Thursday, January 1, 2015

One word- 2015

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That's the only lasting thing you can create.” 

Two nights ago,  after I fell asleep.  I awoke to my toes curled, and cramps running through both my calves. My legs, were in excruciating pain. 

I tried to stand to walk, and fell to the ground instantly, my muscles too taut to work.  I yelled for Rick to help.  Hot water was the only thing I could think of that might help loosen the muscles.  

Not hearing him respond,  I reached up towards the bed trying to get a grip to stand, as his head reached over the side to see me, and I clawed his face, scraping skin, and seeing blood flow from the wound I left behind.   Somehow, he still managed to maneuver me from our room, into the bathtub and ran steaming water for me.  It soaked through my clothes, as I clawed at the muscles trying to squelch the pain.  I was full on shrieking in pain.

I dripped with sweat, and nausea had me calling out for a garbage can as I heaved.

I've never, and I mean never,  experienced anything like this before.

I was shocked to google later the next day and see that "excruciating leg cramps at night," is an actual physical event for many.   Are you like me, and sense relief if you start to google something and it pops right up in your list of queries?  

The list of things that can bring on leg cramps of that magnitude?

1- standing on a hard surface for a length of time.

2- being subjected to cold temperatures.

3- low magnesium and potassium

4- arimidex

5- dehydration

Check- to all 5 of these for me. 

I had thought I could handle going to two hockey games after chemo on Tuesday.

I thought I could help care for my mom all day, then come home and be ready to go to hockey.

I was sadly wrong.

On and off throughout the night, I dipped back into the tub as new pain ripped through my legs.  It was early morning before I could sleep, peacefully.

My legs were raw and sore yesterday, it was Rick, (looking like he lost a fight with someone) who had to go and transfer my mom from the hospital back to Bethany, the nursing home.  

What do you do, when the hard and the messy seem unending?  What do you cling to?  What gets you through…  

The pink clay flower in the photo above was one of my gifts from Colton at Christmas.  He was literally misty-eyed when he gave it to me as he saw how it lit up my face.  Its one of many moments I savored over our spectacular Christmas.

I have so much good, full, special, moments to share about our Christmas.  Despite the hard, the messy, the uncertain…

I believe.  

From Merriam Webster:


a :  to have a firm religious faith
b :  to accept something as true, genuine, or real believe
:  to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something <believe in exercise>
:  to hold an opinion :  think believe

I think my word found me at the Carmelite Convent, that day the "believe" bookmark clunked on the floor while I prayed for a message from God.  

It could not have been any more clear…  some days… we just need to believe.  

Happy New Year from the Westra World to all of you!  

Have you thought of a word to guide you throughout 2015 that you care to share?


  1. Vicky, well of course! No wonder the word sounded so familiar when you first mentioned it. I kept feeling like I'd heard or seen something about this before, and of course, I most certainly had. I love that your word came to you so early on. It is such a beautiful word to cling to when things are hard, and when things are sweet and soft, too. Like that beautiful flower. Oh my. I would have been an emotional mess too. It's simply beautiful, but even more so being held by the hands, which I assume are yours, and held up to the light. Truly luminescent. You know my word: receive. In a way, your photo speaks to that word too, which is a beautiful thought. I am so sorry for the leg cramps. I've had them. Pregnancy has been a culprit. But yours sound much worse even than what I've experienced. I'm glad you made it through that tortured night. I hope Rick's face heals up quickly! 2015 has good things in store for you and me. XXOO

    1. I knew you would relate! I also meant to acknowledge the beautiful cross I got, the reiterated the message to me- sometimes its the repetition of the word showing up that helps reveal it :) I do think the photo directly reflects "receive," as well! Yes- good things- I believe this, too, for 2015! xxoo

  2. I can vouch for the help magnesium gave me! I was having these same issues after being floxed. Also, B Complex, Zinc and Cell Salts. Happy New Year, Vicki

    1. Yes- its not like me to get so behind on these types of things- but I truly need to step back and regroup. So I'm happily doing all my vitamins, juices, and just plain resting up. Happy New Year to you!

  3. What an amazing word it is Vicky! I had chosen it the first year I started with this Word of the Year ritual. It led me to follow this blogging road I have been for for the past 4 1/2 years.
    I wish there would be something I could do to crush your pain in tiny itsy bits and make it vanish! I am sending you energy and love hoping this will let you know you're always in my heart,
    Happy New Year sweetest friend! (((Hugs)))

    1. Oh Anyes- so glad you shared that with me- I love how it manifested in your life and look where you are today! My legs are pain free today- and I feel so grateful to be feeling well again. I think all of your positive energy and love definitely help my spirit conquer any hard thing I may be going through. So thankful for you, Anyes! Hugs right back to you!

  4. After reading your post yesterday, I literally began, then erased a response to you 3 different times. I was struggling to put into words what I wanted to say, in a way that wouldn't sound too insensitive. But after reading today's post...I'll give it another shot. Caretaking is such a demanding role - physically, mentally and emotionally. You have been doing a phenomenal job of caring for your mom in every way she has needed. You also want to be there for every hockey game, and in every way your family needs you. But your body is quite a bit more fragile, and you need to make sure you're not pushing yourself too hard. And I know that's easier said than done! I know it's beyond difficult with sick family members, coupled with your own health issues, trying to live every moment. You have done this with incredible finesse over the past few years! I just hope and pray that you will reach out and ask for help when you need support with your mom, or anything else. I, along with countless others, will do anything to help you. The hardest part is asking, but those who know and love you would jump at the chance to do anything to support you and your family. <3
    Your awful experience waking to excruciating pain in the middle of the night sounds horrible! I hope you are feeling better every day. Thank you for sharing your word and how it came to you. It's simply perfect!
    Love and hugs to you all! <3

    1. Oh Steph- you are spot on with what you are saying- and I'm taking note. I'm glad I have friends like you, who gently remind me, to ask for help and would jump right in if I were to do so. Its true- I can be really bad at it, for all kinds of reasons. We did have my brother's family here and they were so good about helping, and my mom's sisters, and some of my cousins have all jumped in when needed. But I promise to ask for more help if I get too overloaded with the day to day. I took the weekend off from hockey and stayed in town- alone! Ha. I am resting and refueling and using Joy in my diffuser which makes me think of you! Hugs and so much love to you!

  5. Oh, no...I'm sorry you had to have such a night of pain. (One thing that helped me is taking baths in Epson Salt (2 cups salt).

    My word for 2014 was BELIEVE...and when I look back, it is amazing to see how God showed up in some unexpected and remarkable ways. It makes me smile to know that I am now passing this word on to you for 2015.

    Blessings, love, and hugs,

    1. I love epsom salts- and simply have to refresh my supply. Target has a brand with lavender and one with milk in it and I love to soak with them. I should have that night! I love that I picked a word so many others have as well! Love, hugs and blessings right back to you!

  6. Oh, Vicky! The pain from leg cramps can be excruciating. I do not get them often as I try to keep my magnesium and potassium levels up. But, when I do, the pain can be unbearable. Colton's rose is beautiful! It's those heartfelt gifts that mean the most and stay with us always.

    My word for 2014 was "Believe"! And, I needed to do that just many times over this past year through some trials. I have not really come upon my word yet for 2015, although there is one that keeps showing itself to me. Stay tuned!

    Sending love, hugs and comfort, sweet friend.

    1. Eileen- I love that I chose the word you chose for last year! It really spoke to me and now I'll be waiting to see what word speaks to you this year :) Sending so much love right back to you!

  7. Once again, I'll be sending this link to my mother. I'm so drawn to the tenacity of your rugged (even though sometimes bloody and bruised) faith.

    I love BELIEVE. It's an action verb. ;)

    And my word is SIMPLE, as you know.


    1. Julie- what a beautiful reflection and word choice. I'm quite humbled by it "the tenacity of your rugged... faith…" Yes- its not always picture perfect, is it? That has been one of the biggest discoveries for me about my faith- and "rugged" fits it well. Thank you for your keen insight- I treasure it so- as well as you!

  8. Oh Vicky, how awful. I remember those terrible leg cramps at night, but your pain sounds way worse. You are such a strongest person......sending good thoughts your way.

    1. Lisa- I did everything you could do to exacerbate the pain. I've had charley horses in my legs before, but I really helped them get an unending grip on me. I'm happy to say I've taken all the steps in getting them under control again and feel so much better already :) Thanks for the good thoughts!

  9. Oh, my heart goes out to you and the horrible leg cramps! I hope you are experiencing relief today. And that your mom is feeling better, too.

    What a great word - I'm still pondering. I have been so blessed to walk through 2014 with joy as my motto, it's hard to leave it behind :-)

    1. Susan- yes these past two days have been so much better. I stayed home from hockey- the boys both went out of town and here I am with the dog. Mom seems pretty good, slowly stabilizing and adjusting to a new place and schedule again.

      As for your word- I had a friend keep hers for a second year- maybe you are not supposed to leave Joy behind? I know you will figure out what is best for you in time!!

  10. Oh how I can relate to those horid leg and muscle cramps. I just sent you a email and just perhaps it can help you too. If it does you can shout it out to all others.

    Believe! I have never really chosen a word for the year. No word really comes to me rigjt now, so I shall have to pray about it and see what God has in store for me to choose for 2015.
    Hugs from Illinois

    1. Thank you for the tip- so unusual- and yet I can see why it might help! I'm game :) Although, I've been hydrating, resting, taking my vitamins and overall feeling better again. Maybe I can just keep them at bay for awhile! Hugs to you friend!

  11. Oh Vicky, I feel like such a wimp for being concerned about a nosebleed. In my defense, I guess my age and the amount of time I spend ALONE made me go to a strange place of, "...if I let this nose just bleed at this gushing speed, maybe I'll die....and that would be OK." When I said this to my daughter, she was alarmed, but actually, because of the things quoted in your post opening, I'm at peace with whatever this life and the end of it have to offer.

    You, my dear friend have been one who has changed my life with your words.

    1. Kass- do not feel like a wimp! I always think what I am going through never diminishes what someone else experiences. I saw the amount of blood coming through- and gushing- oh goodness, I also would have gone in to get help!

      I see this in my mom- both a willingness to think and look at what might be happening in a physical and spiritual sense- and the same OK sense about it.

      This is the exact purpose of me choosing the word, believe. You've grasped it entirely. I hope you know- you've helped change my life too, Kass. Your posts about your mother, helped me decide how to be with mine. Prayers that nose settles down! Love to you~

  12. 3 and 5 when that happens to me. But never that bad that I could not walk. Walking helps a lot.
    I always forget to do the right thing for myself and pay for it later. lol
    I hope you had a nice New Year.
    Drinking lots of water is a must and me, I work and forget to do that.

  13. When this happens to me my husband rubs my calves and it helps loosen the muscles instantly.

  14. Vicky - we have that word in big wooden letters.. I bought it at the gift shop at Gaylord Hospital when my daughter was transferred there for rehabilitation after her car accident. We kept it in her room and as she daily regained strength and abilities in daily life function... I kept that word in sight. It's a fantastic word. Yes... BELIEVE.

  15. Oh my sweet friend,
    My tears just flowed as you described the pain of those leg cramps, not the typical kind for sure. As someone who cares about you, the Momma in me wanted to whisper to you...
    is it possible you are taking on too much right now, dear Vicky? It's so hard to realize that while we used to be able to do "all" of that...with your Mom, hockey, your infusions...our body has a way of letting us know about our "new norma." It is not easy to accept that what once was easy to pull off, now takes too much out of us. What I know from my own experience is the emotional and physical toll of caring for your Mom can be very depleting...even when we are gladly there. And her comments about your hair left me in tears. I'm sure that was hard to hear Just my matter how your hair looks to her, you look beautiful to me! I am so grateful for the hair you have!

    And your word for this year is so perfect. BELIEVE!
    Sending you love and hugs and prayers, my friend. Always prayers!
    To the moon and back again!

  16. Vicky, I would have to text you privately to explain the cramping I've had and I understand completely. It led to surgery that was unrelieving and only made things worse. I was in physical therapy for it for six months afterwards and went to an international treatment center about three years ago. The one thing that is a CONSISTENT help is magnesium, massage, and stretching. For the magnesium I take a top brand that is a blend of three different types. Magnesiums are not created equal - not all are well produced and easily absorbable. If you want to know more, text me. I know what it is to scream the name of Jesus into a pillow because there is nothing left and nothing that will stop the pain. And when it's gone, you are wrung out, sore, and dreading the moment it returns. I'm SO sorry you endured that and I would be happy to send you a bottle of the magnesium I take. I'm getting ready to order again. You add it to water and it's pretty easy on the stomach. Say the word!

    Maybe my word for the year better be MAGNESIUM! Ha! But I think if I had to choose a word it would be "Persist." I have to keep getting back on the right road and doing the things I know work in EVERY area no matter how many times I fall off the wagon - or JUMP off WILLINGLY! Love to you and Happy New Year, dear Vicky.

  17. I am going to comment on both your last two post's! first off, is it just me or does Colton's clay flower have a person in the center off it! Because I was drawn to his creativity and just how thought provoking that clay flower is...Beautiful! I would have cried too! (you need to find a way to save it..with a laquer finish or something!!!) I love the quotes you have on your last two post's..thought provoking and so very very real. I love your word....Believe! I think that is what gets us thru the messy. Sometimes it feels like everything is messy and for long periods of time...but I find I cling to believe and a awareness that soon the sun will shine always does. That maybe the messy is part of what I need to learn. I so correlated with your post on your mom...become and un-become.... Yes, when the rolls are reversed it is thought provoking as well...and yet as you said it...this is my mom, always my mom! There is so many feelings in both your post' many heart felt, real feelings. so many whispers of life being lived and things beyond our control. I also have had leg cramps lately..and your list of why makes sense. They woke me up..bolt up right out of a deap sleep...I was able to get mine under control so I dont think they were as bad...but I have no been eating well and taking care of I I started changing that this past week!!! Happy New year Vicky! to you and all the Westra's. as always your post's lift me up...make me aim and reach higher and that is always the greatest blessing! love and prayers to you, beautiful lady!


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