What She Said

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About Eric’s Wife

I am Eric’s Wife. I am also mother to two teenagers on the very cusp of adulthood, the founding director of Scripture from the Heart, an avid world watcher, bold and insecure at once. I serve a merciful God and I love a guy who makes my knees weak. This is where I write about it all.  Thank you for reading!

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Pardon me for the dramatic pause

March 18, 2021

I’m feeling a whole world better today, but it took me all year to get here. There are still bits that I am untangling and I kept waiting for a big wrap up to write an update. Making my personal health journey as public as I have is rarely easy. I’d rather only tell tales on the other side, not in the foggy middle. That said, so many of you have been key supporters in prayer and finance to get me here. I really do love you and I want you to know how I am doing.

Last summer I was still feeling the effects of my early 2020 relapse. I was scared and in regular talks with doctors about when to pull the trigger for further treatment; up to and including a repeat of HSCT. My symptoms (fatigue, cognitive fog, numb legs, unsteady gait) persisted and my neurologist ordered an MRI in June. To my stunned shock, it showed that all was calm. The MS appeared to be silent.

I was ordered to give proper rest a try. I should add here that I also had bloodwork done and other possibilities checked at this time and all looked good, with the exception of low iron. From June until November I took my iron supplements and militantly rested throughout every day; I sat instead of standing, I bought only quick fix meals, I let laundry go, I took my dog to groomers, I released the reigns on worrying about my adult (what!?) children, and I committed myself to working on Scripture memory work. I saw good results in some areas, though the fatigue and general feeling of unwell remained very heavy.

During the first weeks of December I was in e-mail communication with my neurologist, whose opinion and insight has proven most valuable. He is a champion for HSCT in my case and remained hopeful that the appearance of exacerbation could be narrowed down to something else. We talked about sleep, anxiety, stress, my kids, migraines – anything that could possibly cause my body to send out MS symptoms smoke signals in some sort of confusion. I was at a loss.

(Here’s the dramatic plot twist you are here for.)

An MRI was scheduled for Monday, December 14. On the Saturday before that, I felt especially bad. I spent most of the day in bed, only coming out of my room to do the occasional load of laundry or give marching orders. I made dinner, but halfway through had to turn the work over to Mackenzie and I went back to bed. I had a stomachache, but it wasn’t something I’d ever felt before; it was a deep and gnawing pain just below my breastbone and went through to my back. I wrestled with it all night.

On Sunday morning, December 13, my family went to church and I stayed home. I was in tremendous pain and had started to vomit. My brain went through all the files I have on hand of friends who had similar tales. Every last one of them went something like, “If I hadn’t gone to the ER, I could have died.” When Eric got home from church, I told him it was time to take me to a higher authority than Google and my imagination.

At the ER, things moved very quickly. IVs went in and a CT scan was conducted. After just a half hour, I was medicated and feeling so much better that I was certain I was going to be told that my agony was in the same category as my misguided MS smoke signals. I laid in that exam room, heavily medicated, and fully expecting to be sent home with orders to maybe try resting.

“Mrs. Peterson? I’ve got some good news: your kidneys, colon, and gallbladder all look great.”

Oh boy. Here it comes. I’m perfectly fine, go home, take your iron, blah, blah…

“But your appendix has GOT to go. It looks like it’s been angry for a while.”

I was immediately hysterical. What? Surgery? Me? Didn’t he know that my drama script did not include appendicitis? And, who ever heard of “chronic appendicitis”?

Not to be overly dramatic, but if I had not gone to the ER, I could have died.

I rescheduled my Monday MRI to have surgery instead and sent my neurologist an email to tell him to add chronic appendicitis to our list of possible culprits.

Surgery recovery went well and I was up and spending more time out of bed than in it after a few weeks. In late December I had the MRI of brain and spine done. MS was still stable.

Over the next months I continued to improve. Today, I am finally feeling about as well as I did before my 2020 drama started and I am incredibly thankful that God sent me a neurologist who would so wisely encourage me to hold off on calling an end to my HSCT remission that started in 2012.

It’s a tidy ending in a lot of ways, but having this all happen in tandem with the COVID storyline and all the ways it has changed simple doctor’s visits and common stranger interactions, has forced me to come to terms with medical and other traumas I thought I had long ago tampered down and dealt with. As my body has been healing beautifully, my mental health space became a space of dark webs and fog. I don’t want to go into this a whole lot further, but I couldn’t make this update without giving it its due credit for my time away. I have heard from many other trauma victims that this time has been surprisingly triggering in ways that blindsided them. If that’s you, then, know that I see you.

I feel like I am getting better in every way, though I now suspect I’ll spend a lifetime before I see the true end of it all. I hope to write more and I thank you for popping in to see if I have. I really do love you. Mean it.

Story Time: On Big Mouths and Cute Shoes

November 25, 2020

One Sunday morning I was talking to a friend of mine about current world events. Our conversation was made tricky because we were both wearing masks. The wearing of masks as a blanket rule for all was a very recent thing in our lives, so it wasn’t something I was used to and I felt like there would be no overcoming masks in order to have a full and honest talk. My friend, a licensed counselor and big picture kind of person, spoke positively about the masks and I spoke, er, not positively.

During the worship service that followed, I made the decision that I needed to find my friend after service to apologize for my saltiness and promise to have a better attitude going forward. It’s not that I was a swearing, foaming at the mouth rager about it. It was just that my friend was trying to be reasonable and I was having none of it. Ever been there?

Before the service ended I saw a visitor in the lobby and thought I should go and greet them. I slipped out and went to have a lovely chat with the woman and her wiggly toddler. The adorable little 2 year old with her ran to me immediately and wanted to be friends. I never turn down such offers, so I sat in the lobby with them both and held that sweet baby on my lap. There was a donut involved in our introduction and I found that I would need to wash my hands before returning to the service.

As I washed my hands in the ladies room I looked in the mirror and saw my friend to whom I owed an apology. Well, that is, I saw her very distinct shoes in a stall behind me. I smiled, “I see you!! I know who that is! Don’t be shy! Listen, come and find me later because I have something I HAVE to tell you. Also, I love those shoes.”

My friend sniffed, like she was crying. Oh boy. I should have known better than to speak through a bathroom stall. My friend is clearly in some sort of distress and here I am being goofy. Feeling sheepish and like I had done enough harm, I slinked out of the restroom.

Back in the lobby and my new toddler friend made a dash for me and insisted I pick her up. I’m no dummy, so I picked her up and went back to chat with her Mom. I figured that this way I could wait for my friend in the restroom to pull herself together so I could talk to her and make sure she was okay.

The door finally opened and I looked to see my friend’s amazing shoes, but they were not attached to my friend. No, they were on the feet of a whole other person that I had never met before. This person was a poor woman in the middle of a major seasonal allergy attack.

Of course.

After services I found my friend, still wearing her amazing shoes. “Hey. Did you know that there is a lady here in your same shoes?”

“Oh yeah! I saw that. But her outfit is way cuter.”

“And she has really bad allergies,” I added.

“Oh? So you talked to her?”

“Kind of.”

Sometimes I wish I was shy. I bet I would get in a lot less trouble and would owe far fewer apologies if I could be even just a little nervous about opening my mouth.

Listen Here, Sheeple

November 24, 2020

Sheep are dumb. Sheep scare easily and fall into pits. Sheep are helpless when ungroomed and require constant vigilance to keep healthy. Sheep don’t do well in the world on their own. When a person is referred to as a sheep, it is meant that that person is a clueless trend follower, one who is not well read, is not educated, will not listen to reason, and is unaware of their condition.

Fun fact: Jesus said we are sheep and He didn’t say that our job here was to grow beyond being a sheep. He said that we. are. sheep and He asked us to be aware of our condition and let Him be our Shepherd. He said we would always follow someone; He asked us to follow Him, because He promises to be gentle and kind.

We must be a tragically comical sight, bumbling around down here, bleating at one another that the other one is a sheep. “Baaa. You’re such a sheep. You’ll follow anyone who speaks powerfully and agrees with your rhetoric. Baaa. I’ll just be over here, with the slightly smarter dumb sheep. Baaa.”

This is what I think every time I hear someone proudly declaring that people who disagree with them are sheep. Calm down, Lambchop. You are a sheep. I am a sheep. We are all sheep down here.