caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Here We Go….

Hello, new friend. What a joy it is to be writing to you right now! Just so you know, at this very moment, my toes are squishing in the sandy beaches of Jamaica. My skin is tanning, the exotic birds are chirping, and the ocean waves are the most crystal color of blue your mind could imagine. In fact, these powerful waves are just about lulling me to sleep with their intoxicating rhythm.

Oh, wait. That’s not right. What was I thinking?

I’m really writing to you from my favorite over-stuffed, cozy armchair located on the deck of my family’s 85-year-old log cabin. All snuggled up under a quilt hand-made by my great-grandmother, I warm my soul with each purposeful sip of coffee. Taking in the majestic views of snow-capped mountains in every direction, I can tell you, friend, it is simply breath-taking.

Uh, oh. Wait just a minute. I don’t really like the ocean…and I definitely don’t drink coffee. Ok, just give me a second…

Confession time. The true story is that I’m staring at the outdated popcorn ceilings and 1980’s paneled walls in my living room. My current view is neither a beachfront nor a mountainside, but instead, my TV screen paused on the 350th episode of Dora the Explorer my tired Mommy-eyes have seen this week. Friend, I must confess to you that I have only dreamt of breathing in the crisp ocean-air or cuddling up nice and cozy as I take in the view of God’s beautiful mountain creations.

In reality, I am writing to you from…my couch.

Kind of anti-climactic, I know. I’m sorry about that. But, is this a shock to me? Nope… not so much. This comes as no surprise to me, at least, because I have been lying flat on my couch for the better part of the last seven months. That’s right, seven months.

I know what you’re thinking…“I saw your picture on your site. You’re fairly young and normal looking. Why, in the world have you been lying down that long?”

Oh dear friend, how much time do you have? I do suggest you get comfortable.

It all started three years ago when I got viral meningitis from my then one-year-old son. Thankfully, his body reacted well to it and he was fine within a week. I, however, was hospitalized for over two weeks which was just the beginning. You may be like I used to be; a medical ignoramous. So, I will tell you that meningitis is when an infection (either viral or bacterial) attacks your spinal fluid. It can be completely awful, and in some cases, completely deadly. In order to see if I had this terrible infection, I was severely shot six times in my back for the spinal tap. I used to say I was “pricked” six times, but if you’ve ever had a spinal tap, you know “pricked” just doesn’t cut it. That left me with severe headaches and a spinal fluid leak. Lovely.

Friend, I hope you’re not drifting away on a lifeboat amidst the waves in this Medical Jargon Sea? If so, how about this…have you ever had a tire go flat due to a slow leak? That is how I describe the leaking spinal fluid in my back. Basically, the protective lining around my spinal cord was turned into a pin cushion. Ouch. Then, a painful procedure called an “epidural blood patch” was performed to remedy the issue. This, would be like my very own “fix-a-flat” inside my back. Again, OUCH! But, the procedure worked (the second time) and I was able to sit upright again. You see, friend, if my “tire” is leaking every time I sit upright and have gravity fighting against me, then the strangest thing happens…my brain, that was once cushioned by spinal fluid, so nicely in my skull just as God designed, begins to sag, causing major problems and major pain.

But, after months of procedures, fighting with and against doctors and insurance, I got better; relatively speaking. Then, two years later, it all came back…and then some. Somehow, I got a spontaneous leak and was, once again, physically unable to sit upright…at…all. Just so you know, this is not a “Gee, my head hurts a bit, I should lie down” kind of problem. This is a stop-you-in-your-tracks kind of pain that feels like someone is pulling you to the ground by the back of your head. I couldn’t sit or stand upright for more than five minutes before the severe pain kicked in. And with it, came numbness, throat swelling and all types of other neurological issues. The remedy? Stay flat. All. Day. Long.

So, that is what I did.

All.

Day.

Long.

While multiple doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me, I watched every HGTV show known to man and gave up my happy, “normal” life. Then, my pituitary gland quit working correctly. “What the heck is a pituitary gland?” you are probably asking yourself. Stay afloat here, that was my thought exactly! But, as a result, I am now taking more steroids than any bodybuilder could dream up. No, not the same “I want to pump (clap!) you up!” kind of steroids…but vicious, just the same. And as if that wasn’t enough, (I know, I know, I’m almost done!) all this trauma to my once-healthy and athletic body has caused many other random problems that I will simply spare you the details of. You’re welcome.

So, new friend, maybe now you can see why I have lived the better part of the last seven months flat on my couch. And, just in case you were wondering, yes, I have formed a permanent divot into one cushion of what used to be a fairly nice sectional. Not only have I been unable to be upright, but I haven’t been able to function much at all, really. Unable to drive a car. Unable to cook a meal. Unable to raise my three adorable kiddos. Unable to live my “normal” life. Unable to just…be…me.

“Why is this happening?”

“Why am I not better yet?”

“Why in the world can’t the numerous doctors I have seen figure this thing out?”

To be honest, friend, I have absolutely no stinkin’ idea. But, I do know God. And I do know He is good, all the time. He can’t be anything but that. And, no, this isn’t what I’m supposed to say to you while I’m standing tall, hands on my hips, as my “Super Christian” cape flaps boldly in the wind. Remember, friend, I can’t stand up. So…just know that this is the real-life truth that I have clung to so fiercely that my knuckles have been white for months. He is the real deal. Period.

So…I have decided to start writing. To be honest, I needed to months ago. Really, I did. I love to write. I talk way too much. I simply have more words to use in any given day than the normal person, that’s all. My poor sweet husband! On top of that, I’ve had waaaaaay too much “me time” lately with my social calendar coming to an utter, screeching halt. Being a truly social personality, this has been brutal. Just. Plain. Brutal.

So, hopefully writing will be a good release for me. More importantly, I hope for this to be a good release for you.

“Why would this chick care about me?” you may be thinking.

Well, that is simple. God tells me to. Period. Since all of this has happened, God has given me a beautiful gift. It’s a little something I like to call…perspective. Not just normal perspective, but p-e-r-s-p-e-c-t-i-v-e. Often, He has shown Himself to me so blatantly, in both the strangest and most common of circumstances. And, throughout all of this, He has grown in me such a heart for everyone to look for Him too; everywhere.

Your life may have a different kind of drama, but I assure you, it has drama. Take a minute and think honestly about your world. Can you truly say it doesn’t contain quite a bit of drama? You could be in denial, like I used to be and pride yourself on being a “save the drama for your Mama” kind of person. Yep, that was me, too. But, not so much anymore. Now, I am the drama. Lord, help me.

So, as we begin, let me assure you that the entire point of this blog is to show you that praising God is what we are called to do, no matter what. Praise Him when things are good. Praise Him when things are awful. Praise Him when the piggy bank is full. Praise Him when the pantry is empty and your tummy is even emptier. And, for me, even praise Him from your couch, day after day, week after week, month after month, while the world travels around in circles just…fine…without…you.

I will praise Him for His love, His faithfulness and mainly for sticking with me through it all and not giving up on my scrawny neck. In spite of my pity parties…and my worry fits…and my “Why me, God?” moments that happen way too often…He is still here.

So, this is where you and I begin. Welcome, friend. I’m thrilled you’re here with me on this journey. I must warn you though, I’m not sure what you’re getting yourself into. But, that’s ok, because I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into, either. We’ll be in this thing together. You, Me, and our great God.

So, I guess all I have left to say is…here…we…go…

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One thought on “Here We Go….

  1. Caroline,
    You're story is touching as I am also a suffer of a CSF leak which my Dr.s can't locate. I've had 5 blood patches and horendous tests!! I can't take any more of these painful tests! You say that your pituitary gland quit working?
    I'm intersted to know more about how this affected you as my family Dr. feels that my leak also affected my pituitary gland and I'm now awaiting to heare from an Endocrinologist. Still having alot of pressure in my head and have horrible hot flashes, so I have another mri scheduled this month and a neuro appt. in April. Please email me at amybennett@32degreesphotography.com with some more information.

    Thank you and God bless!

    Amy

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