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…

Hump Day

Every day, lately, has felt like “hump” day.  Every day I start with my usual tasks and by about 9:30 am usually exhausted and ready for the end of the day.  Today, at Texas’ version of the DMV, I was waiting at the window not a particularly long time and just felt my overwhelming exhaustion.  I felt like placing my head on the ledge and closing my eyes.  Multiple times, lately, I have had to put my head down on my desk for a few minutes to make it through each work day.  I am even putting my head down on the kitchen table, sometimes the kitchen counter, sometimes on the crossed arms on my lap.

Besides the exhaustion, I have been much more aware of my arm and leg pain.  It’s become a nuisance.  It’s not interfering much with my daily routine, but just a reminder.  I told Rob that over the next ten weeks I was going to cut back on chores/tasks that seem to increase pain.  I want to be well enough for vacation and to enjoy my pre-op summer time with Rob and Roger.

New Hobbies

I am still very low energy and short on patience.  However, I figured I should write a short post now that I am done with the day’s work and Rob is out with Roger.

Recently, I pulled out a puzzle Roger won and decided to build it by myself, since no one else was interested.  What I did not expect is that Rob would be sucked in to the puzzle building as well.  We are currently on our third puzzle.  Rob calls it a time suck, but I find it enjoyable (albeit sometimes frustrating!).

My next new “hobby” is a bit macabre.  While watching the show, “It Was Him” on the Paramount Network, I realized how much I enjoy true crime shows, movies, and documentaries.  I always watch Law and Order: SVU but always find documentaries more fascinating.  On Audible I downloaded and listened to Inside the Mind of BTK.  It was interesting but the narrator was horrible and horribly mispronounced so many common words and names.  I just started listening to Killer Clown (about John Wayne Gacy).  So far I can tell you the narrator is much more knowledgeable about speaking correctly and has a “detective-like” voice.  I am liking this one much more.  I have also downloaded fiction crime stories as well.

It is nice having these distractions lately!

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)

 

Quick updates

Today has been a slow and steady type of day.  I had a nice workflow going, had my “maintenance” allergy shots (which are itching up a storm still), did a teeny bit of straightening around the house, walked with Roger to and from school, and am now stationary bike riding and typing.

The wind picked up on the way home from Roger’s school and I question whether these allergy shots do a damn thing.  I still take a Zyrtec and one Benadryl each night and sometimes an allergy pill during the day.  I still get congested and sneeze quite a bit — which Rob is concerned with re:  cervical fusion/ACDF surgery.  And, I still get numerous sinus infections, which the allergist touts does not occur once you get allergy shots.  I think it’s been 3 years since I’ve been getting them and the only reason I am not stopping is fear that it may be worse without them. Then I’d have to start from the beginning again and build up my tolerance.

My mother had her follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon regarding her broken pelvis.  The bones are healing nicely, but she is in the worst pain of her life.  When the doctor did her exam, it was obvious that her intense pain is stemming from her back.  She is trying to get a spinal cord stimulator implant to relieve her chronic back pain.  She is getting in-home OT and PT.  She is such a strong woman!  My father has been ceaselessly taking care of her.  He is really remarkable, though exhausted, at nearly age 82.  We try and go over to visit and when my father needs time away.  However, it is hard with our daily work/Roger schedule!

Roger is doing well though he’s starting to complain about being tired much more often.  I am thinking he may be affected by seasonal allergies or still adjusting to the time change.  He has asked to stop taking Hip Hop Boys.  He is still in swimming lessons, School of Rock, Miracle League baseball, and occupational therapy.  Maybe that is why he is exhausted!

Robert quit his office job about a month ago and is now working from home as a full-time, independent artist.  He has been building up his Instagram followers to over 82,000 and been doing some vendor shows.  Next month, we got a booth in the artist’s row at a convention in Dallas.  He is making a steady income and much happier.  We still have to adjust to having only one car though — I think that may be the hardest adjustment in the weeks to come.

That’s a wrap!

 

 

What a Pain!

Today I have the best of intentions to clean the remainder of the house while my son is out with daddy this late afternoon. In anticipation, I have been doing a little bit of dusting here and there. Oh my, my back/neck/arms hurt! I am doing NOTHING intense, just walking and mildly dusting.

My thoughts as I continued to dust: do I even need another neurosurgeon appointment?! (I do just in regards for timeframe surgery may be necessary). A few days ago I read through blog posts from July describing my neck/arm/head pain and remembered how physical therapy made it more unbearable. I guess the months that the pain diminishes or lessens in degree, I forget about the painful months. I don’t have many readers to my blog but this journal really helps me in keeping a log of pain (physical and emotional).

Last night, I looked over at my son beside me in bed. It caused he most excruciating pain. I must turn my body when I am upright and looking side to side. It brought tears to my eyes realizing surgery may be closer than I hoped.

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!

Sleep-deprived Sunday

Let me catch you up:  Thursday and Friday nights I had terrible allergy attacks at night and, therefore, slept terribly.  Yesterday, we still ventured to the St. Paddy’s Day festival in Lewisville but I was in a foul mood.  Some of Roger’s behaviors that I may have overlooked on more rested days, I got quite upset about yesterday.  So, last night I decided to take Zyrtec-D since it is always a go-to when my sinuses get really bad.  However, it’s been a few months and I forgot that horrible side effect it has on me.

I fell asleep around 11 and woke up wide awake at 12:25.  I tried for over 3 hours to fall back asleep, even taking melatonin.  My last attempt at sleep was counting backwards from 1,000 (which is in a sleep meditation I sometimes listen to).  When I could easily count backwards and not get tired, actually be more awake, I realized it was time to get up.

I got up and started working at 3:45 am.  I usually only have an hour – 90 minutes of work to do on Sundays.  I was worried Roger would wake up and not fall back asleep, but I could not be a prisoner to the bed anymore.  Of course, Roger woke a few minutes past 4 calling for me.  I told him to either lay in bed and I’d put on the light or lay on the couch outside of the office.  He chose the latter but never fell back asleep.

We came downstairs after I was done with work at 5 am.  I cleaned up the kitchen some, got the animals’ water dishes refilled, filled up the dishwasher, and sat with Roger while I drank two cups of coffee.  Then I started a wash and decided to start riding my bike and blog.

We still plan on going to the Fort Worth Zoo today.  I actually think my exhaustion will hit later today or, most likely, in time for work on Monday morning!

End of week

It is the Friday of spring break.  Unfortunately, it was not quite a break for us.  My husband and I had work and my son was in camp all week.  Luckily, he was so excited for camp each day and said he had a best friend at camp.  Last night, we went to Main Event and played video games and Roger got to play laser tag with a friend from his school.  Today, after camp, my husband is taking him to the park and then we will all go to my parent’s place for dinner (bringing over Chinese food).  Roger is probably a bit disappointed I did not go to the park, but I woke up with horrible allergies.  It’s that time of year when I start having days that feel flu-like but know it is just what happens when the weather is nice.  I get to only explore the great outdoors on hundred degree days that are allergy-free.  This is truly not fair!

I have decided to have another appointment with the neurosurgeon I met with last year prior to my ulnar nerve surgery (who recommended traction).  I have an appointment with him two days before my follow-up with the new neurosurgeon.  As you can see, I am really wanting avoid surgery!

I have not received a call from the imaging place yet re: x-rays.  I called them yesterday and they did not get the order yet.  They said they will call me.  So, this afternoon I emailed the neurosurgeon office via the patient portal and will follow up with both over the phone on Monday early afternoon, if I hear nothing.

Now that a couple of days have passed, I feel like the idea of surgery is a long-past memory.  I am cheerful, despite allergies.  I am loving my new office arrangement and ordered a new, larger turquoise rug (to compliment the orange walls), so I can stretch during breaks.

Tomorrow hopefully my allergies can subside so we can enjoy a day outside in the gorgeous weather.  There is a St. Paddy’s Day Texas Style festival in Lewisville I would like to check out.  I have also heard the Dallas Arboretum is beautiful.  Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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).

Post-anesthesia Blues

This week has been mentally, physically, and, mainly, emotionally hard.

Prior to my epidural, I had a change in my workspace.  Instead of working on my personal laptop, that I could move from an exercise work station to different areas of the house, I am now confined to an upstairs workstation.  The set up is quite impressive with large dual-monitors provided from my job.  I am thankful but this has been a learning curve for me.  I had to learn some new programs, spent the majority of Tuesday on the phone with the help desk, and am still not equipped with everything needed.

Wednesday was my “oh-not-so-fun” epidural experience that you can read about in an earlier blog.  They days following have been tough work days.  I was physically exhausted but thought I did not need to take off extra time.  Boy, was I wrong.  I lumbered through them physically but was hit mostly emotionally.

Since Wednesday’s epidural reprimand, I have been in and out of streams of tears.  I have not cried this much in so long.  I have read theories over why anesthesia could make someone cry.  I am wondering if the stress of the past year is finally releasing itself with the help of the anesthesia.  If so, when will the tears finally end?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday’s Epidural

Yesterday I had my third cervical epidural.  My two previous ones were done a couple of years ago.  I had some nerve issues after my second one but did not have any issues with the actual procedure.  That was not the case yesterday.

First off, we had to be at the hospital at 6 a.m.  So, we woke up about 1.5 hours earlier than normal.  That wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I could not sleep at all due to the fact I was worried my alarm would not wake me.  I was up every few minutes looking at the clock.  Therefore, when it was time to wake up, I was already awake and exhausted.  My husband had to get my son ready for school so he had to leave me at the hospital.  I was glad they were gone before I got my IV.  Normally, I get my IV in my hand.  However, this time the nurse put it on the side of my hand/wrist.  The only other time I had it there was when I had surgery on my ankle (almost 20 years ago) and it hurt so bad that I clearly remember that.  Yesterday, it hurt as much as I recall it hurting then.  She even commented that something was up with the nerve and she had to reposition it.  Fun times!

The fun continued in the endoscopy room.  We had to wait for the anesthesiologist.  I chatted a tad with the doctor and staff while waiting.  I was being chipper.  They positioned me face down and, eventually, started the anesthesia. My next memory was the anesthesiologist commenting that I had to stop moving.  I felt like he was reprimanding me.  I started crying and was thankful I was face down and no one could see.  Then I swore I could feel the procedure taking place. It hurt like hell and I cried from then until I was brought in the recovery, where the nurse commented a few times on when my husband would be back — he had to drop our son off at school.  I was still crying when he arrived and on the drive home.  It took me some time before I could tell him about it.

I have been under anesthesia many times and never woke crying.  It makes me very nervous about having my next epidural in three weeks.  I sent a note to my doctor telling her the above in a more vague manner.  She tried calling but I was at my son’s school’s Chili Cook-Off.  She responded via email and asked me to call her tomorrow.  I have a lot to consider in the next few weeks.

Sunday – Tax Day

I designated Sunday as the day I would sit down and do our taxes.  What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday, eh?  What could possibly go wrong or turn your mood sour?

This was the first year of doing taxes that I had to figure out how to account for Rob’s second career, self-employment. I had quite a learning curve.  I must’ve done terrible miscalculations at the beginning of the day because the amount we owed was obscene.  I decided to put it aside and clean.

EVERYTHING that was out of place pissed me off ten-fold.  Clearly the tax situation tainted my mood.  The cat peed on my son’s bed, again.  I broke one of my favorite mugs.  We had a flat tire.  NOT A GOOD DAY!

By the time Rob came home with Roger, I was a bit more relaxed.  We “played” a fact card game, did Roger’s exercises for OT, practiced his singing for School of Rock, did FastMath, dinner, and I attempted taxes again.  This time I found some errors and our owed money was more palatable.

In contrast, I am really enjoying this quiet Monday at work!

Follow up on yesterday’s 1-4

For those interested:

  1. Pain doctor – she is sending a referral to a neurosurgeon.  We both discussed the Orthopedic Surgeon who I previously went to and I said he was too “surgery happy” and I would prefer to see someone she recommended, since her recommendation for a surgeon for my elbow was fantastic.  She said the doctor she is sending me to was head at UC Davis and is conservative in his approach.  Also, we scheduled two cervical epidurals on March 7th and March 28th with a follow up with her in April.
  2. Dental cleaning – they said all is good and that I have been doing well with my upkeep
  3. Open House was really great.  Roger was super excited and he got to show us all around.  It makes me waffle a bit about our decision to switch to the STEM Academy at Donald next year.
  4. The Dead Milkmen were phenomenal.  So much fun!  It’s always nice going to a concert with most of the attendees your general age.  There were some younger kiddos as well (middle school aged).  However, about 3-4 songs near the end I was aching to go.  My back was feeling it!

Last night we got home too late and this morning came too early.  My back is in dire straights today which is calling for a lot of icing and, soon, a hot bath which will, hopefully, be followed by a nap.

Busy, busy day

So, as life would have it, I slept terribly last night.  I knew today was jam-packed and I am sure that this is what affected my sleep.  I kept telling myself I needed a good night’s rest to make it through today but I ended up restless.

Beside the daily grind of getting Roger ready for school and walking him to school, working at my job, and picking him up for school, the following is scheduled:

  1.  Pain doctor appointment – my lower back stinks today from not getting rest last night (BOO)
  2. After work, a dental cleaning – I had to reschedule since I had bad allergy attacks the day of my last scheduled cleaning
  3. Open house at Roger’s school (as well as In-N-Out Burger dinner there)
  4. The Dead Milkmen concert in Dallas – now this should be so much fun.  The last time I saw them I was in high school.  I believe it was 29 years ago (GULP) but it will be a late, late night for me.

Barring the doctor’s appointments, it should be a fun day.  Roger is excited for Open House and Rob is excited for the Dead Milkmen.  I am excited for sleep tonight!

Ending February

Wow, one-sixth of 2018 is complete.  Today, I have a slower work pace, as the project responses have slowed down and I can concentrate on different aspects of my work as well.  It has also given me a chance to get up and move around more, which is needed on the day after the “dusting incident”.  I was able to clean the kitchen, to the best of my ability.  This helps since this is where I am currently situated on a stiff chair.

In addition, I was able to break free and have an actual hour break at coffee with my lady friends.  It was a nice change of pace.  Unfortunately, we mainly talk about our kids, instead of ourselves.  I guess that happens when you become a parent — your identity as an individual diminishes into that of a parent.

Now I am experiencing the downside of a slow-paced work day:  exhaustion.  When everything is busy, you don’t notice.  Right now, I am fighting to keep my eyes open.

Gotta get up and move around.  See you in March!

Unintentional Hiatus

I have a few minutes and due to today’s “dusting accident” I cannot lounge in my comfy chair.  Stuck upright, I decided to blog.  I cannot believe the last day I blogged was February 9th – 18 days ago.

There have been quite a few changes since that time.  Let me pause and see what was happening on the 9th and I will see what I was doing then and comment on the changes.

Well, that wasn’t the most exciting of blog posts…not sure this will be either!  Well, my husband gave notice at his job and has been working from home as an independent artist since February 19th.  We are into the second week and things are going considerably better than I thought.  Work has been considerably busier than usual due to a huge yearly project.  It is nice having that workload, actually.  It makes the day move faster and I think it made the transition easier having my husband home with me.

Mental health wise:  I had my second appointment with the therapist and was not as thrilled as I was the first meeting.  There is no stress management plan in the works.  I think I need to “stress” that at our next appointment on March 6th. (ba-dum-ch)

Physical health wise:  The past few weeks my elbow has been killing me (where I had ulnar nerve surgery).  Last week I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.  She believes the pain is stemming from my cervical issues.  She used a water hose in describing the “Double crush syndrome” with the ulnar nerve and my cervical issues.  Two people are stepping on a water hose, when one person steps off, the water may flow, but it still needs to get around the second blockage.  My neck and elbow were both crushing the nerve.  One blockage has been taken care of but my discs may be pressing on my nerve as well.  I have an appointment scheduled for Thursday to discuss, yet another, cervical epidural with the pain doctor.  I guess while I am there I will discuss my dusting incident.  I was enjoying dusting upstairs, twisted wrong (I guess) and sharp pain in my lower left back down my left leg.  Tried meds, icing, hot bath, and it still hurts.  Guess it was a good thing Rob works from home and could pick Roger up!

Roger wise:  Roger was accepted into the STEM Academy at Donald Elementary for 2nd grade.  We applied because it sounded awesome, but we knew the odds were low — about 450 families applied for 80/90 seats (20-25 students for each grade K-3).  The decision to go would be made on the off-chance Roger got selected.  I reached out to Roger’s past BCBA, his special education teacher, his long-term substitute teacher, and his principal asking their advice.  Basically, they all agreed that Roger was a “hands-on” learner and would excel in an learning environment that was 50% hands-on.  We always have the option to return to his neighborhood school.  Roger will be going!

Here’s hoping I will be writing more and in less pain!

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!

Friday, YAY!

Today was another good day. I was able to pace myself at work and to do some clean-up around the house. I was even able to get an errand done, a nice cup of coffee, and get a little break while icing my back and writing my blog. I have about 30 more minutes of free time to enjoy prior to mommy mode.

Roger is really excited for this evening’s plan. We are going to see 3 School of Rock bands perform in Lewisville: the first is Abbey Road (obviously Beatles’ songs) starting at 5 pm, followed by One Hit Wonders, and, lastly, Punk. There is another band after but figured we would stay until 9. It should be really fun and get Roger excited for his vocal lessons that begin in February!

Back this week

Well, Sunday’s post was a total bummer. I felt so down in the dumps. My husband entertained my son out and about most of the day. When they got home and were so very sweet, my mood changed. I had my patience back and sat with Roger to do homework and get him ready for bed.

The next day I decided my number one priority was to make a doctor’s appointment. I decided whoever had the first opening I would go to: either my PCP, my orthopedic, or my pain doctor. Thankfully, as I was on the phone with the front desk of the pain doctor, they had a cancellation that afternoon. I had to take Roger but he was well-behaved but nervous, since I told him I would have to let the doctor know what had happened to my back.

Prognosis: a deep bruise in my core muscle. It is a large muscle that is mainly used in yoga, which is why Sunday aggravated it so much. Basically this muscle gets irritated when bending, stretching, and turning. Just all those every day things. It takes about 6 weeks to heal. It had been 3 already. However, since OTC and non-steroidal anti inflammatories were not working, I got prescriptions for prednisone and muscle relaxers. If not better in a few weeks, we will explore further.

Unfortunately, I had insomnia Monday night. I awoke at 2 but could not fall back asleep. I woke up at 3:45 and started work. When done with work in the 10 o’clock hour, I shut down my computer to nap. I listened to headspace and could not fall asleep. After a bit, I got up and cleaned the kitchen and showered. I decided to put in an extra hour or so at work til I pick up my son. My computer would not turn on. I followed instructions of draining the battery, removing the battery, all the tricks but nothing helped. I brought it to Best Buy. The Geek Squad said that it seems like I would need to buy a new computer. Fortunately, I bought the extended warranty. So, they sent my computer to be fixed or, if unable to be fixed, to be replaced. The ETA is 2 weeks. Good thing I work from home and that’s my computer, I said sarcastically.

Good news: I was able to set up my husband’s computer yesterday to be ready for work today AND I got a full night’s sleep. Today has been very pleasant with some back pain, but in a good mood which makes it more bearable.

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.