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It's been a long, hard time....

Sunday, July 08, 2012

I've done a lot of thinking and writing...but not here in a long time. The long and short of it is that life has been REALLY hard for the last couple of years. I have to admit, though, that I have done pretty good at not letting my eating get out of control for the most part. Sometimes for a few days or so, maybe a week, but I always seem to come back on track to at least maintain.

Warning: I'm writing for me, and to update my friends. I don't want anyone to feel they have to try to fix anything or feel sorry for me. Now that decisions are being made, things will/are improving.

The past two years have been full of grief. Our adopted son, Chris, now 15, has been out of the home for most of the last year and a half due to his out of control behavior. He hit puberty and got bigger than us and that was all it took. He became very violent and it was really impossible to have him here. He's always had problems, a good part of it, probably due to genetics and mom's alcohol and drug use. Dad has a violent rap sheet longer than my arm. I guess, it's true, all the love in the world won't fix that kind of damage. Being that I'm a psychotherapist of 25+ years and have done more hours of research and workshops on his problems than I can count, the professionals working with him don't get it. We have been so depressed that we have not been able to function very well and our home environment has been painful and joyless for too long. We have a wonderful daughter, Dakota, who is an amazing little girl. She deserves to feel safe and to have her parents healthy and present for her. She is grieving, too. In the past few weeks, we have made the decision that we have no choice, but to give full custody of Chris to the state. The only other options are to bring him home, (in which case, Dakota would be removed due to the volatility Chris displays when he is here), so that is clearly not going to happen. The other is to continue to work toward reunification, which he sabotages in every interaction we have with him. It's just too dangerous and we are exhausted, grieving that we can't help him and grieving the effect this has all had on us and Dakota. We have to move on and rebuild our lives as a 3 member family. Believe me, I never imagined I would ever be in this position. I really thought we could take that damaged little 12 month old and help him heal to the point that he could live a normal happy life. Some damage is just too deep to be fixed, especially when the one needing fixed doesn't think they have a problem and that they have a right to hurt other people. It's like living with a batterer and we have to be done. (I'm still trying to convince myself and let go of feeling like we failed him somehow)

In the last year, I've also lost my father and my step mother. Dad died in August last year and Cathy died this past Feb. My only sister lives a day a way and she has problems of her own that prevent us from being close. I'm so very thankful for my church family, my partner (although she has been really depressed and barely functioning, not working, etc. for the last couple of years. She is in treatment, though and is trying really hard to rejoin life.)

My daughter is where I've been trying to put my energy and focus. She is working on unlearning some of the behaviors she picked up from Chris, and learning that food is not the only way to feel better. We have an amazing friend who has been a "mentor" for Dakota since she was a baby and Lois has taken her under her wing and has her working out and using Richard Simmon's food mover to teach her about healthy eating and accountability. It's in a purple plastic case, so we have been calling it "the purple people feeder meter." It's really a great tool and she loves opening and shutting the little windows. Dakota has several pervasive problems due to her birth mother's neglect during pregnancy and drug addiction. We picked Dakota up at 3 days old, though from the hospital, so she hasn't had the emotional damage Chris did.

So, we are all trying to move on, here and build a healthier family that is less stressed and can enjoy each other and feel hopeful about the future. I'm trying to be hopeful, but a lot of days, it's hard. I do love my work and the people I work with. I hope that with focus and lots of prayer, we'll get there.

I started logging again yesterday to help keep me accountable and I need to look through for some new teams and be active in, as well as participate in the ones I'm already a part of. I love it here and it's always been really good for me. Thanks, friends for your love and support. I hope to get my sense of humor and ability to be there for others back, soon!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALENSARIEL 7/10/2012 9:34PM

    I just want to sigh every time I hear you talk about Chris. You know, he just left you no options. It's not that you failed him. He has some culpability in this, too. So try not to beat yourself up. HE has chosen his path. It's not the one YOU would have chosen for him. The best thing you can do, it seems to be, is let him go with a full heart, not burning all the emotional bridges when he goes. There may come a time Chris realizes what he's done. You want him to be able to get in touch with you then. So hang in there and take care of you and Dakota and Jorie. It's time to let the stress go as much as possible. Love & Hugs, Calen~

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So far so good...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

It feels weird to be able to sit down and not be running the schedule through my head. Since early May, it's felt like I've been like that old poster of the cat that is splahed out and gripping a screen for dear life. We used to have that poster at camp when I worked there and it would get turned side ways or upside down or even on the ceiling of the staff lounge depending on the mood of the day. Today I think its on the floor. Still hanging on, but face down and able to get a little rest.

Dad had prostate surgery on monday and he finally got the catheter out, which he is very relieved about. So are all of us...he's been a bit challenging to be around to say the least. He will be going back for an ultrasound in a week or two to see if all is working well. Please, let it be OK. He was really depressed and shutting down. We also discovered that he had a fractured hip that he "didn't know about" that was already healing June, then when I got there for father's day weekend, I wasn't there 5 minutes and he told me his ribs hurt. I felt where he pointed and you'd have thought I had a hot poker in my hand from how he jumped. Off to the ER we went to discover he had a couple of cracked ribs from falling. He's been doing that a lot. Then last week, Cathy fell flat on her face, breaking her nose and blackening her forehead, both eyes and shoulder. Lorene had just left about a half hour before. They were able to call the neighbors to get her up and Lorene came back and off to the ER they went. She's healing, but she sure is a sight.

We have been working with Dad to get him to agree to let Lorene move in. He's paying her now about 450 a week for (he thinks) 6 hours a day 5 days a week. She's really there more like 8 or10 hours a day and doesn't charge them for Sunday. She is one of Cathy's 6 kids, with kids of her own grown up. She's willing to give up her apartment and move into one room to care for them full time AND is willing to do it for 450 a week since she won't have the expense of rent and utilities. Compared to about 10,000 a month to lose all of your independance in a nursing home, it is an absolute blessing. Lorene does everything for them cooks the meals and special things they want to eat, does the shopping, takes them to appointments, cleans, does laundry, dishes, takes them to church when they can, drives them out to Amish country for a drive, takes Dad to see his relatives, manages all his meds, oxygen, takes them shopping when Dad needs to "comparison shop," does Cathy's hair and helps them both get cleaned up and dressed.....need I go on? Dad has always been very frugal and practical. He has been saying he will only pay her 400 since she won't have her rent and utilities and she will be eating more with them and his utilities will go up. Mind you....he means 400 a month, which is rediculous. He is so stubborn, it's been a haul, but I think we finally may have gotten through with proving to him how much more it would be in a nursing home and what they would lose, and with Cathy saying all she wants for her birthday is to stay in her home with Lorene to care for them. It was pretty amazing...the first time my sister and I have agreed on anything in years.

Then there's Dakota, who had her tonsils and adenoids out yesterday and tubes put in her ears. We were in over night, but are home today. She is pretty pitiful, wimpering a lot, snoozing a lot and bargaining over how much she will drink from a syringe. She makes it about 3 hours on the pain meds, then is pretty much a wreck until the next dose kicks in.
It's been some better this evening though, so tomorrow should be a little better. The doc said her throat was 75% blocked when she's not sick and that we should notice a big difference in her health and her speech should be a lot clearer, so I'm glad we did it.

Chris has been to his retreat at camp and we drove to Michigan last weekend, (after I saw a Dr. to get on antibiotics for a double ear infection and sinus infection) to pick him up before all the surgeries started. We swam way too long before hitting the road to come home and I got REALLY fried. Dumb me forgot the sun screen and was just so glad to be in the lake, I never thought about it. Had to go to the ER on Monday night to get on steroids and pain meds to get it turned around. Amazing how sick sunburn can make you. BUT, Miss Dakota freaked us all out at the lake. She has a float vest that she wears and has been going down the big curly slide and jumping off the diving board for the last 2 years. This time, she just went to the end of the dive and DOVE off! I mean, DOVE off! She was pretty good, too! A little bend in the legs, but it was a real dive with no belly smack! Once she did it, she kept on doing it over and over. She is a trip.

Now Chris is at convention until Sunday. Then we have a semi normal week, hopefully, before we go back to camp for our family retreat. Heaven. We're only getting to go because I'm taking out a loan on my retirement to get us through until Jori can get a job. She's trying.

So, eating??? Could be a lot worse. Could be way better. There just has been no time to think about it, really.

All in all, we have progress and I am a little less stressed out and trying to stay positive. The fires are smoldering and I'm wiped out! Whew!

It's all up from here, right? Right!

I have felt you guys with me even though I haven't had time to be on here. Thanks!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANBDONE 7/11/2009 9:17PM

    You've got TRUE GRIT, Girl! No one could ever accuse you of being a wimp.

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DEEANN8 7/7/2009 2:54PM

    So much on your plate. I hope things settle down for you soon. emoticon

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LUCKYDUCK2 7/4/2009 1:03PM

    WOW! I could get emotionally and mentally (not to mention physically) wiped out just reading this! WOW!!

You have so many demands on you and so much has to be placed in the hands of others too. I pray that Dad does listen to reason and lets this woman move into the home. She sounds like a true blessing.

I did not know that you could get your ears wet after having tubes put in . they have come a long way with those. Go Dakota!

Hugs and have a wonderful emoticon!

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CALENSARIEL 7/3/2009 3:08PM

    First off, just let me note that there are NO glasses issues listed here! Now THAT is progress!

Sorry to hear that you're still trying to work that living situation out with your dad, but glad to hear the surgery went well. It's such a big worry when we become care givers for our parents and we still have kids at home. I know I've said this before, but make sure you're taking care of YOU so you have something to give them from!

Glad you got to swimming. Isn't it fun when the kids are Dakota's age? They're such a hoot. But do we need to pray for the swimming angel to whisper in your ear about the sunscreen??? I take it that was before Dakota's surgery, right? Does it bother their ears to swim after they have tubes put in? I never had that problem with either of the kids.

Tell Jori to hang in there. Things are bound to get better. What's her degree in?

Well peel yourself off that floor so I can give you a big hug! Calen~

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The day after....

Monday, June 01, 2009

Ouch... yep, I'm feelin' it. Ok, so I have to clear something up, the Peter Pan play was on Friday night. Last night, no way. I barely made it up the steps to bed. Today was the fall out. I had taken a half of a flexaril, so I had to be awoken from my half comatose state this morning to go to church. Then our dear friends relieved us of our children for the rest of the day so that Jori could study for her mock registry, which she has to take in the next couple of days, and I could work on my paperwork. A rare child free afternoon. We went to an Indian place for lunch --need I say, yum? Then it was home to get to work. She had caffine. I did not. After dosing off more than not for an hour, I decided to go up and take a nap for a while so I could stay awake. I didn't say, "If I sleep more than an hour, wake me up." My mistake. The Fuller motto is if you can sleep, you must need it and one never wakes a sleeping person. At 8:00........8:00, mind you, I woke up to hear the kids come home! I guess I must have needed it. Grr! I don't know about you guys, but I could mostly sleep anytime, except in the late evening because I'm a night owl.

So, the kids are in bed, it's 12:00am and we are eating dinner. Yea, I know, I should be dropping the pounds like wildfire, huh? Oh well, what can ya do?

Now I need to try to get something done!

Sweet dreams everyon!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SJ1320 6/2/2009 7:39PM

    emoticon I love my sleep too!

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CALENSARIEL 6/1/2009 12:12PM

    I hope your aches and pains are beginning to dimish this morning! Flexaril! I haven't taken that fora long time. Used to live on it. But it upset my stomach something awful and I finally just quit taking it. What do you take it for. just back stuff? Hope you have a mostly pain-free day!
Love & Hugs, Calen~

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LUCKYDUCK2 6/1/2009 10:36AM

    I battle being a night owl also. Why is it that after 9 pm the appetite can kick if for the day and the eyes pop open no matter how much I struggle during the day with not taking a nap or I keep moving so I WILL fall asleep at night?

I never can fall asleep before 3 am and I make myself get up every morning at 8 am. As long as you are up....I hope you can get done all that you want too or need too.

Have a healthy Monday.

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I'm going to regret this!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Whew! Today we worked in the yard and garden from 11am to 7:30. Our poor yard has been sorely neglected for years. We are on the end of a culdesac, so we have the pie shaped yard at the end. About 195' wide and 130' front to back. The huge yard is what hooked us, but it is a lot of work that hasn't happened. Thistles have taken over a lot of it and it is my personal mission to wipe those critters out. So today I started with my rose garden, pitiful though it is and pulled thistles and other weeds. I got the ones all along the west side and around and under the evergreens. Then I worked across the back fence behind the garden pulling everything in about a 4 foot path while Chris came along behind me cutting the vines off the fence and pulling them over from the neighbors yard. They had grown all the way over and down the other side, for heaven's sake!

We finished putting up the trellis' and got the mesh up for things to climb up and took down the old trampoline. The kids were great. Dakota came over and climbed on my lap this morning and told me it was the most beautiful day of her whole life. That was special. She even had her own little pair of sissors to cut the thinner parts of the vines with. Chris was wonderful. He helped and didn't complain at all. He really got into ripping those vines down and did a great job. I kept thinking that this is what I had hoped it would be like. All of us working together. Sure, I know it's not like that all the time, but sometimes would be nice, enough that you can remember, at least. No one cried. No one fought or blamed anyone else for things. It was really nice. I need to remember that it CAN happen.

We had a good night last night, too. I had won some tickets to see a theater production of Peter Pan at work, so we surprised the kids and took them last night. It was wonderful! Complete with flying! So cool! The kids loved it. The one problem there was that Dakota wanted to meet Peter Pan afterward and the actors didn't come out. She was hysterical. A few months ago we took her to see Snow White and they all came out for the kids to meet them and take pictures. She wouldn't let it go and was wailing like crazy, so we went back in to check to make sure that they didn't come out after we had left. Jori saw Wendy when someone opened a side door, so we ran over there and Dakota was pounding on the door and yelling for Wendy. What a scene that was. But, they opened the door and Wendy was there. Dakota talked to her and PeterPan was already gone, which caused her to start sobbing again! Wendy told her that she would personally deliver the message to Peter that Dakota had said hi. That seemed to work to some extent. When we got outside, she wanted to runaround the building trying to find Peter. I finally looked to the sky and said. "Look! There he goes, do you see him? He's waving!" and she bought it. Whew! It was fun, though. It made me think about how impressionable the mind of a child is and the power we have to nurture them if we are conscious of that power.

I must get to bed ---if I can climb the stairs, that is! Hugs and Peace.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABYFACE26 5/31/2009 12:56PM

    that was fun to read this morning. I'm also amazed u had the energy to go out to the show, after all that work. R you going to blog about "the day after" ? just kidding. I was a Peter Pan NUT when I was a child. I used to dream that during the night, I was flying around my bedroom...or, Was it a dream?

Hugs,
Ellen

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LUCKYDUCK2 5/31/2009 12:35PM

    Isn't it great to come together as a family and see the results at the end of the day? Wow, you put in a long day on that yard and STILL had energy to have a family night out? Now that is awesome! I know I could NOT have done that.

Have a wonderful weekend !

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CALENSARIEL 5/31/2009 9:18AM

    Well, it sounds like Wendybird doesn't get her tail feathers ruffled too easy! That was a blessing. I'm surprised you had the umph to go after a day like that! Well deserved! Hope to see some pictures of your award-winning yard, too! I loved the ones of the garden. It's going to be a good summer for you, girlfriend! Hugs, Calen~

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Rolling, rolling, rolling, Like the proverbial hamster

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I have been so busy, I don't even know if I'm coming or going sometimes. I think a lot of the hamster on a wheel and how hard they race around on there and get no where other than where they have been all the time! There is a new commercial out with a couple of hamsters cruising down the road, driving a sporty car and tapping their paws to the music. I want to be one of those hamsters!!!!

Some of the business has been good, though. We have built ourselves a garden. We figured with money as it is, or isn't, actually, we should get back to the basics.

Ok, so I was trying to pull up a picture and can't get it to browse for them. What's up? I was trying to delete some from my spark page and couldn't get them to delete, either. Anybody know why?

I wanted to show you guys. We have been working REALLY hard on it. We decided to use the square foot garden idea, and we have 5 that are 4'x4' , 2 that are 2'x2' for the kids to plant in and one that is 16'x1' for tomatoes and squash to grow up trellis'. We have 9 tomato plants, all but two are different kinds, zucchini, summer squash, 3 kinds of peas, several kinds of beans, limas, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, beets, cucumbers, spinach, celery, peppers and one whole box that is herbs. Now, just to keep them alive!!! So far, things seem to be doing pretty well. Tonight we realized that our biggest tomato plant has 2 tomatoes the size of eggs or so already! We bought that one big already, but still! Just the thought. We have a couple of friends who are going to help with it and share the spoils. It rained pretty good today and I went out there and just in a couple of days, it's amazing how things have grown! Cool, or what? It's neat to see the kids excited, too.

This winter was really bad for me. I was more depressed than I have been in years and couldn't seem to get out of it. I've certainly not been any fun to live around and they've all made their point pretty clear. I'm doing better now, though. Not great, still having melt downs, but not to the same extent. I switched my meds some and that seems to have helped. The stressors are still there and not getting any better, but I am functioning again, where I pretty much gave up there for a while. Jori tends to cope by putting on the blinders and boy, when I come apart, it's really bad and nothing gets done except try to pick up the worst of the messes we have created in one area or another. This too shall pass.

Good things:
- Jori finishes school next week and can move on to taking her registry.
- Chris will be out of school for the summer after next week, so there will be less fighting with him about whether he has done and turned in his work or not.
- Dakota will be able to get more attention.
- Working in our garden together has been nice
- Dad is still hanging in there
-We have two running cars
-We have our house and family
-We have our church family who we love

Stresses:
-What to do with Chris this summer so that he stays out of trouble and is in a better place for school in the fall.
-Dad facing surgery in a couple of weeks if the pulmonologist feels he can handle anesthesia.
-Dakota having surgery for T&A and ear tubes July 1
-My social work license is due for renewal in Sept and I don't have all my CEU's
-Money is pretty much gone and those who have been helping us get through are tapped out due to losing stocks.
-There are no jobs for Jori in her field in this county due to hiring freezes, so for now she will have to find something else and make a lot less.
-Work continues to become more demanding with paperwork requirements and I am burnt out.


So, what do I need to do?

- I need to trust that everything will work itself out and know that we will be taken care of and guided where we need to go.
-I need to look at the positives and work on maximizing them. I need to listen to my kids and enjoy them.
-I need to exercise somehow to help my energy and motivation.
-I need to eat better so that I don't get that groggy, sluggish, foggy feeling any more than I get it from other things already.
-I need to be in the water and cool as much as possible
-I need to remember to laugh.
-I need to get enough sleep to be able to think.
-I need to remember to drink lots of water
-I need to be on here with people who encourage me and get it

Need I go on? On that note, I think it will be off to bed soon.

Hey, I got some pictures added to my photo gallery...the garden is in there.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILINGEYES2 5/29/2009 11:23AM

    Enjoyed your blog today. Also, enjoyed the other members' comments. The garden has several benefits including nutritional food, exercise, and quality family time. Best wishes.

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CALENSARIEL 5/29/2009 10:35AM

    Changing photos... Go to edit SparkPage. On the three at the left, click on the picture to change or (I assume) delete. Trying to delete pictures of friends? At the bottom of those pictures is a place to click Add/Remove... Picture at the right has a Change this image command at the bottom, and I had to click on Edit Photo Gallery three times to get it to open, but then you can edit and delete under each picture. Does that help?

Hamsters! I prefer to keep in mind the picture of the Gecko riding in the sports car with a human, bobbing his head to the music! (Geiko Commercial!) THAT'S where I want to be! The hamsters remind me of the Lily Tomlin quote: “The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.” Grin

There sure are a lot of folks who are getting together even to start gardens this year. You'll have to compare notes with Miss Twist. She grows veggies in her front yard cause she has such a small lot! I gotta go look at your pictures!!!

I was looking at your list of things you need to do. Boy, I'm learning how important sleep is. I'm taking a half of a Xanax at night to keep me from grinding my teeth, and it has been a God send. I fall asleep much more quickly and sleep much more deeply. When I wake up, I actually feel like I've slept. That has been so great. I really didn't realize how little sleep I was getting. It finally hit me that just because I was in bed 8 hours didn't mean I was getting good sleep.

Been praying for you, kiddo. Hang in there, and tackle that list one thing at a time.

Love & Hugs,
Calen~

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WANDAC2013 5/29/2009 1:44AM

    I loved your blog....I really relate to finding the good things and focusing on them rather than on the stressors.....And the garden, it's such a blessing isn't it. i haven't gotten my garden totally planted yet this year, but within the next week it should all be in the ground, ready for me to nurture and enjoy. This year has been really bad for me also...disastrous really...however the kids and i do have our health, we have a roof over our heads, and have found a church that we love and feel loved in.....what else matters? God bless you, your family, and your garden....i know what it means to barely function and want to give up....but we can't do that....you are right, it will pass. it always does, doesn't it? wanda

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LUCKYDUCK2 5/28/2009 11:48PM

    Oh Sweetie! I don't know how you handle it all!

Wish we were closer and could take some ME time together and just walk around the lake or on a bike path somewhere. SIGH

Sending a hug your way.

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