And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

Dreams of Rocking Chairs and Gray Hairs

It is pretty rare for a movie to hold my attention from beginning to end and actually have characters that I relate to on a personal level. This is especially true after the past year of dealing with this illness and growing to detest most of television and movies after spending hour upon countless hour too sick to do anything other than half watch the glowing box of mind numbing pointlessness. So when I write that I watched a movie today from beginning to end, and even paused it when I needed to answer the phone or force myself to drink something, that is saying something very powerful about the movie. I watched "The Cake Eaters", a movie I had never heard of before comng across it on Showtime. It is about a teenage girl with Friedreich's Ataxia, which they portray as a terminal illness. She is basically used as a tool for her mother (who can not see her as anything more than her disease) to gain attention as an artist, she is an outsider because to her healthy peers she is a "freak", and she wants to find someone to have sex with her before she dies because she is certain no one could ever love her. I am doing the movie an injustice in condensing it this way, but trying to summarize the emotional plot is difficult. I could completely relate to the girl in the movie because I have felt my entire life like "an other", and for years like I was somehow "less than" because I was born with a body that did not work according to factory specifications. I remember those years as a teenager wanting desperately and working so hard to hide the differences, the toll it took fighting to not allow anyone to see more of the monsters in my life than was absolutely mandatory. I have also felt like at times people have used me as a prop to garnish attention for themselves or been unable to see me as anything other than my disability. That feeling of exploitation, of being made inhuman and into nothing more than a diagnosis is something you never forget and that you rage against even if you rage silently inside. Most of all I related to her fears of never knowing love and not having enough time in life. I am all too aware that it is going to require someone beyond the definition of incredible to be willing to risk loving me, to see beyond all of the brokenness to see the whole person that I am beneath the surface, and to choose to enter the chaos that is my life. Whether or not such a creature exists is a puzzle to me.
Yet my biggest relation to the film was the sense of urgency, the sense of needing to live now because time seemed to be so elusive and so flimsy, like a vapor fading in the sunrise. I have a relatively creative and imaginative spirit, and I can see the possibilities where others see only the impossible. So it has always been frightening to me that in my own life I am unable to imagine myself growing old. I want to imagine it, I want to spread out my life like a time line and laugh at the little old lady with gray curly hair sitting in her rocking chair but I don't see her. When I think of my life and imagine it, when I dream of the future, it all becomes a haze around middle age and I can go no further. It is truly impossible for me to imagine growing old. This creates a sense of urgency in my own life, the need to live in every moment and to not waste this gift of life on the inconsequential things because I too can not sense a life that stretches into enough tomorrows to feel comfortable. I probably sound morbid and overly dramatic, like I am trying to work this thing for all I can, but anyone who knows me knows that I very rarely reveal anything other than the lighter side of this journey. I protect those that I love from the harder aspects, from the monsters that sometimes torment me at night and the harsh realities that have settled into the core of my being years and years ago. I don't waste time feeling sorry for myself too often because that is time I can not get back, and that time is a precious commodity. I am just processing all of these thoughts and emotions that arose from this amazing movie and seeing so much of what I have experienced - in terms of emotions and such- portrayed so incredibly. When I go to sleep tonight and dream of any countless dreams, I wish it would be dreams of growing old and rocking chairs and gray hairs. I wish I could even just imagine.
3 comments:

Well, I have been suppressing a desire to try to find you a mate. Posts like this make the urge hard to suppress. Enough about me.

Being neither sick nor particularly insightful, I could not imagine life beyond 35, until I was about 32.

I see you as not only absolutely mentally healthy but truly kind and considerate of those you love.


Therextras sounds like an incredibly smart person- ditto! :) Lauren


Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."



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Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst



Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies


* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.
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