FOCUS!

By Marianna Boyce

I loved reading Jeanne Reynolds’ Every Woman blog post in August called, “Going retro: In praise of the pencil”.  I thought I was the only person left on the planet still using a paper calendar and pencil.  With a new app for this, and a new app for that, who keeps up with life the old-fashioned way?  I at least know of two people!  I love my iPhone, iWatch, and iPad, but not to keep up with various appointments and routine daily life.

ducksI recently left from work in a rush.  I drove through that wonderful rush hour traffic on I-20 heading toward Lexington.  I had a hair appointment at Salon on Main.  Of course, that also entailed the blissful and always uneventful traffic flow into the town of Lexington.  I actually made my 5:30 appointment on time.  I was waiting for Brittany to call me back to her magical salon chair.  At 5:31, she entered the waiting area with a warm smile on her face.  She looked at her watch and said, “I’m sorry I’m late”.  I laughed knowing she was being facetious.  I was the one that was late…by an ENTIRE WEEK!  I somehow got distracted and my original appointment was lost somewhere in my brain fog.  I looked at my calendar that particular morning, but by the afternoon, I was mentally done.

Battling daily chronic pain is exhausting.  Although my pain is mostly now under control, clearing the brain fog has been a bear.  Before my “mysterious illness” began, focusing on many tasks was easy.  Now, it’s a struggle to even focus on one!  I cannot go off on a tangent trying to tackle a second task when the first one is not yet complete.

Driving through Texas in 2015, our oldest granddaughter Abby and my husband (Pop) had a deal where she would listen to her music for an hour, and Pop would listen to his music for an hour.  During Pop’s radio time, he would educate Abby on the nuances between today’s music and the music of his generation.

grand canyonAbby devised a way to “distract” us so she could change the station to suit her.  She excitedly pointed to the vastness of Texas and said, “SQUIRREL”!  We went along with her shenanigans for awhile and looked out of the car window for that elusive rodent.  After a couple hundred miles, I believe 70’s music started growing on her.  Once we made it through Dallas, she stopped changing the station.  By the way, we never saw a squirrel in Texas but once we got to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, what do you know?  A little squirrel scurried past Abby’s feet and hung out under the fence behind her.

Some may reference being constantly distracted as “chasing rabbits”.  Me?  I say “SQUIRREL” like Abby.  Some days I can make fun of myself and laugh about it.  Other days, it is quite bothersome.  I continue finding new ways to stay focused.  How do you do it?  I definitely need help in this area!

 

 

 

Change Is In the Air…

By Marianna Boyce

As days get shorter and nights get longer, you can rest assured the leaves will soon begin their amazing transformation.  Of course, they eventually fall to the ground and leave the trees bare waiting for another spring.  Until then, we will soon be making our favorite chili recipes to share with friends and family.

Whether you are a Carolina or Clemson fan, you are enjoying this time of year.  Although I love the Gamecocks, my favorite team is the rose between those two thorns.  I’m a Furman Paladin through and through.  furman

My husband, also an avid Gamecock fan, purchases Furman tickets and a parking pass for me every year.  He attends all the games he can, but working swing shifts, he cannot always go.  My sister Cindy is always “on call” to use that extra ticket.

We started attending in 2006 when our son chose Furman University as his first (and only) choice after graduating high school.  His band director attended there and Cody wanted to follow in his footsteps. We tried getting him to apply to other schools, but he (and God) knew Furman was “the one.” It was indeed the perfect fit for him.

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Being a music education major, he was in their marching band.  I miss seeing him on the field, but I love when he’s able to come to a game with me when he’s not working.  (He’s not only a middle school teacher, he’s also a percussion instructor at his high school alma mater.)  Currently, many of his Saturday’s are spent at marching band competitions in our local community.  If you ever have an opportunity to support one in your area, you would certainly not be disappointed!

Our youngest granddaughter Avery also enjoys the day trip to Greenville, SC.  We love the personal touch of a smaller university.  When she’s there, she absolutely owns the place!  cheerleader

Last year at one of the games, after she had two snow cones, she asked for a third.  I said, “Well sweetie, that may not be a great idea.”  She shrugged her shoulders and replied in her confident, perky voice,  “It’s okay GiGi.  It’s only ice.”  The “snow cone man” adamantly agreed!

We laughed and thought, with that kind of logic, why not!  It was an early game anyway. She had time to play on the hill with other kids before we left.  That “ice” sure did give her a boost of energy!

If you’re a grandparent, you understand right?  It is difficult saying no to her, although sometimes I do.  Okay hardly ever, but she never asks for much.  She really just wants our time.  How much money and effort does that take?

The autumn equinox is upon us.  If autumn and football are not your “cup of tea”, hang in there.  With time, there’s always change.  Whether it’s the astronomical seasons, or the seasons of life, try to enjoy them all.  If not?  My daddy would say, “What we don’t enjoy, we endure.”  I enjoy each season for different reasons.  What’s your favorite?  Happy fall y’all!  lake

Our Fleeting and Pivotal Moments…

By Marianna Boyce

We all experience them.  More fleeting moments may be the first day of school or becoming a teenager.  Ahh…we knew it all then, didn’t we?

What was your first job?  Mine was working at Hardee’s in Lexington.  It was there that I learned the value of an honest day’s work, and I actually had some fun along the way.

I also recall the purchase of my first car. My daddy wasn’t sold on it but I HAD to have it. It was a yellow Pontiac Sunbird and it was also a lemon!  My daddy was right…again.  Yellow was indeed, the perfect color.

The next car I bought was a brand new Mustang.  Working at Hardee’s actually did pay my bills.  It was my car payment, insurance, and gas money.  I lived at home until I was married.

As for my first date with Gerry, he invited me to his ten year high school reunion. It was 1986 and I actually had just graduated high school myself.  I probably should’ve been intimidated, but I wasn’t.  I had a blast!

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Gerry and I married the following year.

I also became instant mom to a pretty, blonde haired, blue-eyed, independent, headstrong little girl.  I was nineteen and she was eight!  We both grew up together…God bless my sweet husband’s heart!

Pictured is Tiffany and me on my wedding day.  I don’t recall if this was before or after we told her she couldn’t come with us on our honeymoon.  Based on her stuck out tongue…probably after!

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I gave birth to my son Cody nine months after Gerry and I were married.  Yes…that was a close one!  He was indeed a honeymoon baby!  This is a story all in itself.

My promotion from mom to “GiGi” is a phenomenal moment in my life. Avery is now five and she is the mirror image of that pretty, blonde haired, blue-eyed, independent, headstrong little girl that Tiffany was when Gerry and I were first married.  This is Avery sticking out her tongue too…just like her mama!

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I’ve taken several amazing road trips across the United States of America. The most pivotal one was our Arizona adventure in June, 2016.  This was the full-out, purely unadulterated, top down, wind in your hair, road trip!

 I experienced an unforgettable pivotal moment the instant I arrived home from this whirlwind trip.  I stepped out of the car and onto my driveway.  My body immediately told me something was wrong.

My pain began in my feet and ankles.  Gerry and Cody initially thought it was from being in the car for extended periods of time.  Although that idea was worth entertaining, this pain was much different.  Within two short weeks, this pain would quickly spread and intensify.  I was completely blindsided.  My life would never be the same.

It’s not so much the fleeting moments, but the pivotal moments in life that define who we are…good and bad!  I do not want to forget my very humbling and intimidating journey, but I will not allow it to define me either.

No one has a perfect life, but life itself…It is a gift.  God gives me breath, therefore I breathe, therefore I live.  I will live life to the fullest!

Free Therapy Anyone?

This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!

Meet Marianna:

By Marianna Boyce

What is a blog?  Before March, 2018, I really didn’t know.  My very unique definition is as follows:

Blog (noun) – A public forum shared on the Internet where people can release pent-up frustration about living with daily chronic pain.  In sharing with others, feelings and emotions can be placed on the outside of oneself instead of bottling them up on the inside.

I had been suffering from intense pain related to an “undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis,” best classified as Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Writing would be the release I needed to bring me back from the alternate universe I had been living.  In a nutshell, blogging would be my free therapy. 

My name is Marianna Boyce and I’m sure you’ve already guessed that I deal with daily chronic pain.Marianna

I am 50 years old and recently celebrated my 31st wedding anniversary with my remarkable husband Gerry.

My daughter Tiffany is 38 and she is married to Bill.  They have three girls. Our two older grandchildren are adopted. Abby will soon be 13 and her sister Emma is 11.  Avery is 5 and she was a fantastic surprise!  That’s a whole story in itself!

If you do the math, you will figure out quickly that Tiffany is my bonus daughter.  Although I did not give birth to her, I consider her my daughter and will refer to her as such in future posts.  We have been through a lot together.  There was a reason for it all.

Our son Cody is 30.  He is a middle school teacher in Lexington School District One.

Parenting is one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding jobs a woman can have!  With Tiffany and Cody both “grown and gone,” our reward is now seeing them thrive and pursue their chosen careers. We’ve been blessed with two driven and goal-oriented children.

Another great reward is being “GiGi” to our three grandchildren.  I was effortlessly navigating my new season of life…until the unimaginable happened!

I vividly recall the moment my unusual journey began.  The onset of my mysterious symptoms would instantly change my life.  I would be tested in dramatic fashion.  Some days I would pass the test, but many days I would fail miserably.

Coping with prolonged, intense pain brings forth a wide range of emotions.  I experienced many victories and defeats along the way.  I will offer you a glance inside my little corner of the world, past and present.  I promise you this blog will not be all gloom and doom.  Although our lives are very different, I’m sure you deal with similar emotions on a daily basis.

I am thrilled to be a voice for Lexington Medical Center’s Every Woman Blog!  I sincerely look forward to sharing my unique story with you!  Your comments and feedback are always appreciated.

No one has a perfect life, but life itself…It is a gift.  God gives me breath, therefore I breathe, therefore I live!  I will live life to the fullest!

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