Analyze this

Being who I am I love to analyze myself.  My analysis is mainly of who I am or what is occurring at the present time, near past, or close future.  If I do think of the distant past, it is mainly terrible memories – when something bad happened – with a few happy moments intertwined.

My older sister has moved in with my parents to be the caregiver of my mother since my mother is wheelchair bound.  Being around my sister, I start remembering the past more.  I am not recalling specific events but mainly feelings of the time.  I am putting together pieces that help me realize why I was so quiet, why I holed myself up in the room most of the time, why I did not seek my parents help for most of my issues.  I was seen as the good child who didn’t need help.  I probably could have used more direction in life.  However, I turned out alright.

The more the family unit of my mom, dad, sister, and I are together the more I feel the past.  It is amazing.  It is not sad or happy.  It is just awareness and my eyes are wide open.

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.

Validation

I will not declare that I will be posting daily into the future.  I have made blanket statements before and as the words leave my lips the blogs stop getting written.  However, today I am posting just to post.  I have no topic in mind, but am keeping with the consistency that while I ride my bike I will write on my blog.

Now is the time I hope for some amazing, random thought to pop into my head.  But, alas, my brain is empty and searching for interesting tidbits.  A couple of friends and I went to a psychic fair together yesterday.  One would think that could garner a full discussion.  However, what I was told in my tarot reading was everything I currently know to be true.  There were no insights, just validation.

Perhaps my validation is garnering new strength and confidence.  Today, I reached out to my supervisors for projects.  I usually review databases until they reach out to me for projects.  I know I am organized, intelligent, altruistic, and, at times, witty.  However, I do not lead life in a confident stride.  I wallow behind in an uncertain gait.  I am hoping hearing words of validation and speaking my own words of validation to myself will, perhaps, provide more strength, confidence, and new possibilities for myself and my family in the future.

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?

The Swing of Things

Right before the 3 day weekend, I start getting back into the swing of things.  Last night I was in SO MUCH PAIN.  I really could not believe that a simple desk job could affect my pain level so much.  Also, when I went to bed last night I was utterly freezing.  I turned the air off and asked Rob to get me an extra cover.  I will still freezing.  However, I woke up this morning feeling great.

The waves of pain/stiffness are coming more frequently today, so I have been getting up and walking much more than yesterday.  My job understands that I need to do this.  Yesterday, though, I was pretty glued to my seat pouring through emails.  Yes, people covered some of my work, but some items fell between the cracks which meant reviewing every bit of work.  Today my work pile is still large but manageable.

I am currently on my lunch break and using the stationary bike.  Luckily, the wordpress site is working and I no longer have to type a post out on my phone!  I vow to keep up the bike riding which means I shall keep up the blog!  Slowly, I plan on integrating yoga.  I found a video on youtube for yoga after back/fusion surgery and avoiding certain movements for your spine (cervical included).  I will try that first before attending a class.  BUT my motivation to do that is somewhat lacking.  BUT I should be proud of my ability to stick to one exercise since I have not been consistent since I don’t even know when!  Baby steps… or maybe I shall make a lame joke and say baby pedals!

Breathe

Sometimes I get so busy or so involved with my son that I have to remind myself to actually take a breath.  I will need to stop what I am doing and take a conscious breath.  Do others actually need to do this as well?  I’m not talking about a mindfulness or meditation deep breath, but a literal simple breath.  It’s as if I have been holding my breath through the tasks and now need to breathe.

It has been happening more frequently.  Since it is near the end of the school year, there is a lot on my mind, lots of schedules to coordinate.  Add to that our upcoming vacation, my upcoming surgery and my mom’s chronic pain, I think my thinking makes me forget to breathe! It sounds so silly but by the time I take that breath, I really need it.

How many other things am I forgetting to do if I cannot remember to breathe?

To write or not to write…

I have a little down time before we head to Roger’s afternoon activities.  I had to sign onto my laptop to pay a bill and figure I should blog.  I get reminders from Facebook that my Spinning Wheels page has not had a post in quite some time.  However, what is there to write about when everything seems to be at the same place it was the last time you wrote?

I am still trying to get everything in order for our trip to Denver and my surgery.  I am still trying to not fall down the depression/anxiety hole by meeting with my psychiatrist every couple of weeks.  I am still trying to make it through work and life everyday and be somewhat positive.  I am still letting little things interfere with my mood and perseverate about them.  I am still watching documentaries on Netflix (after finishing Love).  I am still functioning better during the week since life has less routine on the weekends.  That makes me concerned with summer that begins in 3 short weeks!

Now it’s your choice:  to read or not to read…

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 Shoes

Amidst all my praise for all the progress Roger has made, there is one area in which he has not improved.  It’s his feet.  When he was little, Roger never wanted to be barefoot.  Then, there were a couple of years that Roger would only wear rain boots.  It was when he was 3-5 years old.  Any other shoes would cause him to meltdown.

Sneakers have been really tricky.  We used to be able to do Velcro sneakers.  But, alas, the Velcro starts to be less effective/less sticky and Roger would meltdown trying to reattach the Velcro over and over again.  We decided, since the Velcro were never tight enough, to do lace up sneakers.  He has been using lace up sneakers since he’s been in baseball.  That was how we got him out of rain boots for one day a week — he had to wear sneakers if he wanted to play baseball.  Thankfully, he eventually gave up the rain boots and will wear either sneakers (for school and baseball) or flip-flops.

Every morning has gotten increasingly worse since spring break.  It used to be tying his shoes 2, maybe three times, for him to be okay with them, for the shoes to be tight enough for him.  This morning I tied his shoes five or six times before we left for school.  He was in tears, screaming and hitting his head.  They still did not feel right to him.  I told him we had to leave or he’d be late.  Once we got to his school, he asked me to tie them one last time.  I did.

It’s so heartbreaking to see my son react like that.  When he was younger, he had many more meltdowns and would hit his head.  He outgrew/out-therapied the majority of that.  It’s just the damn shoe issue that keeps rearing it’s ugly head.  It will subside for a bit and then get ridiculous, and then subside, and then get out of hand again.  I am wondering if it is linked to anxiety.  Obviously there is a sensory component but for it to flare up, I think there is something else going on: anxiety, OCD, control issues.  These are the only times he gets violent — recently with hitting himself in the head and in the past (January 2018) with him hitting his head into my back.

Tomorrow he has baseball and I know the shoe tying will be a nightmare in the morning.  He’s also informed me that he is getting a small hole in the toe of his shoe and that he wants to buy new sneakers tomorrow.  Oh boy, sneaker shopping with Roger is a whole other story!

I look forward to Sunday when he can wear his flip-flops.

April

April is an interesting month.  It is Autism Awareness month which really makes me reflect on Roger’s progress, how proud I am of him, and how thankful of the opportunities we have had in the past 7 years.  As Dr. Wooten proclaimed, my clinically diagnosed OCD is really helpful for my researching the best therapies for Roger, school districts, activities, and insurance policies.

Roger’s  annual ARD is in April, which is really apropos.  His goals went from many to few.  He is hitting most of his grade level work and exceeding it in DRA (reading levels) and Istation.  Due to hyperflexion of his thumb, he will remain in school OT for once a week and eventually be moved to once every other week.  We are lucky, since OT is usually the first in-school therapy that is dismissed.  He will remain in speech twice a week mainly due to his lisp.  He will get 30 minutes of handwriting help and 60 minutes of reading comprehension help per week with the special education teacher.

Outside of school therapies, Roger’s private therapies have dwindled to only occupational therapy once a week.  He could use food therapy, since his food is still so limited, but he really does not want to go back to food therapy.  Up until this year, Roger had private therapies 4 days a week.  I really do not wish to add back therapy at this point and really think Roger has worked hard enough (and still is working harder than most kids).  Academically, I found a tutor for Roger in reading comprehension that he sees once  a week at the library.  At this point, he really enjoys the tutoring, especially since he gets to raid the juvenile biography section of the library afterwards!

Besides therapy, Roger is in a few extra-curricular activities.  He has swim lessons (he has advanced from Level 3 where he would not put his head under water up to Level 7 in less than a year), goes to School of Rock, and is in special needs baseball.

It is amazing to see Roger bloom and have such strong interests is music, scientists/inventors, and death.  Yes, my son is obsessed with when people died.  He watches YouTube videos on famous people who have died and asks all about them.  He is full of facts about history.  He is so talkative and loving.  Who could’ve know that my son who had so few words and hated to be touched would grow into such a person?

Simply, my son is extraordinary!

To see tidbits about how Roger was when little, I started this blog when his therapies began.  Start with the oldest blog and work your way through (if you want — I know I may do so just as a reminder).
https://wordpress.com/post/leahbisrael.com/9
https://wordpress.com/post/leahbisrael.com/11

 

 

One week later

This week has been mentally exhausting for me. I had my second neurosurgeon opinion on Tuesday (3rd opinion overall, including last year’s orthopedic surgeon opinion).  All surgeons agree that I should have surgery.  Two told me the time frame was up to me while one told me I needed to have it in 2-3 weeks (all were looking at the same MRIs, x-rays, reports).  I had read that for cervical surgery one should have a neurosurgeon instead of an orthopedic surgeon.  That narrowed my decision to two.

After consulting with my husband, asking on a few ACDF Facebook groups, texting/messaging nurse friends, and writing a pro & con list, I made my decision by Wednesday morning.  It was an incredibly difficult decision filled with much anxiety and sleeplessness.  I didn’t have a “gut feeling” about one doctor as I had with the ulnar nerve surgery.  Each surgeon had polar post-surgery protocols.  That made my decision much more confusing.  I was not only choosing a surgeon but choosing which recovery I thought would be best for me.  One said I would be in a collar for 3 months 24/7, the other said I would be in a collar for two weeks when I was up and about (not while sleeping/sitting).  Thankfully I am OCD, so researching is second nature!

This week I also began seeing a new psychologist. I am trying “telehealth” which is basically skyping with a therapist.  My new insurance uses Amwell, so I thought that with my time constraints it would be an easy solution.  It was the perfect timing with surgery happening in less than four months from now.

The psychologist was a good fit.  She understood having a special needs kid, my stress level and, overall, current situation.  I feel like it was almost kismet that I made the decision on which therapist to use.  The past few weeks it has been suggested to me (by independent sources) that I should use Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.  The psychologist also made this referral.  She told me a couple of websites to consult, one being a link to a free MBSR online course. I read the Introduction/Getting Started sections and will, formally, take the plunge this upcoming week.  It is an eight week course which requires 30 minutes of practice time per day.  That will be difficult but I really want to make this commitment to myself.  (If anyone is interested, the website is palousemindfulness.com)

 

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!

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).

Happy Friday!

Today has been a good day.  That is, mainly, thanks to a great first session with a new therapist in Denton.  I knew checking her FB and seeing her being a fan of Dawkin’s “The God Delusion” was a good indicator.

One of the issues with therapy is usually when you find you have nothing to talk about.  Today, we gabbed and I could’ve talked more.  One of our topics of discussion was the prevalence of religion and high-maintenance individuals in the surrounding areas.  She understood why, once going to the neighborhood school, my stress-level and anxiety went up.  She said she was told to try a Brownie troop for her daughter and it had many girls in my neighborhood (this was about 5 years ago).  She said the girls and the parents were very entitled and, downright, rude to her and her daughter, especially since they were not religious.  This makes me want to rebel in the opposite direction and show my opposition to the hypocrisy of most religious zealots.  However, that is not my main focus, but it could be a fun side-project.

I am looking forward to my next visit in 10 days.  I woke up excited to try a new therapist and left looking forward to going back.  One cannot ask for more!

Freezing

Today is not the coldest day we have had this winter.  However, for some reason, I cannot get the chill out of my bones.  I have to take Roger to a swimming lesson later and all I dream of is taking a hot bath and going under the covers!  I am done accomplishing anything today, except for body heat generation.

I had a nice teacher meeting with the long-term substitute (who is a retired teacher).  She told me how fantastic Roger is, how intelligent, and thoughtful he is.  It was great to hear.  She has no concerns about him.  Who knew he would be so well-adjusted when we started this autism journey?  Sure, we still have our daily shoe torture, but the pluses outweigh the minuses by far!  I am so proud of him.  At 7, he has worked harder than most adults I know.  He has his school therapies, his private therapies, and his other lessons.  He is definitely not a quitter and full of love.  I think we have produced a far better person than either Rob or I am singularly — that is the goal of reproduction, eh?

Funny, spending those few minutes reflecting on Roger helped me deflect my fixating on how cold I am.  I no longer feel so cold.  I am sure I will have a different mindset once I return from my walk to pick Roger up from school and back!

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.

Super Duper Down

It seems that for quite sometime now I have been waking up with my first thought being, “I cannot wait until bed tonight”. Each activity I do seems to lack any enjoyment. The focus of each is only completion: countdown til my work day is over and I pick up Roger, countdown between pick up and the class/therapy of the day, countdown to dinner and son’s bedtime routine, countdown til I go to bed. The next morning I begin the same countdown that ends roughly 14 hours later. How depressing is that? I can easily answer that: VERY.

Countdown to the end of this blog post: goodnight.

Retreat Possibility?

Yesterday’s new therapist/psychologist/BCBA appointment for Roger went better than expected.  Well, at least, Roger’s reaction was positive to having to go to a new doctor that you talk to and play at and are talked about in front of.  Now that he is getting older it is getting odder for me to answer questions about him in front of him.  I am not sure if I am fond of the doctor yet.  She took lots of notes and said she had an Independence curriculum that we could start working on with Roger, since he is SO DEPENDENT on us (mainly me) for EVERYTHING.  I made 3 follow-up appointments and will, hopefully, get a sense of if it is a good fit by then.

That brings me to an exciting Facebook message I received today from a friend and fellow autism mom.  She told me about these Women’s Retreats in east Texas.  They have a Retreat Assistance Program to help pay for the weekend retreat.  The idea of having a weekend alone in quiet sounds amazing to me.  That has been my “dream vacation” for a long time!  On the same hand, the idea of going away to an unknown place with completely unknown people and an unknown routine is completely terrifying to me.  I like the known.  I like routine. I like the safety of predictability.

That being said, I applied and, depending on the outcome, I may face all those fears of mine so I can relax, recharge, rejuvenate.  In the meantime, I really do have to do more self-care at home.  Yes, a nice clean house is awesome, but so is a restful break.  I made a weekly cleaning schedule.  Perhaps I need to add-in a stretching, moisturizing, “do for myself” schedule.

Mid-January

Who can believe that January is already half over?  The weekend was better than I anticipated.  I guess entering it with anxiety and pessimism led to better things!

Saturday, we ventured to Ripley’s that included a terrible wax museum, a lame laser race, a cute mirror maze and a pretty good “7D” movie.  The wax museum was quite funny but a tad horrific as well.  Some figures did not resemble the celebrities at all.  There was a whole area dedicated to the “Pilgrimage of Christ”.  It was quite scary!

Sunday was pretty laid back.  While Roger and Rob went to see Paddington, I cleaned the house.  That was followed by a play date for Roger and a dinner date for Rob and I.  That was some much needed time alone!

Yesterday, I had the day with Roger.  We completed his homework in the morning, made some Roblox videos on his phone, went to Barnes and Nobles and Target, took him to his swimming class, had a play date at our house, took him to occupational therapy, and ate at Chick-fil-A.  It was a very full and pretty easy day.

Today is the beginning of my work week and I was able to ride my bike for the beginning of my day.  This afternoon I take Roger to a new psychologist.  Unfortunately, with our insurance change, there are not that many options.  I have not told Roger, and am a bit nervous to do so, so I am not looking forward to picking him up.  I do not have high hopes, so perhaps all will go well…

Weekend Anxiety

I am still under the weather with coughing, allergies, chills, some tummy issues, etc.  Unfortunately, Roger, as an only child, wants to be entertained.  This morning he was already talking about what fun things we could do later:  karaoke, games.  Thankfully, he is aware my back hurt too bad last night from roller skates that he took that off the table.  Of course, resting and watching a movie are always off the table for Roger too!

This weekend happens to be a 3 day weekend as well, so that gives me an extra day of “fun” to schedule for Roger.  I am trying to institute a family fun day on Saturdays to do something out of the ordinary (zoo, museum, Dallas in general, etc.).  Tomorrow, I am pitching Ripley’s Believe It or Not since it will be quite chilly.  We will see if everyone is on board with that decision.  Sunday, I hope to feel up to Yin Yoga and Mediation followed by a short date with Rob.  Monday morning is still unscheduled but I have a make-up swim lesson planned for 1 pm followed by a play date with Roger’s best friend followed by Occupational Therapy.

I just have to make it through today first!