Saturday, January 15, 2011
It has been a really tough week for me and I am glad to have a weekend and a break from "stuff." I am really trying to do everything that needs to be done, but when you take family stress, financial stress, and work stress and add it to my health it doesn't shake out very well.
I have a small 403b fund that we put our little $25 into biweekly back when we were first married. The school district was required by federal law to only allow staff to use one company for such things and they chose another. It sits there with no activity, and we decided with 4 of our kids going to school this semester that it would make sense to cash it in and let it go to cover their expenses. I went to the people and got the paperwork, but it turned out that the school district had to sign off on it. After waiting almost a week, I was contacted by people to let me know that that just wasn't happening. I am still shell-shocked over this entire thing and have no back up plan for the kids. It seems that the people with the old plan have to follow the contract of the new plan--and they have a "no disability, no hardship" clause that says it cannot be redeemed until I reach age 59.5 and am severing my employment with the district. What in the world??? And why does that plan have to follow the new contract? I do not understand any of that and between the problem that nobody answers phone calls in my new building, my cell phone won't work there either, and that I have had a medical or physical therapy appointment every night after school--nobody has been able to get back to me to let me know if they could find a way to do this. I am angry and frustrated over this--I signed the paperwork to pay 20% income tax on the money and 5% state tax, it isn't as if it were going to be a gift--and it isn't like it was going to be a windfall either. This has sure thrown a monkey wrench into life around here.
Then there was the day that our internet service just went out. It just went out for no good reason. That's a frustration but add it to the list... My back started having spasms again Wednesday as well. Arggghhhhh, that's something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. They are all consuming and all you can do is use every technique for managing pain that you have (think of childbirth stuff) to ride them out until they are gone. I had trouble at physical therapy for my shoulder because I couldn't stay standing to do the great new exercises for my shoulder with the big ball. My PT told me that I should find another doc and get another opinion on my back (I told her my doctor's comment that "there was nothing surgical that he could do for me." and she agreed that there are other things besides surgery that help people to function. We talked about why I need my walker and how life would be nice if I could function more independently.) Anyway, I am trying to function and ignore this and it is still going on this morning.
Finally, my children are my children--but yesterday, my two guys who I worry about all of the time were in their full-blown AD/HD modes and I couldn't get hep to dress for work. I ended up wearing my big fat clothes because I can get them on by myself. I went to work all frustrated over their lack of support to find a million donuts everywhere. They had a couple of big school parties for honor roll and for perfect attendance last quarter. I took a donut and gave it to my husband. I left it alone and had a snack bar for my sweet tooth. We had an early dismissal day for training, but it was all stuff that doesn't pertain to me and I did a lot of physical work and managed to wear myself out, hurt myself and get frustrated over the materials and support that I don't have. It gets old that I am excluded from what the "Teachers" get and have and do in our building. MY ego understands that I am a teacher and a very important one, but it still wears old. I needed to laminate these cards for a reading program that belongs to the building and I needed to cut about a thousand pages of word cards. There was no paper cutter available and our laminator hasn't worked all year, so I contacted a friend of mine in another building. She came as I had trouble with the computer lab (because I have one ethernet cord to try and manage 5 computers that have to be online and nobody will get me the hub I need to make these things work, grr-rr. These things have been going on for the entire year and I have been so kind and calm and patient--but it all just made me crazy yesterday.) Anyway, my friend talked to me with "tough love" about preventing a heart attack or worse and not letting work do that to me. She is retiring next year for reasons like this. Then she took all of the laminating and cards with her to drop off to be managed by the district and their funds. Bless her, she was right and by the time my husband had gotten there, I was in a far better state.
That self-imposed calm didn't last long. When I got home, we found that my husband didn't get his regular overtime pay for this last payday--the holidays were on the weekend and even though he worked on the days that others had off, he got regular pay. That essentially meant our grocery and gas money was gone for the next two weeks. thank heavens I have working kids who will kick in and help, but it was the final punch in a week that hasn't let up. Our son that works at McD's bought dinner for the family and although I only had chicken nuggets--that was way out of the range of what I eat in calories and fat. Then I curled up in a ball under my electric blanket and took a nap. I missed going to the pool, but I think I needed what I did.
Anyway, the sun has risen today. My kids have come through for me and helped with a lot of issues. We will resolve the other stuff as well, we always do--and today, I am feeling better. I think I can honestly be myself and see how life is good.
Because it is!!
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Today was a productive day and I feel pretty satisfied about this first week of January and my efforts in reaching my goals. I have had a good week and have done all of the things I planned to do.
Today, I stayed on my eating plan--even after having a wonderful lunch with my best friend. I had a great salad at the restaurant, which is not always my choice but it looked so good and tasted that way too. It was a Chinese salad with water chestnuts and bean sprouts along with a couple of slices of chopped bacon and chow mein noodles. I didn't eat the dressing, so it stayed right in my plan.
I had an extra long workout today. My teacher son came along with me to the fitness center. He ran and worked out for quite a while, but eventually joined me in the pool. I had time to increase my reps and try some back stroke and back crawl with only one arm. It worked with a significant amount of effort--and left me comfortably fatigued. We enjoyed about ten minutes in the hot tub as well. My daughter was working, so she helped me with some of the intricacies of getting dressed without the use of my right arm, and that made things easier on me as well.
I went from the pool to school and spent about 4 hours working on my National Boards renewal. I have a few questions and am going to contact my original mentor on National Boards for some support. However, I feel more engaged int he activity having focused on it. It was a bit tricky because when I got to school, my first instinct was to work in my room and I stopped myself and did what I went for. I did bring homework with me, and I hope to do some of the work here tomorrow.
My family had dinner before I got home, so I had a nice fruit plate for my meal that was pretty satisfying. I am finally getting my SP activities in, but some days are like this.
It has been a busy week this week with a lot of disruptions to our regular schedule. Adding physical therapy and multiple doctor appointments to my schedule has taken quite a bit of time, but I have managed to stick with things my first week. (I was thinking today how I had teachers when I was in elementary school who referred to me as an "over-achiever." I think this week might have been a bit of evidence of that.) I appreciate the help from my Spark Friends and my co-leaders on Spark Teams who have jumped in and done extra because of my time restrictions. It means a lot to me to not have to choose between my activities here and my very important goals.
Life is good!!
Friday, January 07, 2011
About all I can say is I mentioned to some of you--or everyone, I don't quite remember, that I decided to go back to Weight Watchers for a while because I need the accountability right now of having someone else weigh me in. I was pretty unhappy at that first meeting a week ago today because I had gained 6 pounds since my weigh in before my surgery. A 6 pound gain over 3 weeks during the holidays while I was dealing with my post-op issues...hmm, I could see how that might have happened, but I didn't have to like it.
My daughter (JAZZTHEATRE88, not really active on SP these days--but feel free to leave her messages because maybe with enough emails from others, she will feel a need to come back, lol) joined along with me. She had to work tonight so we decided to go on Wednesday for our next meeting. It was crazy there--we got there 15 minutes early and ended up being in line during the entire meeting and got weighed in as the leader was dismissing everyone. I cannot believe we hung out, but I was determined to weigh in. I don't touch the scale between weigh ins because I can get crazy obsessed with the scale and weigh myself some 20 times a day.
Anyway, I was tickled silly to have lost 7.0 pounds--most of you have seen my feed so you know that and a few of you have asked how could a post-op person do such a feat... Good question, I asked it myself and I have a couple of theories. FIRST of all, I have been tracking my food relentlessly--both here and on the WW tracker and I bought one of their cute little calculator things for about $5.00. (A gadget--how clever those marketing folks at WW are!!) I am back to really looking at labels again and I had gotten a bit sloppy with that. SECONDLY, I am working out and working hard. I joined the Boot camp challenge again this year--and again, I find I cannot do several of the activities, but I am doing some things in their place. I also have faithfully gone to the pool each night and now that I am able to submerge my shoulder again, I am also aqua jogging again. (Swimming except for back stroke and back crawl are impossible one-handed.) I am going to physical therapy 3 times a week and we are also doing some exercises there--and I went back to work this week after a two week break. I had a big change in my roster, some 15 new students and I have had a lot of walking and physical activity as I am setting up everything for these children. THIRDLY, I have a suspicion that I was holding a lot of water weight due to some strange eating and being post-op. I had not quit tracking my food and my nutrition records didn't really justify that big 6 pound gain, even with the nibbles that didn't make it on there.
However, it did my heart good to see that scale show that loss. Any loss is motivating--and my daughter also lost 2.4 pounds and she was wearing her heavy jeans, so she was really happy. It is nice to be successful at whatever we are working at. SO--that is my story and I hope it answers your thoughtful and friendly questions.
My other updates are about my physical health and work, both things I mentioned above. Tuesday turned out to be a day of teacher prep for me. I am a horrible task-master when I am putting work on myself and I overdid it awfully. Taking so many new students--and I did also discontinue a few--puts me at 50 students a day. It was like the beginning f the school year all over again, only without the several days we have to get going. I carried, walked. lifted, bent over moved things, made copies, organized and simply pushed myself. I went the entire day with out my lunch time or any break at all. Then, I had to go from school to physical therapy. I could barely stand up and my back was having multiple spasms. At PT, she had me lie on the table as she worked my shoulder over and when it was time to get up, my poor back had me doubled over in pain for about 5 minutes. I will say this out loud: I KNOW BETTER THAN DOING THINGS LIKE THIS. I DO, I REALLY DO. Why did I abuse myself? I did it so I wouldn't have to go back to school or take work home. Geesh.... For my friends who have chronic pain issues, I hope you understand my need to live my life and not have this health stuff meddle every moment of every day with what I do. It seems like I have some strange need to check and see if it is still going to hurt to do "normal" things like everyone else. For myself and everyone, the reality is that I am simply my hardest task-master and I tend to work now and forget that I pay consequences later.
That's enough for now! I hope that everyone is staying focused on their January goals because that feeling of success in sticking with your plans will keep you going in the right direction.
Monday, January 03, 2011
This is how our day went...
We were late in taking our daughter to work because of a tire problem on the car.
I went to PT and she made me truly miserable today--but she is sure it is getting better and the range of motion measurements showed some nice gains.
There was nobody at the desk to give me my pain prescription both times we went to the hospital pain clinic.
We bought a new tire (which we needed) but it turned out the rim was damaged too.
We went to the store and bought some good food for lunch and some milk and so on, but I forgot part of what I needed for dinner.
We went back to get the tire fixed, but they had trouble getting the wheel off and needed my husband's permission to do something harsh to the thing.
We went to pay a bill and the office was closed for no reason I am aware of.
When we went to pick my daughter up from work, one of her friends showed up at the same time and they went to a movie.
We went to get our son for work and he and my other son argued needlessly for the entire car ride.
We went so my son could apply for a job we heard was open and after driving all of the way there, we found out it was online.
We picked my husband up from work and I simply was in pain with my shoulder and my need to go to the restroom.
I got home after the entire day in the car at the same time as my kids' bus pulled down our road. I didn't get to spend any time on myself during my last day of winter break.
And, after all of that--the guys took care of that dumb tire problem, my son cooked dinner with what was here, I went to the potty and took my pain meds, and I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out why my spark mails aren't all coming to me--I get the ones about team threads and my friends' pages, but none of the daily emails. I'm glad we can access them online. I am about to go to the pool will look up my day one bootcamp video when I get home.
I think I wasted this chilly, but sunshiny day.
Oh my, some days are like this.
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