My Husband part II

The woman he fell in love with had vanished, in her place was a stranger.

Hello dear reader.

I kind of left you hanging with my last post about my husband. I told you I’d give you more of the story the next day. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I’m here now.

Refresher… Tim and I met at church and spent two years getting to know each other and building a friendship before we got together. Now I think you’re all caught up. Ready to continue? Here we go:

When we told Ali, our priest, that we we’re seeing each other she gave us an assignment. Tim had to cook for me and I had to let him. For most people, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but Ali knew it would be a challenge for us.

First of all, Tim doesn’t cook. He survived primarily off TV dinners and pizza. The first time I looked in his freezer, the only thing in it was an elk leg. Yes, you did read that right.. the leg from an elk, fur and all. One of his friends was a hunter and would save the legs for Tim’s big (100 lbs), beautiful dog, Sampson.

The other reason it was such a challenge was I love cooking and I normally would have been cooking this for him, not the other way around. I’m also just a tiny bit of a control freak in certain areas of my life, and cooking happens to be one of them.

But we did it out of love and respect for Ali. So I sat in Tim’s living room and he cooked. I was hearing things banging around and ‘not nice’ words coming from the kitchen. I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was for me not to go into that kitchen! Eventually, I was presented with a steak dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans. Surprisingly, it was good!

We decided after several months that it was insane for us to be paying rent and utilities on two places when we were together every night either at his house or mine. So we rented a very small house together. Poor Sampson had to back out of anywhere he walked. There wasn’t any room for him to turn around.

I had my first Chiari decompression surgery 9 or 10 months before we moved. I was working three jobs (the General Store/Post Office, cleaning houses, and cooking one of the community meals at the church) when we moved into our house together. Within a month, the surgery failed and I was in worse shape than before. I couldn’t function at all. A good day meant I had made it from the bed to the couch. All of a sudden it was all on Tim. I told him several times that this wasn’t what he’d signed up for and I’d understand if he wanted out. He reassured me that he wasn’t going anywhere.

Eventually (almost a year later) I had another brain surgery. This one was much more invasive. When it was all said and done, they had removed 12 cm from my skull, the C-1 and C-2 from my neck, and cauterized the back of my brain so it wasn’t pinching off my brain stem anymore. They placed a plastic mesh of some sort to hold my brain in place.

I know it sounds like I’m going of on a tangent, but I’m actually not (for a change) this time. I’m trying to express what Tim ended up dealing with very soon in our relationship.

That surgery took about two years for me to recover from. I had to re-learn so many things. But Tim was beside me holding my hand through it. It was as hard for him as it was for me. The woman he fell in love with, his friend, had vanished, in her place was a stranger. I had him to lean on. He was on his own with it.

Once again, this has gotten long very quickly. I won’t keep you waiting so long for the next part.

Until next time…

Dancing with the Mop

In a strange way, the constant pain is a gift. Without it I wouldn’t notice how wonderful some days are.

Hello dear reader.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and that today finds you well.

I’ve had almost five good days in a row! I think we may have finally gotten the right combination of meds going. I said almost five because today would have been the fifth, but I was up most of last night in pain.

Monday I got a letter from my insurance company (Medicare/Medicaid) saying they won’t cover the long-acting medication. I called my doctor’s office yesterday and they’re doing the whole “prior authorization” thing. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s about 50/50.

That letter really upset me. They do this to me a lot and normally it’s not a huge deal. If they won’t approve it we’ll use something else. I just want something that will keep the pain down enough that I can get out of bed.

I had honestly forgotten what it was to feel good. Friday I was dancing with the mop. I haven’t done that in… I can’t even remember the last time. I felt like me, a me I thought had been destroyed by my illnesses.

Okay, so I was in the kitchen wearing jeans and a t-shirt with my back brace on, and I look about 100 years old, but this is how it felt! Now that I’ve discovered it’s not completely gone, I don’t want them to take it away.

Enough about that. I’ll keep you posted on what happens. Now let’s move on.

I really want to focus on the (almost) five days of feeling good. I made it a point to be completely present and aware. That’s the point. We (people who live with chronic pain) enjoy the good days to the max when we get them. Feeling good and having energy is something healthy people take for granted. We don’t. It’s like people who’ve never seen darkness don’t really appreciate the light. People who’ve never been lonely don’t get excited about having a friend. I try to enjoy the good days 10x more than I hate the bad ones. I hang on to them for dear life during the dark days.

In a strange way, the constant pain is a gift. Without it I wouldn’t notice how wonderful some days are. I’d just sleepwalk through them. How do I know? Because that’s how it used to be for me.

click here for a song that fits this.

What’s a good day for you? How do you celebrate them?

Until next time…

6 reasons not to worry

Hello dear reader.

Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration in what certain quotes bring to mind.  Glancing at them doesn’t get it.  You have to stop and let your mind wrap itself around what they say and, more importantly, what they mean.  How do they relate to your own life?  Here’s the one I picked for today…..

“Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.”

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Worry…who doesn’t do that?  I think we all do it, some more than others.  I’ve figured out over the years that worry is something that should be avoided if possible.  Here are reasons why…

1.  Worry fixes nothing.   No matter how much you worry about any given thing, it will not change the outcome.  For example, say you’re a student with an important exam coming up in a subject you struggle with and you’re worried about it.  Will that improve your grade?  Of course not!  The way to make a better grade is to study.

2.  Worry actually makes things worse.  Worry is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.   Let’s go back to that exam you’re worried about.  Worrying about it causes stress, right?  Stress interferes with your ability to think clearly.  It also impedes your ability to relax, which can cause you to lose sleep.  Loss of sleep also interferes with you ability to think clearly.  You see where this is going?

3.  Worry can blow things out of proportion.  Monsters hide in the dark.  When you worry about things they grow in your mind.  Continuing with our example about the exam, worry can blow it up from a single exam to your entire future.  Who hasn’t done this before?  “If I blow this exam, I’ll fail that class.  If I fail that class, my GPA will drop.  If my GPA drops, I could lose my scholarship.  If I lose my scholarship, I won’t be able to graduate.  If I don’t graduate, I’ll end up flipping burgers for the rest of my life.  If I end up flipping burgers for a living, nobody will ever want to marry me.  If nobody wants to marry me, I’ll be old and alone.”   Etc., Etc.   Your head has convinced you that you will lose any chance at a happy life if you don’t do well on this one exam.  How many times has the unknown been much worse than the reality?

4.  Worry is habit forming.  Have you ever met someone who worries constantly about everything?   They can’t stop.  Once your head starts feeding into worry, it becomes a vicious circle.  One worry leads to another, which leads to another, which eventually leads to worrying about how much you worry.  Okay, that may be a little extreme, but you get my point.

5.  Worrying wastes your time and energy.  Worrying is exhausting!  Back to our exam, your brain is too busy running scenarios of what might happen if you do poorly (see #3) to have time or energy to absorb the information you need to do well on the exam.  There are only so many things you can focus on at once.   So you decide to go to a study group, where you spend the entire time talking about how worried about the exam you are.  So you’ve wasted three hours and exhausted yourself for absolutely no gain.  And the point is…???

6.  Worry robs you of happiness.  This is probably the most important reason of all to avoid worrying.  You cannot be worried and happy at the same time.  It’s just plain not possible.  It’s a proven fact that happy people are more productive people.  Back to our exam one last time…it’s simply a choice.  You can choose to study hard and do the best you can.  That mindset allows happiness.  You can also choose to have thoughts that say it’s not not good enough.  You need to find something more.  That mindset will lead to worry and frustration…the opposite of happiness

I can hear you now, “But Lynnette, sometimes you can’t help but worry.  Haven’t you ever been in a situation like that?  Are you trying to tell me that you just don’t worry at all?”  Of course I worry!  My kids will vouch for that fact.  However, I don’t allow myself to stay worried, and that changes everything.  When I begin to worry about something, I ask myself three questions…
      1.  Why am I worried about this?
      2.  Is there anything that I can do to make the situation better?
      3.  If I’ve done everything I can, why am I still holding on to this?
Those questions bring me back into focus, into reality.  I’ve done all I can, so let it go.

I’ve learned over the years that while things may not work out the way I want them to, they do work out the way they’re supposed to.  Some people call that faith.  I honestly don’t know if it’s faith or simply experience.  Whatever you want to call it, it leaves no room for worry.

So what do you think?  Do you have little worries?  Big worries?  Or a big mind?

Until next time…