Saturday, September 29, 2012

Never Promise an Outcome You Cannot Control

What a day.  I have started this post over and over and have gotten nowhere.  I just don't feel ok today.  I went to a funeral and it hit way too close to home and now I am not ok.  Death is such a hard thing for me but so is living sometimes.  I can't imagine what our lives would be like if Matt had not survived the stroke.  I know it seems redundant to talk about it but it is something that we deal with everyday and sometimes I just have to write it out.  My friend lost her husband very suddenly and I happened upon the scene the morning it happened just after his body had been removed.  I had no idea it had happened and I had an appointment at her house.  I felt horrible when I showed up and realized what had just happened.  I just hugged her and then told her "nothing I say can make this ok.  I'm so sorry."  I wasn't going to try and comfort her because I know first hand that in a situation like that comfort cannot be found.  It isn't until later when the storm has passed that you can find comfort and it often comes in the weirdest places.  I have found personally it hardly ever comes from what people say to you.  People can say the stupidest things when you are grieving.  When Matt had the stroke and people came to the hospital, I appreciated it so much when they didn't try to make sense of what was happening or assure me that God loved us and this happened for a reason.  None of that helps in the beginning.  The truth is that I knew all of that already.  I knew that God was with us that day.  I see the moments where he led and guided us in getting him to the hospital and in making the decisions that had to be made.  I knew that there was a reason that all of it was happening but in that situation I was completely in shock.  I remember while Matt was in surgery the feelings of terror, grief, sadness, comfort, calm and love that all come with something that traumatic. I sat for 7 hours and thought of every possible outcome for the situation that we were in.  I felt the spirit prepare me for the possibility that Matt may not survive.  I told my Dad during those hours that I really wasn't sure if Matt would survive and he told me we weren't going to think about that.  I am grateful that he was strong but in that moment it was impossible not to think about it.  I had just watched Matt begin to die in front of my eyes.  I had watched everything that happened from the first moments of the stroke until they put him in that helicopter and knew that there was a good chance he wouldn't make it.  I asked the doctor in Tooele to be straight with me as they were prepping him for the helicopter ride.  I said out loud, "can he die from this?" and her answer was "there is a chance, yes."  I looked at her and concentrated on breathing in and out as a million things ran through my head.  I stopped them as they were rolling him out of the door and asked if I could have a moment with him.  The paramedic said "yes but quickly."  I leaned over and kissed his face and said "Don't you die.  I love you and don't you dare die."  Then they took him from me.  I got to the University hospital after a 45 minute ride in the car and they took me to the surgery waiting room.  The nurse came and talked to me. She told me what the hospital policies were and that if needed I would have time to say goodbye and that even though they don't usually allow children into the ICU they would let me know if I needed to bring them to say goodbye to their dad. I had promised them that Matt would be ok when they left for school.  They had wanted to go to the hospital with me and I said no and that we would be home before they got back from school.  I learned a valuable lesson that day.  I learned never to promise an outcome that you cannot control.  Everyday since that day I have been surrounded by circumstances that I cannot control and have relived all of it over and over. I'm haunted and it's horrific and I'm sure people are so tired of it.  I'm sure they want me to "get over it" but I don't know how.  I don't know how to curb the fear and the hurt.  I worry every time he forgets what we have just talked about.  I panic every time he gets a headache.  I cry often when he leaves for work.  I have to pull myself out of this at some point but there is that constant fear of another stroke.  I start counseling soon and I know it is something that should have started while Matt was in the hospital but I was too busy being strong for everyone around me, especially him.  I am having trouble being strong now.  My strength is gone and I'm tired.  I am so thankful for the tender mercies that we experience and the time that we have been given. Now I just need to find a way to move forward.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Yesterday was quite the day. I was down alot. Nora didn't feel good and stayed home from school so Naomi had her playmate all morning. Matt came home in the afternoon to take over the chaos while I took Ivan to the psychiatrist. We've been struggling a lot lately with his behavior. His medication doesn't seem to be working. Fortunately he was in true form last night and so the psychiatrist got too see exactly what we deal with daily. He could tell I was having a hard time and was very supportive. We are adding another medication to Ivan's regimen and I'm praying it will help. They also want some neuro testing done. He wants to find out if we are really dealing with bipolar disorder or if it's a form of autism. Either way I worry for my little man and pray for more patience to help him through this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wanting Better

This weekend has been crazy. The kids have been so hard and I really don't understand what has triggered it all. Ivan and Nora have been at each others throats and this anxiety ridden mother just wants to hear them play and giggle. I managed to escape on Saturday thanks to my wonderful husband who is always thinking of me. I went shoe shopping with Emily and then dragged her to a couple of tattoo parlors trying to find someone who could ink me. :)
I have been totally consumed by a blogg that I came across on facebook. I have spent many afternoons curled up on the couch reading about a little rockstar named ronan who fought so hard against neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer but did not survive. It has made national news and it has struck a huge chord with me. I went and had a purple star tattooed on my foot in honor of this little rockstar and for the other babies out there battling childhood cancer. I read this blogg and it makes me want to work harder at being a wonderful mother but I don't feel wonderful at all. Since Matt had his stroke I have slowly been getting crazier and crazier. It doesn't help that my jumping off point was certifiable anyway. I hate that I am needing more anxiety medication than ever and that I get so angry at my children. I'm lucky to have them alive and healthy and I don't want to take that for granted. That being said, the stress of our situation has opened the door to feelings I thought I had hidden. Matt having a stroke was one of those definitive moments in life. It changed us forever. I know we will be happy again and that the caution and fear will fade but in the meantime I'm holding on by my thumbs and a lifeline would be awesome. I am trying so hard to love my kids just a little bit more, hug them a little but tighter and smile whenever possible. This is a lesson I have been taught by a little rockstar named ronan. Although the days are hard and I usually spend them barking at the kids for one reason or another, I know somehow they will get better, even if it takes a little more anxiety medication for now.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Oh thank goodness for my husband.  Matthew is just amazing.  He is bathing all of the kids while I destress here at the computer.  Blogging is a good release for me.  I am totally at a loss in my life lately.  I am so beaten down that my very soul is tired.  If I could stay in bed, cover myself and hide I would.  Thank goodness for a wonderful husband and xanax.  I keep telling myself that things will get better but I have been telling myself that for 4 years now and it's getting hard to keep my head above water.  If anyone doesn't want to hear me throw myself a pity party then stop reading now because HERE IT GOES!!

If there was a way to stop breathing right now, just will myself to cease to exist I think I would honestly do it.  I finally admitted to Matt tonight that things have gotten so bad that I have been having thoughts about cutting myself. I used to be a cutter when I was a teenager and I know to most of you it makes no sense but there is a relief that comes from having something physical to show for the hurt that is inside.  It's amazing how stress can actually become a physical ache.  It builds and builds inside you until there has to be some physical manifestation or outlet. I wish I were a runner. I have been reading the blog of an amazing woman who suffered immense pain and stress and she just pounded the pavement.  She described it in such a way that I just wanted to put on my shoes and run out the door.  Problem is I'm not sure I'd come back and because of fibromyalgia I wouldn't make it a block before I was out for the count.  People with fibromyalgia do it however, it's something you have to work up to and I am seriously considering it.  Of course I would have to start with walking and go from there but I have to do something to get rid of the near constant adrenaline that I am pumping out. 
It's been 6 months since Matt came home from his month long stay in intensive care after his stroke and you would think that things would be great.  Truth is certain things are.  There are parts of our lives that have fallen into place perfectly and I am so grateful for those things because there are so many parts that haven't.  Tonight my car broke down while I was trying to get dinner for the family.  It was the most desperate feeling because it was the the final blow.  I feel like a prize fighter that has been in the ring for 4 years.  I just keep taking the hits and getting back up but I don't want to get up anymore.  I'm so tired.  I'm just so tired.  There is no money to fix the car and so the kids and I will be doing our traveling on foot.  This is fine for the most part because we live in a small town and the school is very close but I cannot walk to magna to get our food order that we have had to get for three months in a row because our food stamps were cut off because of a glitch in the system.  Did I mention that I'm tired?  Between the ever piling medical bills, the constant fighting from the kids, the upkeep of the house and the stupid little details that need to be taken care of everyday I am nearly non-functional.  I do not function well in a messy or cluttered house and no matter what I do as of late, there seems to be clutter everywhere.  Did I mention that I'm tired?  So there is my pity party, and honestly I will probably stomp up and down a couple of times just to make my tantrum complete.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Catching Up!

This weekend proved to be a good one even though we started out exhausted. Friday night I could not sleep. It was three thirty in the morning before we finally went to sleep. Saturday morning Matt was wonderful and let me sleep in. I slept until 11am and It was wonderful. After that we headed out to a day of fun with some of our good friends. We went on a double date, we had dinner and went to a movie with no kids and it was great! "K" and "E" have been great to hang out with. They are amazing people! We joke about buying one big house and all living there so we can help each other with kids! Lol.
Today my awesome friend Michelle stopped by to visit and we had a great time! We used to live next door to Michelle and often times I wish we still did. Matt's sister spent the night with us here at the house, we spent time doing her nails and playing with my new POSH products! We had a great time. It was fun to spend the weekend catching up with great friends and family!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Better Day

                          (Nora and Naomi, my little companions while Claire and Ivan are at school)

Today was a good day for me. We did a few things that were out of our ordinary and it really helped. There were a few rough patches but I would count today as a success.  Nora had a hard time going to school again and I felt horrible sending her out the door in tears again but I'm not sure what else to do.  Deep down I want to take her out of kindergarten and keep her home with me.  We are finally back to the way things used to be for her and me.  We used to send Claire and Ivan off to school and then she and Naomi and I would spend the morning together, relaxing and watching cartoons before we ventured out for the day.  Nora and I have always been really close.  I have a special relationship with each of my children and each relationship is vastly different.  Nora latched on to me from birth and hasn't let go since.  She used to cry when anyone else held her, even Matt.  She is still as moody as she was when she was a baby but it's part of her charm (most of the time).  I love that she wants to be with me, she's my little companion but it has become increasingly hard for her to leave my side and it's time for her to venture out of the nest now and then.  As I said before, I would really like to take her out and wait another year to put her in school.  She went to preschool last year and she loved it.  She has been asking and asking if she can go back to her preschool and I'm not sure that is a bad idea.  I talked with her preschool teacher and she agreed that it might be a good idea.  She was Nora's teacher during the time that Matt had the stroke and she was so patient and loving with her.  She understood that there was no structure to our lives and the only constant was that Daddy was in the hospital again.  I talked with her kindergarten teacher (whom Nora loves) and she said that it will get better.  With contrasting advice I have to leave it up to mother's instinct and prayer, so I will be searching for the answer for the next week and we will keep trying kindergarten to see if we can make it happen.  When she got to school with Claire this morning she was so scared about going to class that she wet her pants.  Claire called me and I went over to the school to take her a change of clothing and get her through breakfast and into class.  The minute that she saw me she of course asked if she could go home.  Everything in my mommy heart screamed "yes!" because I could see how scared she was but I knew that I couldn't show her how scared I was for her and I had to just say "No, you have to go to kindergarten."  Naomi and I stayed with her while she ate her breakfast and then it was time to get to class.  Nora took her tray to the kitchen and immediately began to cry.  I literally had to pull her down the hall to her class.  I knew that once we got there that Ms. M would be helpful in talking her into starting the day but to my dismay, Ms. M was not there but a substitute instead.  I almost turned right around and took her home but I gutted it out and took her over to get in line to wash her hands and hang her backpack.  She was sobbing the whole time and I was so mad at myself for forcing this on her.  I told her I would stay until she had washed her hands and so I watched from the classroom door.  I could tell that the substitute was trying to console her but Nora kept looking for me so I finally decided that it would be best if I left.  I went in and gave her a kiss and told her I would see her soon and I turned and left.  It was so hard.  When I went to pick her up however there was the smile that she usually has at the end of the 3 hours.  I think if we can just get her used to leaving me in the morning we will be good to go.  It's the initial separation that scares her.  So that part of the day was very hard.  After I picked her up I had several errands to run and we made a good time of it.  We went to the dollar store to get envelopes and came out with a bag full of goodies.  Taking a little girl to the makeup isle in the dollar store is asking for trouble :).  We picked up a dollar hamburger for lunch and set out to finish our errands with our Mastiff "Bruiser" in tow.  He loves to ride in the car and Nora likes to see him when we pick her up.  One of our stops was paying the electric bill and the pay station happens to be in a candy store on Main Street.  We had never been into "Sweet Lizzie's" before and I wanted one of everything in there.  We will definitely be visiting there again!  It was nice to have our little adventures together and I am excited to take more afternoon with the girls.  I am going to try to take little daily adventures with them.  It keeps me out of my head.  When we came home I rocked Naomi to sleep and sat down to read.  I spent the afternoon reading the blog that I have been addicted to called "Rockstar Ronan"  It has me wanting to look into spreading awareness for childhood cancer.  I wouldn't even know where to begin so I am going to contact the mother that writes this blog and ask her what I can do.  My plate is full but there are so many things that I can scrape off so that I can help others.  If you have time check out  The Ronan Thomas Foundation at and if you have the means, donate to this cause.  You can also check out the blog that his mother has put together, it's incredible.  She is a fighter and one hell of a mother.  Reading her blog has made me want to be a better mother. After pulling myself away from Ronan's blog I made Mexican Lasagne for dinner which of course made me miss my girl from AZ, Mills I miss you!  She taught me everything I need to know about mexican lasagne and the secret to amazing chocolate chip cookies! I also have to give a shout out to my friends that came to visit tonight, E and K you are super awesome friends and I love that we can all hang out and my husband doesn't scare you away! I think the only thing that would make this day better is some peanut M&M's and I am just crazy enough that I may head out for some!  So as I said, today was a better day and I am grateful for it.  I would love to feel like we are on our way out of the land of stroke recover and into the land of family and fun and friends and peace.

Getting To Know Me

What an emotional to days it has been. There has been a lot of self examination and I am getting to know this person I am evolving into. Last week was so hard and I knew that things were getting bad as far as depression goes for me. I was just not up to another week like the one before and so I had pretty much decided I was just going to stop breathing. Let me tell you how well that I cannot say that this week has been easy but so far the breathing in and out part has continued and...drumroll please!! I have gotten dressed everyday! You know I am not doing well when simple things like showering or dressing for the day become insurmountable tasks for me. So each day that I have gotten dressed I've said a big old fat "good for you!" to myself. I'm not sure what the change has been. I am not in pain this week like I was last week. Don't get me wrong, there is always. Certain amount of pain, the only way to be pain free with fibromyalgia is to be so drugged that all you want to do is sleep. The pain this week however is not the kin of pain that tricks you into thinking it will be this bad forever. That's the thing about pain, it's sneaky. It not only hurts your body but it hurts your soul. It's so easy to think "I will feel like this forever" and then every time you come through the flare up you say "next time I will remember that it won't last forever" but guess don't remember. That is why pain is such a sneaky little devil, it consumes you wether you realize it or not. I am grateful that this week is better and I push through the pain when I can and when I can't I say "screw you" to mr. pain and curl up with a good book. This week I have been glued to a blog called "Rockstar Ronan." google it, I promise you will laugh, cry and wan to make a difference. It's been nice to get outside of my own head and into the head of someone else who fought a battle of her own. I've realized that being strong is so much more than I thought it was and it's so much simpler than I thought. Being strong means being real and honest. It means standing up for yourself when the chips are down an not apologizing for your feelings but owning them instead. To this beautiful blogging mother I have to say "Maya, thank you for the lessons you are teaching me. I was a little more patient with my little ones today and it was because I was thinking of you, your family and especially your angel baby Ronan." it's amazing what strength we can learn from others trials. In talking to a good friend tonight I expressed that I do not see myself as a strong person and she said "it's because you don't know you yet."  Emily your words made me excited to get to know me, perhaps I am more than I think of me. I am thankful for your insight and your funny ways.

Well, I better crash tonight so I don't tomorrow, I have been staying up way past my bedtime and it shows!!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Today we went to the University of Utah hospital for a three month check up with Matt's stroke rehab doctor.  We have been very blessed to have this particular doctor a part of Matt's care.  Dr. Edgley grew up with Matt's cousin and served in the MTC as a companion to my brother.  The funny part about all of this is that we had no idea that we were connected in these ways until after Matt began receiving care from him in the hospital.  Dr. Edgley has had a stroke himself and although I am sad that he and his family had to go through this ordeal, it is comforting to get first hand information from a doctor that has not only studied what he is practicing but has actually experienced it.  Matt is officially 7 months out from having a major stroke and we have been blessed exponentially.  This is not to say that it has not been painstakingly hard and at moments terrifying.  Even 7 months after the ordeal I notice my heart race every time he leaves the house, even if it is only to go down the street to the store.  Having Matt go back to work was a huge step in his recovery.  I was so proud of him when he returned part time but I was scared.  I would quietly pray for the 45 minutes he took to get to work and then I would call to make sure he had gotten there safe.  Past experience and 4 accidents have made me a little paranoid but his driving has been good thus far.  While he was working part time it was a great comfort to have him home in the afternoon.  I was not ready to have him away from me for long and 4 hours a day proved to be enough without driving me crazy.  Months later he has returned full time and although this is a huge blessing as I have said, it is also a big change for me.  It is not one that I have made graciously.  The days are long and lonely and often filled with anxiety.  I wake up in a panic most days and I cannot seem to pinpoint exactly why.  Today as I slept I had such a vivid dream of Matt getting a CT scan and waiting for the results to let us know if the cauterization of the burst artery had held and healed.  When Matt actually woke me up to go to the appointment I had to ask him if the scan was actually a part of the appointment or only something that I had dreamed.  I was not surprised to learn that I had only dreamed it but I was surprised at how real it felt.  Matt said "At least you dream of things that actually happen in our lives" and we both quickly shook our heads and almost simultaneously said "I guess that's not good."  You see I never get a break from my seemingly constant vigil.  I do not mind taking care of my husband and I wouldn't trade a thing that has happened to us because along with these trials have come incredible lessons and blessings that we could not have had otherwise but it has left me a bit broken.  I watch just that much more carefully as my children play, fearing that God forbid they should hit their heads.  I am constantly looking for signs of Matt's progression and even his regression.  It is a tiring way to live life and I wish that it was possible to just calm down.  I voiced this to a good friend and she said "not with everything you guys have been through lately."  Matt having this stroke opened my eyes to a world that I had feared but never actually imagined we would enter.  I have always wanted a family, ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a wife and a mother but I have known from a young age that losing a husband or a child was not something that I could live through.  I wish I could say that I would have the faith to just keep going but in truth, watching Matt nearly die on March 2, 2012 has left me more broken than I ever thought I would be and it is so hard to just keep going.  Watching them strip him of his clothing and struggle to intubate while administering CPR is an moment in my life that will always bring with it the wash of terror that I felt that day.  I am certain that with Gods infinite atonement I can heal and carry on but right now, right here, in this moment I am hurting.  Most days it is all I can do to get out of bed and get the kids off to school before finding my way to the couch and staying there for an hour or more while Naomi watches cartoons and plays with toys.  Right now all I find myself wanting to do is sleep and the house is so empty with Matt and the kids gone.  There are too many quiet moments in the day and in those quiet moments fear creeps in.  With Matt home today things were different.  Although I did go back to bed and sleep until noon while he watched the girls, I was able to function the rest of the day without fear.  There was that solid comfort that he was here and he was safe.  If anyone had told me 11 years ago when I married Matt that he would become not only my eternal companion but my hero as well I don't know if I would have believed them.  I have a large amount of fear that he will be taken early from me on this earth.  I feel like I have been chasing off death for 4 years now and it's exhausting but so far the 11 years that we have had have not only held these challenges, they have held the best and most unforgettable moments of my life.  My heart is filled with pictures it has taken over the years and most of them include Matt.  He has been a pillar of strength for me and for our children, even through all of this.  He has been my comfort even on days when he felt his worst.  If anyone could have told me how incredible my love for this man would become I would have married him sooner.  I am grateful that he is patient with me as I try to rebuild and I am amazed at the love the Savior has shown me by providing the way for us to be an eternal family. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Welcome To My Silly Life" - P!nk

Today I am full.  I am emotionally full and it's spilling out and so I write.  Writing is so therapeutic for me.  I know my posts aren't very happy a lot of the time but my posts are a direct reflection of what is happening inside me and inside our little family.  So in the words of one of my favorite artists "Welcome to my silly life."
The kids are fighting today, we've been home all of thirty minutes and it's our own Vietnam in here.  It's so hard on me when they fight, it fills me with anxiety and no amount of coaching, begging, praying or pleading makes them stop.  I'm sure that they feel the stress that I carry and I wish there was a practical way for me to de-stress.  There are so many things going on inside this soul that I am emotionally spent.  There are so many things that we have been blessed with but sometimes the weight of the world smashes those blessings.  The truth is I feel like nothing.  I feel like my existence is non-essential.  I feel like this and then I think, if I'm not here who will take care of the constant stream of stress that is flowing into our lives.  We are all at maximum capacity and it just keeps coming.  It's hard to put it in the Lord's hands sometimes.  So often I wonder how in the world will this all be okay?  It fills my mind all day everyday and at night it manifests itself in nightmares.  I have to answer for so many things that are out of my control.  I don't answer the phone anymore because it's a constant reminder that we are still in the land of recovery.  Matt is doing really well which is the one blessings that we never lose sight of.  The only problem with that is everyone sees how well he is doing and assume that we are over the hump of this trial.  Truth is, we are only half way up the hill and the other side is not yet in sight.  Everyday there are more bills for Matt's stay at the U of U.  "Thank you for your visit!" they say, like we were on some sort of sick vacation.  One of the grand totals for his stay was $187,281, how will we ever recover from something like that?  This bill is more than any of the houses we have ever lived in.  This is where the desperation comes in because this bill is not the only one, they flow in on that steady stream of stress.  I'm am desperately clinging to anything that might make us some extra money.  I make plans and the Lord sends me in a different direction.  I am grateful for this guidance and I wish I had the faith to just follow without feeling so desperate.  Onlookers make comments about me working full time, they somehow miss the part where raising 4 children is a full time job.  I'm not going to put my children in any one's hands.  I am here to bandage the wounds that they have from what has happened to our little family and anyone who thinks that they are not wounded is a fool.  There was a time when I would call my person and feel like there was someone there to help carry this weight but that person is gone.  So not only am I mourning the loss of everything we had built, I am mourning the loss of my closest friend who had become family to me.  This is where the emotions get put away like pennies in a jar and they fill and overflow.  This is where days like this come from and "it's such a tired game."