Saturday, October 15, 2011
Warning--This is not going to be the most pleasant, upbeat blog, so don't read any further if you don't feel like hearing some whining.
I am miserable today. Part of it is my fault because I have been working harder than I should have been. I am irritated with my body because I have some gift to share and it is trying to interfere. However, if I want a group of immigrant children to have a basket of books and some help reading them, I will get up to the third floor and take them with me.
Pain interferes with my life. It tries to change my plans. The aching in my back and my left hand wants me to leave things and get someone else to do things like vacuuming but who else is going to do it NOW? I don't want to wait because if I am doing something now, I can keep my body working--once I stop, it might not let me go again. Pain tries to convince me that I shouldn't do important things that need to be done. If a child needs new books in their baskets, I am going to ignore the paint hat doesn't want me bending, reaching, and/or lifting to get the job done. Children need me to help them read.
Pain changes my mood--who I am. I can start out as my typical, positive self and the screaming pain I get in my lower back can change my mood to grumpy, irritated, impatient. If I work hard to get past that, I can end up sad, blue, depressed. It escalates when I don't get enough sleep because the throbbing in my right hip is alternating with the aching in my lower back. That little duet can steal a night of sleep quite easily.
Pain is costly. It takes my time as well as our resources. I have a lot of appointments to fit into my already busy schedule. Physical therapy, doctors, tests, picking up prescriptions, time at the pharmacy... I have to get all of that done in the midst of my life. I have about six doctors who I see regularly over these issues. I hate to admit the amount I spend on medicine and patches. It is a small fortune.
BUT--pain makes me determined to fight it and go on with my life. I can do the things I was put here on the earth to do. I believe that I am a gifted teacher and I have skills that work well with children who need something special. I can do many things and do them well.
My body is a battleground due to pain. It drives me crazy a good deal of the time, but I win each and every battle in my own time. Pain is an undesirable nuisance. It shouldn't happen to anybody, but the most important part is to not let it win.
Quite honestly, I am sick of it. I'd like to wake up one morning with a full night of sleep and a body that doesn't need an extra hour to get moving. I would like to be able to get into the shower here without having help and I'e like to start my day with energy rather than having it all spent from fighting pain. I do okay for a few hours after I swallow my meds--but by 11 at the latest, I am looking for the thing to keep me going. I might choose to cream up my back with my specially compounded cream and if I don't have time for that, I grab my back brace. I take more meds around 1 and get to the end of my work day. I go to the pool as early as I can get in because the water soothes me for the time I am there... Then I get home and when it is bedtime, I recline in a chair because I cannot lie down. The war between what hurts the most gets started and I try to ice things or heat them and soothe my body so that I can get some rest--before the next day comes and the next war.
Anyway, I fight this the best that I can, but today, it is lousy. I am going to keep a promise to take my kids to the zoo and to the haunted hayrack ride with our church tonight. I don't know how I am going to do these things, but I will because:
PAIN makes me determined and accomplished above all.
That said, I am leaving to do just that.
Thanks for listening to me whine, if you have gotten this far.
Best wishes to you, my friends!!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Yesterday wore me out! It was a lot to ask of anyone. I started with an overloaded medical desk at the hospital. It was really crowded and I considered offering to go away, but I knew that somebody would figure that out. I had my mammogram and it was one of the least uncomfortable that I have ever had. I am a bit worried about that though, because the last time I had one that didn't torture me, I had to do the entire thing over. Part of my problem with mammograms is that the machine hits me right on a surgical scar and that hurts awfully. Part of it,I think, is because of my fibromyalgia. They tell me that they don't hurt most women, so it must be something quirky about my anatomy.
That took me to the bone density test. Funny thing, I had gained 2 pounds from my last weigh in and my morning weigh in and I had lost 2.25 more inches since the doc measured me last. I mentioned it, but the nurse didn't read it as significant. Hmmm... Anyway, it wasn't pleasant for me. First, they had to have me lie flat on my back--of course. Next, the thing at the top had to run over my back, moving an inch or so every several seconds. Then, the tech told me that they would do my legs, but that she would have to do my forearm as well. I had told her about my back prior to the test, but I am guessing that she had to see shat was there to determine it would be a problem. Anyway, I was getting pretty sore from lying on my back when she told me that I needed to point my toes inward. That is something that the problem in my hips won't allow me to do, so she used a band and tied my feet in that position. The same test occurred and she untied my feet. Next, I she placed my left forearm on a small metal sheet and did the same test on it, By the time I was able to get back in an upright position, I was having one back spasm after another. It took me about ten minutes before they passed and I was able to stand up.
I had stopped at the church before going to the hospital and introduced myself to the children--there were about 27 children there who spoke varying levels of English from grades kindergarten to 7. I stopped and made myself a nice lunch of a wrap, a nectarine, and a half of a banana before going back. I worked hard when I got back determining reading levels of the children who stayed after they were served lunch. (There were about 18-20 left then.) It took me another hour to reorganize the books by level and to create a book basket that was appropriate for each child.
My next appointment started at 3:15. I got a lot of information while I was with Dr. Miller. She is such a wonderful doctor. They had made a copy of each of the reports from my tests for me and we talked about them. The EMG determined that I have severe carpal tunnel syndrome with about 4 issues in the left and mild carpal tunnel in the right with two issues that she noted. The MRI revealed multilevel spinal stenosis if the canal that is causing nerves to be pinched in my neck and shoulders. C4-5, C5-6. C6-7 all have damage along with some large bone spurs which are inhibiting the movement of my neck. The x-ray was of little help but supported that information and noted arthritic changes down my entire upper spine.
The results mean that I need several different treatments. I will need surgery on my left wrist because the carpal tunnel is too severe for other treatments to help. I will need to wear a night splint on my right hand to treat the carpal tunnel there. I will also need neck traction and my doctor thinks rather than doing that with physical therapy and/or through the hospital that I can do this myself and is setting me up to meet the consultant who supplies traction machines. She said that my insurance company will rent the machine and if it helps me, that she will write the next prescription for them to purchase it. I also will need injections for both of my shoulders because the nerve impingements are causing shoulder pain particularly around the rotator cuff tendon that I had surgery on last year. To top it off, my lower back is having issues again, with all of the physical work I have been doing and I will need to repeat those injections as well.
I have four appointments scheduled with her, each of the coming weeks. I am waiting for an OS to call about my surgery--I hope my favorite guy does this procedure, if not, I will ask for the guy who did my last hand surgeries to do it because he specializes in hands. I am also waiting for the medical supply person to cll me about the neck traction machine. Dr. Miller has her do this consultation in her office so that she is available for any questions and fo her to oversee that the equipment matches what she knows I need. She did the same thing when I was fitted for my back brace. I left that appointment at 5:20. There was no sitting and waiting time while I was there, I was with the doctor most of the time--she really does patient care. I appreciate her so much. By the time I left, I understood each piece of information that I received and my treatment options and suggestions.
We came home and had a baked chicken and veggies dinner before I went to the pool. I had a nice workout, there were no children in the pool last evening. I spent my time between appointments while riding in the car reading materials for my class. I have so many things to do that I feel scattered rather than my typically organized self. Today, I have the two reading clubs I am doing at my school, the program at the church, a follow up meeting at the child abuse council for our summer program, and completing my homework as well as going to the pool and caring for my family. this may be the busiest break I have ever had, but it is all good activity that I am enjoying. I cannot admit that I get to use my gifts to my full potential at work on a regular basis. I have a lot of talent and skill to offer and it is fun and challenging to be able to do so. I am enjoying this time mostly because I am in charge of me. I suspect that this might be a sign of what my retirement may look like way off in the future. (I know that I am not ready for that.)
I did have a tough night. I have a lot of lousy minor pain, probably from the time on the table yesterday and climbing stairs at the church. I actually worked up a sweat while I was there. The pool helped, but I have to get out of the water at some point. It is a funny thing about the pool--I can do so many things in the water that I cannot do on land and it is soothing. It is as if the water takes the pain and the negative energy out of my body and replaces it with calm and soothing feelings. On a really positive note, I am doing a lot more swimming along with my exercises these days. I am pleasantly surprised that I can do laps and do all four of the types of swimming strokes I know. Front crawl or free style has always been tough for me, but I am getting better and better at it. I think it won't be long before I can start planning to swim a half mile at my workouts!! After I work out, I generally go and shower off, and I spend about 15 minutes in the sauna. That dry heat tops off my workout with relaxation that cleanses the rest of my body. It is unbelievable how I feel when I am ready to leave the fitness center.
I will be busy today and tomorrow is my class night. However, I have moments of "me time" built in and I will be around, sparking. I hope to see you while I am here... Take care of yourselves in mind and body both!!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Time is really flying by--and I don't know if it is good or bad, but I was thinking that when I signed up for Spark People 3+ years ago that many things have happened that nobody, especially me, could have predicted.
I am still here and active in the community (at least as active as someone with my life can be.) I log in and post everyday--and I spend time in the message boards too. I blog and read blogs a little less regularly, but I get to them as I find spare time. My friends here are never far from my thoughts and the reason for that is two-fold. One, my spark friends keep me going when I am having a hard time with encouragement and reminders of both my past success and what works. Two, I have learned to care about my friends here and I am the kind of friend who doesn't let people down. I have told you before that you all are the best!!
I am still in onederland and "at my goal." This is the longest that I have ever maintained a goal weight in a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. I have more weight to lose since I have lost 2.5 inches of my height. I'm in an awkward place with my weight right now because I have lost 2.5 inches of my height and I have more weight to lose to be at the goal for this height. However, I am glad to know this and I am heading in the right direction.
I am back in school--at age 56! I am, in essence working on a half of a master's degree when I considered myself through with my "official" education in 2004 after I reached my masters plus 45 hours. I am so excited about the classes I am taking and it isn't easy adding this to my already busy life, but it is a really good thing for me. School has always been a positive in my life, and that hasn't changed. I am learning a lot about English language learners and the need they bring. Our area has had a great deal of resettlements of African and Asian refugees, and these amazing people who have survived attacks on life and limb deserve a quality education. I work with many of their children and I am proud to be stepping to the plate to give them my best.
My health is sound and although weight loss cannot rescue my muscular-skeletal problems, my internal health is as good as anyone else. I no longer seem to have any issues with my heart or blood pressure. I go to my appointments and they are awkward while filled with good news. The doctors have no reason to even provide me with medication and their tests back up how I feel. I am doing fine with treatments for fibromyalgia, arthritis, and nerve damage along with vitamin D and B12. This is certainly indicative of what weight loss and healthy eating causes.
I have learned to stand up for myself. I am a worthy person and even though a person I work with who has "official" power has chosen me to pick at and on, I am standing up for myself. I am not "suffering in silence" anymore. As a child and a young adult, I was called names and picked on by a lot of people with their reason being that I was overweight and a great target for such things. As an adult, I have chosen to sit in the back of the room and stay "out of people's way." I am NOT that person anymore. I have been selected to be picked on by someone at work and it has reverted to some of that name calling from when I was much younger. I am different though. I now recognize my own value and my own worth and I do not have to accept this type of thing any more. I stood up to her and simply said, "This is not true." I have went over her head and have allies who understand how she treats others. Yesterday, a similar thing was tried with me again over my work evaluation. I held her accountable--and she backed down. It is amazing and I wonder how much suffering in my life may have been put to an end if I could have stood up for myself and defended my own worthiness. All I know is that I didn't even stand up to this same person who did similar things to me six years ago and the thing that is different is that I started sparking and I became healthier in many ways. I have lost 140+ pounds and I have taken control of my life and my world. I am worthy of decent treatment by others--just as any other person.
Today, I am about to go to my church for a while and help set up a two week reading program for the children of refugees before I head to the hospital for my mammogram and bone density test. I will go back to the church before my afternoon appointment with a doctor who is changing my life. I found her because I stood up against my previous back doctor who tried to bully me by ignoring my needs and condition. Learning how to take care of myself with people is a big deal. My new doctor listens to me and respects what I have to say. She acts on my information and understands that I am an intelligent and responsible person. I will find out today if my cervical spine is linked to the nerve damage in my left hand. I will find out today about the surgery and treatment I need to get the feeling back in my hand and how to best care for myself.
Mostly, today, I am taking care of myself. I am helping others. I am being the person I am and can be. Being overweight (still? again?) Walker or no walker. I am going to take care of myself and I am going to be my best without any bullies getting in the way of things. I am doing it without tons of medication keeping me going, without issues in my heart and with my blood pressure, and without over 140 pounds that used to be part of me. I am getting better everyday and I am in this for what is best for myself, my family and the others around me. I have a lot of gifts and I am able to share them.
Things are so much better for me than they were before I started Sparking. I am here for the long haul, one day at a time. I will keep tracking my food and activity and I will keep reading articles and getting even better.
Take care my Spark Friends. Life is good--and it is getting better!!!
Sunday, October 09, 2011
I think it is time for me to do something different. I am on our fall break and I have a lot of volunteering, medical appointments, and homework in my plans. However, there should be a few minutes in this next two weeks for something else. I have decided it is going to be about me. Yes, about lil ole me.
I am going to take enough time at the fitness center to do my work out and swim--and to use the hot tub, sauna, bike and anything else that crosses my mind. Why not? I pay for my membership and some of my time is mine.
I am going to read something besides school work. I think I have four weeks of my soap magazines around here that I haven't even touched. And speaking of soaps--I am going to watch some of them too. My favorite (Days of Our Lives) is still on the air even if they did cancel All My Children. I hate that it looks like the television execs are trying to kill the genre. I am not a big TV person and don't know anything that is currently on--but I like my absolute escape from reality soaps. I used to watch ER--and before that Dynasty, but I am not much of a TV person. There is so much to do in our lives that that is the thing that became disposable.
I want to go to an orchard and/or a pumpkin patch so that we can get some fresh fruit and have a bit of fun in the process. My youngest son will enjoy doing this with me. I think the idea of wearing jeans and a sweater if need be and picking some apples will be a nice trip from what we usually do. Tomorrow is a school holiday and maybe I can squeeze it in.
I also want to go to my son's school--I think it would be good to let them know I am still around and viable. I had class the night of his open house, so I didn't make it then. It might be the best proactive thing I can do for him.
I am also going to Spark a bit more and play online too. I may do some cleaning around here--but I am thinking that I might simply boss the others around. What do you think?
The weather's supposed to be beautiful--I have heard that temps might get into the 80's this week. Yummy, I love that idea and I hope it's so. I wish that you all can get what you want too, even if we all only get it for a day or two.
Be good to yourselves!
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I wanted to take a few minutes to describe my accomplishments so far this week...
*I have gotten in two hours of exercise at the pool each day.
*I finished my 60 progress reports, made copies and sent them to the appropriate teachers.
*I attended a Webinar today to help pilot a PBS program for teachers that is coming.
*I have done my lessons for my students along with some up to date informal assessments.
*I helped to sort out issues for three needy children in our school today--and none of them were even mine.
*I have completed 5 homework assignments and read two more articles.
*I worked in my yard on Sunday.
That takes me to what is left for me to do...
*I have to attend parent teacher conferences tomorrow after school, Thurday from noon to eight, and Friday from eight to noon.
*I have a midterm, three chapters to read, and four more assignments to write before Friday.
*I have one doctor's appointment that conflicts with my after school work on Wednesday--I am going to the doctor.
*I have my regular Thursday night class that conflicts with conferences--conferences come first.
*I have my weekend class this week, Friday at 4 and Saturday from 8-3.
*I want to get to the pool each day and that will be tricky too.
*I have to plan what I am going to do during my reading club and at the church with RLLs
*Avoid the potluck/ eating frenzy that will be at school for parent-teacher conferences.
Anyway, now that I have made my list, I know what I have to do--so here I go. I am starting the second half of the week with a tough agenda. Knowing what is coming will help me to get myself organized and focused. I can do all of this, eat in a healthy fashion and give my body the activity it needs so that I can keep going. I know what is important and I can do it.
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