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Wednesday 3/7 Anything That is Worthy Takes Time

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Hi all,

I was chatting on one of my teams in the middle of the night last night and I had a great big "aha" revelation. Anything that is worthy takes time. Hmm, I am going to repeat that, "Anything that is worthy takes time." So what am I talking about?

On the surface, I am talking about my recovery from surgery. I am feeling some anxiety over the fact that I am not feeling much better than I did when I came home from the hospital last Thursday. I am having from one to five spasms in my right arm each day--they seem to be getting stronger each time. That is enough to make me frightened. Spasms were messing with my ability to focus and function and I am starting to feel some anxiety when one starts. I need to NOT have spasms because they distract me from anything that I am doing. They aren't quite as painful, but that electrical, buzzing feeling is really lousy. I am aware that I was in agony for a while and that it took dozens of appointments, injections, and treatments to finally give my ailments a name and that it will take time to get me over the hurdle.

I am tired even though I am sleeping far more than I have slept in months. I sleep for a few hours at a time, but I am sleeping several times a day. This is an amazing achievement for someone who deals with layers of pain like I do. My former doctor explained some of the different types of pain that people have and she pointed out that due to the number of times and ways that I have had a scalpel in my spine that I have ALL of them. That is why we were having success, she was treating ALL of them and although we hadn't gotten to the worst of them, I was feeling better. I loved last summer--I was busy working, volunteering, playing at the water park, gardening, and being in the sun. I looked and felt good, for the first time in almost ten years. However, it took months to get me to that place--and as you all know, she is gone. (Note to everyone, I have been stalking her and I believe I found her working at the hospital in my husband's home town which is about two hours away. I may make an appointment to see her--I am not sure of her "assignment" at this hospital.) Anyway, my theory that anything worthy takes time, is a part of my experience with her treatment.

I can equate this to my healthy living and weight loss situation. I have, in the past, lost a good deal of weight fairly quickly. This time around, it didn't work like that. It took me a couple of years to lose over 140 pounds and I am still not quite in maintenance because I have lost height in all of this. (A friend asked me if it is possible that I regained some of my height with this cervical fusion. I will find this out the next time I am measured.) It has taken time because I needed to get past the mentality that this was about losing weight rather than gaining control of my life and living a healthy lifestyle. That means eliminating old habits and creating new ones. They are new enough that I believe my new habits are still in jeopardy as I heal from this surgery. Anything that is worthy needs to have a complete investment of time and talent. I am mostly there, but the downside to having surgery and the heavy-duty meds I am taking is that my thinking is a bit foggy yet.

Raising good, kind, honest, caring children takes at least a couple of decades. That is important to know and understand. I have taught my kids a lot of things that will help them be good people and I offer my help when they need it. However, it isn't until they take the reins and I can step back, do I see that they have heard me or watched me, or that they "get it." The golden rule is the singly most important thing for a parent to teach a child, (IMHO) and when I see them live it in spite of consequences, I feel proud all over. However, my children are in the young adult to mid-adolescent stages. I didn't see the results of my efforts when they were younger the way that I do now.

Becoming a sensitive and successful teacher didn't start with my first teaching job. It has taken 26 years of work with a variety of students with a variety of needs. It has also taken the modeling of a variety of quality teachers and staff members for me to see what looks right and gets the best results. I have my own unique list of personal staff development that includes years of training in Reading Recovery and my entire National Boards experience that gave me the gift of self-reflection. I had to learn why reflection is important and the role that it plays in strengthening my instruction. The original process took an entire school year as did the renewal process. Earning my Master's degree took two and a half years and it takes a year of training to become a Reading Recovery teacher plus ongoing staff development from then on. I do not believe that any of these opportunities stands alone in helping me to be good at my work--and I suspect the strongest professional development for me has come from my observations of my own children's teachers. The sum of those things add up to about 57 years, That has taken a good deal of time.

And I am a work in progress. I hope that I never am content with the "way things are" and that I continue to reflect and work towards goals that make me wiser, healthier, more like Jesus, and a better human being in general. I suspect that the next leg on my trip as a human being would surprise me right now, but when I get there it will make perfect sense because "anything that is worthy takes time." I can do this--and so can you. It's a great time to reflect on our goals and see where spring time should take us. I know that with the change to daylight savings time, the budding of trees and spring flowers, the arrival of robins, the final term of an overly busy school year and the end of my children attending the junior high school out here, that I will notice what I need to do to grow as a human being.

Anything that is worthy takes time. I will try and be patient as I heal from this big surgery. That is what I must take the time to do right now. And I must do it carefully and correctly.

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 3/9/2012 1:55PM

    So true, Sylvia. I'm sure that your doctors have told you that it often takes weeks to completely recover from the effects of surgery. Hopefully the spasms will diminish over time until they are completely gone.

You are an amazing person in every way. A gifted teacher, devoted mother, good wife, and child of God. You will succeed with this challenge as well.

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_LINDA 3/8/2012 12:28AM

    I would say you have gone through a lot longer journey to recovery then is really fair. This worries me that you are still having these spasms -have you seen your Dr. about them for an explanation? I hope you find this wonderful Dr. that moved away and can see her. It would be worth the time and expense if she helped you so much..
All the hard work you do as a wife, mother and teacher in spite of severe disabilities should be a good role model for your children to follow. You set the bar high and are a great inspiration to anyone else dealing with the same issues of work, disease and caring for a family!
You are an awesome woman and it saddens me to hear of you suffering so much when you are trying to be the best that you can be! Oh if only we could trade these bodies in for new models!!!
Take care of yourself,
{{{gentle hugs}}},
Linda

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SLNA111 3/7/2012 4:54PM

    That's a huge insight - to be careful, kind, and patient with yourself. You're worth giving yourself the space to heal and grow. I hope you see progress soon. emoticon

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Monday 3/5 I'm trying to take care of me

Monday, March 05, 2012

Hi Everyone,

Why is it so hard to take care of myself? I have handled a number of things today, but not one of them was for me. I napped off and on through most of the morning, but I got my books ready to go to the school for our guest readers to consider using. I also helped get my son to pay the phone bill. I worked on some of my homework, but my focus was not good enough to take the midterm. The teacher gave me "as much time as I need." I also made an appointment for our youngest son at the doctor. He says his ears are hurting. They look like they are a bit inflamed, so we are going to have them checked at 7 tomorrow morning.

{{I do not know why this thing posted--I wasn't done yet!}}

I was totally surprised when I went online to find out that I was MOD. I am not sure that I deserve this as much this time as I did the other time. My personal goals are all about healing and getting over this awful pain I have been having. I am trying to watch portion control and to eat extra protein foods than I normally do. This is what my neurosurgeon told me that I needed to do in order to have the fusion take and heal. I do I hope that I offer some help and inspiration to others, but I have also been so tied up and busy with work, personal health and getting in my exercise. I cannot even get to my dearest spark friend's spark pages. I get a bit of "catch up time" on weekends, but that competes with my homework. Anyway, I am not so sure that I deserve this, but I appreciate the votes from all of you in my efforts to be healthy.

I spent part of the afternoon napping and trying to work online a bit. I got cleaned up and went to school. My husband mixed up the time to pick me up, so I walked some laps while I waited. It gave me a chance to get some exercise in--although walking in the pool works a lot easier for me. I am managing to get in at least an hour of walking each day--it isn't my typical work out, but it is some work,

I am really trying to put what I need first-but any mother knows that they really have to put their family first. I think it is okay and that this is the way the world really works. Tomorrow will be my day for fussing at my family to do chores. If I accomplish that, I will really be happy.

On the healing front, I'm a lot the same as I have been since I came home. Swallowing is very hard--my meds and even really chewed food get stuck in my throat. My bruise looks the same. I am very sleepy and I am doing a lot of that

Again, thanks for making me MOD. Even more, thanks for being my spark friends and helping to keep me on track, caring for my own needs. I appreciate you all.

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 3/6/2012 12:37AM

    I do hope you can take as much time for yourself to heal as you can. So glad your teacher was reasonable with your exam!
Sleep is sooo good for you, do take all your body gives you, it can heal better and quicker at rest..I am sure if I got the proper sleep I would have less issues with muscle aches and of course wouldn't be a zombie for most of the afternoon.
Try just having fruit and veggie shakes, much easier on sore throats. I remember enjoying a milkshake diet when I had a throat issue, but it was the Dairy Queen kind, not the healthy ones I have now.
Sylvia, you don't actually have to do anything but be your amazing self to inspire others! What you have been going through and yet still managing to work and keep a busy big household makes most people realize that their problems pale by comparison. You so deserve MOD!
Keep on the amazing work and don't worry about getting around to your friend's blogs, we can all see how busy you are!!
Take care of yourself!
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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MKPRINCESS007 3/6/2012 12:15AM

    Please do take care of yourself........you are so important to so many!

Thinking of you.......

Karen

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MORTICIAADDAMS 3/5/2012 10:27PM

    Sylvia, we know what a good person you are and that you care for us. Right now we want you to heal and we want you to know that you have our support. You supported us when you were able and now it's our turn to support you.

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Sunday 3/4 It takes time to heal (Photo included)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hi there,

I just finished my Saturday blog a short while ago, but I seem to be wide awake (for a while anyway, since I just took my meds...) I have been thinking about how miserable I have been for so long--I saw the first doctor about this on January 4 and after almost 3 months, 6 doctors and more than a dozen appointments that included a variety of tests, injections, 2 epidurals while I was busy being mom and teacher and trying to exercise and take care of the parts of my body I could help, I finally got some help with this that worked. I turned in over $450 in prescriptions to the flex plan at work over this period of time. I guess if I wanted a true accounting, all I need to do is go back and read the blogs I wrote here because none of them were very positive. I spent hours crying and being awake trying to cope with endless spasms. I had 4 total spasms today and with each one, I cringed at first--they weren't as long or painful as the ones I had through Wednesday, but I am now conditioned to be nervous when they rear their ugly head.

The point of this is that I just went in the bathroom and I snapped a photo of my neck so you could see what "being better" looks like. When you see this, you will have a more complete picture of how "awful" my before was--even though it didn't look so bad!

I hope to enjoy church and some walking at the pool today. I hope that you get to enjoy some good things today as well!
Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

This is how my neck and throat area look 3 days post-op. The bandage is small and it is hard to see the opening from the drain. It sealed up pretty quickly. I have a collar to wear over this for about a week and then, the doc wants it off. My body does have some work to do and I will help it by eating healthy and following directions. I can certainly do this!!
I'll take another photo in a few days and I'll show you!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 3/5/2012 4:20PM

    Quite a bruise on your neck but at least you are healing now and the worst is over.

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JRSWHIMSY 3/5/2012 10:46AM

    I am ridiculously happy that things are better for you!!

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_LINDA 3/5/2012 12:28AM

    That certainly is quite the bruising -makes me sore just thinking about it :( Sorry you still had spasms, even if they weren't as bad..
I hope you can go to the church and pool..
Feel better soon..
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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HOPEFULSNAIL204 3/4/2012 9:19PM

  I knew that you were a colorful person but now I can SEE it for myself!
Yes, it certainly does take time to heal, so be good to yourself. I hope you enjoyed your church service today. Blessings emoticon

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DETERMINEDJANET 3/4/2012 5:14PM

    Yikes! That is a gorgeous bruise you're sporting there girlfriend! Glad you are feeling better.

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FELINA 3/4/2012 10:07AM

    That's an incredible bruise. What a battle scar ! But good that the surgery is over and you're now on the recovery road.
emoticon

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MTNGRL 3/4/2012 8:35AM

    Sylvia, that is some post op pic. Even tho your are bruised knowing that this is better than it was and you will no longer have those painful spasms is so good news.
Please rest and take time for your self.


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GOATS03 3/4/2012 2:43AM

    OMG..WOW...that is some bruise you have there..I'm so sorry to hear all that you've had to go through. My heart goes out to you.

Hugs
Sue

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Saturday 3/3 A quiet day

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hi all,

I'm not feeling quite as good today. My throat is sore--diet hot chocolate seems to soothe it some. My neck hurts and my collar annoys it. I am a bit cold or a lot warm. I did some walking today and some homework/ paperwork between napping. I am definitely tired. I have kept things quiet.

It was Marissa's solo and ensemble contest today. Mitchell went and listened to the music and volunteered in my place. I sure do have good kids. Marshall took Micah to his bowling league and took care of lunch for the kids while my husband was working.

I confirmed my guest readers for school today. I hope that I will feel up to going to church tomorrow. I have a take home exam due on Monday--but I may not be up to doing all of that writing. I have a presentation due in class Monday night as well. I have had that ready for a few weeks, so if I can talk, I can do it. My voice is sore and scratchy.

Micah has finished his Confirmation essay and our pastor did some editing. Micah will need to read it to the congregation the week before Palm Sunday. That's a big day for those eighth graders. On Palm Sunday, the kids have their turn foir the "laying of the hands" as they make their commitments to God and the church. After that, there is a big party for them from the congregation. They get lots of gifts and money and that is when we take our kids down to start their first savings account. After that, we buy them a stack of "thank you cards" and I teach them how to write a nice note to the people who went out of their way to give them a gift. It is kind of neat how their life in the church comes together with their life as a responsible person.

I think I am going to get ready to sleep after I take some meds. I have cut the amount of percoset in half that I was taking because it was too much and it makes me go sound asleep whether I need to or not. I hope that a good night of sleep will calm down the way I am feeling today so that I can go to church for communion.

Take care, my friends!
Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 3/5/2012 4:19PM

    I am so glad your children are supportive. They are great kids. But I also don't approve of you having this school work to do while you need to be resting. It can wait.

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_LINDA 3/5/2012 12:24AM

    So sorry you had to miss Marissa' solo :( That is wonderful your boys are stepping up to help out.
It might be better if you did sleep. Its the best healer. Allow yourself to rest and recover as much as you can.
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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MTNGRL 3/4/2012 8:39AM

    Reading about Micah's pending Confirmation is so touching. It brought back memories of my own and and children's. What a special day.
Perfect lessons he is learning with your guidance.

Pray you got to church today. Hugs.

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GOATS03 3/4/2012 12:59AM

    Wishing you a good night's sleep! Get well soon..sending you positive energy and prayers.

Hugs
Sue

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Thursday, 3/1 Post-op Report

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Hi there,

I am certainly in the hospital. The kind third shift nurse had to take my vitals at 3:30 and apologized for waking me up. They have to do such things and it is just a part of being int he hospital.

My surgery took 4 1/2 hours. My pain doctor got to be my anesthesiologist like we both requested. Before I went into the OR, he came and told me that when he had the same procedure, he woke up in terrible pain and burning in his neck and throat. He said that the anesthesiologist had caused his problem because when the doctor needed to open up the throat, they blow a tube full of air to give the surgeon a good view and access to the area. He said that his anesthesiologist did not inflate the bubble when it needed to be moved and that caused the inside of his neck and throat to be scraped all of the way across. He then explained that he had a procedure where he used two bubbles to do that and how he would inflate and deflate and not move any air bubble that was inflated. I was told to expect a really sore throat and it never hurt at all yesterday. Now that I am awake, I am noticing it is a bit sore, I have a bedside container of cepastat and I probably should get some pain medication. There is no good reason to let things hurt.

I'm back. After they visited me, I had about ten more minutes to wait and that is when those doggoned spasms got started. I had three of them in a row. It was time to go to the OR. They wheeled my in my bed, and had me slide onto the table which is when I had a problem. I sleep in a recliner because all of the damage in my lower back and the fusion I had in it just doesn't let me lie down flat. My anesthesiologist was right there and had them elevate my head. I started having spasms again and he gave me some medicine. I counted five spasms and the next thing I knew was that I was in recovery. It took 4 and 1/2 hours. The surgeon reported to my husband that there were several bone spurs clamping down on the nerves to my arm and that he was surprised at the extent of what was going on in there--the NRI didn't show all of that. My anesthesiologist and I had talked at my last appointment and he told me what I had already guessed, that when I fell on November 30, it knocked some things around and loose which is why I had the "sudden" issue after they relieved the pain in my extremities with enough injections to settle anything down. I have thought that all along, good to have a doctor who is listening and who respects my opinion.

When I was in recovery, it was my lower back that was seriously in pain. I was again flat on my back and had most likely been that way in surgery. They had to do a few things--I needed some ice chips too. Again, my anesthesiologist came to the rescue. He told them to get me turned off of my back and he put some medicine into my IV. Talk about your "johnny on the spot!" He is just so good and so experienced that I am guessing he knows when he is needed and what he is needed for. He is still riding on that scooter to take care of his foot after his multiple surgeries and bone breaks. Sometimes, his joking and mannerisms remind me of a good natured little boy. emoticon

I have been receiving top notch care, which is good because what has going on at school has been just awful. The principal decided to try to get a sub for me, even though they never do that Monday evening. I don't even have a sub plan and my work is so specific that I don't know how to have someone else do it. (It would be like getting a PE teacher to do physical therapy.) I spent over 5 hours on Tuesday writing lists and notes. Add to that the changes in schedule for 7 of the 8 days I am not at work which means a lot of other issues. When I opened my email after I had surgery, I had one from the principal needing a pile of paperwork that I am the only one who can get it for her. I have to collect data on a student that covers 3 years of service, and have it organized for a conference by Wednesday. I still haven't finished my report cards because I had to do all of the planning for the sub. She is just mean. I am going to have to go there and do it, otherwise she will start going through all of my things and I don't even feel like dealing with that.

I have a bit of shopping to do--I found a beautiful prom dress for Marissa and have been given the "go-ahead" by my daughter and husband to buy it. It is burgandy with a semi halter top and beautiful beadwork with a bell shaped flowing skirt at the bottom. I will have one important thing done ahead of time with plenty of time for shipping.

Thank you all for your kind words and support. I feel like you are all here with me cheering me on. I will be chatting with you off and on during the next several days, along with doing report cards and catching up on my homework. I have good things to do and a computer--that works well for me. My day time nurse just came in to introduce herself and ask if I could use anything--she is getting me some better tasting cough drops, planning to cut my pain pills in half so I can swallow them better, fresh water and she let me take the collar off for a rest. Life could be worse--and I have no spasms!!

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOATS03 3/2/2012 12:33AM

    Glad to hear that your surgery went well and that you're on the mend.

Don't overdo it and take care of yourself.

Hugs
Sue

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_LINDA 3/1/2012 5:57PM

    Wow! That pain Dr. of your is something very special -so glad you have him right there on your side -its great you are getting such great care from a guy who has been there himself and knows what is what it doesn't get any better than that! Great news you don't have the bad pain in the throat they were predicting and no spasms -that is wonderful!!
As for your work, they can't leave alone even on your hospital bed?? That is just so out there. Did they just drop this request of this 3 year study on a student now, or did you have any warning it was coming, sounds strange they would do that last minute with a conference coming up so soon..It is a shame that you have to do all this work just for a sub :-/
That sounds awesome on the prom dress! Another child graduating -do you find it happening too fast?
Wishing for you a pain free and speedy recovery (hopefully you have your amazing pain Dr on speed dial),
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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MKPRINCESS007 3/1/2012 4:34PM

    I am so pleased that you are recovering and you are on the "other side" of the surgery! What a blessing!

Please do follow the doctor's orders and don't push your recovery too hard.

Wishing you hugs and best wishes!
Karen

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HOPEFULSNAIL204 3/1/2012 3:59PM

  No spasms! That's wonderful! I am relieved that you are getting top notch care. It was a Godsend that your pain doctor could be the
anesthesiologist for the surgery. Thank you for giving us the news. I hope your recovery will run smoothly. I hope the principal can get a better tactic than to bother you right after surgery. It should tell her something that she can't deal with things when your gone.
Blessings emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 3/1/2012 2:47PM

    It sounds like things are definitely looking up. I'm very relieved that are doing so well. I am also irritated at the childishness of your boss. You should be resting not dealing with more of her bull crap.

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JRSWHIMSY 3/1/2012 10:45AM

    I'm so glad you're getting taken care of, Sylvia!!! *hugs*

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