Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

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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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Sometimes It Is Not Fun Being an Adult

January 12, 2014

When the Chief asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said, “I was thinking about that. Could we combine Christmas with our anniversary, not get each other anything, and go to this bed-and-breakfast that I’ve been dying to go to and have been watching its blog like a hawk?”

The Chief was game and I was given the go ahead to look for a sitter for the girls.

Then the Chief gave me for Christmas a pair of earrings we had scoped out at an antique shop downtown. Now I did get him to narrow down how much he spent and I don’t think that he paid too much for them. I would like them appraised to see if the stones are real but the earrings themselves are 14k gold.

So our anniversary came and went and so did some weird weather. It is fortuitous that we did not go on our actual anniversary because of the weather. (The next day was a snow day and that could have been disastrous.)

We were planning on going tomorrow. But it has been nagging at me. The cost. The cost of one night. I know, I know it is the experience of staying in a historic building, having cocktail hour, a luxury bath, gas fire-place, amazing food in the morning, time alone, just the two of us… I’m worth it. He’s worth it (though I’m not so sure he’d enjoy it as much as I would). 18 years is a pretty good accomplishment.

But we have a family cruise to Hawaii this summer. I’m going to want to do as many excursions as possible. The amount we would have spent in the accommodation, taxes and for a sitter for the night could pay for 1 or 2 excursions for a family of 4 depending on what we choose to do.

I was talking to the father of the sitter, letting him know we’d tell her tonight if we still needed her. “Yeah, we usually end up taking the kids with us because there will be a time when it’s just us.” I said, “We’re going on this trip but it’s not like we’ll have privacy.” He laughed, “Sure you will. Just send them to the beach.” T1, who will be sharing a cabin with other cousins, piped in, “Or just send T2 to our cabin!”

It is not just that. In recent days I looked around at our more than adequate home and started listing that I’d still really like–our bathroom redone and we truly need to admit we need a king size bed if we’re ever going to get decent sleep any time soon. This could mean a whole new bedroom set (ours is 18 years old now). And he has a list of his own–new kitchen floor, new front door, etc. None of this will be inexpensive. We just got a new hot water heater, new washer & dryer, and replaced the french doors. Not cheap at all. Those three were definite needs and not the wants of a new bathroom sink.

And the kicker? The Chief and I just had physicals. Our GP is an old friend–I’m talking I’ve known him since 9th grade. He went in to see the Chief and said, “Not that your wife told me to say anything to you, but you don’t seem too particularly thrilled with your employment situation. What’s it going to take for you to stop sailing?”

“For my wife and children to agree to live on half my salary.”

Don’t get me wrong, the Chief is pretty selfless and doesn’t make us feel like a burden. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that it is me that refers to myself as spoiled and blessed that I don’t have to work. I’ve struggled with that and I’ve panicked about that–I can be immobilized by the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” But the Chief has never made me feel like he resents us. He has expressed displeasure when he’s felt unappreciated but he’s right. The girls especially have had moments of thoughtless unappreciation.

I just spent the month of November being thankful and December is about serving, giving, and counting those blessings all over again. If the Chief is one of my top blessings, is it right for me to ask him to take me to what boils down to as an extravagance in light of all the home improvements I just complained about and the already planned expensive Hawaiian trip .. for “our anniversary”? Is it appreciative to ask him to spend money of something he might not enjoy as much as me?

Okay, just to be balanced, if the Chief asked me to spend our anniversary at a woodworking show, you better believed I’d roll my eyes, groan, make sure there was a nice hotel and restaurant involved before I’d agree to go with him. (And yes, I’ve spent my birthday at a woodworking show with him but it was followed by a Trace Atkins & Bill Engvall concert–seemed like a reasonable exchange!) The Chief agreed to the B-n-B idea without asking for something for him.

I wanted the Chief to step in and say, “Let’s save the money for Hawaii.” But he wouldn’t. He felt like he was in between a rock and a hard place. He listened to what I had to say. If he gave his thumbs up, I’d enjoy it–I’d have a blast. But I’d probably feel the guilt later when I had another sleepless night or complained again about or mismatched medicine cabinets. Or had even more guilt as we signed up for our excursions. Would it be worth it.

The Chief came up with the only grown-up solution. “If you’re going to feel guilty, let’s not go and go shopping for a king size bed this week.”

He’s a good guy, that Chief of mine.

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Hmmm…

October 19, 2012

So I body-checked T1 into the wall and took down two 14 year olds. Not sure if I should be proud of that but after subbing 5th grade for two days it felt so good!

Ask me about all my aches and pains in the morning.

Where have I been for the past month? Riding the continual roller coaster that is my life. The Chief came home.

Surprise! Hey, welcome home; take a nap ’cause I’m subbing so I’ll see you this afternoon!

Now that I think about it, because you’re home and the house is in the middle of being painted, can you change out the mirror and light fixture while the crew is working?

What? The old one was a fire hazard?! Surprise! It is just like being at work–did I say welcome home yet?

I actually did feel bad about that. I really do make it a point to let the Chief get his land-legs before throwing my massive to-do list at him. But really if he hadn’t taken down the fixture before the guys painted, if we had discovered all the not-to-code problems later, it would have been a waste to have had the bathroom done. Now the bathroom looks awesome–and it is to code too.

I’ve been subbing quite a bit. All by request too. Half-day here, full-day there. It takes a lot out of me but not as much as it used to. And I’ve turned down jobs too. Two days in a row is max for me. I need to recharge my batteries after that. Or run down and plow over teenage soccer players…

T2 has been declared “Normal.” Okay, yes, what I saw was unusual but according to her blood work everything returned to normal. So it wasn’t a defect in her blood–it was her blood reacting to something. Either the viruses giving her the ear infections or the antibiotics for said viruses. We even looked at a very common condition that many (I’m talking many) people have and don’t even know it. Now according to my one very knowledgable friend who keeps me sane in situations like this, one “normal” result for this condition does not necessarily mean that is the case. But it is not a life threatening condition so I’m not going to sweat it at the moment.

I can just imagine T2 at doctor appointments in the future listing all her mystery illnesses–before she even gets to the whacked out genes and family history! Honestly, I’m really wishing she didn’t have these mystery illnesses. It would be a lot less stressful for us. Especially because it only seems to happen when the Chief is at sea. At least the Chief was home to get the good news.

I’m pretty certain I posted this … my mom has breast cancer.

My.

mom.

has.

breast.

cancer.

I wear my pretty butterfly shirt on the days she has chemo. That development was a shock to us. I think I’m still numb. My sister had a call back on her first mammogram but it was just a calcification. Mom lost her hair. We’re not talking the thinning I’ve had since starting MTX. No. Her’s came out in clumps. She asked my brother to shave the rest.

My mom has cancer.

Actually, she’d had a non-melanoma skin cancer before. But this is different.

Did some reading. Seems that on those commercials that list all the side-effects of the drugs I’m on just to be able to walk … “And other cancers” means non-melanoma skin cancers and metastatic breast cancer. Um, hello? I’m pale. Very pale. I already have half her genes anyway so who is to say the drugs will have anything to do with it anyway?

I still get goosebumps when I think about the most amazing and real way God answered my prayers this summer at camp and yet I found myself morbidly asking why? Why answer my prayers? Why heal me? Yeah, the thoughts of my own mortality mixed with the realizations that my parents, the Chief’s parents just aren’t getting any younger. After all, my father had spent a month in the hospital prior to all this. Did He answer so that all my ducks were in a row? Closure before the bottom fell out?

I don’t know. I’m still numb. Sure other people’s lives are worse off. Other people’s parents are ill, far more seriously than my mother (she is only Stage 1 and prognosis is very good). T2 is NOT sick … abnormally normal, but not sick. The Chief is an amazingly supportive husband and the girls and I lack for nothing.

But I have panic attacks every week when scouts rolls around. I can only physically and mentally sub for two days in a row max–what would happen if I actually had to work full-time? The Chief and I are still working on things … getting closure was only the beginning and I have such a long way to go. Between me and him I still have to figure out how much is/was the PTSD, how much was me and how much was him … we’re in uncharted marriage ground here.

Speaking of uncharted territory … my 12-year-old. I’m supposed to be keeping track of how she behaves when it is just me and when the Chief is home. Actually, I’m beginning to think it may be more telling to look at her behavior and moods when it involves or doesn’t involve her sister. Jealousy is a green-eyed monster disguised as a blue-eyed girl in this case. And I’m still left wondering how much of it is the PTSD, how much is just me and how much is her … and how badly have I already messed her up? And how do I help?

That is what I have been up to. Thanks for stopping by!

BTW, choice number two with the “oriental rug” and black dress has gotten the overwhelming approval. I’ll post on the event after it takes place next month.

And I go for my first mammogram next week. I’ll post about that too.

Oh, and I know God answered for His glory–I’ve just got to figure out how He wants me to show that, to live that in my life. I know He’ll give me that answer too, if I just look harder and finish what He set in motion.

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Wrap Me Up in Silver Ribbons

May 24, 2012

The thing about PTSD is that it can be ever evolving. It is hard for us, the ones going through it, to understand and hard for our families.

Tonight I’m in an okay place. But this hasn’t been the case for several weeks. A couple of times it was a scary place.

I am learning that I can’t say I “had” PTSD… maybe one day but not today. I am taking steps to make sure that the PTSD doesn’t “have” me though.

Whenever we face a life event (either positive or negative) or we suffer additional trauma we runt he risk of symptoms returning. Or maybe the symptoms never left and we got really adept at managing them. I am learning that I only had band-aids on my wounds. I never knew this, never even questioned it. Recently, the trauma and the stress not only ripped that band-aid off but it took the scab and scars and showed that the wound never healed.

There is a positive to going through this right now because then I won’t be blind-sided later during major life-events such as my child’s wedding or the death of a parent, etc.–events that have nothing to do with my PTSD but the very emotional nature of such events takes away a lot of control from a person. I can be more prepared.

Especially if I finally take care of this wound.

Until I do it is influencing all aspects of my life right now–my ability to be the mother T1 & T2 need, to be a spouse, to handle the Chief’s sailing schedule, my health. Another thing I am learning is that I am looking through cracked glasses again. Not only is my ability to see shades of gray in a situation impaired, my ability to see others in my life for themselves and not with a crack is impaired. That is not fair to anyone involved. Am I angry with my fellow volunteer because of something they actually did or did not do, or am I angry because they remind me of someone who hurt me? My glasses are so cracked right now that I cannot give an honest answer.

In the chaos of all of this I have some how misplaced the Marriage Rule Book, the Sane Parenting Guide, and the Volunteer’s Manual on How to Avoid Burn-out. Without these rules, without feeling in control, I am flying blind. And it is a scary place to be.

Let’s throw on top of all that the physical and pharmacological effects of the PsA–which may have been triggered by the very stress I was under! Months of being in pain without relief or a diagnosis takes all control away. I know the longer I was on steroids the more my mood was altered. I know half a dose of a sleep aid will send me into a tailspin the following day. I’m taking medicines that enable me to walk pain-free but could possibly alter my mood significantly. What is the PsA, the PTSD, or the drugs?

What is my REAL mood? Do I have any control?

Facing the huge elephant in the room has helped. Confiding in a few friends about what was going on and including telling them about this blog has been good for me. It is keeping me grounded and accountable. It is helping me resist the urge to circle the wagons and run for the hills. It is keeping me from shutting down this blog.

It is keeping me from shutting down.

I have a great deal of work to do. I am enjoying my time with the Chief–I think we were at least able to take a bite out of the elephant and he is being as supportive as ever.

One day at a time. One foot forward. One more word blogged.

 

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