Cherished Heart – Original Cherished BlogFest 2016 Post

As the title says, what follows was my original post for Cherished Blog Fest 2016. I will be posting it below. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I did writing it. It is much shorter than what I am use to writing, but I like the editing I had to do to keep it at such a length. .  . Enjoy.


One of my most cherished objects is my heart. It is amazing how it can continue to beat after all it has been through. I know everything I’ve gone through has turned me into the person I am now, but at times, I just want to stop thinking of the future me.

Libby, that’s what I call my heart, has struggled with love since I was a child. In school, I wasn’t the skinniest so I always felt huge. Later I would learn I wasn’t that big, but the wounds were already there. Wounds turn into scars.

Through the tortures of school, adolescence, and eventually adulthood, Libby has continued to beat. Yes, there have been long nights of crying, when that one boy, then that guy, and finally the man didn’t love me as I loved them. With each tear that fell, with each breath that was taken, with each new dawn, Libby continued to beat.

There wasn’t always sadness, there have been joys. The most joyous were the births of my daughter and a son. Each time it felt as if Libby would burst out and wrap herself around those two wonderful beings. Each smile, laugh, look, and touch made Libby grow and grow.

Today Libby still grows when she sees those darlings sleeping. Yes sleeping, because when awake, they are fighting; fighting with each other, with me, or just with themselves. I know they love each other and me, because they show me in their own way. This is when Libby feels like everything is going to be just fine.

Libby had a hard time when her son was just four years old. He was diagnosed with a condition. A condition I knew nothing about. He had a MRI just before Christmas. The doctor said he would call us but he didn’t. The offices were closed over the holidays and it was the worse Christmas Libby has ever had to endure. EVER. Not knowing what was causing a vibrant, young boy to not want to play outside, but instead lie on the couch and not move. He would cry his head hurt so much. I cried for him. I cried with him. I cried at night when everyone else was asleep. I prayed for an answer.

The call to go into the doctor’s office came in a couple of days after Christmas. It wasn’t even the doctor who spoke to us; it was his nurse practitioner; and the diagnoses Arnold Chiari Malformation Type 2.

What was that?

Libby cracked. Libby bled. Libby cried. Libby screamed!

I on the other hand, shed a tear and was trying to be calm for my son.

Libby did not break. Libby still beats. Libby lives.

My son is doing wonderful. Turned out he didn’t have Type 2, but Type 1, it’s a bit of a difference. Chiari, ACM, whatever you call it, is worth looking into. My son lives with it every day, but he is still here, smiling, laughing.

Libby, too!


Nothing Goes as Planned

Well, I signed up to do the Cherished Blog Fest 2016, but as can happen; I am away from my computer. And as it turns out, it was what should be.

I sit right now, watching my two wonderful children enjoy some down town after a busy day. Shopping, more shopping, eating, swimming, eating again. I realize that this moment, this very moment, is one of my most cherished objects. It is time.

I know it won’t be the last (I hope not) because as the years continue, I pray I’m able to be here for my kids; to share in the new adventures that God sets forth before us.

Tomorrow is never promised which is why plans change. Nothing like an unexpected vacation of shopping and swimming to brighten up any day, week, or month.

It is these unexpected moments in time that become some of my most cherished.

My daughter’s long hair flowing like a mermaid in the pool.

My son’s laughter as he after seeing me laugh at his face in the pool.

Even my mother’s fear of drowning, and inability to float because she is holding on to something over her head.





Yes, it is my most Cherished object.

So, I’m happy I didn’t post the original post I had written for this event. This was so much better. (And shorter).


Children P2 – Joy


What is that?

What is the actual definition of ‘joy’?

Well let’s Google it…

Defined on Google

Definition on Google

I have indeed felt ‘joy’. As a mother, two of the most joyous (joy) days of my life would be the births of my children. I was not only blessed with one child, but two; the best of both worlds.

My daughter came first. That was interesting. I never knew a person could lose weight while pregnant. I did. I lost 30 lbs. I was because I was sick the entire time. That pregnancy went by with only one true memorable time at Christmas, but I’ll save that story for another time. This is not my daughter’s birth story.

This is the story of my son.

Today, he is eight years old. He is about four and a half feet tall and has a stocky build. To look at him, he is perfectly healthy.

My son was a planned pregnancy and not everyone in my family was happy about that. (refer to previous post ‘Children’).

I was.

I wanted a boy and when the doctor told me I was having a boy – I was overjoyed (joy).

My pregnancy with him was not as painful as with my daughter, but it was still painful. I was at least able to eat this time. I had scheduled a doctor’s appointment the next day after taking a home pregnancy test. I was concerned because prior to my daughter, I had experienced two miscarriages. These miscarriages took a toll on me mentally, physically, and spiritually, but that is another post.

One memorable event which occurred during a doctor’s visit in January was the doctor telling me I was due in June. I informed him that a due date in June was impossible because that would put conception in the month of October and my husband was away working during that month.

His response… “What you do is none of my business,” and went to turn around and continue on his way.

I just about lost my mind. Did he actually just ‘assume’ I had cheated on my husband? To my face?! Oh NO HE DID NOT!

“You had better look again,” I demanded. I remember my mother standing there and the look on her face – priceless. I’m happy my husband wasn’t there. He would have quickly jumped on the bandwagon of my cheating. He was like that. (More on him in later posts.)

“Um, I’m sorry,” the doctor says while his face is becoming red after talking to a nurse. “It appears I was looking at the wrong chart.”

“Oh,” I respond, “I should say so.”

“Yes it appears we have two patients with the same name. Your middle initial is E?”


“Oh, well you are due…,” he stops to make calculations and continues, “Yes, you are due in September.”

“Yes I am,” and give him the dirtiest look. It was amazing how he was so flippant and cold. I must say, I was spoiled by my doctor in Tennessee when I had my daughter. Needless to say, he wasn’t as cold to me after that.

September was hurricane season and Rita was just close enough to cause problems. The hospital and doctor I would see was almost an hour away, and my folks were concerned I go into labor during a hurricane; something about storms causing women to go into labor. As a precaution, my folks, daughter, and I decided to stay close to the hospital.

We checked into a hotel across the street from the hospital on Friday evening. I had been experiencing lower back pain and was unable to sleep that first night. The weather wasn’t too bad, and I was able to go into the pool for a bit. The water helps tremendously while pregnant. Saturday went by and again, that night was not too comfortable. Sunday rolled around and we decided to go home. The lower back pain would not go away, so we decided since we were next to the hospital, we should just get a checkup. I was scheduled for a C-section the following week.

What a surprise to find out I was in labor. Because of my previous C-section, and the way the previous doctor and made the incision, I couldn’t have my son naturally. My son was on his way.

Another C-section was about to begin, but first I need an epidural. With my daughter it was so fast, there wasn’t any time to be afraid. This time there was. It took about 30 minutes (ok maybe less, or maybe more) to get the epidural. One of my legs would keep going numb. Finally, he just pushed through. I’m blessed he was able to do so. After the surgery, I had a huge knot where he tried so many times, and a large area that was bleeding and would soon scab over. Not a pretty sight.

Finally my son was here! He was perfect.

Fast forward four years.

My son began to have bad headaches. So bad, that he would just lie on the couch and do nothing. This is unusual for a four year old boy. He would also vomit during these spells. Our family doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with him, so they scheduled an MRI. This was around December 20th.

Waiting is so hard.

We called the doctor’s office, and they said there wasn’t any news and soon everything was closed for the Christmas holidays. It was a very tough Christmas not knowing what or if anything was wrong with my son.

After Christmas, when the doctor was back in the office, we were called to go in. This was bad. I knew it was, because if everything had been alright the nurse would have said so on the phone.

The next day, my mother, my daughter, my son, and I go to the doctor’s office.

We wait in the waiting room.

We wait in the examining room.

The doctor walks in and has somber look. Funny, I don’t remember much except when I hear Arnold-Chiari Malformation (ACM). We were told he had Type II, and he would need to see a neurosurgeon and/or a neurologist. Another thing we were told was NOT to Google it.

I remember asking why the results took so long. They results had actually returned the next day or so, but were not given to us because the doctor did not want to ruin our Christmas. I almost screamed. Our Christmas was spent wondering on what was wrong with my son. It was worse not knowing.

This is what I basically found…

Type 2 – The most common of all Chiari malformations, type 2 is caused by part of the back of the brain shifting downward through the bottom of the skull.

  • Type 2 Chiari malformations are typically seen in infants who are born with spina bifida, a neurological condition that causes a portion of the spinal cord and the surrounding structures to develop outside, instead of inside, the body.
  • Type 2 Chiari malformations can also be associated with hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an overproduction or lack of absorption of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that is found inside of the ventricles (fluid-filled areas) inside of the brain. The increased fluid causes the pressure inside of the head to increase and the skull bones to expand to a larger-than-normal appearance.

*Reference John Hopkins*

Seriously?  That was the first thing I did. And I tell you what, I was scared. Oh how I was scared!

We scheduled the visit with the neurosurgeon at children’s hospital. How fortunate we were that the doctor was amazing! He had such a way with my son. Still does.

He was not happy with the diagnosis of my son. My son did have ACM, but not Type II. My son had Type I.

My son is a trooper. He has to have an MRI every six months. He is not a complainer when it comes to his headaches or a crier when he is vomiting. He just deals with it and that’s it.

There are many things that are associated with ACM. I found a great website that offers great information for parents and helps with children in school, Conquer Chiari. It is important to educate the school on his ACM and keep them informed.

I have been truly blessed with my children and I thank God every chance I can for them.

~Truly blessed ~ DA