Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Finding Support and Figuring Things Out

Well, it has basically been a year since the official MS diagnosis. When looking back on 2014, it was a very bittersweet year. Professionally, Josh had an incredible year. His performance numbers, customer relationships, and overall productivity was nothing short of phenomenal. (Yes, I am bragging.) For lack of better terms, he killed. I am pretty proud of him. We have A TON going on all of the time and sometimes just finding clean clothes to wear can be an incredible accomplishment in our house.  When kids are sick, he is usually the one to take care of them while he works from home. Even though I come home to kids in PJ's covered in markers, they are happy, loved, and pampered by him and he still manages to get his work done. For me, professionally, I am so happy with my work. I love the classes that I teach and my students could not be better. I teach semester classes, so I have just started a new semester with 100+ new students. I can't stress how much loving your job can make such a difference in your life. I used to do pharmaceutical sales. When I came back to the classroom I really felt that teaching would be my lifelong job. I just hope I can keep on doing what I am doing.

Our kids, our sweet kids, are doing great. Jack will be 4 on Sunday. He will have a minion cake, balloons, and every minion present known to man. Anabelle will be 6 next month. We are trying something different. She is taking 3 friends for pedicures followed by lunch at Steak n' Shake. Russell's birthday is in July, although I must have written the wrong birthday down on his daycare sheet because this past Friday, his teachers celebrated his 2nd birthday. The kid was on cloud nine. Heck, we even sang happy birthday to him when we all ate dinner. Sometimes the 3rd child needs extra attention. He had no clue really what was going on so what could it hurt?

Josh is managing his Multiple Sclerosis the best that he can. With anything, there are good days and bad days. He is still taking Tecfidera and is going in every 4 months for blood work to make sure everything is where it needs to be. With the first recorded death of a person who was taking Tecfidera, our doctor is being extremely careful. Isn't that the scary part about medicine? Sometimes the side effects of the medicine are scarier than the disease you are treating. We still firmly believe that the medicine is the best option for Josh at this point.

I have a co-worker who was recently diagnosed with MS. Before his diagnosis, we talked about his symptoms and what he was experiencing. I really though it was MS but hoped like crazy that it wasn't. I saw him today, and yes, it is MS. He is seeing the same doctor as Josh. We talked a little this morning about the many things that people in general don't know about MS. We talked about finding support, balancing work, handling stress, and all of the things people with MS have to pay extra attention to. Josh and I are still learning ways to deal with all of these things. We both understand that if our kids are bouncing off of the walls going crazy, Josh often times needs a time out from the chaos. He might go sit on the deck in the quiet, disappear downstairs to the man cave or find a place to get some quiet time. We are in agreement that if something coming up might be too stressful or crazy, we just say thanks but no thanks. Josh discussed with Dr. Emily the importance of saying no. We are both working on not over committing ourselves. I usually do several committees at our church and I have had to take a step back. He is learning to not overextend himself. Welcome to the life of balancing an auto-immune disease and life.

I recently reached out to the Birmingham MS Society to get some information on support groups for caregivers and spouses. I was a little disappointed. There are only two groups that are not very specific. Maybe I should organize something??? I think that no matter if you are a "seasoned" MS'er or a newbie, anyone can benefit from talking and sharing experiences. There is a camp for kids whom have parents with MS. I can't wait until our kids can attend! What a great way to connect with others whom are experiencing the same situations as your family!

I am adding some pictures... Pretty random. We celebrated New Year's with Mardi Gras props. The Dollar Tree didn't carry New Year's Eve stuff...