Beautiful Mosaic of Broken Pieces

I would best describe our world and most importantly the people in it as “A Beautiful Mosaic of Broken Pieces.” None of us are perfect, none of us are whole, none of us come with perfectly crafted edges that have never been scuffed. All of us are beautiful, and crafted to be the people we are supposed to be.

Before Kaylee was born, I was very scared about becoming a parent. I was scared about bringing a child into this broken, scary, and damaged world. I knew I wanted to be a parent one day, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to actually have a child of my own or just help a child that didn’t have a parent to love or care for them. I looked at the world and saw the rough edges and the sharp pieces.

I would tell people I didn’t want kids. I fully believe my mother-in-law had given up on getting a grandchild from Lisa and I, and settled on her grand dogs for a while. (RIP Chico) I was scared because I felt this world was too dangerous to have a child.


In 2004, Lisa and I moved to Nashville, TN for a job opportunity. In 2006. Lisa took a job and meet her BFF Sheila (SHE-RA!) and her beautiful family. We became so close with her family they adopted us and we called them our “Nashville Family” and Miss Joan, Sheila’s Mom, became our “Nashville Mom.” We spent most every weekend with them having family meals or hanging out with them. Just having fun and enjoying life.

Miss Joan would always get on to us about having a child. She would constantly tell both Lisa and I that we would make “such good parents.” But it just was one of those feelings of, “yes, I know, but the world is so broken.”

We lost Miss Joan after only a few years knowing her, but she made a huge impact on our lives. Seeing how she loved her children and grandchildren no matter how big of a brat Sheila was (hehe Just Kidding! Love ya Sheila). But really, showing the love for us, two strangers from off the street that she didn’t know, but accepted into her home as family. It was the truest expression of love that anyone could experience. And not one clouded by the misconception of requirement, as you might feel from your own parents.


When Lisa was pregnant with Kaylee, I would look at the sky and think, “it really does boggle the mind about how everything is glued together.” And if you really think about it for a second. Looking at something as simple in nature as air, if we didn’t have the air to breath, to fill our lungs, our species wouldn’t have survived or thrived as it has. Is it that we have adapted on our part, or was that part of a larger plan? I don’t know, but I do know it’s part of this big beautiful world we live in.

Or think about the exact distance our planet is from the star we orbit. If we were just a bit closer; we, our trees, and other life forms would burn up, or if we were just a bit further away, we’d all freeze. But we are in the so called “Goldilocks Zone” because everything is “just right” for life as it is on this planet.

Those are just a few examples of huge instances, but think about your daily life. Take a look at the humming birds, per science, they shouldn’t be able to fly, but not only can they, they are only bird that can fly backwards.


I ask you for a moment in your quite time, just those few moments before you slip off to sleep or if you can steal away to think about the world at large. Think about it from the “bottom up,” just imagine, going all the way down to the smallest, level your mind can put an image to and how each item interlocks together. Now as you take your minds eye, pull it back slowly and pull that “zoom” out just a little and think about each step, from the smallest grain of sand to the leaf of grass, to the tree in your yard and so on. In your mind think of how all the seemingly random objects, people, and events that have come into your live and created the beautiful mosaic that is you.

As you think about each of these steps, and look at this mosaic that makes you up, pause for a moment and think about a piece of art, a grand masterpiece, hanging in a gallery somewhere. That doesn’t just happen there by mistake. This life can’t be just some cosmic happenstance, there has to be a grand design. A grand architect, a master builder of some sort. Someone who watches over us in good times and bad, dusts us off each step of the way.

Each of us are where we are supposed to be, some in good situations, some in bad. Some healthily living our lives, some sick. Why are we in these situations? I don’t know. Why am I sick? I really don’t know. But I do know that even though the world is broken and the people in it are fundamentally broken. Every time I look into Kaylee’s eyes I see that God is showing me the beauty He has made out of all of the broken pieces around us.


What do you think? Do you think the world is too much of a mess? Let us know down in the comments!

Don’t Let Fear Grow Roots

I once had a boss tell me something that made a lot of sense to me, (go figure, right?) “the root of all anger is fear.” When he told me this, it completely blew my mind. This was at a point in my career when I was angry. Angry that things weren’t going the way I wanted them to. Angry that it looked like things might be getting out of hand. Angry that it looked like I might fail. So angry, simply because I was afraid I would do something that would cause harm to my family’s future.

I was angry because I was afraid. I was afraid because I didn’t want to let my family down. This brings me to when I got sick. I got angry again, I got angry because I was sick, I got angry because it meant that there was something that I couldn’t control. I got angry because things were getting out of hand. Angry, because my body might fail. So angry, simply because I was afraid I would not be around to see my daughter’s graduation, or her wedding, or her child…

I was angry.

Period.

I still get angry, but we can’t let that anger control us. Anger isn’t only an emotion, it’s also a health problem, or should I say can cause or be a root of health issues. Here’s just a short list of issues it can cause or increase:

  • headache
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • digestion problems

Does any of this sound familiar? If you are a vestibular patient these are already issues that we deal with on a daily basis, and if we get angry or express anger in unhealthy ways this will cause us even more anguish. Trust me, I know!


So, what can we do? Just swallow the emotions keep them locked up deep inside and hope for the best? Cause, you know, that’s health… right? 😉

Well, for normal functioning people, or on a good day, go exercise or go out for a walk around the block, just get out of the situation and blow off steam for a few. Think about the true source of the frustration, what are you are mad about… most likely, what are you scared of?

For me, it’s what am I afraid of losing. Am I afraid that I’m losing my independence? Am I afraid of losing someone’s approval? Am I afraid of losing someone’s respect? Whatever it may be, pinpoint it. Find that fear and talk to someone about it, your significant other, your parents, just someone who you trust with your feelings.

In the end, what ever you do to counter act your anger, don’t let it control you, take control of it. We have a society controlled by fear and hate, whether it’s about who we vote for, who we decide to love, how we dress, or how we worship. Our world is a big place, but its just too small for as much anger as we have toward each other as we have.

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger…”

Ephesians 4:26

As I’ve always been told in a marriage, don’t go to bed angry, it will fester. And that is the truth. Take the time, energy, and love to talk to the people around you about what scares you and your anger will lessen. It may not be an immediate release, but the roots will start to recede.


What do you think? Do you think Fear is the root of anger? What are you angry about? What are you fearful of? Feel free to comment below.

I Wish it were all in my Head!

Sometimes I wish it were all in my head, but really, if it were, would I be crippled and in bed all day? One of my diagnoses is PPPD (Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness) was once previously classified as a psychological disorder. It was also called PPV (Phobic Postural Vertigo) at that time, which sounds more psychological in nature than physiological.

This disorder isn’t very well understood. It’s so new in fact, it’s not in the World Health Origination’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) that is widely used around the world currently. It was only added in 2017 to the ICD-11 and that will not be put into place in the US until January 1, 2022. Even now it’s kind of a “catch-all” disorder for when the doctors really don’t know what’s going on, kind of the Fibromyalgia of the Vestibular world.


I’ll describe this disorder in two ways.

  1. 24/7 Constant Dizziness
  2. Perpetual Dizziness – My brain thinks I am dizzy, so it tries to correct itself which makes me dizzy and then gets stuck in a loop.

Sounds fun doesn’t it?


So with that fun what do I get to do about it? Well, nothing really… Okay, not nothing, but very little, so one of the symptoms is anxiety. So, a common treatment is anxiety medication such as Xanax or Zoloft. Another common treatment is VRT, or Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy, which will help retrain your brain to help some with the dizziness. But really, that’s about it, that and time.

It’s not all gloom and doom, you can still live a great life! Just have fun and be careful. There will be bad days, but that’s a normal thing with anyone, everyone will have good days and bad days. Our days will just be a little different! That’s one of the main reasons why we started our vlog was to help show you guys that even though I may have bad days, I’m still getting out and having fun with the family.

If you want to learn a TON more about PPPD. Take a look at the VeDA page on it.


Do you have PPPD? How has your experience been with it? What more information would you like to know about this disorder that we might be able to provide?

Why won’t the Doctors listen to me?

Do you ever feel like the doctors already know what’s wrong with you before they actually see you? I mean, really? They haven’t set one eye on you, but they are already convinced that they know what’s wrong.

I’ve had a couple of doctors have preconceived notions about me before they actually hear any of my complaints. First off, I’m a large guy, I realize this, I’m big. I’ve always been big, I was almost 10 pounds when I was born. I’m 6′ 3″ and wear a size 15 shoe, and yes, I’m overweight, I realize this, but for my height and body type, I’m not EVER going to weigh in at 145 pounds. I would look like a freaking flagpole!

So, going in and actually having the doctor hear that, it’s not my weight, or some other condition that is a result of my weight has been really hard. It’s a constant fight when seeing a new doctor to show them that I’m a pretty healthy person, all things considered. I actually had a doctor ask, “How much do you eat?” Gobsmacked, I answered, “not that much”, my wife answered, “I can actually out eat him most of the time.” His answer to that really floored the both of us. “Yes, that’s what you see him eat, but what does he hide from you?” Needless, both I and my wife were VERY unhappy at the end of that appointment, but in the end, it turned out well, that doctor finally stopped long enough to actually listen to me and realize it wasn’t my weight that was the problem.


So, apparently based on this study and this article doctors only listen to their patients on average of 11 seconds before interrupting them… let that sink in. 11 seconds… Imagine if your child only allowed you to speak 11 seconds before they started screaming at you that they wanted dinner. Or, imagine if your significant other only allowed you to speak 11 seconds before they asked you to do some crazy item off a “honey do” list without any thought of what you might be doing or feeling at that moment. 11. FREAKING. SECONDS. This is just not appropriate nor is it considerate of us as humans!

I mean, seriously, it’s so bad, that two doctors got together and wrote a book about it (When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests) and blog about it! Clearly they know it’s a problem, then why don’t they do something about it?

Just like many of us in our chosen career fields we get complacent. We become stagnate and lose the passion and excitement we once felt for our jobs we once so dearly loved. In a 2008 survey of 12,000 doctors only 6% described their morale as being positive. So, let me break that down… 94% of the doctors out there hate their job. They just do it for the paycheck… I’d dare say that if I were to survey 12,000 individuals just passing on the street, I’d only end up with a slightly higher percentage of people who are really happy with their jobs.


So does that mean we are destined to have crappy doctors for the rest of our lives? No, we aren’t, remember that other 6%? Currently in the US alone we have a little over 1 Million active doctors, if we take 6% of that 1 Million we’d still have 60,000 doctors to serve the US population. And that doesn’t include the NPs, PAs, or RNs.. Okay, okay, so yeah, that does sound pretty bleak, so let’s look at what we as the patient can do to make the process a little easier for the doctor.


Here’s a few quick and easy things we can do to make life a bit easier for our doctors so maybe, just maybe, they can diagnosis us correctly the first time!

  1. Get to the appointment on time – yes, I know the doctor is always running late, but believe it or not, they are helping other patients. But if you get there late and others get there late, it’s a domino effect and will make all appointment late and more than likely the doctor will rush through all those appointments to try to make up time and leave on time at the end of the day.
  2. Make Notes – This one goes out to Lisa! She is my list maker. Go in the office with a list of questions or a bullet point list of items you want to discuss with your doctor. This way you have a concise idea of what you want out of the conversation.
  3. Bring someone with you – This will help you in multiple ways. If you are like me and suffer with brain fog or just get lost easy this will help you in the long run. The extra set of eyes and ears will help you make sense of all the medical mumbo jumbo that was just spouted out at you at 100 miles per hour!
  4. And finally, if they just won’t stop and listen assert yourself or have the person you brought with you stand up for you! You have to be your own health advocate! Unfortunately, our bodies are complicated machines and don’t really have an owners manual, and the manuals that are out there are written in worse english than that instruction booklet that came with the knockoff watch that breaks after two days.

In the end it all comes down to we have to make ourselves heard no matter what. If one doctor doesn’t hear us, find another. We have to be our own advocate and no matter what WE are in control, not them. We have total control of our healthcare and our life!


What’s the dumbest thing a doctor has said to you? Have you ever just stormed out of an office? (I know I’ve been tempted!) Tell us in the comments below!

Grief, Loss and Finding the New Normal

We’ve all experienced loss in our lives. Whether it was a close relative, a beloved family friend or even a family pet, we’ve all had to say good bye to someone or something we’ve all deeply loved at one point in our lives.

I remember, when I was 9 years old having to say good bye to my Grandmother for the last time. She was no longer the person I had known the first few years of my short life. She was now bedridden, so frail, unable to speak or hardly move, unable to really recognize myself or my brothers, but was able to ensure that she had her trusty bible by her side no matter what! She fought so hard against the cancer that finally ended her life, but she knew she was headed to a better place and was ready, but as her loved ones looked on we grieved. I will cry thinking about her even to this day almost 30 years later, not because I’m sad for her, but I’m sad for me. I’m sad for the things I wish that she could have been there to see me accomplish. My high school graduation, our wedding, Kaylee’s birth. But, life moved on, and we were able to survive and continue moving life forward.

Fast forward to the day after Christmas 2016, my mother had been in a nursing home for somewhere around 6 months and I received the phone call I had been dreading. She had a major stroke earlier in the year that left her not the person who raised me, she no longer recognized me or my family. If I had only known that I would not get to speak to her again just a few months prior, I would have stayed just a little longer on my last trip to see her before I moved. But again, I wasn’t sad for her, I knew she was getting out of a place she, if she were in her “right mind” would have hated being in. I was sad for me, she wouldn’t get to come down and enjoy our new home in Florida, she wouldn’t be able to walk with us on the beach. She wouldn’t be around to see Kaylee’s high school graduation, her wedding or her child’s birth. But again, life has moved on, and we have been able to survive and time has marched forward.


Taken just four days before the start of my Vestibular journey started.

April 11, 2019 is burned into my memory and will always be a reminder of what was and what could have been. But, just four days prior we had a photo session with a good friend of ours. That day was not one of my proudest moments, we were driving to a beach we had never been to before and trying to find a very hidden location. I was tired, hot and hungry! Three ingredients that do not make for a happy Chris. But what made it even worse is I’m not a very happy person when you mix in having my picture taken and the beach. More particularly, SAND! As I was fussing and fuming about having to walk and stumble in the sand and over the beach rocks and such, I made, what should have been a very happy time, a very sad time for Lisa and Kaylee. We walked across a beach just to find out we were in the wrong location, so instead of just laughing it off and moving on, I had to make a bad situation worse by making everyone that much more unhappy. But finally, we were able to find our friend and get some amazing images out of it.

I’m fortunate enough to have a very loving and forgiving wife, who can look past my faults and see that I’m a pretty decent guy. But as we look back at these images, I can’t help be remember the person I was. I grieve for that life. Not because I don’t cherish the one I have, but because I miss the things I took for granted. But, I can’t help but feel that something better is just around the corner waiting. I don’t know what that is. Some days are tough, but that’s part of the grieving process, it’s always harder some days before it gets easier. You always miss the person a little more just before you come to realization that, “Hey, life is still worth living and I still love them and they still love me, just from afar!”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, it’s okay to grieve for the old life you lost. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s healthy to. If you just stay home and mad at the world or God or who/whatever because you might not be able to drive, ride a motorcycle, pass a sobriety checkpoint again (even though you haven’t taken a drink in YEARS! THANKS Vestibular System!) that’s not healthy! So my thought and my lesson has been to grieve, embrace the loss. Then pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, dry your tears and keep moving forward and welcome the new normal!


How have you welcomed your new normal? Leave a comment down below and let us know how?

Ear Plugs, Flashing Lights & 50 Year Old Abs!

It’s DATE NIGHT! Lisa and Chris get to go out on a date to see Bush and Live ALT-IMATE tour concert! But the flashing lights get to Chris and he starts to look like a bit of a creeper.

Bush – 16 Stone (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mg2GYpbTEJIQjNUxyopbdFaQgCq6jjsv0)
Live – Throwing Copper (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lKs2jFnG8EPDuLYHnsTTZ-JZnciQoK2Z4)

https://youtu.be/sMYK-aHVNek