Sunday, June 13, 2010

And So it Begins. .

Hello all and welcome to this crazy ride that I call my life!

I finally gave in and started a blog so my friends, family, extended relatives can check in on us any time you get the hankering to find out what is going on with Team P. Here you will find our life uncensored as told by me.

I have many names and answer to all. I am a Marine Corps wife of four years, a sister to two strong and willful people whom have guided and listened to a flustered girl for over two decades, a daughter to two parents who struggled day in and day out to find their way for us and for themselves, but most of all I am called mommy. Nothing compares to the beautiful eyes of my sons who gaze up at me each and every day and say I love you mommy.

More than my sisters, parents, husband, and extended family, there is our Marine Corps family. A constant stronghold of love and support and understanding. These amazing people have been there for me and all of us when I have needed to cry and scream and rant with a helping hand, an open ear, and a brand new box of Kleenex. They are my best friends, they are my sisters. These past four years I have never had to face anything this crazy journey has thrown at me alone.

Here you will see and hear what crazy shenanigans my boys are up to, along with updates and how we are coping with PTSD and a possible TBI. We will never be more than a click away and all you will have to do is type in our blog address and check it out.

Our lives as of late have only been a stones throw away from complete and total chaos. Between doctors appointments, birthdays, and a whole slew of other crazy things in our lives, we have been on the go from sun up to sun down.

So, let us start at the top of Team P and work our way down to the smallest P and catch up!

Jon. Where do we start? I have rarely ever been as proud of another person than I am of my husband. The past few weeks for him have been hard work compounded by even harder work and all for his family and his country. Watching him struggle the last few years has been heart breaking and humbling. He feels things so deeply and differently than most people I have come across. In the past three or four months we have begun the slow process of diagnosis and treatment for PTSD.

For those of you reading who don't understand what exactly PTSD is, I will try my best to explain it to you. PTSD is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder which by definition is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less frequent and more enduring than the more commonly seen acute stress response.

Diagnostic symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma through flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal - such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hyper vigilance. Formal diagnostic criteria require that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Our journey with PTSD began shortly after his return home. It started out simply as odd occurrences of him sitting up in the bed in the middle of the night stating that there was someone coming down the street. Then as the days passed we started noticing more and more manifestations that we didn't understand. He started having issues with things startling him into relapses of times when he was overseas.

Things came to a culmination a couple of months ago and after some arguments and tears he agreed to see someone and get some answers. Here we are a few months down the road and things are getting better slowly but surely. The medications the doctors have given him are working absolute wonders. We have been almost two months without a nightmare or a wandering dream where he talks and paces the house at all hours of the night.

Along with the medicine, he also sees a therapist ("the wizard" as Jon calls him) once, and even twice a week sometimes. They have been incredibly helpful and at times brutally honest with him. He smiles a lot more these days and is continuing to grow as himself and as a daddy and husband. God has been smiling down on our little family.

As of now, his team of doctors, are having us explore the possibility of a TBI as well. A TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury,is by definition happens when an external force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury), or other features (e.g. occurring in a specific location or over a widespread area). Head injury usually refers to TBI, but is a broader category because it can involve damage to structures other than the brain, such as the scalp and skull.

Through liaisons with both the Wounded Warrior Regiment and the Navy Marine Corps Relief, we are slowly piecing the diagnoses and treatment plans together one by one. We say one day at a time, one step at a time, and take it as it comes.

We are still exploring outlets and possibilities for our whole family when it comes to coping and helping him cope with what he has been through. We can unsee or undo anything he has been through, but we can try our best to help him cope.


ME! I know I know. .awful picture. . What can I say about myself? I hit the floor running each morning and I fall into bed at a sprint at night. Between doctors appointments, trying to get through a certification, chasing two small kids, trying to keep up with the demands and needs of my family, and keeping up with this crazy life we have chosen, I rarely have two seconds to rub together.

My new mantra these past few months has been this:

I am only one person. I can only do so much. I don't understand everything and there are days when it takes all I can manage to get us through the day. I am tired and I am angry and I only have two arms. I am tired of over extending myself to help people when no effort is put into it in... return. I don't have any time to spare at present so don't waste mine.

As my sister likes to tell all the time.. ."Sister you have to let go and let God.". . Truer words have never been spoken. You have to turn it over to God and pray to understand his plan for your lives.

Watching Jon suffer alone all these years has ripped out my heart. As a wife, or a sister, or a parent, or a friend you just want to take away the hurt and make it better. The kids and I are lucky to have an amazing group of friends and medical staff to help us through this crazy ride.

Last week, after our useless trip to the VA Center in Richmond, we met with a Navy and Marine Corps Relief nurse to plot our path and gather our resources. The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. We have done that, or I should say Jon has done that.

Through this amazing nurse that they sent to us, the kids and I have found multiple resources to teach us to help each other and Jon. With these resources and the help of our amazing friends, we are dealing and we ARE thriving.


Caleb. My little Bubba! It seems like just yesterday when I was fighting to bring him into this world. Little did I know that three years later he would be teaching me things about the world and myself that I never knew existed. He is bright and funny, caring, and has one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen.

He came into the world on the first day of June three years ago. He was 8lbs 5ozs and 21 inches long. He was small and beautiful and one of the biggest miracles to ever grace my life.

12 days ago my little man turned three. I cannot believe how much he has grown. At his 3 year wellness check, he weighed 40 pounds and was 3 foot 2 inches tall. We are finally getting down to the root of his problems with his allergies. All in all, most of his allergies are outdoors so taking him outside a lot of times is nearly impossible because of the ridiculously high pollen counts.

In a few days we are making the trek to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD to see a pediatric cardiology specialist and have his heart murmur re-evaluated. It is still so easily detected that they want to rule out anything threatening. It is still so hard to believe that he is 3!


Andrew. It hardly seems like a whole year has gone by already! It is almost like I blinked and he was walking and talking and having impromptu UFC matches with his brother. Every single day with both of these amazing little people in my life has been a complete and total blessing.

Four days ago I took Andrew to his 1 year well baby check up. My little monkey weighs 27 pounds and is 32 inches long. He learns and grows more and more every single day. He can identify each person in our little family as well as hi and bye.

He walks and toddles and opens and closes any and all drawers in our kitchen and pulls everything out. He is bright and fun and oh so happy all of the time.


In parting I leave you with this thought. . .

They say that blood is thicker than water and that is a very true statement. But just because blood is thicker, doesn't mean that it alone is all it takes to make a family.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and from one side of the world or country to another. What truly makes you a family is the willingness of each member to go far and wide to help and support each other.

With the simplest of phone calls or quiet words, they come immediately with no questions asked every time a tear falls and hold you up when you want to fall. They aren't perfect or the same, but they are my family and we are so very lucky to have them.

As they say, until next time my loves


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