Monday, October 29, 2012

Many Thanks!

I really appreciate all the kind words and supportive energy heading my way. Sometimes when I write, I don't even realize what it sounds like until after I go back and read it. Wow. I sound pretty messed up sometimes. That's just who I am, I guess. One of the many sides of me. If I pretended it didn't exist, well I wouldn't be very honest with myself or anyone else.

That said, I am doing much better. The catharsis of writing helps a lot. Just getting through the tough times and moving on is hard, but that that's just about all I can do sometimes. But, I HAVE made it past the slump, though. Dealing with migraines every week, like clock-work, for two months was draining and I seem to have gotten past that too, at least for now. I only had one in the last two weeks and I knocked it out fairly quickly. The fact that it was during the weekend was even better. It sucks giving up my days of rest and family time to something like a migraine but for now, I'd rather do that than miss ANOTHER day of work.

Speaking of work, I am doing pretty well there, too. Getting to work on time always helps. I made the decision that I need to actually commit to working full time, though. I won't be taking off a few afternoons a week or coming in late a few days when I need to. It will be 9-6 every day. Frankly, I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but I have to remind myself, that I've been working nearly that much already. The biggest difference will be that I will have to make myself go to bed early every night, without fail. I feel like across between a six year old and an 86 year old. If I stay up too late and I don't get my naps, I just can't function the next day. But, if that is the key to helping me get the rest of my life back, it isn't all that much of a hassle, is it?

Tomorrow, I will (hopefully) be getting my food allergy test done. I just want this thing over with so I can find out if what I am eating is making me worse, or if my body just decided to hold a mass rebellion of its own accord. I'm asking for prayers and supportive thoughts from everyone. Not that I don't react to anything, but that I DO react - at least to the control solution they administer before the test. So far, I've tried to take this test three times and each time I managed to take some medicine too soon before the test date and it screwed things up bad enough that I didn't react to the allergens enough to be able to record the test.  The first time it was vicodin, the pain killer. The second time it was flexeril, which is a muscle relaxer. The third time it was apparently SUDAFED. Stupid sinuses. So I'm supposed to stay away from anything that will lower my reaction to allergens.

This time I was REALLY careful not to take ANYTHING that would mess this test up. Until yesterday. I don't know where my brain was, or why it wasn't working. I just know it failed me completely as I was getting ready for bed. I have been out of ambien for a few days now (I'm supposed to get a refill at the dr tomorrow) and I've not been sleeping well, or actually at all. So, no sleeping meds, no muscle relaxers, and at 1:00 in the morning I was WIDE awake. I really wished I could take something to help me sleep. Wait doesn't benadryl help you sleep? Sure it does! I'll just take some of that. It wasn't until THIS AFTERNOON I realized - DUH! - I'm not supposed to take ANY antihistamines EITHER!

So, I'm going to attempt the test again tomorrow and hope and pray that I didn't mess up an entire week's worth of abstaining from my meds and missing sleep.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Irrational Fears

I realized something profound on Friday afternoon when I forgot my lunch. And by "forgot" I mean I purposely didn't bring anything so I had an excuse to buy a mushroom-swiss burger from the country cookin' restaurant next door to my store. Because DH and TD are highly allergic to mushrooms, I can't even have them in the house. DH is actually sensitive enough that he will get sick inhaling the steam from mushrooms cooking. We have had to leave several open-kitchen style restaurants because we sat too close to the kitchen while they were sauteing them. This means if I want them, I have to get them while I am not at home and when the are not with me. To say this sucks is a major understatement. I really love mushrooms. A lot.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the epiphany.

So, as I stood outside my shop door, about to cross the parking lot to get my burger for lunch, I suddenly felt an old, familiar tightness in my chest. No, it wasn't longing or pain.

It was fear.

At first I wasn't sure what the fear was from, so I fought the panic down and forced myself to move.forward. I had to analyze the thoughts racing through my mind to figure out what the hell was going on. Was it being outside instead of safe in the store? No. I was RELIEVED to be away from my bully of boss and the emotional outbursts of my co-workers. It wasn't the fear that I was about to overdraft the bank account by eating out. I've managed to get the accounts under control and the cost of a burger isn't going to kill my budget anymore. The, the fear crept up again as I pulled the door open and attempted to navigate the crowded restaurant to get to the check-out counter. Do you know how crazy it is to feel fear and confusion at once when there is no apparent reason why? It actually wasn't until after I paid for my burger and rushed out with my half-and-half sweet tea that I was able to pinpoint the source of my anxiety.

I was afraid of walking.

I was simultaneously relieved to find the source of my fear, and confused as to why the simple act of walking would cause such a negative reaction. So, I spent the next five minutes wolfing down my incredibly satisfying burger and re-analyzing my thoughts. Pictures and sensations sped across my brain again and I tried to piece them together in some sort of logical sequence. What I found out about myself was both disturbing and sad.

It turns out I wasn't really afraid of walking, specifically. I was actually afraid of tripping and twisting my ankle. Or running into one of the tables or chairs. Or walking face-first into the door that opens by pulling instead of pushing. It may sound like a crazy sort of "What If" but I do this sort of thing ALL THE TIME as well as smacking my hands across things, squashing my fingers between things, and bashing my elbows against things. No place is safe from my clumsiness. While working for a major cell phone manufacturing company, I once went flying, face first, across the floor in front of the international vice president. I missed the bottom stair at an apartment complex and broke my ankle. In New Orleans, on my honeymoon, I tripped so many times walking through the French Quarter that I was in pain from my hips to my toes for three weeks. The most recent time was just a few weeks ago when I was rushing up some concrete steps and I tripped on the top stair and went sprawling. I've still got a scar on my knee and shin from that one.

I've been thinking about this all weekend and I believe this fear is actually bigger than just being afraid of tripping. At the root of it, I'm afraid of causing myself more pain. Because of the FM, twisting my ankle will hurt for days instead of hours and it will throw off my gait which will likely cause me to hurt elsewhere, like my hips or my back. And it's not just tripping that I'm afraid of, either. Anything that can cause me more pain than I'm already in is starting to cause me anxiety. Walking through a crowd of people when my muscles are already tender to the touch causes my stomach to tense. The same goes for yard work, doing laundry, and shopping at Wal Mart. This fear of potential pain-causing activities is why I sometimes stand instead of sitting while watching TV or eating and why I can't seem to make myself go for a walk or do the prescribed exercises the doctor gave me.

Now that I've figured out the mystery, what do I do about it? I can at least say that I haven't let this fear completely stop me from living my life, but it is making an impact. If I acknowledge it and fight through it, is it even something to worry about? Or will ignoring it (since I can't do anything about it) cause it to get worse?  In the past, many of the irrational fears I have had are usually related to a specific event or activity, like being afraid of (what's in) the dark and being afraid of grocery shopping because of not having enough money. The fear of walking or pain, though?  How do I combat THAT?

Deb "Scaredy Cat" Lollar

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hanging on by a thread

I am reaching the four-month milestone at work and I'm getting nervous. I haven't managed to make it that long at one job in several years. Usually, about 3 1/2 months after I start working  somewhere, the store of energy and strength wanes and the momentum I've built up starts to lag. Bone-crushing fatigue from the fibro sets in and some part of my body will hurt so bad I won't be able to function. Shortly after that, a particularly devastating bout of fibro-fog kicks up and then I might as well just start packing my things. No boss wants to deal with an employee that doesn't come to work, and when she IS there, isn't effective or even very accurate. Frankly, I don't blame them. If I had the choice to hire me or not, I would surely choose someone less... plagued.

I always tell myself, "THIS time will be different! I'll push through the pain! I'll go to bed ever earlier! I'll blame my screw-ups on someone else! Then maybe, I will get to keep my precious paychecks coming in just a teensy bit longer."

The crappiest part about this looming milestone that I haven't managed to avoid is that four months is almost exactly the amount of time it takes me to make enough money to dig ourselves out of the hole we've been in while I wasn't working. By now, everyone is getting used to having food in the house (that they actually want) and we've managed to start fitting things in the budget like clothes and school supplies. At least, we've gotten to the point where we have planned to go on these shopping "sprees." But, no matter HOW confident I am in my current state of health I haven't learned not to jinx myself and keep my purchasing plans to myself.

This weekend, I let it slip that I wanted to get DH a new cell phone for his birthday. For the first time in a long time, he actually has his eye on a specific gadget and it is within the realm of "reasonably priced." His birthday just happens to be in a few weeks, so this seemed to be very well timed. Also, TD has been BEGGING for her first cell phone since she has started Jr High, and if we get DH a new one, we can pass down his old one to her. So, within 3 seconds of my mentioning a new cell phone to DH, TD was in the room jumping up and down with the exuberance that only an 11 year old girl can show. It might be a birthday gift for Daddy, but she has a lot more at stake than he does in this whole interaction.

This morning, I realized exactly how long I have been working at this job, and my heart sank to my feet. The only way to make this whole cell phone thing work is if I not only continue to work for the short term, but going forward as well, or else TD will be the proud owner of a cell phone without any service. That's just not cool to do to a kid. Now, I feel like I'm waiting for the piano to drop out of the sky ans squish me. I just don't have the confidence in my own health to feel good about all this yet. I don't want to go back on promises, and I don't want to disappoint my husband or my little pre-teen TD. Suddenly, I feel like a huge weight has been planted firmly across my shoulders; as if this horrible thing is going to happen and I just haven't figured out when.

Just now as I was thinking about this I realized Christmas is only a few months away. I've got five kids to shop for this year. We only barely made it through without help from anyone last year. I can't face having to go to charities again for presents and holiday dinner. Yeah, I know I'm stressing way too much about this and that the stress will probably cause my worst fears to actually come true. I can't help it. All it takes is one look at my houseful of loved ones, and I know I just can't let them down. I can't. I have to figure out some way to avoid the inevitable.

I know. My brain is racing down worst-case scenarios and I'm letting my emotions get away from me. However, you can only do something so many times before you start to recognize the same signs and the responses become second-nature. The only way to avoid the same end is to change your actions and reactions in a willful and purposeful way.

So yeah, I WILL push through the pain, and I WILL go to bed earlier, and I WILL find someway to get through the brain fog that I know will probably be coming along any day now. I'm praying with every fiber of my soul that something will be different this time, that I'll be able to shake off the depression that comes along with mindless screw-ups. It's that little, dark whisper in my deepest mind that tells me to just give up. Working is just too stressful and painful and I suck at this job anyway. Just give up and call-in and let them fire me already so I can get some freaking sleep. Everyone already knows that you will fail at this like you failed at all the other jobs so give them what they already expect.

No, I haven't given in to that sweet sounding monster yet. So far, I have managed to keep the worst of my demons at bay. The Gray Monster has threatened to attack a few times, but I am resisting. I don't know how long I can keep it up. I'll need all the support and prayers I can get.

Am I alone in this, or do other people have the same sort of recurring stumbling blocks in their life? Do you have any tricks to avoid falling into the same pitfalls over and over again?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Catching Up

It's been two moths since I've posted anything. I've attempted to write a few times, but Perfectionism rears its ugly head and I just can't bring myself to hit the "Publish" button. This time, I'll try to keep it concise and to the point and just get on with it. I need to do this every now and again.

The biggest thing to happen to our house is that we have grown from three kids to five. No, I didn't have twins suddenly. My oldest sister needed some help, and helping is what families do. So, I have my oldest niece, Monster, and my nephew, The Boy, staying with us. One one hand, it has been fairly easy because bringing a 16 year old and a 14 year old into a house with 15, 11, and 9 year olds isn't that big a deal. Everyone can feed,clothe, and take themselves to the bathroom and that cuts out a HUGE amount of daily work for us. The Boy even goes to the same school as Tiny Dancer, so that makes things even easier.

On the other hand, there have been a few changes around here. First, Little Heart has to share a room with Monster. That isn't a bug deal in itself, but the need for the two teenage girls to have more room led to us completely moving around all the bedrooms. Second, The Boy is, well... a BOY. He has to have his own room so that involved us moving the computer and arts stuff out so he could have the room we used to use for an office. We were glad to do it, and that's all there is to that. It just led to a few days of downtime with my computer.

Apparently, my computer doesn't like change any more than the average human, though, because as soon as I got all set up in my new "office space" the hard drive and monitor decide to jointly go on strike. The "replacements" have been brought in, but we are still in negotiations with the Union of CPU's. I'm currently outsourcing which, I think, has caused a complete breakdown in the picket lines.
That'll show those inanimate objects!

The last few weeks have been occupied with Back to School activities and Meet the Teachers, as well as several I Forgot About my Homework's and I Swear I Thought I Was Passing That Class's... 

I've bumped up to nearly full time work, which is good because Hey! I'm getting paid. It also doesn't hurt having the extra paychecks and BOY has my sanity EVER been saved by getting out of the house and talking to REAL LIVE adults every day. It has made things a little bit more complicated with dealing with migraines and fibromyalgia. Thankfully, I am only a support person for my office. They DO need me, it's just that my position is primarily to help out everyone else. If I miss a day, I can usually get caught up by working a few extra hours here and there.

So, that's how things have been around here. Chaos is normal.

In other news, my baby sister Spike had her first baby and we are ALL very excited about it. Little Walrus is home and healthy and mom and baby are doing fine. My heart is breaking because I can't be in Arizona to help out and snuggle newborns and new mommas and everything. We don't even have hourly pictures to share in his every squeak, so I'm feeling even more disconnected.

So send us a good thought, happy prayer, peaceful vibe or whatever it is you do. Things are crazy, here, but that's pretty much normal. And normal is good.

Be excellent to each other!