The Holidays

I decided to break this update into two parts because it has been awhile since I last updated. So here goes Part 1 with all the holidays.

Picture

This was the first Christmas that me or the kids have ever spent away from my side of the family and it was very strange. It is just to much for me to travel at the current time so it was a Christmas in Louisiana this year!


Picture

It was hard on everyone not to spend the holidays with my family so we tried to make this Christmas a special one for the kids. We also did this in part because for some of my hubby’s side of the family it may be their last.  Christmas Eve we had dinner at Granny Sue’s house and exchanged gifts. Everyone had a great night and Maw Maw topped it off by letting everyone in on her “Senior Year” of high school and her college plans. If you can’t guess my husbands Grandmother has dementia. For any of you that do not know what dementia is, here is a link to explain it all.  http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp 


Picture

Gag gift of the night was my brother-in-law getting my hubby some men’s string bikini undies! It was quite a laugh. One of the best things of the night was watching Maw Maw with the kids when they were all opening presents, she was like a kid again…Greatness! 

Picture

The evening winded down and it was a mad rush to beat Santa to the house. Kids had a secret sleepover in big sisters room so Santa could deliver their big gifts. Hubby and I spent quite some time zoning out to Pink Floyd putting together desks & chairs.  End result was a good one…no leftover parts!


Picture

Christmas morning was so surreal. It was quiet in the house except for the pitter patter of little feet and giggling. We lit a fire and the five of us found a spot and opened our stockings from Santa. Then it was time for the big reveal! We took the kids to the hallway and let them storm their rooms to find their new computers, desks & chairs. They were ecstatic!!

Picture

After all that commotion it was time for PRESENTS!!!! It was very odd not to have 20+ people in a room all opening presents at once. It was calm, with christmas tunes in the background and I actually had time to take pictures of everyone opening their gifts, it was nice. To say the least EVERYONE had a great Christmas at the Raccuglia household. 

Picture

Presents unwrapped and in all of our new threads we headed to Granny’s house down the street. We ate like kings and then Granny Sue decided to make some pralines!! She taught me and her BFF how to make them. Can’t wait to give those a go, sooo yummy!! We hung out while my hubby and his brother put on the new fishfinder/GPS on the boat and all of his other new goodies. Kids played in the front yard and I got some great shots of them all together. I loved seeing them play like they were all little again, priceless!

Picture

After Christmas my parents came down to help me and we had a whole new Christmas again! The kids were so happy to get even more stuff from my family. We goofed off and had a blast watching the kiddos open their gifts all over again! 

Picture

New Year’s Eve we hung out with the neighbors and shot off a few fireworks. This was not the greatest of days considering it had been raining all day and all night and was still raining when we were trying to do fireworks, but we had some drinks & laughs and it was all good! 

Here are some pictures from our last day at the park in 2013!

Picture

Now the holidays are over and a new year is upon us. This will be a year of great perseverance for me and difficult journey. My head is held high and I am ready to embrace what comes my way. 
Look out 2014 here I come!!


~Amanda
Advertisements

A New Dawn…A New Day

Picture

My journey to answers started years ago, but until recently it brought on a whole new meaning. I have listened to so much negativity throughout the years about my health and my sanity and it has taken its toll on me. The decision to pay for specialized testing through Igenex labs was a tough decision for me. All my fears surfaced on whether or not it was all in my head or the real thing. Years of people planting the seeds of doubt got to me. I knew deep down though I was not crazy; that what was happening to me was real, all of it was real. 


So now I take you through the last few days that has forever changed my life.

Picture

Wednesday morning my friend Jenna and I set out to see the LLMD doctor that I have been waiting months to see and and a long lost friend. We talked for hours about all that had been happening to me and how people have treated me along the way. I was filled with anxiety. I had so many emotions running through my body it is almost indescribable.  I was scared of what was coming and the anxiety just built up till we arrived. I had my moments of doubt on whether or not this was going to give me the answers that I was searching for and Jenna tried her best to ease my mind but I think she was just as anxious as I was.

Picture

We finally made into town and arrived at the hotel. My long lost friend Kim came out to meet us. I also met Kim’s friend Vee for the first time. Kim has been in my life for a long time but we lost touch after high school when life took us in different directions. Just a few months ago we found each other again on Facebook. This would turn out to be a pivotal change in both of our lives. She was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme’s Disease and had posted a video about it. We had talked forever about what I was going through and she suggested I watch. I watched the documentary with tears in my eyes the entire time. This was a story of me. Kim and I were convinced that I to had Chronic Lyme’s Disease. Kim helped me through the next couple of months of preparing to see the LLMD doctor that she was seeing and to get the proper testing to diagnose it. I followed her steps and it led me to this day.

Picture

We all piled in the car Jenna, Kim, Vee and myself and off we went. After arriving at the doctor emotions were running high. We talked about the good ole days and tried to stay distracted until they called my name…it was time.  Jenna and Kim accompanied me to see the doctor. We sat anxiously awaiting my test results. The doctor was reading my results and paused to utter the words “Jesus”, he told us that it was the most positive test result he has ever seen. Kim was crying and I was in shock. Kim had to keep repeating it to me, telling me that not only was I positive by Igenex criteria but also by the strict guidelines of the CDC. When it finally hit me I just broke down and Kim and Jenna rushed to my side to hold me. It was a beautiful life changing moment. He expressed that I was very ill and he was going to help me get better and that I have had it since I was a child. Funny that two girls from a small town in Texas end up with the same disease. 

Picture

My mind was racing with so many emotions that I was mentally exhausted. I could not believe that after all these years I finally had an answer to everything. I have been through so much pain and agony my whole life but it has made me strong and very tolerant to pain. I have listened to all kinds of doctors over the years tell me that I was crazy or making it all up, I even heard this from the people closest to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how soul crushing that is. To have a doctor not believe you is one thing, but to have your family not believe you is another thing all together. I finally made the choice to just be my own self advocate on my health. When I connected with Kim she brought me hope and peace of mind that no matter what she believed me and was willing to help me. It takes a beautiful soul to give someone help when they in return are in just as much pain.  All of this made me realize that I needed to move on from all the negativity in my life and start anew.  

Picture

The girls and I headed out for some grub at a little Mexican restaurant. We sat in a booth for four and talked. Vee had struck up a conversation with an older man sitting across the way from us. He dressed in faded overalls, moss green crocs and a crooked camo cap. He was alone and unmarried, quietly eating his dinner. He obviously was a regular because even the manager knew his name. This man that I will call “R” spoke to us about respect for women and how always to be kind to them. He made my heart smile, surprisingly gentle and kind even with the rough exterior. When we were ready for the check the waitress came and told us that our meal had been “taken care of”. We were shocked and asked by who. Even though the waitress never really said we knew who it was. The kind man “R” had picked up the tab for us. We were very grateful for his generosity and spent some time chatting with him. What a kindness “R” had showed us and we promised to pay it forward.

Picture

We headed back to the hotel to reflect on the day and unwind. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to help me through one of the hardest and joyous days of my life. We laughed, we cried and we goofed off big time! From dog piles to rapping in the parking lot we had an awesome night letting loose. Vee had us cracking up with her toilet paper mask that Jenna made her and her talent for rapping. Jenna graced us with her best dance moves and Kim with her beats. These ladies are infected with kindness and laughter.

Picture

The next morning was a somber one. It was time to head home. We decided to get some breakfast at Cracker Barrel and part ways. We talked over breakfast and then hit the gift store. Everyone knows you can’t go to Cracker Barrel without visiting the store! With our last hugs goodbye we parted till next time.  Jenna and I spent the rest of the trip home listening to music from Griffin House and enjoying the beauty of the drive.

Picture

In these short few days my life has changed dramatically. I not only found the root cause of all the things that I have experienced throughout my life but made some life altering decisions for myself. I learned in this brief period of time that life is to short and I do not want to be surrounded by people that do not make me happy and people who do not have my back. The betrayal I have felt has not left me bitter but more aware of people’s true colors. I have learned the hard way and now I can move on with my life in a more positive way. Knowing what I will have to go through brings me comfort that I have great friends by my side. 

Picture

Letter to Kim:

Kim,

You have been such an inspiration to me. You reached out to me in my most desperate of hours. You helped me find the strength to march on in my journey for answers. Your kind and motivating words touched my heart and soul. You encouraged me with your own story of struggles to take the leap faith. I know that I have reconnected with a life long friend. Words can not due justice to the way you have changed me. I will be forever grateful for your support and honest words. I will always be here for you for anything that may come your way. I believe in you and God will bless you for you have paid it forward in one of the biggest ways possible. You are my friend and always will be.

Love

Amanda


111-IMG_9748 003-IMG_9631 004-IMG_9632 015-IMG_9643 018-IMG_9646 022-IMG_9650 031-IMG_9659 033-IMG_9661 054-IMG_9682 056-IMG_9684 057-IMG_9685 059-IMG_9687 066-IMG_9694 067-IMG_9695 070-IMG_9703 072-IMG_9706 073-IMG_9707 074-IMG_9708 075-IMG_9709 076-IMG_9710 077-IMG_9711 078-IMG_9712 079-IMG_9713 082-IMG_9716 089-IMG_9723 090-IMG_9724 092-IMG_9726 093-IMG_9727 094-IMG_9728 095-IMG_9729 099-IMG_9733 109-IMG_9746 110-IMG_9747

Answers & Actions

Picture

The time has come for answers and actions in my life. So many things have been crashing down around me that I feel as though I am drowning. 

I started on this journey seeking the answers to my health and my future. I have worked hard to get to where I am now and there is no turning back. I always knew this would not be easy to overcome but I have to try. All the changes that have been happening to me over the last year has halted my happiness. I have not been able to do all the things I love due to the way I have felt. It has all been slowly taken away. I still have fairly good days where I can go out and enjoy the sunshine with the kiddos or a good day of fishing but its not without pain, just tolerable. It means I wake up every morning and my pain level is either tolerable or not tolerable, end of story. It is what is and right now I can not change what is happening to me, but I am trying to.

In the midst of all of this some things have happened that I wish I did not have to endure. I wish I didn’t see what I did. I wish that I did not have to face the truth that I am faced with now. It is right in my face taunting me to do something about it for so long but now it has all been exposed and there is no turning back now. 


What I saw was people turning their backs on me, telling me I am faking, over exaggerating my illness because I am lazy or I wanted the attention. It is utterly mind blowing to me how these people claim to know me but really know nothing about me. It has been the hardest thing out of all of this to deal with. I have seen their true colors and it has crushed me. The people in my life that are supposed to be there for me no matter what and to have my back, hold my hand and help me through all this, just shut me out. I have never been more devastated by such heartless and cold acts. 


I have always been there for these people and would gladly take a bullet for any one of them. It is obvious to me now that these feelings are not mutual. Some are not as cruel but just as skeptical in saying they need “proof” that I am ill. I am sorry that I do not look the part that makes it easier for you to accept that I am sick. Having an invisible illness that only rears its ugly head to the outside of me on occasion is very frustrating when I have to deal with ignorant and non-supportive people in my life. I never thought that I would have to “prove” anything to anyone that is close to me and that knows me, but I was greatly mistaken. 

Due to this overwhelming experience and other personal issues, I have decided to make some big changes in my life. I am getting rid of all the negative and all the drama. I no longer need to be surrounded by people who do not love or care for me the way that I do them. I no longer want to spend my days walking on egg shells around these people and pretending to be ok with the way they are treating me. I am not a doormat, do not take me for granted and do not mistake my kindness for weakness!  I have learned a harsh lesson about love, trust and respect and it is one I learned the hard way. 

So it is time for action! Out with the old and in with the new, onward I march! A new me is emerging from all this pain, a stronger, smarter me. I have grieved, been angry and now I am determined to change my life around. 

So, tomorrow I embark on my journey to see the LLMD and meet up with a long lost friend. She has been helping me every step of the way and I can not thank her enough. She is a rock battling her own battles but still finds the time to help me get through it to. God has blessed me by putting us back in touch with her. Together, her and I will move mountains! I am so excited and terrified all at the same time for so many reasons. This is going to be a long tough journey for me but the outcome will make it all worthwhile and y’all will have a front roll seat!

See y’all on the other side!

PS: I do want to thank all my precious friends that have been there for me every step of the way and who have helped me through every rough day I have encountered. They are all God sent and I love them all. Y’all know who you are! 😉