Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stage 3

Boy it has certainly been quiet around here, huh? I honestly haven't had the gumption to write anything, and today is really no different. I have definitely hit the depression stage. It happened unexpectedly about two weeks ago. Wham-o and there it was!

For me, that means not really wanting to talk about what is going on or how I feel. Who really gives a crap? I feel horrible for not being able to perform adequately at school, and not really wanting to do anything meaningful once I get home. So basically, I'm just here.

I did take a trip to Medical College of South Carolina yesterday to meet with a doctor there. The hope is that he can find out what caused the disease and possibly slow it down. He took 14 vials of blood, so surely something will come out of that. I have to call him next week to get the results, but I don't have to see him again for 3 months.

I have to have an ultrasound every six months to make sure that cancer is not present. There is an increased risk, albeit small, that I could develop it. If caught early enough, I would immediately go into transplant mode. The biggie is that I have to lose some more weight to even be a candidate for a liver. The eating is not really the problem anymore since most things make me gag (like dairy, sugar, breads, etc.); the problem is that I am so exhausted that I am going to be making myself push through that to exercise every day to speed up the weight loss. I continue to gain and lose the same two stinking pounds. The exercise should push me over the edge (in more ways than one).

He did validate my exhaustion. That is the number one symptom for those with my condition. Today, I plan to go straight home and crawl in the bed. That's where I really want to be anyway. I don't even care if I'm sleeping, I just want to lay there doing and thinking nothing.

For those who have wondered if I am still angry or get that way.....heck, yes! The stages of grief are not rigid. They come and go as they please, and sometimes hit you when you least expect it. I have had a few "why me?" moments lately. For the most part, I am able to shake those and remember, "why not me?". I'm no better than the next person. I just want to be a better person on the other side of all of this.

Hoping it won't be too long before the next post....take care!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

random thoughts

I cannot really go on with my posts about the grieving process because I honestly don't know where I am. Somewhere between several of the steps depending on the day! I have made it almost 3 weeks without missing a day of work, so that makes me very happy. Some days are better than others right now, but without the horrible stomach issues, I feel like a new woman.

Here's what is going on in our lives.......

a whole lotta nothing!

That's right folks, even our family has times that are boring and we are grateful. Now, what I call "boring" and you call boring might look like two different things. Like getting two phone calls on the same night at the same time from two different families that their loved ones might be dying. That just throws us into go mode, but we are use to it! Neither died, btw, thankfully!

Steve bought his Christmas present early....a gun. I haven't seen it much less touched it, and that is fine with me. I would never tell a person they couldn't have a gun (a law-abiding citizen anyway), but that doesn't mean I like 'em. I don't. However, I do understand the need to feel secure, and our place is crime-ridden. We haven't ever been hit, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. So, as long as I don't have to deal with it, it's fine. Still creeps me out, though.

Stevie is thriving at school. Loves her classes and what she is doing. I am so proud of her, my heart just bursts when she talks about how much she loves it.

Luke is Luke. We get no more information out of him than we did when he lived here.....haha! Boys: they are NOT forthcoming with tidbits to ease the mind of the momma. I think he really likes being at school.

Empty-nesting? It's GREAT! Everyone should try it. We eat what we want when we want and we go to bed without having to wait up for someone. Y'all said I would like it, and I have to admit that I do!

That's about it. I have an appointment in Charleston at MUSC on the 21st. I think I will hear more of the same, at least I hope nothing is worse. If they tell me something better than the news I keep hearing, we'll thank God  and give Him all the glory. Either way, may our actions speak louder than our words (bc I know I've been complaining!) so that ALL will know God's got this!

Saturday, October 4, 2014


When I was a good bit younger, I use to get mad about the stupidest things. I mean, seriously, "stupid angry" about insignificant problems that weren't really problems. I've gotten a lot more mellow as the years have gone by (being a PW will do that to you), and now reserve my anger for more important matters. That is to say that I rarely get angry.  However, if I do, watch out!

That anger is a lot different than the anger experienced through the grief process. Being angry about illness makes me ill as a hornet. It's like my nerves are on the outside of my body and those who dare, touch them. I hate that feeling. I've had to do a lot of praying to get myself through that stage quickly, and xanax helps too!

I just couldn't stay parked there because it made me feel worse; and while I feel as though I am through it, I still feel it rear its ugly head from time to time. I have to stamp it down, and remember that there is a purpose for this. The bad thing about any of these stages of grief is that they can revisit at any time. This is one stage that I don't want to revisit or stay in.

I have to say that blogging again has cleared my head as I'd hoped it would. It helps me put things in perspective. While the writing is no where near my standards, I haven't seemed to care because it allows me to get it off my chest and move on. There are some things, unfortunately, that I can't even share here. Poor Steve has been getting an earful lately about those things I can't write about. I'd never want the superpower of reading minds. I sure don't want anyone to read mine! It is hard to not have the ability to share things with someone. I really don't want to burden Steve, and I truly hate talking on the phone. So, I'm glad the walls can't talk. I know Steve won't judge me, and that's important to me at this point.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I am going to preface this post by saying that I am in no way comparing the grief of losing a loved one with the grief on an illness. I've been through the first, and it was horrible, this is different.


This is a happy place! I lived here for several months, and found that I liked it very much. I wasn't concerned about what was happening; honestly, I felt every appointment that I would be told that a horrible mistake had been made. That, indeed, I did not have anything wrong with me. I didn't cry about it or even think that much about it except when I was forced. Yes, denial is great.

There is one problem with denial, however, and that is that you eventually have to face reality. If I had my way, I'd still be skipping happily along. Reality sucks. The Reality was that the one week that I got to see Sam and Jack, I landed in the hospital the day after they arrived. I had a lot of plans for them, but they weren't able to happen. I don't really think they cared, and it probably helped Stevie and Luke not worry so much, so in the end it was ok.

People live in denial about all kinds of things. Death, disease, divorce, Heaven, name it, and someone is probably denying its existence. I cannot live in that space anymore. I must face what is to come. I actually moved on after my hospital stay to stage 2, anger. That wasn't pretty! But, I will talk more about it later.

One thing I learned while in denial is that, I believe, it is God's way of shielding us from news we just can't bear. He is so good to us in that way. He holds our burdens when the weight of them simply drag us down. He holds them all of the time. We don't even have to pick them back up.

A friend of mine commented that I was strong. No, I'm not strong. I would easily curl into a ball, cry myself to sleep, and refuse to get out of bed any day of the week. I keep pressing only because I believe the promise in the Bible, "in my weakness, He is strong". Just like the children's song:

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong
For I am weak, and He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me

He loves us all, and holds tight when we are falling. The Bible also tells us that "God is the Father to the Fatherless". Ps. 68:5 What I wouldn't do for a hug from my dad, but arms of peace surrounding me by the Father is even sweeter.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

part 2

In late May, my GI doctor ordered an endoscopy to check for a condition called variscies. This is when the pressure from somewhere in the liver builds up and causes blood vessels to burst. They measure this from 0-4. My doc thought I would be close to a 4 considering the condition of my liver, but I was a 0. No bleeding. Happy day for me. At that point, he scheduled the dreaded liver biopsy which I had the last week of June. I had to wait FOREVER to get the results!

When I finally returned to my doc, he explained the results in terms of a war. There is a war going on in my liver. It is at a 2....the fighting is not too bad, but the collateral damage is very bad at a 4. At this point he "guessed" that I have autoimmune hepatitis. That is still unclear. He also referred me to MUSC transplant center. (and I'm going Oct. 21)

A week of so later, my stomach started hurting. I couldn't eat and the pain was radiating to my back. I tried to just get over it, but after 5 days of excruciating pain, I finally got up early and told Steve to take me to the ER. There, I learned that I had pancreatitis. Disgusting......I truly wouldn't wish that on anyone. I was in the hospital about 4 days, and my stomach really hasn't been the same since.

I did have about 2 weeks between the hospital and starting the school year that I felt good. I had energy, and was able to do some things with Stevie and Luke before they left. The first day of school, however, I got sick. Since then, I have suffered with all things associated with a stomach bug. I have been to the doc several time to no avail, and missed about 7 days of work already because of it. It's very depressing because I never know when it will today. I had a great week at school, and felt good all week. Today, bam-yow!

I want to give the best of me to my family, not the leftovers. With that being said, I have to have insurance so I go to work. Not that I don't love my job, I do, but sometimes I resent the position I am in.

I keep reminding myself that God knows my needs, and when the time is right, He will meet them. For know, I pray that He gives me strength and energy to work. Things are not simple right now, but seriously, we are the Leighs.....have things ever been simple for us? NO!

So, in a nutshell, that is where we stand today. Next up? The 5 stages of grief.

Monday, September 22, 2014


I have been pretty sick this past week which is why I haven't posted part 2 yet. I do believe, however that we have narrowed the problem down. It is believed I may have an ulcer. The treatment plan seems to be working, so I think that has been what is making me sick. It got to the point of ridiculous last week when, after being sick since the first day of school, I became violently ill last Tuesday morning. Being hard-headed, I went on to work only to get sick the minute I walked in the door. From there, I spent the rest of the morning at the hospital and doctor's office until I finally made it home with orders to stay put the rest of the week. That's exactly what I did....guilt and all. I hate missing work, but oh well. I am still not 100%, but I went back today. By 11:30, I was ready to go, but I suffered through the afternoon and made it the whole day. It was my choice to go back...the doctor had said that I may need to stay home this week as well, but I'm a little paranoid. There's strep and other crud going around. I'm using Lysol wipes to try to keep my surfaces germ-free, but I can only do so much! So, say a big prayer that the crud doesn't find me.

On another note, Steve and I have a decision that needs to be made. We, as always, want to be within God's will, but this is not something to take lightly. I cannot elaborate, but I do ask that you petition the Lord with us as He works His plan.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

the beginning

I would just skip this post if you've heard this story a thousand times like I've told it! Back in Feb., I decided it was time for me to make a serious change in my lifestyle. I'd committed to it before, but this time I knew that it was getting serious. I could not walk from the library at my school to the office without being out of breath. So, I caved and joined Weight Watchers for the 1,579th time (only a slight exaggeration!).

I was on point. It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing, I followed the plan. I. DID. NOT. CHEAT. The results were evident on the scale, and I was thrilled. Until, around mid-March I gained one week. Okay, I thought, that happens. I can deal with this, but the next week, I gained 9 pounds. That made 13 pounds in 2 weeks. Who does that? So, I went to the dr.

I really thought he was going to blow me off, but he ordered an ultrasound and lo and behold, that was fluid in my gut! A LOT of fluid. He referred me to a GI doctor, and it was there we learned that my liver was not in good shape. It still seems surreal to me. There's more to this story to include the summer (this really is through May), but I'm not gonna bore  you anymore today with it.

I do want to leave you with a little gem that my boy tweeted a couple of days ago:

But in the arms of your mercy I find rest.

Yes, Lord.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

short one

I am still getting back into the swing of things with this blogging. It takes effort to put your thoughts out there. I am home for the rest of the week. I spent yesterday between the doctor and hospital really thinking I would end up there for the week. I'd rather be home, although it is nice to give Steve a break from time to time!

I think I have gotten some stomach bug and it just won't go away. I go back to work after one day, and whamm-o it hits me again. Dr. G. thinks it may be some vile intestinal something I cannot spell or pronounce. We are waiting on the results of the last test which won't come in until Friday. Until then, rest. I cannot speak for next week. Although, the guilt of not getting ready for work and being at work is killin' me! I need to rid myself of that emotion. I know this is not my fault, but I also know people talk. Oh well, one more worry I don't need---it's certainly not helping my stomach any!

My quiet rest will come this week in the form of silence and meditation on God's word. I also look forward to having more time to pray, something I throw in while I am falling to sleep sometimes. My prayer life needs work; it use to be so strong......this is the prescription I need for it now.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Yep. I'm at it again. It's been so long that I think blogger has archived my other two and I can't get into them! However, with so much changing and my need to quiet my mind (hence the name!); I am back again. This blog will not contain fru-fru all that stuff that takes too much time...widgets, links, et al. I simply want to put my thoughts back on paper.

Many things have changed in our lives in the last six months. Many now know that I am battling liver failure. It sucks, and that's about all you can say. Don't ask me how I feel, I feel like crap. Do you really care? No, and I don't blame you. I'm sick of listening to myself say "I don't feel good". However, I will tell you 5 ways I do feel.

1. I feel ROGUE.
My hair is SHORT and DARK. I went to my normal hairdresser, who moved btw, dang her to get my normal boring color and cut. When I got there, I went rogue. I swear if Steve hadn't been there, I'd have been BALD looking for a wig. That is my next step, people! My hair use to actually do something, but it has apparently taken a vacay...wish I could go with it!

 I cry. A LOT. If you don't believe me, ask poor Steve. The man is a saint!! I cry at home, at work, at church, in the store. My crying is not discriminatory, and if I am with you when I start crying, don't ask. I can't tell you what's wrong anyway.

I am MEAN. Not at work, of course! I work with the best students ever. They actually make me laugh and smile.....a welcome change to the witch person I've never met before when I leave there. See, I cannot tolerate stupid people....and we all know they are EVERYWHERE! So, mostly I come home and steer clear of others!

4.I feel RIMY.
I'm COLD. Remember when I would be pouring sweat with the least little heat? No more....if I could have gotten my hands on a parka made for the Alaskan frontier today, I would have had it on ALL day at work. Tomorrow, I am going prepared.

5.Lastly, I'm at PEACE. This is who I am now. I can't change it. I know it is cliche, but one that I truly believe...God is in control. I don't know what the future holds for me, but neither do you. I may be sick, but I know that I rest in the hands of the Almighty. I hope you do.
And there is the real reason for my blog title. Quiet's what I find in Him. He gently reminds me day to day that He is with me; He is the great physician; He is my Father. He wants to bring me no harm, and I, too want to do the same for Him.

May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh, for we put our hope in You. Ps. 33:22