Posted in House, Me

Where Things Stand

Physically: I am still dealing with daily back pain. I meet with the orthopedist on Tuesday, but I don’t expect any results from that. I expect further testing will be needed. Otherwise, I’m working with a dietician and am on a new medicine for my hyperinsulinemia (Riomet). So far, so good, although it’s a liquid and tastes like the third ring of hell.

Mentally: I’m getting weary, I think that’s the word. Weary of fighting with the kids over school. Weary of money stuff. Weary of worries.

Financially: Jim’s bonus comes next week, and totally not kidding, it will pay off our credit card and theoretically cover the rest of the first phase of home improvements, plus the visit to the lawyer to do all the necessary lawyer stuff that we need to do. There’s still so much to be done on the house, but the money done run out!

Addiction: Hmmm…not on the back burner. Not boiling away on the front, either, but I’d rather it comfortably be on that back burner, forgotten and not important. I think I’ll have to check myself and see what all is going on–maybe it’s that weary thing mentioned above.

Family: The teenagers are being challenging, all four in their own individual ways. Summer plans are in place for the two visually impaired to live away from home for the first time and work on independence skills at two different programs. This will be GOOD, but oh, it is so hard! Jim and I just planned an anniversary trip (for October!) and are planning our vacation to Michigan (last family trip there? Maybe?)

House: We still have a storage unit, but I think that’s going to always be there as long as we are here. Jim’s garage greatly downsized when we moved, and there’s just not enough room for two cars and a shop. I think the current plan is to get a storage unit closer to our house, put one of the cars in it, and transfer the shop from the storage unit to the garage.  The electricians are almost finished as of today (Phase 1), and we have pot lights in our very dark family room and laundry room. Up next is the insulation (which this house is seriously lacking).

I think right now it’s just a matter of keeping the balls all up in the air at the same time. My mantra is “it’s just a season, it’s just a season”. Right?

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Posted in Health

When Pain Takes Over

And I’m not even talking about emotions!

Backstory: My husband gave me a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas 2016. He often does that. And around January to March I finally get one. March/April 2017 I went in for what I thought was a regular massage (I’ve had dozens by now, and it’s usually just working out knots in my back and neck). This time, though, I was in pain in my lower back. Like, producing tears kind of pain, which horrified the massage therapist. I went back again (on my own dime!) to see if only going a week in between would help. Still in tears. My back just really hurt. I figured it was just overdoing, but didn’t have much options because we were getting the house ready to sell. And packing a lot. I soldiered on because that’s what I do.

What with one thing or another (packing, moving, moving again, unpacking etc!), it took until January 2018 before I finally decided to see a doctor about my lower back pain. It had gotten so bad that on the 2nd day of moving into our home I didn’t do anything other than direct. Which was NOT FUN. I’ve always been proud of my strength, I may be little, but I am mighty!

The nurse practitioner immediately said I needed physical therapy and recommended a local practice that I have come to quickly love. Personal Touch is a wonderful place, woman owned and run, and they really, really care about their clients. I went for a few weeks, got sick, and took a week off and then and went back. For a bit I was getting better. I was even pain free on one side for a few days. But then….

Something changed. Something…got worse. I’m at a place where I’m afraid to do my stretches, where I sit down and rise very carefully, where I take 3 Ibuprofen every night in the hopes that the back pain won’t wake me up. And this is not because of PT overworking me. They do ultrasound heat, some gentle massage–never anything remotely aggressive.

They’ve referred me to a orthopedist (Main Line Spine). Both the therapists I see think I have something wrong with a disk. Which, yeah, kind of scares me a bit. My mother wore a brace for YEARS when I was growing up because of disk problems. I know that medicine treatment has changed dramatically in 40 years, but still, our backs do a heck of a lot.

So, at this point I’m keeping my twice-a-week PT appointments and waiting for the 13th to see the orthopedist

Posted in Addiction, Marriage

Addiction and Marriage

A respected blogger in the field of female porn addiction, Beggar’s Daughter, had an interesting thing to say today:

“…It has opened up healing conversation after healing conversation. After the most recent, I realized that the fear I had of what the future might look like is a fear any female struggler is going to share. It’s not unique to me simply because I’m an author and speaker; it’s shared by all of us.

No one has been there. The leading female voices on female porn addiction are all still single. There aren’t resources for marriages where the wife is the addict/former addict. There aren’t counselors trained to handle this specific scenario.”

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not a “leading voice”, but I sure am an authority on it, being that I live it day in and day out.

A little background: Jim and I were friends for years before we dated. All that time the addiction was either brewing or being active. I hid it really, really well. When we dated, it certainly affected my life and our dating relationship, but I was utterly clueless about it. It wasn’t until after we broke our engagement that I figured things out and got counseling. Jim and I stayed broken up for a good 9 months and I was free to concentrate on my recovery unhindered. HUGELY important.

When the conversations about getting back together started happening, I was so scared. I had been so messed up. Although he had absolutely played a part in our breakup, I feel like a lot of it was my fault. I had given my counselor (which happened to also be his counselor) permission to talk to him about my addiction. That might have been a little unorthodox, but I had no clue where to start. After that, one day I gave him my recovery journal, where I had been utterly honest with myself. It was brutal, but I wanted him to see the journey I had gone through. I wanted him to know that the sobriety that I had fought so hard for was something I valued and didn’t intend to turn my back on.

Fast forwarding 22 years (actually almost 23 from when we started all this!), obviously from this blog I still struggle. Whether that will always be the case I don’t know. I hope not. Sometimes I struggle with being honest with my husband in it–or even after it. He is not my accountability partner. I DO have a woman accountability partner and she gets emails about my internet usage. Jim gets them as well. He also gets what I think are instant alerts (not a weekly digest) where if something looks really fishy they let him know immediately. It’s not foolproof. I think it looks for keywords, and that alerts him when I’m reading an article on a Christian lesbian talking about choosing celibacy. We roll our eyes and move on. I do think I will always have that level of “big brother”, that much I can say.

I obviously can’t speak for how he feels about it. He’s seen me at my worst and he’s seen me when I’m not struggling at all. I think part of the wonder of marriage is he’s seen both, loves me as I am, and will be with me ” ’til death do us part.”

Posted in Health, Me

In Which I Practice Self-Care

There’s a sort of movement going on right now about self-care–bubble baths, glasses of wine, “Me time” etc. f you want to practice it, you go right ahead. But I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about the actual caring of myself–my body, my pain, my self-worth, even my darn teeth.

See, as all of you know, 2017 was, let’s just say a bit of a whirlwind. And there were certain things that HAD TO BE DEALT WITH. LIKE RIGHT NOW.

And I wasn’t one of them.

Oh yes, I absolutely blame myself. My husband is not going to nag me to go to the dentist. Or ask about my nutritional choices. He would view those things as my responsibility–rightly so–and leave them up to me.

But hey, it’s 2018! And I’m in pain. ALL THE TIME. And my teeth haven’t been looked at in…um….well over 18 months. And I stopped taking the medicine I need to take. And I’m eating crap and sugar way too much. And if you look up “sedentary” in the dictionary, well, there’s my picture!

So on the 31st I meet with my new dentist. Feb 1st I see a dietician. I started eating better (or at least paying attention to my choices!) yesterday and mostly recorded those choices in My Fitness Pal (app). I also, because of those good choices, took my meds (which HATE high fat choices and make me pay very quickly). I see my endocrinologist Feb 21st and a nurse practitioner in my new doctor’s office this Friday where I will talk about my back and my chest. My back is the everyday of my life pain thing. My chest….

Here’s the self-worth/happy with myself part. I’m 5′ 1.5″. I weight…well, a lot more than I should, but I’m not rotund. I’m also a 38G. Yes, a G. Such a great letter of the alphabet, but describes a part of my body that I’ve been very unhappy with for many, many, MANY years. I’d like to find out if insurance would cover a breast reduction surgery. If they would, then it’s going to become a conversation between Jim and me. If they won’t, well, I guess we’re stuck because that’s something like $12,000 and that’s not something we have just laying around. I guess I go to counseling to make myself happy with my body?

And oh, how difficult it is to preach “love your body” to my daughters while I’m so dissatisfied with mine!

So there you have it. Me. Aching, overweight, unhealthy me. We’ll see what 2018 holds!

Posted in House, Me

Lightbulb Moment

2017 was CRRRRRRAZY. It was a lot of work, worry and boxes–between getting the house ready to sell, selling the house, trying to find a place to live, moving into the apartment, finding this house, waiting for this house, moving into this house, unpacking in this house…..it just never ended.

Except now it has. With the exception of the basement that needs organization, the remaining drive-up storage shed of stuff that will mostly go in the basement (but not until it is WAY warmer) and the friend who is bringing over our shed stuff (lawn mower, snow blower etc) this weekend, we’re pretty much good to go. The house is, honestly, unpacked. (We worked very hard in December!)

So here we are. There will always be a “to do” list–that’s just the nature of home ownership. Ours is a bit long right now because of all the things that need to be dealt with fairly quickly, but still, the way I put it to Jim the other day feels right:

It’s figuring out what life looks like and how we live it here.

The crazy journey is done. We finally got off the merry-go-round. Now, it’s just LIFE. Making friends, making memories and hopefully finding happiness here.

So many people are picking a work for the year. It took me a bit, but I came up with one this morning:

ENGAGED

2017 I was utterly focused in our lives. I had no extra energy or desire to be outward focused or bandwidth to be engaged in anything other than us.

2018 is different. Living so much closer allows for involvement. My initial reaction is always to say “NO!” to almost everything. But I’m fighting that and rethinking it. Yes, I actually CAN help with the art show–we live really close now, so it’s not a horrible burden. You want to stay after school? Sure! Go ahead! I’m only 10 minutes away now, so it doesn’t matter. You want to get involved in a school program? Ok! We’re only 7 minutes from there, so sure!

It’s weird. But GOOD weird!

Happy 2018 everyone! Thanks for sticking around for the past year. I can’t wait to see what this one has in store for us!

Posted in Health, Jim

Rolling With the Punches

I don’t think we’ve had a year where Christmas with each side of the family happened when it was supposed to in years. This year is no different.

Jim complained early this week that something was in his eyeball, causing vision issues. He called the eye doctor, but only got the answering service and didn’t get a call back. He didn’t complain, so I didn’t give it much thought. Yesterday he complained again and I called the office. When I explained the problem–and that it wasn’t acting like a floater–they said “come in now”. He did.

Awhile later, he texted me that he had a torn retina.

WHAT??!?!?!?!

Retinas are terrifying around here. I have a blind teenager, a partially blind/partially visually impaired teenager, and a very near sighted teenager because of retinas. So yeah, retina damage utterly freaks me out. And this is a guy who’s job it is to stare at a computer all day. So yeah. Terrifying.

The ophthalmologist (it took me years to spell that word correctly every time!) called the office that Ethan goes to, which has two retina specialists. They said they would stay for him, because this is a Big Deal.

I met him there, they got him in, examined and took pictures and video and yuck. They INSERTED A NEEDLE INTO HIS EYEBALL with a gas bubble into it and injected it. The hope is the bubble will push the retina back down and then they will laser it today. In the meantime, he first had to spend an hour with his face facing down to the ground and then the next two days (aka today and tomorrow) with his head at a 45 degree angle so the gas bubble will be in the correct spot (cuz it wants to float to the top and the tear is at 1:00.)

We have a follow up appointment at 10am (aka 45 minutes from now) where the doctor will hopefully see that the gas bubble has done its job and he will then laser the retina as well. Then I think we go again on Sunday.

This has somewhat played havoc with weekend plans. The kids’ friends are still coming over tomorrow, but NYE over my sister’s? Nope. Continuing work on the house? On pause. Forced rest for my husband on the couch with a lot of “saved on the DVR and eventually I’ll watch it” stuff to watch? Yes!

He has already noticed an improvement in his sight–he could read “Deer Park” on the water bottle that he was unable to read earlier, so I’m hopeful about today’s appointment. We’ll see!

Posted in Holiday, House

In The Bleak Midwinter

Rain in late December IS rather bleak, although I will take it anyway over the “wintry mix” we were supposed to get on Christmas Day that changed course!

It’s been a weird week. We’re still settling in, still figuring out where stuff goes, still have some boxes upstairs to unpack and a ton of stuff in the basement to deal with. (My prayer this morning was that the HOUSE would become a HOME this year.) On one of my errand days this week I was driving by the cemetery where Connor is buried. I pass by it quite often, but this one day I decided to stop. It took a few minutes to find his grave–it’s been awhile and they’ve added quite a number around him–but I finally did. I’m guessing Nana (Jim’s mom) stopped by with a wreath.

For whatever reason–the general season, the whole year just adding up or who knows, that wreath at my son’s grave just got to me. I cried. I sobbed. So often I’m fine–really–with not having him here and dealing with it, but this month has just left me a mess in general and that in particular.

We’re down to two days before Christmas and the list of “Things to do before family descends” is well under hand. I still have a lot of cooking ahead of me, but I’m ok with that, and I’m looking forward to seeing the family and having them hang out here.

I hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a peaceful new year!