Monday, February 12, 2018

My life in utter chaos //






Dear Readers,


I would like to formally apologize for not speaking to some of you recently or updating you through my blog. This is nothing personal and I pray you have not taken it that way. The reason for my radio silence has been because I am totally overwhelmed with my personal life right now. Some of these issues are private and I do need a lot of prayers but some of them are public.


As most of you know, I am planning a wedding. One can only imagine what a headache that is alone but on top of that, I had to take a break from school. This I have chosen to keep mostly private because I am so very ashamed of it but it happens to everyone... I could not pass my praxis test in time.

This means that I have to continue trying to pass it, reapply for school, and then student teach and graduate in December. I am embarrassed by this, but I have studied and studied and I continue to press on.


Since taking a semester off from school, I have basically been working full time hours in three different departments. I am excited about this, but it does cause me to have a pretty no-existant social life not that I had a huge one before. I also began volunteering in schools to get my foot in the door and to continue doing what I love.


As all these things are overwhelming and seem to be taking control of my life, I am asking for prayers. Specifically for the following:


-My marriage to Michael: Pray for a strong, faithful relationship. That we continue to grow together in Christ. That we bond everyday, we laugh and cry and grow together as we begin our married lives.


-Less stressful planning: That I am able to take everything like a grain of salt. Pray that things get done and that I have the assurance that it will all be okay.


-School: That everything falls back into place in August.


-My big test: That when I take it again it is for the very last time. Pray I remember everything I need to and am able to remain calm and not to be tricked by the questions.



-Student teaching/Job Placement/ Job embedded:That when I do finally student teach, I can be in a place where God wants me. That I fit in and things go well for me. If possible that I can be job-embedded so that I get paid to student teach.


-Work: that my co-workers and I maintain a good relationship and that we serve with smiling faces and cheerful attitudes.


-Friendships: that my friends are understanding of my place in life and are supportive in my endeavors but likewise, I make more efforts to reach out to them.


Thank you all for reading, praying, and supporting me.

XOXO,

R

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fairytale in Process //

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog about a diagnosis I had be given (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/sometimes-theres-glitch-in-your-fairytale). In this blog, I discuss what is like being diagnosed and what the disease is and how it is affecting my body. After several more doctors appointments and specialist I have a new diagnosis: S.H.O.R.T syndrome.

Let's start from the beginning, in 2016 when I was diagnosed with lipodystrophy I was put on three medications and had two doctors: my primary care doctor who kept track of my health in the overall sense and my endocrinologist whose main purpose was how to help me live a life with lipodystrophy.

Soon after my initial diagnosis, my endocrinologist left his practice. This forced me to find a new one but has since opened so many doors for my health. In 2017, I began going to Vanderbilt at Hundred Oaks every three month to see my new endocrinologist who is absolutely brilliant (not that the other guy wasn't but he left soooo). She actually had a residency with someone at the Mayo Clinic who specialized in Lipodystrophy and recommended if we wanted more answers we should see him. Of course we wanted to meet the guy that knew the most about this rare disease and worked with the other people who suffer from it so she referred us to his office in Dallas, TX.

This past summer (2017), my dad and I made our first trip to see the specialist. This was an exciting but very long day. The day started off with getting blood drawn from both me and dad (I almost passed out... but its okay, I'm okay). Afterwards, we were all over the building and even assigned our own nurse who lead me from test to test as dad carried my hot pink, monogramed backpack and sat in the waiting rooms for the majority of the trip. At the end of the day, we saw the doctor and he informed us that I actually have a disease called S.H.O.R.T syndrome. He referred me to an eye doctor at Vandy for something he was interested in knowing about & ordered a hearing test, and was very helpful in explaining what all this disease entailed. Both dad and I were very impressed with this man.

Since Summer, I have continued to see my endocrinologist, the new eye doctor, and my PC.
The eye doctor was had to get into with my schedule being so conflicting, but when we finally were able to see her it felt like the appointment would never end. I had all sorts of testing done on my poor eyes. Several hundred photos were taken of my eyeballs, I had them dilated, and an eye ultrasound... and yes an eye ultrasound IS as bad as it sounds. The eye doctor has now seen me twice and had another colleague look at my eyes.

The hearing test on the other hand, was a walk in the park! Other than it being in Nashville on the eighth floor, there were no real issues here and I passed the hearing test with in a breeze!

(December 21, 2017) After these series of test, Dad and I traveled back to Dallas before Christmas. I am officially off of ALL MY MEDICATION!!! (saying in loud and proud to all the fellas in the back!) And, now we only have to go to Dallas once a year!!!!

(December 28, 2017) The new eye doctor (the one the other new eye doctor referred me to for a second look... keep up!!) ordered an MRI on my head to see the back of my eye..... "Oh this will be a breeze!" or so I thought..
This slid into first place on things I wouldn't wish upon my enemy.. yeah it even passed the eye ultrasound!
I was in a complete cage! I couldn't see!!! I may have freaked out and all for nothing because due to my braces, it didn't work anyways... *Sigh* *deep deep sigh*

In case you lost track, I now see six doctors.... my primary care, endocrinologist, the specialist, and three eye doctors... yes, three... Two at Vandy and my regular eye doctor because apparently Vandy can't prescribe contacts?!?! What even..

Thanks for reading my updated life announcement... It was long overdue. 
XOXO, 
Rach 



the courage to continue //

"The Declaration of Independence.. Ah yes, Thomas Jefferson, freedom..." "The Boston Tea Party... leading to a rebellion!" "Which Indians fought the battle of Saratoga?" "What does pragmatics mean?" "What is the difference between phonetical awareness and phonological isolation?" "What was the cause of World War II?" "Which of the follow is an algebraic expression?"

For the past seven months, these questions and ones similar have been looming in my mind. My brain is in over-drive trying to commit them all to memory. These questions, these subjects they taunt me. The trick me and then laugh right in my face the moment I even think I have them remembered. 

Walking into suite A-11. A few people sitting around trying to stay calm. Terry at the desk informing me yet again what is expected during the test. Filling out a form saying I won't give out test questions. Getting my locker key, my I.D., and my form. Running to the bathroom one last time. Looking into the mirror and telling myself "I got it this time, I'll pass." Writing in my journal trying to clear my anxious thoughts about my future. Being scanned by a metal detector, signing my name, mug shot taken. Finally, I am lead to a computer with my picture and prompted to read the directions and begin the test. 

This has been my life for the past seven months. Terry practically knows me by name, he recognizes me before I walk through the door. One of these days, he probably won't even make me sign the release form. This experience has happened to me once or twice a month for the past seven months. Can you imagine? 

As I click began, a wave of doubt hits and I manage to shut it out. I struggle through the questions, trying to read them ever so carefully through the beads of sweat on my forehead as I attempt to chose the BEST answer. I make it through the reading and math sections without much doubt and click next... the social studies section is next. My hands begin to shake. The negative, dark thoughts re-appear, this time not leaving when they are told to back off. Tears begin as I look down and write on my scratch paper what I am feeling, seeing, and touching. This technique seems to work. I mark a lot of questions to come back to and finally enter the science section. This section is always iffy. Then I have reached the end. I clam up as I re-read every question I marked... the time is ticking 1:32... 1:15... 0:30... I click submit scores... I click to send my scores to the university... I chose to submit again... I am shaking... and the unofficial score appears... 160

Failed. Yet again, but this time a wave of relief. My score was the same as it was the time before, it didn't go down and it didn't go up. I am okay. I walk out, sign out and get my belongings. 

"Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts" -Sir Winston Churchill 


Thursday, November 9, 2017

I know the plans //

Have you ever been in a room that is full of people? Bodies touching each other, sweating, totally hit waves swimming through the air? In these situations you feel trapped, like your stuck in a jello bowl. 

That is how my semester has felt. Like I am swimming in a big bowl of jello. I have been constantly busy, running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I am balancing my school load (classes & assignments), work (now three departments at SRM), a social life, sorority, church events, and a relationship with the most caring soul. 

But boy am I struggling!! I have been busy for so long, that I am focused more on myself lately than others around me. I have this huge test that I have to pass in order to teach and it is kicking me in the rump. I have studied and studied but I still can't seem to retain the knowledge. I took the test for the fourth time yesterday and again, I did not pass. At first, I was angry. Angry at myself, at standardized testing, at life. After the anger passed, it turned into a gloomy sad cloud. I was depressed. This test is the deciding factor for my teaching placement and timing. I am have strived for the passed four years to student teach the spring of 2018. I have worked over time hours, taken course overload, I am be determined for this to happen. Then it hit me like a load of bricks. This has all been MY plan. The plan I have worked for, but God might have a completely different plan for me. Maybe I am suppose to wait or maybe He is showing me something that I cannot yet see. 

And just in the blink of an eye, my thought process changed. Not that I have given up, I am still striving toward my goal of student teaching in the spring, but my focus is beginning to finally shift off of myself and onto what God wants. I am been praying more (even though it was just yesterday), reflecting more on what is happening around me and realizing that with that, it would not be the end of the world if I were to push things back a semester. I do not WANT to, but God is in control. I was finally reminded of the verse in the old testament: 

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope for the future." -Jeremiah 29:11

Keep your focus on things that are above, 
Rach

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Calm in a storm //

One year ago around this time, my right side of my face went completely numb. After visiting the emergency room, multiple doctors, and a chiropractor I was informed that the facial numbness was a nerve, similar to bells pausey but without the pause. During these multitude of doctor visits, we were also informed that my sugar levels were high. While at the emergency room they found sugar in my urine & told me I needed to get it checked out by my regular doctor. So I had my first of many A1C tests done. My levels came back as pre-diabetic at first but the second time my A1C was a little higher. My mom then decided it was time to see an endocrinologist to get to the bottom of the issue.
In the fall, I began seeing yet another doctor. He suggested that it was a good idea to have a fasting glucose tolerance test done (this is a horrible experience). 
After receiving these results, my endocrinologist diagnosed me with lipodystrophy. This is a very rare disease that affects the fat tissue in your body. So in simple terms, I have fat growing on my organs rather than where they're suppose to be. This is the cause of my diabetes (which I'm now declared as type one), my high cholesterol, and my other many issues to come. 
As of now, I'm only feeling joint pains from where the fat will sometimes build on my joints and cramp up but other than that I feel pretty good. I am on 2 medicines as of now and have to take my sugar twice a day. My family & I are choosing to look at the brightest picture possible through this storm but we know it is all part of God's big picture. We are praising Jesus that we finally have answers to the lingering questions and that we have wonderful doctors who take my health & my parents numerous questions so seriously. The Maker is such a calm presence in the time of a troubling storm.

Thank you for all your prayers & happy lipodystrophy awareness day. 
Xoxo, R. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Social media fast // the first week

So as of New Year's Day, I began my social media fast. It's been really hard and I don't think I'll make it 21 days. I changed the rules just a tad too, but I have gone mostly four days so far without social media. I deleted my Facebook & twitter apps but I do check Facebook once a day on my actual laptop and I've spent a lot of my time on my Pinterest as well as in my prayer journal. So here's an update on my life in the past 4 days:
Friday (New Years day): first day of my fast. I went shopping with my girlies & we went to my favorite restaurant, your pie. Yum. 
Saturday: day 2 of fast. We did some bridal things for my brothers fiancĂ©. We went to Nashville and looked at flowers and greenery and ate at a local rest yarn in town. We also found this perfect sunflower wall. 
Sunday: day 3 of fast! Boy, it's getting pretty tough not being on social media but we went to church and had Jason's deli for lunch :). After that we ran some errands and I took a nap before work. Later that night, my friend and I had some late night mcdondals. 

Monday: a day of rest. Watched a lot of Netflix hehe and went to work. 

Tuesday: babysitting. Oh me! 
We ended up at bounceU...

Wednesday: 



Things I've learned--- 1.Pinterest can be even more addictive when you're fasting from social media. 2. People don't understand why you're fasting. 3. Social media is almost needed in every day life... Seriously I've checked Facebook once day and always something I needed to know pops up. 4. My relationship with God and my prayer journal have increased greatly and I love it. 5. I feel like I NEED social media but my craving has lead me to spend more time talking to God & others. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

I had a Dream //

This week has been quite eventful. My best friend joined the army and this weekend was the last time I'll see him for a loooong time and I won't hear from him for about 9 weeks... He's off to basic training. Brian is now living out his life dream to do what is right for our country.
Please pray for his safety as he is gone and his family as they worry and miss him extremely, especially his sweet mama.


This weekend started out with a very fun sleepover with one of my forever friends. This girl resides out in California and she is also living out her life dream to be in the entertainment world and boy oh boy is she good at it! She was able to make it in this weekend to see all her friends, including me, and on Friday, she planned for us to have a slumber party. Side note: I'm not sure why on earth they're called sleepovers or slumber parties because NO ONE SLEEPS. Okay, back to the topic at hand... Marisa is a very busy girl so Friday night I went to her house around 10pm. She had texted me earlier and had told me to bring clothes to model in like I was a professional, she had gotten a new camera and was so excited to have a muse. So off I came with three outfits and we began. She was a professional. She even did my hair and make up at 2am, what a gem she is.



Saturday, we took a small road trip down to Chattanooga for the most beautiful wedding of my brothers best friend, Austin. It was lovely and the dance floor was a blast! We had the best time celebrating their marriage as we all share the dream to someday marry the love of our lives and we pray their's is blessed.


Sunday, we headed to church and lunch with my dad's parents and then packed up and headed to Alabama to see Brian off. We went to evening church services with them and wendy's for dinner. Then like always when at the Shaw house, we had tons of dessert, drank our weight in coffee and stayed up giggling and reminiscing into the wee hours of morning.

Monday, stayed for Brian's goodbye lunch and then headed back home to good ole Murfreesboro. Mom and I had been everywhere it felt like by the time we got home and it didn't end there. We had a ladies Bible study to wrap up the long weekend.

I am just so blessed by all my friendships and family. They all mean so much to me and I am beyond thankful for them all. I pray that everyone keeps their eyes on their dreams this year. Special thanks to MLK for the long weekend!
*** Please keep Brian, Marisa, and the newly weds "The Coley's" in your prayers.***
Xoxo, R.