Reintroducing Myself

So often over the last decade, I have found myself saying I miss the old me. Which old me was I missing though? Was it the grade school me, who really didn’t know anything? Was it the high school me, who cared what everyone thought, was self conscious, felt like a burden and was lonely? Was it the me who would self harm in a desperate attempt to feel in control of something? No, these were not versions of myself that I liked very much.

After thinking about it more, the me that I was missing, was the me I am supposed to be. I am still figuring out who that is, but I’m finally enjoying the process. Now that I have been on my new medicine for a while, my appetite remains that of a teenager, my weight is staying up, I have more energy, and for the most part my mood is good. I think I really like this me that is emerging, flaws and all. Having said that, I feel like now would be a good time to reintroduce myself.

Today was a good day.

Hi, my name is Nicole, but most of my family calls me Nikki or Nik. Of course I will still answer to J or Jo (as some of you sweetly nicknamed me). I have a wonderful husband and two kiddos that stole my heart. To be honest, my favorite nickname is the one they call me…Mommy. I am currently 33 years old (though sometimes I have to really think about it) and living in Arizona. I was born and raised here, with the exception of a couple years after I was born, living in Pennsylvania until my parents divorced. It really isn’t where I want to be, at least not in the valley. I long to live somewhere that is surrounded by green, has all four seasons and rains often. I love cloudy days and thunderstorms. Those are my favorite days and are especially good for crafting. My sewing table is one of my happy places. I also enjoy painting and doing any kind of crafts. Hot glue guns are fun…and dangerous…careful, boys and girls. I love to dance and sing, though I’m not particularly good at either. Actually, there are some that may argue that I’m tone deaf. I consider myself a shy person, but around people I am comfortable with I am quite the goofball. I have an addiction to coffee, dark chocolate, and mixed-berry smoothies. I am a woman of faith and have seen God’s love work through all of my pain. He has saved me from myself more than once. I do not talk politics with anyone outside of my immediate family. Please do not ask me to do so; I’ve seen friendships and families fall apart over them. Anxiety, depression, POTS, psychogenic dystonia and fibromyalgia are things I will talk about most, because they are a part of my daily life. I will also share bits of randomness with you, like pictures of sloths (my favorite), just to lighten the mood. I used to be so self conscious, that I could take plenty of “selfies” and decide that none of them were good enough to share with anyone – forehead is too big, smile isn’t right, too many smile lines, etc. I’m learning how to love those things too and stop worrying so much. God made me the way He wanted and I need to appreciate that. Plus, I want to share my story with you and that means the not so pretty stuff too. I want to show you the real me and what life is like in that particular moment.

When I began blogging, I wasn’t sure anyone would really care what I have to say. What I’ve learned so far is that there are people who do enjoy reading my words and have found them helpful. If I can help a single person by sharing my story, then I am happy. Writing is a good therapy tool for me as well. I have also found an amazing community that is supportive. I am so thankful for all of you. I thank you for taking the time to get to know me (again). God bless you.

With love,

J♡

Please,tell me how you are doing.

Hello, dear friends. I will try to do a post tomorrow on how my appointment with the movement disorder specialist went.

Tonight though, I just wanted to check in with everyone. Covid-19 is affecting so many people in so many ways. Our little family is trying to stay in as much as possible. While the seriousness of this virus is scary, the other thing I worry about is people losing their sense of humanity. You have people who are hoarding essential items or harming others over the essentials. I pray that this virus does not harden hearts.

So, my question to you is this:

Where are you? More importantly, how are you doing (physically, mentally, emotionally)?

On a lighter note, here are some things I found on Facebook that I found amusing in regards to the toilet paper shortage.

I keep joking about sewing tp squares in pretty patterns and super soft material. I DO plan on trying to sew masks this weekend and then donate them to assisted living facilities that are in short supply.

Please take care, friends. Praying for all of you and your loved ones.

With love,

J♡

Time for a Medical Update

Hello, friends! Back in October, I shared with you that I had been having seizures. I did finally make it in to see the neurologist in November. He ordered a brain mri, which thankfully came back negative. He also ordered an EEG. It also came back negative. The doctor’s conclusion? Movement Disorder. He could not say what type of movement disorder; for this I would need to see a movement disorder specialist. Ugh, more referrals, more phone calls, more denials, more stress. Thankfully my momma bear came to the rescue again. Last week she found a doctor, and my appointment is set for the 12th of this month. I have a good feeling about this one; I really think we’ll be able to get some answers. We are all anxious as it has been a trying several months. For a little while the episodes seemed to let up, and I even started driving again. Unfortunately, they are back full-force and I have quit driving once more. There were four times while driving that I had these episodes. Thankfully, I was able to pull over before they went full blown. It’s too scary and they escalate so quickly. I can’t take the risk of putting my family or anyone else in danger.

I was hesitant to add this video, but I wanted to give you all an idea of what I am talking about when I mention these episodes (attacks, as we call them). My muscles tighten up and have a difficult time releasing. The positions that I end up in at times are so painful. The more severe episodes leave me completely wiped out and in need of a long nap. This video shows a mild episode that I had last night. Please excuse the goofy attire and crazy hair -it was a lazy Sunday.

I pray you all have a wonderful week. Thank you all for your patience, kindness and support.

With love,

J♡

Hello 2020

December went by far too fast, as it does every year. I hope that you all had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve. I am thankful for the memories made, the lessons learned, the blessings and the struggles that 2019 brought. I pray that this new year brings you all love and happiness!

Now that the holidays are over and things are slowing down a bit, my goal is to get back to blogging regularly. I’m trying my best to get through a depressive episode, so it may take me some time to get back into it. Thank you for being patient with me and sticking around. Lots of hugs to you all.

With love,

J♡

Yes, I Do This Sort of Thing Often 🎶

Pain has stolen a lot from me, but my odd sense of humor always seems to go unscathed. As many of you know, this last surgery was the fourth spine surgery in just over two years. I made a little song about all my robotic pieces:

You’ll need to sing this in the tune of “1 little, 2 little, 3 little…”

1 big, 2 big surgical screws

An interbody cage, and 3 more screws

A generator and some wire leads

These are the parts in my body


I hope you’ve enjoyed my little jingle. Was I on pain pills when I made this up? I’ll never tell. Okay, yeah I probably was.

With love,

J♡

This Past Week and a Sloth’s Adventure

Hello, everyone. I’m sorry it’s been a while. While we were out of town, I tried to stay off my phone so I could focus more on family time. I really don’t have an excuse for not posting/reading since being back (I got home late Thursday night), other than guilt. I have this horrible habit of letting something slide, whether it be calling someone, missing a medication dose, posting on the blog, and so on. The first oops, I feel bad but think, I’ll do it tomorrow for sure. The second day I forget, I get mad at myself. The third day, I feel guilty and instead of facing things head on, I let the guilt consume me and more or less try to run away from it. Does this make any sense? It’s a habit I’m trying hard to break. I will try to do much better from here on out.

The few days we got to spend out of town were wonderful, even if I did come home with lobsters for legs. A short amount of time in beautiful cool weather while the sun is shining, can do a lot of damage. Wear your sunscreen, kids. Since this was a last minute trip, I forgot to grab my antidepressant. The first day was okay, but the second day I started to feel it. Thankfully, I called the pharmacy and was able to get a few pills. Because it wasn’t time for a refill, insurance wouldn’t cover it and we had to pay for them. Oh well. One of the days there, the husband and I hung back while the grandparents surprised the kids with a trip to the amusement park. They had a blast! We could have joined, but I really didn’t think my body would be able to handle it. When they returned, my son surprised me with a little sloth for surgery day. He bought it with his own money. It was such a sweet and thoughtful thing to do and I absolutely love it! He named the sloth Mr. Cuddles, and he made sure I had him with me as we left for the airport. The kids would not be back for a couple more days. The kids were a little bummed that were leaving, so I decided Mr. Cuddles would have an adventure. I sent these to my father in-law to show the kids:

Waiting our turn to board

Flight safety is important

Pushing back

Hard to see, but he stole my coffee. Apparently it calms his nerves.

We remembered to get the boogie boards

Home at last. Time for a snack.

The kids thought the pictures were cute and I was told it put a big smile on my son’s face. That’s all I wanted.

The day after my husband and I returned, we were headed to my Mom’s to pick up the dogs. About a mile from her house, we hear a terrible sound coming from under the hood of my car. Next thing we know, the engine cuts out and we were luckily able to coast into a parking lot. The car has been towed home and now it must sit until we can replace the engine.

Yesterday, anxiety and depression were being nasty little “bleeeeeep”. I had two big meltdowns. I tried so hard to fight it off by staying busy, but it was no use. I don’t know if it’s because I messed up my medication or too much excitement in one week. Today has been better, I just feel wiped out. On that note, I will wrap up this post. I hope you have all had a great weekend.

With love,

J♡

I’ve Been Slacking – Update Time

Oops! I didn’t realize I let so many days pass without posting. So let’s see, what has been going on around here?

Well, there’s this…

Soooo close to THE day! I’m down to my last pain killer. Actually, a quarter of a pain killer, which in a way is a good thing. No pain pill means that pain will really build up, and while I’m not thrilled about that, it will allow me to really see just how well this scs device works. Yesterday was a bad pain day, today was worse, and I’ll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. I can only hope and pray that it plays nice. I am contemplating doing some YouTube videos during my trial to give updates. Maybe it would help others who are considering or about to go through this procedure. I’m not one for public speaking though and that is close enough to it. Plus, I’ve never liked the sound of my own voice on video or phone, ha. I’ll let you know what I decide.

The kids have been gone since Friday night. They are now on vacation with their grandparents, soaking up beautiful weather and ocean waves. Here’s the purse (finished) that I made for my daughter.

She absolutely loved it! Then again, that girl would be thrilled to receive a crayon drawn heart on a piece of paper.

I did also make that backpack I talked about, for my son. He liked it, but his response of cool, thanks, is more his personality.

A pocket on the inside for smaller things:

Maybe he’ll use it, maybe not, but at least he has it just in case. Either way, I had fun with these projects.

It’s been a little strange not having the kids home, but kind of nice. Do I miss them? Heck yeah! Am I also enjoying the calm in the house? Oh yeah! Any parent that says they can’t stand to be away from their kid, is either a brand new parent or from a different planet. I’m teasing. It is nice though, to have some downtime and take care of me for a bit. Speaking of which, my sweet husband told me yesterday that I should go and get my hair cut if I wanted and buy a box of color if I like. I did, and it felt wonderful! I’m working on growing my hair out, but it was close to mullet status…no thanks! A quick cut had me feeling much better already. I picked out a deep red color and dyed it at home. Add a little makeup and I felt genuinely happy and girly. When you’re in pain and such, a lot of days are filled with messy hair and pajamas. So even though I didn’t have plans, just getting a fresh look made me feel more human. Does that make sense?

I suppose that is all for now. Hugs to whoever may need one. Wishing you all a great day/night.

With love,

J♡

Another Arts and Crafts Day

Our daughter has been a little apprehensive about going on vacation without us. She says she’ll miss us too much. I want her to go and have a great time. She’ll be able to swim, make sandcastles, and spend quality time with her grandparents. I thought that maybe making her a purse to take on vacation would help. I headed over to my mom’s house today, to spend some mom and daughter time, and paint the jean purse I made. It’s not done yet, but I think she’s going to like it!

See that iced coffee? That’s crafting fuel. Yummy!

Now, I just need to figure out something to make our son to take on vacation. I’m thinking a drawstring backpack. We’ll see.

And then there’s this quick little craft: one of those countdown paper chains.

I made it because I’m anxious for the procedure, but also because my inner child still likes playing with paper and glue. Who am I to argue?

Wishing you all a great night/day.

With love,

J♡