’ve been haunted by ghosts in my life. I’ve been frustrated over the lack of progress in certain areas. I have been angrily plowing my way down a path of self destruction to blow up my heart. And for what??? Because I’m bored, because I’m sad, because my feelings got hurt, because I’m scared, because I’m confused and frustrated?

NO. Because I lost focus of what is the center of my life – God. Because I stopped trusting in His plan and in His way to get me where I need to go. Because I stopped listening to His words, His advice. Because I stopped confiding myself in Him and sought other methods to ease the pain.

Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings.

Sometimes we just need a wake-up call, a slap in the face from reality to make us snap back into the world of the living. Today I got that. A friend posted a link to a blog about a couple and their struggles. He had the opportunity to meet them when they were in Hawaii. He asked all of us to read this blog, that it would challenge you. And he was right. It not only challenged me, it brought me to my knees. It was my wake up call that there are bigger demons out there people are facing and bigger battles people are fighting than what is the little life of Lindsey. But more importantly, it was such an awesome example of the peace you can find in the Lord when put face to face with death himself.

This blog is the story of Sara and Brad, their fight against her breast cancer, the surprised bundle of joy – Chloe that entered their lives unexpectedly, the example of how truly trusting in the Lord can give you the armour needed to fight any battle thrown your way. Their story is a beautiful love story and an incredible witness of God’s glory. Yesterday, Sara lost her battle here on earth with cancer.

I encourage you to please take the time to read through their blog, as Chris promised – it will challenge you. –> http://bandssullivan.blogspot.com/

In the blog, Brad (Sara’s husband) says “sometimes Jesus calms the storm and sometimes He calms the child.” There has literally been a massive storm brewing in Atlanta. Not only physically outside with all the flooding  and devastation our town has experience, but a storm brewing inside my soul. Right now, He is calming both in me – the child and the storm.

Audrey Hepburn said, “To measure the man, measure his heart.” It was inspiring to read about both Sara and Brad’s hearts. It was the wake-up call I needed. As I continue trudging down my road to recovery my prayer is that my heart will only grow stronger in the Lord, as it grows stronger medically. And when the day comes that I have reached the end of my road, my prayer is that you will be able to measure me by my heart and see through the example I lead of the mercy, glory and love that is God’s grace. In the meantime, I just pray that God will calm this storm.

Don’t wait to take your second chance – grab with both hands and hold on tight. Don’t think it is ever too late to do the right thing, to make things right. We only have this one life. The good man never said life would be easy, only that it would be worth it. Make your life worth it!

Haunted Halo??

September 15, 2009

I don’t remember what famous person said this, but someone said there is no remedy for love but to love more. Does your heart truly have the capacity to love again once it’s been shattered into a million little pieces? Even though over time wounds begin to heal and you slowly start putting the pieces of your heart back together – how do you know it’s okay to love again, to feel? How do you know it’s ready? How do you get rid of the ghosts that seem to haunt your heart?

“Remember those walls I built, well baby they’re coming down..
And they didn’t put a fight, they didn’t even make a sound
I found a way to let you in, but I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo, I got my angel now”
  (Beyonce: Halo)

How can one person have such an effect on you – without even hearing their voice or seeing their face. It’s like Mr.Sandman. He slips into your dreams at night – at the time your are the most defenseless. At a time he knows you can’t fight him off. At a time when you can’t run and hide your heart.

Do you believe in fantasies? Is it stupid to believe in them? Is it careless to think I want to put my heart back out there again, as haunted as it may be…. back out on the chopping block? Does it even have to be that way? Is it possible for the ghosts to go away and trust that your heart can feel again? And why does this sandman slip in and out of my thoughts when I least expect it?

No one has been able to penetrate this shield I have put up around my heart. Maybe that’s what’s so intriguing to me – I’m fascinated over what entity has the magic to make my guard disappear. To make my heart not scared to take a chance again. I’m captivated by the sandman that for one moment can put my ghosts to rest.

Once I let these floodgates open, it was smothering the effect that took place. Relationships I thought were lost forever began to heal, memories that had burned for so long were extinguished with the words “I’m sorry…..”.

Somewhere in the space between “no” and “yes” is this sea of mystery and intrigue that Mr.Sandman keeps pulling me deeper and deeper into. If dreams really are the insight into your soul, then what is it that Mr.Sandman is trying to tell me? So… I guess the real question is how do I play this chess game? Do I take that chance and move my knight into place, or do I wait for Mr.Sandman to finally show his face? There’s a part of me that wants to reach out and grab his hand, but then I wake up…. Could it be that Mr.Sandman is my angel, or will I forever have a haunted halo?????

I want my heart to be free, I don’t want it haunted anymore…..

Meet Me in the Stairwell

September 11, 2009

The words below were copied from an email that has circulated the internet surrounding the anniversary of 9/11. To all of the men and women who lost their lives that day, you will never be forgotten in the hearts of every American. To all of the men and women who have lost their lives since then fighting this war and the ones that are risking their lives everyday for us, you are heros beyond what words can describe. You have a strength, resolve and courage that I can only hope to muster up in my life. And I hope you know, I thank God for each and everyone of you for the incredible sacrifices you have made and are making for my freedom. That will also never be forgotten. Even if you’ve read the email, watch the you-tube video at the end. It’s beautiful. God Bless America!

‘MEET ME IN THE STAIRWELL’

You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say ‘Good-Bye.’ I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, ‘Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.’

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn’t coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. ‘I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!’ I said.
‘Of course I will show you the way home – only
believe in Me now.’

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan .
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name – though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn’t hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; ‘Come to Me… this way… take
my hand.’ Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do.. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you . But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
‘ready to go.’

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

God

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzg1qL6b4uk

Operation: Blow Up Heart!!

September 8, 2009

Everyone has a little bit of a rebel in them, right? Everyone likes to push the limits every now and then to see how far they can go or how much they can get away with. I think that over the last couple of weeks I was on a mission – I called it Operation Blow Up My Heart. Now don’t take this the wrong way, this was by no means some type of suicide mission. This was me just trying to see how far I could push things.

My life is operated around all of these rules and restrictions I have to abide by. I can’t just eat whatever I want. Not because I’m worried about gaining weight, I’m worried about the impact on my heart. My freestyle life as I knew changed when I was 20 and diagnosed with MS. Over the years, I figured out my boundaries and how close I could get to those electric fences before I got shocked. And for the most part, I could operate as freely as I wanted to….. Then last December my freestyle life as I knew came to a complete halt. At the beginning it was simply trying to adjust to every punch and stone being thrown at me. Then it was following those rules, regulations, restrictions as closely disciplined as if I were in the military. I changed my strategy to being a little more lenient, so I could have a “little fun” and tested the waters that way. Throughout all of this, we saw my heart improve, get worse, get a little better, take a serious dive south, then start to jump back up. I tried things my doctor’s way, and they didn’t exactly work. I tried things my way, and they didn’t exactly work. I needed to find a new ground. I needed to shake things up a little bit!! I needed to find a little spice!!

You know those commercials where someone is trying to make a decision and you have the angel on one shoulder telling you to be good and the devil on the other shoulder telling you to be bad. Well, I put that bandana around my head, ripped holes in my jeans, hopped on a Harley and decide to defy everything!! (Okay, not really, I’m actually scared of motorcycles…. but you get the point). I decided to be a rebel. To just do, eat, drink, act however I wanted to; despite what my doctors orders were. I wanted to see just how far I could push this heart. I wanted to see what my limits were. I was TIRED of being scared of everything that “could” go wrong….. I wanted to see if we could blow up my heart!

I’m sure if my doctor is reading this then he’ll have a heart attack himself. I’m a firm believer that you have to take responsibility for your actions. I’m an adult, I knew what I was doing and trust me, I paid for my rebellious stage! I was pretty much bedridden, not able to breathe or move for about three days.

But my mission was successful. If you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never learn. And if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’ll never grow in this life. I write this particular blog not to scare people. But so that you understand I am human too. I get angry. I get scared. I want to push the limits and see what I can and can’t get away with. That no matter if it’s MS or Heart Failure, you don’t wake up everyday as a fighter and that health advocate that does the right thing. Its a conscious choice I have to make, everyday. And somedays, I chose to be a rebel.

So….. why do I feel my mission was successful? Well, I have a new found desire to be that health advocate for myself. It’s like the person who diets all the time and just wants to eat a piece of chocolate cake every now and then. I know more of what my limits and boundaries are, not that I need or should push myself there all the time. But it helped take away some of my fear of “what could happen if….”. (I still have this with many aspects of my heart, but we were able to knock a few off the list). And lastly, as long as there is ORANGE blood running through these veins, there isn’t anything that will kill this heart!!!

All We Need is Just a Little Patience

September 1, 2009

I’ve said over and over on this blog that patience is a virtue I just wasn’t born with. But when I look back over this last year and chapter of my life, I feel this is also one of the biggest lessons I have been taught…. have tried to learn…. have seen that I need more than anything. Am still working on…..

But today, we have no patience, we just need to vent!

Said, woman, take it slow
It’ll work itself out fine
All we need is just a little patience
(Guns’N’Roses: Patience)

I have tried to patiently wait for my heart to heal itself medically. I get that my heart didn’t fail overnight and it won’t get better overnight. Maybe my patience is running thin on the small improvements, I need to see something bigger. And now I am supposed to be patient while we figure out if some suit did put a price tag on my heart? How do I have patience for that, why should I have patience for that? Maybe I’m tired of having patience with this. If you screwed up my heart, you don’t deserve my patience. And now you want to throw in my face that “It was just understood that heart failure was a serious possibility by taking this drug”, so this is actually my fault? You are one insane lady if you think I will have any patience for that load of bullshit!

I have patiently waited for the time to come when I can get back into my dance class. I don’t know how much more patience I can have with this one, I need to dance like I need to breathe. I have accepted that there are certain activities I will never be able to do again, or even try for the first time. But I can’t sit here and patiently wait as the last bit of happiness in my life gets stripped away….. Maybe I’m just tired of having patience with this.

For 12 years I have patiently waited for a cure for MS. For the longest time I was told there would be a cure by the time I was 30. Just turned the dial to 32 this year, and nothing. We have stronger medicines, but nothing that can just wipe this out for me. Nothing that can take away my worry of waking up tomorrow and not being able to walk.  Nothing that can wipe away the seizures. Nothing that can give me the peace of mind that one day I won’t need someone to take care of me. And there is amazing research out there – medicines and procedures that could get us a lot closer to where we need to be. But there is too much political bullshit holding this progress back. And I have patiently waited 12 years. I get there are people who have lived with this disease for 25 years. But at the current moment, I am walking like a drunk person thanks to MS, hooked up to an IV that is supposed to make me better and dealing with the realization that this may be my life, alone. And I guess my patience has just run out here too.

I waited patiently for my broken heart to mend itself with time. And just when you think it’s all over, everything is in the past you get a rude little email to remind you of just how bad it hurt. I patiently went thru all the grieving stages, and I’m done with it. I guess my patience has just run out here. I’ve been waiting patiently for the time to come that I was ready to venture back out into the dating world. Only it seems everytime I dip my toe in that pool, I get burned.

“If I lay here, if I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world….”
(Snow Patrol: Chasing Cars)

I’ve waited patiently for someone to chase cars with me…. Maybe my patience is wasted in this arena. Maybe I had that one shot at love with someone who could look into my heart and see me, see past the MS and see me, see past the heart failure and see me, see past the sickness and see me – someone to just forget the world with me. Maybe I’m stupid for patiently waiting that someone could come around again. Because right now, I honestly don’t think he is.

“Said, woman, take it slow
And things will be just fine
You and I’ll just use a little patience
Said, sugar, take the time
‘Cause the lights are shining bright

I been walkin’ the streets at night
Just tryin’ to get it right
hard to see with so many around
You know I don’t like
Being stuck in the crowd
And the street don’t change
But baby the name
I ain’t got time for the game”
(GNR: Patience)

I have patiently waited to see some vision, some sign of what direction I am supposed to go in this life. I have a road tattooed on my back (mixed in with a bigger tattoo) that is symbolic of this journey I have yet to travel in this life. Maybe my patience has run out on trying to figure this out. Why can’t a big piece of the sky just fall and hit me in the head with the road map for my life?

I know at the end of the day I need to just trust God and be patient in Him. But today has just been one of those days that I needed to vent, and my patience has run out…..