Faith, Family & Friends
The one thing that we never questioned in life was how much our mom loved us. Her girls meant everything to her, and she had a very special place in her heart for her baby, Deborah. She could do no wrong, trust me. They had a relationship like no other. They would talk on the phone for hours, or stay up all night sharing their hearts with one another. I often joked that they had an unhealthy attachment, but the truth is, I'm so glad they shared it as it is something I know they both cherished.
I was also extremely close with my mom, but anyone that knew our relationship knew that it was a quite different one from that of my sister's. We were so different, personality wise. I'm always about seeing the reality of a situation, being practical, and getting done what needs to be done. My mom, on the other hand, would always encourage me to just sit and watch the sunset, always thought the impossible would happen, trusted everyone, and always, always tried to see the good in every person. She would say things like, "Well, I know she said that honey, but you have to remember she's going through a lot right now." It was frustrating to hear when you were aggravated and wanting to vent, but the truth is I admired that so much about her.
She was amazing like that. One of the kindest, gentlest people I knew. She was so Christ like in that she chose to look past flaws and only see the good in people. I try every day to be more like that, have a softer heart, and try to impart those characteristics in my own children.
I'm so glad that, as I became an adult, I finally admitted to her the admiration I had for her throughout my life, and my plans to pass it on to future generations.
Which brings me to her other love, Rebecca Lynn. Yes, the Lynn is for Linda, which is what my Dad fondly called her, and my Mom was so honored by this. Her whole world changed when that baby girl was born. Forever in my memory will I be able to see the way she would light up when Rebecca would walk in the room. It didn't matter what she was feeling or going through, when she saw that little one scampering over to her and wanting Grandma to pick her "up, up", all of her pain, all of her worries just seemed to vanish. From the moment she found out I was pregnant she was different. I could see that joy overflowing from her again.
She couldn't get enough of her Little Rebecca. She loved being a Grandma, and I remind Becca of her every day so that she never forgets how much my mom loved her and the special moments they shared. Like the fact that even though my mom hated to see us leave, she absolutely adored kissing Becca good-bye. I would lift her up so that she could reach my mom, but every time I'd pull her away from the kiss she would push the tips of her fingers together to sign "more". So, of course, my Mom would grant her as many kisses as her heart desired. It was like their little game. Naturally, I wish Becca could give her a million more kisses, but I'm so honored that I was able to give my mom that kind of gift, that kind of joy in her last year.
I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to experience motherhood while she was still here because it gave me a deeper understanding of her and the depth of her love for my sister and I. It's funny how you spend your teen years trying to tell your parents that you don't need them anymore, and then the majority of your twenties realizing you need them more than ever. I'm happy to have gone through this transition while she was still with me because it gave me a chance to tell her how much I loved and appreciated everything she had done for me as my mother and my friend. We shared many special heart-to-hearts about parenting, and I'm so grateful for that opportunity because I felt closer to my mom than ever as a result.
I don't know how she had so much room in her heart, but she did. She loved each and every person in her life in a special way.
Her love for the Lord was the strongest of all. No matter what she was going through, all the pain and suffering, it amazed me how she still had faith. She was constantly ministering to those in need about the peace, the comfort, and the joy that the Lord brings. It was hard to look at her, see what she was going through & how strong her faith remained, and not reevaluate your own struggle.
She glowed when she talked about the Lord, and loved nothing more than to bask in his presence. She was constantly listening to worship tapes whenever she could (yes, they were still tapes...). Those that knew her before she was sick know how much she loved to worship and dance before the Lord. She would often tell me how deeply she desired to dance again. In fact, in preparation for her Eulogy, I was looking through her Bible and found that she had tucked away a note that I had written her when I was only 13 years-old. In the note I explained that I had a dream recently in which the Lord explained to me these words from Jeremiah 30:24:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving kindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you and you shall be rebuilt. You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.
I explained to her, in the note, that those words were meant for her, that the Lord would rebuild her and she would someday be able to dance again. I choose to believe that this is now her reality. She has been rebuilt, and is now dancing before God himself, submerged in his presences more deeply than she could have ever been on earth. This is my peace.
I was quite young when it all began, but if I am remembering correctly, my mother started experiencing symptoms of arthritis as early as 1993, and the level severity was uncharacteristic of her age. Still, she just brushed it off as a part of getting older. However, as the pain and discomfort increased she began to seek medical advise. Eventually, I believe in 1997, they were able to identify the cause. She was diagnosed with a disease known as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It was horrible to watch his once so energetic woman slowly deteriorate to nothing. While I remember the progression quite vividly, it is still hard to talk about sometimes which is why I am choose not to go into detail regarding the emotional and physical pain that accompanies this horrific disease.
Recently, I came across one of my mother's many journals. She loved to write, and within the last year or two before her death, began blogging in an attempt to connect with others who found themselves in a similar situation. One of these blogs contained a generalization of her story.
So here, I'll just let her tell you herself:
My RA Story
Hello! I'm Linda Basta. I am married with two grown daughters. I am a Christian and my relationship with the Lord is most important to me. My passion has always been in the natural health & nutrition field as a Nutritional Consultant and Foot Reflexolgist. I've also been involved in network marketing businesses and am now very involved on the Internet. Fifteen years ago, I was stricken with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The life as I knew it was suddenly stolen from me. I still grieve my loss, but am trusting that I will find new purpose for my life. I would hope to be able to help others as well.
As far as my history....My first symptom of was a throbbing of my left great toe, which later which the engulfed my entire foot. Then, it went to the other foot. I also felt that my shin was bruised. Later my left shoulder became sore and I couldn't raise it. This is when I visited my family doctor who suspected Rheumatoid Arthritis, prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication, and referred me to a Rheumatologist. By this time, I was having pain throughout my body and the disease was spreading from one joint to another on alternate sides. I didn't like this doctors attitude, he made me cry, and so I made an appointment with the Cleveland Clinic. He had given me just 3 mg of prednisone which literally made me symptom free upon my visit in Cleveland.
The doctors at the Clinic gave me a definite diagnosis of RA even though my blood serum was negative. At first I was very resistant to traditional medication except for those addictive pain drugs, and tried to go 'the natural' route with nutrition and alternative treatments. However, after 2 years of progressively getting worse, I submitted to my new Rheumatologist's recommendations, only to try one medication after another with little or no results. The only drug that has ever really done anything is the prednisone with a dosage from 3-60 mgs. at times.
Meanwhile, I've had a ruptured Achilles tendon, one shoulder and one hip replaced, and one ankle fused which sent me to rehab for 3 months. I have also developed osteoporosis and glaucoma, probably due to the prednisone use. I took a fall a few years ago and fractured 5 vertibrea which led to a month in the hospital and 2 more weeks in Rehab.
This past year I seems to be having some results with an infusion drug called Rituxin which you get every 4-6 months. My pain level is still very high, but it has reduced my inflammation.
So here I am, still struggling to find some kind of relief from this chronic pain, & fatigue , terrible immobility and destruction of joints, and frequent depression. I have become dependent on home care aids and therapist to help me maintain some kind of normalcy. I miss my independence so, but do manage to get out once in awhile to enjoy the God's sunshine and fresh air.
There are some great websites pertaining to chronic, invisible illnesses. Talking to others in similar situations helps. It's good to find others that understand, but sometimes it makes me feel worse knowing how many people are suffering out there, with little hope for improvement. Family compassion and support is so important. Those that have it, do so much better emotionally.
I have distracted myself by diving into the Internet both for business and social purposes, but I know it's my form of escape. Like others have done, I am in the process of creating my own website and blog. I'm hoping that my blogging (journaling) will be therapy for me as well as helping others in the process. I need to lighten up and get my focus off myself.
There is a new body/mind program that I'm looking into as well called Advanced Cell Training (ACT). The developer is seeing incredible remissions for Lime Disease, MS and RA.
I think that's my next step.
I'm not quite sure when exactly this story of hers was written, but I will try to fill in the gaps since then. Drug after drug, breakthrough treatment after breakthrough treatment, mom was still unable to find any relief. Gradually, her body began to deteriorate even more. While I know that the disease played a great role, she continued to warn me about what the pain medicine was doing to her body. Her skin became so thin and frail that an accidental brush of a fingernail could tear it. Her bones were so brittle that ribs and vertebrata continued to break one after another, with the knowledge that they would not heal and she would forever have to live with the pain.
Eventually, as a result of her broken back and therefore her inability to carry out the necessities of day to day life, she found herself in a rehab facility yet again. Unfortunately for all of us, this facility carried the resemblances of a horror movie from the 1950s in terms of patient care.
She was there about a week or so, and on Christmas morning, as I was getting ready to go to my Uncle's, I received a call. The nurse informed me that she had spiked a high fever during the night, and that they were sending her to the hospital. The ICU doctor's explained that she had developed a blood infection due to an open wound, and because of her physical condition there wasn't much they could do. It was only a matter of time.
I remember that I had recently asked her what she wanted for Christmas that year, and her very sincere response was, "a new body". Saturday, December 27, 2014, surrounded by those she loved most, she was given her gift.
"There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.
It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
Let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!"
1 Corinthians 15: 40-44, 51