Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Starting Over Again

Thank you so very much to all of you that read my first post and gave me such good feedback. I really appreciate it! I've added an email subscription link to the side box on the blog for those of you that wish to receive email updates of when I post. You can also "follow" my blog with Google Friends-that link is in the side box, also. 

I'm so happy that you didn't think my first entry was boring. :0) I was so afraid that I'd gone on and on with my story and that can get stale after awhile. I promise not to bore you! But let me know if I do!  I LOVE writing, I always have. I have a stuttering problem since I was a young child. It tortured me in high school. I didn't have many friends and the friends I did have weren't very close to me. I mostly stayed to myself and wrote poems at lunch out in the school hallway.  You know how brutal kids can be, I got my fair share of teasing. I wrote over 200 poems during my high school years. My mother gave me a gift for my birthday of my poems, typed by her, placed in a beautiful binder. Her hands were not good, the arthritis really took a toll on her poor body. She had to quit her job as a 911 dispatcher because she couldn't keep up with the typing that was required of her. So her gift to me is even more precious, because I know the pain she must have gone through to do it for me.  I hope I have it still, it probably is in the stuff we had to leave behind in storage in San Antonio. I was in such shock mode after my mom died, I didn't have a clue what I was doing or packing away. I don't even remember packing, to tell you the truth.  When we got to my in-laws in Phoenix, I had all my mom's clothes and only one or two shirts of mine. So I'm wearing her clothes, which in a lot of ways is comforting to me. Almost like having her near me again. I hope that doesn't sound too corny.  To this day, our stuff is still there as we haven't had the money to get a moving truck and have it shipped back here to Phoenix. We pay over $120 dollars a month to keep it in storage. Every time we try to save, disaster strikes. Our van got repossessed shortly after arriving in Phoenix and we had to file for bankruptcy because the phone kept ringing off the hook of all the bill collectors calling and wanting their money right now. We owed so much, the ONLY option we had at that point was to file for bankruptcy. It sure did stop the phone calls, for that I am grateful. I'd had to live to be 150 years old in order to pay off all we owed. My mom and I were also emotional shoppers, too, in addition to emotional eating.

When we finally do get our stuff back from San Antonio, it's going to be so hard going through mom's things. All her mystery books, cookbooks, Precious Moments collectibles, her M&M canister set I got her for Mother's Day, her purses. God, she loved her purses. And her red reclining rocking chair.  I will cherish each and every item.

I don't have to say how much I love my mom. I'm sure it shines through me for all to see at first glance. When she died, it was like my world had been replaced with some alien form that I couldn't and didn't want to accept! She couldn't be gone forever! No! I couldn't get used to the fact that I would never talk with her, laugh with her, hug her again. She was my best friend. People often thought we were sisters....I don't know if that is a good or bad thing! Either she looked young or I looked old! We'll go with the first one.  All though these days, as I loom closer to my 40th birthday in June, I look & feel like I'm 100 years old.  Life has done a number on me & my husband!!

My fibromyalgia was absolutely HORRIBLE that first year(2008-09) after my mom died. We were adapting well to living with my in-laws. Sure, we had our differences, but we worked them out. The real root of the problem was my dad. I love my dad, I truly do. He's a good man when he wants to be. It's just that he hides that and uses his prescription meds to ease his pain. I keep telling him NO amount of anything will ease the pain of losing Mom.  I tried to get him to go to a grief support group and we did go a few times, but he kept falling asleep and snoring that I was too embarrassed to go back!  I wish he would have listened to the group leader, as he was an alcoholic after his son was killed in a motorcycle accident. The leader said it was a difficult road for him to get back on the wagon, so to speak, but he did with the Lord's help. He tried to talk to Dad, but he wasn't receptive at that time.

My father continued to abuse his medications and didn't get along very well with my in-laws. I got so frustrated with him! We would be homeless if it weren't for Frankie's parents! He should be grateful our butts weren't out on some street corner!  He got in the middle of my marriage by always being in the middle of Frankie and I. Dad would be in my bedroom, watching TV all day and sometimes all night. Frankie and I were never alone, it seemed. We couldn't even go out to eat, we'd have to take him or he'd throw a fit. I'm a peace maker, so hate making waves that I did what I could to prevent a problem. I tried so hard I almost put myself into a coma. My dad was expecting me to take Mom's place and I can't. I felt so miserable, I couldn't eat OR sleep. I lost 100 pounds right off the bat (I was REALLY big; I'm so embarrassed to admit!) and my fibro was playing a number on me. I couldn't get out of bed for that whole year for longer than an hour, it seemed. I felt like hell...headaches, body aches, mouth sores, stiffness in my joints...all my diseases ganged up on me and made one big mess.  My mother-in-law was at her wit's end with my dad, the final straw being him going through her purse looking for the car keys so he could go get his drugs. I just knew we'd all get kicked out for sure!  I tried to keep everything together, to have it all fall apart around my ankles. I felt like a failure. One big, whopping failure!

Then my dear dad came up with a plan. He wanted to go live with his sister, Shelly, in Michigan for awhile. Michigan is where I originally came from. Most of my dad's relatives are still there.I knew he would be in good hands there, even though Dad's side of the family are wacko's with a capital W!! I could tell you story after story of their antics, but I really don't think there's enough words to adequately describe them. You'd have to see them to believe it, and even then, you wouldn't believe it!

The day my dad took off for Michigan (May 13, 2009) was almost like a rebirth for me. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I was NO longer responsible for my father's actions. He'd have to grow up and take care of himself!  If I had to, then he had to! Mom spoiled us rotten by doing everything for us (cooking, cleaning, shopping when she could, driving me to work and back, the list goes on and on), but she's gone and now we have to do things ourselves. We are responsible for ONLY our OWN actions. It's taken me until now to finally really believe that. I felt so guilty and bad for abandoning my father, but he was slowly killing me by putting too much pressure on me.  I loved the fact that I can now store my medications in the medicine cabinet instead of a safe that required both a combination and a key.  I love the fact that I don't have him following me around and harassing me for my pain pills. No more temper tantrums or throwing things around my in-laws beautiful house. No more tension in the air so thick, a knife could cut it!  I feel free!

Unfortunately, my fibro didn't bounce back so quickly. I got a huge blood clot the entire length of my leg July 2009. I was in the hospital for five days for that. Then, my lower back gave way and to this day, I am in extreme pain from 3 bulging discs I have in the lower back. They are compressing against my nerve root exiting both legs. I had a MRI in October of 2009 that showed that and also severe sciatica. I have burning pain that radiates and shoots down both legs. I can't stand for more than 5 minutes and I can sit for short periods of time. I can only lay on my back to sleep, if I roll to either side I get severe pain. I'm on 23 medications a day now, counting my 90mg of MS Contin and 30mg MSIR for breakthrough pain, which I have frequently. I'm supposed to have surgery to correct the bulging discs, but can't have it due to I'm a poor surgical risk because of my weight. Here's the funny thing: the neurosurgeon said I should have the stomach by-pass surgery. Wouldn't I be a poor risk for that, too? I asked him that and he didn't have an answer for it.

So, I went to a pain clinic which advised me to have cortisone shots into my back to see if that would help. I was game at this point. Gone was my apprehension over needles (I know, I know...I'm a nurse and afraid of needles. But understand-I don't have a fear giving a shot to ANYONE ELSE but me!! LOL!), the pain was too bad to not try everything I could. So I went in for the shots in February of 2010 and ever since then, my ankles & legs have been swollen. I don't have a clue why, neither does my doctor know why this is happening.  I'm on 40mg of Lasix a day and I still have "elephant legs"!!!!  Soooo, now I'm seeing a cardiologist who has recommended heart tests to see if its a circulation problem. So this Thursday I'm going to have a stress test (the chemical one, thank you very much!), cardiac ultrasound and ultrasound of my legs. He also recommended a sleep study, which I have yet to hear when I'm having that.  And then, as if we didn't have enough on our plate, my husband has a new growth in his small intestine that his oncologist fears is cancer regrowth. He might be out of remission after 7 years! If it is cancer grown again, we are hoping that the surgeon will just take it out and be done with it. If he has multiple areas of new growths, however, he will have to be started on the second line treatment for his GIST (gastro-intestinal stromal tumor) which involves a medication called Sutent. He sees the surgeon on Friday, right after my stress test! I tell you, Frankie and I have sure had our share of rough waters! But we have stood by each other through thick and thin and I'm so happy I have the honor of knowing and loving him. He's been there for me in my darkest hours after the death of my dear mom and now with all my medical issues. And I will be there for him through his medical issues. That is what marriage is all about-being there for each other and knowing what they need even before they ask for it.

I'll save my story about my on-going fight with Social Security for disability for my next post. My hands are growing weary, as is my eyesight. And I'm exhausted. I'm in another fibro flare with my leg muscles cramping every five minutes. I've got real bad fibro "fog"....I hate that as I can't remember anything when I'm in that state! But I'm sure my fibro buddies know what that is all about!!!

I hope you all are happy and well.
Until next post, bon voyage!!! I'm cruisin' right for my bed......LOL.....

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