Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Baby Steps

So . . . saw the neurosurgeon today and while he was a pretty nice old guy, he spent more time talking about himself than talking to me. He took my history, but quit listening when I was about three quarters done. He showed me the MRI films and they were . . somewhat helpful. He only talked about one spot though, and there were several others that have been shown to be a problem. I had a sheet of questions to ask him and waited for the right moment.

He said he wanted to do an exam and put me in the exam room. He came in. He raised each leg, flexed each foot and then had me resist when he tried to push my toes. Exam done. What?!

Then he said he was retired and had sold the business to another doctor. He said he would have to see me and talk about surgical options. (He made it clear that the condition was past PT or shots being helpful. That was, at least, one step.) He then left and J and I waited for the other doctor to come in. Nope. The other doctor wasn't in the building. I was supposed to make another appointment to come back in. Sigh.

So I went to the desk and they offered me 3/16. HELL NO. Three more weeks of living in limbo? I think not. I pushed and got an appointment at the other office in 10 days. I also had them put me on the cancellation list.

So . . . progress? Baby steps? I am a terrible terrible waiter, so this is hard. But I will hang on until 3/5. Than I will go in with my list and hope to get answers and make HUGE steps instead of these baby ones. I'm too old to settle for baby steps.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Remembering to be Thankful

I have a number of friends in crisis right now. Most of them are struggling with marriage/relationship issues and my heart hurts for them. If there is a core rock in my life, something I know I can count on without fail, it is my husband. He loves and supports me and manages to make me feel beautiful when that is the last thing I am feeling. I cannot imagine coping with the things my friends are all dealing with. Infidelity. Alcoholism. Violence. Betrayal. Depression. Anger. Lying. Arguments.

I just can NOT imagine it.

I miss my children . . . but I can cope with it. This is what they are meant to be doing with their lives.

I despise my back issues . . . but I can cope with them. I will eventually get help, I am sure of it.

I adore my husband, and am grateful every single day for him. I am wishing healing and hugs and hope to all of those struggling. I hope you find the answers you need.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Want My Life Back

After jumping through countless hoops and making a ridiculous amount of phone calls, we finally got our insurance plan changed, and I got my appointment with the neurosurgeon set up. I see him next Tuesday.

Me being who I am, I have studied and researched a great deal, and I am pretty sure of what is going to happen when I see him. He is going to say you can go to physical therapy and/or get steroid shots into the spine. Neither one will cure anything. They will provide temporary relief. I want a cure. I want this back pain to go away and never, ever, come back. I am tired of not being able to stand long enough to take a shower. I am tired of having to sit in a wheelchair if I go shopping. I am tired of taking pain pills all day long. In the end--I am tired.

So if/when the doctor says surgery, chances are I will say PLEASE. I've read all about the procedures. I know the recovery time is pretty long and not without a significant amount of pain. I know it 's going to mean I will not be able to work like I usually do. But if it means I can walk around, bend, stand in line, and MOVE, I don't care.

Nicole, whenever you read this, you will need to prepare yourself for the fact that you will not likely be here if/when I have the surgery. Yes, I know how horribly difficult that will be for you, but I cannot wait until summer time, and I will NOT have you coming home early. You have jobs to go to, friends to see, places to visit, and a younger brother to host and somehow tolerate. :) Your dad will take wonderful care of me and I know we will talk often. I know you love me and this will be very difficult for you, but we've coped with worse, right?

I may go into the doctor's office next week and he will tell me surgery is not necessary. And if he can show me other ways to make the pain better, to be able to get dressed on my own, and blow dry my hair without sitting down, and not have 15 muscles spasms in my legs each night when I go to bed, then fine. Bring it on. But if surgery is the only solution, then I'm ready. Slice and dice me, baby. I want my life back.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just Sayin

Rough afternoon. In a lot of pain and the meds make me cry. Still have to work when I want to curl up and just doze until bedtime.

Missing so many people right now. So, to those people, I want to say . . . Mom, I wish I had listened more carefully to you because now I have so many questions I want to ask. I love you and miss you every single day. You made me feel invincible and loved. Dad, you were always my hero. I miss your hugs and the sound of your voice. Jasmine, I dream of you so often and waking is painful. We love you and miss you and hope life is treating you with kindness. I have precious memories of years gone by and I cherish them. My beautiful children, I am so thrilled with your adventures, but sometimes miss you so much, I cannot breathe. I fight the selfishness in me that wants you to come back home,  but sometimes that bitch is rude and noisy. My sweet husband, your endless patience with me is life saving. I would not make it through a day without you by my side.

End of diatribe. Back to sniffling. Thanks for listenin'.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

One Lucky Woman

My husband announced to me on Wednesday that for Valentine's Day, we were going out of town. I redid my work schedule and worked hard that day and Thursday, so I was free to go away.

It was exactly what I needed from beginning to end.
If I could wish anything for my children is that they enjoy their life partner as much as I enjoy mine, especially after 32 plus years.
We saw breathtaking scenery--mountains, pine trees, the ocean--always so immense and powerful--the river, some seals, barges, and sky.
We stayed in a hotel without children--quite an experience. Watched what we wanted on TV. Read. Giggled. Talked. Cuddled. More, but that's private. :)
We ate in great restaurants--and disappointing ones. We foolishly tried to get into a restaurant Valentine's Day evening and were turned away twice. Ended up at a Denny's and it was just lovely, even though we had to wait an hour to get our food.
We explored a coastal town, my patient, patient husband pushing me most places in a wheelchair, as I would have never made it on foot. The weather was incredible for this time of year--sunny and mid 50s!
I was grateful for pain pills since they let me relax enough to have such a wonderful time. I marveled at my hubby loading and unloading the wheelchair, pushing it through the tiny aisles of stores and never once complaining. Instead, he just said it gave him more opportunity to tower above me and look down my shirt.
We went to familiar places and brand new ones. We laughed and talked and kissed and basked in how lucky we are to still be this much in love after more than three DECADES together.
We sighed over babies and longed for grandchildren.
We went to wonderful thrift stores and boring ones. I found paper (shocking), and some penguins for Evan (as always), and gifts to send to penpals. I paid too much for special cards to send to Nicole.
We had a slightly harrowing ride home--the roads back from the coast are very windy, and dark, surrounded by towering pine trees and changing elevation every few minutes. Our new van, Ruby,performed perfectly, but vision was hampered by something on the windshield, as well as patches of fog. I stayed awake and made sure to help J with at least a second set of eyes and help when needed.
It was, without a doubt, the perfect, perfect, perfect getaway. The best Valentine's Day present . . . . probably ever. Although we were only gone 36 hours, they were precious hours and I return one happy, lucky woman.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I am. . . ..

My mind is busy with various and sundry details this morning.

I am worrying a great deal about Caspian. He is sick and I can not do a thing about it from here other than talk to him on the phone and give him some suggestions. I am eager to talk to him today and find out how he is. I sure hope better. Last night was a very long night for him. I slept with my phone, just in case.

I am happy and excited for Nicole. She was in a tough spot for a few weeks but life is smoothing out for her now and everything is working out for the best. She has extended her stay (@(#*)#%*()#)__!) but that just means she is happy enough to stay there, and that is a blessing.

I am highly amused by Coryn. He has six days of work left and then a few days before he heads off to New Zealand. He already got a new haircut and is trying to decide what color to dye it before leaving. He is getting more and more excited and packing as many activities in those remaining days as he can. Of course, I would mostly prefer he spent those days right here so I can hug him at will and look over and see my last remaining kid sitting on the couch. I know he will fill  this time with friends though--and that is just fine. Today he is taking the GED and I know he's worried.

I am madly in love with my husband. He has proven again and again and again how much he loves me and treats me unlimited tenderness. Time laughing and talking and cuddling and being with him is wonderful. Boy did I make a great choice 32 plus years ago. He is a tolerant man with depths of kindness and integrity that I've never seen in any one else.

I am frustrated as hell with my body. Ten minutes of walking around picking up some laundry, stacking papers, taping up a box to send out and I am in so much pain, I have to sit down and recover. It sure does not do much for a person's motivation (or self esteem). I know I need to move and use muscles, but when it hurts so much so quickly, it ain't easy. Having an answer and reasons why it hurts this much is amazing and I am so grateful for that. But living with it . . it's hard. Keeping up with work is harder. Keeping a smile on my face . . . sometimes simply impossible.

So that's me right now. I am . . . keepin' on keepin' on.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


My life is doing some major transitioning right now and while I am pleased for the causes behind it, the actual day to day life of it is hard. Of course, the fact that I'm in pain about 80 percent of my waking hours doesn't help. I have THE most supportive husband in the world. Every day he helps me get dressed, rents and returns a wheelchair depending on how I am feeling, and manages to even make pushing me around in the thing fun.

I guess I am realizing that I am moving into a new stage of life and I am not sure I am ready to give up the one I was in. So much of who I am is a mother. For the past 30 years, I have focused on raising kids with all of the love, wisdom, compassion, patience, and sense of humor I could. Suddenly, they are all . . . grown. They are spreading those wings Joseph and I tried to nurture and using them to explore their lives and their world. I could NOT be happier or prouder.  I also feel utterly superfluous.

On the other hand, I miss them so much that sometimes it is hard to breathe. I miss Caspian's astounding hugs and his ability to walk through the room, know that I was struggling and stop to talk to me. I miss his ability to ask wonderful questions and really care about my answers. Coryn will leave in a matter of weeks, and I will miss his wit and charm and lack of humility. I will miss his ability to make me laugh and the sight of his smile. And Nicole . . . my darlin girl . . . I couldn't list all the ways I miss her. How I can want so much for her and still the idea that she isn't coming back for months and months . . . it takes some adjusting. Okay, a lot of adjustment.

So much of who I am is MOM and suddenly that part is having to just take a quiet seat in the back. I'm still wife, thank goodness, and writer. (I gave up being daughter years ago, damn it.) And there is this sense of . . . . abandonment, as I was talking to Amimental about. This feeling of wait a minute . . . . where did everyone go? And why am I still sitting here? As Ami pointed out, since I work from home, it may also be harder. The house is so much quieter and I am spending more time alone right now than almost any time in my life.

I am utterly thrilled with the pathways my children are taking. I am proud and excited and happy. I am also, I know, in mourning at what stage of my life is ending. I am sure the next stage will be wonderful, but this in between stuff? It sucks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Explanations at Last

I have my answers==or at least a part of them. It took pushing for an MRI and having to pay for it out of pocket. (Tears added in for free) But, in the end, going through the report, I felt vindicated. I didn't share these results with the world, i.e. Facebook, but am putting them here for those 22 who follow my blog.
According to the results, I have bulging discs at nine levels--which in and of itself, is not that surprising. Everyone over the age of 40 has a few bulging discs. However, these are bulging inward, not outward as most do, and compressing a bunch of nerves, as well as narrowing the spinal canal itself. One of the discs ruptured some time ago (see horrendous pain in September . . ). Add in some arthritis and indications of chronic hip bursitis (with a dollop of gout now and then to keep me from getting too complacent) and it is clear that yes, I am in a lot of pain and not everything is functioning as it should be. Oh and yes, standing is one of the worst things I can do, hence canes, walkers and the occasional wheelchair.
Now comes the next phase--getting into the neurosurgeon for him to look at the MRI results and say (1) live with it, (2) get physical therapy, (3) let's try some steroid injections, or (4) time for surgery. Just getting the appointment is proving a challenge--wrong insurance company and all of that, but I am getting that figured out slowly by surely, as my Dad would have said. Then I can have a plan of what to do next.
Right now I take my meds, and . . . honestly, cry a lot. The pain levels have been nuts and they drain me, they really do. I find myself losing endurance for work assignments and just wanting to stay home and stay quiet. Even haunting Goodwills, my favorite past time, wears me out. Using a walker helps, but it is tiring too--especially on the arms.
Okay, enough whining--or as they say in Australia, according to my girl, WHINGING.
My kids are great--Nicole is doing well in Oz, Caspian is thriving after his first month in Connecticut, and Coryn leaves in just under a month for New Zealand. Ha--go now kids--before your discs begin to bulge. Snicker.