As the title of my blog mentions, I have MS. I also have PTSD (I had not only a fairly traumatic childhood, but an adolescent one as well), Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Syndrome, BiPolar, OCD, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, IBS, and well, these are the most prominent anyway. Unfortunately, stressors, or triggers as I call them, can cause any one of these to act up individually, or as a group, and therein lies my health…
I have no living grandparents. My maternal grandfather died when my mother was still in high school, so I never knew him, however, I did know my maternal grandmother who passed away from alzheimer’s in the past decade. My paternal grandmother also passed away from alzheimer’s in the early 80’s. My paternal grandfather lived until 1997 without her and died of old age (he was 93).
My parents seperated around the same time as my dad’s mom passed. About a year later, they divorced and my older brother, the closest relative I had and who would always stick up for me, died tragically. So much so, his funeral was a closed casket and us girls were unable to attend. The next year, my uncle/godfather (who also stuck up for me) was brutally murdered on one of the beaches at Cape Cod.
My father was abusive. He has since changed his ways, but it took many decades for him to learn he had the power to break the cycle. He was constantly picking on me about my weight, my large ears, and my very buck teeth. He wanted me to undergo a surgery to have my ears stapled so they didn’t look as large. He had me try every orthodontic procedure available before braces, and then the braces. Any food intake was constantly monitored.
My sister’s learning from our father’s treatment of me began rumors of nicknames for me at school such as Bugs Bunny Jr, Bugs Bunny’s Sister, beached whale, overgrown walrus…it was awful. And mind you, we attended a parochial school, so if anything, this shouldn’t have been allowed. Anytime I mentioned something to a teacher, they basically brushed it off as something siblings do. I also had a family member who was sexually assaulting myself and my sisters, but we couldn’t say anything…
And this all caused me to believe I wasn’t worth much, if anything. It didn’t matter to me how everyone is created in His image. I became an introvert. I wouldn’t go out of my way to speak with anyone because of my presupposed opinions of what they thought about me; none of which were positive. I turned to reading and writing poetry. I couldn’t speak with my mom, because my dad made it virtually impossible to have any type of a relationship with her until I was about 11-12 years old. At that point, I moved in with my mom and we eventually moved to Vermont.
If only all the abuse stopped once we moved. But it didn’t. Our step-father was not only sexually abusive toward my mom (which I didn’t find out until years after her divorce to him – the marriage only lasted 2-3 years at most), but others as well. While I had become the bit of an introvert, I did have a close circle of friends, some of whom I’m still in contact with today. This group of friends had introduced me into my first “real” bf outside of elementary school.
It’s too bad that he wasn’t all he projected himself to be. Shortly after my 14th birthday, he stole my virginity and then not only became verbally abusive, but physically abusive as well. I was so lost and confused and hurting, feeling as though God was upset with me for some unknown reason, I tried to take my life. I tried slitting my wrists and downed a full bottle of tylenol.
Obviously, it didn’t work.
After my two younger sisters moved back down to live with my father again, my mom had become so concerned for my safety and well-being we moved out of that small town to try to get me away from the abusive boyfriend. We moved to one of the nearby cities, and he had no idea where I was. Until one of my sister’s had become angry with me for a reason I can’t even remember now, and she told him where we moved to. This began a chain of him stalking me and harassing me again. After about 3 months, my mom moved us again, to her hometown, and my sister told my ex where we moved to again.
Fast forward a couple of years. I then make friends with a new student at the school. Unfortunate for me, jealousy is a horrible thing, and rumors began being spread about me, and by the end of it, the girl I befriended was able to turn all my friends against me. I ended up getting horrific migraines and missed more school than I should have because of it.
It was around this time I was diagnosed as being bipolar and OCD. On top of that, my mom was working on trying to get one of my younger sisters out of the Massachusetts fostercare system and get her up to Vermont. So, there were a few times, after having gotten my license, where I would have the day off from school, and drive down here to Mass to go to juvenile court and be there on my sister’s behalf.
Eventually, it worked, and we gained custody of my sister again and she moved back to Vermont with us. But obviously she had been through so much, she was negatively changed, and the help to get her through all the pain wasn’t enough. She began to be physically and verbally violent and abusive toward our mother and I. She chased after our mother with a butcher knife, and had cut my eyes out of some of my pictures leaving them on my pillow with notes saying to not sleep too heavily or I will turn out like the pics.
Shortly thereafter I moved out into my own place. I was 16 years old, going to school full-time and working after-school part-time. I was still being bullied and dealing with the after-effects of it. I had become anorexic because I believed what the bullies had drilled into my head for so long – how I was so fat that no one could ever love me for anything except sex. I was alone and felt as though God was punishing me, because at that time I didn’t have the right kind of relationship with God. I didn’t know Him as my Loving Heavenly Father.
I didn’t have a personal relationship with him.
I would pray to Him. Sometimes, even, I would try to bargain with Him. I’m not the only one who has done this, and I’m certain I won’t be the last. This just goes to show how wrong my relationship was.
The guy who moved in with me. Boy, did I think he was who God wanted me to be with. I mean, my mom adored him and spent over 2 months saying and doing what she could to convince me I should go on a date with him. It was a whirlwind romance for certain. He was a perfect gentleman for a long time. He would walk up to the high school to meet me at the end of the day and walk me home. He would hang out with my mom and sister trying to learn more about me. It was only after a year of courting when we did move into the apartment together.
I eventually missed so much school they suggested I drop out and come back the next year. Instead of suspending or expelling those students responsible for the bullying, I suppose the paperwork was easier to just have the one that’s being bullied drop out and return to graduate with the following class. Of course, this didn’t help with the bipolar or the OCD.
Unfortunately, after a few months of my boyfriend and I living together, he began to change. Marijuana, speed, and alcohol became a daily occurrence, I began missing school, was still being bullied, but now my boyfried was allowing it by his friends. One of his best friends (who was dating one of my friends at the time) tried to rape me one night when he knew I would be alone. Were it not for one of my friends stopping by out of the blue, he may very well have succeeded.
I found out in the early spring of the next year I was pregnant. My doctors were all concerned because of the trauma I had suffered and all their diagnoses being I wouldn’t be able to hold a pregnancy past the first trimester. At the time of my finding out, I was about 2 months along. On my way to the hospital one day to have another ultrasound after finding out I was having twins, I got into an accident. I prayed. I prayed so hard. I wanted these children, not to try to keep my boyfriend, but because of the diagnoses from the doctors. I was even bargaining…again.
I bargained if He allowed me to have these babies, they would be His. The accident though caused me to lose one of the babies. I thanked God it wasn’t both of them and I prayed I would still be able to have the one who didn’t miscarry. It was at this point in my life I should have opened the Bible my mother gifted me for my First Communion, and began to learn how to be a godly parent. Yet, I didn’t.
The pregnancy was quite eventful. It was most likely due to all the stress I was under in addition to being a high risk pregnancy. I was in the hospital regularly for stress tests, and toward the end of the pregnancy, multiple times weekly I was in for overnight stays because my baby had this wonderful knack of giving his young mother a heart attack but just randomly stopping his heartbeat. Six months after giving birth to a beautiful and fully head of hair baby boy, It was necessary to cut ends with his father and informed him he was no longer living with us.
I then finished school and went right to work, taking some liberal college courses in the evenings while one of my cousins would watch my then toddler. I became involved in a wonderful relationship with a wonderful man. He loved my son as his own. He helped me to get an amazing job which was able to get me on my feet and off government assistance. Things were great for about a year. Then, not so much.
Our relationship ended, my son’s father’s new woman was a bit pscyhotic and tried running us off the road numerous times, and my father was becoming very ill.
So I packed up everything and left. Moved back down here and my younger sister introduced me to a man she said loved children and was an amazing person. I did end up marrying this man, but I’m not going to say the whole relationship was amazing, because that’s not the case.
It came to be, as was the case with previous relationships, he was actually abusive and a cheater. The abuse didn’t begin though until after his mother passed away, though the cheating began to happen once she became real ill. Perhaps this was his way of acting out his anger, hurt, and frustration for losing someone he loved so greatly, he felt it okay to do so to the others who loved and cared about him.
And yet, I still married him, because I hoped he would change and at that time, I had a baby girl as well as my oldest and felt no one would ever want a single mom with two children. I turned to my mom for encouraging and truthful motherly advice and she basically echoed my thoughts. I wasn’t speaking with my father at that point because when told I was pregnant with my daughter (who I also had given to God), he said I should abort her because her father was a good for nothing. Basically, that earned his not being invited to the wedding.
I’m not going to say I was all right in the relationship and he was all wrong or vice versa, because it’s not true. Because every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Had I yet to open my Bible, I probably would have handled things differently, though I still didn’t have that personal relationship with Christ, and I wasn’t in regular attendance of a strong and Biblical Christian community.
So I continued to struggle. And my relationships continued to struggle. And I suffered multiple miscarriages. And I finally became pregnant again immediately following a miscarriage, so I prayed hard for a healthy baby I would give to Him, but I still didn’t open my Bible or try to get that close and personal relationship.
Though he was a twin where I did miscarry with the other, after a week stay in the hospital to clear up multiple infections early on in the pregnancy, I did have that healthy baby.
I was blessed to be able to stay home with the children. My oldest was in elementary school at that time, and my daughter was about to begin preschool. My husband was still in a downward depression years after the loss of his mother, and continued to turn to alcohol and other women. It was so bad, he actually brought one of the women he was seeing on the side into our apartment and said I needed to go out to a halloween party with her.
And still, I didn’t open my Bible, yet continued to bargain and pray. And I still didn’t have that relationship.
Once all three children were in school full-time, I went out of the home to try to supplement the income, to do my part, so to speak. I was placed in an amazing government agency and met a wonderful Christian man. I was able to ask him questions I had and he would speak with me about it in a way I would understand, but that didn’t stray from the Bible.
I became so excited! Finally! I found someone who could help me with whom I was also friends. We both decided though it would be easier for me on learning how to be a woman of God from another woman rather than a man, so he found a woman in his church who had a daughter my age, living in the same town as me, and who attended a church in close proximity to me.
We began meeting and I then not only began attending and serving in the church, but became a member. I did pray regularly, but didn’t pray on if that’s where I was supposed to be or learn how to read and understand His word. I still didn’t have that personal relationship I was yearning for.
I began to become real ill. I had a nonstop 24/7 migraine I couldn’t get rid of. No doctor could figure out what was going on. I was finally sent to a neurologist after having partial lower paralysis for a week, who ordered a brain CT Scan. The results from that scan wound me up in the hospital for a week as they poked, prodded, and nuked my insides with the radiation from all the tests they ran. I ended up having three, yes, 3!!, spinal taps, and multiple visits to neurological specialists in Boston in a two-year time frame before finally receiving the diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia.
Due to being bed-ridden, we began having pastoral visits at home. They helped me to stay in touch, but eventually, my husband had accused me of something which wasn’t true and had me ex-communicated from the church. It hurt so much I felt God really had no love for me. That He was so tired of me I had no right to be anywhere near His House, or His children. I believed Satan’s lie for about a year.
A whole year it took of me listening to my local Christian radio station, to believe He wasn’t angry with me, He still loved me and cared about me and missed me. He wanted me back, and I certainly wanted Him back, though He never left me.
I began attending a non-denominational church. It was Bible based teaching from God’s Word, and they welcomed me. In no time I began serving and learning how to have this personal relationship I’ve been longing for my entire life. I began praying again. Not bargaining prayers, but prayers of thanks and praise.
I began to hear His loving voice to me. I listened to what The Holy Spirit was saying to me and I tried my best to be obedient, and if I wasn’t, to be remorseful and sincerely apologetic. I continued to pray on my relationship with my husband and for him as he refused to attend service. I was feeling compelled to leave my husband due to the Biblical reasons I had, but also because of how unevenly yoked we were.
It wasn’t until his anger and abuse had reached to the point of my oldest moving out, and my husband losing it on our daughter’s room with she and our youngest nearby watching and listening, I decided enough was enough. For a long while, in response to prayers on my relationship with him, I would receive a response I was to leave him. At first it was to be a separation allowing him time to work on his issues and me on mine. But after only a few weeks, he began seeing other women and wasn’t showing me he wanted the marriage to work, so I filed for divorce.
I didn’t know how I was going to support myself and my children. I was let go from the job I had, it literally took me nearly a year to get that job, I only recently began Herbalife and was suffering from deteriorating self-worth because of the marriage. My mom allowed the younger two children and I to move into her 2 bedroom duplex with her, but it was difficult to adapt for everyone, and my mom was verbally and emotionally abusive to my children, so I had to get out of there sooner rather than later. I hadn’t lived at home for 20 years and mom and I were both used to our own way of living. This was also her first house ever, so she shouldn’t have had to share it.
Even more so because her cancer returned and the aggressive treatments she was put on weren’t helping. She ended up suffering from a couple of strokes, needed a malignant tumor removed from her brain which all but killed her as she became a quadraplegic and unable to speak.
I prayed. I listened. I hoped. I dreamed. I obeyed.
I was reacquainted with old friends who I know God put in my life again to help me push forward. One of those friends just happened to have a managerial position at his company and was looking for someone for the hours I needed. Needless to say, God blessed me by putting me in touch with this friend at just the right time.
Through this friend I got the job. I was then moved to a different department. It was at this point where mom became worse and the substitute manager of the department verbally assaulted me in the office in front of other employees and customers. At that point, I all but lost it, went to the GM, mentioned what happened, mentioned I was having symptoms from MS and they were getting worse by the minute, so I needed to go home.
Doing this got me fired, though they said I quit (forgetting if I quit I wouldn’t have left all of my personal effects), so there was a battle about unemployment, which I eventually won. Though I lost my mom a week and a half after I was fired, the win was bittersweet.
The previous department though allowed me to gain connections. One of these was at another company where I went to for business and came out with a job in the same department as the first one I was in at the other company. Coworkers were bullying me, and the manager of the department allowed it. In addition, we would agree to certain things, and then he wouldn’t follow through giving one excuse or another for it, and then outright lie about it. They told me things weren’t working out. I had surgery scheduled late in June, so I was looking for another job anyhow, but this put a wrench in the works.
I continued to pray and believe. I finally had the close personal relationship with Jesus I had been longing for. I continued to remember His promise to His children in Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” He blessed the younger children and I and got me another (supposed to be) low stress job. Once I had been in the job for a few months, He blessed us again with a beautiful 4 bedroom house, they could keep their pets, it was affordable, in a good area, and the land-family is very sweet.
It seemed as though things were finally working out. I moved up the ranks at work quickly, but then I came into the same situation I had at the previous two jobs. I wouldn’t budget my time properly for alone time with Him. It became worse to the point where I began to have anxiety about going into work, and when I was there, I was physically ill. I went to see one of my doctor’s as I felt I was no longer in remission and they told me I was to remain out of work until further notice, and I would not be allowed back to the current job unless the manager was there.
It had literally taken me 18 years to get to where I was when I left VT, and then all of this. I took precautions before leaving, as I was planning on staying at the company for a long time, so I signed up for short- and long-term disability as well as a Roth IRA.
Then I find out I’m being denied for everything. I can’t collect unemployment since I left on medical leave and can’t work. I was denied for the work disability because even though I received two additional checks after my last day of work and I wasn’t deemed unable to work until after the date I became eligible. I’m denied Social Security because I don’t have enough work hours/credits.
Trying to call anyone for any type of help is almost useless because even with my writing everything down, I don’t know how to do shorthand and so therefore cannot document full conversations so I will remember at a later time. YAY! brain lesions.
Not to mention the new and wonderful thing called: Agoraphobia. It literally takes me hours to mentally prepare to leave the house to go to a doctor’s appt. The only place I feel safe is in my home. I feel I’ve been abandoned by everyone. People I used to speak with regularly will no longer return my messages.
Were it not for God reminding me Satan is the one who is sending these attacks, and the wonderful anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and pain meds (I’m being very sarcastic about wonderful since I truly dislike prescription medication), I’d perhaps begin thinking nobody really liked me to begin with and that’s why they’re not talking to me.
But of course, that is all the devil’s doing, trying to steal my joy. Something I can’t allow.
I am truly believing I am going these trials during this season of my life for the goodness of His Glory. I believe in His Truth things will be better and He has wonderfully glorious plans for me and my children.
Each and every day is a struggle. While some days are more difficult than others, God continues to give me strength and makes all things possible. I may not understand fully why I’m going through what I am or what I have except I can continue to hope and pray He will use me as a means to share His light with others.
He loves us so much. No matter how many times we may mess up or falter, He is always there for us when we need Him and even if we don’t. Yes, we may be punished every once in a while, but that’s because He does love us and wants what’s best for us. I’m so grateful we can speak to Him whever we want and He will ALWAYS respond to us. No matter what. He is never too busy for anyone.
Be Blessed. You are loved more than words can say. Be your absolute best and try to release any hurt or anger because it is only preventing you from having your own happiness. Don’t allow the devil to steal your peace.