Day 79 and Day 80 – Dear Diary

Dear Diary, It’s been rough the last few weeks. My husband, Eric has been sick and the roles in our house have changed. I am writing a blog post all about it and it should be up soon. But it’s been hard to see someone you love is sick. And Eric isn’t just sick, he has a tumor that is possibly cancerous. We have to wait a few days before we will know for sure.

What Is Happening

The waiting is the worse part. We just found out today that he has a tumor but now we have to wait a day or two for the big results. It’s killing me on the inside. I’m trying to stay strong on the outside but all I want I do is cry. I never in a million years thought we would be looking at something like this and at our age. He’s only 48. It’s amazing how something in your life can change so quickly and you are supposed to just handle it. No warning. No preparation. Just bam, you have a tumor and it’s could be cancerous. I was amazed at how well the doctor handled telling us the news. He was nervous, that’s for sure but he just said it. Like he was telling us the weather will be hot tomorrow, oh and you have a tumor. I know he has to tell it like that and stay as partial as he can but I wanted to scream and yell at him to show an emotion. To take back what he was saying and to be telling us the wrong news. He got the test results mixed up. That’s what I wanted to hear. But that never came.

Now What?

We have to wait for whether or not it’s cancerous but no matter what he will need surgery to remove the tumor.  All I know is that we need to get him feeling better and quickly.  He has been sick, or at least had symptoms for about 5 weeks and the last week or so he has lost 23 lbs already.  He can’t keep anything in him and everything seems to run right through him. Once we know if it is colon cancer or not, that will determine the next steps.  Either if it isn’t cancerous, he will still need to have chemo and radiation.  When he gets sick, he gets sick.  Eric has never been the one that gets sick.  Heck, he has barely had colds or the flu.  So for him to have a tumor, this is huge.

Day 80

It’s cancer.  I don’t know what else to say but that.  It’s colon cancer.  And just like that our lives have changed.  In a mere 48 hours, our life went from boring and perfect to scary and unknown. How do you deal with that? It’s has been nice to have the friends that care find me and let me know that we are loved and cared for. The few that have reached out to me have made my day by sending me private messages that mean the world to me.  And those that have told us that they are praying for us is even more important to me. I know that Eric is strong, one of the strongest people who I know.  He will fight this and get through this.  Then we will look back at this and say, we managed to conquer that mountain. I am so very proud of him and how strong he has been through this already.  Eric hasn’t been feeling that great but he is getting up every day and putting one foot forward.  He is working the best he can and resting when he needs too.  I am proud to be walking this road with him. I will fight this fight with him.  Getting him through this the best that we can.

What Is Next?

Next up is more appointments and more test that need to be run.  We don’t have all the answers yet or a schedule as to when things will happen.  Next will be a cat-scan and meeting with the oncologist to see when we start chemo and when is the surgery.  Once we have a better idea of when that is happening, I will keep everyone informed.  Until then, I ask for prayers for Eric for strength, peace, and comfort through all this. Cancer is a scary word and hard to go through.  But I know that with the strength that Eric has and the help from God, we can get through anything. Until next time…….      

The Story I Never Wanted To Tell But Need Too. Hi, My Name Is Lisa And I’m a …….Part XI

Mother and child holding hands.

This is an ongoing series and if you missed any of the previous parts, they can be found here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.  Now let’s continue.

Am I A Horrible Mom?

Many times when I was fighting hard in the midst of my addiction, I would break down and cry because I would feel deep down inside that I was a horrible mom.  I, at times, would choose the drugs over being a good mom and I knew that made me the worse mom.  But yet I would and still to this day, do anything and everything for my kids.  They mean the world to me and I never wanted them to feel like drugs came first.

When you are in trying to deal with an addiction, you need to become selfish a little.  You actually have to take time out in the day to take care of yourself.  No matter how hard that is, you have to put yourself first to get a hold of the addiction.  It doesn’t mean that you have to stop living life and not take care of things in your life.  But you do have to put yourself first a little.

Making Myself Number 1

Fighting an addiction, be it drugs, food, or whatever can take a lot out of you.  If you don’t put yourself 100% into controlling it, it won’t work.  You need to be able to focus on it fully to understand why you have this addiction. And how to keep the addiction at a bay.

There is no cure for addiction. But one can definitely control the addiction so that you aren’t in the throes of it all the time.  So being a mother, it’s easy to worry that the children are not receiving the amount of care that they deserve.  I was very concerned not only because my kids were younger but also because my daughter is autistic.  I was afraid that I was neglecting her needs because I was/am an addict.  There were times that I felt that her needs were greater than what I could give, so that would throw me back into using.

Staying Sober For My Children?

Until I would get off the rollercoaster of life and realize that I wanted to be sober, I would continuously go down this path.  When I finally wanted to become sober, I realized that I needed to do it for me.  It wouldn’t matter as much if it was for someone else.  That may seem a little selfish or a lot selfish, but it’s the only way to become sober. It doesn’t matter if there are kids involved.  They will be so much better off if you do it for yourself and not them. It may seem like that is backward and doing it for someone would make it a little more special.  But it means more if you become sober for yourself.

The children, no matter what were my number 1 priority.  Until I knew that and knew I was a good mother, my sobriety didn’t work.  I would blame myself.  I would think that I needed to be on the drugs to be super mom. And I wouldn’t allow myself time for rest and relaxation because a good mother wouldn’t take care of herself.  A good mother wouldn’t have a great amount of back pain on a daily basis.  And a good mother would fight through the pain and not let it stop her.

Giving Myself A Break

I was very wrong.  I was/am a great mother.  And my kids knew that.  But they also needed to know that mom needed breaks.  It was okay for them to see that their mother suffered/suffers every day from a great amount of back pain. And it is ok not to be Superwomen or Wonder Women.  Once I took myself off the pedestal that I thought I needed to be on, working on sobriety was a little easier. I gave myself a break and I believe in doing so, I became a better mom.

Once I got my addiction from pain medications under control, I knew that my kids got a better mom.  I wasn’t a bad mom, to begin with, but I needed to pay more attention to them and put their needs first. Once I realized that I was doing that I gave myself the ability to work on my sobriety.

 

My children are and always will be the world to me.  I adore my children and I believe without them or my husband, I wouldn’t have gotten sober. But it’s important to know the true reason for becoming sober.  You have to pick yourself for the reason and stick with it.  Make the sobriety the most important thing in your life, and fight for yourself.  Then everything else will fall into the correct places. And life will become so much better. Your relationships will matter more and be more important to you.  And those in your life will know this.  Life will become so much more.  All you need to do is take those steps towards sobriety and make your life matter.

To start your journey towards sobriety, contact U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration here.

 

2

 

What came first, the depression or the pain?

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The last few weeks have been hard for me emotionally.  I was doing really well but now I seem to have found a brick wall and I keep hitting my head against it.  Before this time, I was doing really well and seemed to be on a roll.  Then all of sudden I wake up one day and don’t have the energy or willingness to want to do anything. Everything seems to be jumbled together and difficult to complete.

What Has Changed?

That is just it, nothing has changed.  There hasn’t been anything significant amount of change, or anything that would be the reason for this change.  How can it be that I go to be one night, seeming to have it all together, only to wake and have an 180-degree change?  What happened from the time I laid my head on the pillow to the time my eyes woke to see the morning light?

I wish I had the answer.  I don’t.  But what I do know is something change, be it physical or emotional (I’m leaning more to emotional).  All I know is that there was something in a short amount of time that changed me from wanting to write all the time, do things and have my life or so I thought, under control.  And then I wake and the depression was, is so great that I forgot what it was like to live a full life.

Have you ever felt like that?  Has there been a time in your life that you are cruising right along with life and bam, out of know where the wall shows up and you hit it going 100 miles per hour?  That’s how I feel right now.  I was going on with my life just how I wanted it to be and everything changed.

Teary Eyes, and Sadness

Juggling life with chronic pain and illness is a battle in of itself.  But then throw in life and everything becomes different.  Let me try to explain how I was feeling and how I changed.  You know how it is when you like a particular food and you can eat it over and over for a long period of time.  You change it a little every day, add a little salt more pepper, still tastes so good.  For months you can eat it.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then all of a sudden one day you wake up and you can’t imagine eating that again no matter what, for the rest of your life.  You have eaten that piece of food so much that the thought of it makes you sick to your stomach.

That food was your life for months, maybe longer.  You thought about it all the time, you changed it a little here and there but for the most part, that food was perfect.  Then one day it wasn’t.  What made it food that no matter what you did to it, it wasn’t something that you could ever have again.   In short, what is it that in 8 hours or so span that changed?  What made it that this food was your life and then turned out to be the worse thing you ever tasted?

This is how I feel right now.  My pain hasn’t gotten worse.  I haven’t been diagnosed with another chronic illness.  I just have felt that something has changed.  Something is different from where it was two months ago.  Right now, I couldn’t imagine taking another bite of that piece of food.

Depression, Anxiety, and Life

I didn’t think that my depression has gotten any worse than it was before. If anything I don’t feel depressed like I have been known to feel in the past.  About 5 years ago,  I had checked out for days, maybe weeks and needed help coming back from that. I don’t feel that way right now.  I seem to be happy and I am still getting out of bed every day, one foot first.

My anxiety has been a little higher than most days, too  I have found that there are certain triggers that have been setting off my anxiety.  For instance, I am short on my patience with the kids lately.  It’s hard having it be summer vacation, kids home all the time, and I am home all the time.  Being home all the time with the kids can be difficult. “My time” is cut into a lot less and I am with the kids 24/7. I would hate for them to be off this summer and not be able to be with them. So this causes my anxiety to hit an all-time high.  Not that it’s the kids’ fault, I love my children to pieces but we all need our own space.

Pain and Changes

My pain hasn’t changed that much but I have noticed it more lately if that makes sense.  When you are depressed, the pain seems to be magnified a great deal. Like the pain is more intense the more depressed and anxious you are. Have you ever felt that way?  Has the pain in your life become more intense the more you become depressed?

The more the emotional you are, the more the pain is there.  This is hard for me being an addict and not being able to take pain medications like most typical people doesn’t help.  If you would like to read my addiction story, you can find that here. But now is the time that I wished that I could take pain medications and take away the pain that I am feeling. But is the pain greater now and I need pain medications, or is it all in my head and like I said, magnified because of the depression and anxiety? It’s hard to tell which comes first, my emotions or the pain.  And which one is greater?

Change Is In The Air

No matter what the reason for the change is, there is a change.  I can’t say for sure that I am downright depressed but I can say that my emotions have changed recently.  It could be the change in the pain level or the pain level changed because of the emotions.  Like I said hard to tell which came first.  But I do know is that one day I woke up and things did change.  So now it’s my decision as to how to go along with this.  Do my medications, my antidepressants need to be adjusted?  Or is this something that will just go away? And how long do I wait till I make any changes?

No matter what, living life with chronic pain and illnesses is very difficult.  But add other ailments into the mix and depression and anxiety is the outcome.  Knowing how to deal with this is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  First thing is to make sure that you have a good and understanding doctor.  Without a medical professional at your side, it can be difficult to get better. The second and almost as important is talking with family and friends. This may be more difficult than talking to your doctor but having family and friends by your side is so helpful.  And third is to take care of yourself the best that you can at that time of your life.  We all go through difficult times but if we don’t take care of ourselves, physically and emotionally, then it can make things a lot more difficult.

Life Changes

Going through changes in life is very typical.  But knowing that we need to take care of yourself is important.  And also how we take care of yourself is important too.  Sometimes life throws curves balls at you and it’s all how we take care of ourselves that is important.  Sometimes we don’t know what is going on but we need to just ride the wave and get through this time in our life. Because we don’t know when the next curveball will be thrown and we don’t know just how our bodies will react to it. So take each day at a time and know that this too will pass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EnviroKlenz Review and Sponsor Post

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Laundry

I hate doing laundry.  Really, really hate doing laundry.  I do everything in my power not to have to do it but when I have to, I  make sure that my clothes or whatever come out clean and smelling great. But that isn’t the only thing that I  need to worry about.  You see, I have Eczema and have to be careful with my skin.

I can use the most expensive products.  Have it wash my clothes or whatever and have them still bother my skin or the smell on the item is intense.  I haven’t found many products that have been able to help with that. Until I tried a new product by EnviroKlenz.  It’s called EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer  Liquid,

EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhance Liquid

We have to spend money on clothes no matter what.  We need to take care of the clothes that we wear on a daily basis. Making sure that they are clean and smell great. Not only for ourselves but for those around us. Strong smelling or unclean clothes can push others away.  We should use produces that will take care of the clothes and our noses and skin.

According to the websites, they claim the following:

“EnviroKlenz Laundry is a safe and effective laundry enhancer that removes stubborn laundry odors such as musty & mildew smells, fragrances from detergents & fabric softeners, perfumes smell and scents, thrift store odors left on clothing by the previous owner.EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer works along with your normal detergent to enhance its ability to remove those tough odors that would normally be impossible to remove and best of all EnviroKlenz laundry Enhancer contains no masking agents or fragrances providing you with clean and odor results.”

Trying the Product

I have tried this product a number of times and can say for sure that not only did my clothes come out clean, they also smelled great.  I decided to do an experiment with this product and took a t-shirt, sprayed a ton of perfume all over it and washed it with my normal detergent and the laundry enhancer.  The t-shirt came out smelling great and clean.  There was no noticeable smell of the perfume.  The only smell on the item was the laundry detergent that I used.

This product should not be used with bleach or vinegar according to the package.  It is also great for cleaning a washing machine, especially front loading machines that tend to get a smell to them.  This can be used on the following garments:

  1. Cotton
  2. Personal delicate
  3. Nylon
  4. Polyester
  5. Spandex
  6.  Lace – Washable
  7.  Rayon –  Washable
  8.  Wool – Washable
  9. And all other washable fabrics

Would I Recommend This?

I would recommend this product to those with allergies and sensitive skin.  I believe that this product does what it claims that it does.    This product removes the order from all clothes that are washable and is a great product for the skin. I have not had any new eczema show up and a few of my spots have actually cleared up.  If you are looking for something to help with the order with your clothes, then this product is perfect for you.

Prices are very reasonable too.  For 15 loads, the price of a small bottle is $14.99 and for 30 loads it is $24.99. EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer can be found here along with the other products that this company sells. I believe that this product does what it says and removes all smells from garments.  If you need to have your clothes with no smell or just the smell of your detergent, then this product is for you.  Even though I hate doing laundry, I enjoy the way my clothes smell now and my skin is thanking me for removing any and all smells that can affect my eczema.

3 Ways My Life Has Changed Since I Was Diagnosed With Chronic Pain

 

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is life-changing.  Chronic illnesses can take the simplest, most uninteresting life and turn it upside down into a new and completely different life.  Chronic illnesses have taken my life and changed it in many ways.  But there are three particular areas that it has changed it and not for the better.

Chronic illnesses are definitely life changing.  Have you every had something so profound in your life happen that no matter what, changes the way you see life?  Has your life or someone you love had their life changed due to an illness or even chronic pain? Mine has and not always for the best.  But it hasn’t been just my life that has changed but my family’s.

Being Diagnosed

Hearing the words that you have a chronic illness is hard but knowing that from that day forward, life will be different. When I heard the words that I have a chronic illness and I will always suffer from chronic pain where two big days in my life.  Not like the days when my children were born but close. I remember the day that I was told that I have Pancreatitis and Ulcerative Colitis.  But I think being told that I would live in constant pain was harder than the diseases.  At least with the diseases, there is a chance for a cure.  With chronic pain, let alone me getting a new spine, I would be like this for the rest of my life.

Chronic pain was a life sentence for me.  I was a fairly active person and enjoyed always doing something. With the chronic illnesses that I have, I can somewhat control them both by things that I eat and drink.  But what will control the chronic pain? Besides living a life on pain meds, I didn’t foresee anything else that would help me.

Chronic Pain vs Chronic Illnesses

There seems to be a lot of people who look at living with pain as a symptom of an illness and not something separate.  To me, chronic pain is its own entity. I would, for the most part, live with any chronic illness and choose not to live another day with pain.  That’s a huge statement for me to say but let me explain.

Pain is so controlling when it comes to your daily living.  Granted so can an illness but most parts, illnesses come and go but chronic pain, at least with me, ever goes away.  I live each day with some degree of pain.  Whether it be an annoying twinge in the back to down right in bed all day, I suffer from some sort of pain.  And living with both, I would choose not to live with chronic pain over an illness any day.

Activity, What Activity?

So what has changed since I was diagnosed with chronic pain and illnesses? The first thing that has greatly changed and I sort of mentioned it in the beginning of this post is activity.  My life has always been very active. I was always wanting to do something or go somewhere no matter what.  But once my diagnosis was handed down, I haven’t been that active.  I don’t go many places, or do many things unless it has to do with my children.  I use to like to play tennis and other sports, like volleyball.  Now I watch and don’t participate at all.  Being on my feet for a long period of time is also something I can’t do now.  I have to sit and rest a lot.

It is hard to watch and not be a participate but you learn over time that you would rather not wake in a great amount of pain, more than I will already will.  I choose to be less active than to move with a pain level at a 9 or a 10. I have lived with pain at that level and know that its hard to function.  It’s hard to be a “normal” person with pain levels that high.

Working 9 To 5

The next thing that changed greatly would be working for a living.  When I was healthy, I had an amazing job working in the Coroner’s office doing autopsies.  I quit my job when I found out that I was pregnant and had planned on going back later, but once I found out I had back issues, I knew there was no way I could go back.  Not only for the long hours but standing for long periods of time and working on cement floors.  All that would have taken a worse tole on me.

I tried to go back in between my 3rd and 4th surgery and do a desk job for a mortgage company.  I did that for about a year until I had to do my 4th surgery and my addiction came to light more.  Please see my series on addiction, here. I worked ok part-time but when I needed my 4th surgery and I became more addicted to pain meds, I wasn’t able to work much more after that.

I’ve thought about going back to work many times since my life has gotten a little bit more under control.  But I don’t know how well my body will handle a day-to-day job.  I can’t always be guaranteed that I can get out of bed the next day and what kind of employment will permit that kind of workflow?  I can’t think of many.  So I don’t try.  I am afraid of failing after all this time. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll try again.

By Air, Sea, or Land

The final way that my life has changed since I was diagnosed is traveling. Traveling used to be so easy before I was diagnosed either from chronic illness or pain.  I haven’t traveled a lot since I was diagnosed with pain but the few times I went to see my brother in Chicago, I had to really plan ahead.  I couldn’t over pack nor could I forget anything important like any of my meds.

One of the most important things about traveling and chronic pain and illnesses is giving yourself enough time to make it from point A to point B. Airports have gotten so big that there needs to be enough time to make it to all the places you need to be.  The other hard part of traveling, especially on a plane is being comfortable.  I have found that sitting in the plane seats for a long period of time just kills my back.  So coming prepared is one of the best things that I can do.  Make sure to have a travel pillow, a blanket, a good book, and a face mask.  What more can a girl ask for?

These have been the hardest things change since I was diagnosed with chronic pain and illnesses. Travel hasn’t been that hard since I only do it once or twice every few years but working and daily activities have been more difficult.  I spend a lot of time wishing that I was able to do things like I was able to before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story I Never Wanted To Tell But Need Too. Hi My Name is Lisa and I am……. Part X

 

 

This is an ongoing series and if you have missed any of the previous parts, please find them here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV,  Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX.  Thank you for reading my story. Now, let’s continue.

 

Today I am angry, very angry.  I just want to be able to take a pill and have the pain go away.  Most people can take a pill anytime that they want but I can’t.  And that makes me angry. I am pissed off and hurt.  Why did I have to become an addict?  Why couldn’t it be someone else besides me?

Being An Addict

What does it mean to be an addict? It’s a lot of hard work and dedication to wanting to stay sober.  I fight this every day.  I have to choose to be sober and not fall back into the realm of wanting to abuse drugs.  But it’s not fair that I have to be sober and in pain most days.  I am better since the surgery but I still have days that are so bad that I want just one, maybe two pills.

Why me?  I come from an addictive family.  I have grandparents that abuse alcohol.  I have parents that may have had an addiction.  I think that my mom was shopping.  She sure likes to shop.  My dad may have had a problem with alcohol too.  So I come from a family that addiction is a norm.

But why did mine have to be so hardcore?  My addiction is probably the worse out of all my family.  Actually, I know that it is.  I abused drugs to the point where it ruined a lot of things in my life.  The others in my family were able to control their addictions, or so I feel. I don’t know exactly what they went through but from what I saw, mine was worse.

Born This Way

Do you believe that I was born this way or is it a learned behavior?  I believe that I have an addicted gene in me because it’s not just drugs that I can abuse.  I was going down the road of abusing spending money very fast not too long ago.  It was giving me the same rush as it would when I took a pill.  So I believe that I have the gene in me.  It’s kind of easy to see in me.

What is that makes me want to abuse drug or spend money or whatever?  I believe that with the with the correct gene and the upbringing in an addicted house, I was predestined to be an addict.  I have been reading an article about The Genetics of Addiction.  Here are some interesting facts:

  1.  Addiction is due 50 percent to genetic predisposition and 50 percent to poor coping skills
  2.  The children of addicts are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction.
  3. Repeatedly abusing drugs or alcohol permanently rewires your brain
  4. Your genes are not your destiny.
  5. Addiction is like most major diseases
  6. Addiction is not a weakness
  7. One addiction can lead to other addictions, and one drug can make you relapse on another drug

Do you agree with these statements?  I do.  Being an addict I can see that these statements are true.  If others have questioned you being an addict or the thought has crossed your mind, then I believe that you should be looking for help in some way or another.  Or if you feel that these statements fit your life now, please look closely at yourself and see about getting help.

But I Am Still Angry.

Just because I was predestined to be an addict or I have the genes of one, doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Actually, I don’t and that is why I am allowed to be mad.  I am making the change not to abuse anything right now.  I am clean and sober as the saying goes but I can still be mad that I have to be clean and sober.  I want a pill and having to fight this is so hard. It would be so easy to call my doctor and tell him how much pain I am in and that I need medications.

But I won’t do it.  Not again.  I can’t.  I won’t.  I can’t do that to my kids and to my husband but most of all I can’t do that to me.  So here I sit.  Mad and angry.  Know what I need to do to get past it, I work out.  It hurts like hell but I increase my endorphins and that helps my pain level.

It’s Ok To Get Help

I know that there are some out there that read my post about my life as an addict, are addicts themselves.  I hope that I help people and let others know that its ok to be clean and sober.  It’s ok not to be an addicted anymore.  I won’t lie, it’s hard as hell bit, in the long run, it’s all worth it.  There is a place on the internet that you can go to get help, right now, no questions asked.  Go to  www.AddictionsAndRecovery.org. Take that first step.

 

Four Months Since Major Back Surgery……..How Am I Doing Now?

April 23rd was four months since I had my fifth spinal fusion.  I have to have fusions due to having Degenerative Disc Disease that is constantly crawling up my spine and causing it to give me great amounts of pain.  How am I doing and is there any changes since the surgery? Was this fifth surgery worth it and will there be more?

I can’t believe that it has been four months since I had surgery. In a way, it feels like it was just yesterday but mostly it feels like it has been years since I was in the hospital, dealing with great amounts of pain. And then coming home to trying to move the best that I can without assistance from others or a medical device.

What is Spinal Fusion?

I had to have my fifth fusion on L3-L4 Discs.  I am already fused from L4-S1, which is the lowest the spine goes.  A spinal fusion is:

Lumbar spinal fusion is surgery to join, or fuse, two or more vertebrae in the low back. Spinal fusion is major surgery, usually lasting several hours. There are different methods of spinal fusion. … The bone is used to make a bridge between vertebrae that are next to each other. This bone graft helps new bone grow.

My surgery was 4 hours long and consist of my surgeon doing the fusion for the new location.  Also, they found out that the area where it had been previous fused, L5 to S1, the screws that were holding the fusion in place, had broken into two pieces and needed to be removed and new screws need to be put in.  This added a little more time to the operation, and normally, they don’t do anything with previous fusions, except maybe remove the old hardware.

Surgery is done, on to recovery!

After the surgery, you are in the recovery room for about an hour.  Which isn’t too bad of time.  You are usually pretty doped up and don’t know what is happening.  They ask you to rate your pain and will give you more medicines as needed.  Then it’s up to your room.  I don’t remember this move at all.  I do remember waking up in my room and asking for my husband over and over. All I wanted was to be out of pain.  They doped me up some more and off to sleep I would go, waking occasionally to press the pain pump button or when the nurse would come in.

This is my room for the next two days.  It is now 2 hours after surgery and I am fully awake.  I am ready to go and get on with recovery.  My husband tells me about the issue with the broken screws and I know that if I could survive that pain, I can get through this.  It has been 2 1/2 hours since surgery and I call for my nurse.  I’m ready and at hour 3 after surgery, I am up and walking the halls. Nurses and doctors are talking about me.  Determined to make it out the hospital by Christmas Day.  I will do it. All that matters is that I promised my kids I will be hope, so it will happen.

Days In The Hospital

Day one is almost done and I am exhausted.  I feel like a train has hit me.  From the top of my head to my toes hurt.  I feel like every muscle is yelling at me to stop moving and just give into the pain.  Being doped up more than ever and it barely took a bite out of the pain and knowing that this is how I was before but the pain seems to be in a small section.  Now my whole back hurts.

Day 2.  I know that I have to work hard to get out of here, but my drainage pump isn’t ready to come out yet.  I need that to be out before I can go home.  So I work hard at walking and getting my body to move.  Pain level is still in the 8-9 range and I am taking three pain meds.  My worries are there that the addiction will be hard to control but I have to do it.  I know that I can do it.  Day 2  is pretty much resting and walking.  Getting up to go to the bathroom and doing as much for myself as I can.

Day 3 is here and I am going home.  I did it and I kept my promise to the kids.  I will be home before Christmas.  I am very proud of myself but I am still in a lot of pain.  Plus my oxygen levels are not where the doctor’s want it to be so it looks like it will be going home with me.  I don’t care as long as I am going home.  I can’t wait to be with my kids.

Fast Forward 4 Months

The last four months have been tough but I have managed to beat all expectations.  I was home in 2 days from surgery and I got myself off oxygen within a month out of surgery.  Another thing that I have done was I managed to get myself off all pain meds 2 months out from surgery and haven’t looked back.  That was the hardest because they normally prescribe pain meds for up to 3 months, but I didn’t want to take any chances.  Since I have addictions, I had to be careful.

Other things that I have accomplished since I have had surgery is:

  1. No longer need the help of a cane
  2. Started to exercise riding the stationary bike 3 times a week
  3. Can walk more than a few minutes at a time without having to sit down.
  4. Can do things around the house that I haven’t been able to in a long time.

Did The Surgery Help?

Being that I am only 4 months out from surgery, I still have pain and discomfort.  Is it as great as it was prior to surgery, I would now say no!  I feel my back is better than it has been in awhile.  I may still have bad days but its not as many as I would have prior to surgery.  I would say that this surgery has helped me about 50% from where I was before.

Would I do the surgery again?  I would answer yes to that question.  I would do all this over again.  No matter what.  Even though I am not 100% better, being somewhat better is better than nothing.  It could have made everything worse but it has seemed to help.

Would I recommend surgery to others that have back issues?

I would have to say no on that question.  I do not recommend surgery to anyone unless it is the last resort, period. Once you start back surgery, it’s hard to have it stop.  My spine will always degenerate and I will now always need to have surgery every so many years.  The goal is to keep me off the table for 5 years now.  I really hope that happens. It has been between 2-3 years that I have had surgery.  So to go every 5 years would be wonderful.

All in all, this surgery went really smooth and I am glad as to where I am at.  I would like to be able to fo more but I can’t push myself too much.  I know that I did a lot of things faster than expected and I am proud of myself for that.  I hope that its another 5 years before surgery but we will see.  Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate List

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

Have you ever heard of the Ultimate List before?  I haven’t.  It was until I was watching a YouTube video when I saw it.  What is it, you ask?  It’s a list of things to do “more” of. Let me show you.

It’s a great little list to carry with you because basically what it is saying is, in the end, it doesn’t matter, just try your best. How hard is that for us to do especially those of us with chronic illnesses? We try as hard as we can and then a flare up happens.  Or an all out hospital stays creeps up and takes over our life.  What are we to do then for trying our best?

Perfection

It’s only us that beat ourselves up when we can’t do “the best” of anything. I don’t hear others say to me “well, Lisa you didn’t do the best that you can at that”.  I only hear that coming from within.  We blame ourselves and make it an issue when others let things go.  We hold on to things and make ourselves feel guilty for not doing something perfect or the way we feel it should be done.

Isn’t it amazing how we can do something that is perfect and we tear it apart, bit by bit because we didn’t do it the way we think we should have? Or we talk negatively about it to others and tear ourselves apart, that way.  Someone might tell you what an amazing job you did on something.  And inside all you are doing is picking it apart and saying how bad of a job we did.

Giving Yourself a Break

Why is that?  Why can’t we compliment ourselves or take it if someone offers? We can be so negative towards ourselves that it makes me sad that we don’t give ourselves a break.  We deserve that if anything. We deal with so much on a day-to-day basis that you would think that we would want to give ourselves a break.  That if anything, we deserve to give ourselves a break.

We are so fast to judge ourselves that we forget that we are just human too.  We don’t need to have someone on top of us all the time, so why don’t we take a step back and give ourselves a break. There are a few things that we can do to stop drilling ourselves and start to accept that we have done our best.

  1. Learn acceptance of what we do is human nature.
  2. Learn not to judge ourselves so quickly that we can accept mistakes.
  3. Learn not to criticize ourselves so much.
  4. Learn not to expect a change in ourselves all the time.  We are ok with how we are.
  5. Learn to look within ourselves and love what we see.

Taking an evaluation to see how well we judge ourselves.

These are all steps that we need to learn to do on a daily basis. There is an evaluation in an article in Psychology Today that asks 16 questions to see how you judge yourself.  If you score an average that indicates that you’re within the average of David et al.’s sample in self and other-acceptance.

David er al.’s sample is  “Romanian psychologist Daniel David and his collaborators (2013) developed the “Unconditional Acceptance Questionnaire” (UAQ) to test both your “philosophical” and “psychological” acceptance.  They defined philosophical acceptance of the self and others as your desire to avoid any evaluations of someone’s (and your own) self-worth. David and his team propose that any evaluation of the self, according to this definition, is an irrational generalization (as in the Albert Ellis model).

To take the evaluation, you can find the article here, Psychology Today.

You never know what someone is or is not struggling with on the inside just by looking at their outside.

I make an extra effort to look beyond the surface. I try extra hard to not judge by appearances. I must admit though, sometimes it’s hardest to not judge myself. If only we can look at the Ultimate List and realize that it doesn’t matter how well we do something, it just us trying our best and not judging ourselves for the limitations that we were given.

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