Sunday, January 22, 2006



Vulnerability

It dawned on me this morning that my posts about "Human Frailty" could be directly applied to a situation that is going on underneath my nose wtih my oldest daughter. Why I didn't connect the dots before this morning, I don't have a clue (other than old age creeping in!).

As most of you know, my oldest (TP) was diagnosed almost two years ago with lupus nephritis. The physical aspects of this disease are horrendous - and the treatment protocol has side effects which affect the outward appearance of a patient. The steroids alone can cause weight gain, unsightly stretch marks all over the body, and a puffy face. You can well imagine what all of that can do to the tenuous self-esteem of a teenager.

All of these physical "frailties" (as I mentioned in my recent posts) have caused her to become emotionally "frail" in the sense of becoming somewhat depressed, angry at times, and being self-conscience about her body to the point that she "hates" the way she looks. This emotional frailty has set her up to become vulnerable to some outside influences which decided to tempt her to make some decisions which goes against our values. She was "caught", the situation has ben "taken care of", and we are now living with a teenager who isn't very happy with Mom and Dad, but oddly enough, I think she feels relieved that she's no longer hiding her actions from us.

This has given us an opportunity to discuss with her how you can't base decisions on "feelings", and that you have to look at your value system and Christian beliefs as your guide before you can jump into a situation. She's a mature young lady, but she's also very naive, so unfortunately, I think some of her naivetee got in the way of making good choices in this situation. I also think she was so vulnerable, and when a person is that way, other people sense that and try to take advantage of that vulnerability.

After receiving Communion at Mass this weekend, I prayed for TP and all that she has been through the past two years. Then, I began to think of how much this disease has affected the WHOLE family. We are tired. We don't "play" like we used to. We tend to be less patient and understanding. Our energy has been so tied up in treating the disease that we haven't had the strength or energy to treat US. The realization of how much I absolutely HATE what this disease has done to us, especially TP, hit me in the gut. So now, I decided some changes need to be made within our family. I am not sure what they will be - but I know that we are emotionally frail right now. I am looking to God for some answers - and I am looking to you for your prayers. Thank you.

17 Comments:

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Prayers for all of you. God will guide you all through this.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Valerie,

I came by the other day and was meaning to return to comment on your previous post - you know that I have this habit of reading and then returning when I have had time to ruminate over the response. This time, I am sorry, but life just got in the way..

I am sorry that TP is having to go through this. I know only too well what it is like to have to apply some "tough love" to a teenage situation. The thing we need to hang onto, in these situations and as you mentioned in your human fraility post is, that, even though He may appear to be very far from us, he is not and he really is there for us. He knows what we need and is there to provide it.

I will keep praying for you all - and the fragility of heart that is surrounding you all now. I pray that you will all come out of this stronger and more complete as a family - I pray that it pulls you together rather than divides you.

In Jesus name

Amen.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Julana said...

MKM,
I'm so sorry for what TP and the family has gone through. Our son was on steroids the summer when he was one. The side effects were indeed awful. I don't think anyone outside the family could have realized how severe they were, even the doctor. (Huge appetite, weight gain, crying hours every day, insomnia, blood pressure checks, stool checks, blood tests)

You have to take care of yourselves, because no one else can/ will do it for you. I'll pray for you, too.

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Paula said...

You have my prayers and support. I can all too well relate to dealing with a teen, although not one with a chronic illness. The thought just popped in my mind that maybe the four of you could get away for a weekend. I'm sure there are some lovely resorts close to home or a nice campground. Sometimes it takes getting away to get things resolved. Wish we lived closer and we could plan and joint family adventure. Love and hugs,

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Count me in on the prayer team. Thanks for opening up about your troubles so we can support you. I feel so bad for your sweatie. Growing up is tough, and she's got more on her plate than she needs right now. I'm going to pray right this minute. Bye.

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I just came across you blog and wanted to comment. Growing up with a brother who had to take steroids from the time he was in the 4th grade until he had surgery his senior year, I know what steroids can do. (he has chrone's disease) I remember the weight gain and puffy face, and I remember admiring my brother for taking control of his disease instead of the disease taking control of him, yet for a young lady and teenager I can only what she is going through, but I do believe it can make her stonger than she ever thought she could be. Prayers going to your whole family.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

I'm praying, too. May God bless you abundantly in every way. You, dear friend, are a blessing to me. Your blog has always been a place that I love to visit.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I know not playing like you used to hurts.
The real question is: Do you play like you need to?

Val, I love you. So, here comes the unsolicited advice.

Don't fret over what you have lost. Take full advantage of what you have right now. Live every moment deliberately.

God bless TP. Give her a kiss from the little fella in the big white hat. I'm praying for you all.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Bethany said...

Oh...I certainly will be praying for your daugter...and the rest of your family to have wisdom in dealing with her. My heart aches for her...and you. But I know we serve a big God who cares more for her than we ever could.

 
At 5:33 PM, Blogger JodiTucker said...

Hello fellow Ohioan and mum to teenagers! I came to your blog via Rebekahspage (my second cousin out in OR). Your vulnerablitiy and human frailty posts were quite excellent and thought provoking AND inspirational to keep close to God in ALL circumstances. Our "kids" are 21 (son) and 18, 16----two daughters. Although we've had no major physical problems, there have been plenty of other teen issues. Consider how much God must shake His head at these obstinate, control freak humans(like myself and lots of others)when we act/speak as we do. Thank God for forgiveness in Jesus Christ! I would be sunk without that hope!

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Dear All: Thank you for your kind words and support. I think, at times, I just get overwhelmed with things and find this is a "safe" place to write about it.

Hi Sarah: Yes, God will guide us through it all. He's been my strength since all of this began.

Barbara: Hello, dear friend. You always know exactly what to say to comfort me and give me a sense of hope. Your friendship means the world to me.

HI Julana - Yes, you do know those horrible side effects. Sometimes, the treatment regimen makes a person feel sicker than the actual disease itself. THank you for your prayers.

Dearest Paula - You've been through so much yourself with a teenager - so I do know you've experienced a lot of the same emotions. Where/when do you want to do the joint family adventure?!


Darlene: I was a bit scared about opening up and being so vulnerable - but now I realize I didn't have a thing to worry about because all of you have been so kind! Thanks for the prayers.


HI Dawn: Welcome to my blog - and thank you for your comments and support. I'm going to come and visit you soon at your place!


Oh Lisa - What a sweet thing to say. I don't visit you often enough, but I do feel a connection to you. Thank you!


Hey BWH - THe answer to your first question is "no". We rarely play, period. And that is such an issue for us - and we've decided to do something about it SOON. Secondly - I love you and Echo, too - you guys have become like my "little" brother and sister-in-law, so I now give you permission to extend your "unsolicited advice" at any time!!! And yours is good advice. It is something I have often repeated to myself and focused on throughout the past two years. It's just that, at times, I need to "get it all out", so to speak, and not feel like I ALWAYS have to be "strong". I'll give TP a kiss - she LOVES cowboys!

HI Bethany - You are so right - God does care for TP more than we ever could, and He has shown us repeatedly how He has kept her under His wing through it all. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Jodi - It was good to hear from you again. So, you've survived the teenager years for two of your kids, and you've got one to go. Congratulations! Are you gray yet? Anyway, just know that I keep your Rebekah and her sister and her parents in my prayers - they have a soft place in my heart!

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger HeyJules said...

Ahhh, the teenage years. Is there anything worse?

Poor TP. Really, I can't imagine having to go through all that she's been through at her tender age. Despite the feeling of frailty right now, I also suspect you are all quite a bit stronger - at least in the faith department.

I will keep your family in my prayers; that you find your way back to the sunnier days that lie ahead and that you remember what it is to laugh and play together. In the meantime, if you ever need to talk, you know where to find me.

God bless, Val.

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger Hope said...

As someone with a chronic illness in the same family as lupus I need to read how other people deal with this, especially other family members. It took a long time for me to realize that my illness was affecting more than just me. There is not a moment when I am up and doing stuff that my kids and husband are not aware of my limitations. I try to take them in stride. It was only when one night I was sitting at the table talking with my two eldest kids that one of them stopped me and said, "You're talking like someone who's been shot" He was referring to my gasping for breath in between words. I was not even aware I was doing it, I was just doing what I had to to carry on a conversation. The look of alarm on his and his sister's face made me realize that this may be an invisible disease to others but my family never forgets and it affects them too.

A doctor told me not too long ago to 'move forward' despite the illness and at first I was pissed off at him. You try it I wanted to tell him. But I did take his words to heart and have made progress in moving forward instead of being in a holding pattern. The reality is that life may never get any easier and I need to accept that. Tiny steps of progress but it's coming.

God bless you as you struggle to find a balance in your family life. It would be so much easier not to - to just let life happen. I will hold you up in prayer as you seek some answers. God bless.

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Tyra said...

Praying the Lord guides you and surrounds with you His peace.

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

wow. great blog. love reading your articles.

God bless.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Prayers for you and prayers for healing. Healing physically and spiritually...Come, Holy Spirit!

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Sissy Willis said...

I'm wondering whether your dear daughter has thought of blogging? It might be -- as yours is for you and your readers -- a healing place . . .

All best.

 

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