Communication

Let me preface this post by saying the past few days I have been in a horrendous mood.  I think it was missing my normal bedtime Friday night and not drinking enough water both Friday and Saturday.

Today I woke and made the mental decision not to stay in that mood.  I enjoyed the morning with my son and cups of coffee.  Then I woke my husband up and enjoyed a real heart to heart conversation.

We both had things on our mind (not about each other) but stuff clogging up our brains that needed to be vented.  It was as very nice conversation in which we both listened and understood the other completely.  I am so very lucky to have someone I can communicate so openly with.  Of course, at times, we don’t have such nice communication.  However, it’s so nice to be able to start this Sunday with such openness.

After our discussion, I enjoyed some “fat burning” yoga.  It is an old DVD I have used for YEARS.  I did this video on Thursday and was not able to do much.  Today I had a much better flow and better flexibility.  I am wondering if this morning opened me up to be able to do more.

I hope you all have at least one person you can be completely honest with and be completely yourself around.  It is so nice to be able to release all that fills my brain at times.

 

Post-workout Recovery

Despite my pride for finishing that hard-as-hell circuit training class on Monday, my body was not very happy with me.  When I decided to go back to working out and joined a gym after my surgery, I told my husband (and myself) that I would ease back into it.  That is what I had been doing with beginner’s Zumba and beginner’s Yoga, the exercise bike, and very little (due to lack of fitness) elliptical.  Monday’s workout was way too advanced.  It was not easing in but something I may hope to be able to do in a year’s time when I fully recover from ACDF.

Monday night I could already feel the pain beginning while trying to sleep.  By 4 am (my ‘wake-up and begin work’ time), literally every muscle in my body ached.  There were muscles that no matter how in shape I was I must never have worked out.  The most striking is whatever muscle is from the elbow to the wrist.  I have never exercised that muscle and I’m not sure I want to again!  My neck muscles, shoulder muscles, back muscles, stomach muscles, glutes, quads, inner thighs, calves all hurt like hell all day Tuesday.  I felt like crap and had to take a nap after work.  I still felt crummy when I woke up from the nap.

This morning my muscles tamed down a bit but definitely not enough to do any sort of exercise besides walking Roger to school and back.  Fortunately, I had a massage booked from a Groupon and that helped immensely.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt gentle yoga.  I know I can always go into child’s pose if need be.

* An aside:  I get an inspirational quote in my email daily.  Today’s rocked and I want to share it with everyone.
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”
Mark Twain

Namaste

Misread

Last week, I signed up for an orientation class at the gym.  They have this large piece of equipment in the middle that is capable of numerous exercises but pretty difficult to decipher without training.  I received a confirmation email and kept it in my inbox.

This morning I look at the email again.  It states “Small Group Training”.  GULP.  Did I sign up for a circuit training class?!  I called the gym and explained that I am completely out of shape and, probably, unable to handle this type of class.  (Also, at 10 am tickets were going on sale for the Polyphonic Spree’s 17th Annual Extravaganza.  That was the time the class started).  The person who answered the phone reassured me that modifications would be given and to try it out.

Reluctantly, I went to the gym.  Thankfully, the first warm up the trainer put me and one other lady on was the treadmill.  I was able to walk and buy the concert tickets (Row C in the Middle Section!!!).  The following 40 minutes were treacherous.  I had ACDF surgery in July, so I had many modifications.  Even with the modifications, my body started dripping in sweat halfway through the class.  By the end of class, my legs were jelly.  We took a snapshot since this was the first class of its kind at the gym.

Tomorrow my body (especially my neck and back) will let me know if I can handle this class or if it’s too soon for me.  Either way, I am super proud of myself for not cancelling, not giving up half way through and not half-assing it.  I DID IT!

I’m back

I keep getting notifications on Facebook about how long it’s been since I’ve updated my page.  I update my page whenever I update my blog.  After much thought, I was contemplating stopping the blog altogether and posed that question on my page.  One individual said I should continue writing.  So, I decided to give it a go today and see where this takes me.

As I was setting up my computer to start this, my eight year old son comes up to sing me a song he had just written.  It included guitar solos.  After his private performance to me, he asked if I could take a video.  The song was over eight minutes long.  He is now in the process of writing a shorter song for me to video.  Earlier today, he was drawing evolutions of his own Pokémon.  He has so much creativity and motivation!  Of course, in my mind, I compared it to my lack of creativity and motivation.

The end of last week I decided to create a inspiration/vision board.  At first, my goal of the board was to promote weight loss/fitness and positivity.  As I added things, I realized other aspects of me I wanted to shine again:  being excited, being imaginative, remembering to give myself some breaks.  I had put it off for some time but had an opportunity to work on it when my husband took my son to the movies.  For about an hour and a half, I focused completely on the board (along with the background music of Hank von Hell’s solo album).  I was embarrassed to tell my husband what I was making because I knew he would find it silly. I found it kind of silly before I actually created it. The pic is cut-off in parts, but you get the gist:  vision board.

I’m off to listen to the new song and enjoy my day with my son.

 

Stress

Stress has been eating away at me this week.  I wrote a quick list of my stressors hoping it help with my stress level.  Yeah, no.

Currently, like many folks, a big stressor is financially-based.  We have had some health issues this year and even with medical and dental insurance we are spending oodles.  On top of that, we need a new fence.  The wrought iron fence that was here when we bought the house is incredibly rusted.  In some areas, you can push your finger through the rusted areas and disconnect the fence.  We have put down half the money and just waiting for our place in line.  A fence around an entire property that is not shared with neighbors is a huge expense.  Both of our neighbors are fence-less.  This morning our downstairs TV died and our dogs both getting a badly-needed grooming.  On top of that the pile of expenses add the amount it cost us to put my niece and her son up at a hotel for a week.  The money is all going out before it has a chance to come in.

My next stressor is my life schedule.  I love having a scheduled routine.  I love putting my plans down on calendars.  However, I do not like the back-to-back-to-back schedule that I will be facing in October (and probably through the end of the year).  Rob is having two procedures in October and, possibly, a third in December.  Besides the procedure dates, there will be post-op appointments.  In addition, I still have my post-op and x-ray appointments.  On top of that add Roger’s appointments at the orthodontist for an expander.  I just realized that we all need our flu shots too.  And, of course, we have Roger’s weekly OT, Swimming, Baseball, and Tutor.  He also has nightly homework that I need to help with.  I also signed up to be Room Mom Helper and trying to fit in volunteering at the school.  Finally, I have my full-time work schedule.  Just typing that all out stresses me out AND exhausts me!

My third stressor I listed under the category of FOOD.  Then, I decided to add a slash and put weight loss.  That reminds me that I am also trying to keep exercise and house cleaning in my schedule, as well as preparing dinner (Rob is usually the cook).  As my blog stated yesterday, food/eating has been a life-long stressor since I was called “tub of lard” in elementary school.  Kids are wonderful, eh?

My fourth stressor is work.  Work has been overwhelming lately.  I love my job and my colleagues.  I actually prefer when there are projects that are due.  However, returning a few weeks ago from my medical leave, I still have have back pain on and off.  My supervisor would understand my need for breaks still.  BUT I feel obligated to get the work done quickly and accurately.  That is just my thing.  I guess work is not the stressor but my expectation of myself at work.  This morning I woke with terrible pain between the shoulder blades.  This is an area that is known to flare up post-ACDF surgery.  I need to be kinder to myself re: work (and life).

I usually don’t unload as much as I did today.  My little sheet of paper lettered A-D with subheadings was just not doing the trick.  I am hoping getting this all out of me will release a teeny bit of the stress.  Re-reading this blog, I guess my only true stressor is my EXPECTATION of myself.

The Past Always Haunts You

I belong to a Health and Weight Loss Group for moms of children with autism.  Every week I post my weigh-in (as opposed to Weight Watchers where I have never lost weight).  This week I did not post my accountability weigh-in on Tuesday.  The scale said I had gained 3.5 pounds in one week.  I did not track my food properly and had Indian food for my husband’s birthday.  On Sunday, we had some alcohol, brie and crackers, pizza, veggies and hummus, as well as, Chocolate Overload cake.  I was embarrassed about my gain and was feeling pretty terrible about myself.  It’s so stupid to let the scale affect me that way, but it has for years.
Twenty five years ago I was anorexic and weighed, literally, half of my current weight.  I obsessed over food sometimes eating about 300 calories a day and exercising at least 2.5 hours a day.  That lasted for about a year.  As is pretty common with eating disorders, I then transitioned to bulimia for quite a number of years.  I ate a lot more in my binges, but probably retained the same amount of calories per day.  I still exercised a couple of hours each day.  My lowest weight was as a bulimic vs. anorexic.
I will never have a completely healthy relationship with food.  I think way too much about food every day.  I put way too much energy into my thoughts of food every day.  I either feel guilty about eating something I shouldn’t eat or eating too much or, on the flipside,  I’m too hungry from keeping within my calories.
If people are interested in my past eating disorder, please comment and I could expand on those very difficult years of my life.
They say the first step is admitting there is a problem.  I have admitted that for decades and the problem remains. It is not as bad as it was, but it is always there haunting my every thought.

Bip Zim Bop

Totally non-sensical title.  I didn’t want to put a title like: “Beyond Exhausted” for the umpteenth time or “Feeling the pain”.  But that is where I am at today.

When I went to bed last night, my back/body was in so much pain that I took Tylenol 3.  I have only a few left, so I must ration them!  I probably should have gone for the muscle relaxer since I awoke at the same pain level.  I am sure the pain is not helping my energy levels.  I am exhausted.  I have done my squats, arm exercises, and, currently, riding my bike.  I plan on jumping in the shower after this and am hoping that wakes me up some before Roger gets home from school.  I always need energy for that!

 

Fallen off

The past week or so I have fallen off the logging food/eating healthy cycle.  If I don’t log, it usually means I am eating things I’d rather not log!  Also, with the new work schedule and things popping up at Roger’s school, I have missed some of my exercise goals.  I know I cannot be perfect all the time but I know the exercise does help me mentally as well as give me more energy.  You may have realized I was not cycling as much due to the lack of blogging.  Again, I do realize that these posts do help my mind settle down a bit.

I know most people always start their diets back on a Monday.  I hate being that cliché but my husband’s 41st birthday is tomorrow.  That means a delicious dinner tonight.  Tomorrow, drinks and cake will be devoured.  Today and tomorrow I will log my exercise on MyFitnessPal but will go back to strictly logging my food on Monday, cliché and all.

One goal I have met is walking over 10,000 steps every day this week.  YAY for me!  Today I am not confident I will reach that goal since it’s pouring out but will try going up and down the stairs a bunch today.  I do have to clean up the house a bit anyhow.  That should help with my step goal.

Another goal I have been keeping is my squat challenge.  Today was 160 squats.  Tomorrow is the rest day.  I had been planning on resting my body on the squat rest days.  SO, I am not sure I will be on this bike tomorrow or back on it Monday.

Thanks for all the support!

New schedule

With my early morning wake-ups, I decided to ask my job if I could make a schedule change.  And, as always, I sent them my schedule for the following week on Friday.   The big change is starting work at 4 a.m.  I know to the bulk of you that sounds crazy.  However, after last’s week’s early risings, I was starting my work day between 3 and 4.  I am an early morning person and had much more focus and energy working early.  I did not have my afternoon slump at my desk either.

Today I worked from 4-6, got Roger ready for school and had some time together before school, and finished my work day at 11:40 am.  Again, nutso to some, but great for me.  I try to be in bed by 8:45 and get 6 hours of sleep (or more).  This weekend made me realize that over 7 hours is worse for me than only 4 hours of sleep!

I am now riding the bike post-work and, if I ever want to take any exercise classes, I won’t have to make up work time.  These hours will be great for the gym I joined that is opening in November.  By that time, most or all of my physical limitations from surgery should be lifted.

Of course, with upcoming doctor’s appointments and such, the work day will not always be done so early.  BUT I won’t have the worry of when I can make up my work hours or have time to spend one on one with Roger and Rob!

Back on the bike

The previous two days I skipped my stationary bike.  Friday I felt horrible and my legs and body were hurting.  I think I was progressing too far in my workout.  Saturday I had intended to be my full body Day of Rest.  Today I am back on the bike and will be back to the squats (I challenged myself to a 30 day squat challenge).

If I felt bad Friday, mentally I felt awful Saturday.  Uncharacteristically, I got 9 hours of sleep.  When I saw that I was amazed and thrilled.  The rest of me was not.  I was more tired than on days I get a few hours of sleep.  I could not wake up at all. I was in a constant haze. I drank copious amounts of coffee that did not help.  I was in a terrible mood too.  I was depressed, impatient, and very antagonistic.  Those with depression may understand this but when my husband asked me why I was depressed and there was literally no reason that I was depressed but just in that sinking feeling.   However, that answer never seems to be satisfactory.  It is odd I was so down.  I had a denied insurance claim from my surgery since the hospital used some out-of-network providers.  Supposedly that is common, but seeing a “YOU OWE $21,750” EOB a month ago was devastating.  Yesterday, the reprocessed bill was updated on the website and we owe nothing.  That should have put me in a stellar mood.

Well, today I am in a stellar mood on 4.5 hours of sleep.  I am on the bike, blogging, and enjoying the morning. I am super happy that we get to proceed with the new fence that was on hold due to the medical bill above.  Today I know life is good and that those little dips in mood can easily turn around in a day. My body and mind feel rested and ready for this week.

Hysterectomy

I premised yesterday’s post by saying I have problems.  Well, here is another one of my problems.

Over five years ago, I had a full hysterectomy where they take out both the uterus and the ovaries.  Prior to having them out, I lost a significant amount of weight (25 pounds) and was very fit.  A lot happened prior and we ended up in the DFW area 6 months later.

Moving is a big stressor and having a son with autism and trying to locate services in a region that is not helpful is even more stressful.  In California, there were regional centers that got you in contact with specialists, set up and held copies of all evaluations, and helped pay when your insurance would no longer cover services.  Due to those factors as well as moving from part-time to full-time work, trying to hire a sitter for post-PPCD hours and around therapy hours, and everything else in between, the past four years I gained *GULP* over 40 pounds!

Of course, I was no longer going daily to the gym or eating as healthy as I was in California and no longer lived in a walkable city.  And, as in early years, therapy hours change, and you have to recreate your whole schedule at a drop of the hat.  The past year things have settled down.  I have lost 13.5 pounds ( the past four pounds due to surgery and not being able to swallow hardly anything weeks after).  Now, I am stagnant.

I am logging calories and points.  I am staying on the lower end and, once I was cleared, am adding exercise slowly.  Well, the past 6 weeks, I have stayed the same weight.  No fluctuations as people like to tell me happens daily.  I started weighing myself more frequently instead of weekly and each time it is the same exact weight on the scale.

Yesterday, a woman linked an article about full hysterectomies and how weight gain is significantly higher than those who have a partial or go through menopause naturally.  Today, I looked for articles about weight loss after a full hysterectomy.  All stated that it was SIGNIFICANTLY harder to lose weight after a full hysterectomy and needed SIGNIFICANTLY more effort.  Sounds lovely, eh?

 

Loyalty

I do not have that much to write about today.  I, thankfully, slept 6.5 hours.  I worked.  I had coffee with “the girls”, as my husband puts it.  I picked Roger up from school and took him Pokémon hunting in the park.  I tested Roger’s spelling words for tomorrow’s test.  I made his lunch and breakfast for tomorrow.  I folded laundry and am now riding the stationary bike before taking him to his Reading Comprehension tutor.

The highlight of the day was receiving a set of easy stretches/joint exercises from my friend who recently became a yoga teacher.  The lowlight of the day is reading about a restaurant moving two doors down from an exact same type of restaurant that has existed in a now growing but previously stagnant shopping center.  Everyone is so excited and I got so riled up.  Why would they allow a pizzeria/Italian restaurant two doors down from a place that has been in that plaza for years?  Had anyone heard of loyalty?  A friend said it was because “because people only care about money and as a democrat that greed infuriates us”.  This restaurant that is moving in will, most definitely, ruin the other family-owned business.  How terrible!

Now, I feel like I need to order a pie everyday to show my support.  Would that be considered a highlight or lowlight?

First Day Back

Today is my first day back at work. How did my body reward me? By waking me up at 1:15ish and with the inability to fall back asleep.

I began my work day at 2 and worked til Roger woke up at 6 am. I pretty much was able to work 4 hours straight with little breaks to walk and stretch on the floor.

I have been on “break” since 6, making Roger’s breakfast, getting him ready for school, and walking him to school. I am now on my stationary bike with the intent of blogging. However, the damn WordPress site on my computer is not working. I can see my page but cannot log-in, go on my dashboard, make posts, etc. Alas, I have to type this thing out on my phone — not fun.

Well, thr one plus to my early hours is that I only have a couple hours left and then I can nap. Hopefully my body will obey!

Up and So Far Down

The past two weeks have been a trying time for me.  I went to a new psychiatrist and started a new medicine.  It worked well and I had a follow-up appointment two week’s later.  Since all was good with my mood (but still having some OCD and anxiety) we decided to not increase medication dosage and “wait and see” for two more weeks.

I was in much better spirits, actually enjoying myself, not feeling as angry and not lashing out as easily.  My motivation was coming back and I wanted to focus on eating healthier, exercising more, adding in meditation, and doing a really good housecleaning.

Although my exercise was only about 20 minutes a day, that (with the repetitive motions of cleaning), irritated my cervical spine issues.  That’s putting it nicely – the cleaning and exercising caused significant pain.  I had to sleep with a travel pillow.  By Friday, my back was in such bad shape that I could hardly move.  To say it put me in an awful mood, again, is putting it nicely.  I have been severely depressed since the pain began.  Will I be able to function normally post-surgery?  Dusting the house exacerbates my issues, I recall from an earlier cleaning attempt.  Taking a scenic walk in our area caused my upper back to be in such severe pain, I had to take my muscle relaxers along with the icing and heating.

This weekend I have been in bad spirits.  I feel like I’m back in that place I was prior to seeing the psychiatrist.  I just want to be in bed.  I feel anti-social, unhappy, in pain, exhausted, easily irritated and overly anxious.

Will I survive a summer vacation to Colorado?  Roger is way too excited to cancel it.  Am I putting off surgery too long?  Will I be able to handle Roger’s birthday party post-surgery? Will I gain another 30 pounds being unable to do simple tasks around the house?  I keep going on and on and getting lost in my own thoughts.  I am hoping typing this out will get these thoughts “out there” and I will stop perseverating.

Is 6:30 too early for bed?!

 

The Mind

Despite my sleep deprivation, we had a fabulous Sunday at Fort Worth Zoo.  The weather was perfect and the animals were mainly awake and visible.  The last time we went to this zoo, Roger was three years old and not at all interested in the animals.  His autism made him only interested in fans, the train, and other inanimate objects.  This time he had more interest in the animals but really was interested in the dates on plaques.  His brain must be filled with pages of dates.  According to him, he takes pictures in his mind that he pulls up when he talks about specific people in history.  He will be looking at a book and if he needs to put it down to go to a class or therapy, he says he has to first take pictures with his mind.  It is so interesting to hear him vocalize how his mind works.

Yesterday and today were days to get back into the regular routine of school and work.  I am adjusting better to life in my upstairs office, although I still have hiccups that require almost daily calls with IT.  I am still trying to figure out the balance of housework, Roger’s therapies/classes, trying to exercise, and my job.  I have decided to let some things I wanted to be weekly to go on a bi-weekly schedule.  I think that may help out my stress level.  I have also asked Rob to take over Roger’s after school schedule every other Wednesday so I can deep clean the kitchen and bathroom.  It may not be exciting to you, but it’s been plaguing my mind.

I wish my mind was filled with pictures that I pull up, rather than lists of scheduled activities!

Neurosurgeon

First off, let me say that I have been dealing with this back pain for over a decade.  I was working in NYC when I started treatment on my back.  I have been in and out of physical therapy, had a few epidurals, and many x-rays and MRIs over the years.  The pain in my back specifically and has been pretty constant since 2014 and my limited range of motion since 2007.

Since being in TX, I was referred to one orthopedic doctor who said I had three options:  1. Physical Therapy 2. Epidurals 3.  Surgery.  He said it was up to me.  I went the PT route and never returned to him, since he offered no advice.  Then, I went to a different orthopedic surgeon who set me up with a pain doctor for epidurals, since PT was not helpful.  Last year this orthopedic surgeon said I needed ACDF surgery.  I was hesitant because he suggested the same to a friend who was told her disc issues were very minor by another doctor.  So, I met with a different neurosurgeon at the time that recommended traction over surgery, since, at the time, my arm and hand pain were the biggest issues.  Also, my PCP at that time suggested I get an EMG to see if my arm pain stemmed elsewhere before committing to ACDF surgery.  That is when it was discovered that I had severe compression of my ulnar nerve at my elbow.  I had ulnar nerve transposition surgery last August and “forgot” about my back.

Currently, the past couple of months, arm pain has returned, along with the ever-present neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain and mid-back pain (all due to my C5-C7 discs).  I went back to the surgeon who performed my arm surgery.  She said that what I described was most likely due to the my neck issues.  I went back to the pain doctor, set up two epidurals and a referral to a neurosurgeon who she highly recommended and was conservative in his approach.

The new neurosurgeon was very straight forward.  He said, at this point, physical therapy or epidurals will not help.  They may help some of the symptoms but will not make the underlying issue better.  He tested my reflexes and did some sort of flicker test on my fingers. My middle finger on my left hand twitched.  He said this was definitely indicated that surgery is necessary. He recommends ACDF surgery on 2 levels (as the orthopedic doctor suggested).  He said the level above is having some slippage but, since he is conservative, would not work on that level unless the new x-rays he ordered show more slippage from the x-rays of 2015.  He said surgery was not urgent but needed to be done.  Our perception (my husband and I) thought that meant that we would discuss in a year, maybe five.  Thankfully my husband asked for a specific time frame.  The neurosurgeon said 2-3 weeks.  Um, we would define that as an “urgent” time frame.  He retorted that in the medical field “urgent” meant surgery needed to be done within a 48 hour time frame.

I have a follow-up appointment in two weeks where the new x-rays will be discussed, as well as the plan for surgery.  I did tell him I could not have surgery so quickly.  I have a colonoscopy in May and we have been planning  a very nice summer vacation for the end of June.  I will be in a neck brace for 3 months post-surgery. I cannot drive in a neck brace and we are driving to Denver.  He did not like me waiting so long — but I’ve been waiting for a year with all the last minute attempts at another round of physical therapy, epidurals, and ulnar nerve transposition surgery.  He said to avoid anything jarring: running, jarring exercises, riding a horse, being on a boat, and not to fall when on the mountains!

I guess I need to get back in touch with HR tomorrow and find out what short-term disability I can get since I had surgery not so long ago…What a fun Wednesday!

Tuesday, Tuesday

Well, today started out very stressful.  I had a half dozen phone calls with my boss prior to 9:30 am.  I was in a constant stream of work until noon.  I got up at 10 to the hour each hour when my Fitbit told me I took zero of my 250 steps each hour.  After my lunch break, things settled down to a more manageable pace until the end of the work day.  Today, Rob picked Roger up from camp and I got to take a long, extremely hot shower.  I love showers that my skin is pink/red for a good 20 minutes afterwards.

Today we met a reading comprehension tutor at the Lewisville Library.  It is hard to discuss the needs of tutoring when your son is at grade level.  However, as many kids in his class started the year at lower levels than him, they have progressed to his level 6 months later.  Roger is still at the same level he started the school year at.  He is a great reader but I think his downfall may not be comprehension but attention.  His long-term sub thinks it is lack of interest v. comprehension.  How can you teach a kid to be interested, pay attention and focus on books that have zero interest to him?  The only books he is interested in are biographies.

Of course, he aced the tutoring session and she said she would reach out to interventionists in elementary school for suggestions.  She is a dyslexic interventionist in middle school.  She gave me pointers but I told her that he will do these things for me.  He is a people-pleaser for everyone except me and my husband.  At home he fights about doing any homework.  I could never homeschool.  This child would be determined not to learn anything from me.

After his session, we went to the biography section of the children’s library and Roger chose books on Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Prince, Louis Armstrong, John Cena, The Rock, and Chuck Close.  The Chuck Close book was one I showed him — truly an amazing artist and a fantastic children’s book.   We also got Roger his own library card and he checked out his own books.  He was thrilled.

Afterwards we had a nice dinner at Red Robin.  That restaurant is never my choice but I know Roger really loves it and he’s been such an awesome boy lately.  I had a nice libation there and two godiva chocolates at home.  That made my mood better.  However, I do not want alcohol or food to be my stress reliever…Although relaxed, I decided to jump on the stationary bike and blog while riding.  Not as yummy, but enjoyable too!

Big Ball of Stress

Achieving balance is what most people are striving for  – or at least I am.  However, at this time in my life, I view everything as stressful.  Work is stressful, cleaning is stressful, trying to find time to exercise is stressful, eating healthy is stressful, getting Roger ready for school/camp/bed/classes/therapy is stressful, playing with Roger is stressful, trying to fall asleep at night is stressful.  BUT doing nothing is the most stressful of all for I think of everything I should be doing.

I think I have forgotten how to relax.  What is the first step?  How do you train yourself to relax?  It really pisses me off when I see others relaxing while I am stressing out.

I also think I have forgotten how to have fun.  It takes a lot to make me smile or genuinely enjoy myself.  It wasn’t until The Dead Milkmen were actually onstage playing that I enjoyed that night.

I genuinely feel bad for my son and my husband.  I want to have fun.  I want to let go.  Will a brain swap work?

Any tips or advice appreciated (just comment).

Last week and new beginnings this week

Last week was a really tough week.  My mood was incredibly low, as was my patience.  There were many stressors in regards to deliveries, appointments, and feedback (or lack thereof) in regards to Roger’s academic progress.  My week was filled with many thoughts all over the place and total lack of focus.

Today I have decided to try and get back into the swing of things.  This is a theme of my life:  out-of-whack week followed by an in-focus week (or attempt to that).  So, today I have focused on work, exercise, my weekly schedule (and Roger’s), and some laundry and garbage chores.

Today, I had a podiatrist appointment (I need orthotics due to some feet issues).  He politely stressed that I need to be healthier.  I couldn’t agree more.  I am hoping my motivation can remain.  It comes and goes so quickly!

I have a new therapist appointment on Friday of this week.  She is a “psychotherapist”.  I am not sure how different that is from the counseling I have received in the past.  I hope this time I “click” with the therapist.  I always do some on-line research when I make appointments.  On FB, I saw that she “liked” the God Delusion, so that is a positive to me!

What a pain in the back!

This morning I had scheduled Yin and Sit Yoga and Meditation, some “me” time.

After waking up to Roger on the iPad continuously this morning, I decided to finish my weekend work while riding the stationary bike.  I was done by 9.  I then did homework with Roger and followed it with some fun karaoke.  Then the time arrived:  time for me, time for yoga.

I was in tears from the beginning movements to the final savasana.  I was in total pain from my neck to my tailbone to my right leg.  This is where Roger, my son with autism, rammed his head into my spine after not getting his way.  This was on January 2nd and I don’t even remember what it was regarding.  All I remember was it was post-massage as I plopped onto the bed on my belly and was peacefully lying there.  I let out the loudest cry.  It immediately hurt so terribly.  I don’t think I ever produced a scream like that even when I broke my knee or ankle.

It has been three weeks and the pain has not gotten better.  I have tried Tylenol and anti-inflammatories while using the heating pad but this has not helped in the least bit.  I kept wondering where all my depression and lack of motivation came from at the beginning of this year.  Today was my reminder.  I am so glad that the majority of the class is done with your eyes closed, so others did not see the tears stream down my face.

When class was over, and that could not come quickly enough — that damn 75 minutes, I rushed to my car for a proper cry.  Then the thoughts raced:  have to make an appointment this week.  With who?  My primary doctor?  My back doctor who I am not really fond of — seems too surgery happy?  My pain doctor?  Next thoughts:  I really am going to have to cancel being teacher’s helper this week, my back cannot handle the copier.  Followed by thoughts of that yoga retreat that accepted me on “scholarship” but is less than 2 weeks away.  How can I possibly do a yoga retreat right now?  I do not foresee my pain level being that lessened in that short period of a time – especially since specialized doctors usually do not have readily available appointments.

I told Rob to occupy Roger for a bit.  I am in such a terrible mood right now.  I have 2 loads of laundry and cannot even muster the strength to empty the dryer to put the other load in.  And the state of the house is in total disarray due to Roger’s “box fort” building.  I may hide myself away in the bedroom for the time being until I can cope better with it all.

Rainy Wednesday

Today started out as most weekdays –with the struggle over Roger’s shoes not being tight enough.  I know the weather change enhances some sensory issues.  This Wednesday it manifested itself over a shirt to wear.  The first shirt I chose was sweatshirt material.  Roger said it was too soft and to get it off him.  He was very upset.  The second shirt’s sleeves were a 1/4 inch too long for him, so he completely freaked out for a second time.  The third shirt worked but his shoes had to be tied multiple times.   The walk to school had light rain.  That he did not complain about.  The walk home the rain became heavier.  C’est la vie!

So today is a cold, rainy day.  The perfect day to be under covers in bed.  I tried to convince myself that I could skip my exercise for the day, since I did it the previous 3 days.  However, this seems to be my cycle.  By mid week, I usually start excusing myself from exercise.  Since I am volunteering the next two days and have an ENT appointment, I know I may not have time which made today’s workout more crucial for me.

Well, I did it and it’s over and I’m glad I did it and I’m glad it’s over.

November

I am hoping to have turned the corner on exercise and wellness.  Yesterday, I went to a yoga class for the first time in YEARS!  It was a restorative class and last night my cervical pain has been at its lowest.  Today, I did a 30 minute streaming cardio class.  The first fifteen minutes seemed pretty easy but the last fifteen was pretty difficult.  It felt great to complete.  I am hoping exercise along with my Headspace meditation will make dealing with my own and Roger’s anxiety easier.

 

Halloween

It’s Tuesday and it’s Halloween.  The day started pretty okay.  Roger had a mini freak-out over his shoes not being tied tight enough.  However, besides that, the day has been good thus far.  I spent my “lunch break” volunteering at the school’s book fair.  It was actually quite fun being a cashier and interacting with the kiddos.  I decided to volunteer again tomorrow during the time Roger’s class will be going to the book fair.

I have not been sticking to my calorie counting as strictly as I would like.  I even had a few pieced of Halloween candy this weekend.  However, I have been walking quite a bit more (roughly 12000-13000 steps a day).  I have decided to focus on me and try to be better with the food and the activity level.  I really need to start an exercise routine and that is the one aspect I am really having difficulty with.  I know I will feel better but just getting in gear is hard.   I’m not going to beat myself up too much for it.  I will keep walking more and eating better.  I will try to start additional exercise by the new year!

Discouraging

Initially, I was going to make this blog a remainder of the week post.  However, today I am feeling quite cruddy and that’s just discouraging.  I have been eating healthy, exercising, and doing meditation.  Instead of energized, I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.  I still have this same sinus infection/ear infection.  It has almost been a month.  The antibiotics do not help and, unfortunately, today I started wheezing a bit.  That means a third trip back to the doctor’s office next week is most likely.  I did tell Rob that if I still feel this terrible on Sunday that I am taking the day to rest/sleep.  Work and after school have been very busy and a tad stressful.  I have had very little down time this week.  I am sure that is not helping my recovery.

However, I will now list the positives of my week:  being a classroom helper on Tuesday, Roger advancing to the next level in swimming, starting a liberal local book club, a very good teacher conference on Thursday, coffee with some great ladies this morning, dinner and conversation with my parents on Wednesday, and lots of love and sweetness from my son and my husband.  Seeing that list makes my infection not seem so bad!

Happy Monday

I absolutely love Mondays and will always try to choose not to make any Monday appointments.  I get back into my groove on Mondays.  I get back into the swing of work, get back to my days alone, get back to my food and exercise regime.  Mondays are great for me.

Last week ended with me completely worn out from my first week back at work.  I hope this week I am not so wiped by the time the weekend comes.  I was an absolute nightmare to be around yesterday morning!   Depression, anxiety and stress were the key words.  Today, I am a cheery lady.  Hmm, maybe we should not discount that bipolar diagnosis!

 

Back in the Saddle Again

Yesterday was my first day back at work.  It was an 8 hour day.  I took hourly breaks to walk and move my arms.  During my lunch break, I did my 10 minute headspace meditation program and rested in bed an additional 10 minutes or so.  After school, Roger had homework and then Occupational Therapy.  After OT, we had our normal Chick-fil-A dinner and play date with his friend at our house.  It was a long day, especially since part of my workload occurred between the 7 to 9 o’clock hours.  I was very sore by the time I went to bed and woke up pretty sore too.

Today, I, again, took breaks and had my meditation/rest time during lunch.  This afternoon will be pretty packed with Roger having a trial singing lesson at School of Rock, followed by his swimming lesson, followed by dinner at my parents house, followed by spelling homework, followed by showers/bed.  I’m exhausted thinking about it!  However, the routine and new 5 minutes-per-hour (in the morning) exercise schedule has put me in a better mood than I have been.

I am hoping my health, wellness, and recovery will flourish.

Today I am very hopeful.

Still on Medical Leave

Everyday I have thought about updating my blog and everyday I am too exhausted to open the computer.  The high allergens are not helping my activity level.  Add to that the limited activity of the day and I am an achy zombie most of the day!  I have not been consistently taking any pain medication (even OTC, especially due to the fact I am having a lumbar epidural next Wednesday).  My sleep and energy levels are the same post-op as pre-op, which I am not very happy about.  I have been sleeping alone downstairs and I still cannot get a consistent five hours of sleep per night.  I have begun taking melatonin which makes me fall asleep quicker, but does not aide in any other way.

I don’t want this post to be all bah humbug, so I will note some positive changes I have been trying to make in the past couple weeks.  I have been attempting daily meditation via the app Headspace.  Secondly, I have started using MyFitnessPal app again, consistently.  I have shed a couple of pounds but find it hard to lose weight if I try to eat more than 1200 calories, which is too restrictive for me.  Hopefully when I can add some exercise in, that will help my endeavor of losing these 35 pounds I have gained in TX the past 4  years!

Next Thursday, I have my next appointment with my surgeon and am hoping I can go back to work part-time, at least.  I am very bored but do not think I have the energy level for full-time work, yet.

Week 5 of Summer

Due to July 4th and a week with no camps, I did not write about the 5th week of Summer.  It was a difficult week pain-wise — probably one of my most grueling in quite some time.  Monday, I had my MRI and decided to track down all my past MRIs for copies.  I am still trying to see if I am able to get my ones from NYC, but that may not happen.  It was interesting reading over the results and seeing the number of MRIs I have gotten since 20414!

If not for Roger’s enthusiasm of July 4th, I would have stayed home that day in bed!  However, he had so much fun swimming at a friend’s house, playing with sparklers and watching fireworks.  Although enjoying the company of friends, I was thinking about my bed all during the fireworks…

Thursday of last week, Roger had a lot of dental procedures done — 2 crowns, 3 fillings and 4 sealants.  In the past we have tried (very unsuccessfully) laughing gas and the cocktail for pediatric procedures.  This time I opted for full-on anesthesia.  He did well through the procedures which ended up including pulling his two front teeth.  I was nervous to see how he would react to that.  When he roused, he was very sad (as predicted) and very out of it.  My heart went out to him.  Such a little boy!  Luckily, the nurse carried him to the car.  Unfortunately, I realized that I would have to carry this 70 pound boy from the garage up three stairs and into the bedroom.  I did not think he would be incapable of grabbing onto me to help with the carry.  Getting him out of the booster seat was an ordeal.  I asked him to hold onto me, but he could not comprehend nor seem to have any strength to do so.  I don’t know how, but I ended up lifting him off the floor of the garage and managed to get him onto the bed without dragging him.

He was sad for a long time and tired too.  However, he could not fall back asleep.  He just laid in bed staring at the ceiling.  Eventually, we started watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid and he started waking up more.  His sitter came by and I asked her to run a couple of errands, since he did not want to see her.  My foresight was not great, so we needed some soft foods like jello.  Also, I could not leave Roger’s side, so I asked her to walk the dogs.  After that, Roger wanted to be with the sitter, was sitting up and happy, had some jello, and was excited about the tooth fairy.  He handled the whole situation so well.  I am so proud of him.

My back, on the other hand, did not handle that carry very well.  I was in excruciating pain on Friday.  I hoped to do something easy with Roger, like go to the movies, but my back wanted me to remain home.  Seeing him almost fall asleep during a couple of errands made me realize he, too, still needed the rest.

Yesterday and today, my back still aches and I have realized that I cannot wait the two weeks to see the back doctor before getting some muscle relaxers or a good anti-inflammatory.  Tomorrow, I will call pain management physician and see if she has an earlier appointment.  Tuesday I start physical therapy and hope that will help but, from what I recall, that takes time too.

Here’s hoping week 6 ends up less painful!

 

Pain in the Back

This morning I went to my back doctor.  The picture of the human body where you are supposed to show the areas that are hurting all had little marks all over it from me.  However, the nurse told me that the way it works, despite having various degrees of pain from neck to tailbone, is starting with the area with the most severe pain.  That would be my neck/cervical area.

I have such little movement looking down or side to side.  I have to turn my back to look over my shoulder when driving.  I have had pain radiating down my arms going on months now.  I have had 2 epidural shots at the end of 2015 and mid 2016.  The first did nothing to help the pain.  The second caused excruciating pain down my arms that I had to take extra medication for.  I have tried physical therapy and chiropractic sessions for months.  So, I had to go full circle back to the orthopedic doctor.

Today, I had new xrays of my neck taken.  I have cervical spondylosis in C5 through C7, pretty severely.  Normally, he says, he would recommend epidural shots and PT to start.  Since neither helped and it has been an issue for so many years, he said surgery is my best bet.  According to the surgeon, it is a pretty simple surgery:  For this procedure, he will make an incision in the throat and movs the windpipe and esophagus aside to get to the cervical spine. He then removes the discs, replacing them with bone grafts or artificial implants.  It is a one night hospital stay and 6 week recovery.  It sounds gruesome to me!

The pain down my arms is getting more severe, more painful, and more frequent.  Also,  my fingers fall asleep each night numerous times all do to pinching nerves.  This seems the best solution.  Since the recovery time is so long, I have opted to wait until the end of the summer to get the surgery, so we can still go swimming a lot.  In the meantime (once insurance okays it), I will be getting an MRI, Physical Therapy, and a lumber epidural injection.