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Tuesday 3/13 Keeping my spirits up

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hi everyone,

I went to the doctor yesterday, They took x-rays and the nurse removed the bandage from my neck. The doctor came in and was happy with the way my incision site looked. I had to report back to him that I am having some spasms in my right arm again. He seemed to change his entire demeanor with me. He told me that he cleared out every bone spur that was in my neck and linking to the nerve to my arm. He pointed out that I have a lot of other arthritis. He wanted to know how much pain relief I am having and I told him that with the pain meds, I'd guess 70%. That made him quite happy, then he told me that the x-rays looked wonderful and that he would see me in ten weeks. I kind of felt like my concerns about the return of the spasms wasn't at all important.

In the afternoon, I had an appointment with my rheumy. He is a distinguished gentleman and a wonderful doctor. He seemed disappointed that I had done the surgery on my neck. He told me that arm issues like I described are often the result of fibromyalgia. I was a bit shocked. He always does a complete physical and we talked about all of the injections I have had and he definitely isn't a fan of those either. He told me that the negative side effects of these injections can make them a liability. He noted that I am very tender and that as long as we have known each other, I have been in a significant fibro flare. I know that, in over ten years, I always suffer after he checks the tender spots of fibro. Before we were through, he told me that before I let anyone touch my neck again that I needed to insist on a nerve test (EMG) to make sure that I was really dealing with a nerve issue.

I know that I am better, but I am not perfect. I have these spasms that aren't as earth shattering as before, but that interrupt my thinking just the same. I no longer have this neck and shoulder pain that screams and leaves me totally disables and I am no longer crying for long periods of time.

Anyway, after I saw these doctors yesterday, I felt as if I was simply ijn my own and that they are here to do what they are skilled at, but the problem is mine. It left me feeling a bit empty. However, today, I am past that and back to myself. I went to the pool today and did as much as I could. I have been working on taxes for my kids, reading National Board entries for a candidate, and my homework, I have plenty to keep me busy for a long, long time.

I do feel better, but living with my neck in this post op manner is a new deal for me. It is sore here and there. I don't know what to expect until I notice it. I am only wearing my collar when I am going to be walking a lot or I am at the pool for now, so that I don't inadvertently cause myself a lot of pain by moving abruptly.

I received a get well card from the people I work with today. It was well, almost an after thought and it didn't mean much in the spectrum of things. I think I have to learn that my life isn't connected to anyone that I work with and that I shouldn't expect any real support at school. I also refuse to take inappropriate criticism fron anyone there either.

We are supposed to have temperatures in the 70s this week. Wow. We have so many signs of spring around here that are all too early for us. I am wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. Maybe this is the consolation prize after the weather from last year. It just makes me feel a bit nervous because the weather works in mysterious ways.

f have ots on my mind right now.
Gemtle Hugs,
Sylvia

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 3/16/2012 12:24PM

    It sounds like the surgery was warranted. It could be that your problems are a combo of both things. I tend to think many times are physical problems are. At any rate you are the best judge of what is and isn't and you know if you are in pain or not. And that is what really matters. Getting rid of the pain and keeping function.

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_LINDA 3/14/2012 8:40PM

    So very sorry you are not getting the answers and treatments you really need. So they are essentially saying there is nothing they can do to treat fibro? Knowing you have been in this very long flare and not doing anything about it is outrageous really. I don't suppose there is a Dr. who specializes in fibro you could go to..
I guess I was lucky in the jobs I had, I was not required to interact with anybody. I answered only to my boss. I worked by myself always. I am surprised they even bothered to send you a card..
Good for you doing what you can for yourself and not letting this get to you as it would many a person.
Thinking of you as always,
{{{gentle hugs}}}
Linda

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BLUESTARMOM 3/14/2012 6:31PM

    Sylvia, the weather is crazy warm here too- 82 degrees today, and it usually doesn't hit 80 before May 20th. EF4 tornadoes, then snow, now heat. I'm sorry you feel so isolated at work. I'm a lot older than most of my coworkers, so that's a bit of the same, but most of the staff is united and works well together.
The thing that gets me about doctors is that they try, but in the end, they go home to their lives, and they aren't the ones who have to deal with pain day in and day out. Hang in there. You do have people who care about you.

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DOROTHY1331 3/14/2012 8:52AM

    Dear Sylvia, sometimes we have to be our own doctor and our own best friend. I have a disrespectful and demoralizing boss, but my behavior and my reputation depend upon my behavior, not his. Years from now you won't even remember the names of most of the people with whom you work. You are the only one who has to live with yourself for the rest of your life, so be true to yourself only.
My days are pain filled, too, as are my nights, but it is the emotional pain that is the most difficult for me. As much as I need other people, I need myself more. Take care, and I wish you well. dorothy

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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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