B: Balance

B

 

Balance is something I struggle with…as a mom, as a nurse, as a wife.  I guess most people struggle with this, but it is harder when your body doesn’t listen very well.  I have had chronic illness for nearly 9 years, and I still struggle.

But I have learned some valuable lessons:

Take care of your body.  Learn what your limits are.  Right now, my tolerance for shopping is about an hour in the grocery store at ultimate health (think 100% life on video games), probably 30 minutes when I’m flaring or stressed.  I’m at about two to three stores (for about 20-30 minutes) if clothes or Christmas shopping.  I have to adhere to these rules or I run the risk of outpacing my energy sources and crashing.

Rest means REST!!!  I don’t have to sleep, although sometimes that is helpful, but keeping my body quiet, in a peaceful and quiet location for at least an hour is optimal.  That means no interruptions, no getting up constantly to serve a certain seven year old, no putting out petty fires that other adults can’t seem to solve on their own.

Understand that your body is different.  Your body doesn’t function the way it once did before.  It no longer has the endurance, the ability, the properties to hike all day, to go on a 12 hour shopping spree, to do the things it once did.  You may be physically able to withstand these activities, but the payment in terms of recovery is often more than the enjoyable activity in the first place.

Learn your body, learn your limits.  Strive for balance so you don’t spend your new life miserable, in pain and in bed.

Making paper

It feels so good to get paid.

We are by no means out of our situation.  But seeing that check with my name on it with a decent amount attached to it is so fulfilling right now.  That entire check is going into savings.

Right now we are looking at the end of April for the move.  We want to be sure to have all of our bases covered.  I’m not even looking at places until we have a decent amount in savings to put down on a place.

The real estate market here in the Austin area is phenomenal.  Buy or rent, places are only on the market for less than a week before they are snatched up.  So I want to make sure I have all the little duckies in a row before I look and find something I like.  I don’t want to be disappointed.

Work isn’t horrific.  I’m tired.  I’m trying to rest.  But I’m so anxious that I’m offering to do ANYTHING to make myself valuable.  I’ve been on call this week, I’m doing call for a few weekends in April.  I’m volunteering to do marketing, chart review, clean the stock room, anything to get hours.

It just feels good to be productive again.  To contribute.  I have never been one to want to rely on someone else for my well being.  Ever.  One thing my parents (especially my mom) drilled into my head as a teenager was that I needed to get an education to get a good job so that I could support myself.  To never rely on someone else.  I never knew how much that advice would come in handy at the end of my first marriage.

So these past few years of relying on others have really torn me down emotionally.  For someone that makes a living…for someone who’s calling is taking care of others, being the one who needs to be taken care of is a real mindfuck.  It is guilttrippy.  I know those aren’t words but that is how I feel.

I like money…

Happy birthday to ME!!

I am officially one year older.

As one with chronic illness, and especially as a hospice nurse, it is important to celebrate these little milestones.

I am off work today (and tomorrow, as I am going to do the whole SXSW experience tonight).  I will spend today with my munchkin and hubby.

Despite our differences, my mom always cooks me a birthday dinner.  This year it will be chicken friend chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and cheddar biscuits and chocolate cake.  That will be on Sunday.

I don’t really “WANT” anything for my birthday.  I grew out of that a long time ago.  I just want to spend time with my husband and daughter.

Never thought I’d be this happy to be celebrating 32….

Mr. Mom

It is spring break.  In this part of Texas, at least, most of the schools take the entire week off, all at the same time.  All K-12 and colleges are usually off.  FUN!!

Since I started my new job last week, I can’t ask for the week off, so my wonderful husband is staying at home this week with Sunshine.

And it has been AMAZING.

He has been taking her to the park, building block and Lego cities with her and even made a movie of her Barbies living in the dream house.

Monday I came home to an immaculate house.  I’m talking floors, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, all clean.  These are things that take me DAYS to accomplish.

I am so fortunate to have him.  He is able to do the things I cannot.  I can’t do much of the physical things.  I can’t run around in the park for two hours.  I very rarely can get down on the floor with Sunshine and build.  I can do the Legos, but my hands hurt if I do it for too long.  And getting back into work is exhausting me.

So I am eternally grateful.  I know I am a very lucky woman.  Not only have I found a man that loves me for me, he understands my illness.  He supports me in so many ways.  He doesn’t enable.  He uses the right amount of encouragement to push me to be healthier, but on my own terms.  He has educated himself on my illnesses and I rarely, if ever, have heard any of the hurtful “get over it” speech from him.  He understands why I can’t do certain things, and if he doesn’t understand, he asks.

So, thank you, my love.  This journey is so much better with you along for the ride.

GAM

Gainfully employed

I started back to work today.  A permanent job with permanent hours.  Its pretty much everything I was holding out for…hospice…part-time…flexible hours..in a territory close to my house.  I’m anticipating it going well.

The next week or so will be orientation.  I sat in front of a computer screen today and did policy and procedure modules. I’ll get more of that the rest of this week interspersed with meetings.  Next week I’ll be out in the field with one of my nurse friends that I used to work with at another hospice.  She put in a good word for me at this job.

I’m just anxious to be helping people again.  I know it is hard to explain to people who aren’t in this profession, but I miss it.  I miss the human interaction.  I miss listening to people, helping them solve problems, educating them.  I truly love being a nurse.

I didn’t sleep well last night, I’m chalking it up to nerves.  So some of the modules were somnolence inducing.  Tomorrow I get to meet more of the team.  I’m anxious to see how things work with this company.

I’ve mapped out the paydays and we are looking at moving mid-April.  It can’t come soon enough.

The pain has subsided with the rise in temperature.  Yesterday was BRUTAL.  Ice is not my friend.  I live here for a few reasons.  One of them being so I don’t have to deal with the total bullshit called winter.  This was my backyard yesterday morning:

grill

We used that grill a few days before…in 80 degree weather

 

I am soooooo looking forward to warm weather.  I don’t mind the heat.  I may occasionally complain when it gets into the triple digits, but I definitely prefer it to this crap.

SXSW starts this weekend.  I will be down there next Thursday night (my birthday) in hopes of feeling “cool” and “trendy”.  I didn’t get to go last year because of my health, so I’m looking forward to it.  I think its hilarious the things that I do now in my 30s that I didn’t get to do in my 20s.  Maybe its because my husband in my 30s is much more fun..

Very happy to be among the productive, contributing segment of society again.  Its hard to explain how this feels to someone who has never experienced it.  Even though I was (still am) sick, not being able to support myself, having to rely on others is a horrible feeling.  Although I have a wonderful husband who has never ever made me feel at fault or responsible for the situation we are in, it still sucks.  Seeing him work so hard at TWO jobs, one on night shift, just makes it worse.

So hopefully after a few weeks he can cut back, and we can get back on our feet and our situation can change.

Very optimistic right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Migraine city

Weather-Worst-Migraine-Trigger-300x199

 

Can you guess which is the worst for me right now?

I have had migraines since puberty, probably before.  I have taken almost every med under the sun.  Treximet works, usually within 30 minutes, to quell the war within my brain.  But Treximet is expensive.  My cost, even with insurance, is $64 for 9 pills.  I am currently having 4+ migraines a week, so that doesn’t exactly work out in my favor.

I’ve been supplementing with Excedrine migraine, but I’m EXTREMELY drug sensitive, and that small amount of caffeine (as low as the amount in a cup of coffee!) is enough to keep me up at night.  Which is why I don’t drink coffee.  That and the smell.

I have started back on Topamax, and as the nurse that I am, independently increased my dosage.  No horrible side effects yet.  I just want the pain in my head to end.

The nausea is enough to keep me from eating actual foods, which is slightly beneficial because it keeps me from seeing certain people at meal times.  Yes, that situation has not gotten any better, despite my best efforts to duck and cover.  I truly feel that my relationship with my mother is beyond repair.  Don’t think I can ever forget the evil she has spewed at me over the last few months.  It still hurts, but my shell is growing back.  Tougher and thicker than ever.

The one truly awful side effect of this migraine nonsense is that I haven’t been able to fully enjoy Valentine’s Day.  My husband bought me chocolates, and I can’t eat them.  Major, major trigger.  Boo.

Good news?  I should be hearing back from a prospective employer sometime soon.  I’m hearing from a friend that works there that it is a pretty good bet that I’ll be hired.  The sooner I start, the sooner I can move out.

Maybe that will take care of my number one trigger:  stress.

Suit of armor

therapy

 

 

Certain people in this household do not like the way they are portrayed in this blog.

Oh well.

This is my outlet.  I can’t afford therapy right now.  I’m sick, I’m in the house most of the time.  These are my personal memories so I can look back on a tough time in my life and realize how strong I am for surviving.

Just because I am in someone’s debt it does not mean that they have the right to abuse me and my family.

If you don’t like my perspective on your behavior, change it.  Period.

And if my musings and recollections offend you, try apologizing.  Try looking at your own behavior.  Hell, try professional help.

I will not take down this blog.  I will not be cowed into accepting the abuse because I have no option.  Despite my health, despite our issues, both me and my husband are doing all that we can to be independent.

And when that independence comes, some changes to relationship structures will come as well.  I will not have to tolerate the emotional and psychological abuse.

Think what you will, this is my personal space.  Writing in a journal or a diary doesn’t have the same affect.  I can’t get the support from 100+ readers when I write in my journal.  And actual writing makes my hands hurt.

This stance may make me homeless.  I have friends, I have other family.  Those constant threats do not bother me.

What bothers me is the games played for the affection of my daughter.  She is confused.  She is conflicted.  I see it in her clingy behavior, her demand to be with me at all times.  She asks me everyday to move out.  It’s heartbreaking.

So I will continue to add to my suit of armor.  I am one strong woman.

Day 28

Memories:  Top 5 moments of your life

I’ll do this in pictures, in chronological order:

Meeting my husband (in 1997)

Meeting my husband (in 1997)

Sunshine's birth

Sunshine’s birth

Finally being able to start a relationship with my husband, 2009

Finally being able to start a relationship with my husband, 2009

Disney with Sunshine, 2011

Disney with Sunshine, 2011

This moment right here, 2012

This moment right here, 2012

 

 

 

Day 26

Share:  A difficult time in your life

I read this title and started laughing to myself.  This entire blog was created because of a difficult time in my life.  It’s getting better, slowly, but this is probably the most stressful it has been.

I’ll update instead:

I survived my trip to the east coast.  Yes, it was cold, but apparently we got out just in time to avoid the polar vortex (of doom). I got to see my bonus son and spent some time with him.  That was awesome.  His mom behaved, mostly.  I spent some lovely time with my husband’s family.  They are so warm and welcoming.  A bit different from my current situation with MY family.

But the traveling and the weather got to me. And I needed two days to recover when I got back to Texas.

Things with my mom were worse when we got back, however.  I won’t go into details.  Apparently I’m a horrible mother.

Health wise, my eyes have inflammation in them, but not to the level he wants to treat right now.  My cataract isn’t getting worse.  So good news.

But the reflux and bleeding in my stomach is pretty bad.  I am scheduled for a scope (both ends) next week.  Fun times.

My pain from fibro has increased.  I think its the stress.  My joints in my elbows, hands, hips and ankles are killing me. I am supposed to see the rheumatologist sometime this spring, if I can wait that long.  I’m going to have her run my ANA again.

And the job search has begun in earnest.  I’ve had two interviews so far.  I’m hoping to hear back from them soon.  It is difficult trying to find a job in my industry that can go along with my illness.  I’m honest about what I went through.  I don’t want there to be any surprises if I take a job and my eyes get worse.  I’m mainly looking for part-time, something that isn’t intense or requires a lot of travel or being on my feet.  Good luck finding that nursing position.  If we get a new car, which might be happening fairly soon, I can return to hospice part time.  Fingers crossed.

Sunshine is amazing.  She just got an awesome report card.  She’s selling Girl Scout cookies (anyone want some?) and she is such a good little businesswoman.  She was taking orders from her classmates.  I had to explain to her that their parents probably need to order the cookies, since the kids aren’t carrying cash around with them.

My husband is also amazing.  He’s working so much, but this is a team effort.  I’m essentially his secretary, I get things done while he’s in his work cycle.  Because he works 12 hour night shifts, I don’t see him that much for four days out of the week.  But its worth it.  He’s already gotten promoted twice.

And my mom is working a lot more.  Which means we are getting along.

Today, things are looking up.  I hope by the end of the weekend I’ll have even more good news.

Thank you for reading!!