Going Through It, To Get Over It!

Hello to all of my favorite readers out there. Thank you for stopping by. I am so happy you are here! I hope you are feeling good today. Guess what? I am!  No, doctors have not found a cure for HS this month. I know like everything else, this is temporary, but I am going to ride this good feeling out until the motor drops on the ground and the wheels fall off.

I have been having really vivid dreams lately about my daddy and all of my grandmothers’. I didn’t think anything of it until it started to happen each and every night. As some of you know, they are all deceased. The dreams had to mean something. I began to write down what I remembered immediately after I woke up. I discovered each and every night, Mudea, Momma Dosie, Daddy, Momma Mae and Momma Ola were all rooting for me. In each dream, each interaction they were telling me to keep going. I hear it now so clearly, “Landa don’t stop, don’t give up, I am here.” I woke up with tears in my eyes and smile on my face. I know they all are here watching over me. You see, I never told anyone about my last pain cycle with my HS but my mom. Only she knew how bad I felt and how down I was. My mom said those same words to me. It was at that moment, I told my mom I had to go and I would call her back the next day. I started to focus on my family and friends that are always rooting for me. I said okay and little by little, step by step, I began to feel stronger than I was before.

I had literally already talked myself out of going to see Iyanla Vanzant at the Fox Theatre. Maybe someone else will buy my ticket, I thought. Besides, it was a fabulous seat. The thought of having to change out of my pajamas and getting dressed up was too much for me to think about. Then there was traffic. I would have to leave at 5:30 and who in their right mind would get into traffic at that time? Not to mention, I would be exhausted from working all day. It was just too damn much! Just as I was about to post my ticket for sale online, I sat down and was still. I sat still, took a breath and began to laugh. Who said I had to get dressed up? I can go as myself. Iyanla said she focused on healing and not image. So I removed that self placed pressure I created and decided whatever I put on I would be fabulous. You know why? Because I am fabulous. Why was I worried about traffic? I had not been in my car all day and I am sure it was nothing me and Ludacris could not handle with a little “Move B***** Get Out Tha Way!” Step by step, little by little, I got dressed and out the door I went.

The Fox is a beautiful theatre and there were so many beautiful people there. The funny thing is I met so many people that were there alone, but we ended up leaving together as sisters. When Iyanla hit the stage, the crowd went wild.  Okay, full disclosure, I wanted to run up on stage and steal a hug. I decided against that because I did not want to go to jail and end up on YouTube. The show was so powerful you could feel the energy, connections and people getting stronger. You had to be there to experience it.  Some things she touched on that really spoke to me were:

  • Sometimes we have to ask God to soften our heart. Forgiveness is rough!
  • When we use the word fear, it’s not that at all. It’s not being in control of the outcome.
  • Never underestimate the ruthlessness of the ego.
  • Be mindful of the things you think about and what you place your focus on.
  • Be careful what you tell yourself about yourself.
  • All thoughts are neutral. They have no value or meaning until we assign it.
  • We focus on negative emotions more than the positive ones because of the emotional pulse attached to it.

Her book “Get Over It” is a must read. It is not what it sounds like. She is not saying get over it in a flippant manner, but in a way that teaches you how to leave the negative behind so it no longer holds you hostage.

I plan to keep this good feeling going for as long as I can. HS, anxiety, depression, anger nor excuses will stop me!  I want all of us to shoot for the good feeling. If you are unable to show up for yourself, it’s okay, I WILL SHOW UP FOR YOU! We are all in this together. We don’t have to do it alone.

I love you all to life!

Landa

 

Hold On or On Hold?

Sometimes I feel like my life is on hold. You see HS is holding on for dear life and there are times when I (yes me) feel defeated. Today is one of those days. When you are in pain and unable to function, there is a lot of time to think about things. Even things that you don’t want to think about. There are many people I know with HS that have other issues going on because of HS. For example, significant GI issues and migraines from stress. I look at it like one big vicious circle of pain. I have chronic pain and I know from being a therapist how pain medication can often times have a negative effect on your life.  I decided not to seek pain management through prescription medication. That is a decision I made for myself because I know myself and on days like today (and everyday this week) everything HURTS! I don’t think there is enough of anything on the planet that would help. On top of all the pain I was dealing with you know that things can and did get worse. HS was like “hold my beer!” As you know I take Humira  weekly. I was just informed that my copay is $3000.00 each month. Thanks to the changes of my current insurance. That was like a punch in the gut. I could not see straight. Was it the migraine, HS, treacherous GI issues or just life? All I know is everything was hurting and there was nothing I could do about it.  This morning as I was getting up to get ready for work, HS said no. You see it invited 3 new family members to the party. What else could I do except cry myself to nap because I am unable to sleep well when I am hurting this bad.

I took a day off tomorrow because I planned to do something fun for myself. My fun day has turned into another sick day. This is why I never plan anything nowadays. I cried so much, my eyes and nose were red. Gambino did his job and tried his best to comfort me by being his cute self. I looked at him and told him that I really want to throw in the towel. It is not getting any better and I am so tired. By the time I finished uttering those words, a dear friend of mine called me. I told her I didn’t feel well and she asked me why didn’t I call her because she would’ve come over. I told her I did not want to bother her and that I thought I could handle it. For all of those who know me, you know I began to cry harder. Just when the ugly crying began, my wonderful son called me. You see today is his wedding day. He is in Fairbanks Alaska and I am in Atlanta Georgia. He was going to have it in June in Texas, but he had to move the ceremony up because there is a strong possibility he will be deployed to Korea very soon. Christopher called to tell me how he was feeling on this day about getting married and how much he loved me. As he was sharing his feelings with me, I couldn’t help but to think how lucky I am to have him as a son. A son that loves me enough to share things with me and thinks I am such a wonderful person. He is why I hold on. He is why I won’t throw in the towel. I have to continue to try to be strong for him. I know Kali and Chris calling me when I was at one of my lowest points  was God’s way of saying I am not as alone as I feel right at this moment. I even got a package in the mail from my friend April. She sent me a pair of Wakanda tights.  They are gorgeous! She knows I am for everything Black Panther. Her note was so kind and just in case you were wondering I ugly cried. LOL! It meant the world to me. She had no clue how much I needed her kind words.

I said all that to say this, hold on everybody even when it hurts. We have either been in a storm, getting out of a storm or getting ready to go into one. As I am writing this, I am realizing I needed to have those ugly cries. They are helping me put things in perspective. Maybe I don’t need to continue to take Humira because it is definitely not helping me. I think I may have developed anti-bodies to Humira when I stopped taking it and started the HS trial. So there is an option. I guess we will see what happens. Right now, I am going to try to hold on as best I can.

 

Wakanda Forever! Not Just This Weekend!

HS be damned. You did not win! I did. I have been looking forward to the arrival of Black Panther since last year. Matter of fact, I think that is when I purchased my prescreening event ticket. It’s hard for me to plan anything because HS is very unpredictable. I decided to let the chips fall where they may because nothing was going to keep me from this film. Besides, one of my dearest friends is an extra in the movie. Which to me is the same as her having a leading role. The day before the event as I got up to prepare for work, a sharp pain brought me to my knees. I knew better to ask what it was about. I knew it wasn’t the flu, but HS related. I had one of the worst flare-ups I had ever seen or felt. Every scar and every open area was red, enflamed and angry.. AT ME. The first thing that came to mind was OMG what am I going to do with my ticket because I will not be able to walk.  I sat on the floor and devised my plan. Thank goodness I had my cellphone because I did not know when I was going to be able to get up. My entire day consisted of Clorox baths, various topical medications and a solo rendition of the horizontal polka.  Thursday morning arrived and I felt like a kid at Christmas. Black Panther is here! Black Panther is here! As was the pain!  There was a silver lining. I was at least able to walk a little. All I needed to do was get my hair styled, shower, get dressed, get in the car and to the theatre. That was my to-do list for the day. It was touch and go there for a minute, but I managed to make it. There were many breaks in between and even a few tears, but I persisted.

When I got out of my car, I was immediately greeted by this beautiful lady that said ” I love your shirt, your hair and earrings. Welcome. We are so glad you’re here.” I was shocked. I could not believe there was a welcoming committee for the movie. She asked me my name and I told her as we were walking toward the theatre. She finally asked me if I was here for the volunteer work. I was like “ummm no, I’m sorry I am just here for the movie.” We both laughed and hugged. She introduced me to the rest of the volunteers and we all had a laugh. As I walked into the theatre to find my place in a line, I saw all of the Black Panther posters  and instantly got goosebumps. People were trying to buy tickets and they were sold out until Tuesday. I was so happy I had my ticket already. I walked around looking at the posters and a young lady walked up to me and asked me if I was here to see Black Panther. I told her yes and she replied ” so am I let’s sit next to each other.”  More and more people arrived dressed in their t-shirts and African attire. Everyone was hugging, laughing, and taking pictures. I was okay with being there alone because it was like I was attending with my family. It was amazing. This is not a fad. This is a positive movement.

I won’t spoil the movie for those of you who have not seen it yet. I urge you to go and see it as many times as possible. This movie made me feel amazing both during and after I finished watching it. I am so proud to see people on the big screen that look like me play such positive and profound roles.  Killmonger’s role as the villain is just as important as T’Challa’s role as the hero. Africa is being shown as this bountiful and beautiful not impoverished land. Children have their superhero that is not a slave, crackhead or criminal. While I know Wakanda is fictional, this movie is pushing me outside of my box. I want to know where I came from. I want to explore my family history. I want to do more in the community and the world. If nothing else Black Panther has shown how we all can come together for a common interest and make a difference. We can do great things together and make a difference.  I want to continue to take this feeling with me not just this weekend, this month but forever.  WAKANDA FOREVER!!

This Is All Of Us…….

I am almost positive that everyone has either seen or at least heard about the show This Is Us that’s on NBC. Well if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth taking time to watch it. I can guarantee you will not be able to stop watching after you see the first episode. Anyway I am not here to convince you to watch the show. I am here to share how This Is Us is all of us.  The mere title of the show makes me cry. Yes, I know these people are actors, but they suck you in and make you feel like you are on the journey with them. Without going through each episode (and yes I can!), I want to share the theme of the show LOVE.

The love is so real that it’s tangible. It also shows that love is not perfect. Love can be messy and love can be hard.  The love that parents have for their children is like no other. I honestly did not understand that love until my dad told me one day that he would die and go to hell for his children. He meant every word. When daddy didn’t have anything else, he had us. Parents and children do not always get along. Kids and parents are both trying to prove they know what’s best. There is attitude, anger and ego flying all over the place. Not to mention everyone’s individual secret storms that they are going through. Neither parents or children always make the right decision. We are imperfect beings. But when everything is all said and done, your family is going to show up for you. (And if they don’t I will show up for you!)

I think what really makes me ugly cry is the fact that I finally see someone who relates to me about the love and loss of a father. A father that you knew loved you and would do anything to make sure you were okay. That does not mean he was perfect or fearless.  It meant he loved you unconditionally and would literally lay down his life to preserve yours. I am not the same person I was before my father passed away. Almost 12 years later, I still cry daily and try to put one foot in front of the other wishing I could hear him yell “LANDA! one more time”. So I hold on to my memories and my love because just in case anyone ever forgets who Mike Cobb was, I will gladly remind them. I have a beautiful granddaughter and a handsome nephew who will know who their Paw Paw Mike was and how much he was loved and admired.

You see this is all of us. None of us have the perfect family or circumstances, but somehow we will come together and be okay. We all have troubles, secrets, fights and fall outs, but at the end we all have each other. No matter what race or background you come from, we all can relate on some level. This why I think so many people watch this show and ugly cry right along with me.  Let’s cultivate and spread love as much as we can. For any fellow parents reading this, my wish for you is that your children love you as much as I love my parents. For all my fellow children, my prayer for you is that you love and appreciate your parents because they will not always be here.

Now  I am going to stop because my puppy doesn’t know why I am crying and I need to wipe the tears from my keyboard.

True Love Doesn’t Notice

Hello everyone, oh how I have missed all of my blog friends. I hope you all are doing well.  HS had me in a hostage situation and was not willing to negotiate. I was able to compromise with it  eventually. While it is still here, my pain level decreased some. Now I am able to get back to my blog and actually leave the house. I wanted to share something a close friend of mine shared with me when I first met her about 16 years ago. The reason I want to share this is because it has come up again recently in someone else’s life.

We all tend to have these imperfections when we look in the mirror that we feel would make the world of difference if we could change it. Some of want fuller lips, thinner lips, higher cheek bones, lose weight, gain weight or just throw the whole person away and get a new body. Something that I used to struggle with when I looked into the mirror was my smile. Not too many people are aware, but once upon a time I had significant issues with my teeth. I took a lot of iron growing up and coupled with other issues, my teeth were discolored. I can remember putting my hand over my mouth when I laughed or trying not to laugh at all. Looking back on my old photos, I never smiled. I was reluctant to meet new people because I thought they would stare and not talk to me. My defense mechanism became my mantra, ” I don’t like people and I don’t need new friends.”  Now mind you, no one ever said anything or asked my about my teeth, but I thought that was because they did not want to embarrass me. I met my dear friend Machelle one day after I had come from the dentist. Of course I was smiling and posing and she said nothing. I was like “WTH?” So finally after about an hour of talking to her, I finally asked her if she liked my teeth. Machelle said. ” what about them?” I was literally speechless. My reply to her was , ” I know you see they look different.” She still didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about. It took me a minute, but I realized she was telling her truth. Machelle told me when you truly love someone, you never notice things like that because you are too busy loving the whole person. As tears rolled down my face, I couldn’t do anything but hug her.

Things we think are imperfect don’t matter to the right people in your life. If you find yourself being one of those people that point out other people’s imperfections, I hope you realize that you are pointing out what’s wrong with them to keep anyone from noticing what’s wrong with you. SO STOP IT!

 

 

If Or Even If? What Are Your Conditions?

Love is a powerful word. I often times wonder when some people say it, if they are aware of what it really means? When I think about love, I think about my family and  friends who mean the world to me. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is show and tell the people in your life you love them because things can change at the blink of an eye. The chance may pass never to return again. Before I had my son, I would often hear my mother, grandmothers and aunts say there is no love like a mother’s love. I didn’t know what the big deal was. My thinking was hey they are supposed to love their kids because they had them.  It was a given. Right?  The early morning when I had Christopher (on April Fool’s Day mind you!) my heart and my mind  went through a complete transformation. I actually fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him. I knew then I loved him more than anything in the world and I would do anything to protect him. I wanted the best for him and I would do anything to make sure he had everything he needed and some of what he wanted.

Fast forward 24 years he is now a man, but he will always be my little boy. When I talk to my son Christopher, I make sure I tell him I love him before we hang up. Sometimes I get a clear I love you and other times I get a low mumble that I assume is a hurried I love you.  When I see a sad Tide commercial or see an old baby picture, I text him to say I love you son more than you can ever know. He will say “I love you too mom” or “yes mom I know you love me.” Which makes me cry even more.  Before Christopher went to his duty station in Alaska, we spent some quality time together. We laughed and cried. We shared memories of daddy and how he has influenced our lives.

The main thing I wanted to make sure he knew then and always know is that I love him unconditionally. There is nothing in this world that can separate the love I have for him. I told him I have always loved him even when he did not always do things the way I would have. I told him at the beginning and end of the day, he will always be my son and I love him. Through all of the arguments and disagreements I still loved him. As life goes on, I am sure we will have more arguments and disagreements and at the end of it all, I will be there to love him.

There are so many people in this world who are only loved based on conditions.  There are so many people who cannot tell those they love or that love them that they are gay,  have a different religious belief or even something as simple as they don’t want to go to college because of the fear of being disowned. It is not our job to judge, it is our job to love UNCONDITIONALLY. It is important to live in your truth no matter what it is. If that means you love with conditions, then say ” I love you if…” If you love unconditionally say “I love you even if…”  You decide on the way you love and how you want to be loved.

Life Lessons Are Everywhere!

4 days into 2018 and lessons are literally appearing from the most simple things.  When I got up on the first morning of the new year, I was very excited. I found myself thanking God for allowing me to make it yet another year. I was and continue to be excited about my journey I am yet to complete. Any day above ground means He is not done with me and I still have a purpose here on this earth. I know life gets hard sometimes and the feeling of defeat may find its way into our mind, but we have to keep going.

I would like to share some lessons I have already learned this year with the help of perspective (and Gambino):

  1. Trust- Gambino was crying in his crate at night even though he did not have to go outside. I finally figured out he didn’t want to sleep in the crate. I was so scared to let him stay out all night, but I would never know how he would be outside of the crate unless I trusted him at least once.  I put one of his beds at the foot of my bed before I went to bed and when I got up the next morning, there he was curled up in a ball waiting on me to awake. I had to take the first step and trust him. Sometimes we have to step out on faith and trust everything will work out for the better.
  2. Hidden In Plain Sight- Since Gambino was out of the crate, I knew he had to use the restroom and I needed to rush him out to the grass. I was running around looking for this thin black leash and I could not find it. I looked in its usual spot and it was not there. I asked him where it was and he wouldn’t tell me so I finally had to use the back up leash. As soon as I came back in from walking him, I sat on my couch to warm up. As I pulled my black comforter over my feet, the thin black leash dropped to the floor. There it was hiding in plain sight. It was not lost, it was where I left it.  Panic should not be our go to emotion when we think something is lost.  It’s more likely than not, hiding in plain sight.
  3. It Has Always Been In Us- For those of you who know me personally, you know I don’t make new years resolutions. I stopped making those several years ago when I finally realized it was a trap. When the clock strikes 12 and the new year arrives, it is a new day. The day before was once a new day as was the day before that. A clock is just a clock, the real change has to be in your mind. When you make your mind up to begin something, it is only at that time change will take place.

Join me and look for life lessons in the most simple of things. Open your mind and change your prospective towards things. God does not always make a huge production when He teaches us, sometimes He uses the smallest things we tend to overlook.

 

There Is A Point To The Pain….

I read something funny online the other day about having everything going the way you planned. It read “each time I have all of my ducks in a row, one of them waddles off.”  I laughed and was testifying to the joke until I read one that accurately described me at the time, “I don’t have any ducks. I don’t have a row. I have squirrels and they are all drunk.”  Just when I think I have everything organized and flowing smoothly, life says “hold my beer!”

It can feel like you are sinking in quicksand when problems arise out of nowhere. Unfortunately we can’t plan for everything. We don’t know when our children are going to get sick, when our car is going to break down, when our job is downsizing, when we get sick or even when we are going to have a stressful day. It seems like when you fix one thing, another one arises. About 5 days before Christmas, I ended up having a really bad flare up. It was so bad I looked on Web MD (never do this when you are sick, you will end up feeling like you only have 24 hours to live!) and I had diagnosed myself with cellulitis or shingles.  I could not take anymore pain, so I ended up going to the doctor. Turns out I had a bad reaction to some medication I was taking for HS that caused the breakout and flare up. This could not have happened at a more inopportune time because it was only a few days before Christmas and I still needed to work. On top of being sick, I was stressed out about being sick. Finally, I had to come to terms that I had no control over what was going on. I was only able to control my response to it.

As I reflect on the days I was sick, I have been trying to find the point of it all. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the point through the pain. I believe in God and I have faith that whatever I go through, He will make sure it ends up working out for my good. The point in my pain for this flare up is about to turn into something wonderful for me and other HS sufferers.  I made flyers about 2 months ago to start a group for individuals with chronic illnesses, even though I had a venue and support lined up, I never got around to giving them to my physician to give to other HS patients as a resource. Now that I have to see my physician for additional follow-up,  this is the time to give her the flyers and start working on my HS groups. This flare up has also ignited a fire in me to provide more awareness to HS so other people can understand what it is and how it affects those of us who suffer from it.

The point in your pain can be hard to see sometimes, but it is there. Maybe God sees you are getting too comfortable in a position and makes it uncomfortable so you are forced to do something different. Just maybe the relationship did not work out with that person because he or she was not the right person and you had to free yourself for who you deserve. Maybe when you get sick, it is then you see how strong you are.  Everything happens for a reason. We are unable to control the variables, but we can control our response to it.

 Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God”

 

Take Off Your Veil, So They Can See Your Cracks….

How many of us wear an invisible veil each day? So many of us are afraid to show others how fragile or vulnerable we are from day to day. We have to keep this stoic facade in fear of being judged in some way or another.  I will be the first person to raise my hand, especially with the last few days I have had with HS. Honestly, it feels like HS has had me in the a chokehold. I have always took pride in myself for being an open book, what you see is what you get. This belief took a shift when Hidradenitis Supprotiva has tried to take over my life. Of course my family, closest friends and fellow comrades who have HS understand, but what about everyone else? What about the people I meet when I am at the bookstore? What about the people I see as I am walking Gambino? What about the people I work with? What if they saw my “cracks”?

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about one of my cysts I called Bertha because she was a beast. I am glad to say, she finally burst. Just as I was about to get ready to do my happy dance, HS said “hold my beer!” She did not leave without leaving her mark on me to let me know she came, she saw and she attempted to conquer. There is a painful hole where she used to be. To keep the hole company, I am having not only new cysts, but everything is flared up. I honestly think all of this was triggered by stress. The not so funny thing is I was stressed about Bertha and not being able to walk. HS is a constant stress circle.  As I limped into my physician’s office this morning, I passed a young lady who stopped me to tell me she really liked my hair. I smiled at her and with what little energy I had said “thank you.”  I continued to limp into the office, I couldn’t help but to think what if she knew it took me 2 hours to shower and get dressed? ( I hope I remembered to put on deodorant) What if she knew each step I am trying to take is shooting severe pains all over my body?  What if she knew about all of the cysts and flares that were having their own party on and inside of my body?  What if she actually saw what HS looked like?

After spending all day in severe pain, I have had time to think about my cracks. I really did not have a choice because it hurts to sit and it hurts to stand. I was forced to lift my veil and be honest about how I really felt. Most of the time I am happy go lucky, but not everyday. I hurt. I cry. I have pity parties. I get scared. I need help.  We don’t take off our veil because we don’t want others to see our truths.  If something happens and our truths are seen by others, they sometimes blame us for being so stoic and not saying anything about it. Some may even blame you for being truthful because it causes them to reflect on their lives and their truths.  We all know, life is short. Spend the rest of your days walking in your truth.  If your veil just so happens to blow off  or if you decide to take it off,  hold your head up high and make no apologies for being human.

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen

Celebrate The Small Things

As the year is about to close, I am hearing more and more  people making New Year’s resolutions. I have never really been good at making or keeping those promises. I remember one year I resolved to stop saying bad words. I made the resolution at midnight and I did well until I got out of  bed. Then there was the year I resolved to cook everyday and not eat out. I honestly tried, but I ended up wasting so much food because I have not yet mastered how to cook for one person. I don’t like leftovers and I don’t like messing up my kitchen.

After those failed attempts I decided to take the pressure off  of myself and resolve not to make anymore resolutions. Instead, I decided I would do my best each day and try new things even if I have to do it afraid. I look back on the year and it has definitely been full of mountains and valleys,  but in the midst of it all some small things that I accomplished are turning into wonderful beginnings of much larger things. So many of us overlook the small things because they are not often flashy or big public displays, but they matter too.

Here are some of the things I celebrated this year by dancing when no one was watching or by jumping up and down on my bed:

  • Learned how to use an IPad even though I am a dedicated android user
  • Went an entire week with a pain level of 5 instead of 10
  • Upgraded my car on a rainy day
  • Started writing my story for my book
  • Danced with my granddaughter
  • Told someone no and did not feel the need to explain
  • Started saying yes more than no
  • Started my LLC
  • Investing in marketing my business
  • Wore a tank top with the bandages under my arm

Celebrate getting dinner on the table before 10 o’clock. Celebrate not being stuck in traffic. Give yourself a pat on the back for choosing a salad over a cheeseburger or for choosing a cheeseburger over a salad.  There is no such thing as something being too small to celebrate. We have to celebrate even the smallest of things while we are on our journey through life.  It’s about the journey and not the destination.

 

“From small beginnings come great things.”