Archive for the ‘E.o.t.T.’ Category

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Here I go again..

February 28, 2016

What do depression and anxiety look like? I just looked in a mirror and saw for myself.

That’s where I’ve been. I think I am very fortunate that I saw the signs. I knew something was not right.

It is so hard to explain. And I was real, I mean REAL good at hiding it from the Chief. But not so good hiding it from my daughters, my best friend, or my SIL. Even now I struggle to find the words to describe it because it is almost indescribable–it just is.

I got the house decorated for Christmas in record time. The girls and I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed Black Friday shopping. I was listening to Christmas music since Thanksgiving. I enjoyed the candlelight tour of homes with my BIL and SIL. It wasn’t the typical “has the person lost interest and enjoyment in the things they once loved to do?” No. It was an overwhelming sense of dread and confusion and inability to make a simple decision. On the days I had to sub, I could get right up and get going… but when I got home from school I’d still want to curl up in the fetal position. Actually, the first alarm bell was the day I didn’t want to go to the gym. Not because it wasn’t enjoyable but because I had a day’s worth of activities following that I panicked over and worried about and couldn’t make a decision on.

I didn’t write my year-in-review letter. I had made a Christmas card with our beautiful family pictures we had taken in October. But I didn’t see a point to the letter. If you were in my life you knew what a year it was–tonsillectomy, ruptured L4/L5, subbing, surgery, camp, personal relationships in turmoil, my dad’s cancer… who wants to read all that and have a Merry Christmas?

And I didn’t want to host New Year’s Day. I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t know when the Chief was going to be home and I felt the world closing in.

One night the girls were fighting. T2 was pulling a stunt her sister had at that age, wanting something and not letting it drop–some absolutely annoying thing–right after I had shelled out $60+ to take us all to the movies. I will admit that as loud as I could reasonably do so in the theater lobby I called her a spoiled rotten brat. I drove them home and let them out and then drove away. I went less than a mile away and sat in my car at the park. I texted the Chief. He called the house to check on them. I played Sudoku for 2 hours. The oldest texted and I told her to tell her sister to go to bed; her too.

Then there was an incident over text messages with the Chief. Out of respect for him I won’t air the dirty laundry–we’ve already talked about it. But I stopped functioning. I sat in my car so that I wouldn’t curl into a ball on my bedroom floor. The girls were scared. A numb fog surrounded me. For days. Even the day he came home. I was ambivalent.

I described things to the Chief in these terms: anxious, fogged, as if every nerve in my body was on fire–I couldn’t handle loud noises or touch beyond the gentlest of caresses, an inability to see beyond the next minute let alone the next hour or day and if I had to think about it the pain and anxiety came back in a vicious cycle.

I had already made the decision to ask my therapist and GP to start some kind of antidepressant. Now it was just a matter of making it through the holidays until my appointment. I didn’t host New Year’s… getting a nasty case of Strep throat and a sinus infection was the perfect excuse. I had hoped the Chief could have gone with me to my GP but he had to leave for a class. We decided to start on Cymbalta for a couple of reasons–it is used for pain management and doesn’t seem to have a weight gain side-effect.

It took about 10-14 days for me to start to feel normal again.

The Chief has honestly said he doesn’t know if it is making a difference–I was REALLY that GOOD at hiding it from him. I guess that’s a hazard of this lifestyle. But he has been so supportive and understanding once we really had a heart to heart. I haven’t had the courage to talk to the girls about it to see if they’ve noticed.

I’ve been on Cymbalta for 40 days now. The Chief has gone back to sea. I feel fortunate that I was that aware of something wrong. It was gradual … two years building up with one kick after another… but I think my dad’s cancer scare left me so raw that the misunderstanding between the Chief and I just highlighted how broken, how out of balance I was.

Do I hope I’m only on Cymbalta for a short time, like when I had post-partum depression? Sure. But I also know it may be a long-term solution.

The day I didn’t dread going to the gym was the day I knew I was turning a corner. I guess this is another corner in this journey.

 

 

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Where Have I Been?

September 27, 2015

What a loaded question! I’m sorry I neglected this little project of mine and I think maybe the time has come to get back to this. I felt the kick in the pants from Callie’s Mariner when she featured me as a part of a growing merchant marine blogging world in her Sept. 21st post “Shipmasters”. So if you have journeyed here from her page, let me say “Welcome!” If you’ve been a long time visitor and you just got notice that I’ve posted something, let me say “Thank you for returning!”

I did post earlier this year that I had a tonsillectomy and septoplasty back in March. What I haven’t posted is that on April 11 I ruptured L4/L5 and I underwent a discectomy, laminectomy, and spinal decompression on June 22nd. The Chief was home in March for that surgery and the trip to the ER. He returned to work the day after his brother’s wedding. He wasn’t home for the MRI or the surgeon consult. I had asked if we could wait until the Chief was home for the surgery but that was out of the question. I was allowed to complete my obligation for a long term sub job and given one week to get everything squared away. The hardest part of that experience was the helplessness I felt when the Chief had to tell me that his emergency back-up plan fell through.

Let me be perfectly clear, if an emergency occurred the Chief would have left the ship by any means possible even if he didn’t have a relief on board. I have no doubt in my mind of that. It helped that for 48 hours he was actually in port.

It is just that I know he felt a bit peeved and frustrated with the situation and I felt a bit miffed at the mother and MIL actually getting in a tiff about who would have more time with my children. T1, whether she was just parroting me or actually felt as strongly, was a bit put off by the whole situation as well–considering she really didn’t need a babysitter. I even had to ask my new sister-in-law if she would come to the hospital to help me so that my father didn’t have to (love the man but he is not the one I wanted helping me to the bathroom … I can at least joke that I’ve unintentionally mooned my new SIL).

I healed remarkably well. Because my body had been under assault for months, I have a very painful flare up of my psoritatic arthritis (PsA) and had to stop the heavy duty drugs 5 days post-op so I could at least take my Enbrel shot. I would have to wait until my doctor cleared me (and removed my stitches) before I could start the Methotrexate (MTX) again. I have been cleared to run and weigh lift again. My surgeon had to remind me that unlike his regular patients who are still sitting on the couch and taking Percocet I am going to feel more aches and pains because I AM working out, running, and challenging my muscles and nerves to work and heal. I take 800 mg Ibuprofen when things are inflamed and a muscle relaxant when desperate. I have managed a 11:30 minute mile already… next goal is to work on the second mile.

Emotionally there have been other events that have occurred in the past 10 months that I am not at liberty to post about. Those things and not having this blog as the outlet it had served as in the past made letting blogging go for a while a necessity … plus laying flat on your back and not wanting to blog using my smart phone kept me away too.

Besides Callie’s gracious mention, I also think it will be important to blog about this time in our lives. The Chief will have 25 years with his company in the spring of 2016. I’m in such denial that I added a year! (“What? No! You don’t have 25 years until 2017!”) We had made an agreement that he would try to make it to 25 years if I seriously looked for employment by then–my mother did not work a steady 9-5 job until my freshman year and I wanted to give that to T2 as well.  Right now the Chief threatens to quit (rightly so) every other day. I was called in the second week of school to do a sub job for the assistant librarian (the same one I subbed for just before my tonsillectomy). I am hoping that if she considers retiring at the end of this school year that I can apply for (and get) her job. And that thought rocks my world sometimes–full-time work for the first time in more than 15 years!

This transition time in our lives will be crucial. Many career military marriages fall apart upon retirement. The Chief and I have fabulous examples in our parents (51 years and 48 years respectively) and we have worked hard ourselves to avoid many common pitfalls. I can honestly say the Chief and I are much stronger than we were a few years ago. I will have to blog separately about some lessons learned but if you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages you really need to–it was eye-opening! Understanding the Chief’s love language during the past 6 months made me fall even more romantically in love with him after 20+ years!

So Welcome and Thank You! Here’s to a new and continuing journey!

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E.o.t.T.: This… and Fail

December 14, 2014

“It is funny how when you have autoimmune diseases your normal is the equivalent of someone else’s awful. Which is okay because they shouldn’t have to feel the pain we do or understand it. We wouldn’t wish this pain on anybody.”

Exactly. This. But like my rheumatologist said, “The good thing about running in the cold is that everyone’s joints will ache and you can tell them that this is what you run with every day!”

So I ran a 5K Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis this morning and what a fail.

Let me back up. I had my personal best time at the 5K I ran for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Thought things would just transition right to training for the next race in 8 weeks. Didn’t exactly happen that way. We lost time for one thing or another. Oh, yeah, two incidences of tonsillitis in the month of November. Now I remember.

I remember the first time I tried running a 5K with the Chief walking Crook and Heddie and meeting me back at the car. Not bueno. 35:27 or something like that. 3 minutes slower than my new record. And … I had to walk some. Ugh.

About 10 days ago I developed intense pain in my left hand. Gripping the steering wheel or the bar at the gym made me want to jump out of my skin. And the residual burning pain… for the birds! I knew it wasn’t the bone so I also knew if I went to a clinic and they saw nothing on x-rays, I would be going to an orthopedist anyway. I just went right to the ortho. And yup, bones looked great. “Are you sure it is not numb or tingling?” “Yup. No tingling. Pain and burning.” So the PA went out to consult with the doctor. “She’s describing… Is it possible?….” then loudly from the doctor, “I don’t see why not. It’s entirely possible.”

“So, anatomically hands and feet are the same. Have you ever heard of a neuroma?” I had. My mother had them. In her feet. We’re talking about my hand. “What you’re describing is like that and I checked with Doctor So-and-so to see if he agreed and it is entirely possible that you have a neuroma in your hand.”

Seriously? Can I be any more of a medical freak?

6 days of prednisone to see if we couldn’t get the inflammation under control and no heavy lifting for 1 to 2 weeks. Oh, and don’t make a fist when running (my middle finger presses right on the spot when I make a fist). At first I wasn’t going to take the steroids because I really didn’t have a lot of pain at the appointment. The following morning I was driving the girls to school because I was subbing and I just barely touched the steering wheel and @#$%^&.

T1: Hey, Mom. Don’t use that hand in school. You might say something.

T2: Yeah. You might embarrass me.

Me: Thanks for your concern. Feeling the love.

I took the meds as soon as I got home from the job.

6 days seemed to only barely take the edge off. Of course I still tried benching (less weight though). I thought I’d feel like Wonder Woman like I did back when I took a short course of prednisone when we didn’t know I had PsA. Nope. I was so messed up and exhausted. Not a good week. I did manage to get in a full 5K but I didn’t time it to see where I was at–I was just wanting to get a full 5K in a week before the race. My sprints weren’t bad but I was running into the wind.

The pain is gradually becoming less and less so hopefully I can avoid a cortisone shot. Just the thought of that sends me into an anxiety attack.

Back to the race. I partied the day before. Sodas, caffeine, cookies, whoopie pies, chicken salad, etc. When we came home, I was a little hungry but didn’t eat anything. I couldn’t unwind at all and tossed and turned and finally took a third of a sleeping pill. 7 a.m. came way too early. Should have known when the cold wasn’t making me do the pee-pee dance that I was dehydrated. By mile 1 I was feeling queasy. My blood sugar was dropping fast. I needed more protein last night and perhaps this morning. After the race I was shaking for quite a while as I waiting for the watered down hot chocolate and the delicious scone the Chief and the girls brought me to take effect. Even later at church a friend remarked that I looked pale and puny.

The only thing in my defense is that for an arthritis run, there were way too many hills and there is a feeling amongst even the fastest runners the course was a bit longer than a 5K. I was psyched out by the course–I wish I had been mentally prepared. I couldn’t help it. I had to walk and that is the kiss of death because it hurts so much more to start back up. Everyone is congratulating me for finishing but it doesn’t feel like finishing if I had to walk portions.

Worst time results ever. 😦

P.S. Due to the tonsillitis, I am looking forward to possibly having a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Yeah me.

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E.o.t.T.: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2014

October 13, 2014
This is the shirt I bought at Wal-Mart to wear on the days my mom has chemo. A portion of the proceeds went to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This is the shirt I bought at Wal-Mart to wear on the days my mom has chemo. A portion of the proceeds went to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Once again, Team E.o.t.T joined together to Make Strides Against Breast Cancer in honor of my mother, my aunt and their cousin–all survivors. My daughters, my mother, MIL, future SIL, her mother, scout and church friends all got together this past Sunday for the 5K walk. The Chief and the husbands of two of our walkers all cheered at the finish line. The BIL walked this year with the mothers to help them along the hilly course.

Thursday night my throat started hurting. I should have known… during my last sprint training runs (about 350 feet x 8) I said to my trainer, and I quote, “I feel like poo.” By Friday morning my tonsils were the size of golf balls. I good feat because I have enlarged tonsils to begin with. Everything ached. And yes, clinic doctor, I know when my body is running a low-grade fever even if my temp is hovering at 98. 😛 My quick strep was negative but given my suppressed immune system and the fact I had been subbing in the elementary schools I was given some antibiotics and lidocaine throat gargle and sent on my way.

I spent the rest of Friday in bed, only getting up to go to the chiropractor for my pre-race adjustment. Oh man did it hurt, I mean really hurt, as he fixed my subluxations. See? Told you I had a fever. The Chief even took T1 to her first home coming football game in the rain. I’m bummed to have missed it even if it was raining. 😦 Saturday I was up and out on the soccer fields for back to back games in the drizzle with the throat still a little sore. I stayed low-key the rest of the day in the hopes of feeling better for Sunday but I did help T1 get ready for the dance and dropped her off at her friends.

One of my teammates, much younger (by like 15 years), started the course well before I did and she ran and was the first finisher. If you remember last year, I was the 1 and only runner. I started the race more officially this year–actually hitting the stopwatch on my phone and running from the start–but about 5 minutes after her. I was the second to cross the finish line (about 12 minutes after her). When I hit stop on my phone I couldn’t believe it–a new Personal Best Record of 32 minutes, 37 seconds! I hadn’t even had a 33 minute time since a training run back before my 5K in May. I was totally stoked! Wow. Take that tonsillitis! Also, I didn’t get lost this year! Yeah for a better sense of direction … even though most of the participants missed the last turn (poorly marked).

There were a couple of more runners this year, including my scout teammate. They had the stragglers take a few short cuts to have the event end at a reasonable time–my mother was one of the short-cutters, but hey, she’s allowed.

This race also marks my third and final 5K for the Nerd Herd 2014 Virtual Race Series. The participants run or walk races (all at once or cumulative) on their honor, send in their times, and receive really cool medals. Proceeds benefit Stupid Cancer. My first race was the Marine Corps Historic Half 5K, an on my own 1 + 2.1 the week I was at summer camp, and this 5K on Sunday.

Quest Completer, Revenge of the 5th, Lord of the Bling, and The Rebellion Begins image from The Nerd Herd)

Quest Completer, Revenge of the 5th, Lord of the Bling, and The Rebellion Begins (image from The Nerd Herd)

I really feel like I accomplished something(s) for a good cause and I’ve definitely improved (even if I haven’t lost a single pound).

Next race and new goal: Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5K Walk/Run in December and I will beat my time by 37 seconds. One week of rest and then 7 weeks of training. I’m expecting this to be the flattest course I’ve run so I’ve got a shot.

Pssst! You can still make a donation for Team E.o.t.T. … just go to the Making Strides hyperlink above and search for Team E.o.t.T. … Come on, you know you want to congratulation me on my new PBR!

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