Thursday, June 16, 2016

They Had Each Other, That Was More Than They Could Dream Of

If you know me you know I love music. I have it playing in my car all the time, most of the time in my house I have it playing, I sing a lot, I will quote lyrics for no good reason, I just really love music.

If you know me you know I love the Dave Matthews Band. It was not always this strong, it has grown over the years, but I heart them big time.

I grew up in Charlottesville (the band's hometown) and in 1994 a co-worker gave my mom Under the Table and Dreaming. I listened to it and I liked it. Not love, just like. But over the years I always bought the next album, except Everyday and Busted Stuff (Lillywhite was WAY better in my opinion). I even bought the non-studio albums. Weekend on the Rocks remains one of my favorites. I even bought Dave's solo album, Some Devil. And I watched the tv show House just to see Dave's episode.

When I was 16 I broke up with a boy and he locked himself in his room and listened to Crash over and over again. His brother called me saying he didn't know what to do. I am happily married, with three kids, and I still feel pain when listening to that album.

Before These Crowded Streets came out when I was a senior in high school. I was instantly hooked and it remains my favorite to this day. I think it's reminiscent of an actual album/record, where you put it on and just let it play. Most albums I skip around just to my favorites, with BTCS I can just let it play. Each song moves nicely in to the next. And my most favorite song of all-time is on that album, that alone makes it the most special recording of all time.

Stand Up came out when I was 25, single, and finally at a comfortable place in my life. I listened to that album non-stop in my car driving to/from anywhere. To be honest, I don't really like those songs all that much now, but when it came out I was hooked.

That's also the same time that my friend Lisa asked me to go to Bonnaroo with her to see Dave and the guys. It was going to be my first time seeing them live. Yes, after being a fan since 1991 I was finally going to see them in 2005! Now I have to admit something, I was a fan, but wasn't a FAN FAN like I am today. I liked them, I bought their music, but I wasn't a diehard. Then I saw Big Dave (that is what Lisa calls it when you are up close to him at a concert) and that was it. I was done. I fell hard.

Then I met a boy. A boy with a fire dancer (DMB reference) tattoo. A boy with BOOKS of DMB live shows and albums. It freaked me out. On our first date he trapped me in my car and made me listen to DMB songs over and over again. UGH. Early in our relationship he made me a "random cd" of DMB love songs. It made me nervous and almost gave me hives. Today, I love and appreciate that mixed cd. When Marc proposed, it was with a DMB lyric.

Marc was at LeRoi Moore's (saxophonist) last concert while I was at my sister-in-law's baby shower. He went with his brother as a sort of bachelor party. That show stands out because Marc left a voicemail screaming, "He's dancing, he's dancing"! And they did a cover of Sledgehammer that made MP VERY happy.

During our first pregnancy we saw Carter Beauford (drummer) in our OB/GYN's office. That's when Marc said our first child should be named Carter. He won that battle (I fought it at first) and I'm glad he did. It's a great name.

A few months after Carter was born Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King was released. I cannot tell you how many hours I danced around with a two-month old baby listening to those songs. It's my second most favorite album and sometimes it jumps up to first for purely sentimental reasons. The song Baby Blue still makes me cry; it's a song about death but I don't hear it that way because I see my blue-eyed baby when I listen.

For my early career as a fan I always went to shows with my friend Lisa. Then I met Marc and he took her spot. That transition makes me sad to think about but happy at the same time. We both met our now husbands around the same time and our life journeys were parallel. Basically, I only go to DMB concerts with people I love most. It's a beautiful time for me and I want to share it with my closest of peoples. Tomorrow we get to journey to Virginia Beach to see the band and I get to spend time with my Alicia. I cannot wait!

And as much as Dave and the boys have been around for good times, they have comforted me in sad times. When I was very down and low last year the song The Space Between came on and though I usually turn it (just not one I ever liked) I decided to listen. I probably shouldn't have because now when I hear it I tear up. The line that gets to me the most is, "Take my hand because we're walking out of here, right out of here is all we need dear." And it makes me cry because through all the difficult times Marc always takes my hand and walks me out of the darkness. And yes, I am tearing up right now. I strongly advise you to really listen to the words of that song though because it's amazing. (Side note, I desperately wanted to use the name Tinsley (violinist's last name) for my fourth bird!)

Music is my religion and concerts are my church. It's where I find peace and happiness, it's where I feel the best. Marc and I used to go to as many live shows as possible because they made us so happy.  We are slowly, but surely, getting back to that. We are older now and shows are a bit rougher on our bones, but they are our happy place. We worship at the feet of Dave, Carter, Stefan, Boyd, Jeff, Rashawn, and little Timmy. Praise the Lord and hallelujah!

The only band, for me, that comes close to DMB in importance is The Beatles. What band has meant the most to you?

"It's strange to feel so light, I'm not stoned, I'm hypnotized. Now there's something in my bones, 'cause I won't ever be alone again."

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Is The Last Stop

Today Gabe had what we hope is his last EEG ever. His last appointment with a neurologist. The last appointment where we wonder what is going on with his brain.

On October 12, 2014 Gabe had a grand mal seizure. It was horrific.

But every day since the neurologist told us Gabe has epilepsy my boy has taken his medicine, twice a day, without a fight. He took it easily, he understood why he was taking it, it was just a part of his routine. Grandparents were great about giving him his medicine. Family and friends were well aware of his diagnosis and were ready to react if needed. All very supportive and comforting to worried parents. I will forever be grateful for all of the support we received.

Starting tomorrow we are weaning him off his medicine.

We should be thrilled. We should be excited. We are terrified. That 1 ml, twice a day, was a safety net to Marc P and me. It made us sleep a little better, made us leave town a little easier, it made us not stay on top of him 24/7 watching him to make sure he was not seizing.

Now we have to have blind faith that everything is going to be ok.

This IS in fact a good thing. No one wants their child to have epilepsy. It's a scary, confusing, ever changing diagnosis. No one wants to give their child medicine every day. But there is something so comforting in that medicine.

The funny part is that Gabe "outgrew" his dosage. Basically his body is bigger than the dose we were giving him. So it was kind of just a placebo, I guess. And Gabe's seizure activity was just a "blip" (doctor's word) on the EEG. His first two EEGs lasted around 45 minutes and each time his activity was one second long; 1 second out of 2,700 seconds really isn't very long. No seizure activity was seen this time because the boy never fell asleep and that's when his seizures present. But the doctor has always been conflicted about prescribing medicine to Gabe because the epilepsy was so mild. But with his age and the grand mal we all agreed it was best to give him medicine.

But in the next few weeks there will be none. Zip. Zero. Nada.


We were prescribed emergency medicine though. If a seizure starts we give him a lozenge that stops the seizure and we call the medics. And if he does have a "breakthrough seizure" the doctor is pretty positive it won't be like what we saw in October 2014. So in theory we still have our safety net, a way to help him. It still worries me to leave him over night, leave him at school all day, and I'll be terrified the first time he gets sick/has a fever.

But I am going to pull some of "Barb's Power of Positive Thinking" (my mother-in-law has positivity oozing out of her and I've been a faithful student for almost ten years learning from the master) and just be set on Gabe being A-OK. I will worry, I won't sleep well the first few weeks of no medicine, but I'll never let him know. He's been through enough and my worry should not be another weight on his shoulders. I mean, his shoulders are REALLY tiny! He can only hold but so much!

So for you praying people, please pray that the path we are on is the right one. And for you positive thinkers, please send your good thoughts our way. And for any Pastafarians I guess wear a colander on your head and eat some spaghetti.

Thanks to everyone that has been on this journey with us. I hope this is the last time EEG, neurologist, and seizure show up on this blog!!

Peace and love,
Team P

It was a beautiful day in Roanoke. And we had just enough time in between his EEG and neurologist appointment to stroll around the city. At one point today Gabe told me he'll always love me and wants to live with me forever. I am 100% on board.