"You made it through..."

Posted by Michael Loucks on

2016 was not the greatest year for our family...but I'm not complaining; because we "made it through it" and on this side of the pain we are filled with overwhelming joy and appreciation.

Approximately 20 years ago, my wife, Deb Perdue Loucks, was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia...a debilitating condition where it feels like someone is burning off your face with a blow torch while stabbing you at the same time. But that is another story for another time. During that 6 month diagnosis ordeal, we also learned she had something called Chiari Malformation. We were told about what it meant as far as what she could and could not do, but not much else. So we never gave it a second thought. We just knew she was not allowed to ride roller coasters, horses, etc. 

Fast forward to April 2016 and things got really scary...

It started with trigeminal like pain searing through her face and jaw again. Then she began losing her balance and was barely able to walk around. Definitely could not drive much. She started having migraine like headaches every single day and nothing could touch them. Not rest, not darkness, not even the strongest of pain killers. Her hands began to tremble. To paint or draw was next to impossible. Fixing her hair and applying the most basic of make-up had to be done in 4-5 minute shifts over an hour.

Then she started losing her words. Easy words were suddenly gone. That created frustration and sadness and depression. Compounding the depression was a 6 year old boy out of school for the summer that she could not take to the pool, movies, on bike rides, walks, or even could not sit and watch a show. She blamed herself for ruining his summer. She blamed herself that I was working 8 hours at my job only to “come home” to handle all the household stuff too.

We were losing her and there was nothing we could do to bring her back to us. And we were all alone in a town where we had lived less than a year and knew nobody. It was a dark time.

But Deb, she can be a fighter, and at some point, she decided to “fake it” the best she could and not let anyone know what was happening. She even hid a lot of it from me and our son. And so she drew…she painted…she created graphics.

Over the summer months, she worked on a little Chihuahua wearing kooky goggles and a blue scarf for her newest collection, The Barksdale Gang. She started calling him Skatter, because he made her giggle a little every time she worked on him. He gave her purpose and a little bit of humor in an otherwise pain filled existence.

It took Deb a little more than 6 weeks to complete Skatter. Sometimes she could only work on him for 10 minutes per day. But she looked forward to being engaged with the creation of Skatter.

So Skatter became for her a symbol of defiance; a beacon of resilience; a mountain to conquer.

Flash forward to August 2017. With the Chiari Malformation surgery now 8 months in our rearview mirror, we have finally arrived at the final neurosurgeon visit. August 10, 2017, was a milestone day. To hear the surgeon tell her that “You made it through it…we’re done here,” well it was a little emotional for Deb. She had made it through…that night she pulls in after driving home from her doctor’s appointment in Raleigh to find a product sample we had ordered earlier. Skatter, her little beacon light from last summer, had arrived in all his kooky glory on a tote bag, looking fabulous and wacky. Needless to say, Deb lost it on the spot. She was immediately reminded that through it all, the pain, the sorrow, the darkness, through it all she kept her eyes on the little light and now that little light had come back to her once more as if to signal to her “you made it through…”

Why do I share this story with you?

Not because we are looking for sympathy.

Not because we like spilling our most personal moments.

Especially, not because we hope to gain a follower or sell something.


It is because our mission at Glendi Designs is to celebrate life with you, wherever you are in life. We want you to understand that even in the darkest moments of your life there is something for you to grab and hold to tightly. Something…even if a teeny tiny sliver of hope…something is there for you to celebrate. Something is there for you to Glendi




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