Family, Health, Life

Expiration Dates

I was doing so good. So good! The month of January had me on point, on schedule and feeling good about getting things done.

And then February.


Storms, snow days, bad news, lambing, lack of motivation…throw it all on a plate and make a daily meal out of it. That was February.

I would venture a guess that I’m not the only mid-westerner who looked at February like that. Twelve inches of snow in a day will do that to a person. Even my oldest kiddo was feeling the lack of sunshine. Towards the end of February, her emotions and anxiety got the best of her. She told me one day, “Mommy, I keep getting sad for no reason. And I don’t know how to make it stop.”

Oh no….

After a particularly rough morning where she couldn’t seem to pull herself together, I called in late to work and her and I went up to visit with the school SAP coordinator (kind of like a counselor) and talked about feelings, how to handle feelings and moved forward with scheduling weekly visits to help her regulate her emotions, talk about them and sort through the mess that her poor pre-teen body is putting her through.

Something of which I am nowhere near ready for, let me tell you. My sister pawned some clothing off on me and I started going through the bags, setting aside what the girls would wear, putting what they wouldn’t in the “thrift store” pile. She could have warned me that at the top of one of those bags would be a variety of training bras.

I almost cried. Almost.

Along with the weekly visits at school, we started daily vitamins at home to get a boost of vitamin D and things are going much better, I’m happy to say. There are still moments. But I’m a mom…and their my kids…pretty sure it’s all par for the course.

We started lambing over the past couple weeks as well which hasn’t been too stressful. Two veteran ewes made it look like a cakewalk even though one through a gorgeous single that probably topped out near 12 pounds. Poor mama! At this point, there’s one ewe left to go.

Baby girl Jewel

As I sit here writing, every muscle in my body aches from a busy weekend spent vaccinating, banding, forking hay, renovating enclosures to lambs and ewes more room and move our ram out of there before he gets any ideas.

With the good comes the bad. The entire reason we have these sheep now is because they used to belong to my parents. My father was diagnosed with MSA – Multiple Symptom Atrophy – and had to sell off his entire flock along with the llamas that guarded them.

We took on five – four pregnant ewes and a ram – future 4H projects as well as some of my moms favorites so I could send her pictures.

Trying to wrap my head around what’s happening to my dad hasn’t been easy. I think a lot of what I’ve been doing is distracting myself with mindless television, chores and sleep so that I can silence any spinning of my mind.

MSA is extremely rare – 0.6 cases per every 100,000 people. It’s rare, it’s degenerative and at this point in time, there is no cure. There’s a 7-10 year prognosis…in some situations, 15 years. If there’s one thing I hate more than anything when it comes to diagnoses, it’s when they’re able to be time-stamped or given an expiration date. I know, it’s really irrational of me. In my mind, rare diseases, life-threatening diseases, cancer…they call for a little irrationality.

When I called my mom to follow up with her on how dad’s appointments had gone with the new doctor/hospital he was getting a third opinion from, she told me the news and I can’t remember a time in my life where I fell apart quite like that. Everyone in the house was sleeping but me. I called a very close friend of mine and just started raging while ugly crying. It was a mess.

Luckily, she’s known me forever and I was able to give her a quick heads up that I was not in a good spot. She talked to me until I wore myself out and was able to sound coherent again.

Any research I did on the topic was just bleak. At first, I refused to watch any videos concerning MSA, read any stories, allow my mind to mess with other people’s experiences and relate them to my dad. I still shy away from a majority of them and try not to think too far ahead.

My dad is being so open minded about it which makes me beyond relieved. He commented once on how MSA is what Johnny Cash had, has moved forward with getting a referral to Mayo where they spent last week going through the first round of tests. I was afraid that having that dark cloud hanging over him would snuff out his optimism, but it hasn’t. I’m sure there are days but all in all, he’s moving forward with what he can – humor intact, sarcasm intact, living every day with what he has and not allowing it to define who he is.

So moving forward…I think I need to face all of that, own what’s going on and not allow it to keep me from blogging. Even sitting here and writing this now, I feel more accomplished, more level-headed and more happy. So here’s hoping that even if spring here didn’t come in like a lion AT ALL…maybe I can.

Until next time readers!

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