Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Father's Day Tribute, A Daughter Remembers

Originally Written:  June 21, 2009
Vol 1, Issue 6

Happy Father's Day, Everyone!

I hope you all had a restful and enjoyable week. I've been thinking a lot about my Dad, it’s only normal. Who wouldn't be thinking of their dad on Father's Day? I recently lost my father. We all knew he was in his last years, but it was sudden and very unexpected. I gain comfort knowing he is in heaven with Christ Jesus and I will see him again someday. I still miss him terribly, as does my step mom, Diane. To him, she was a gift that he had waited for all his life. It was mutual, they brought out the best in each other and his death has left an empty hole in her life and all those close to him. The 16 years they shared together were precious and their love touched all of us, their family, friends and co-workers alike.

He was an amazing man and lived well into his 60's, which given his circumstances was a miracle in itself.

If you have been reading my stories, you know that my Mom and Dad were both confined to wheelchairs in their teenage years. As a small girl, I recall my mom was the one to explained things to us about their physical circumstances. You know all the little questions we had like "How? What? Where?" and of course, "Why?" Dad's answers were never clear to us, at least not at that time. He would always say things like, "So what? Why not?" or "What does it matter?

One beautiful Saturday afternoon, while riding horses at my uncle’s place (I was about 8 or 9 years old), Dad asked if I wanted him to ride with me. I quickly responded with "But, you can't." Whoops! Dad asked me "Why not?" He was persistent...he repeated that question at least ten times until I started opening my mind to the possibility. Then I asked him the right question: "How could we do that?" He then gave me his ideas of how it could be done. I think he could have done it, too. No doubt in my mind. Let’s just say it involved a pulley system to get him up there, ropes to help keep his legs in place and some very imaginative ideas!

But, Dad didn't really want to ride that day. I was afraid to ride bareback and after galloping back across the pasture, I had asked for the saddle. He was trying to teach me something more important. In less than ideal situations, I need to look for other ways of overcoming challenges and doing things. Not assume that I can't do it because it might be hard or frightening. I needed to challenge myself.

Why not? So what? What does it matter?

You could sum up Dad's level of determination by those few short questions.

Dad never talked of his accident. What little detail of Dad's auto accident that I can recall (as it was told to me by mom) is that he fell asleep while driving his car (or truck...I never knew) on the rural highways that wind through far Northern Montana. He was apparently traveling into town when this happened and drove off the road and down into a steep ravine. I'm not sure if he remembered it, but he was trapped in his car for hours, upside down, with a broken back. He would never walk again and lost all feeling from the waist down. Dad never spoke of this experience with me. The one time he came close, he instead spoke of my grandmother, his stepmother, the woman he considered lovingly, Mom.

I recall Dad saying that if it wasn't for her, he would have given up and never done anything more with his life. She was the one that kept pushing him forward. She never allowed dad to say he wanted to die, although he felt like it at times. She said he had a future. She said, "There is nothing you can do about it now, it can't be changed, so don't waste your time worrying over it."

She was so right. No amount of worry or regret can change yesterday. We have precious little control over what happens next.

Like Grandma, Dad didn't give up either. He didn't stop living and waste away as a recluse inside the same log cabin in which he was born. He spent well over a year rehabilitating. A lot of that time was spent far away from home, away from the large family and the ranch life he was comfortable with. He eventually learned to accept the life that had been given to him. After rehabilitating and getting his High School Diploma, he went onto college and received his degree in accounting and business management. He wasn't going to sit by and take disability and never do more with his life. That wasn't good enough. He wanted to LIVE his life, not have it handed out to him or decided for him. So as his life began to unfold, when challenges arose, it was clear why he carried the mindset of "Why not?"

He eventually married my mom and together they purchased their first home. Now we had some unusual things in our home to assist in keeping mom and dad independent. We had what we named "reachers", nothing more than an oversized pair of salad tongs to reach the things on the top shelf of the cabinet. We had ramps in the front of the house, the garage and out the back porch. My dad's car (yes, he was a licensed driver) was lovingly named the "Green Lizard". A 1969 green two door Ford Fairlaine. I loved that car, hated the black leather interior in the summer, but we took many family vacations and road trips together in that car. Now dad had to make the normal and necessary changes. He built a sheet metal ramp to help get his chair in and out of the back seat. The ramp made it easier to pull the chair out so it wouldn't get stuck in the foot well. My sister and I fought over who sat on what side. If you got the driver’s side, you sit with your legs crossed during the entire trip. If you get the passenger side, you can get your feet on the floorboard. It worked well until we started getting to big and then it was time to make a change. We then graduated to a family van, which of course had to be modified to allow dad to keep as much independence as possible.

Now to modify the van in those days meant taking an empty cargo van, moving the seats into the back for the kids, attaching hand controls, an extended steering wheel and wheelchair locks. Our neighbors backed the van into the front yard, my parents wheeled into the back of the van from off the front porch, transferred into the van seats that were factory equipped, we loaded up the wheelchairs and headed for St. Louis, the closest place at that time where we could have a wheelchair lift and the rest of the modifications installed. At that time, we were talking about a six-hour trip in the hottest part of the summer. Dad was convinced everything was in order, all would be well and we would stay in a nice hotel off the Mississippi River while the modifications were made to the van. Modifications would be a cable supported lift off the side of the van, allowing my parents to ride up and down into the van with ease. From now on, there would be no need to transfer from their chairs to the car seat. Back then they did not have the motorized chairs they do today. They would be able to ride and drive from their chairs. Ah yes, Dad's ultimate machine would allow him even more independence! He named it the “Copper Coupe” because of it’s brown copper color. Dad named all of his cars, I never found out why.

There were a few "concerns" the neighbors had before we ever left the house. First of all, dad and mom would be stuck in that van until they reached their destination. Dad reassured our good neighbors that we had people waiting for us to arrive and they were supposed to help them get out of the van, check us into our hotel and then take the van to the shop for modification. No sweat, right? We had a brand new van, new tires, and a CB radio if heaven forbid something did go wrong. That way we could call for help. He reassured them that we would be fine and off we went. Fully armed with lunches, snacks, water jugs and Dixie cups. We were ready for the adventure!

Sounds like a piece of cake, right? WRONG.

Everything that could have gone wrong on that trip did.

Problem No. 1: Well, we hit St. Louis at high rush hour. I remember sitting in one place on the highway for what felt like hours. It had to be 100 degrees outside and at least 110 in the back of that van. We were late getting to our destination. Hours late. This meant that the shop closed before reached our destination. And it was closed for the weekend. So Dad decided the best course of action was to go to the hotel and see if we could check in and find someone kind enough to help with our problem.

Problem No. 2: Well, on arrival at the hotel, my sister and I were tasked with going to the front desk for a manager to come out and speak with our dad. The hotel had lost our reservation and they were booked. So we then had to find new accommodations and fast. Remember, this was back before cell phones, or even roadside phones that you could use while still in your vehicle. I started wondering myself how dad was going to get us out of this one! We drove around and found a nearby hotel. Dad caught the attention of a passerby who went into the hotel and asked if they had rooms available, he returned with the good news that yes; they could put our family in a room. So we had a place to stay, but this brought up the next problem.

Problem No. 3: How to get mom and dad out of this van. With our help we brought dad’s wheelchair out of the side door of the van and around to the driver’s door. Remember, this was a 70’s model full size cargo van. It was a LONG way to the ground. To my mother's horror, he jumped from up on high, down into his wheelchair. Hit his target, no harm, no foul, no problem. He was quite pleased with himself! Then it struck mom, she would have to do the same. In tears she cried out that no way was she going to do that. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. The next twenty minutes were filled with a lot of words I'm not supposed to use and was told to cover my ears. I could still hear what was going on and let's just say she let my dad know that she was displeased with him and sick of all his adventures and ideas. In between the "I hate you for doing this to me" and the "I'm not doing it, I'm not!" My sister and I sat on our suitcases thinking about how much fun the pool would be and how hungry we were! Then my dad had enough and finally said calmly, "You don't have any other options, you will be fine, the kids are here, now get your ass out of the van." She gave him one last cussing and then landed square on her backside in her chair. After catching her breath and getting settled, she didn't talk to him for the rest of that night. But for the rest of us, it has made for an entertaining story and a fond memory that I will share with others for years to come. Ah yes…my dad and his determination to be independent, his idea of comfortably “normal”.

We spent the rest of the week at the hotel, watching the boats on the river from our 12th floor balcony, swimming every day and spending time as a family. It was a really great vacation. Filled with the type of relaxing moments that you hope you can have with your children, once you have grown up enough to look back and realize just how good you had it as a kid.

This is just one of many examples of how my dad took the every day normal tools of our life and modified them to work for his life. So he could have that same freedom of choice that all able bodied people are entitled to have. I have mentioned that dad had many gadgets to accomplish this. One of my favorites was his lawn mower.

Now, there were so many things that Dad did that you just would not expect a paraplegic to attempt. It would be too hard, take so much more work...just pay someone and save your energy, right? Nope, no hired hands for my dad. Yard work and mowing the lawn was one of those things. My dad had a green riding lawn mower that yes, he modified. He ripped off the seat and replaced it with a regular bucket seat from a car. Never mind the bucket car seat was bright burgundy leather/vinyl material, it worked for him. He took off the steering wheel and replaced it with bicycle handlebars, carefully welded to the shape he needed to reach. He added foot rests for his legs, designed a "stop and go" bar that attached to the throttle so he could control this function by hand. It was the most ugly lawn mower known to man, but it worked. Every Saturday he was out in the yard, without fail.

We had a system when Dad mowed. Take water out to dad often and listen for the mower to stop. If it stopped anywhere but in the garage, time to go rescue dad. It did break down and often, but he would doctor it back up and get it through another season. Mowing the lawn wasn't the end of the job. Dad would then rake and bag his entire front and back yard. Why? When for a small amount of money someone could do it for him? Well, he wanted to be independent. Just like everyone else. It was his perception of "normal" that he could be happy with and accept. A well tended yard, complete with the trimming, done by his hand. What a sense of satisfaction he must have had at the end of the day!

Eventually my parents divorced, Dad moved away, eventually landing in Denver many years later. Dad and Diane purchased a nice home together and gave the yard work over to a young boy down the street. But, Dad’s green thumb prevailed so he also hired someone to build an elevated garden complete with irrigation systems, so he could grow his tomatoes, carrots, green beans, squash, you name it. His garden was his pride and joy and each time we visited him we loved going out to see what veggies were ready for picking. He had a gift for gardening and grew some of the sweetest baby carrots I've ever eaten. It had become part of our trips to Denver that we all looked forward to.

Finally, I want to share one of my fondest memories that I have of my Father. It was dancing with him at his wedding reception after marrying Diane. Yes, DANCING! He would get out there with his chair and "get down" for lack of a better adjective. Now, I'm a horrible dancer, but that night at the club he said to me; "Please honey, I want to dance with my daughter on my wedding day." How could I refuse? I had the time of my life. Once our dance was over and the slow dances began, Diane took her place on his lap. They shared a very special moments on the dance floor that night, and all the people in the club took notice that there was something different and very special about him, about both of them. Not having legs that worked did not mean anything to him or her. He showed the world that his disability wouldn't stop him from having the life he dreamed of. I cried tears of joy for my father. I was both incredibly proud and happy for him that he had found his place in this world and found someone equally as special to share it with.

The last years of his life I think were some of his happiest. He and Diane shared such a wonderful relationship. Together they shared many experiences that he may not have had if they never met. They went hot air ballooning, snowmobiling in the moonlight and took many more trips across this great country. The last time I saw him was when he came to visit for my oldest son's high school graduation. Their van had broken down and needed to stay at the shop for repairs. Problem? How were we going to transport my dad two miles from the dealership to the hotel, without a wheelchair accessible van. Not to fear, Dad had a plan. He told me on the phone, "No problem, I have a ride, I'll meet you at the hotel." Okay. My family hoped in the car and headed toward the hotel. All of a sudden, in the dark I see this image on the back of a flatbed truck. Just behind the cab, holding onto the light railing, was proudly perched my Dad, in his wheelchair, happy as a clam. He was waving to people, there were people honking and waving back, he was having the time of his life! He said the breeze was great and the view was even better! We got him to the hotel and unloaded Dad the one man parade and then I laughed all the way home. It was typical Dad. No fear, ever. Just go with the flow. There is nothing you can't overcome by God’s Grace and a set mind!

What an inspirational human being he was. I was the luckiest daughter in the world, because I was able to share his life!

Even if you don't have a disabling disease, Dad's life lessons were far reaching into all areas of life. We just didn't know it as young kids. Every person who met him, liked him, respected him or loved him. He was always outgoing and full of humor.

On a personal note: Dad, I miss you terribly, but you have left me with so many positive memories and examples of courage and strength. Sometimes when I'm down with my own disease, I wonder how you managed. It’s then I remember that I have to keep going and I CAN keep going. I have choices. I need to make them and go forward, even if it's just a little bit everyday. Although I miss our long talks, I'll never be without all those wonderful memories that you have given to me and your grandchildren. I know we will be together again someday and I want you to be proud of what I have accomplished, too. I won't give up; I'll fight this disease every day and get my life back in balance.

To my readers, I hope that you will gain strength from what I've shared of my father. There is so much more to tell. I could write for hours. Even in his death, he never lost his sense of humor or his practicality. He wanted his ashes spread on the ranch in Montana, under the same tree that Grandpa and Grandma asked for their ashes to be spread. At his memorial brunch, held in his home last spring [April 2009], Diane took my hand and walked me to the pretty oak box containing his ashes. It was engraved with the following: "Now wasn't that cost effective?"

Save me a dance in heaven, Dad. I'll be there in God's time.

Your Loving Daughter

© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to "Bobbie's World Blogs"
Thank you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Revealing Your Fibromyalgia....Blessing or Consequence?

Originally Written:  June 13, 2009
Issue 1, Volume 5

Thank the Lord the weekend is here! I am so ready for it!

This week I've had in your face, up front experience with our blog topic today. It has to be one of the most debatable questions out there. Not only for those of us with Fibromyalgia, but for everyone who has any type of serious "invisible" illness. 

Our government has destroyed many forests with HIPPA paperwork to help protect and ensure our rights to privacy. ADA laws protect us (or try to protect us) from discrimination from employers, insurance companies and Joe Bob next door. It is our right to keep our health and the condition of our bodies private from those whom we don’t wish to have such information! What about a trusted friend? Do we share our struggles with them? Can we be sure we will be protected from emotional injury or rejection? Sad to say, the answer is unknown. Until you take that leap of faith, you will never know how deep that friendship runs.

When I was still working, it was no big deal to tell my boss I had to turn off the lights and stretch out on the couch for 45 minutes, or leave work because I had a migraine. After my car accident, it got a little harder to ask for two afternoons a week to go for physical therapy. It was yet even harder to ask for three months time off so I could have surgery and recover from the neck injury caused by the auto accident. I actually continued working for 5 months after my accident with a ruptured disc, in severe pain. Why did I wait so long? Pride? Or was it because of fear that I might lose my job? Both? 
Why did I feel such a powerful need to hide my weaknesses?

The Lord made us all vastly different in every way possible, including our upbringing. The Bible tells us; "we are wonderfully made." As an adopted child, two parents who always did their best brought me up in a loving Christian home. Now, as a parent of 3, I often wonder how they did it all; especially considering they had been confined to wheelchairs since their teen years.

Dad was a victim of a car accident at 15 and broke his back. This left him a paraplegic. Mom was a victim of polio and over the years she grew weaker and found it easier to function from her chair than on crutches and leg braces. The funny thing about it was I never thought they were any different from anybody else's mom and dad. It wasn't until I got a little older that I noticed the looks we would get when going to the grocery store or shopping for school clothes. What a sight we must have been, two adults in wheelchairs packing two little girls along with them. My parents didn't ask for help, what assistance we did need came from Grandpa. Like changing the light bulbs, painting the eaves, or cleaning out the gutters. Dad was college educated and while we were far from rich, we had our own house and a big backyard to grow up in. Their physical weakness was obvious, but they were far from weak people.
Do I keep my condition hidden out of a fear that people will look at me as weak? Maybe. 

My father hated pity. I remember that he constantly had to turn away well-meaning people who wanted to carry his groceries, or help him into his car. Dad had a system for everything and these people actually got in his way, slowed him down, or by helping created an obstacle for him later. I could fill pages with the little tricks and gadgets I grew up around so my dad could live just like everybody else. I promise, I'll write a blog filled with entertaining stories on that very subject soon
You see, we all want to fit in. No body wants to be the last kid picked in the schoolyard dodge ball game. So, we all strive to achieve whatever level of "normal" that satisfies and makes us happy. Women need to feel good about their relationships with other women and to do this we need to feel respected, perhaps you could even say "equal."

When I stopped working I fought tooth and nail to be the best stay at home mother I could be. But I was failing. My health was getting worse and I didn't know why. It wasn't like it was before. There was no energy for play dates. The girlfriends I had planned to discover in our new neighborhood did not surround me. I couldn't keep up with the boys and take them swimming, play baseball anymore, or take them and play at the park. I found myself fighting to keep food in the house and the laundry off the floor. The rest of the time I spent horizontal, hoping when I woke up I would discover it was all just a horrible nightmare. But it wasn't, I had FMS and it would get a lot worse before it got better. Unfortunately "better" was nowhere near what I once considered "normal" or "equal".

My outward appearance had not changed much. On bad days I was bedridden. On good days I was stiff and walked with a slight limp. I barely left the house. That eventually improved as I entered pain management and found all the other illnesses that came with FMS. One by one they were treated, not cured, but I reached the point where I would not get much better physically.

I learned quickly how to hide my condition. I didn't tell a soul outside of my family. I lived in isolation. That way I had no commitments to miss, no people to let down when I couldn't show up last minute, no uncomfortable conversations or explanations. We all know that can't last long, and it didn't. After all, I am my father's daughter, a very social outgoing person.
I have had a passion for horses since my Grandfather put me in the saddle on his sorrel ranch horse at the age of 3. From then on I listened to every horse story my dad ever talked about. When we returned home from Montana, Dad bought me Thunder. The "big girl" size of the galloping plastic horse on springs found in the toy department of T.G. & Y. Thunder and I rode together in my room until the springs broke. Dad would smile and order new ones until one day he said, "I think you are just too big for Thunder, you just can't ride him anymore." So, I cried awhile then took him off his broken springs and lovingly placed him in the corner with my stuffed animals. There he wouldn't be lonely and I could still pet him and daydream of what it would be like to ride free. I read every book about horses I could get my hands on. To this day I have a huge Breyer horse collection on display that would envy some collectors out there.
A friend of my husband had owned horses her entire life and was willing to help me with the hands on learning to add to what I had learned from the books. With her generosity, she helped me start down the road to fulfilling my dream: to own my own horse and ride free with the wind in my face. Owning a horse is a huge responsibility. Every day I have to feed, water, groom and pick hooves. The laws of nature say what goes in comes out, then you got to pick up the nature. Buckets full of it every week. To keep them in shape, they have to be ridden often. Be it scorching sun, fierce wind, or blowing snow, or come riding season you could have a wild thing on your hands. 
Since getting my beloved Filly I've learned to deal with dental problems, cuts, colic, parasites and a close call with founder. I've been thrown three times, just twice by Filly, stepped on, kicked at and bit. We've spent hours driving in a truck with broken AC to parades and rodeos. Some parades we saddled up and sat waiting for 2 hours in the saddle, long sleeves, leather chaps and wool hats, just to walk a five-minute parade route in 100-degree temps. Yes my dream had come true and I loved every minute of it!

As my skills and knowledge grew, my FMS was increasingly challenged. It was easy to hide in the beginning, I wasn't a good enough drill rider and my horse is too slow for this team. I would miss an occasional practice for a migraine, but it was no big deal because no one was counting on me. It was safe. I was content to ride the parades and if I felt up to it, I would follow along to the rodeo. If it was a really good day, I would ride grand entry then stay and watch the drill team perform! I'll never forget the first time I carried the team flag through Grand Entry. I was on cloud nine. I was “normal” again! Or so I thought.

Then the unthinkable happened. My son fell in love with horses as much as his mother. He was riding as I was learning; I should have seen it coming. Then the team decided to put together a youth team for all of our kids and let them compete at Nationals instead of watching from the side. I suddenly found myself committed and I was sure to be exposed.

My husband was my saving grace that first season. When I was ill, he would take Peyton to practice. On drill days I made sure I had plenty of time to rest, did things in stages and prayed for a good health day. It was crucial in not getting caught with a flare or a migraine away from home. I eventually got to visit with other parents and teammates and confided in them. I decided it was time I quit hiding it. I have no reason to be ashamed and nothing to fear, right? Do I?

Well, the sky did not fall, there were no doves and music, it just “was.” So, Bobbie has FMS. That's why she can ride one week, but the next week it takes her breath away just to mount her horse. She will say she is going to ride today and shows up and never get on a horse. She will move fast at one practice and next week sit in her truck and drink water for 15 minutes before getting out. Most of the time she will be just fine. Every now and again she will be too weak of body. But never mistake her for being weak of character. She will always strive to be respectful of others. She asks for nothing but the same in return.
Now, that was easy, right? It was done. It was out there and I felt a sense of relief. I didn't have to hide it anymore. But the relationships would be tested. Some people would pass. Some would say a kind word when she was down because she couldn't reach her goal that day. Some would tell her they were proud of how far she had come. Some would find her sitting alone in tears and lend a little comfort. Others would fail. Miserably. Some would talk about her behind her back and call her a liar. Some would be harsh. Some would say she shouldn't be here. She would be accused of using her illness as a crutch one minute, and then she would be told it's too much for her body to take the next. She would have wonderful achievements and breakthroughs, followed by horrible setbacks. Things would be said and done that made her question her decision to follow her dream at all. People she once held in high esteem would be changed in her eyes forever. That is the risk you take by exposing your FMS.
It is this way because it is the nature of the beast; FMS will pop up and blindside us like a speeding train. It will ruin my schedule, plans, dinners, vacations and special days. I'm going to tell you I will be there and get sick halfway there. I may not show up or I may show up late and sick. I might be there and be fine, then stop in the middle of everything and go home. I'm going to say I will do something and not get it done. I may show up and throw up in your driveway. I'm going to be okay with it even if you aren't. Finally, if you aren't okay with how FMS affects my life, we won't have a problem anymore because you won't be in it.
What I have learned on my journey thus far is that instead of trying to be someone else's normal, I need to be my normal. I need to be happy within myself and not give a care in the world about what someone else thinks of me. 
I have dreams. My dreams involve horses and no one is going to tell me when to stop trying. I have high standards of character passed down and learned from my father. He was told after his accident that he might live 5 years as a paraplegic. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 65. 
Regardless, if I never take the risk, that success will just go to someone else.

My Lord says He has "plans" for me. "Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). So, until the Lord takes the last breathe from this body, I will never let go of my dreams.

Dream on dear friends,


© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to “"Bobbie's World Blogs"
Thank you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sorry, I Just Can't Make It Today

Originally Written: June 7, 2009
Vol. 1, Issue 4

Good Day, Friends! 

Today I’m touching on a couple of different topics that surround FMS.

1. Problems maintaining a schedule.

2. People who respond to our illness in cruel and insensitive ways.

We have all encountered people that say horrible insensitive things because they don’t, understand or believe that you have a serious illness. Some of these people may even be in our own family. They probably think “We look normal on the outside so how can we possibly be so sick that we need to be bedridden?” Or, “How can you possibly be unable to work? You say you are in pain, but we can’t see it so how can it be real?”

To us it is very real. Sometimes our pain is so bad we can’t think clearly or even get out of bed. The question these people constantly ask is, “How can we be fine one day and on the verge of hospitalization the next?”

For us it is very simple. We suffer, most often in silence, because it is easier to keep it to ourselves than it is to explain our struggles, pain and loss, just to have someone respond insensitively.

One of my biggest obstacles with FMS and migraines (my other major disabling condition) is not being able to schedule things in advance. I can never be certain that I won’t have to cancel at the last minute because of a flare or a migraine. I know that we all have been in this circumstance and it can be very frustrating. Especially if the person you are canceling on doesn’t understand your situation.

There have been times that I’ve rescheduled appointments more times than I can count. Now, if I cancel on my headache specialist? No problem. Cancel on my pain specialist? Again, there is no problem. It’s to be expected. Neither of my doctors want me to drive during a migraine or while I’m taking medication for breakthrough pain.

My biggest problem is always with the dentist. Dental appointments 9 times out of 10 trigger a bad migraine for me. All that buzzing around in my mouth or even just a routine cleaning sends me home sick. Many times just the anticipation causes enough stress to trigger a migraine, resulting in another rescheduled appointment. Of course they don’t get to see me with my head in the toilet so to them it just a bunch of drama to get out of keeping my appointment.

My last dentist had what I called the appointment Nazi’s. They called over and over and over and over to reschedule. If I had a morning appointment and had to cancel, they said, “Well why don’t you come in this afternoon?” Okay people. Most of us with severe chronic migraines know that you’re pretty much worthless for 24 hours AFTER the headache breaks. At least I am. My triptan makes me feel like I’ve run a marathon and the last thing I feel like doing is getting up, taking a shower and going to have some person dig around in my mouth, just to start the headache back up again.

These young girls just didn’t get it. No matter how many times and ways I tried to forewarn or explain. My last appointment I had to cancel they had the audacity to tell me to either come in or find someone to fill my appointment. I was furious. My husband was also outraged and he came home from work, picked me up, we went into the dentist’s office so they could see just how sick I was. My husband then proceeded to tell them they could go pound sand before they would EVER treat anyone in our family again. They lost four patients that day. The dentist, which I had seen since the age of 12, apologized profusely and said that I could just call on a day where I felt up to it and they would fit me in. I thought that sounded like a great plan. So we headed home, all the while I was struggling to keep the contents of my stomach IN my stomach. I assumed we had reached an agreement, although my husband stood firm that he and the boys would never go back to that clinic again.

A few days later I received a letter in the mail saying that they had the highest standard of care for their patients and because of this they were dropping me as a patient. HUH? What was that suppose to mean? Some poor little appointment clerk probably got a firm talking to and when I didn’t call within 3 days, she decided I could care less about my teeth and that I was not “good enough” for their practice. So, in total, the clinic lost a total of 5 patients in 3 days time due to one appointment clerk’s behavior. The dentist doesn’t get a pass either; after all, he signed the letter.

To this day I regret not responding to that letter. I was so upset that I was afraid I would get into a screaming match that would result in me needing to ask for forgiveness on many levels. So I let it go. I will not mention his name. I firmly believe I would be wrong to do so, as it would violate my Christian principles. The Bible says, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.”

We all have to struggle with feeling semi-normal one day, then the next like we are near death. I try not to schedule morning appointments if possible because that tends to be the hardest part of my day; it is for most FMS patients. I don’t make commitments to serve on the board of my drill team; I always make sure there is a backup for any drill position I may ride…which only started this year [2009]. I have learned that I must “come out of the closet” so to speak and tell my friends that I have this disease. Some of them get it, some of them don’t. But that is their problem, not mine. It goes to their character and anyone who chooses to elevate themselves above another people on the basis of health is discriminatory and cruel. I know, those are strong words, even judgmental. God tells us “Judge not lest ye be judged.” But, we can see a person’s actions and if those actions fly in the face of God’s command to love one another, I think a little extra caution is advisable before opening your heart to someone like that.

My friends keep up the fight. Defend your right to be treated like a human being even though you fight this terrible disease. Remember never to give up your dreams, and never, EVER let someone else make you think less of who you are because of Fibromyalgia or any other invisible illness.
Have a blessed week!


© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to “Bobbie’s World Blogs"
Thank you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Have FMS, Now What Do I Do???

Originally Written:  June 2, 2009
Vol. 1, Issue 3

Hello Everybody!

Today I want to take a moment to discuss an issue that affects a lot of people that suffer with FMS and other disabling conditions. Before I get to that, I want to share a little of my story with you.

Prior to my car accident and being diagnosed with FMS, I was working 40 + hours a week and was the major bread winner for my family of 5. My day started at 6:00 AM with taking the kids to the sitter and driving 45 minutes to my job. After working a full day, I would return to pick up my children, drive home, make supper, clean up the dishes, spend some quality time with the boys, bathe them and tuck them into bed. The weekends I did the major house cleaning, yard work, tended to the flowerbeds and washed the car inside and out. 

My oldest boys are one year and one week apart so they played baseball on the same team. I NEVER missed one of their games. Even after all that, I managed to sing in the choir and play a musical instrument during the service once or twice a month. I look back at those days with a lot of joy and happy memories. Although I was tired, it was nothing like what I experience with the FMS. Now that I have this disease, I’ve given up a lot of things I once completed with relative ease.

I went through a long grieving period of the life that was lost to me because of FMS. BUT, that doesn’t mean my life was over, it just had to change and I had to adapt. Not to mention, my disability check is a fraction of what I use to make.
Now, I’m still one of the very blessed few. My husband has a great job and is able to support us with his income alone. He does have some health issues of his own and that frightens me on several levels. 

  • I love him and don’t want to be without him.
  • If I were to lose him, I would lose everything, my home, cars, everything material. 
It can be terrifying at times. We have life insurance, but that would only go so far. So, I try to live each day to the fullest by cherishing every moment; however, when I’m having a severe migraine or a bad flare all these worries really get to me.

What I have learned is that I must trust in God to provide for my daily bread and to take things one step at a time. Some Fibromyalgia patients have more severe cases than others and I feel for those who are suffering or confined to wheelchairs due to their pain. But I have faith that should something happen to my husband, God would provide another way for me to care for myself and my boys.
So, what I want to say to you is this: Don’t give up. You have a future and God will reveal it to you when the time is right. In the meantime take things one day at a time and trust in His plan for you. Continue to work with your doctor until you find the right mix of medication and therapy. Remember, no matter how bad your situation is, the sun will still come up in the morning! Never quit trying and never give in.
Good luck and many blessings to you all!

© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to “Bobbie’s World Blogs"
Thank you!