Moving Day…

Good Lord I’m in pain today…

Trying to empty four years of crap from a three bedroom apartment and squish it into a storage locker.

I went to yoga the other day.  First time in nearly six months.  Apparently the steroids have taken their toll on my body.  I have never been this weak before.

Trying to hold the poses, my body would quake.  The instructor explained that my deep muscles are probably very weak and my superficial muscles are struggling to keep me upright.

It was difficult,  but I made it through the class.  And now I’m aching in muscles I forgot I had.

I’m planning to go back on Monday.  I’ll need it after the next two days.

I worked my ass off packing yesterday.  I accomplished way more than I thought my body could handle.

It is no where near complete, but at least we have some time to get it done.

I’m not ecstatic to be moving back in with my parents at the age of 31, but you know what?  It could be worse.

I know I’m blessed to have supportive parents (they are supportive most of the time).  I’m happy that I have somewhere to go and do not have to move in to Section 8 housing.  I’m thrilled that Sunshine is going to an amazing school, even if we are probably the only family getting free lunches.

I’m thrilled to have amazing friends.  My neighbor and her husband are helping us move today.  I have so much support through FB and my friends that live close by.

And I am eternally grateful to have an awesome husband.  Being in love, understanding each other, communicating effectively makes this all much, much easier.  He looks out for me.  He protects me.  If I look like I need a break, he tells me to rest.  He understands that my body doesn’t work as well as his.  He encourages me to do better, to do yoga, to walk, to stretch.  I couldn’t ask for a  better partner in life.

And Sunshine.  She has been through SOOOO much.  This is her sixth move in as many years.  She is happy, she is healthy, she is taking all of this change in stride.  Yes, she has her moments.  She bursts into tears, she pouts.  Its understandable.  But overall, she is a wonderful little trooper.

And thank you, my readers, for your support.  I love the comments I receive.  I went into this blogging thing with the intention of helping others in the same position.  What I found was an amazing wealth of support.  Thank you.

And back to the boxes…

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Mayhem

It is absolute mayhem right now.

We are moving this weekend.  Three boxes are packed and the dining room table is dismantled.  That is all.

My apartment looks like a war zone.  Boxes everywhere, toys scattered about.

Sunshine and her friend have been on a rampage.  Up and down the stairs.  Yelling in the hallway.

I checked in on Sunshine and her friend as they were watching a movie in the spare room.  I opened the door to find Sunshine dancing on the table and singing the words to “A whole new world” at the top of her lungs.

Our daily schedule as a family is absolute chaos right now.

We all wake up at 5 a.m.  My husband takes me and Sunshine to my parent’s house.  My husband then goes to work until 2 p.m.  I’m lucky right now that my mom is graciously assisting me with transportation for Sunshine to and from school.

This school doesn’t have buses, but they try to make student drop off and pick up easier.  But I still have to wade through the traffic jam for 20 minutes just to get to the building.

Today i worked.  I am administering flu shots at Wal Mart this fall.  I have all the supplies, paperwork, vaccine to haul around.  Fun.

And to top it all off, I nearly passed out again.

I was sitting on the porch with my friend (who’s daughter is Sunshine’s best friend and partner in crime) when I was hit with a wave of nausea and dizziness.

I’ve had this happen a few times.  Where I almost black out.  Its like the lights fade, the sounds fade.  And I can’t move.

My husband had to help me into bed and gave me a sugary drink.  Sometimes it is low blood sugar.  I was able to sit for a few minutes before Sunshine started protesting her bed time.

“Mama, I’m thirsty”

“Mama, I’m hungry”

“Mama, my alarm clock isn’t working”

Have you seen the book Go the **** to sleep?

So right now I’m dizzy.  I’m doing a pretty good job of staying upright.  But I’m dizzy.  My vision is hazy.  Fan-fucking-tastic.

I hope I can sleep it off.

 

No rest for the weary..

I hate moving.

I absolutely hate it.

No one absolutely loves it, but its harder with chronic illness.

Of course, I procrastinated, thinking I would feel better once I got my Lyrica (which I haven’t gotten yet, hopefully this week). So we essentially move this weekend and nothing was packed as of this morning.

Yesterday was my last dose of steroids.  I celebrated by walking about a mile or so at the park.

Now my muscles are SCREAMING!!!

I feel completely drained of all energy.  Sleep was futile.  And Sunshine woke me up at 5 a.m. because she wanted to go to the first grade RIGHT NOW!!

I am also working a contract nursing job giving out the flu shots at local Wal Mart clinics for the next two months.  Part of this position requires me to bring all supplies to the locations. So now I have boxes of gloves, paper work, stacks of consent forms all over the apartment.

I am also trying to weed out “non-necessities” from three years of acquired crap.  Everything but our clothes, personal entertainment stuff and a few items of furniture are going into storage until we can get on sound financial footing again.

And Sunshine has grown at least three inches this past summer.  All of the pants that fit her in June now make her look like she’s ready for a flood.  And her feet grew too.

So I’m going through every item of her clothing, checking sizes and weeding out what still fits, what doesn’t, and what is too shabby to donate.

I am losing weight (finally) but I’m still 4 sizes too big for the majority of my wardrobe.  I’m still debating on what to do with that closet full of clothes.  I’m planning on losing the weight (and 10lbs since I’ve started the taper of the steroids is promising) but how much do I hold on to?

And then there is the box of Sunshine’s school projects.  I have nearly every drawing, project, scrap of paper since she was in preschool.  I know the majority of it has to go, but I hate throwing her art work away.

I have been practicing good fibro discipline in taking frequent breaks.  Having my husband do the heavy lifting and actually RESTING when I take a break.  There is a difference between “resting” while reading or typing and “resting” and just sitting still and letting your muscles relax.

I’m looking forward to the break from worrying about rent, food, utilities.  My parents are being so supportive and generous with their time and finances.  This will be the third time I have moved back in with them since I was officially “launched”.

So, back to the packing, the sorting.  Sometime between today and tomorrow I have to get a p.o. box, find a storage facility and set up my supplies for work.

Positive thinking:  I made a wonderful dinner for my parents, husband and daughter last night.  I think I may have finally proved to them that I can actually cook.

 

Horrified…disgusted…grateful..

Just like my blog name states:  true life is stranger than fiction.

I could NOT make this shit up.

Also, my username (and address for this blog) is atxviapgh.  ATX is a slang term for “Austin, Texas”, and PGH is commonly known as “Pittsburgh”.  I came to live in the Austin area after living 25 years in Pittsburgh.

Sometimes people ask why I choose to move 1,500 miles from everything I ever knew.  Friends, Family.  Well, my reasons for leaving (at least one of them) was painfully affirmed this past summer.

In a few words…my mother’s family.

Now, I have been a nurse for 10 years.  I have worked in ICU, in economically disadvantaged areas, as a nurse at a juvenile detention facility and as a hospice nurse.  In my decade of nursing, I have never, ever come across a situation so fucked up, so vile, so reprehensible as the current one with my mother’s family.

My grandfather died suddenly in June.  I couldn’t go to the funeral because of my financial issues.  In a way, I’m thankful, because I haven’t seen the majority of my mother’s family in 5 years.

I recall clearly the Christmas after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I could barely get out of bed, but I dragged myself to my grandparents to celebrate with the family.  I respectfully declined helping with dishes after dinner, mainly because I was in so much pain and could barely move.  My lovely aunts and cousins took it upon themselves to seek me out and berate me for being “lazy”.  One aunt even said in a baby voice “is the poor widdle baby too sick to help?”

From that point on, I limited all contact with that part of the family.  For the remainder of my years in Pittsburgh, I would rarely see these family members.  I would visit my grandparents when I knew no one else was there.  Even after Sunshine was born, I still limited contact.

Granted, that wasn’t the first time something nasty had happened with my relatives.  I remember one year when one aunt got into a fist fight with another over NASCAR.  I’m not kidding you.  NASCAR caused fists to fly at Christmas Eve.

So back to the present day.  I always knew that all hell would break loose once one or both of my grandparents passed on.  Unfortunately my grandfather went first and left my grandma without care.  My grandma is really sick and has dementia.

My mom has spent the last three weeks in Pittsburgh.  Two days after she arrived, my grandma fell and broke her hip.  My mom has been there for her, helping the transition from hospital to nursing home.

My mom was horrified to find out that a few days after my grandfather passed away, my aunts raided my grandma’s jewelry box.

Now, my grandparents grew up during the depression.  My grandma was one of 12 kids living in the three bedroom apartment in the Polish Hill section of Pittsburgh.  After they got married, my grandfather worked as a draftsman at Westinghouse and was able to “spoil” his wife.

So my grandma had a pretty extensive jewelry collection.  She told me time and time again throughout the years that she had written out “who gets what” when she passes.

My aunts decided to circumvent this and took it all for themselves.  While she is still living.  The cross that my grandma wore everyday…her last gift from my grandpa..is gone.  And she is asking for it.

This makes me sick to my stomach.  I can’t believe that people who share my genetic material are so vile.

In addition, my cousin is now squatting at the house my grandpa built.  She changed all the locks.  All of her own volition.  She refused to let my mom in when my grandma needed more clothes at the nursing home.  Apparently she was instructed (by my evil aunts) to call the cops if my mom ever showed up.

I’m not kidding.

Yes, there are decades of bad blood here.  But I have seen a death in the family  bring people together.  I can’t believe this is happening to my own family.

I am horrified…disgusted.  But grateful.

Yesterday, in the great state of Texas, there was a family picnic at the lake.  My dad’s side (my dad is now talking to me again) was there.  I’m talking, aunts, uncles, cousins, babies.  Everyone.

No one got into a fist fight.  No one put anyone down.  No one got into a screaming match.  It was a wonderful day.  These people not only love me and have been supportive, they accept my husband and my stepson.  It was amazing seeing the contrast between what my mother is going through and the amazing day I had with family yesterday.

This side of the family isn’t perfect.  People have their quirks.  But it is the real sense of family that I have always craved and really didn’t have while growing up.

I’m grateful that my daughter doesn’t have to see her family get into fistfights.  She isn’t scared of one person or another (like I was of my aunts as a child).  She feels loved, respected and loves my family in return.

I would like to also point out that both of my father’s parents have passed on.  My grandmother in 2004 and my grandfather right after Christmas 2011.  No one “raided the jewelry box” no one moved to my grandpa’s house and changed the locks.  There were no screaming matches, no threats.  My aunt, uncle and father worked together to sell grandpa’s house, and upheld his will as to what to do with his property.

My mom returns from Pittsburgh in a few days.  I’m going to hug her, tell her its alright, and that she’s 1,500 miles from those assholes.

My grandpa would be ashamed.

 

Waiting

I hate being dependent on medication.

It is seriously like a drug addiction, only one that is legally sanctioned and promoted by the medical establishment.

I have taken a ton of medications during my adventures with chronic illness, but nothing sucks quite as much as being off of Lyrica.  Effexor XR is a close second.

I have been on Lyrica for six years.  After the initial six weeks of haze, vertigo and “out of body” feeling, it worked remarkably well for my fibro symptoms.

Late last year I had difficulty obtaining Lyrica, and I tried to go cold turkey.  It was horrible.

This time I’m a little bit smarter, and asked my PCP about what I can take to help.  So I restarted my Elavil at night to help with sleep.  But the pain and fatigue isn’t helped much.

I also have the intolerance to touch that I had before I started Lyrica.  I don’t know what the technical term is, but when I’m off Lyrica, my skin is more sensitized.  If I brush up against furniture or a person or even itch a scratch, the pain is overwhelming.  Breathtaking.  And the area throbs for at least a minute.

And the fatigue is the usual.  Just the run down, struggling to put one foot in front of the other fatigue.

I’m waiting for Pfizer to gift me with another supply of Lyrica.  I wrongly assumed that I was out of refills and would have to do all of the faxing of medical and financial records to get another refill.  So I slacked.  And now I’m paying for it.

Hopefully it comes through in the next week.  This is really getting annoying.

Planning

Now that the “move” has had a few days to sink in…I’m feeling a little bit of relief.

I’ll miss having my own space.  I’ll miss my privacy.  But I don’t have to worry about food.  Yes, I’m on food stamps, but the amount I get does not cover what this growing family eats.  Maybe about two weeks tops.

And I won’t have the threat of eviction hanging over my head every month.

We still will be having to pay to get out of our lease, but at least we won’t have to worry about basics and all of our money can be going toward a new place.

Or getting out of the last one.

Still overwhelmed at the prospect of getting this place movable in a few weeks.

I’m out of Lyrica again, and eagerly awaiting my refill.  So far I’m very tired and the pain is kicking back up.

And I’m trying to do something fun with the kids every day.  Pool, creek, museums (on free day) etc.

So I’m just worn out.  I’m scared.

But Sunshine is excited.  Its the best of all worlds for her.  She gets her grandparents, her parents under the same roof and gets to go to a new school all at the same time.  A school where she already has friends, thanks to Girl Scouts.

So she is thrilled.

As the plan is to rent a house after we get back on our feet, we told her we can get a dog when that happens.

I just think back the last 10 years.  I made some pretty poor decisions regarding marriage, relationships, money.

I’m amazed that I’m basically content.  I’m happy in  my marriage.  That makes such a huge difference.

Positive thinking:  school is almost back in session for Sunshine (as much as I love her, I do not have the energy to be a source of entertainment all day).  Maybe, after all this is done, we can get a house and maybe (eek!!) think about a baby?

 

Depression

And it has come to this…

We can no longer afford to live on our own.  We don’t have enough money to move (pay moving costs, first and last month’s rent, pet fees).  So it looks like we will be moving in with my parents.

I can’t explain how this depresses me.

I feel like a failure.

I feel like I let everyone down.

I feel like….well..horrible.

I’m trying to push myself to get out of this funk, but I’m anxious.  I’m scared.  My relationship with my parents isn’t too fantastic right now, and I was honestly scared that they wouldn’t let us move in.

But we pretty much have no choice in the matter.

 

Trying…

I went overboard again…

I’m trying to jump start my health and I did way, way too much yesterday..

It is HOT in Texas.  It was 105 yesterday.  So we spent a few hours at the pool.

I did about 10 laps of the junior Olympic size pool.  I played with Sunshine, throwing her in the water, flipping her over.

And now I’m paying for it.  Dearly.

My muscles are very painful.  Its the fibro pain, not the autioimmune pain.  And it sucks.

It takes a tremendous amount of effort to do ANYTHING today.

I’m going to try to push through it.  We are planning to go back to the pool today (and probably every day this week, as the low temperature will be nearly 80).  I’m hoping to do some more laps and see if I can overcome this initial hurdle.

It is pretty apparent that we will eventually be moving.  So far, they can’t kick us out until February, so that’s a good thing.  I’m kind of hoping for a last minute miracle (child support, family support etc) to help us bridge the gap and allow us to pay on time.  As it stands, my husband doesn’t get paid again until the 7th, and that is four days  late on rent.

Sigh.

Positive thinking:

– school starts later this month.  As much as I love Sunshine…I am READY for school to start again.

– I will be working most of September and October in some capacity.  It doesn’t help the situation now, but at least I’ll be able to feed my kids…

– football and hockey seasons are on the horizion.  GO STEELERS!!  GO PENS!!

– my husband is amazing and I’m thankful every day that we found our way back to each other

Hoping this pain subsides…