Crushin’ It

Lately, I’ve been crushing life.  If by “crushing” you mean sucking enormously at managing to keep up with everything.  The last several weeks have been filled with doctor appointments, physical therapy, acupuncture, remodeling the kitchen, trying to keep the house from being swallowed by mess, and barely qualifying as a parent and Girl Scout leader.  I look around the house each day and feel physically ill by the state of it all.  My inability to keep days and activities straight in my head make me worry about what my brain will be like when I’m old and gray.  A state of panic chases me and causes me to stumble into the next day.  

Treating my fibro
I have finally managed to begin physical therapy and acupuncture.  I love water physical therapy!  It allows me to use muscles and exercise in ways that I just can’t on land.  Therapy on land is transformative.  It turns out my SI joint and pelvis were out of alignment. It’s also been really painful to lay on my side/hip. After one session, my PT was able to adjust me, and the extreme tenderness and pain that made me yelp when she touched me was gone. GONE!  I’ve also been given very doable home exercises, some of which can be done while I go about my day. At my last session, I found out I have a weak butt. Or weak butt muscles, anyway. My homework is to clench and release my butt. 

I have had a few sessions of acupuncture or, as I like to call it, Napping with Needles.  The jury is still out on how I feel about it, but I know it’s too soon to tell if it’s making any difference, for good or for ill.  I will say that my last session seemed to make all the difference in the world. I am fighting a cold and had gotten very little sleep the night before. I was so bad off that Mike had to drive me to my appointment. Within an hour or so, I felt fantastic!  That seems like a pretty big turn around for there not to be some causal link.

One aspect of acupuncture I was not aware of beforehand is that the therapist will manipulate your body and limbs in order to loosen them.  That’s fine, but it is difficult to completely relax when the therapist is a man and leaning back makes you crotch-adjacent. Having my torso twisted, side to side quickly, so that my arms shake like cooked spaghetti and my boobs shimmy like the worst burlesque show ever, reduces me to embarrassed giggles.  Getting to lay quietly in the dark with soft music for 30 minutes, though, is pretty great. I actively try to avoid falling asleep so no one hears my snoring.  I’ve also learned that it’s pretty difficult to clear my mind, as my mind is a chatterbox with an attention deficit.

The second appointment with my new rheumatologist was much improved from the first.  My new endocrinologist is awesome; she is absolutely convinced of the existence of fibro and realizes that plenty of other doctors treat fibro patients like crap.  Finally, I’ve begun seeing a nutritionist in an attempt to lower my inflammation and lose weight.  I love her!  She is all about adding the good foods and refuses to forbid foods. Rather than making food bad or off limits, she’s more focused on making foods that will help you achieve your goal a habit.  She also understands that a person’s body in chronic pain processes food much differently than a “normal” body.  I’ve found myself reaching for better food and not craving a ton of crap. 

This is such a burden.

Taxi service
I’ve been taking Rachael to a slew of doctor appointments lately.  She’s been in therapy, as suggested by the psychologist who tested her for ADHD.  I’m not sure what, if anything, it’s doing for her.  But she seems to like going, and the therapist seems to understand the difficulties of our home.  We also had Rachael evaluated by an occupational therapist for handwriting and fine motor skills, as the results of her ADHD testing suggested that those difficulties could be masquerading as an attention deficit.  Results said she’s a bit behind and could use some therapy.  Since then, her handwriting seems to have improved and she’s not having as many difficulties as she was 5-6 months ago.  I may try to have her therapy over the summer.  I feel like the harm of pulling her out of class on a weekly basis outweighs the benefit of OT at this point.  

Finally, Rachael saw a gastroenterologist a couple weeks ago.  She’s suffered with relux and tummy troubles for a long time.  While Pepcid has made it better, her pediatrician wants to make sure that any underlying cause is found and corrected, rather than just continuing to treat the symptoms.  Rachael is scheduled for a upper endoscopy at the end of June. She was a little nervous, but understood the procedure and was fine…..UNTIL THE DOCTOR SHOWED HER A STUPID CARTOON VIDEO ABOUT THE PROCEDURE!  In the video, “Scopey” said that while he was inside, he might take some tissue for a biopsy. So NOW she’s freaking out to the point of losing sleep over it. Dude will get a nastygram over this. 

Kitchen remodel
The other major thing taking up most of my time is giving the kitchen cabinets a facelift.  I always thought the 20 year old , builder’s grade oak cabinets were disgusting, but getting up close and personal with them showed me that we had been living like animals for 6 years.  The amount of filth caked on them and the number of cracks in the wood made my embarrassment for whenever we had company skyrocket retroactively. 

I’m so close to being finished. It seems like there is always some hiccup or touch up that prevents me from getting on with things. But I do have one cabinet fully completed. 

 

All that’s left is to affix the knobs, which we haven’t chosen yet. Several doors are ready to be hung, but the hardware store didn’t have enough hinges. Because, of course.  

Hopefully I’ll be back blogging regularly again soon. I actually started writing this post weeks ago. But Zoë is snuggling with me and my brain is clear for the first time since I began writing this, so I can finally tell you what’s been going on with me. 

Maybe Mommy Should Have a Time Out

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Image via Shutterstock

I’m sure that my mornings are no different than anyone else who has kids in school. They are stressful, hurried, and full of yelling. My girls and I have an arrangement: they give me reasons to lose my temper and I, in exchange, give them plenty of material for when they’re in therapy as adults. While the specific material varies, the skeleton of each morning’s script remains the same. Since we rehearse this almost every morning, I’m fairly confident that we could make a good showing on Broadway.

Off stage: Rachael plays with her sister, rather than brushing her teeth and getting dressed. Mother enters, stage left, and finds that Rachael is just now taking off her pajamas.
Mom: Why are you just now getting undressed?
Rachael: Zoë distracted me!

Zoë pulls her heart blanket from the hamper. It needs to be washed because she spilled nail polish on it and was treated with acetone. Mom takes blanket away. Zoë has a meltdown.

Zoë visits Rachael while she is supposed to be brushing her teeth. Rachael chats with Zoë. Mom yells from off stage.
Mom: Rachael, stop talking and brush your teeth!
Rachael: I am!

Zoë runs away and refuses to following instructions. Mom is helpless, as she is on the toilet. Mom commences pointless yelling.

Rachael has a difficult time putting on her socks. Mom grabs socks and puts them on Rachael’s feet.
Mom: If you were paying attention, you wouldn’t have so much trouble.
Rachael: I was paying attention out of the corner of my eye!

On the way to the bus stop, Zoë squats and declares that her shoes hurt too much. Her posture resembles that of a donkey that has refused to move.

Zoë refuses to remove her hat and coat upon returning home.
Mom: Zoë! Now! One…
Zoë: Two…..

And, scene.

I tend to lose my patience easily, especially when it’s the same bullshit day after day. I could honestly pre-record the top ten things I yell and go to a spa; it would be as equally effective. I do need to find a way of controlling my temper. Not just for them, but for me as well. With fibromyalgia, my body feels the stress and anger. Most people experience increased heart rate, blood pressure, tension, and quickened respiration. I experience all those things too, but the stress manifests itself within my muscles. My skin. My bones. Even though regular body responses have returned to normal, the skin in my right arm is still on fire. Sometimes it means that muscles in my legs will begin to feel as though they are being stabbed, making it difficult to walk. Pain that tingles and rips through my chest used to worry me that I was having a heart attack. Now I know that my chest is just pitching a fit because I’m upset. My favorite, though, is when I think I doing alright and have come back down, but sudden numbness, tingling, and burning in my face informs me otherwise. Even while writing this post, I realize that my body believes me to be a cunt for stressing it out, and so is giving me all those things at once.
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Image via film, Camp Takota

I don’t have any great solutions or wisdom to impart to other parents facing the same problem. If I did, I’d bottle that shit, charge $75, and get a book deal out of it. I suppose that I just wanted to commiserate with my fellow Spoonies and to share with others what it’s like for me and others like me. It really is best to remain as calm as possible in order to avoid pain flares. Oh, and I guess it’s important not to damage your child’s little spirit. When you’re unable to maintain control, then you end up like my girls and I this morning- girls crying because their mom lost it and said that, with as much as I yell, the neighbors are going to call social services and take the girls away. Damaged spirit: check! Mom, knowing she’s gone too far, apologizing and hugging her girls close, telling them that no one’s taking them away. Mom, still in pain hours later because she lost her temper and was a complete and horrible asshole toward her children.

Christmas is coming. Run away! Run away!

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU *deep breath* UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKK *cough cough* *sputter*

Ahem. Now then, that’s out of the way.

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“Christmas is cancelled,” one of the paralegals, with whom I used to work, said it at least once a day in the run up to Christmas. I never fully understood that until this year. I think I must feel like a lot of people this year; the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has been way too short. Every day, I feel chased by a feeling of panic. I’m not really sure why. The shopping is pretty much done. I don’t have an inordinate number of things to do. But December 1st hit, and so began the anxiety, depression, panic, brain fog. It’s like I was thrown into the sarlacc pit of mental health. It seems fitting that this is what my Charlie Brown Christmas village looks like.
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As I’m being slowly digested over this month, my family is getting the shit end of the stick at times. I’m easily losing my temper. Although, seriously, the girls deserve it sometimes. I don’t know if it’s the negative energy in the house or perpetual anticipation of Christmas, (particularly by Rachael) but they seem to have lost their damn minds. Everything seems to involve them screaming or melting down. The other morning, Rachael whined that she didn’t want to wear jeans because she doesn’t like wearing dark blue on a cold winter’s day. The ability to listen also seems to have left them. Some days, I just want to run from the house screaming. Of course, I wouldn’t get too far, what with how sore and fatigued I’ve been. Oh. Also, I love my kids.

I honestly don’t know that I can write more than that. Not many words are actually formulating into coherent thoughts at the moment. But I don’t want to leave the post on a completely negative note, so please enjoy the letters I arranged in Target the other day.
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I was 2/3 of the way to spelling “merkin”, but Zoë kept running off. I decided to be a good mother and not confine her to the cart so I could finish spelling naughty words in Target.

I need a bigger fucking umbrella

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Image by RidiculousDream

After several days of hot and humid weather, it’s finally become cool and fall-like. Rachael spent the day at home yesterday, resting away from the Petri dish that is school, and trying to recover from her cold. I knew she needed to stay home and rest when I tried to coax her out of bed with the promise of getting to wear one of her new fall dresses and boots, and a small and anemic, No, came in response. Fortunately, while she was still stuffy and had a bit of a cough, Rachael’s energy had returned by this morning and was feeling well enough to go to school. This meant trudging out in the pouring rain to the bus stop with one girl who can barely manage the regular sized umbrella that is twice her size and another girl who has no problem with running out from under the umbrella I’m holding and stomping in puddles. By the time Zoë and I got home, we had soaked clothes and the need for one of those giant golf umbrellas.

The past couple of days has made me wish I had a giant emotional golf umbrella. Tuesday morning, after being up with Zoë for a few hours during the night, I was exhausted and in so much pain that I could barely walk.
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It’s scientifically proven that sleeping in the rocking chair like this is way more comfortable than in one’s own bed with a blanket and pillow.

Mike had pity on me and stayed to get Rachael ready and on the bus. He ended up coming home that afternoon and working from home because my walking situation wasn’t improving. I think the changing weather has been partially to blame. Colder weather makes my muscles seize up and my joint pain on par with most of the people who watch Fox News.

But stress has been the other culprit. With the morning had also come the realization, Holy shit, what have I gotten myself into?, with regard to Girl Scouts. The number of emails I’ve been assaulted with over the past two days has certainly reinforced that sinking feeling. One by one, each email revealed yet another piece of information or responsibility that the liaison had not bothered to tell me about. (Dare I say lies of omission?)
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“This deal is getting worse all the time!”

Mike even tried helping me wade through the mountain of rules, regulations, and procedures, and believed it to be a bunch of disorganized BS. Since Mike doesn’t have any boys to take to Boy Scouts, he is into this Daisy stuff hard. It makes me want to kiss him when he gives me support and helps me get my ducks in a row. (It makes me want to punch him in the head when he tried to guilt me into wearing the dorky leader scarf.)

The icing on the shit cake came yesterday morning when Mike called to inform me that his check engine light had come on on the way to work. A couple hours later he called to tell me that the necessary repairs were going to cost about two-thirds the value of car.

So I’m trying to take a low key me day. Zoë is doing her best to comfort me by constantly trying to occupy the same space, poking me in the eyes, messing with things she shouldn’t, and general orneriness. It’s. So. Fucking. Sweet. I’m trying my best to remain calm today, but it’s really not happening. As I feel my blood pressure rise, my stomach gets increasingly sick with what I’m convinced must be an ulcer. I’m trying to help it feel better by stuffing my face with Oreos, but it’s not working for some reason.

This is a whiny post, but I’m not going to apologize for the whininess of it. That’s usually someone’s inclination, to apologize when they share the pain and emotional car wreck they’re experiencing, if they share it at all. But it’s important to sit in these emotions and really feel them. Process them. Release them. For someone like me, with fibro, it will be worse if I don’t. Sometimes you just need to put the umbrella down and stand in the rain.