In which I reveal some things…

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been avoiding posting. Truly. Outright avoidance. I’m not even really sure why.

Right now, this second, I am hating the me I am. Badly. I detest me. I’m an awful me. I have no one to blame but myself (ok, prob. can share at least a little blame with some little germies, but still…). I. Hate. Me.

I hate the me that I am. I am an awful mother. I yell at the kids. I hate that. I am getting worse about it the more I try not to, too. I hate that even more.

I tell the kids stupid stuff when I get upset or frustrated. I hate that, too. Things like “I know you hate me, you’ve made that perfectly clear.” or “You think everything has to be YOUR way or no way, and I’m about ready to tell you ok, no way and kick you out.” or “It’s ok, you probably won’t have to deal with the horrible mother that I am what with making you clean up your own messes and all- for much longer. I’ll probably be dead or locked up within 6mo anyway.”

He’s 9! WHY do I even say this stuff? I HATE it! I try so hard not to. I do. And the stuff just keeps coming. I didn’t use to be this way. Honest.

I know when the kids were still toddlers and throwing temper tantrums way more often than this (and BOTH of them were doing it!!), I was calm and cool for the most part. I didn’t ever blow up at them like this. I really didn’t. I’m SURE there were times when I snapped at them, but NOT like this. No way.

I either spanked them and put them in time-out or I tried Mom’s method of making them keep the tantrum going…long past the time they were ready to stop. (Almost reverse psychology there.) I can remember friends telling me I was sooooo patient…how do I do it? I got that a lot. At the time I did NOT think I was patient…at all… but looking back now? Knowing the way I am now? Oh I was super-mega patient mommy. Like you wouldn’t even believe!!

Now? I have no patience it seems and I HATE that! I have been trying to fix it. I’ve been praying for help and the patience thing just keeps getting worse and worse. It’s gotten like a billion times worse just in the last year. Probably about a year ago is when I first noticed I was having big problems with the whole patience/blowing up thing, and man! it just gets worse and worse.

I HATE ME!

Yes, I apologize every time. And yes I cry about it and he cries about it and we cry about it and we both promise to try and do/be better…me with the snapping/blowing up and him with the obeying/behaving to start with. Less behavior problem, less snapping problem. And NO I don’t mean that he is at fault… and yes, I tell him over and over that no he is not to blame for my blowing up. I just mean that there *is* a correlation. His constant fighting with everyone around him (whether it be fighting with his sister or fighting us parents by not doing what he’s told or correcting us or whatever….) is so unbelievably frustrating! I just can’t take it!

What I really don’t get and is where the “hating me” part comes in, I think, is that I used to get just as frustrated with him… or his sister… or my parents… or my brothers… or whatever… and yet I could still keep from blowing up nearly always. And on the rare occasions I did I *mostly* was able to keep from spewing too much junk before I quit. I’d mostly just bang things around for awhile and grunt.

Last year though, things started changing. Matthew’s behavior had been getting worse, the tantrums, the hate pouring out of him, the Jekyll/Hyde like stuff was worse and worse over the last couple of years. I was beyond frustrated with him, of course…had been for a long, long time, but I didn’t start blowing up and really losing it until last year.

When I noticed it (and believe me I noticed it pretty quick), I immediately started hating myself and begging God to please help Matthew and help me. At first I protested being his mom, I begged God to please take him from me and give him to someone who could give him what he needed because obviously I couldn’t. Nothing I’d tried had helped…at all.

I begged and begged. Then I gave up and said ok, if You won’t give him a different mom, please make me into the mom he needs.

This… this me that I am right now tonight… can NOT be it. It just can’t be. I know that.

Around the same time I started having really bad brain problems in general. Bad anxiety, freaking out, paranoia, forgetfulness (actually this had been building for a few years), inability to think clearly or to focus, word finding problems, couldn’t say what I wanted to in the right way, etc. Lots of stuff.

I started crying out to God, “What is wrong with me?!”. I knew something was wrong. I was losing my mind. I really, REALLY thought I was going crazy.

Then I started having weird nerve pain and tingles and numbness. Electric shocks going through my body in different places. I’d had shin pain for awhile, and swollen lymph nodes off and on, too. Started having balance problems walking to and from church so I pretty much took to driving. Especially after one particularly scary trip where I wasn’t sure I was NOT going to pass out once I got inside the church.

I decided I better run a quick check online to see if I needed to find a dr. No insurance makes the internet my first pitstop. I run my symptoms through and do a little research first. If it seems more likely that it is a common, simple thing I can skip the dr fee. That way I’m not paying for a dr to tell me I have a simple cold or a little bit of heat exhaustion or I’m probably a little low on vitamins or whatever. If it looks more troubling? Well, then I guess I’ll have to bite the $$ bullet and get it checked out.

This has worked fine for years. I watch for signs of infection (sinus, bladder, kidney, etc) and take garlic for that…if it doesn’t get better I’ll go in for stronger antibiotics. I’ve never needed to, btw. I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars this way.

I started with the freak-out type stuff and what was coming up was rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Not just the “normal” bipolar, but rapid-cycling. That is… extreme highs and lows but SEVERAL TIMES IN ONE DAY. Oh yes. It was so not a good few months there… really. =(

That seemed to make a LOT of sense and I was pretty sure I better see about finding a dr to be sure and then get some meds, but something kept naggin at me… that wouldn’t explain the weird balance and nerve pain and other various PHYSICAL problems.

My knees that had been acting up off and on for 2-3yr (early onset osteoarthritis I’d decided) were doing ok, but now my feet were joining the party. And my hands, and my arms… I’d had super bad headaches more ON than off for years. And lots and lots of other things too.

So I tried again, this time being sure to include the physical stuff. The last time I’d really done any REAL diggin into possible health problems was several years ago… for the kids. At the time there was not a site where you could go and enter a bunch of symptoms and get a list of possible things to look into, but I remember discussing with a friend of mine that there SHOULD BE!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that now there WERE sites like this (besides google, I mean). So I did that.

I came up with things like: lupus, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s Disease, bipolar disorder, and a few others. It was really weird to watch the possibles list change as I entered symptoms or took them away. Pretty much the only one that stayed no matter what was Lyme disease.

I pretty much ignored that one, though. I’d had a tick attached back in the summer of ’03 and had looked up Lyme disease at the time, knowing I didn’t have insurance to go see a dr because of a tick bite. I looked it up to see what to watch for that way if I DID have problems I could go in, then. Bullseye rash and then a few weeks later knee pain, and eventually the arthritic stage would resolve itself anyway. So, it looked like really I could just tough it out even if I did get the bullseye rash… it would all go away on its own. I kept an eye on the redness that showed up a couple of days after we pulled the tick off, but the center never cleared, so I was good.

I looked into each of the other possibles a little and pretty quick was able to say my problem was probably NOT _____ for whatever reason. The most likely one was looking like multiple sclerosis.

Interestingly enough, this was right at the same time my mom took herself into the doctor (shock of shocks!!!) because of a weird numbness episode she’d had. The doctor was checking her out for MS! Had an MRI and a CAT scan, both. No MS, but her thyroid levels were a little low. I thought it seemed appropriate we were both looking at poss. MS until I realized that MS actually is NOT generally found “running in families”. oh. my bad. LOL

A talk with a friend, though, told me that not everyone gets a bullseye rash with Lyme disease AND that the knee pain doesn’t always show up right away…sometimes not for years and sometimes not even then, but Lyme can cause a lot of other symptoms too.

Back to the research drawing board I went. Oh the info I found on Lyme disease! She was right… the bullseye rash is NOT always there, nor are symptoms always seen right away. Hmmm… Also every single symptom I had *could* be attributed to Lyme disease. Including the losing my mind kind of stuff.

So I told Mike that pretty much I felt sure I was looking at either MS or Lyme, and I needed to see a dr. In the meantime I did more research and reading. I found out that oftentimes Lyme disease is misdiagnosed. Many cases of: MS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and even some cases of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, early Alzheimer’s, ADD/ADHD, and bipolar disorder are found to actually be Lyme disease. People were getting better after being diagnosed and treated properly (with Lyme) whereas they had not been getting better being treated for the ______.

Sooo… looking like maybe the most likely is Lyme? How WEIRD is that, though?? I live in TEXAS! And Lyme is supposedly RARE, right? Especially in TEXAS?!?!

Well, no.

It’s transmitted by deer ticks found in the northeast, yes. It’s also transmitted by lonestar ticks (found here in the Lone Star State!), and other species of ticks. It’s also been found in fleas, gnats, flies, and mosquitos. So there’s a potential right there. The deer ticks in nymph stage can be as little as the period at the end of this sentence. If it bites and doesn’t make a bullseye rash, you might not even know it’s there at all! Lyme has been found in every state in the USA.

I was born in Virginia. I vacationed in VA and Maine as a kid. I lived near wooded areas several times as a kid here in TX. I knew for sure I’d had at least one attached tick. I’d even had a rash with it. I definitely had the possibility of having been exposed to the Lyme bacteria.

I knew I was going to have to go to a dr and I knew I was going to have to be tested for Lyme, too. WHATEVER I had, I was getting sicker. My symptoms were getting worse. My bad days were getting worse and more frequent. The aches had spread to nearly every part of my body at random various times, and on bad days EVERYTHING ached. On bad days I was hurting everywhere…and stiff… and couldn’t think or function worth a flip. The bad days were starting to keep me in bed, even. Not just keeping me from getting cleaning done, but keeping me from being able to get up at all.

I was scared, and confused, and I still am. I hadn’t seen a dr since I was pg (except for an ER trip a few summers ago due to weird blood/heart problems which DEFINITELY is connected, I know now). I had collected so much information, but I had no insurance and could not figure out what my best plan of action was. Also? Lyme can be passed through pregnancy to the baby… I had had some symptoms since jr. high. If I had Lyme, the kids could.

Testing isn’t always accurate. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis. That means even if the tests come back negative, you might still have Lyme. This is because they need better testing… and also because the Lyme bacteria burrows its way into your tissues, organs, bones, etc and hides from your immune system, so the immune system may or may not be making antibodies against it. It’s the antibodies the tests look for.

By December, I knew I had to see a doctor who knew and understood Lyme. One who wouldn’t blow me off by saying Lyme doesn’t exist in TX (which it certainly DOES, but regardless I could have picked it up in VA or ME or CO or a dozen other places). I also knew the kids would need testing if I were diagnosed with Lyme.

I asked my friend to help. My brain just doesn’t work right a lot of the time. Besides this was ME talking about ME seeing a dr. This is just sooooo weird. I needed help.

She very graciously said she would help. =) I was still not sure, though. I mean for years I had relied on Jesus to be my only physician. After all, He is the Great Physician. I had convinced myself that for ME that is the way it should be. That I wasn’t fully trusting God if I saw a dr. I took the kids to drs, sure… that was different. Although I did totally see the irrationality of that, I still couldn’t shake it.

I was so scared I would be failing God by going to a doctor, or that I would maybe not be failing…but that maybe it just wasn’t what I should do. I prayed and prayed some more. Of course I’d BEEN praying for months that the Lord would please help me know what to do, that He’d help me figure out what was wrong and that if He wanted me to see a dr, He would help me to know that. I prayed more…and then some more. One day I prayed very specifically… I was just so scared of doing something out of His will and just so confused and it seemed like the more I thought about stuff the more confused I got, so I prayed, “Lord if you want me to see a dr, please, You’re going to have to tell me exactly WHICH doctor and exactly what to say, because I just can’t figure this out.”

I don’t think it was even two days later my friend showed up at my door and started a conversation about doctors and told me the name of a doctor she felt sure would order the testing for me and then told me to let her know if I needed help in figuring out exactly what to say when I went in.

Things got crazy and I didn’t actually get an appointment made for another few weeks, but go in I did…with my friend right beside me. Oh my goodness was that ever a BLESSING!! I was petrified and nervous and so very thankful for her presence.

The P.A. signed the paperwork so I could have the test for Lyme done through a lab in CA that specializes in tick-borne diseases. This lab has the most accurate testing, though even these tests can still come up falsely negative. We dropped the sample off in the mail and then I waited.

For two weeks, I think it was. That day Matt took off and he ended up visiting the jail the next day? Well the day he visited the jail I spent in pain in bed most of the day. I finally managed to get up around 2pm, but only just. I HAD to, though, because Meagan had to go get a Lupron shot and bloodwork done and of course Mike was waiting to hear back from the police about Matthew. So I managed to take Meagan to do the shot and bloodwork and then went to church. While I was in bed, Mike had called the dr office to see if the test results were in yet. They were not. I’d already called a couple of days before.

I called again the Monday of the next week and ended up calling the lab in CA. The results were sent out to the dr, but the dr’s office was saying they still didn’t have them. So I got a fax # and called the lab back and had them fax it over. I picked up a copy the next day.

It was positive.

I have Lyme disease.

I still need to find a dr to treat it though. I am trying to get the guts up to call a dr tomorrow. I’m scared he won’t take me as a patient, though, since I don’t have insurance.

I’ve waited till now to even think about calling and getting an appointment because I thought I’d try to get insurance first. Since the P.A. had not given me a diagnosis officially, I thought that meant I did not have a pre-existing condition and so I could get health insurance and then when it kicked in I could go to the dr. Except that won’t work.

Last Thursday we had Meagan’s Un-birthday party… at the park… at 2pm… in the TX sun. There was little to no shade. Whether it was the sun, the stress (it was a FULL week or two before that filled with Lupron reactions, ortho appointment, dentist appt to get 7 teeth pulled, end of school, awards banquet, and lots of other stuff), or the Lyme bacteria’s ‘cycle’ (the bacteria reproduces about every 30 days), or WHAT I don’t know, but Friday was a BAD day.

I mean a big bad day. Worst day I’ve had yet. I was in so much pain and was so stiff and weak in the a.m. that Mike had to help me roll over for much of the morning. Around noon I was able to get myself rolled over without help, but I still couldn’t get up. Mike was ready to take me to the ER or the GP we’d seen years ago, but I was scared to do that since I still hadn’t looked at the insurance thing closer. He called and got info on the health insurance through his work. Open enrollment is in Oct. It would cost $180 every pay period to get me put on and it wouldn’t kick in until Jan. He wanted to take me in and get something to help get me through till then, at least, but I was adamant.

I finally managed to get up and sit for about an hour in the evening, then back to bed. Mike said I had fever when he left for work that night. Saturday was better. I was able to get up and into the dining room, but with much difficulty. I was stiff and I hurt and I was weak, but nothing like the day before. I spent most of Sat. looking into the insurance.

Come to find out the insurance companies look back anywhere from 6mo-5yr and anything you sought advice or treatment for or that a “prudent person” WOULD have sought advice or treatment for is considered a pre-existing condition and most insurance companies will exclude any and all treatment costs for that condition for a year or permanently. So as that extremely long sentence shows (LOL!)… I was outta luck on the ins. Even if I got some, it still wasn’t going to pay for Lyme treatment.

Sunday was even better, though I did stay home from church in the am. I was still walking WAY funny. No way would I have been able to do the amount of walking required without a cane. Since I didn’t have one… haha. I had loosened up enough by that evening that I could go to the evening service. I was still stiff and sore and I was still walking funny, but not horribly so. I was, of course, still twitching, too. Twitching is pretty much an everyday thing anymore. I hope no one noticed. I don’t think so. Anyway, if they did they didn’t say anything. I did have 3 people ask what I did that left me so stiff. I told them nothing, but I doubt they believed me. LOL

So that brings me to tonight. Why didn’t I call yesterday or today? I’m scared. I heard another woman was calling this dr Monday, and thought it would be weird if I called the same day. Besides she was obviously sicker and in more need than I was… she’d been to the ER last week and they really messed up her arm with the IV poke. So I thought I’d wait a few days, maybe. Then I heard that the dr was going to “get back with her” about whether or not he’d take her on as a patient and I basically freaked. I wanted to wait and see if she’d get in or not.

Found out this afternoon that he is going to take her, which is great. =) She has insurance though. I do not. I’m still scared he won’t take me.

I have no reason to wait anymore either, and every reason to NOT wait. Especially since I am hating the me I have become more and more each day. No, I should not blow up at the kids no matter what, but YES the Lyme *is* playing a part. I know that now. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get back to the kind of mom I was 6 or 7 or 8 years ago if I don’t get treated and get better. In fact, I’m sure I won’t. So I have to do this. Somehow.

I don’t have any idea how we’re going to pay for the dr visits, the meds, the bloodwork, the supplements. Not to mention the fact that it could double or triple as we still have to get the kids tested and then if THEY need treatment and the in-network drs can’t or won’t treat…

Matthew has an appointment with a new pediatrician Thurs. I have the test kits from the lab (Igenex) in CA sitting here ready. I’m praying the new ped will sign the paperwork to get the testing done. We’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for that, since the lab is out-of-network.

I don’t know how the Lord is going to work this out. I don’t. BUT I do know He will. I know this is where He’s led me/us. And if God leads you to it, He will see you through it.

Saturday night as I laid in bed, after having learned that no matter what I wasn’t going to get health insurance to cover Lyme treatment for me unless I waited a LONG time and/or committed insurance fraud, I prayed. I prayed and I reminded myself that if the Lord outfits the lilies, He will surely take care of me. We humans are more precious to Him than the animals and plants and other creations as we are made in His image. If He cares enough to take care of the new kitty we have, and I know that well enough that I felt ok praying that He would help us get rid of the fleas that had found her, then He cares for me enough to take care of the dr bills without insurance. I realized I had been kinda trying to put my faith and trust in the insurance to cover the costs because I just can’t SEE or fathom how He will provide otherwise.

Thing is, I don’t have to see it or understand it. I don’t have to know ahead of time how He’s going to work it out. Jesus cares so much for me that He DIED for me, He loves me and wants the best for me. I know because He tells me so in the bible. He’s led me this far on the Lyme journey. He’s allowed me to figure out I needed testing and treatment, He’s not going to quit caring and helping now… He will make a way, even if it does seem impossible to me right now.

So I decided then that I was going to go ahead and call to make an appointment this week, and nevermind waiting on insurance. For a start I was not about to even consider committing insurance fraud. Uh-uh! The Lord will provide a way that does NOT include breaking a law. Of that I am SURE! Whether or not we even look about buying insurance (and then it would *maybe* start paying for treatment after a year) or not I don’t know right now, but if so, it won’t be while trying to hide the Lyme disease!

Sunday night at church, the song sung as a special was “Consider the Lilies”. =) I thanked God right then and there for that blessing. That was the very idea and verse and what-not I’d been having to focus on and remind myself of just the night before. Ok, so it probably wasn’t me, after all, huh? More like the Holy Spirit reminding me to consider the lilies…

And the woman who sang the special? Well, she was one of the three that commented on my stiff walk. LOL

So I’m sitting here hating the me I’ve become, and knowing that while I am NOT completely guiltLESS by any stretch of the imagination, there *IS* some problem outside of my control that is making the situation all the more difficult and complicated. So while I’m hating the me I’ve become, some of that hate is actually for the bacteria that is chewing on my brain, and other body parts, and throwing my hormones into a major tizzy. The bacteria has helped to shape the me I’ve become. Stress, frustration, and lack of help (mostly due to my stubborn SINFUL pride which has led me to not only not ask for help but to actually turn it away over the years…) has also played a part. Exhaustion plays a role too. And yes, of COURSE!!! so does sin. Like I said, I am NOT guilt LESS.

I need to work even harder at locking myself up when I lose it. I always end up not doing it because I think that’ll be leaving Matthew to “get away” with something and/or it’ll leave the kids unsupervised (while I’m hiding in the closet crying or fuming). I have done it before, just not in awhile. I used to be pretty good at it when Mom and the others were still here. I guess I figured I could then because there would still be an adult (my mom) up and about to watch over things while I hid.

Since they moved out, I’ve been mostly trying to just not have the whole frustrated blow-up problem at all so I don’t have to hide and leave them unsupervised. (Trust me, Matthew unsupervised during one of his meltdowns is not good… of course me in one of MINE isn’t either…)

One thing about it… if the way I feel when I have these meltdowns or whatever is at all close to what Matthew feels when he has his… Oh my stars!! =( It’s not good. At all. It really, REALLY is uncontrollable at a certain point. Mike and I were talking about it a couple of weeks ago… if there really truly is some physical aspect to his massive Jekyll/Hyde like behavior over the past SIX YEARS, then we feel AWFUL for being so hard on him when he has these meltdowns.

We just didn’t know it could even be an honest-to-goodness possibility, ya know? Now we know it’s possible, and we’re going to try to find out, and in the meantime I hope and I pray that I can keep my own cool and quit saying stupid things to him that I shouldn’t. I HATE that I say them… sick or not, physical problem or not I shouldn’t say them. I know it and I feel awful about it and I’m TRYING to not do it anymore, I am. There truly is something to the “uncontrollable” thing though…at least after a certain point. There are times when I really TRULY can’t help but blow my top. Sometimes over the stupidest things, too…which again… sounds like Matthew.

So yeah. I’m a horrible mom. I know it, but I AM trying to fix things. Yes, I’ve yelled at my kids and said some really awful things to them. I AM trying to fix things. Please don’t hate me. I do enough of that for us both. Truly. =(

I guess that explains why I’ve been avoiding posting. I knew it would be a long, full disclosure kind of post. One in which I let it all hang out sotospeak. Not pretty or pleasant. More like painful. I don’t like pain. I tend to try to avoid it if at all possible. I’m sure you understand.

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