No Fountain of Youth at the Beach

I have a public service announcement: THERE IS NO FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH IN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL! At least, not that I found over the course of a week. Truth be told, this trip made me feel old. Older than I actually am. I spent 8 nights and days there and guess how many times my faulty body let me actually go down to the beach. 2 (two) visits to the sugar white sand. And two was all I could muster.


The first trip was during the day. I had no umbrella or pop up tent to block the rays from burning my pasty white skin. Mixed connective tissue disease means stay out of the sun. The medications I take for this disease all have warnings about sun exposure meaning stay out at ALL cost. So I loaded down with SPF 100 cream and I went for about one hour to the beach. I watched from afar as my 6-year-old and 37-year-old husband/kids played. Doing things I can not do any longer even though I really want to.
When you go on a trip like this, something we used to do all of the time with no problems what-so-ever, that whole spoon theory really comes into play.

My 6-year-old doesn’t understand it and I don’t expect him to. I don’t even want him to.  He persistently begged me to go to the beach with them every single day. He persistently begged me to go fishing at night at the beach with him every single night. My rationing of spoons told me that if I gave in and went to the beach tonight, I wouldn’t be able to move the next morning. Alternately, they told me that were I to go to the beach today, I won’t be worth a thing when we returned.

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I felt like I was letting my son and my husband down. I felt like I was making my husband mad. I don’t know why I felt this way because he never made me feel like he was mad or anything. On the way down there we found this awesome radio station. It was a great mix of older country music and really old country music. Mostly, the music I grew up with. I am a music lover and I love all music. Rap, pop, rock, country, classic rock, punk, heavy metal, you name it, I love it. On the way down the song, “Different” by Kenny Chesney came on. It caught me off guard. I can’t begin to explain why, but it made me cry. And cry…and cry…

There I was, staring out of the window, hoping no one else realized I was balling crying. I couldn’t hide it well. My husband asked me “are you crying?” “What are you crying for?” I told him that I had no idea. And this did make him mad. But I still don’t know what made me cry like that.

Something about being told you have an incurable disease that may eventually lead to your early death makes you see your entire life different. It makes you see your entire future different for sure. It leaves you on an emotional roller coaster ride that you can’t get off of. I have always had a quirky reply to my kids when they say “that’s not fair”. I have always told them that the fair only comes once a year. You buy your tickets, you ride your rides, and that’s all the fair you’re going to get in this life.

Now, I’m getting my moneys worth out of this ticket to this lifelong roller coaster ride.  The highs are rare, the lows are frequent, the upside-down and twisting is constant. My roller coaster ride doesn’t have an attendant. There is no way to turn it off or make the ride end. The person in control of it is in God’s hands. It’s up to Him, me, doctors, and support. IMG_3737

One of the days we were down there my husband talked me into going to play putt putt golf. Side note: I despise putt putt golf. But we went and I have to admit I had a blast. When we got there I quickly realized we were into way more than I originally thought. This place had an arcade, two Farris wheels, bumper cars, bumper boats, and a crazy house, among other things. The golf was inside in black lights. I didn’t win, but I did in my heart. I was having fun. Fun is something that seems hard to attain when you’re in constant pain.  We had a blast. But the trip was much longer than I thought it would be. And my body started to fail me towards the end. My son wanted to ride the bumper boats one more time before we left. I had just started to dry out from the first ride, but you only live once. Something that is much more apparent to me these days.IMG_3745

He also had to go turn his tickets in for a prize at the arcade. I asked my husband if I could ride the roller coaster while they went and did that.  So I did. I rode that roller coaster by myself. And I felt so alive. I felt so free. I felt so content. The ride was fast and short, and rickety. I don’t know why this one ride made me worry I may get sick and lose my cotton candy. Another childish thing I had done that day. I haven’t eaten cotton candy in forever.  It was so good!

My take away from the beach is this: Live every day like you are a kid again if you are able. I’m not, so this rare day wore me out. I didn’t find my fountain of youth, but maybe I did find a sprinkle of it.

I was ready to come home and see my doggies. They missed me as much as I missed them. I felt so bad for leaving them. They don’t understand. But they’ve already forgiven me.  I wish I could forgive myself as quickly as they can.

My Best Friends

 

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Homie and Bella

 

I probably have a different opinion about my dogs than most. My dogs are people to me. They are my best friends. Sure, I have friends that don’t have 4 legs but my dogs are my true, loyal no matter what, best friends. It is so cliche’ to call them that, I know. But there really is no other way to put it.

I look at them as my rescuers. If I’m feeling down about anything with my illness I can always, without a doubt, rely on them to cheer me up.  I have three dogs. Two of them are full blooded boxers and the other is a mutt, mostly German Shephard. She is the newest addition to the pack and although I do love her dearly, she is the most destructive dog I have ever owned. I question my decision to bring her home often. She literally chews up everything she can get her mouth on and no amount of scolding or giving her alternative things to chew on has worked. Still, she is here to stay. She’s now a part of the pack.

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Piper

 

Before her we got Homie. He turned 3 on April 1st. He’s my April FOOL. Just look at that picture of him and you’ll see why I say that. We named him Homie and other people don’t understand why. I really can’t even explain why it just fits. When we first got him and took him to the vet for his shots the veterinarian heard a really bad murmur. She acted as if she didn’t even want to give him shots. She asked where we got him and asked if we would be able to get a refund. Like he was just some item we purchased at the store. My husband, who was the one that took him to the vet that day, told her to give him the shots anyway. When he got home and told me the news and that he got the shots anyway and expressed how callous it seemed of her to act that way I was shocked. I was shocked for several reasons.

 

Homie

Homie

 

See there are some things that I don’t see as problems where my husband will. One of them is my dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves them. But he is a voice of reason when it comes to them. He is the person who has said on several occasions that we may not be able to afford Piper because of her destructive behavior and the price tag on a lot of the items she chooses to rip to shreds. I know he’s right, but the ability to find her another home is something I don’t possess.  So when this vets actions and mannerisms didn’t sit right with my husband and he felt it came off as disheartening I knew this situation would’ve probably caused me to raise Hell if I had been with him. I was so proud of him for demanding the shots anyways.

She did tell him that Homie may outgrow the murmur, but that his was one of the worst she had heard. She was doubtful. I did contact the breeder and she assured me that if he were to pass away from this condition she would get us another puppy. Once we bring a puppy home he is a member of the family. How could I just give him back and deem him defective? I couldn’t. Most animal lovers couldn’t.  Skip forward 3 years and me and my Homie are still kickin’ it. He’s healthier than I am at this point.

Before him, there was one. Bella. My sweet, loving, extremely weird, Bella. I got her from someone that didn’t take up a lot of time with her. And because of that, she is strange. She is getting old and can’t see well anymore which prompts her to bark at stuff that really is nothing.

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Bella

 

She is the well mannered, rarely ever does anything wrong, innocent one. Until she’s not. And since we brought Piper home  Bella has acted like she found her youth. Sometimes she is actually the instigator in some of their rough play sessions. And she is having a blast!

Back to Homie- I know as a parent you’re not supposed to have a favorite. Because I treat my dogs like humans too I’m sure I shouldn’t have favorites among them either.

I Have a Confession to Make

Homie is my favorite! I never want to think about the day when something happens to any of them, but I’m telling you now, I WILL have a come-apart if anything happens to Homie.

Homie has helped me with so much in my life that he’s not even aware of.  I can’t tell you how many days I’ve felt like crap and near my wit’s end and Homie will nudge his squishy nose on the side of my bed and just lay his head there because he knows when I’m upset. He doesn’t like it at all and he tries his best to cheer me up. Most of the time it works. I honestly don’t think a day has gone by since we got him that that goofy dog hasn’t made me laugh. I’m not even over exaggerating that, not even a little.

I could sit and go on and on about my friends but it’s getting bed time. Don’t worry about me tonight. My best friend is already sawing logs right beside my bed.IMG_3522