April 18, 2017

The thing about chronic pain...

The thing about chronic pain is, well, it's chronic. It never goes away. It's always there, like a dark, lingering force fighting you from the inside day and night. And it never gets tired. But that doesn't mean I don't. Quite the opposite, really, because I'm in a constant state of exhaustion. I have good days and bad days. But don't ever confuse that with painful and not painful days. They're all painful. No, I think the better term for it would be functioning and not-functioning. Because that's what it really is - days I can fake it, and days I just can't.

On my good days, I'm able to move and think more clearly and focus on the task at hand for periods of time. But that doesn't mean I'm not struggling. Because even on those good days, I am thinking about my posture and facial expression as I talk to you. 'Don't let it look like you're unhappy', 'Make sure to smile and nod a little', 'Try to look interested and don't betray that you really have to move or you're going to scream out in pain' are regular internal monologues. And all that internal battle, that constant fighting what's real and what people expect, is absolutely exhausting. Especially when what people expect is for you to be still and quiet and attentive for long periods of time. But in addition to being exhausting, it's painful. So painful, that by the end of the day, when I collapse into bed, there is no sweet relief of sleep, because sleep cannot come. I hurt too much, you see, for my body to ever hit that restful state.

And on my bad days, well, it's just worse.

Explaining this doesn't change anything. And really, it doesn't make me feel any better. So I'm not sure why I feel compelled to talk about it today. I think maybe it's because, despite my swollen, red hands, today might be one of those rare functioning days. Something I haven't experienced for a while.

But the sun is shining. And Spring is here. And my coffee is hot. And for that, I'll be thankful.

April 7, 2017

That's a wrap

  • Last night was the official end of the wrestling season with the wrap-up banquet.
  • The coach went out of his way and said a lot of really kind words about C-man with him standing up there all by himself. It's always nice when your kid is well liked.
  • The coach and parents also went way out of their way to recognize me with some gift cards to local restaurants. It was simultaneously very thoughtful and sort of embarrassing. But still very thoughtful.
  • I got some antibiotics from a 12 year old doctor (only a slight exaggeration) who tried to teach me about the neti pot yesterday. I smiled and listened intently, while thinking, "Just give me the prescription!" the entire time.
  • My back muscles hurt from coughing so much. So that advice to wait 2 days before taking the drugs... yeah, not so much. I've been using the neti pot and the Mucinex because I don't like the antibiotics. But they just aren't doing it. It's time for the big guns.
  • It's supposed to be quite lovely weather-wise this weekend. Maybe I'll get some Vitamin D and take some photos. Although things are still greenish-brown. Maybe some lake shots will help soothe the soul. The lake is always an interesting blue.
  • The president of the baseball league has asked me to run the league's social media stuff. I agreed and put some stuff up on Instagram. But now he's hounding me to do more with Facebook. Sheesh. Let me get through wrestling season first! But it's all good. I feel like it's something I'm good at and can contribute with.
  • I've got a new platform bed that I need to assemble. It's been sitting in my hallway all week. I suppose I could get on that.
  • TGIF.

April 2, 2017

In the background

Wrestling season is over, and we're on to baseball now. 3 weeks until the first game on to baseball, in fact. Which means that it's that glorious time when we get a tiny little break between the hustle and the crazy. We've even had this week off to decompress on Spring Break. And while we didn't go anywhere, and I've been totally sick with the hacks and wheezes, it's been so good. Because t was all getting to be too much, too overwhelming, just too everything. So despite work trying to shame me into doing some things on vacation (seriously - just no), I backed all the way away. And I've gotten a chance to just think and be and not worry.

And in doing so, I've realized that I've been really trying to notice things in the background lately. Not all the headlines and major news stories and Facebook posts (Honestly, we get it. 45 is beyond abysmal. Just knock it off already!) and loud people, but what's going on behind that. And that's where I've been finding the most interesting stuff that makes me smile.

Take this photo, for instance. The 170 lb kid had just pinned for the win. And in doing so, he secured the wrestling team's conference win. Usually, I'd wait for the kid's reaction and arm to be raised. But this day, I pointed toward the background - where the team was going nuts, two coaches high-fiving, my husband's arm going up in the pin signal, another coach doing the hulk arms, and the head coach leaping up-up-up in the air. And it makes me smile every single time I look at it.

So it's what I'm trying to do now - peel back the curtain a bit and notice what's going on behind the big show. Because I can't continue to get wrapped up in the day-to-day swirl. It was taking me to a stressed out place where I just couldn't deal with it all. But consciously slowing down to notice the details - I think that may be where it's at for me to find my happiness again.

March 24, 2017

What to do

I don't know what to do with this blog. Google took away my ability to buy its domain, so I'm back to a blogspot address. And I'm getting tired of people thinking they know about my and my family's life while taking no real active interest in it simply because they read about something in it online. Add to it that I'm truly not loving putting everything about myself and my family out there any longer, and it just leaves me in limbo.

Could I write about sitting alone in that cold waiting room in a scratchy gown open to the front while a too loud House Flippers was on TV as I blankly flipped through a Christmas issue of Good Housekeeping while I waited to find out if my callback mammogram was the ultimate in horrible news? (It ended up being nothing) Yes. But, I don't really feel like it.

Could I describe the agony of seeing my kid endure a painful elbow injury these last few weeks and have him knowingly lie to us about how bad it is just because he wants to wrestle? Yes. But now that he's 12, I feel like it betrays him in some really personal way.

Could I talk about explaining to a surgeon that he shouldn't compare shooting those painkillers into my vertebra to a beesting, because I'm fairly familiar with beestings, and this was definitely not as good? Could I lament about chronic pain and how it takes absolutely everything within me to not sink to the lowest depths that it wants me to? Yes. But who wants to hear about that?

Could I write funny anecdotes about my kid having a phone for 2 days before he broke it? How the child finished his Regionals tournament in 4th place and promptly took down a 16 ounce steak immediately after, much to the disbelief of the waitstaff? About all the funny jokes we tell and laughs we share? Yes. But they're starting to feel too personal these days.

So I don't know what to do with this space. Maybe it's just time to move on and leave it as the history it is. Maybe I just need a break before finding a voice again.

What I do know is it's baseball season. And Spring is here. And that  makes me happy.

March 9, 2017

Another week in the life

Last weekend, C-man had a middle school quad on Saturday and tournament on Sunday. He hadn't wrestled or really practiced for 2 weeks because of this elbow, and it was still really hurting. He made it through, but barely. The third period of the last match was excruciating - for him and me.

Because of Sunday, we pulled him from the Tuesday dual and Saturday's conference tournament. He is so upset and angry. But I can't justify letting him wrestle and hurting himself further, especially when there are team points on the line. And this way, he's got another week to try to heal before Regionals, which is his opportunity to try to get to State. I think he's slowly coming to terms with that reality, but certainly doesn't like it.

Personally, I've been having a really hard time with this season. C-man loves it so much - the most of all his sports, and it has taught him so many great things. But the physical portion of it, the intensity of coaches, the constant gruel of it, the disappointment when someone loses, the tears, and (of course) the injuries - have all worn on me this year and I'm having a really hard time seeing why we shouldn't just call it quits. But, as I constantly remind myself, it isn't at all about me. It doesn't mean I'm not going to smile really big when it's baseball season again.

FYI - I painted this podium this year.