You Don’t Look Sick

Has this been said to you? Those of us chronically ill or injured have probably been given this all too common line, “You don’t look sick.” Or how about this one, “Well, you look good!”*

If we look sick, we are sick, if we don’t look sick we aren’t. Right? No!

Most people have five senses; taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Now, we can mistakenly use our sense of sight to judge someone’s sense of touch.

An injured brain can not be seen. The brain is enclosed by the skull and a protective water layer called dura matter (both of which are damaged on me). Injured brains are felt.

Fatigue can not be seen, it’s felt.

We can’t judge a person’s sense of feeling based on our sense of sight.

This is why invisible illness is so misjudged ending up with the ill feeling very much alone.

I met a lady in my brain injury group whose teenage son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car and then run over by a second car which dragged his body underneath it before stopping. When she arrived at the hospital she told me he looked to her like an alien. His brain was actually visible and he was so beyond recognition, she could only identify him based on the fact that he bit his nails which was the only recogizable part of him. This is probably the worst case of TBI I have ever heard of, and by some miracle, her son survived his brain injury but with many many deficits.

Yet, this is not the norm. TBI is typically an invisible malady. It effects all of life in so many various aspects most of which go unseen to onlookers. TBI is felt. Chronic fatigue is felt. Autoimmune diseases are felt.

We want to be well. We don’t want to wake up every day wondering what we have to do to just barely get by. We don’t want to tell our best friend we can’t receive her visit because we are too weak. We hate missing church. We want to get up, feet hit the ground running and get everything done while having strength and energy to play with our kids and make chocolate cake for dessert.

Not all ilnesses are visible, rather, they are hidden inside the intricate workings of our very fragile bodies that can easily become disfunctional living in this fallen world. While we may not look sick, believe me when I say we are bravely fighting every day and never, ever giving up….. and are courageously smiling and enduring through the pain.

Much love,

Viv 😍

*This post was written a long time ago. I’m no longer frustrated over the way people respond to invisible illness, but I still feel this post holds a few valuable insights worth sharing with others. ~Viv

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A Fun Surprise

I had to share with you all the neatest thing that came from the UPS man today via my friend Kim….

Okay, let me backtrack here a bit. I am required to swallow several supplements daily to keep me going and help heal my central nervous system. Unfortunately, my swallow muscles aren’t quite right and so I have to crush up everything I take and stir into applesauce just to get it down. Otherwise, I just can’t do it.

So, for years I’ve taken a heavy ice cream scooper and an old rag, beaten the pills into a fine dust before stirring into my applesauce. I know I look as stupid as it sounds…😂

Well, not anymore folks! Kim lovingly sent to me an Ezy Crush Pill Crusher from Amazon. I’m literally so excited right now because taking my supplements will be so much easier and I won’t conveniently forget anymore due to the hassle.

Whoo Hooooo!! Looky here folks, I’m moving up in the world. No more waking the hubby and neighbors because I have to beat up pills!! I’m so thrilled and excited to get this and humbled too. She also generously sent a yummy flavored pre-biotic powder to help aid in digestion. I’m overwhelmed by such love!😍

God knows how bummed I’ve been lately but He continues to send loving kisses from friends like Kim because He knows, cares, and uses people to lift us up and urge us forward. We’re not ever alone in any of our troubles. In response to others who haven’t been nice, I find myself wanting to pop my turtle’s head back into my shell for protection but that’s not what God wants! He knows we need each other, community, and fellowship, and that’s why we are to reach out, to share, to pray and to never ever give up hope!

Much love,

Viv

Fun and Frugal

What does a person with limited funds, and energy do to get both her and her family ready for her beloved nephew’s wedding?

I’ve been scratching my head as to how to get a dress for my daughter and myself along with pants and a dress shirt for my growing 13.75 year old man-child. My hubby and youngest two were all set but as the wedding gets closer, I have been stressing over what to wear.

I’ve gained a bit of weight since I can’t exercise anymore the way I used to (Turbo Jam videos) but, when I tried on the only suitable dress I had for a wedding, it made me look as a marshmallow…….toasted marshmallow since the dress is brown. 😭

So, my family and I set out to our local thrift store with so much HOPE to find what we need and fast.

My beautiful daughter found a gorgeous pink A line dress with flowers that suits her well while my son found black Jockers slacks (do people still say that?) and a nice white button down dress shirt with a vibrant blue tie.

Thankfully, after trying on a handful of dresses and feeling a bit discouraged, I found a dark indigo blue sleeveless dress with some shimmery bling on the front from Kohls with the tags still on. The tag read $50 but I got it for $5! Ta da!! God provided as always and now I can feel less panicked about the fast approaching wedding and good about the clothes we were able to find.

As for a much much needed hair cut, I watched a few YouTube videos and taught myself how to cut and layer my own hair. I have cut my hair in the past and cut my entire family’s hair out of necessity. It saves a ton. Sometimes we get poor results but I think we are managing and it’s one less task on my over-worked (and underpaid) hubby.

The wedding is August 3rd and thankfully only about half an hour from my house. We are really excited about it…..my niece-to-be is darling and I loved her the minute we met. She and I also share the same birthday which I’m so delighted about and makes her even more special to me.

I’m so thankful God gave me the energy to clothing shop with my kids! It was the first time shopping together in years and felt so wonderful to be able to handle and enjoy it.

I’m getting stronger friends!! Praise God for today and also praise Him for the bad days because without them, the good days wouldn’t be so marvelous!

Much love,

Viv 🥂💗

Survival Mode

For years now, my family and I have been in this mode. Barely keeping our heads up above water……..just getting by.

Are you here, or have you been here?

Sometimes chronic illness or injury feels like grasping for a buoy and hanging on, barely keeping your head up above water. Then a huge wave of unexpected symptoms wash over your head pulling you under, leaving you fearful and disoriented, trying to figure out which way is up, and struggling to come up for air. Each new challenge, whether physical or emotional, is like an extra weight, pulling you downward so then you struggle even harder to stay afloat treading the deep waters that never seem to dissipate.

Yet, God is our buoy. He keeps us up and afloat daily. His grace never ends and His strength is beyond us. He is the ultimate source for enduring hardships, and fights alongside of us in the deepest, darkest, oceans of trials. His grace is sufficient and His mercy does endure forever.

2 Corinthians 12:9 King James Version

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It may not look pretty……this survival mode. But, we ARE surviving. We still get up every morning to see the sun rise yet once again.

I still see the faces of my darling children every day and here the soft whispers of, “I love you, Mommy” at the breakfast table.

Though for long or short durations life can be tough at times we can still glorify God and enjoy Him forever; because His grace abounds when we are weak, when things aren’t pretty, when bodies fail and life appears to go under. He’s always here, always surrounding us with His loving arms, and he loves us more than our finite minds can ever fully comprehend.

Hold onto Him in faith and never fear because when we are too weak to hold on, He holds us still and always is holding us. God will never ever let go because He promises to keep us, preserve us, and protect us until He calls His beloved safely home.

Much love,

Viv 💖

Lovely Little Rascal

It took time but I was able to capture a sweet little hummingbird feeding at our feeder today. This may be a female. She’s such a clever quick little beauty isn’t she? I hope you can see her even though the big white play arrow is smack dab in the middle of it.

Have a lovely day everyone!

Much love,

Viv ❤

It’s Never Too Late….Go Call Your Dad!☎️

My father-in-law and husband had a huge blow up that went unresolved for over 2 years during which there was no interaction, no holidays, no visits, or phone calls.

See, they were so much alike, both quiet, strong, INFJs, who march to the beat of their own drums. Because of this, there were walls of awkward silence, barricading them from reaching out, picking up the phone and hashing it out. Instead, it was silence.

I had prayed hard for years that there could be restoration and removal of hurts, forgiveness, and opened love displayed. God heard my cries and after two years and seven months of silence my husband told his mom in June of 2017, we would like to come visit for Thanksgiving. When she told my father-in-law his joyful response was “Oh sure!” He was happy to know he would see his son and four grandchildren again.

But, in July, about three weeks later, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack.

The news hit hard.

We would never see him again. My husband would never see his dad, never hear his voice. Never make amends.

It was too late.

Life is hard. Things happen. People make mistakes. Blow up. Yell. Say things that are better left unsaid.

But, at the end of the day, God’s word holds true. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. (Ephesians 4:26)

We are never guaranteed tomorrow.

We are only given today.

So, pick up the phone this father’s day. Better yet, go see your dad. Even a card in the mail can melt away hurt and slowly open the lines of communication. (We did this.)

I know these relationships can be tricky, stressful, messed up, and hard but honestly, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. You may never get another chance to make things right. I’ve seen it and lived it with my own eyes and l hope this post I write encourages someone out there to try to make things right. All we can do is try and leave the rest up to God. He is Healer of hurts. He helps us forgive. He can bring about reconciliation.

Please, this Father’s Day, go call your dad!

Much love,

Viv 🤗

“WE ALL UNDERSTAND”

For several years, I have felt like I have given myself an emotional brain injury, by constantly trying to answer questions regarding my infirmities to people, begging them to understand, offering blog posts to read, and health articles, and striving to gain acceptance in a very unaccepting world. At times it’s figuratively felt like beating my head against a brick wall of judgement, ignorance and unsupport. Hence, I have felt defeated and almost like giving up because my rare case has left me in a constant state of being on the defense and exhausted.

So, last week after my Good Eyes, Bad Brain post, a dear blogging friend Renee said three of the most powerfully supportive words I had been hoping to hear.

She said, ” We all understand”

Renee used her insights specifically to encourage my heart by saying that my loving blogging family all understand and I don’t need to worry about keeping up if having a tough time of it. I felt sincerely understood and isn’t that what we all hope to gain? There is such comfort and peace when the body of Christ says that they understand. It’s a genuinely priceless gift!!

If you are not following her awesome Blog, “Heart Tokens”, I strongly encourage you to do so immediately! She has a very unique perception on life and people and uses her wisdom while she writes beautiful posts from the heart.

What a wonderful encouragement three little words brought to my heart!! They were actually three very big words and dearest Renee, I am so blessed and thankful for you. God used YOU to encourage me last week and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful, thoughtful, heart tokens!!

Has someone’s words comforted or encouraged you lately? A fellow blogger? A family member or friend? I’d love to hear about it.

Much love,

Viv 💚

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