Hey all you Messy Momma’s, I’M BACK!
You asked… and now, I think I can finally answer. This might be the most honest, raw, difficult, transparent, scary, and hopefully therapeutic blog I write.
**Also, Please remember this is still the Messy Momma Blog… No judgement allowed! I am sharing my story in hopes that anyone who may have even a slight commonality might find strength or encouragement that they are not alone.**
Here we go!
First and foremost, I am so grateful to those of you who have reached out. Weather it was here, or on the Messy Momma Facebook, and even Messy Momma’s YouTube Chanel, I am touched. I had no idea that this new little blog reached anyone let alone you sweet compassionate Momma’s… and a few dad’s too!
So many of you have wondered, WHERE THE HECK DID SHE GO!? I promised answers a while back on my Facebook page, but I struggled to find the words for the first time in ages. I even filmed and filmed and was going to post on Messy Momma YouTube, but the words never felt right. I didn’t have all the answers, and really, I still don’t, so bear with me.
Many of you who know me know that I NEVER SHUT UP let alone just go MIA, but the past few months truly took my words away. I wanted to check in, but something in me held back. I had done so much reflection over the past year and I felt that all the decisions I had to make put my head in a spin and I almost lost my direction. Well, not entirely. I still have the Messy Momma Movement sewn into the fabric of my heart. And I am still pushing forward with everything I want to do. But if I’m truly being the raw and honest Messy Momma that I claim to be… the truth is, I have been so busy and distracted that I forgot to take care of myself. Long story short, I got sick and then everything all caught up with me.
To help you understand, let me take you back with a little bit of a 2017 Recap.
**WARNING this will be a long, joyful, maybe tearful blog… So grab the tissues if you need to!
I really hate to say that the year 2017 was one of the worst, or better yet hardest years I have ever faced. Because in fact, so many wonderful things did happen to me personally, professionally, and to our family. We took so many trips and vacations this year, making memory on top of memory. The kids had wonderful birthdays, holidays, and fun surrounded by AMAZING and LOVING family and friends. Bri got to experience Las Vegas and perform at her first ever Nationals (placing 4th, and 10th). Mikey started preschool and is thriving. He loves it and his teachers adore him. He also started his first sport, witch was t-ball and loved it. So many of our friends and family were blessed with marriage, pregnancy, babies, new homes, and new adventures! In 2017 we too began preparing for new adventures of our own, and we still have so many in the works. 2017 brought lots of fun and exciting change and growth to our family. We are closer than ever and our communication improved leaps and bounds this past year. We truly were blessed with so much. And here is a little flash of our 2017.
Our Family had so much fun in 2017, there were more good times than bad, but sometimes the few harder moments in life weigh a ton and balancing that weight gets tough.
There were only a few tough moments in 2017 but they came in waves tearing away a little sand at a time.
For me, there is no denying that 2017 had a few moments that left lasting scars. Early in the year we lost a family friend due to suicide. At first, I was in disbelief. I barely had a second to process the news before I immediately began to worry for my brothers. They were heartbroken, one of their best friends was gone, and they were there. I felt this panic taking over as soon as I heard the details because I wanted, no needed, to protect them from the pain and confusion they were going through. I was on vacation and so far away from them, I just wanted to be at their side. The next day I drove from Florida to Illinois as quick as I could. And I practically did the entire drive myself straight though. I HAD to get home.
When I got back, I did my best to not cry in front of them and was sure to make it known that I would be there for anything they needed. I hated knowing they were hurting, and even worse, all three of my brothers were grieving in such different ways, I hated not knowing how to help them. This too was my first experience, where someone I knew, and even looked at as another little brother, committed suicide. I think for me, I just couldn’t and still can’t understand. The big sister in me couldn’t help but want to scold him and tell him what an idiot he was for leaving us, and yet a part of me was glad what ever pain he was in that caused him to do that is over. He is at peace. My heart hurt at such a tragic loss, and the mother in me just ached for his mother and family. Looking back, I only can pray that this experience and loss of a friend will only make my brothers’ friendships stronger and bring awareness so that this won’t happen to any others in their group. It’s a tough lesson, but maybe one for the better.
Unfortunately It didn’t end there.
Within hours of finding out the news about our friends passing, I was also informed that we were going to have to put our sweet English Mastiff down as soon as I got home. I was in a whirlwind of emotion. What was happening in this past 48 hrs. I was sad and confused and truthfully a little lost, but I knew that my husband and mother in law would be heartbroken. So I quickly told our kids, gave them time to say goodbye, and took them to a family member’s house so they wouldn’t be there to see out sweet MJ go.
My husband, MIL, and I stayed home to say our good byes and moments later the vet was here, in our home, to take the sweetest dog I have ever known to heaven. Mj’s paw was in my hand as i hugged my mother in law and held my husbands hand. I remember focusing on them and breathing slowly as not to cry in front of them. Some how, some way, an overwhelming strength came over me, I was able to gulp down my sorrow and shed as minimal tears as I could. I was hurting, and feeling guilty, but I wanted to care for my family. Because in that moment, everything around me seemed to be splitting at the seams, and I knew that I had the strength to hold it together. It was my duty to keep it together. For my husband, for our children, for my family. I am stronger than I know, and for my family I can do anything. It might hurt, but I can do it.
Look at that sweet face!!
Now that I filled you in until March lets hop into May…
Once the shock settled, and a little time passed, I saw that my family was doing ok. I started to let the walls down and finally allowed myself to process it all. I would be lying if I didn’t say that my pain started to affect me. I just didn’t want anyone to see me freaking out and hurting, especially since they were all starting to recover. I privately leaned on my husband, and all he could do was comfort me, I just had to grieve and do my best to understand it all. My stress and anxiety caught up with me and I had an anxiety attach that caused an issue with my vision. I had to go to the eye doctor and my husband had to drive me around. I felt so embarrassed and weak; something I rarely let people see.
When I was finally starting to feel better that night, my husband was on his way up the stairs to go to bed, and then the phone rang. It was my mom. I can still audibly hear her voice in my head as if it was only moments ago. She was out of breath struggling to get the words out of her mouth, and then, in that moment, I realized the strongest woman I have ever known and will ever know was weak and something was truly wrong. She could barely speak; her voice was low and deep. She gasped for hair and finally forced the words out of her mouth as if she was choking on them. She said that my brother was in a motorcycle accident, and that it wasn’t looking good but he was alive, and I needed to get to the hospital quickly. I yelled for my husband and we got there as quick as possible.
On my way there, I don’t remember if I cried, but I do remember being in denial and pissed! How could he be so stupid? If this didn’t kill him, I was going to. How could I possibly be about to lose my brother? I was sick, confused, and scared. I prayed internally, and at the same time I felt too scared to pray. I couldn’t help but feel that if God took my brother I would be so angry that I would turn away forever. I would never have been the same. I felt guilty and scared to pray, but it was all I could do. I remember my thoughts and emotions just racing. I got to the hospital and they let us in and by what I can only truly describe as A MIRACLE, he was conscious and alive.
This was just the beginning.
I stayed by my brothers bedside as much as I could. The first night I slept in the waiting room with my littlest brother, and waited as our other brother was flying in from Texas. My mom made me go to work the next day, which I think was good. I found some strength and some source of calmness, and when I got back I was able to be the strong arm for my mom. People were coming out of the woodwork to see him like some sort of side show and he needed rest. (It was immediate family only but no one seemed to understand what that meant.) If we wanted someone out I was the one to kick them out, if my mom needed me to tell someone off, I did. I held it together, I knew my mom was in the worst pain she had ever felt and I knew if I were to cry in front of her it would only scare her and make her feel worse. My dad coudn’t really process it all and wouldn’t leave the room. I knew my brothers were aching, their silent pain was so audible in my ears, and I wanted to be strong for them. I’m the oldest, and I have to take care of them. I felt as if I was trying to be calculating in my actions and strong so that if I was calm everyone would be calm. (I’m not sure how successful I was, because every time I came home all I could do was cry in my husbands arms. But I felt like I had to toughen up and be strong in case anyone would need me.)
It was hard to watch my brother come and go mentally and be in such pain. He was banged up pretty good. (Not sure how else to put it without being graphic and keeping some privacy for my family.) After all his adrenaline had warn off it was visible what damage had been done and we still weren’t out of the dark. My brother, my baby brother, didn’t know who we were. When my mom told me in the middle of the night he didn’t know who she was my heart broke. I was glad that she was telling me over the phone and that I had gone home that night so that she couldn’t see me cry. I was quiet and asked questions to hide how sad, and scared I was, and how I was hurting because parts of me felt like they were breaking. (Even remembering it, I am struggling with the words, it still makes me sick.)
And then all Hell Broke loose…
We were in ICU, and at that point my brother wasn’t able to tell who we were. I was the lady who brought him blankets and water. He didn’t know my name, or my other brothers. He was on low stimulation so I was just sitting watching him and on my phone in shifts with my other family members. OF COURSE, with my luck, on the first day that my mom was able to get herself to go back to work, I was responsible for watching my brother. I wasn’t there long before I told my other brothers to go home, shower, and eat. I was able to take care of everything (at that point I was pretty calm). Thank god they left when they did, because had they left not even 10 minuets later who knows what hell they would have seen, or even worse what could have happened to them. That day we were on lock down because there was a hostage situation and a man with a gun in the building. In the moment I just remembered caring for my brother and assuring my family we were safe. It was quiet so I didn’t really understand the severity of it all. But I could see most of it from the window and got all my information from the media outside (and truthfully at the time none of it was accurate). No one inside new much. All I knew was, my brother is cold, in pain, it’s taking long to get the medicine he needs because of the lock down, and I just had to be strong.
After that all calmed down hours later, and I was informed of the terror that happened in the hospital, I felt guilty for staying calm, for cracking jokes to assure my family that I was fine, that my brother was fine. The whole situation was wrong and disgusting, and my other two brothers were walking the halls that this happened in just minuets before all hell broke loose. My mom was a wreck but I managed to keep light of the situation. I still think that hadn’t sunken in for me fully yet. (I still can’t wrap my head around it.)
We spent Mother’s day in the hospital, and waited and waited for him to get better. He needed surgery but they couldn’t operate because his other injuries. I tried to make light of the situation and wrote down all the funny and inappropriate things my brother would say to us. We only started to breathe when he finally knew who we were.
And when we knew that we were starting to make our way back up this mountain of a hill, the stress of it all began to bubble. We were on edge and arguing about… I don’t even know what… I think everyone’s nerves and tension and stress was just so high it was hard to function. There was one day where one of the nurses came in and saw the heartache we were going through and she couldn’t help but step in and force us to stop for a second and pray. I remember being so uncomfortable, I was sick at every word that came out of her mouth and angry at myself for feeling that way. I know it was because of the pain I was in. But it was exactly what we needed. Every word that came out of this saint of a nurse’s mouth rung true for my mom and my family. It helped my parents stay calm and keep their head high. But for me and my other brothers, our pain was in the way.
Eventually he was allowed to go home, even though there was no change in some of his injuries, but he was up and walking. His bruises and stitches, and staples, and broken bones were starting to heal, but he had a nurse come to the house to take him to physical and cognitive therapy. This kid left a lot of people baffled. He could have, should have died from his injuries, but he didn’t because he had an army of people praying for him. He is a walking talking miracle, and his therapists we shocked at how well he was bouncing back. I think we needed more therapy after that then he did. (And honestly, I should go, because even though it’s been months since hes been out, recapping this has been hard. I am still emotionally dealing with it, and that’s ok. I think sometimes when you are the loud shining personality everyone thinks you are a champ, a soldier, and that you don’t need anyone. Because you smile when you hurt and you tell everyone you are doing ok, and maybe you are, but everyone needs someone to support them. If you aren’t getting it, seek it out! Help is out there, you just have to ask!)
Spring to Summer
Thank God after all that things started to slow down, because I don’t know what I would have done if one more thing would have happened. I spent the summer getting my feet on the ground, and that was slow going. I think, for me, it was slow going because part of me was waiting for the other shoe to drop and the other part of me was so busy with work and sports and dance competitions and preparing for a week long nationals trip to Las Vegas. It was all a blur.
Things started to get a little stressful when my daughter and I felt like she was being bullied by her dance teachers. You see, this year our tiny dancer was told she has ADHD (something we saw coming) but it took a tole on her confidence. We were using dance as a form of therapy, which her teachers knew about, and yet she kept getting in trouble for “spacing out”, “not paying attention”, and all sorts of garbage that these adult women would say about her..TO HER. It finally all came to a head and we left that dance studio. Momma bear had to protect her little one, and in the end it was GREAT! Brianna was happy to see me come to her defense. I think she just felt like everything was her fault and me standing up for her made her feel better. And her and my relationship changed a little after that. We were connected a little more… SHES A DADDY’S GIRL… so this Momma ate that all up! We found her a new studio with a ton of little girls that are her age and she adores them! I was stressing out about the right thing to do and so far so good!
Back to School
Heading into fall I was excited for the kids to get back to school. More structure and more time for me to get back in the swing of things at work and start this new and exciting venture with the Messy Momma YouTube Chanel. Things were going smooth and I was learning a lot about YouTube, and I had the support of friends and family telling me to give it a blog too, baby steps… sort of, I like to dive head first into everything! I was excited and wanted to find a new community that I could rejoice with in all the little things. Things we would otherwise take for granted. Things that I started to appreciate, especially after the months that had passed.
I really wanted to create a community filled with joy and laughter and fun. But my joy and laughter and fun would be taken again shortly, leaving me blindsided and a little lost.
Things at work started to dull down, little mishaps started to add up, and while nothing major was happening, I wasn’t handling it well, or at all. I kept myself overworked and busy with my hands in this and that to distract myself from what I was feeling. My parents were calling me, medical bills were starting to add up, my maternal grandparents were not doing well, my mom was (and still is) running a restaurant and my grandparents apartment building, taking care of my grandparents health and medical issues, paying their bills and her own. She is constantly worried about what will happen to my brother, as now he has permanent damage as a result from his accident. I think a part of us were hoping that something would have bounced into place making him a little more cautious… but it seems only time can get a young man to loose that it wont happen to me attitude. My husband is 30 and he still thinks that way.
I was trying to be optimistic, I finally went to the the Dr. and started asking questions about my health and how I was feeling. I was just starting to accept what had happened and was working on finding my own internal happiness. I started to get excited for a wedding my husband I were going to. I got a super cute dress, new shoes, and jewelry. My husband looked so handsome, he was a groomsman wearing a tux. The night was young and we were having a good time, with out the kids for the first time in a long time. We had a hotel, that night was going to be great, and it was!
The next day, we found out that a friend of ours from high school had had and asthma attach. We didn’t know how serious it was, after all it was just an asthma attach. But we were wrong. It turns out that he was out of the state and at a family lake house and it would take a while for the ambulance to get there. My husband’s brother and his wife headed up to see him in the hospital. (It was his very best friend.)
At first I was in denial that anything bad would happen to him. It was just an asthma attach, and he was a hard rockin’ hard-ass who would pull though. I had gone through enough this year and there is no possible way that anything bad would happen to a friend of mine from high school. There is no way that God would take this kid from his family after all they have been though. There is no way that I was never going to see him again and not be able to tell him so many things that I had wanted to say. I wanted to call him out for being such a funny mischievous little brat who I adored. I wanted to thank him for sticking up for me to those who just didn’t get me. For being there when I hurt, especially when no one knew I was hurting. He was a good friend, and he loved my husband and his brothers as if they we his own blood. Our niece and nephew would call him uncle, he had a big heart, and he took care of everyone around him. And then for the second time this year I watched a mother bury her baby.
I didn’t expect to hurt the way I did, and partly, I’m sure it had to do with shit-storm that 2017 brought. It all bubbled back up and I broke. I was angry, and I think what made it worse was my husband couldn’t bring himself to talk about it. His friend died, his brothers BEST MAN was gone, there was nothing we could do to stop hurting, and it felt like there was no end in sight. I couldn’t stop thinking about how truly messed up this whole year was. And I partly felt guilty, my brother was spared while being an idiot on a motorcycle and this kid passed away from a stupid asthma attach. I was hurting so bad and I was so confused, and I had nowhere to go because everyone around me was hurting too. I especially didn’t want it to be obvious because I knew that my brother in law was in terrible pain. I knew our friends were hurting. I knew my husband who was barely speaking was in pain. I knew I had to put a smile one and go to work and take care of the kids and the house and film and write. All I could do was reach out, do my part to help whoever I can whenever I can.
**This is where I don’t have all the answers. But you get the gist of it!
After all the chaos that was thrown my way, and after months of riding an emotional roller coaster, my anxiety hit an all time high and my immune system must have been shot. Things just weren’t feeling right. When I finally got my feet on the ground and things were starting to take a turn for the better I of course got sick with an upper respiratory infection. Then the kids were sick and we just passed the cold back and fourth to one another. To top it off, one day, I broke out into this terrible rash! A rash that would take me on a journey that I’m still walking!
At first I thought maybe there was something on my clothing that was causing an allergic reaction, so I showered and changed. As the night went on the rash got worse and worse and this rash was all over and SO ITCHY. I tried taking Benadryl to see if it would go away but not a thing changed. It wasn’t on my hands and feet so I knew that ruled HF&M. I went to the ER and they were not sure at all what it was. They prescribed steroids to reduce the inflammation, and while it made the rash a little less visible I was still Itchy. Some people thought it could have been a result of stress, but who knows. I followed up with my Dr. And after showing him the rash and photos (thank God I took) he began to wonder if I possibly had an autoimmune disorder. The rash across my face resembled a butterfly rash and was incredibly red. This made my Dr. Think that Lupus could be a possibility (especially when looking back at my health history and some of my complaints). We took some blood-work and did a few other tests, I left with quite a few prescriptions and waited to follow up a few weeks later. When I returned for my follow up my results showed that my ANA results may indicate that an autoimmune disorder could be a possibility, but my results also made him think that Lupus wasn’t the leading issue.
Since then, I have visited a dermatologist and an allergist. I now know that I am allergic to pretty much everything environmental (and should remain in a bubble). I also know my hormones are way off, and I have something called Cholinergic Uticaria, Dermographism, and some sensitivities to gluten and dairy but not Celiac Disease. Next on my list of things to do is visit a GI doctor to have further testing done. So I hope that soon I can find some answers. My rash has reoccurred only one time since the first episode, this time not lasting as long and only in a few areas.
And for now…
And now, the plan is to write and blog when I can. Not put the pressures of finding content or creating content. I’m just going to let it happen organicly.
I plan on continuing my quest for better health, and finding my old ways (to being the fun and happy and exciting woman I lost along the way). I have been drawing and painting, crafting, singing, and dancing each and every day.
I have been working on my clientele at work/ and still am.
We have been working on the house and getting ready to possibly list and sell our home.
There is so much in the works and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Thank you for your love and support! I hope my honesty is something you can relate to. There is nothing wrong with having a rough time (WE ALL DO!) So find the support you need! Ask questions! I’m always here if you need me and I’m glad to be back. Getting this out has been therapeutic, and I feel like now I can close the 2017 chapter and fully immerse myself in the joy that 2018 is bringing!