I used to work as a nurse. I love being a nurse! You get to help people all the time. You get to problem solve. You get to teach and explain things to patients and their families. What an ego booster! I felt so good spiritually and prided myself on being a compassionate, smart, caring, had-it-all-together nurse. Then stuff happened.

First I started wearing pull-up diapers to work because my period was becoming a mess, literally. I would gush and no pad could keep up with me when it came out. I didn’t think it was a real problem, just an inconvenience. I kept on plugging away at work. I even got to join a special group in the hospital that was learning a new computer system so that we could teach it to everyone else in the hospital. What a privilege! But sometimes I would show up at work and some one would say “Gee, you look kind of pale.” I would just shrug it off. Then I started noticing that I would be driving and suddenly not know where I was. Like I had been asleep and lost time. It was very disorientating. At work one time I was alone in a computer room and suddenly didn’t know where I was or what I was doing. Fortunately, I reoriented myself quickly and got back to work. But then, people started accusing me of “sleeping” at work. I would be sitting in a computer class and assisting the teaching and suddenly I would discover a co-worker glaring at me. I got fired from my wonderful job because of “sleeping”. My doctor sent me to a neurologist and I had multiple tests and then an MRI of my brain. We discovered lesions, a whole bunch of them, 4-8cm in size! I then had a bunch more tests and another neurologist said I had Multiple Sclerosis.

By then I had had a hysterectomy for a messed up uterus. It wouldn’t quit bleeding no matter what my gynecologist tried. I had a heart attack from blood loss. At one point I had less than half my blood cells! I received 4 blood transfusions over a 1 month period.

For about a month I felt much better, stronger, full of energy, great! Then, suddenly I had trouble walking and my balance was off and I would forget words I wanted to say. I knew what the word meant, but not the word itself. One time I asked my son to get the laundry out of the oven! I had trouble controlling my right hand. I couldn’t dial a telephone, I would miss the numbers and miss-dial.

I couldn’t work at all. I was already a single mother, so mine was the only income. We became homeless. I had been living in an apartment and I owned a van. I piled our favorite things into my van and moved out of our apartment. For 2 months befor I had to leave the apartment I begged different people at our church to let me and my son sleep in their house at night, but no body would let us. Then finally an old neighbor friend said yes! What a jewel! She and her husband had a small townhouse and a 10 year old daughter and a 20 something son living at home already. Their house was very full of stuff. My son and I took turns sleeping on the couch and the floor in a sleeping bag. Every night we had to clear a space on the couch and the floor. My friends even fed us dinner sometimes. We stayed with them for 4 months!

On top of all that, my ex-husband refused to let my son move with me and our other kids to AZ to be with my other family. So my oldest son and my daughter moved to AZ and stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for 11 months waiting for me and my other son to be able to move too. Finally we had our time in court. The judge said “Of course he can move to AZ with his mom! He already lives with her all the time anyway!” So we finally got to move! Now we are all back together again.

We lived with my parents until I got on Social Security Disability. Now we have our own apartment. But I don’t have a car and I take the bus with my electric wheel chair to go grocery shopping once a week. I live right next to my church. That is a blessing to find an affordable apartment so close to it!

I got through all of this crazy, stressful, confusing time with lots of prayer and listening to a christian radio station, crying and singing praise songs.

I deal with stress all the time. I’m a single mom of 3, I am handicapped with: pain (fibromyalgia); difficulty walking and memory problems (brain lesions); extreme tiredness (chronic fatigue) and can’t work so I’m on Social Security, I also have depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)…

My stress relievers are: being outside in the quiet with just the sounds of the wild creatures; watching a beautiful sky; playing acoustical guitar or cello; reading things online; proofreading books for–http://www.pgdp.net/c/default.php; and last but not least–praising God (that is a real healer of the mind and spirit!).

Part of health is being able to reach out to others with help, support, prayers …. Health is not always about medical or mental health but about spiritual health as well. So now I feel healthy when I am caring for my children, praying for other people, being a good listener for others, volunteering to proofread books …

I appreciate this weekly challenge idea. Thank you for reading. I hope I haven’t been to gross discussing certain things! It felt good to get all this off my chest.