Changes

Hi, everyone! I’ve upgraded my account and will be playing around with some changes.

I’m not very tech savvy, so I apologize in advance if I goof something up and my blog becomes difficult to read or anything of that nature. Hopefully the process won’t be as intimidating as it seems. Thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate you all more than you know!

With love,

J♡

Forcing Myself to Sew

In my last post, I talked about that feeling of just existing. I had really hoped that after more than a week, I would be in a much better place. I can’t really say that much had changed until last night.

A few months back I started getting really into sewing. I was finding that it was a great way to get my mind off of things that were troubling me. I had all these scraps of material and had found a couple of YouTube videos (linked just below) that really inspired me to start making scrappy quilts and bags. The Quilting Marine and Midnight Quilt Show. Here’s a few recent projects I did.

That feeling of just existing, however was bogging me down so much that I didn’t even want to sew at all. Last night, I was so fed up with the way I had been feeling, that I forced myself to go over to my sewing space (it consumes the front part of the living room…sorry, Honey). I dumped about half of my scrap fabric all over the floor. I began throwing them in the air and letting them fall back down…I like them all mixed up. This little task actually felt wonderful and made me giggle out loud. I felt a little like a kid, and that’s OKAY…I was feeling something good!

I peiced together five scrappy blocks that will eventually become a quilt. I’m so glad I forced myself to my sewing space; it seems to have lit a little spark. I can’t say that I’m in a great place today, but definitely a little better than I have been. I’ll take it!

What are some things you do to take care of your mental and emotional well-being?

Just Existing

I haven’t felt much like writing this past week. Honestly, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. I haven’t been much in the mood for chatting. I scroll through Facebook mindlessly. I haven’t wanted to sew or make jewelry. I haven’t wanted to do housework. I haven’t wanted to shower (I have though, because well, it’s important), but then I just put pajamas or sweats back on. I think I’ve only put on real clothes once or twice this week. I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping (fibro, recovering from surgery, and a virus have made this worse). It’s safe in my bed, but then I feel such guilt for not spending enough time with my family.

Most days I haven’t been very happy, but not sad either. I’ve just been kind of existing. I don’t like it there…just existing…it frightens me. It feels so isolated and empty. It’s where I store my ‘f*#k-it-bucket’. The receptacle in which I place thoughts like, if I died in a car accident and other equally unpleasant thoughts. Just existing feels like I am completely without emotion and incapable of finding any that is genuine. Sure, you’ll see emotion from me, but if you know me well enough, you’ll realize that it doesn’t seem the same; it will seem more forced, because it is. Oddly enough, my moments of just existing are the times when my anxiety lowers. A trip to the store that I would normally have to build up the courage to take, suddenly isn’t scary. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re not really feeling anything.

The just existing has taken breaks however, for moments of pure sadness. I’ve gone from feeling empty to feeling like there’s a giant hole in my heart, and sadness so intense it literally hurts my chest. I kept trying to supress that ache the last few days until last night. I could no longer push it down. I had a few total meltdowns, sobbing and aching deep inside with no explanation. Somehow, I think maybe it helped.

Today, I’m more on the the existing with a tad of happiness and a smidge of motivation. I never know when I’ll be thrown in a different direction, so for now I will take advantage of this the best that I can.

Take care friends.

With love, J♡

My (hopefully last) Spine Surgery

I woke up Monday morning at 3:30 and was checked in to the hospital by just after 5am. Surgery (SI fusion) was scheduled for 7:30am. This is hopefully the last surgery I will ever need. With this one done, I now have a total of seven screws in my body…two in the left si joint, two in the right, and three at L5-S1. I’m curious to see how my next trip through airport security goes!

Over the weekend I had come down with a bad sinus infection and was prescribed an antibiotic by the urgent care doc. Everything should have been okay to proceed but I called the on call doctor Saturday just to be sure. She said everything should be fine but would let me know if my surgeon said otherwise. Fast forward to Monday morning and I find out the on call physician had relayed the wrong message and told my surgeon I was sick with the flu and was cancelling surgery! We got it all straightened out, but I was going to be pushed back two hours to the second surgery of the day. Not that big of a deal except I was now starving and slightly cranky from a lack of coffee and lack of sleep.

Pre-op

I woke up (very slowly) in recovery and I remember the nurse asking me about my pain. The plan was to go home that day, but she encouraged me to spend the night in the hospital because of my pain level. I did stay and I’m happy I did. From noon Monday until 5am on Tuesday, my blood pressure was running really low. Nothing bad came from that but I was happy to be where it could be properly monitored, just in case.

Post-op next morning

I was discharged from the hospital Tuesday morning around 9:30, with my new walker and apparently a new body. I’m not sure why, but my whole body is so puffy, I feel like a marshmallow. I’m 10 pounds heavier than when I checked in to the hospital. I like the new weight as I was underweight before, but I’m thinking maybe this isn’t normal. Probably best to call the nurse.

Anyway, this was my two day adventure. Today is Halloween and I will be going trick-or-treating with my family tonight. Since I’ll need to be pushed in a transport chair, I’m going to be the zombie patient and my family will be my zombie doctors and nurse. If you celebrate Halloween, will you be dressing up, or hiding in the house with the lights off, indulging in a bucket of candy?

With love, J♡

Back Pain: My Frenemy

I hope this weekend is treating you well.

Low Back Pain and I met sometime around 2008. From then until sometime in 2017, we had many adventures together. We accompanied each other to get-togethers with doctors, we attended multiple physical therapy sessions together and we even took pictures together in those fun photo booths (mri and ct) on several occasions. The more time we spent together though, I felt the need to escape my new friend. I tried to declare my need for independence, but Back Pain insisted on sticking around. Now, she had already made daily responsibilities difficult, and insisted that I not work anymore (she had help with this from Fibromyalgia) and I was becoming more and more fed up with her company. We sought counseling at a surgeon’s office once in 2016, but the surgeon took her side and said I was stuck with her; there was nothing she could do for us. Over the next year, Back Pain and I continued on as we had before. We took more photos together, but I was in tears as she smiled. We finally got another counseling appt with a different surgeon in 2017, and I thought, this is it…freedom. Only, our insurance wasn’t accepted, so we left with me in tears and frustration and Back Pain just laughing. A few weeks later, we tried again with a new surgeon and guess what?! He took my side! He was going to free me of my unwanted friend, or at least make us long distance friends.

I had my first surgery July 2017, an ALIF (anterior lumbar interbody fusion). Things were going well for a while but I ended up with a new pain from si (sacroilliac) joint dysfunction. Almost one year to date, I had a second surgery to fuse the si joint on the right side.

I am scheduled to have the left side fused this Monday morning. I’ve never been so excited for a Monday! I’m hoping that this third and hopefully last surgery will be the end to my friendship with Back Pain.

With love, J♡

Was it Wrong to Become a Mother?

I would like to start by saying that, in no way, shape or form am I judging any other parent or anyone planning on having a family. This post is strictly meant to reflect the battle I have with myself. ‘Am I a bad person for choosing to have children?’ I ask myself quite often.

I have been battling depression and anxiety since I was just a kid myself. I know it doesn’t always run in families, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve doomed them to this destiny and I feel guilty as hell. I remember when my son was about two (first child), I was seeing my doctor to get back on my antidepressant. I was choking up as I asked the doctor if he thought my son would eventually have to take these too. He assured me that it was far to early to think about that, and if/when the time came, we would deal with it then. I am relieved to report that so far, at the ages of eleven and seven, they have not been diagnosed with any mental health issues. I have noticed though, that they are both very emotional children and I can’t help but be a little concerned about what their future may hold.

‘How can I teach them to cope, when I am still learning, myself?’ It’s normal for kids to feel a little anxious/nervous when going somewhere new or being around a large group of people right? But, how do I encourage them to go for it and that it’s ok, when I have spent the last couple of hours trying to build up the courage to go? Even large family gatherings where I know everyone, make me uncomfortable. This is nothing personal against my family, it’s just this feeling that I can’t quite explain.

On particularly down days, when I am struggling to cope with my own thoughts and feelings, or find them in the first place, how do I be a good mother? How do I smile and laugh at all their cuteness when I am feeling so completely empty? How do I have a conversation with them when my mind is everywhere else or nowhere at all?

These are just some of my inner battles as a mom that I will have to conquer one moment at a time. One thing I am sure of though, is that I love these kiddos with all my heart and so I will fight everyday, for them.

With love, J♡

Finding Beauty in Pain

It’s true, being in constant pain day after day sucks. Living with it for years is exhausting, and yes there are days where I can’t possibly imagine having to live this way for another fifty plus years. Having said this, there are also reasons that I am thankful for the pain.

Pain changes people, but it doesn’t have to all be negative changes. At this moment, I’m choosing to acknowledge the positive ways that pain has changed me.

Pain has made me more patient and understanding when those around me are in pain. Knowing what it feels like and how frustrating it can be to not meet the expectations you have for yourself or that others have for you, I am now more understanding when someone needs to cancel or change plans or simply rest.

I’ve become thankful for the pain in that, while yes it hurts, at least I have all of my body parts. Others are not so fortunate. I am alive another day and able to feel; that is certainly worth thanking God for.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to work, due to pain. While this is financially a burden on my family, it has allowed me to be more present in my children’s lives. It has also allowed me to discover my love for sewing, painting, jewelry making, and writing (my escapes from pain and depression). With any luck, maybe these things will turn into something I can use to contribute financially.

Pain has made me stronger. I have made it through 100% of my bad days and I will make it through the next one. I am also stronger in my faith. Living in constant pain I’ve learned to lean on God more than ever.

Yes, pain sucks, but if you can find the beauty in it, fighting through it might become a little easier. I would love to know, what beauty do you find in your pain?

With love, J♡