part XI… pregnant??

September 2011:
Two months back at work and strange things started to happen. Around noon each Thursday I would get super nauseated, beyond tired, often needing to go home sick – sometimes having to spend the next 3 days in bed. Work had begun to make me ridiculously tired – my Tuesday nights began to feel suspiciously similar to Friday nights after a 60 hour week. And then the nausea became more frequent.

PregnantSEMD

Lucie ~ 1998

I took a pregnancy test… because I most definitely had experienced these symptoms twice before in my life!
There is absolutely no way I’m pregnant. I’m 44 years old – I’m pretty sure I’m pre-menopausal for crying out loud! Well it can’t be, I mean, my tubes were tied right after Zella was born. And not just tied, but tied in double knots (if Eddie was finally able to convince the doctor to do it). It’s just not possible, is it? But they say God does have a sense of humor? So…?
Results in. Nope. Not pregnant. Great! But what’s with the pregnant-like symptoms? Hmmm…?
October:
By now my weeks had settled into a consistent pattern:
Monday – exhausted. In bed early.
Tuesday – super exhausted. In bed super early.
Wednesday – whatever’s worse than super exhausted. In bed instantly upon arriving home, then up again and off to church for Wednesday night activities.
Thursday – a little dizzy in the morning… kinda like day 1 concussion back in March… but not that bad… then by noon my body would just sort of shut down. Nausea, Vertigo, Fatigue and Confusion… the Fab Four, all at the same time.
Friday thru Sunday – sick. In and out of bed.

 

PregnantZRD

Lydia ~ 2002

I decided to take pregnancy test #2.  What was that Sherlock Holmes quote… “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains…” something like that?   Yup… I’ll take the home pregnancy test again, just to eliminate that impossibility once and for all.
Results in. Nope. Definitely not pregnant, and definitely at a loss as to what was making me feel this way.

 

Early November:
Sick and tired and desperate for some kind of answer, I took pregnancy test #3.
Oh what the heck. I’ve been taking pregnancy tests for almost three months now, what’s the harm in another? It’s silly. I know that. By this time, if I was actually pregnant (which of course I could not be) I would have had plenty of other evidence of it. But if I’m not pregnant, why do I keep feeling pregnant?
Results in. I’m not pregnant. Of course not. Yay? I guess..?
But my symptoms were getting worse and work was becoming more difficult. And it seemed that I still wasn’t any closer to finding a reason for them. It was getting harder and harder to just shrug the nausea and fatigue off. After finally ruling out pregnancy, and after doctor visits that ruled out any sickness that might have been causing me to feel that way, my thoughts began to turn back to my concussion. Yet all of the doctors had cleared me, hadn’t they? They had shined lights in my eyes and had me follow their fingers multiple times and told me “You’re good to go. Time to get back in the saddle and leave that brain injury behind you. Go get ‘em tiger!” or something to that effect, which was certainly exactly what I wanted to hear.

 

Actually, it wasn’t all of the doctors that said that. Dr Jennifer, my reliable and knowledgeable chiropractor, hadn’t truly given me the green light to resume my life. I had started going to her on a monthly basis about 5 years prior to my head injury, so she knew me very well. After my accident, when I saw her on my previously scheduled appointments, she started asking me entirely different questions than the other doctors had. She noticed subtle differences in me that neither I nor anyone else had noticed. For example, at my very first visit after the concussion, she asked me if I’d noticed that my speech had slowed. She had an insight into my concussion that was so far beyond my grasp… that I kinda didn’t pay attention to her. When I told her of my failed pregnancy tests and the symptoms that prompted me to take them … and I laughed at how silly I’d been, she didn’t laugh. She looked concerned and quickly ordered a thorough exam of neurological testing in Minneapolis.


“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:17

In hindsight, I was “sort of” pregnant at that point. Not realizing it at the time, I was awkwardly in the process of unknowingly giving birth to a new era in my life. And like it slowly tipped my world upside down when I had my babies, my life was changing dramatically. As time went on, it was only in him that I was holding together.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part IX… selling our home

Saturday morning, about 4 weeks post-injury, we were finally ready to get the house on the market. Ironically, I woke up with thoughts contrary to that well prepped plan. I said to Eddie, “I need to tell you something. You probably won’t want to hear it… but the Lord has been pressing it on my heart all week and I cannot move forward with the realtor’s pictures today until I get this burden off my mind.”

Blessing #5… a burning bush.

Ed had already been awake and had begun straightening up the house for the website photos that were going to be taken in 4 hours. He came back to bed. “What?” Normally when I deter him from a project it comes with a huff, a sigh and an attitude of frustration that I am interrupting his diligent task. But this time, he was very patient. Very peaceful. Hmmm…

ourhome“Ed, I know what I am about to say is going to be polar opposite of all that we have been working towards and dreaming of for the past 10 years, but I don’t think we should sell the house right now. In fact, I think we shouldn’t sell at all. Possibly ever.”

He just stared at me and said, “Oh my goodness, I had the same thought this week! It’s not that I’m afraid to sell… heck, I’ve moved dozens of times in my life. In fact, we’ve never really even liked this house’s style, layout, size, etc… it was just an easy flip… so we really should stick with the plan to sell this and buy our last home, our dream home. But I feel so strongly about what the Lord has laid on my heart… well… it’s so bizarre… I almost feel as if I have seen a burning bush?!”

“Eddie, it must be of the Lord! This was not even on the menu of options for either of us… tell me more about what He has shown you this past week.”

“Well… I’m not really sure why we shouldn’t sell. In fact, I cannot even justify it in my head. But the Lord has laid it so heavily on my heart that I cannot move forward to sell this house. All morning when I have been prepping, I have felt completely wrong about it. This is amazing!  He has been talking to us both separately… but the same. What has the Lord shown you?”

As he looked at me, I knew there was one more remnant from the Lord’s pressing that I had yet to share with him. “Well…” This next part had me a bit scared as it was an old topic that had been tabled years ago… with the last conversation not being a very pleasant one. “For the first couple days this week, when I felt His leading, I had no words for ‘why’ He doesn’t want us to sell. Then as I continued to pray and chat with Him… I heard Him say… ‘don’t sell the house – pare down your expenses so that you can afford to homeschool the girls.’  I know this is a closed topic that we gave up on years ago… but because your job is now flexible and my job isn’t but it provides other family needs… what if you worked part-time – homeschooled the girls until noon-ish – they could do follow-up work on their own – and then you could go to work in the afternoon? That’s not set in stone… but if we remain in this house… we could afford for you to go part-time. And we could, most likely, afford the costs of home schooling?”

He looked shocked. “That’s a lot of information all at once, Lisa! Where did you come up with all that in a week?”

“Honestly, it all came out of left-field. And I am sorry to tell you all that… all at once… today… hours before we sign papers… but I feel so strongly convicted about it that it would be a mistake to not share it with you.”

“Okay… let’s pray… now.”

Remember the ‘thanksgiving’ emphasis I shared in part VII?  “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   (Philippians 4:6)  Thankfully, right then and there, God stopped the sale of our little, affordable home… so that He was able to provide Bible-based schooling for our girls; quality time between father and daughters; more concentrated family time through rough waters ahead; and 5 years later… He was able to continue to provide a roof over our heads when I had to give up my career due to the lasting effects of my TBI… a financial hit that a larger, ‘better’ home would not have sustained.

Blessing #6… we didn’t sell the house.

So, very slowly, I am learning to pray through a situation with thanksgiving for the coming blessings that the Lord will provide through whatever difficulty I am currently facing.

When I pray only for Him to lessen my anxiety, my focus tends to be on me and how I am handling the situation.

When I pray with thanksgiving, my focus is most definitely on how God will be handling the situation. Then thanking Him, often in advance, for caring for and solving my crisis in His wayin His timing… with His answer… leads me to more faithfully following His sovereign and divine plan.

Blessing #7… we are able to home school the girls.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

 

part VIII… home and whole

As the days passed, I spent more time sleeping and not moving than I had since I was about 5 years old and had pneumonia. It didn’t yet bother me that I couldn’t move crossBESTILL.jpg without the walls moving with me. I was more than grateful to no longer be vomiting or worrying about the escalating danger. All had been resolved, to my knowledge.  And, I had yet to be frustrated by all that I couldn’t do or say. I was just too strangely exhausted to even know the losses that were coming.

Blessing #3… Family and friends came and went with food, flowers and house cleaning (wish I could have booked that for a lifetime!). It’s funny… when you cannot see an illness, no one (including yourself) believes it is truly there. So, I gradually felt like anything that seemed ‘off’ about my day, was just a figment of my imagination. When people came and went, I felt a bit awkward telling them my story… as I didn’t look too different.

After about a week of obedient ‘resting’, I figured it was time to get back in the game. Although, I still couldn’t function normally – couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk a straight line, couldn’t hold a long conversation, etc. – my fear was that these stagnant behaviors would be my ruin. So, in an effort to CONQUER these weird new post-concussion actions of mine… I kept going… harder.

Yup… just as I had dreamed of in the ER… I purchased my first Sudoku book and tracked my progress in learning for my own proof that I was not losing my cognitive abilities. The girls and I tried out for a play through our local community theater – believing that should cover my summer respite (normally my job required me to be in training or training others all of June and August… but my mom and hubby put the kabosh on that). We continued prepping the house to get it on the market. We returned to our busy family schedule of sports, activities and church life. Planning for Lucie’s 13th surprise birthday party went from my hospital bed head to emails and action. Week two, I went back to work part-time. Week three, I went back to work full-time. Week four, back to work full-time-plus.

Blessing #4… Did I need a severe concussion to find my true identity even though I thought my heart was in the right place? The miracle was… I began to see His heart desires for my life.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—”  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?”  That’s a good question, God! I died to the world’s way the minute I submitted my sins to Your forgiveness and my path thereafter to Your will. So why do I want a better house? Why do I need to work more than is required of me? Why do I desire to fit into the merry-go-round of American expectations? “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” So, Lisa, why do you think you always have to do more?  You need to make enough money to have all that our family needs and wants. You need to be involved in volunteering, donating, church activities, etc. You need to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend… but why?  (Bible verses –Colossians 2:20-23)

Am I living life for what I need and want, creating a self-made religion? Or am I truly living life for what God has planned for me? Are my actions too self-driven from pride or are my actions a result of waiting upon the Lord’s design and being filled with a sincere passion for Him?

Who am I?

Deep down… truly… who am I?

 

**When I list blessings… I know that there were, and still are, many that I have taken for granted, and as a result, have gone unnoticed. My God is too great for me to be able to list all of His provisions and blessings that have decorated my life so abundantly!  As I cite them, I feel negligent in not capturing them all… but then again, I feel blessed. The fact that He would continue to bless me, in spite of my ingratitudes or ignorance, reminds me that He loves me more than I can even imagine.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

mid-month news & info ~ july 2017

NEWS & Info

  • How do I explain a brain injury in one sentence or less? https://mildtbi.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/describing-mild-tbi-in-one-sentence/
  • Today, a dear friend reminded me that the words of the truth, the Bible, are something I need to nourish my spirit with over and over again…  “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”    Mark 9:24

  • Here is a wonderful website about a woman whose life was turned upside down by a major injury… http://www.joniandfriends.org/jonis-corner/jonis-bio/ .  Joni became a paraplegic at 17 years old.  Her story tells of how God pulled her out of the pit …thru her disability, other life events and most recently, breast-cancer.  She is full of inspiration!
  • Info from a researcher on a TBI group I follow… Matthew Bennett is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, and athletic therapist who has recently relocated to Vancouver to start up his own holistic practice called Active Solutions Medicine.
    • “Dear TBI Tribe,  I would like to introduce myself [Matthew Bennett] and the project I have dedicated my clinical practice and life toward over the past 7 years.  Prior to this project I was working full-time as an Athletic Therapist with professional teams in the NHL, MLB and CFL. While working with teams such as the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, I was responsible for the medical pre/rehabilitation of the team along with another therapist. When players were injured, I slept in their homes and hotel rooms waking them up every few hours to simply make sure they were alive. During these quiet hours we spoke about symptoms of moods, relationships, and ability to function while completing simple daily tasks. Countless times over six seasons I was asked, “how are we helping my head?” Sadly, we just said to rest, day after day and often led to medication, depression, suicide, abuse (substance, child, spouse, self).  We had a protocol for every injury, surgery and emergency scenario, except for TBI. Following the 08-09 season I left the NHL and returned to school to study medicine for the purpose of learning how to empower the brain and nourish the nervous system.  While in school I continued to work in a clinical setting and then returned as a clinical director for a large soccer academy mid-way through the school to help cover costs of the tuition.  This exposure to patients and athletes allowed me to complete game changing experiments with active individuals who are extremely tuned-in to the changes of positive and negative effects of their lifestyle habits. What I have been able to complete to date is the first patented formulation to help treat mTBI. The US Patent number is 9,101,580. As well, I have completed an initial 18-athlete study, a follow-up 60-athlete study and am currently developing a third study with various institutes. This single-blind data collected has shown a reduction in symptoms by a factor of three!  In general, the formula works in three ways 1- Reduces inflammation in specific structures within the brain (ex. asataxanthin reduces inflammation in the optic nerve); 2- Increasing energy to the brain (ex. Taurine); 3- Balance Hormones for adequate sleep and rest (ex. Melatonin).  Due to the extensive 16- ingredient blend there are ingredients which help the soft tissue repair often associated from the whiplash mechanism of injury.  I am continuing to collect data and learn to benefits as well as limitations through each patient completing this document: http://bennettschoice.com/injury-form/  
    • I share this information with you as I recently presented at the Ontario Brain Institute. At this meeting it was confirmed the governments involved with the International TBI Initiative (US, Canada, European Union, Australia and China) have collectively spent $160 million in TBI research in the past 5 years. Added to this is the NFL/NFLPA ~$50 million spent in three years. Of this $210 million not a single dollar in any currency has been spent on treatment options. This is truly astonishing. This is confirmed by the Neurologists, Presidents and Board Members of each association. This needs to change, now.
    • The formulation I have developed is simply meant to be used as a single part of any rehabilitation protocol. Re-align, Strengthen and Nourish. Various practitioners do this by exercise, soft-tissue, bone structure and nutrients. My goal is to connect to create authentic and complete protocols which utilize these pillars which will help share knowledge and improve the lives of those suffering as well as the families witnessing the days, weeks and years of symptoms.
    • A few other resources can be seen at:

http://bennettschoice.com/

http://ndnr.com/…/traumatic-brain-injury-impact-assessment…/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MvCUZcUptY

part VII… the blessings begin

On the afternoon of February 28th, I found myself in the local hospital. At the foot of my ER bed, spun a tornado of incoherent conversations between the doctors, nurses and my husband – decisions – options – “the helicopter is ready” – “who do we call first?” – another CAT scan to check the bleeding – more vomit…

phiaSADat13bday …there sat my little Lucie. It was, to me, the only thing I was able to understand, at least partially. I wondered, why is she so sad? Why does she look so pale? Why is she on her phone when she knows it is for emergencies only? Why isn’t her dad paying any attention to her? She looks like she needs a hug. Is she crying?  Ed… quit talking to all these strangers and go to Lucie… I can’t get to her…. something is holding me down.  Would you please hold her? She needs you!

To this day I have never fully been able to crack the shell that Lucie created around herself in those hours in that emergency room. Her 12-year-old heart was breaking. Her mind was whirling with fears and anxieties about her mama that no child should ever have to face. She had to somehow survive it.

She was so brave (she’s always so very brave). She was fighting this battle for me. My little baby was fighting for me. She texted every person in her life… asking them to pray for me.  A gazillion aunts, uncles, cousins, friends… she recruited to be our prayer warriors… she reached out to them all.

Blessing #1… the internal bleeding in my head – suddenly stopped (6:00p).

No more vomiting. No more brain surgery. No helicopter ride to Minneapolis. No more pending death. Eddie’s ‘mad face’ melted and he smiled at me. My condition was finally stable. Gradually, I was wheeled from the ER room to a room in the hospital. Lucie’s texting and phone calls shifted from pleas for prayers to shouts of praises! … her cheeks grew pink papakissingphiaonhead.jpgagain… as they wheeled me down the hall to my new room. My heart smiled while watching her beautiful red hair bouncing as she skipped along and led our little parade of doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   Philippians 4:6

“WITH THANKSGIVING” … Those two words in the above verse have humbled me for years. Getting thrust into a stressful situation and praying to ‘not be anxious’ is one thing. I get that. But going into a stressful situation, (let alone a near death one), with thanksgiving  and trust for what God is already doing according to His plan – in this very situation – well that is an entirely different perspective for me – a perspective that I could barely fathom at the time. Little did I know, that in the coming years, amidst all of the many anxieties that this concussion would bring to all aspects of my family’s lives, it has also, somehow, brought even more praise and thanksgiving for the amazing things God has done for us through it all.

Tender care and prayers from our pastor, our families, friends and co-workers… carried us through the quick hospital days and transitioned us back into our home life. The doctor sent me home on day two and assured us of the phenomenal turnaround in my condition. Her only prescription was: “Take it easy for a couple weeks. Come back if there are any changes in mood or behaviors. Go home and rest.”

Blessing #2… we are all four home and whole, together.

 

Before you leave this page, if you know of someone or you, yourself, have experienced a concussion… mild, moderate or severe… Please do go to the links below from our website. They are a collection of symptoms, resources and post-concussion care tips. It has taken me 6+ years to sift through, find, and collect the valuable resources below. Had I been made aware of them at the time of my injury, I may have healed differently (possibly completely) from this TBI. The minute your brain is altered through an injury (or any traumatic event), it miraculously starts rewiring to accommodate the alteration. As the hours, the days, the months and the years ticked by for me… rewiring occurred. But it occurred incorrectly. Please take action immediately.

post-concussion symptoms & resources

post-concussion CARE tips & tools

U R NOT alone!

 (please also click on the U R NOT alone! TAB to reveal personal stories from many survivors)

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

mid-month NEWS & info ~ may 2017

*NEWS*

  • NEW opportunity on our website’s contact tab:  there is a place for you to submit your personal story! Please write to us and share your trials and successes.  Caregivers, family members and friends are also encouraged to share their perspective… we know it affects everyone.
  • NEW blogs will be posted weekly on Wednesdays.  Please join tripping Up the Down escalator… and follow us so you don’t miss even 1 blog full of blessings!
  • One blog each month will be focused on news & info… just like this one.  🙂
  • Did you know that many of our veterans suffer from TBI?  Below are some ways you can support them either through prayer or finances:
  • TBI Medical ID bracelet ~ finally there is a medical ID bracelet stating that you have had a TBI (an important factor in an emergency situation)!  As a bonus, you can order one while at the same time support our veterans who will tailor make it to fit you… Handmade by Heroes… https://handmadebyheroes.com/collections/medical-related-paracord-bracelets?page=2

info

  • Please know that all words on this website that are underlined and blue are an automatic link to more information on the present topic.
  • Many of my fellow TBI friends have lost the gift of reading… whether it be comprehension, stamina, decoding or vision challenges.  
    • For this purpose, I will slowly be adding this icon & words: listeninglinkzzzz listening link to each section of writing.  When you click on this, you will connect to a YouTube link or a podcast that will READ that section TO U!  
    • Please know there are many stories, songs and TED talks embedded throughout our website where reading is not necessary!

tUtDe = tripping Up the Down escalator

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

a gray day is okay

 

gray day is ok

Photo:  macaroni.and.drake@instagram

Is it? Is it okay to just accept the gray day? I think so. I think, yes…it is OK to just plain feel… whatever…even if it feels like it’s the end of the world. Since my head injury, sometimes I just forget to feel and be sad. Instead I drag it out as this, well, half-hearted happiness.  But I believe the key to this disguised treasure is in my perspective. In this photo, my daughter rushed inside the house and had to show me this “AWESOME” picture she took!  To me, it was just one of a hundred or so pictures she’d taken that day, but she persistently begged me to look at it. I was having an overwhelming brain day – spinning – anti-productive – nauseated- …seriously…what could be that awesome?  Yet she had to show me….

..This picture, of a gray, gloomy, April day when all us northerners dream of a spring that no longer seems possible!  Yes…that’s the picture she was telling me was beautiful!?  “Mama, look at the colors. The fog, how it takes over the trees and our lane. The snow, how it imitates the color of the sky. Look at the color of my sweatshirt and my nails against the other neutral colors….”  Her list went on, and on and on.  And then, I saw it!  This day had a beauty only she could see. I didn’t know it, but I needed her to bring life to this day, to light (or life) for me… and she did!

The Lord says that He will never leave us nor forsake us. In my daughter’s photo He intricately crafted the beauty of His nature and showed me what was beyond my initial understanding – that He will meet us anywhere we call on Him. He took the obvious gloom of a cold April day in Minnesota and moved me beyond and ABOVE it. Now I was able to see the gray through His eyes. There is beauty there, because He created it. He showed me the beauty of gray – the beauty to be found in my every-day life of just trying to make it sanely to tomorrow.

Is your situation gloomy today?  You’ve taken another step forward and moved two steps back on an escalator moving the wrong way, possibly? Your circumstances haven’t changed – it’s the same old street on another dreary April day. But would you do this? Would you challenge yourself to find beauty in yet another cold, gray day? It’s His April. Gray is a color that He created. There must be some light there. Some life.

As you lie in your bed, feeling the same old pain…

As you get a call from your doctor, hearing the same old news…

As you try to make yourself a meal, and struggle with the same old confusion…

I CHALLENGE YOU!

…what is the hidden beauty that is waiting for you to discover it?  Find it… Write it… Post it on your mirror… Leave a note to yourself in your kitchen about the blessings there…. Walk outside and breathe… what blessings are you inhaling?  Come back inside… do you have warmth?  That’s a blessing.  Can you feel the warmth?  That’s a blessing.  Can you see your room, your chair, your couch?  That’s a blessing.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think… to him be glory… throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”    Ephesians 3:20-21

Tell the world your blessings…. and we, too, will be blessed.  Please add just ONE blessing you found today in the comment link below…

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*